Let’s start with some wonderful news! BANES have granted us planning permission for a small hospitality building in the churchyard, to provide an accessible toilet and small kitchenette. It has been a long, and times painful, process, but with perseverance and determination, and the support of our Parish Council and many individuals, we’ve obtained the necessary permissions, subject of course to various conditions.

Our traditional service of Nine Lessons and Carols will be held on Friday 22nd December at 6:30 pm. The Ven. Tony Wilds will officiate, with Dr Andrew Day at the organ. This is always a joyous occasion, so please join us to sing many of your favourite carols and hear the familiar Bible stories of the Birth of Jesus and then enjoy some mulled wine and nibbles in the church afterwards. Everyone is welcome.

On Christmas morning at 9 am, Holy Communion will be celebrated by Rev’d Trevor Stubbs. Again, there will be the opportunity to sing more carols and we’ll welcome John Spencer as our organist for the service.

The Plough Sunday service, which proved very popular last year, will be on Sunday 7th January at 10:30 am and again taken by Trevor Stubbs. Tom Rogers will play the organ and we’ll sing some well-loved hymns. Trevor will bless the plough, the land, the crops, and all those involved in food production and distribution and in caring for our beautiful countryside and the environment. The service will take place partly inside and partly outside the church, so please come suitably prepared!

At 6.30pm that day, we’ll welcome our new Rector, Rev’d Dr Ian Mills, for his first service of Evensong amongst us. Jean will play as usual. Please support this service and let’s give a resounding welcome to Ian!

Our ever-popular Burns Night Supper and Dance is back! It’s on Friday 26th January 2024, in the Village Hall of Bishop Sutton and Stowey. The piper, the haggis, the caller, the bar staff and the speakers are all arranged. If you’d like tickets for this event, price £30, please contact me or Graham by email or on 333456.

We are very sad to learn that December’s edition is the last issue of the village magazine in its current form and would like to thank all those who have been involved in its production over the years. I remember that in the late 1970’s the magazine was restarted by the churches in the two villages. It’s changed over the years, but it is a marvellous publication enabling everyone to learn what’s happening in our villages. It will be missed by so many of us, but we are very thankful for everyone who has played a part, not least the retiring editor, Wendy, supported by Duncan. Thank you!

Finally, I would like to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a peaceful and healthy 2024.

Jill Nicol, Churchwarden