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.

Jubilees and other celebrations

Dear Friends “For me, the life of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, whose birth we celebrate today, is an inspiration and an anchor in my life.” Christmas 2014 Words spoken by our Queen in one of her annual Christmas broadcasts. What a wonderful statement of belief this is. Do you know where I first heard this? It was at our local church school Scott Broadwood’s Value Assemblies which I was observing, both in my role as a school governor and parish priest just a few days ago. What a privilege it is to be able to join the children as I do on a regular basis for assemblies. However you go into school feeling – maybe stressed or tired – just being in the childrens’ company for a few minutes lifts your heart and mind. They have an amazing energy which cuts through the everyday cares of our world. In fact I would describe them as an inspiration and of course their wonderful teachers. The school goes from strength to strength with a record number of families choosing Scott Broadwood as their first choice for Reception Class next year. As the school prepares to join the Good Shepherd Trust… Read More

New life in more ways than one!

Liz’s letter I hope you had a happy Easter and enjoyed the fine weather. We certainly did at home as we have enjoyed some family celebrations and were able to eat outside. This was particularly helpful as a certain little puppy was born and has taken over our dining room! Our lovely dog Ruby had a planned pregnancy but quite unusually for a large dog conceived only one puppy. This led to some birthing issues and post natal care in the form of hand rearing for the first five days. Ruby has now taken over her pup and both are doing very well I am pleased to report. Puppy is staying in the family so we have an exciting journey ahead. It has though been a very steep learning curve and plans to breed certainly did not go exactly to plan, despite careful consideration and preparation. While writing this I am hoping that soon I too will be able to sleep through the night once more!! As we consider the Easter story and the resurrection appearances that took place which we remember through this month’s ‘Sundays of Easter’, things certainly hadn’t gone as expected for Jesus’ friends as they thought… Read More

[Weekly-News sheet]. Weekly news sheet for Sunday 10 April 2022

Dear Friends, I hope you’ve all had a good week, with the April sunshine and showers that we are having at the moment. We have spent a couple of days this week viewing houses in Somerset and Dorset. It’s meant a lot of driving, but it has been great fun visiting little villages and seeing spring unfold around us. There are three events coming up in the next few months that we need your help with. They are: Thursday 5 May – Capel village lunch at The Crown. May is the churches turn to help host this lunch. We need to supply about 8 puddings and then serve them on the day. If you can help either making a pudding or serving them there is a sheet at the back of Capel church for you to sign. Saturday 25 June – The Vicarage Fete. We are looking for volunteers to help on the day and set up the day before – please sign the list at the back of our churches. We would also like donations for our raffle hampers (these should be wine, food, garden stuff or lovely pampering things) – you were so kind to donate such wonderful… Read More

Breaking Easter eggs!

Spring is finally here as we look forward to celebrating Easter this month. The gardens are really waking up now and its been wonderful to see the daffodils and other Spring flowers especially out in the villages. Easter Day took place in the garden as Mary meets the risen Lord Jesus thinking him to be a gardener. Rather wonderfully it was only when he called her name that she recognised Jesus and that somehow he was alright, that he was very much alive, even though he warned against touching his resurrection body…. This is the reason for the hope that Christians have, that although Jesus was put to death he rose on the third day as he predicted, breaking into a whole new life, an eternal life which he gives to us if we would but let him break into our lives. I often demonstrate this in my Easter Day talk by breaking a chocolate Easter egg! Before that though we continue to travel through the days of Lent and Holy Week. We begin this month by holding our Annual Parochial Church Meeting – a chance to review and take account of the last financial year. Reports will be ready… Read More

Lenten thoughts

So this month begins on a strong note with Ash Wednesday. The day before is of course one of my most favourite days – Shrove Tuesday – or Pancake Day! Oh dear I am hoping to stick to my diet for the next six weeks before Easter and here I am already anticipating pancakes…. anyway I digress, back to Ash Wednesday! Ashes are an ancient sign of penitence which became the custom from the middle ages as a way of marking the beginning of Lent. By way of preparation by the clergy it involves burning palm crosses from last year and mixing the ash with oil. Have you ever tried frying last year’s palm crosses in a frying pan?! A rather mucky business to be honest! Luckily these days you can buy ready made ash. This custom of ‘ashing’ is not something I knew about until I attended a church that practiced it but now I know it I actually rather like it! Yes it can look a bit like you haven’t washed your face with a dirty grey mark on your forehead. Yet it is the sign of the cross marked in ash along with the immortal words ‘Remember… Read More

Fancy a bit of spring cleaning?!

Spring cleaning – love it or loathe it?! As I write this to you on a late January morning – one of those sometimes rare sunny beautiful winter mornings, the sun pouring in through the windows exposes all that post Christmas dust! I’m in the mood to clean – opening windows and doors to let the fresh air and light in – what a treat! Well this lovely month of February we begin the month celebrating Candlemas Day. Candlemas is a traditional Christmas Festival that remembers when Mary and Joseph take the infant Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem to be presented to God where he is recognised as the one who will bring salvation to the whole world, yet there will be suffering along the way… You will recall that we hold our Christingle service the Sunday before. There was lots about that in my letter last month. In pre- Christian times this day was also known as the Feast of Lights and celebrated the increase strength of the life giving sun as winter gave way to spring. In fact this ancient festival marks the midpoint of winter, halfway between the shortest day and the spring equinox! This so… Read More

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

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