Stawley & Ashbrittle Parishes

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This Month ...

Try the Parish News to find out what is happening.

For recent copies click on the icon.

The draft Minutes of the March 2020  meeting are available by clicking here.

 

The next meeting will be at some time in the future.

Broadband

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Many in the parishes are still without broadband at a decent speed.  One of the Parish Councillors has taken on the battle to improve matters and the recent news can be found by clicking here.

 

 

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Somerset Covid Advice

News and advice from Somerset County Council can be accessed at:

https://www.somerset.gov.uk/coronavirus/covid-19-latest-advice/

cricket club

Heavy rains can cause some local flooding and the bridge at Greenham to be overcome for a short time.  You can see the state of the river at Greenham as the Gauge Station there records the river level in real time by clicking here.

Flooding

 

COVID-19 Assistance

 

Details of how you can gain assistance during this period will be published in the Parish News for April wjhich should have hit your doormat.  If not you can see an electronic copy (10Mb) here.

 

One article lifted from the April Parish News about these times is here.   There is also a weekly sheet from the Churches which can be found by clicking here.

 

The Shop, as the hub of our community, will be coordinating any response that is required in the parish of Stawley and Ashbrittle so if you hear of someone that needs assistance or you need it yourself please either e-mail shop@stawleyshop.com or phone 01823 674361.

 

There is a lot of good information from Somerset County Council which can be accessed by clicking here.

 

As things may change before the next edition of the Parish News any updates on local affairs will be posted on this website.

 

 

Village Voice

The draft Minutes of the July meeting are available by clicking here.

 

The next meeting will be at 7:00pm on the 12th September  

 

Reporting Road Problems

Somerset Highways are very good at coming out to fix problems but can only do so if they know there is one!  So if you see a pothole or other problem please report it to them by clicking here. 

 

The Village Voice is a publication produced by our neighbours at Thorne .  It has details of local food takeaways at Beambridge and the Blue Ball.  To see a copy click here.

Thought for the Day

During our enforced time at home we are hoping to put a thought on the site each day sent to us by Martin Beaumont.   As time goes on the older Thoughts will be lost of the page.  If you would like to see the older ones please e-mail me and I will send them to you.  musy@cantab.net

 

5th April

 

To-day is Palm Sunday.   Traditionally it is the day that begins Holy Week and recalls the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, five days before his death.   I am always struck on this day by a suspicion that many in the crowd who to-day proclaimed Jesus as The Messiah, will be the same people who on Friday will be calling for His execution.

It leads me to ponder two things.   The first is the transience of popularity.   World leaders tend to see their approval ratings rise in times of crisis but it would be dangerous to take that popularity for granted.   The second is the identity and power we feel as a part of a crowd.   Belonging to a large group of like-minded neighbours and friends is uplifting.   It can also be persuasive.   Social isolation may allow us greater independence of thought and action; some time apart to form our own opinions and act upon them.

 

 

4th April

In 1652, "A Priest to the Temple or The Country Parson" was published.   It was the work of the poet and priest George Herbert who had died in 1633.   It is the definitive guide for those who aspire (and fail) to be good parish priests.   In Chapter eight he writes,  

"The Country Parson, as soon as he awakens on a Sunday morning, presently falls to work and seems to himself so as a Market-man he is, when the market day comes or as a shopkeeper, when customers used to come in."

This is the second Sunday when we find ourselves without church and its services.   Our "market" is suspended, our "shop" closed.   Some will find consolation in being able to pray at home.   Others might find helpful services broadcast either nationally or locally.   Here are the details of just four for tomorrow (Palm Sunday, April the 5th).

BBC TV 1100  Sunday Worship from Hereford Cathedral.

               1315  Songs of Praise from Glasgow.

Radio 4  0810  Sunday Worship,  "Walking in the company of Jesus"

Local 10Radio 105.3 FM 1000  "The Home Service" with The Revd Tim Treanor

 

 

3rd April

I was a little uncertain about standing on our doorstep last night, participating in our appreciation for those hard at work in the NHS.   This had nothing to do with any lack of gratitude on my part or an unwillingness to express it.   Rather, it was because one of our not too distant neighbours is a young hospital doctor at Musgrove Park Hospital and I didn't want to interrupt an early night or disturb her time-off.

It would seem that many of us have re-discovered our awareness of the debt we owe to many, on whom our lives depend. These include not just doctors and nurses  but all those who work in the NHS, Care Homes, and Hospices. It also includes those who deliver and sell our food, dispense our prescriptions and keep us safe.   Taking others for granted is something that I do all too easily.   This current crisis might serve as a reminder  to live more appreciative lives and to express our gratitude in an appropriate manner.

 

 

2nd April

 

"Do not be afraid about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God"       Philippians 4 v 6.

If you believe in God, I hope that now is a time for prayer.   With our churches closed for the time being, prayer is something we can do wherever we might be.   That prayer may sometimes be characterised by gratitude, a sense of thanksgiving for all that we have received.   Often our prayer will be a prayer of petition or intercession;  prayers where we make specific requests of God.   We will be asking God to care for His world and all those whom he has created.

I have never believed that God will change His will or permission in response to any of my requests.   But intercession is the way in which we place God's world and ourselves into His hands.   It is the way in which we remind ourselves that our cares and concerns are known to God and that He is in charge of our lives.

Finally, prayer may help us to manage those cares, concerns and fears but primarily it will reassure us of God's loving presence in them.

 

 

1 April

 

When I was a boy, April the 1st, with its opportunities for making others appear foolish,   was a day to which we looked forward.

But in history, a fool was not simply a person who had been tricked.   In Shakespeare's "King Lear", possibly written shortly after London was devastated by Plague in 1603,   The Fool plays a central role.   It is The Fool who is not just the King's faithful companion but also and more importantly, the person who speaks truth to power.   It is The Fool who attempts to enlighten his master about the true motives and actions of the King's family and court.  

 

Perhaps at this time, however difficult and disappointing it might be, what we need most from those in government is the truth.   We can manage our own concerns and anxieties but we do require accurate information upon which these are based.

 

31 March

 

I can recall the first time I saw a field of rape.   It was in 1978, shortly after I had moved to Wiltshire.   Rape was then far too exotic to be sown in my home territory of Yorkshire or Northumberland.   Some people find rape a little too garish, but I am fond of it.   Its vivid yellow seems to mirror on a large scale the colour of our hedgerows with their dandelions, daffodils and primroses.   Many trees and hedges are also beginning to adopt a lighter shade as their foliage returns to life.   It was Martin Luther who observed,

 

"The truth of the resurrection is written in every leaf of spring".

 

30 March

 

In February 1820, The Reverend Sydney Smith was in correspondence with his friend Lady Georgiana Morpeth.

She had written to him complaining of "low spirits".   Sympathetically, he suggests twenty practical steps that might be helpful.   Some of these, I try to follow myself.

 

"First....live as well as you dare.

Third...amusing books.

Fourteenth...be as much as you can in the open air without fatigue."

 

But my favourite and the one that would seem particularly appropriate at the present time is:

 

"Fourth...take a short view of human life, no further than dinner or tea."

 

29 March

 

In the life of the Church, to-day is Passion Sunday.  It marks the beginning of Passiontide;  a two week period of preparation for the celebration of Easter.  In some churches, it is the day when the full account of Jesus' betrayal, suffering and death is read as the gospel passage at The Eucharist.

The word "Passion" comes from the greek word "pasko" which means "to be done to". It is, of course, also the origin of the word "patient". As Jesus allows himself to be taken, to suffer and to die, so patients place themselves into the hands of others.  Patients allow themselves to be treated, healed and restored thanks to the skill and devotion of medical staff.

To-day, therefore, is a an appropriate day, not just to think about all of those who find themselves patients but also those who care for them.

 

28 March

 

Regarded by many as his masterpiece, P.G.Wodehouse's, "Joy in the Morning", was published in the U.K. in 1947.   It was begun whilst the author was under house arrest in Le Touquet after the invasion of France in 1940.   Later he was sent to an internment camp in Upper Silesia where he wrote to his wife, "If this is Upper Silesia, heaven knows what Lower Silesia is like".

 

"Joy in the Morning" opens with these words,  "After the thing was all over, when peril had ceased to loom and happy endings had been distributed in heaping handfuls,   and we were driving home with our hats on the sides of our heads....I confessed to Jeeves that there had been moments during the recent proceedings when Bertram Wooster, though no weakling,

had come near to despair."

 

I hope and pray that we will, in the words of the Psalmist, find that joy despite the perils of the present time and the temptation to despair.

 

27th March

 

I have lost count of the number of people who have commented on the weather.   We are "lucky", "fortunate", "blessed" to be enjoying the first extended dry and sunny spell of the year.   The wind is drying the soil and the farmers and gardeners can get back onto the land.

 

We are thankful that restrictions on movement and association are not being enforced in the winter.   We are also appreciative of the space afforded by living in the country with gardens, lanes and footpaths for exercise.   Despite uncertainties and anxieties, a sense of gratitude should be a part of the outlook of every Christian.   It was the medieval  Dominican mystic Meister Eckhart who once observed,   "If the only prayer we say in our lives is 'Thank you", then that is enough"

 

26th March

 

I understand that about a third of the food produced in this country goes to waste.   This may occur between the time it leaves the farm to its processing and delivery to the shelves of our shops.   Other waste occurs when food remains unsold and is destroyed or bought and unconsumed.

 

Much of what we buy is eaten but sadly some cooked food is  thrown away.   In the present situation, Ruth and I have become more aware of the way we buy food and how and when we use it.   Others have commented to me about how often they now shop and the self imposed limits they place upon the buying of their food.

 

We are certainly encouraged to give more thought to what we need and to refrain from buying too much.   The current situation may be a warning to us about food production, distribution, purchase and consumption.   It certainly reminds us that what we have  and what we think we need is not unlimited.

 

 

25th March

 

It is the Feast of the Annunciation, the day when the church recalls the visit of the Angel to Mary, announcing that she will be the mother of her Saviour.   It is not coincidental that the feast falls exactly nine months before we celebrate His birth on Christmas Day.   Traditionally, to-day was called "Lady Day" and it was the first of the days on which the quarterly agricultural rent was due.

 

"Lady Day"  always reminds me of the interconnection between rural life and the worship of its church.   Over the centuries, this rural life and the agriculture that underpins it has seen its fair share of plague, famine, floods and blight and the misery that they cause.

 

To-day we are faced with another threat to our way of life and there is a considerable amount of uncertainty and anxiety.

However, I have no doubt that this current crisis will be born and ultimately overcome by the resilience of our communities.

By the time we reach the second quarter payment day, which is,  June the 24th, I hope and pray that things may be a little clearer.

 

Martin Beaumont