Editorial: Being alone
The word ‘isolation’ has come to occur ever more frequently in our world today, especially, and often because of the coronavirus pandemic. Those experiencing symptoms or who are deemed to have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus are instructed to “self-isolate” for up to 14 days, ideally remaining in one room with the door closed and avoiding mixing even with members of the same household. For those living on their own the restrictions on movement and social interaction can be even more difficult. No one chooses or enjoys being isolated. “No man is an island”, as the 17th century English metaphysical poet John Donne famously wrote: humans need the contact and support of others to thrive and live their lives in a positive and meaningful way. The coronavirus pandemic has, if anything, highlighted the problems of isolation already experienced by many elderly housebound individuals and led to an upsurge in community support. Long may it continue!
And yet, for many of us, there are times when we long to be alone, to escape the pressures of work or family or everyday life, to have a bit of time for ourselves. We need those moments of solitude to focus on our inner being, to feel relaxed and refreshed, to recharge our batteries. Jesus exemplified that need perfectly during his time on earth: time and again in the gospels, after a long day surrounded by crowds listening to his teaching and plying him with requests for healing, we hear how Jesus would withdraw from the crowd and retreat to a quiet place, often up a mountain, to pray and commune with his Father, God. This enabled him to carry on with his ministry despite the antagonism of the Jewish authorities which he knew would finally bring about his death. Solitude, as many have found, can be a powerful and positive spiritual discipline.
So, especially as the dark days of winter approach and the prospect of further restrictions becomes a reality, let us keep a watchful eye out for those who may find themselves alone through no fault or choice of their own, but at the same time let us not ignore the real benefits and blessings that moments of solitude can bring.
Alison: Editor Contact: 01827 892796
We continue to offer both in church and online services: Details can be found on the parish webpage: www.allsoulsnorthwarwickshire.co.uk
How often in recent months have you heard the phrase “These are unprecedented times?” It is true that hardly anyone alive today has experienced what we are going through now – even the dark days of WWII were not blighted further by restrictions on social contact with one’s loved ones and friends – but just over 100 years ago the world was in the grip of a pandemic as deadly as the one we are dealing with at the moment, perhaps even more so given the lack of scientific knowledge and medical facilities.
The customary ceremonies on Remembrance Sunday with large gatherings paying respects to the war dead will not be taking place this year. In All Souls our church services (10.30 am at Warton and 6.00 pm at Newton Regis) will have a remembrance theme but attendance will have to be limited in accordance with the current social distancing regulations. One suggestion made is that residents come out and stand in front of their houses to observe the 2 minutes silence at 11 am on Sunday 8 November, in much the same way as people came out on a Thursday evening to clap the NHS. A simple way of observing Remembrance Sunday wherever you happen to be.
This year, the 75th anniversary of VE and VJ Day, the Royal British Legion is remembering particularly the men and women of the Second World War generation, along with those of today’s, who served and sacrificed to defend our nation. Visit their website www.britishlegion.org.uk for ideas on how to make remembrance meaningful this year.
For those who prefer to stay indoors, Birmingham Diocese’s online prayer chapel will be open from 11 am to 11 pm on November 11th with an act of remembrance every hour under the heading ‘Remembering Together’. You can join on Zoom at any point during the day using the Meeting ID 988 3173 7761 and Passcode 489269.
Poppies will still be on sale to support the vital work of the Royal British Legion but door to door sales will not be happening. Poppies will however be available to purchase at the Top Shop, the Club and The Office pub in Warton, the Brid in Hand and the shop in Austrey as well as the Newton Regis Garden Centre and Café.
Bereavement Service: Our annual Bereavement Service, when we invite the families of all those for whom funerals have been conducted in the parish during the previous 12 months, will also have to have a different approach. It is not possible to accommodate all who might wish to attend and comply with social distancing rules. We are hoping to hold a ‘token’ service in Austrey church at a specific time and date and all concerned will be invited to ‘join’ from the comfort of their own homes, following a simple order of service which will be sent to them. We are also hoping to produce a recording of the occasion and upload this on to the parish website for all to view (technology providing). Final details will be communicated via letter and the website in early November.
Christmas too, will be very different, the celebrations with the ban on congregational singing meaning that we cannot hold our traditional Carol Services. There will, however, be a strong Christmas flavour to our worship as we welcome our Saviour into the world once more and we are planning at least one service of Christmas Communion.
The Children’s Team will still be hosting a Christingle Service at 5 pm on Christmas Eve and have decided that the most effective way of doing this will be online. Children (and adults!) will have the opportunity to assemble their own Christingles and donations will be invited for the valuable and much-needed work of the Children’s Society. If you would like to take part, please check the church website in advance for details of how to join and a list of items that will be needed.
In these uncertain times all these arrangements must be considered provisional but we trust and pray that everyone will remain safe and well in our area and we can find new and imaginative ways of worshipping and remembering together.
Eventually, the Advent wreath was created out of evergreens, symbolizing everlasting life in the midst of winter and death. The circle reminds us of God’s unending love and the eternal life He makes possible. Advent candles are often nestled in the evergreen wreath. Additional decorations, like holly and berries, are sometimes added. Their red colour points ahead to Jesus’ sacrifice and death. Pinecones can symbolize the new life that Jesus brings through His resurrection. Families begin lighting a candle on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, and they light another candle each subsequent Sunday.
Jesus and Prayer
Did you know there’s a right and a wrong way to pray? When Jesus’ disciples asked to teach them how to pray, Jesus felt it was important to first teach them how not to pray. ‘ Do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray in public places to be seen by men.’ ‘Do not babble like the pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.’ So how should you pray? Do it in your secret place, where there are no distractions. Many words are not required, as our Father knows what we need before we ask. Prayer is basically having a private conversation with God: our Father wants a personal and intimate relationship with you.
In response to the disciples’ question, Jesus gave them the familiar “Lord’s Prayer”, which is a series of pointers as to how we should pray rather than what we should actually say. The prayer begins and ends with praising God: “…hallowed be thy name”, “…thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory”.
In between come the petitions, firstly “Give us this day our daily bread”, a reminder to the Jews of the old covenant of the manna that came from heaven during the forty year exodus, but to those of the new covenant it recalls Jesus’ words “I am the bread of life”. If Jesus is living in you, then you have your daily bread. Then comes “Forgive us our sins..” : for us Jesus went to the cross and took all our sins away, thus making it easier for us to forgive others. “Lead us not into temptation..” recalls how Adam and Eve were tempted and deceived by Satan, the evil one, which in turn made the lives of every generation since so difficult and complicated. Jesus himself was tempted by Satan in the desert but resisted his suggestions and thwarted the devil. He finally defeated him at Calvary so that we didn’t have to.
Useful pointers, but God would rather you use your own words, spoken from the fullness of your heart. But what if your prayers do not appear to be answered? It may be because of wrong motives or because what we are asking is not God’s will. Most importantly, we should pray in Jesus’ name. As Jesus himself said, “Until now, you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” (John 16:24) This is the basis of every New Testament believer’s prayers: we have to pray for all things and ask in JESUS’ name. The power resides in the person you are praying to, not in the prayer itself. As St Paul writes:
“For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ.”(I Timothy 2:5).
That is why it is imperative to pray in Jesus’ name, the name above all other names.
Written by Joe Galletly
2020 is the year when MAF is celebrating 75 years of serving people in some of the world’s remotest places. Sadly it also marks the death of one of its co-founders, Stuart King, who passed away on 29 August aged 98. Stuart was one of a group of former RAF pilots who as WWII ended had a vision of using aircraft to bring help, hope and healing to those in the remotest parts of the developing world. He retained a keen interest in its work all his life.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected virtually every country in the world, MAF has continued to operate wherever and whenever they have received government permission to fly. In Arnhem Land they have transported women and children from abusive situations (a particular problem among the indigenous Australian population) to a place of safety. In the Democratic Republic of Congo they have delivered coronavirus supplies (washbasins, thermometers, paper towels, soap) vaccines against measles, mumps and rubella and ministered to more than 15,000 internally displaced people in refugee camps. In Liberia, although MAF’s plans to expand its services into West Africa have been delayed by COVID, preparations are going ahead with the construction of a new aircraft hangar and offices in the capital Monrovia. In Timor-Leste MAF even stepped in to fly a number of VIPs, including the President of Oecusse, to a meeting in Parliament.
Prayer very much underpins all of their work and they will be holding their annual Global Week of Prayer as usual from 1 – 8 November. All supporters are invited to join in from the comfort of their homes. You can register to receive a special edition of their prayer diary by visiting their website www.maf-uk.org and following the link for the Global Week of Prayer.
Polesworth Library is currently open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays between 10 am and 4 pm and Saturdays between 10 am and 1 pm for customers to collect books which they have requested online or by phone to the library or which have been selected for them by the library staff. Anyone wishing to make use of this service can ring the staff on 01827 899820 and we will be delighted to help. The entire service is now free of charge – no overdue fines or charges to obtain a book from another Warwickshire Library, so please make use of it!
We have passed our inspection regarding being COVID-safe to fully re-open and are waiting for the installation of a protective screen before we can open our doors again for browsing. We have installed hand sanitisers and all returning items are quarantined for 72 hours before being available for the next customer.
We look forward to seeing you again soon!
Julie Talbot - Senior Librarian
From the Seckington Pantry
There is nothing like home-made mincemeat - it's dead easy to make and I can guarantee that you will never have tasted such brilliant mince pies in your life!
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and cover. Leave to stand for one week, stirring several times each day. Spoon in to sterilised jars, adding a tablespoon of brandy to each one. Cover and keep cool
Use and enjoy at Christmas!
My name is Susan Friend and I am delighted to introduce myself as the new Head Teacher of Warton Nethersole CE Primary School. I am so proud of this opportunity to work with the staff, pupils and parents of the Warton community and having visited the school a few times , I am sure that we can continue to build on the fantastic work of Mrs Bostock and the team both in school, with the church and the wider community.
My career to date has been very varied and I think that this stands me in good stead for the new experiences and challenges that await me at Warton Nethersole. I began my teacher training in York after completing a degree in English Literature at the same university. From York I began my first teaching job in Camden, London where I also became the ICT lead teacher. Teaching in London was a wonderful experience – the diversity of children and their needs was significantly wider than in York and so it was here that I developed my passion and focus that all children and families have equity in their opportunities within my school. From London, I moved to be the specialist IT teacher at a private international school in Prague, Czech Republic. Here I learnt how to ski (not very well!) and took multiple classes on skiing residential trips to the mountains, learnt a little basic Czech (which is now even worse than my skiing!) and learnt more about ways to support children for whom English is a second language.
As the national curriculum in England changed, I moved back to the UK and settled in Bristol where I bought my first home. I worked in two schools in Bristol, firstly as a senior leader in a school with high levels of deprivation and behavioral needs and secondly as a deputy head at a large junior school school just over the border in South Gloucestershire. My 4 years of Deputy Headship have been a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the leadership of a school and how to support staff in what can be a really hard job-especially in the current climate.
Aside from my teaching experiences. I travel as much as possible (pre-Covid!) and have enjoyed some exciting far flung adventures including seeing a Blue Whale in the Indian Ocean, Angkor Wat in Cambodia and dancing to the live jazz in New Orleans.
I was born and bred in Burton on Trent and am moving closer to home after many years away to be with my mum, my sister and her family. My sister has two young children aged 4 and 2 and I don’t get to be the aunty or sister I want to be when I live so far away. When I saw this job advertised I knew it was the one for me and I am so hopeful for the future and its possibilities at Warton Nethersole. I hope that this new role will both enhance my working life - which I always prioritise highly - as well as my family life too. I aim to be a supportive and ambitious Head Teacher for the whole community and can’t wait to be a more present ‘Aunty Suey’ for my family too!
Created with images by Veronica Ivanov - "Red poppy field" • Eyasu Etsub - "THE light"