Last year and this…

Dear all

We have had another very full month in church as we held a Special Parochial Church Meeting (SPCM) a couple of weeks ago to review our activities in 2017 and then another SPCM straight after with our friends from St Margaret’s Ockley to appoint our new joint PCC and Churchwardens. This was followed by a celebratory Bring and Share lunch which we enjoyed as two parishes united and looking very much forward to the future. Capel’s SPCM took the place of our Annual Meeting which we normally hold in April and the full report for the past year and our end of year accounts are available in church. However, I thought I would give you a shortened update of what we have all been up to with a few advertisements for this year too. So here goes!

My Chair’s report began with last Easter highlighting a new event on Palm Sunday which was a procession led by two donkeys along the street towards church, re-enacting Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. We are doing it again this year so please join us, at Bennetts Green, just past Capel News where we will congregate. Holy Week and Easter continued with Maundy Thursday and Good Friday when the choir sang some memorable music from Bach’s St John’s Passion – this year we are tackling St Matthew’s Passion – just the chorales you realise (!) As usual we enjoyed wonderful flowers and decorations for Easter Day from Betty and Joy and their team and delicious Capel teas were served over Easter too.

Finance has been a big issue for us as for many churches this year and you may remember we sent everyone a special leaflet explaining how regular giving really helps our future planning and to be perfectly honest, our existence as church in this village. We were thrilled that our giving has now increased and are truly thankful to those who have signed up to the new Parish Giving Scheme. However, as you may have guessed, we still have a shortfall and would welcome more new givers. With that in mind a new revised leaflet may in due course come through your letter box. We also were without an appointed Treasurer and so the burden of keeping our finances in order fell to Dineke van der Bogerd, one of our Churchwardens who did a wonderful job of keeping things afloat plus promoting stewardship! Dineke is now pleased to report, as are we all, that we found a wonderful new treasurer in Debbie von Bergen who let slip in an unguarded moment that she was an accountant! And the rest as they say is history. Debbie is a marvellous asset and has helped us hugely since she took over in September and so huge thanks to her and to Dineke for taking on these responsibilities.

For myself as Vicar, I chair the PCC which meets every other month approximately along with Standing Committees to plan the Agenda and conduct church business in between PCC meetings. We have also enjoyed meeting with the team at Ockley to discuss and plan our potential future together and these meetings are always so positive with a real sense of fellowship and great joy and they continue to be so. We enjoyed celebrating with our wedding couples three weddings last year and welcomed several young children into God’s family of the church through baptism. We also shared in people’s sadness as I conducted several funerals all memorable in their own way. Duncan Jennings who was known to many and was a much loved church member, sadly died last summer after a courageous battle with cancer. It was a beautiful summer’s day and the refreshments afterwards were held in church and of course outside too. So fitting for Steffi and the family as one of Duncan’s favourite things was watching the antics of the characters in ‘Last of the Summer Wine’. Very appropriate. In December we held the funeral for Muriel Dale who as many of you know was 108 years old. I will always remember the family leading her coffin on one of the farm trailers drawn by the tractor, having accompanied her all the way from the farm and a small calf brought up the rear. It was a wonderful and fitting occasion. That same young calf stepped in for our donkeys at the Nativity Service a week or two later adorning our nativity scene which was as usual delightful.

Other services have been a great joy especially when we have young members and their leaders of our uniformed groups join us. Christingle, Mothering Sunday, Harvest and Nativity along with Remembrance Day all feature our young people and we are so happy always to see them. We have also enjoyed Café Church which is an informal gathering beginning with refreshments café style whilst enjoying the company of others and some great music played by our new Worship Band. This is a new initiative for which we have to thank Bob Cranham. Bob is a professional guitarist and music producer who has put an impromptu band together. Come and see this fabulous trio sing and play at another new initiative called The Sunday Session which happens once a month on a Sunday evening. I will just say this – the already very lovely Parish Hall is transformed! And of course we held our first Curry and Comedy night in aid of Compassion UK and are delighted to say 14 children were sponsored through hearing the story of a now grown up sponsored child from Kolcutta who taught us how to cook his mum’s curry along with some comedy provided by Steve Legg. Brilliant!

Week by week we continue to be supported by our great organist and choir leader Anthea Smallwood who expands our musical and spiritual horizons and our lungs through our church choir and family communion services. Do think about joining us, we would love to have more voices. We are fortunate to have so many willing and dedicated volunteers of all ages to help us maintain this ancient building and churchyard, keeping it clean and tidy, beautiful and well maintained. People who come and help are not necessarily churchgoers but just part of our lovely village community and we thank you. Then of course, we have the wonderful Christmas trees and switching on with carols, another great Murder Mystery Play for Harvest with the Cricket Club, Capel teas on a regular basis, Messy Church, Mum’s coffees, St John’s Artists, Craft group, Capel lunch club, and so much more. So a huge thank you to everyone who plays a part or who just comes and sits in the quiet of our beautiful building. There is another very beautiful building in Ockley and together we have secured a good future for ourselves, where with your help we will be able to continue having a fulltime vicar in post and be able to follow God’s guidance and leading in serving this wonderful village and parish we call Capel.

Yours as ever and with all love and blessings

Revd Liz