We were so sorry at St. Martin's that the Lock-down Restrictions did not allow a service in the Church or Wreath Laying in the Soldiers' Chapel. I left the wreaths on the steps until after dusk so that people could inspect them and then placed them in the Soldiers' Chapel. I attach photographs of the wreaths in the Chapel and one of the "Weeping Poppies" arrangement which is usually beside the altar but this year was placed more centrally so that those coming in for Private Prayer are easily able to see it. St. Martin's will next be open for Private Prayer on Wednesday, Armistice Day, from 10.00 am until 12 noon.
Thank you for all your work in overcoming the difficulties of Lock-down in achieving this year's Commemoration.
8th November 2020
It has been lovely on Wednesday and Saturday mornings seeing people coming into Church again to pray. It has also been great to have the opportunity to talk to them. I attach a photograph of the main doors thrown wide to Brampton and the view out from the top of the steps. As you will have heard the Government has announced that Churches can open for worship again in the first week of July. I have delayed e-mailing you as I had hoped to be able to give details of this for St. Martin's but unfortunately the Government has not yet published the Regulations by which we must abide. There may be restrictions on the numbers at services and it seems likely that we will not be allowed to sing out. Judging by guidance to other sectors other restrictions are possible. The central Church authorities and Diocese are unable to give us guidance yet. Once the Government publishes the Regulations the St. Martin's Standing Committee can study them and work out how we can implement them and what they will allow us to do. Although this wait is somewhat frustrating it is exciting to be so close to worshiping together in St. Martin's Church.
In a recent copy of the Church Times there was a poem by Malcolm Guite modelled on the Psalms rejoicing in God's creation of our world. This seems particularly apt at Midsummer with the natural world so joyously abundant. It also strikes me as apt when in the Church looking at the natural background in the east window and with the stone pillars standing like well-rooted trees reaching upwards to the skies. I hope that you enjoy the poem with its reminder that we can praise and worship both in church and outside in the created world and that nothing can separate us from the love of God :
Come to the place, where every breath is praise,
And God is breathing through each passing breeze.
Be planted by the the waterside and raise
Your arms with Christ beneath these rooted trees,
Who lift their breathing leaves up to the skies.
Be rooted too, as still and strong as these,
Open alike to sun and rain. Arise
From meditation by these waters. Bear
The fruits of that deep rootedness. Be wise
In the trees' long wisdom. Learn to share
The secret of their patience. Pass the day
In their green fastness and their quiet air.
Slowly discern a life, a truth, a way,
Where simple being flowers in delight.
Then let the chaff of life just blow away.
I shall hope to see you in Church soon!
May God Bless You and Keep You.
All Good Wishes,
27th June 2020
I hope that you are well in body, mind and spirit in these difficult times. We seem to be moving out of the depths of the Covid crisis into more hopeful times and this is reflected within St. Martin's where I have replaced the Lent, penitential altar-front of purple with the white and gold frontal for Whit Sunday and the celebration of the gift of the Spirit of God to live within each of us giving us strength to cope and hope to look forward. I noticed yesterday was the commemoration of the Venerable Bede of Jarrow. Some of you may have visited the beautiful Galilee Chapel in Durham Cathedral where are words from his writings on faith:
Christ is the Morning Star who when the night of this world is past
brings to his saints the promise of the Light of Life
and opens Everlasting Day.
He wrote in the Dark Ages, a time of huge problems but also the age of the Northern Saints who brought faith to a cruel pagan area. In those days the word "saints" referred to all Christian believers not only the holy leaders. Perhaps we could consider a Parish Trip to Durham Cathedral when we are back to more normal times.
On Mondays I also move forward the pages in our own commemoration book kept in the Soldiers' Chapel of the shelf by the door into the Vestry. Thus the names of those we loved are read and open to view even in these times.
In the photographs that I attach you will be able to see the white altar frontal with the east window above it. You will also see the lectern in front of the altar from which Stephen records his reflections which can be seen on the " achurchnearyou" entry for St. Martin's Church. Also shown is the view of the church that the clergy (or changers of altar frontals!) have from the behind the altar awaiting the pews to fill with us. The recent bible readings have referred to Christ as the Good Shepherd and I also attach an unusually close view of the face of the Good Shepherd in our window which more clearly shows the tenderness of the Shepherd's care for the sheep. I photographed it from the little window that overlooks the chancel from the upper vestry. I think it may be Leicester lamb! The final photo is of the carving just outside the main entrance door. It shows St.Martin in the act if dividing his military-issue cloak with the beggar. St. Martin not only sacrificed the weather-protection of the whole cloak but was also likely to get into deep military trouble for no longer having part of his equipment. He has always seemed such an excellent example as a patron of our church.
What a time we will have when we are all able to meet, catch-up and pray and sing together!
May God Bless and Keep You and Yours.
All Good Wishes,
26th May 2020
I do hope that you and yours are all well.
All remained well at the Church when I checked it and prayed for everyone while I was there on Monday. I attach a photograph of the window we look at from the coffee area. The sunlight is making the windows particularly fine during these weeks of lock-down and all is ready for when we are all able to return in body as well as in mind and soul. As show in the other internal photo our pew seats are awaiting us. To ensure that all looks well in these photos and for any others I dusted all the woodwork this week and removed one or two cobwebs. Paul has been busy outside with me as his go-for. He has been watering all the flower tubs which are flourishing and as shown in last photo he was busy today weeding all round the church and clearing the drainage gulleys. All looks very welcoming.
There is a prayer by Barbara Glasson, President of the Methodist Conference, which seems particularly appropriate for the continuation of our lock-down efforts and for the sacrifices people are making for each other:
We are not people of fear:
we are people of courage
We are not people who protect our own safety:
we are people who protect our neighbours' safety.
We are not people of greed:
we are people of generosity.
We are your people God.
giving and loving
wherever we are
whatever it costs
For as long as it takes
wherever you call us.
God Bless Us and Keep us All.
All Good Wishes,
12th May 2020
When I did my weekly check on the Church interior on Monday it looked lovely with the Spring sunlight streaming in as shown in the attached photos. All appeared well as I looked over the interior and as I offered prayers on behalf of you, the remainder of the congregation, the town and the crisis. I am sure that we can all think of services in the Church when it looked just as it did on Monday.
The local British Legion had been in touch with Stephen to ask to temporarily remove their Standard from the Soldiers' Chapel so that the Standard bearer could dip it in electronic/virtual co-ordination with others throughout the country on the commemoration of V E Day on 8th May. I was able to facilitate this. We will have the satisfaction of knowing that on V E Day the Brampton Standard is honouring all involved not only on that momentous Day but also in all that led to that Day.
Today, Tuesday, has also be notable as the scaffolding was removed from the Church exterior. The work of pointing has been done so well that it is difficult to pick out from ground level. I am very grateful to our neighbours' good humour in suffering a degree of inconvenience and poor views during the works. I am also grateful to the good work of the stonemasons who seemed to get on well with the neighbours and carefully brushed up at the end of each day. All that is left for the firm to do is finishing the replacement of decayed stonework on the vestry wall where it gets splashed with road salt. The third photo shows Ian Askins himself removing the damaged stones ready for the delivery of the replacement stones from the quarry near Annan. The removal of the scaffolding also allowed Paul to plant up the two empty tubs in front of the Church. I was allowed to act as a gardening dogsbody carrying plants to their planting positions and coming along to water after the planting was done. Paul is due many thanks for making this frontage look so good.
I hope that you will all continue well.
God Bless You and Yours.
All Good Wishes.
Lily Hopkins, Churchwarden
28th April 2020