Church News - 20th May 2022

The St Peter and St Paul church celebrated Christmas as best it could with Covid restrictions still in place. Highlights of the season were the Christmas Fayre raising over £600 and a Carol Service with the ‘Once in Royal David’s City’ solo sweetly sung by Tiana Fletcher. (alas no room for a choir) Masks and social distancing were still in force. The Christingle service was held in the fresh air of the churchyard and was attended by a goodly number of people all wrapped up against the cold and wet including several Little Light families.

The children, helped by Rev’d Caroline, told the story of the nativity and we all sang ‘Away in a Manger’ with Norma at the keyboard sheltered by an umbrella and the young holding their lighted Christingle oranges. Finally Churchwarden John presented Caroline with a farewell cheque from the congregation with grateful thanks for her time with us. We will miss her. Grateful thanks to the Parish Council for the churchyard tree and to the Social Committee for all the lights.

It is sobering to think that the church has been closed since 17th June. You may be asking what is causing the delay in restoring the damaged area. It has to be remembered that as a Grade 1 listed church we are responsible for looking after a very special place and making sure it is restored in such a way that the dry rot will not return. A number of experts are involved in providing advice (Historic England, the Church Architect, dry rot experts, builders). The DAC want further advice before granting us a Faculty (Planning permission) .... Until this Faculty is obtained building work to restore the church to its former beauty cannot start nor Grants applied for.

The village was shocked to hear of the sudden death of Derek Vowles on January 16th. Derek was a man of many parts, church warden, bell ringer, bowls player, Cruse counsellor, hospital driver, British legion member, to name just some. An upright, fit looking man, he was always ready to offer his considerable practical skills as well as his experience and advice. His likability was evident at his funeral which took place at St Mary’s Church; possibly just as well considering the number who attended; not least the representatives of the British Legion who mostly had to stand at the back of the church. Robb Robinson, whose calling as a reader is one that Derek had encouraged, gave an eulogy which clarified just how much he had given church and the wider society. Our hearts go out to his widow, Beryl, as well as to their sons Ian and Nigel who a bravely managed to speak of his father with some humour.

Two interments in our churchyard have happened recently, of Ian Simons and Pat Giles. Ian, the son of Paul and Elaine, died suddenly in middle age. Paul was well known in the village but moved away after his wife’s death. For a while he used to come back and clean the brass in the church with Mike Bull. We think of him with great sympathy. The indomitable, colourful, slight figure of Pat Giles was familiar to many. Pat loved the theatre, indeed had been an actress. She died a little before the pandemic and now her husband David, also a familiar figure as he took his constitutional along the village, has left to live with his daughter and family. We will miss you David and we thank you for your insightful work as treasurer at one stage and your long standing contribution to the church and its building as Chair of the Friends of St Peter and St Paul as well as to the life of the village on the Parish Council. We wish you very well indeed and will remember you and Pat.

A service to celebrate the life of Hilary James took place at Weston-super-Mare Crematorium on March 10th led by Noel. She and her late husband Brian were members of our congregation for many years and were valuable members of the choir. In his comforting address Noel spoke of God’s presence around us and of Hilary’s strong faith all her life. Our thoughts are with her family in their loss.

Toby Bennett-Clements was baptised on February 6th by the Rev’d Tim Daplyn who had brought a portable font from All Saints. Toby was baptised and welcomed into the family of the church supported by family, godparents and friends. After the service the hall was rapidly transformed from a church to a party venue. Toby’s parents, Niki and Tom were married in SSPP a few years ago and we are very happy they continue keep in touch although they no longer live locally.

How lucky we are to have been able to hold our weekly services in the Village Hall thanks to the Bridges’ and Robinson’s hard work setting it up each week. Sadly it is not suitable for weddings and funerals.

Churchwarden John Bridges has worked so hard attending endless meetings Zooms, phone calls in relation to the Dry Rot while at the same time waiting for a hospital bed. ‘Thank you John’. We are so pleased to hear that at last your major heart surgery is safely over and we hope you take things very gently while you convalesce. Ian Robinson will hold the fort in the meantime.

‘Our country seat’ was nearly blown away by Storm Eunice...roof repairs needed...another bill!

However our worries are nothing compared to those in Ukraine. We pray for peace and reconciliation.

A number of us went to St Mary’s church on Good Friday for a Meditation on ‘The Seven Last Words on the Cross’ and two days later Easter was celebrated with a Communion Service free of Covid restrictions in the village hall, beautifully decorated with spring flowers.


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