The Vicar Writes

Revd Liz Richardson

Revd Liz Richardson

Below you will find my monthly newsletter which also appears in the Capel & Beare Green Magazine. If you wish to receive this newsletter by email, please subscribe here.

Keep looking up!

As I trudge along walking the dog I have realised that I spend most of the time with my head down looking at the ground!! I am of course looking where I am going in all this mud and slush that wintertime seems to bring these days, but it also is a bit of a habit. It reminds me of the wonderful people that LS Lowry the artist painted, as many of his figures seemed to be bowed, their bodies leaning forward into the bleak greyness of the industrial landscapes. The thing is when you are perhaps deep in thought studying the ground you miss what is going on around you, particularly in the countryside! It pays to look up doesn’t it and some people who did exactly that are the magi, those wise men who travelled in search of the Christ child. They had observed his star at its rising and followed it to Bethlehem where they were rewarded by the sight before them. All of our texts during this season of Epiphany in January tell of how different people recognised who Jesus was. The culmination of all this is marked by the Feast of the Presentation at the… Read More

Happy Christmas

As I write this letter Doug and I are delighted to have become grandparents once again. We have a new little granddaughter just a couple of days old. Her parents are staying with us in Capel while their new house is being sorted out which means we are sharing in this wonderful new born phase of their first baby’s young life. It has taken me right back to nearly 40 years ago when our first child was born in Kingston Hospital – to the 8 days or so spent in those big old fashioned wards when Sister ruled and babies went to nurseries at night! These days of course new parents are home very much sooner and things have no doubt changed for the better but one thing doesn’t change – that it is such an overwhelming, vulnerable time for all concerned isn’t it as not only is a child born but new parents are born as well. And then there is the baby who is completely dependant on their parent for absolutely everything… This vulnerability we remember was the same for Jesus as a new born to his parents, teenager mother Mary and her husband Joseph. And how vulnerable… Read More

November remember and give thanks

November – it seems hardly possible – time seems to have flown once more. As I put the services page together I couldn’t believe that we are nearing Christmas. It honestly doesn’t feel that long since last year, when we were all in the depths of lockdown, not able to share the festive season with our loved ones or those who we would normally invite into our homes. Winter is certainly approaching now, but its good isn’t it to appreciate these days before the festivities which hopefully will take place this year. We have just celebrated the fruits of the season with harvest festivals at both our churches and sent off lots of food to the local food bank and thank you to all who contributed and especially our lovely Scott Broadwood children. Our next shout out will be for contributions to the Christmas hampers we will be preparing in December for needy families locally. Do look inside church for more details and a sign up list later on this month. Also if you know someone who would appreciate a hamper or a small gift this year please do let me know? Remembrance Sunday is on the 14th November this… Read More

Tenth Anniversary

I probably say this every year but I do love the Autumn! The changing colours, the trees and bushes just letting in that much more light as the leaves begin to fall. This year, in fact this month I will have been here in Capel as your vicar for ten years! Hard to believe as time has generally flown in this amazing role. I can recall how when we first moved into Capel we were struck by how dark the village was at night with very few street lights. A torch was a very necessary piece of equipment to guard us from falling down the ditch along the street having picked up fish and chips from the van at the village hall! We were warmly welcomed by you all and I could trade for quite a while on the fact that I was the ‘new vicar’. I think I have earned my stripes now so sadly I cannot use that excuse anymore! Serving in rural or semi rural ministry is such a joy and it is lovely to be able to belong and be part of these communities. It is a huge privilege. It has also been so interesting to… Read More

Harvest thoughts and other blessings

Liz’s Letter September – a lovely month! I do like the Autumn and especially after the rather tricky summer we have been experiencing. I have spent quite a lot of time growing from seed some vegetables this year but I’m sorry to have to report that they have not borne much fruit. We dug in loads of potatoes and discovered just before we needed some dug up for our Sunday lunch, unbelievably underneath all that earlier growth and covering it up repeatedly, there were none there! Not one potato! Where had they gone to? I guess they just didn’t form at all, so that was a bit of a disaster. Then my tomatoes appear to have suffered from too much rain and some are looking rather sickly. The courgettes grew into enormous marrows while we were on holiday and the broad beans covered in Black Fly deteriorated somewhat as well! Oh dear – well I think the pumpkins are still growing although there now seems to be one missing… But at least we live in a part of the world where we can easily get what we need from the shops. If our crops are ruined by rain or drought… Read More

Freedom Day??

Vicar’s Letter The so called ‘Freedom Day’ has been and gone and I wonder what if anything that means for you? For us at our churches I don’t think anything much will change at our regular Sunday worship week by week. The law may have changed but I get the sense that most people wish to proceed with caution, especially as the infection rate continues to climb. By the time you read this our PCC (Parochial Church Council) will have met to discuss in more detail as we now have the Church of England ‘take’ on managing churches following the lifting of government restrictions on July 19th. All is now possible but is it wise? This is the fine line we have to try to walk so that we can play our part in keeping others safe inside our buildings. For those who are acquainted with St Paul, he wrote to the church at Corinth ‘“All things are lawful” but not all things are beneficial’! Words for us today perhaps?! Anyway be assured that we will be considering how to proceed so that all people can feel safe and protected, particularly the vulnerable in our community. For what we call… Read More

On being resourceful

Liz’s Letter It may only be in rural or semi rural churches that the bride to be arrives in full wedding regalia astride her horse. This delightful event was the first of our ‘wedding type’ services in Capel this year. I say ‘wedding type’ as it was a service of blessing for a couple who are to be married abroad later this year. Our beautiful bride rode her horse who was resplendent in bridal rosettes woven into her mane from the Village Hall to the Lych Gate, swiftly dismounting to change her shoes, adjust her dress and off she strode to join her fiancee, family and friends waiting for her inside church. It was a very special occasion and one which we were pleased to be able to do for a local family who celebrated afterwards with a fabulous reception back at the village hall. Meanwhile over at St Margarets in Ockley we had our first proper wedding of the year. Not having officiated at a wedding since 2019 it was another great way of getting back into the wedding season so to speak. This was rather a special day as the bride and groom were two of our Ockley… Read More

Keeping it simple

It may only be in rural or semi rural churches that the bride to be arrives in full wedding regalia astride her horse. This delightful event was the first of our ‘wedding type’ services in Capel this year. I say ‘wedding type’ as it was a service of blessing for a couple who are to be married abroad later this year. Our beautiful bride rode her horse who was resplendent in bridal rosettes woven into her mane from the Village Hall to the Lych Gate, swiftly dismounting to change her shoes, adjust her dress and off she strode to join her fiancee, family and friends waiting for her inside church. It was a very special occasion and one which we were pleased to be able to do for a local family who celebrated afterwards with a fabulous reception back at the village hall. Meanwhile over at St Margarets in Ockley we had our first proper wedding of the year. Not having officiated at a wedding since 2019 it was another great way of getting back into the wedding season so to speak. This was rather a special day as the bride and groom were two of our Ockley bellringers. In… Read More

Sumer is icumen in

We’re back! It is wonderful to be back in our churches for our Sunday services. We returned just before Palm Sunday and it was a joy to be together again and prepare for Holy Week and Easter. We also found we were allowed to have a few voices singing so choir is back as well. So all in all, we were able to reflect on our Lord’s passion culminating in two services on Good Friday and celebrate his rising on Easter Sunday. Hallelujah! Since then of course non essential shops and businesses have reopened, many of you have been able to have a hair cut – I’m still waiting for mine(!) – and we can now meet outside albeit in groups of up to six and enjoy the hospitality offered to us by our lovely team in the garden at The Crown. Here’s hoping the weather is kind to us all after an initial snowfall at the start of this week! However, it is with great sadness I know that we received the news that the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip had died. Of course we were all expecting this must happen sometime soon but as always death always seems… Read More

Looking back and moving forwards

As I write this we are reminded that it is now a year that the first lockdown began last March. I groaned inwardly at the thought that not only do we have to continue to live with lockdown restrictions but we will now enter a season of looking back over the year and the various challenges and lockdowns! However, it’s actually been quite useful thus far, as we can see how far down the road of coronavirus we have come, confident in the knowledge of being vaccinated already or in the future. Although we cannot assume anything with this virus, freedom beckons and if we continue to be careful, hopefully this pandemic will settle down. So as we are encouraged to look back on the past year there is much to think about. At the end of this month our parish will be holding its Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM) to review 2020. Yes I know it seems like we only just held one back in September, but that was to review 2019 – that year of Covid innocence! Nationally the Church of England is preparing four strands of work who together will help church leaders and PCCs to discern… Read More

Muddy Lent?

So, how are you getting on?  We are reaching the point where some restrictions will be lifted with the good news that infection numbers are going down along with deaths from the virus.  That as well as the excellent news that the numbers are going up rapidly of those who have been vaccinated. It’s been a hard old month hasn’t it with all sorts of weather thrown at us for good measure.  With the weather in mind I was amused to see that there is now such a thing as Muddy Church!  We have had Messy Church, Café Church, but now there is Muddy Church too.  Very appropriate for those of us who have been sliding about in mud on country walks with or without dogs I thought. Anyway, Muddy Church is all about taking church outside, helping people to connect with their environment and those around them and basically enjoying creation, nature and being together.  Just what we like doing in Capel and Ockley isn’t it?!  If only we could be connecting a bit more I hear you say and is this not just another churchy thing? Well Muddy Church is not just for Church goers but offers a… Read More

Marathon thoughts...

I am no marathon runner but I can imagine that it is typical that in those final last stages of a race i.e. more than three quarters through with the end in sight – these must be some of the most difficult to physically and mentally to run – your body and mind is tired yet you have to keep going. Yes the combination of January and a more intensive lockdown because of the Covid variant is tough. Yet and yet the end is in sight. It has been a delight and wonder that so many of our over eighties and key workers have proudly been vaccinated and surely helps us all to cope with current restrictions. Each of the three lockdowns we have experienced have seemed to have their different flavours so to speak. Last March seemed very much quieter and of course we had the blessing of the beautiful Spring in which I remember lots of lovely walks with bluebells and primroses, exploring more of our local countryside around Capel and Ockley, clapping for the NHS and Carers, digging allotments, scarecrows and all sorts! Flexibility arrived in the early summer so that was another change and support bubbles… Read More

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