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.

Saving Christmas or Christmas Saving Us?!

Dear all There is a lot of talk and of course concern as to whether the country can ‘have a Christmas’ this year, or even about ‘saving Christmas’! I understand what is meant here but it still seems quite strange when the whole point of Christmas in the first place is that Jesus was born over 2000 years ago in order to save us, the human race! It may be a different sort of Christmas perhaps depending on how high the Covid rate is in our particular area and I hope by the time you are reading this we will be out or shortly out of this second lockdown. Someone wrote to me recently expressing their wish that the church would speak out about how Christmas is not about consumerism and indulgence but about being kind to each other every day, all the year round which need not happen on the 25th December. Well said of course, dear correspondent and I am pretty sure we would on the whole agree with this sentiment. Kindness is the key thing isn’t it and I am sure we all hope that we will be able to find ways of expressing that act of… Read More

November - a time to remember

Dear all Last month I have been busy preparing for the parish Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM) which should have taken place at the end of March this year. Well as we all know so well lockdown happened and everything was put on hold. Well the APCM was finally held last week as I write and we were finally able to put the year 2019/20 to bed! It was really rather strange trying to think back to 2019 in the light of all that has happened this year – it seemed an age ago and presented a very different picture to that we are experiencing now. 2019 was as in previous years a very full and busy year and we were enjoying very much our second year as two churches together in our combined parish of Capel and Ockley. The highlights included the restoration of the West wall in the churchyard by our stonemason and sculptor in residence (!) Shaun Williamson. Thank you to all who donated towards this work and with the shared costs with the Parish Council and other grants we were able to complete the work to which all I think will agree looks stunning. Shaun has… Read More

Mellow October

Dear all My favourite month is here – October! I love the colours of Autumn, the mellowness of the season and it happens to be my birthday month – what’s not to like? Plus, at last I will receive my state pension!! I can definitely say I’m a pensioner now and that feels strange… How things have thankfully changed since I was a child and now no one acts and feels like the traditional ‘pensioner’ – or perhaps they never did? However, back to now and we continue living through the pandemic with the new rule of six. How this will work out with regards to Christmas remains to be seen but I am hopeful that most of our church seasonal activities will go ahead albeit with some different seating arrangements but more of that in the next month or two. It is hard to plan too far ahead at the moment but there may be an exciting new idea for December afoot! This month we celebrate Harvest and to be able to accommodate safely our two church communities we are going to hopefully gather outside in the Crown pub garden and worship Cafe Church style. If you don’t know… Read More

Autumn reflections

Dear all Here we are at the end of the summer and Autumn beckons. I hope you have survived the heatwave this month but I have to confess we completely avoided it being in North Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly where temperatures were much lower. However I can hold my head up as you may recall our family were in Disneyland Paris in 42 degrees last year; so hot that Mickey Mouse went home early! So we have done our time!! It was great to get away but lovely to come home to Capel and to be with you all again. Whilst I have been on leave there has been much activity in both churches. The heating project is progressing well in St Margaret’s and despite having to close the church last month for health and safety reasons we look forward to resuming worship there this month, looking forward to a warm Autumn! Meanwhile at Capel, the new lighting system has been installed and will be completed this month. I had a peep round the door recently whilst the new lights were on and they looked amazing. New pendants light up the North Aisle, our ‘entertaining’ area; and the… Read More

To mask or not to mask?

To mask or not to mask? That is the question. With apologies to Shakespeare this in fact might not be something we decide for ourselves when you read this letter because by then it will be mandatory for us all to wear masks in enclosed spaces like shops etc. We are waiting to see if that will become mandatory for us in church services as well. Many are already doing so in any case. The wearing of masks is yet another huge change in the way we live our lives at the moment. There are certainly a variety of different masks to choose from with an array of the weird and wonderful to the simple disposable attire favoured by others. Like many I suspect I am learning how to wear a mask without my glasses steaming up and who knew just how much hot air comes out of our airways?! As one of my parishioners who will remained unnamed quipped when I suggested he might wish to move back a pew or two from my projected droplets he felt it was quite safe to remain where he was as hot air rises!! (At the moment I am not masked until… Read More

Lockdown reflections

Dear all, As I write I have just watched our parish’s latest online worship which happened to be Cafe Church led so ably by Bob along with the band reading and singing. We have come such a long way from our first online offering when it took me all day to record my offerings; constantly making mistakes and starting all over again to the point at the end of the day I had virtually lost my voice and had a dreadful headache. Any ideas of being a television presenter very swiftly left my mind I can tell you as I coped with the dog gnawing a stick beneath my feet, the cat suddenly making an appearance and even worse swinging on the camera stick as I yet again tried to follow my script!! I later learnt of course if I went wrong to keep a short pause and to pick up where I left off. We discovered there was such a thing as editing! Just before lockdown I think our last service of worship was in fact Blues Cafe Church at the Crown where our theme was whether Jesus, were he physically here today possibly be King of the Blues?… Read More

Online June

Breaking news – the church hasn’t closed down – it’s gone online! Well actually we went online about eight weeks ago! How are you getting on with your online communication I wonder? Fantastic when it works isn’t it and enraging when it doesn’t; that’s what we are finding at home anyway! I hope you have managed to catch one of our online services which are posted on our parish website www.capelandockleychurch.org.uk/services/services-on-line  The real breaking news is though that I am able to now enter our churches by myself with one member of my household if I wish. So the last couple of weeks I have recorded or rather Doug has recorded my contribution to the service inside both St John’s and St Margaret’s. We are hoping that towards the end of this month of June, the buildings will be accessible to you all for spending time in should you wish to. Services in churches will not be happening for a few more weeks I think. Then we will be following guidelines as to how to keep a social distance from one another and so on. It is still very hard to get your head round all of this though isn’t… Read More

Lockdown Blue(bells)

doc iconvicars-letter-magazine-May.docx Post expires at 5:30pm on Wednesday April 28th, 2021

Daffodils update!

Dear all, It is hard to make sense of everything that is happening to our world when, if we are able to pass through the village, there are the most beautiful daffodils everywhere at the moment. It seems so contrary to what we are experiencing as we batten down the hatches and hope and pray that this Corona virus does not hit us too hard. Disappointments abound with plans having to be changed, special occasions postponed, along with my own planned for sabbatical which I wrote about last month. I hope if things ease up that we may be able to take at least some time later this summer or Autumn. Yet the beautiful daffodils and the other wonderful signs of Spring are so uplifting for us at this time aren’t they? Signs of hope and new life which carry on regardless of pandemics. As that famous wartime slogan so beloved of us all says ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’! And it is to a new life that we have to adapt to rather quickly at the moment. Schools have now closed, church services have ceased and in fact now churches have had to be shut altogether; an unprecedented act.… Read More

Daffodils

Dear all It is hard to make sense of everything that is happening to our world when, if we are able to pass through the village, there are the most beautiful daffodils everywhere at the moment. It seems so contrary to what we are experiencing as we batten down the hatches and hope and pray that this Coronavirus does not hit us too hard. Disappointments abound with plans having to be changed, special occasions postponed, along with my own planned for sabbatical which I wrote about last month. I hope if things ease up that we may be able to take at least some time later this summer or Autumn. Yet the beautiful daffodils and the other wonderful signs of Spring are so uplifting for us at this time aren’t they? Signs of hope and new life which carry on regardless of pandemics. As that famous wartime slogan so beloved of us all says ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’! And it is to a new life that we have to adapt to rather quickly at the moment. Schools have now closed, church services have ceased, at this time of writing loo paper is scarce and those over 70 years of… Read More

Flowers and Ashes

Dear all Isn’t it lovely to see already the Spring flowers arriving with the snowdrops and crocuses as well as all the wonderful flowering winter shrubs, some of which have such a beautiful smell. Just last week at the Women’s breakfast held at Ockley Cricket Pavilion on the green, we had table arrangements with a winter type of honeysuckle with a wonderful scent. I am sure you gardeners will tell me what it is! The women’s breakfasts are a good thing to try to go to when you see them advertised as are the men’s ones. And they even have a mixed one!! The Women’s Breakfasts are at Ockley Cricket Pavilion and the Mens and combined men and women are at Okewood Hill Village Hall. There is an excellent breakfast included of course (!). The main event though is the always very interesting speaker who has been invited to tell those there about their work or area of interest. For example last Saturday we had a talk from a fundraiser from the Chestnut Tree House hospice in Sussex which was very informative and gave us a real feel for the wonderful work children’s hospices do. So do look out for… Read More

Travelling on - following the star!

Dear all Happy New Year! As I write this early on a very dark December morning – or is it still night(?)! it feels hard to believe that yes, another year is about to finish and we begin again and enter 2020. In one sense we begin again at the start of the year, with our usual round, the familiarity of routine, the predictability or not of the seasons as our weather patterns seem to change. Perhaps new years’ resolutions are made; ways to make our lives work better for us, for others, as our lives return to normal after the riches of the Christmas season. Yet in another sense we don’t begin again because we are travelling on into the future, into the unknown, with a whole wealth of experience to take our bearings from as we negotiate the way ahead. For most of us our lives begun a long time ago now! For some the new year will bring or has already brought about great changes. These may be exciting new things in which to engage ourselves with all sorts of new opportunities and we rejoice with you and wish you God speed! For others change will be… Read More

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