Church of England Diocese of St.Edmundsbury & Ipswich Barsham with Shipmeadow

February Newsletter 2021

1 Feb 2021, midnight

                                 “Now in the dark of February rains,

Poor lovers of the sunshine, spring is born,

The earthly fields are full of hidden corn,

And March’s violets bud along the lanes.”

(From “In February”, by George MacDonald, Scottish author and Christian minister, 1824-1905)

Media vita in morte sumus (in the middle of life we are in death). One could become frightened and anxious by the events of the last year, and yet Mother Nature always manages to give us hope in the face of despair, life in the face of death, new growth from old, and light from darkness.

As we emerge from winter into spring, we are indeed being offered hope, in the form of vaccines, and light in the lengthening of days. It has been a long and difficult ordeal for many, but there is an end in sight. Take a few moments each day to appreciate the beauty emerging all around us in our gardens and hedgerows, buds and shoots bursting out with absolute confidence in the seasonal cycles of life!

Work has commenced in the churchyard, with Colin, Malcolm and Alan giving the yews a haircut before the birds begin nesting. Last year they were home to goldcrests, and the churchyard was a valuable refuge for all manner of creatures within its increasing diversity of wildflowers, thanks to the “wilding” project.

Thanks to some major projects over the last few years, the church building is in good order. The “Quinquennial Report”, usually a source of anxiety to the PCC, and particularly to the Treasurer, proposed no urgent works of any size, but a few maintenance tasks on the pointing of the South Porch and a couple of loose tiles to be fixed on the Chancel roof. The latter has been done, and the porch will be looked at next.

The most pressing issue for the PCC at the moment is to find a new incumbent for the Bungay Benefice; the post is being advertised again, with the hope of interviewing candidates once the present lock down is eased. Meanwhile, we are most grateful for the support of Rev’d Roy Wormald, Rev’d Jonathan Olanczuk and Rev’d Canon John Fellows, who have offered to support our services as long as we are allowed to continue. Father Malcolm Griffin has been advised to shield at the moment, and we wish him good health and a speedy vaccination!

“The yew tree points up, it has a Gothic shape.

The eyes lift after it and find the moon,

The moon is my mother. She is not sweet like Mary.

Her blue garments unloose bats and owls.

How I would like to believe in tenderness……

The face of the effigy, gentled by candles,

Bending, on me in particular, its mild eyes.”

(From “The Moon and the Yew Tree” by Sylvia Plath, American poet and novelist, 1932-1963.”)

“Hope springs eternal in the human breast

Man never is, but always to be blest.

The soul, uneasy, and confin’d from home,

Rests and expatiates in a life to come.”

(From “An Essay on Man” by Alexander Pope, English poet, 1688-1744)

December collections totalled £1,363. Colin is delighted that our offerings for 2020 have been slightly higher than the previous year, due to your generosity.

Food Bank donations numbered 143 in December. Please keep bringing your gifts; they are vital for many needy people during these difficult times.

Sarah Jane has sent £100 to Water Aid. Many thanks to all who donated Christmas card money to this vital charity.

Diana raised £271 with the raffles for the Christmas Cake, Hampers and Whisky. An excellent result, thanks to Jean who made the cake, all who provided items for the hampers, and those who bought tickets. Jon Randall won the cake, Robert Rawlinson and Alan Bartram the hampers and Chris Lambert the whisky.

The Suffolk Historic Churches Trust has written to congratulate us for the splendid amount raised by the 2020 SHCT Ride and Stride. Surprisingly, total funds raised were £170,000 Suffolk-wide, plus £15,000 made by a motor rally. This far exceeds the amount for the previous year, despite some churches inevitably not taking part due to Covid. Triumph in the face of adversity!


Sadly the Lent Masses will not be going ahead because of the present lock down. However, for events later in the year:

Bishop Norman Banks, Bishop of Richborough, and Bishop Mike Harrison, Bishop of Dunwich, will be attending Barsham for our Harvest Evensong and Harvest Supper on Sunday September19 this year.

Bishop Norman will also lead our worship on Sunday 30 May, for Trinity Evensong.

Jenny and Nick Caddick have agreed that we can hold our Summer Lunch at Shipmeadow Church this year, if the present Covid pandemic allows. The PCC will decide a date at their March meeting, when the forecast should be clearer. It will certainly be a joyous occasion when it does happen!

Please note that the diary for February may change at any time due to Covid restrictions.

He did not say: “You shall not be tempest-tossed, you shall not be work-weary, You shall not be discomforted”. But He said “You shall not be overcome”.

(Julian of Norwich, English anchoress and writer. 1342-1416)

Church correspondent: Cheryl Coutts 01502 714655/[email protected]