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.

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

Change of an era?

Liz’s Letter… The New Year is traditionally a time when we say farewell to the old year and welcome in the new one and I feel sure we will all be very happy to send 2020 off on its way into history! Who could have foreseen this time last year what lay ahead for us all and of course as I write this letter just before Christmas we still don’t know whether lockdowns can now be a thing of the past or whether we face another one in January. That awful phrase ‘the new normal’ I hope will filter away and perhaps Pope Francis puts it better calling it ‘not an era of change but change of an era’? Something to reflect on?! Throughout this year we have all had to adjust to a different way of living and being. Who would know that wearing masks would now be mandatory in many situations and even can be a fashion accessory? As a church and community we have had to adjust quickly to all the different rules and regulations, trusting that somehow we will survive even though at times certain things haven’t necessarily made sense! Hopefully you have felt supported by… Read More

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

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