Coughs, colds, boiler breakdowns, computer disasters, icy roads, floods, fog typified this winter for me. And I went on holiday on the day of the great snow to find that Morocco was experiencing its coldest, wettest winter ever! Thank goodness for signs of spring, of new life and hope. Thanks to Jackie and Pete Murray, Little Bytham churchyard has a wonderful display of Snowdrops, and if anything can gladden the heart and lift the spirits, it must be those beautiful flowers, true heralds of Spring.
Little Bytham saw the funeral of Vera Hall in February, and Castle Bytham that of Bernard Coupland, just a few days later. Many of you will have known Bernard Johnson, whose tragic death occurred in January, and who was buried at Clipsham, in his family grave. Our sympathies are extended to these three families.
March brings Lent, 40 days of preparation for Holy Week and Easter. We mark Lent with a series of Evensongs in various churches around our Deanery, and invite guest speakers. On March 1st, the Bishop of Grantham will preach at Creeton. Details of the other services are on the service rota. Someone remarked to me that they didn’t ‘do church’ after lunch on Sunday. Maybe Lent is the time to change that – many people give up something for Lent; why not take something up instead – attendance at Deanery Evensong?
We also mark Lent by a Communion service each Wednesday at 7.00 – details are also on the service rota. There are no hymns, no sermon and no collection, so it lasts about 25 minutes. If Evensong isn’t your thing, maybe these services could be.
The monthly Family Service at Careby has been poorly supported apart from Easter and Christmas, so the PCC have agreed that it should be discontinued. Should there be enough interest, we can always restart it, but at present it seems that families have other priorities on Sundays.
Looking ahead, we shall have another Passover Supper in Little Bytham Village Hall on Maundy Thursday, April 9th. This is a simple meal (lamb casserole with a vegetarian alternative and a pudding – bring your own drinks, plate, bowl, glass and cutlery) during which we celebrate the Feast of the Passover, just as Jesus would have done on the day before he died, and as Jews continue to do. It’s very informal, and people always find it interesting and informative. Tickets are £5, and any profit will go to charity. Everyone is very welcome, whether they are church-goers or not.
Looking much further ahead, Castle Bytham PCC under the guidance of Belinda Martin, are planning an Open Gardens day in the summer. David Smith will write about this elsewhere in this edition. Please consider opening your garden, no matter how small or what its state. Other people’s gardens are always interesting. I saw one last summer which made mine look positively manicured. On a table was a sheet of paper headed ‘Suggestions for improving this garden.’ Underneath were lots of ideas, including ‘dig everything up and turf it.’
Lent and Easter are when each church holds its annual meeting. All parishioners whose names appear on the church electoral roll are eligible to vote at these meetings, and anyone can come along and hear what the church has been doing. Churchwardens are elected for the next year along with the treasurer, secretary and PCC members. If you are interested in your parish church, come along. Details are on the service rota.
With best wishes
Added : 09/03/09 : MG