From the Rector - October 2015

Dear Friends

We are in the time of year when we celebrate Harvest. For our rural communities this is a time when we not only give thanks for what we have and for those who grow, rear, harvest and transport our food and drink, but also a time when we keep these people locally and internationally in our thoughts. For those of you who feel able, I would also ask you to pray for these people and industries at a time of struggle and uncertainty.

It has been a harrowing summer of watching desperation and frustration from dairy farmers' protests to mass migration from war zones. Whatever we feel the correct political solution to these matters is, and there will be many opinions among those who read this, for Christians we are called to be like Christ, who had compassion - 'suffer-with'. We must never forget the human story and cost behind other people's struggles.

Our thanksgiving will turn to remembrance in November. For the church we have the feast of All Saints and the commemoration of All Souls which are quickly followed more widely by Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day.

On Sunday 1st of November we celebrate All Saints in the morning and at 5.30 in the evening we have a Benefice service for All Souls at East Knoyle. Please come along if you would like to. If you would like us to remember somebody who has died by reading their name during prayers at that service, please add names onto one of the sheets in any of our churches. Alternatively, you can send an email from this website to the Benefice Office with your names - click here and when the new page opens, click on the 'Contact Form' tab to send your message.

Following the All Souls service we switch back to celebrating All Saints, with a party at the Rectory in Semley. This is a 'bring a bottle and a firework (under safe conditions) party'. To help with catering, please sign up on a list in church or email the Benefice Office. Please take care to sign the correct list.

At the risk of confusing things further we are going to introduce a 'benefice prayer list' of names of people to be prayed for during our services. These should be people who are ill (please make sure you have the person's permission) and those who have died. Please contact the Benefice Office to add names - email as above or 01747 830174. Please also let us know when a name can come off the prayer list.

I pray we all have a blessed time of thanksgiving and remembrance.


From the Rector - September 2015

Dear Friends,

l would like to begin by congratulating and thanking all those involved with the Children's Activity Week at the beginning of August. It was a brilliant week and I enjoyed meeting the children and helpers alike. Well done.

I have now been in post for a month. In my last letter i had to assume a warm welcome for myself and my family. We have not been disappointed.

We had a fantastic welcome on 27th July. I am very grateful to all the local clergy who attended. We had friends from far and wide drop everything and join us. I had friends from University: from previous parishes and from my last post at Dorothy House Hospice. Then a whirlwind of faces of people from our local churches, farms. schools, councils and groups. Some of whom I can now remember their names! Please, please, please keep telling me your names as we meet.

l have been pretty busy since. I am now wondering where I am going to find time to fit everything in when the 'lull' of August is passed and the schools are back and church folk expect things like the Parochial Church Council to meet again.

i am, however, looking forward to it. There is something of a fresh start about September. I'm sure it all stems from school days. Most of us will remember going back to school after the summer holidays. Some of us with disappointment that the freedom was over. Some of us relieved to get away from parental enforced labour or just glad to see friends that we had not seen for a while. I never really enjoyed going back to school as it usually ruined my birthday.

September will also see some of our young residents or family heading off to university. It seems fitting to me that I should be at the start of my ministry as many others prepare for their new starts. I invite you to join with me in praying for those who face new starts with excitement or trepidation and for those who long for a new start in their career. relationships. lives or faith.