First, let me say a word about our Organist, Mrs Jean Routley and record our congratulations and thanks to her. Jean was recently presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Royal School of Church Music for her contribution to church and choral music. The presentation took place in a virtual service from Chichester Cathedral. This was a wonderful accolade and a testament to Jean’s incredible musicianship and to her devotion to enhancing worship through music. Jean has been playing the organ for us for nearly 10 years and, after the service at the end of October, Jean was thanked for her loyalty and generous dedication to the provision music in our Church and was presented with a colourful hand-held bouquet of flowers.
At our Evensong for All Souls on 3rd November we remembered those we have loved who have died. During the service, and on behalf of us all, Sue Skinner lit a large candle which was placed in front of the altar. The names of those we wished to remember were read by our Rector, Mark, and we prayed particularly for them on this special day. It was a lovely service which was very meaningful to those who attended.
At this moment, mid-November, we’re in lockdown no.2. Subject to that being lifted and services in church resuming, we’ll restart the pattern of the last few months, with 2 Evensongs a month. The exception to this will be on Christmas Day at 9am, when we’ll mark the Birth of Jesus with Holy Communion celebrated by our Rector, Mark, who will take Communion on behalf of us all. We’ll have Christmas music, but no singing; and John Spencer of Chew Magna has kindly agreed to play for us again. Remember that, should you wish to join us for any of our services, we would be very pleased to welcome you, but as our capacity is greatly reduced, please contact me in advance to ensure that you can be allocated a seat. My contact details are at the back of this magazine and on our website, stoweychurch.com
May I now take this opportunity to thank all those who have helped in keeping our little church clean, tidy and beautiful through the year, by undertaking grass cutting, cleaning and flower arranging and clearing the churchyard, a task which makes such a difference. There are several volunteers who deserve a special mention, including Carol Lake who organises the cleaning and flower rota; Neil Skinner who is helping with the maintenance and repair of our C13th church; Duncan Bird our Safeguarding Officer; and Sue Skinner, our loyal and hard-working Church Council Secretary, without whose help my role would be very difficult. Stowey Church has been a tranquil place of prayer, celebration and thanksgiving over many centuries and it is very encouraging that so many people are committed to ensuring that our church continues to play an important role within our community. Even in this year of despair and darkness for many, we celebrate with Sarah and Matt, who are getting married in the Church just a few days before Christmas. We pray that our Church may continue to serve our community.
Finally, there are glimmers of light on the horizon in the form of possible vaccines. So let us hope that, by next Autumn, this dreadful pandemic will be waning and that the world, and our lives here, will have resumed a degree of normality. And in the meantime, may I wish everyone a peaceful and joyful Christmas and good health in 2021.
Jill Nicol, Churchwarden