I write on a beautiful warm sunny autumn afternoon as the natural world gently unfolds once more, my favourite time of the year. The chickens are going to bed earlier as the nights draw in and their generous laying of eggs will slow down, if not cease altogether, as the light fades. I remember a lovely Maran hen we had when the children were at home; on a particularly dark and gloomy winter’s day she decided not to come out of her house at all, I don’t blame her.
Remembering is at the heart of church life and as the months pass and we head into winter the seasons of the church’s year invite us to give time and space to just that; on October 31st we mark both All Saints Day and All Souls. What picture comes into your mind when you think of a saint I wonder? It would be a mistake to define a saint as someone who never did anything wrong; if you delve a bit deeper you will find many saints led a dissolute, selfish life before having the humility and courage to change their ways, and even then they often got it spectacularly wrong. I am trying to say that saints were not superhuman beings who were never tempted, but normal flesh and blood people, who like us were just trying to do their best in this messy, glorious and totally unpredictable life.
You might be more familiar with All Souls when we remember with love and gratitude those we have loved who are no longer with us. This year St Philip and St James church, Chapmanslade, will be open for the weekend of the 30th and 31st October for people to sit a while to remember a loved one, light a candle or hang a name and prayer on our prayer tree. We are also offering to make small posies of flowers in remembrance of loved ones. These will be put in vases around the church with a card detailing the name of the person to be remembered; there is a small charge of £5 for the flowers. We will have a short All Soul’s service at 4.30 pm. Anybody is welcome to request a posy, you do not have to stay for the service; if this is something you would like please contact me.
This year our church family in the Deverills and Horningsham will particularly be remembering with sadness love and gratitude, Mr John Budgen, who for many years served as church organist and LLM. John was a wonderful man who served the church so faithfully and with such humility and dignity; I am most grateful for his commitment and for his friendship and support, he will be very much missed. Our love and prayers are with Janet his widow, daughter Rebecca, grandchildren and many friends.
So to end, enjoy this lovely season and in your remembering, may you be held and comforted by the eternal presence who never leaves us.
Love and prayers,