From The Rector
Rev'd Simon Woodley writes:
Life seems to go very fast for most people nowadays. My new curate couldn’t believe how much gets crammed into a week, and there is often little space for reflecting or enjoying what is going on. So apologies to my faithful readers for not writing in the last 6 months.
Saving Herbert's Memorial Church
If you want to know what I’ve been up to perhaps you’d care to scoot over to www.stjohnsplace.uk or read the blog - http://stjohnsbemerton.blogspot.co.uk. You will see how tantalisingly close is the prospect of saving St.John’s Church, not only for worship but also as a place for the community and a resource for the church school opposite which is desperately short of space.
Like the church, the school often gives me a tremendous sense of the history of this place. Since last summer we’ve been remembering in the month of their death those from the parish who died in the first world war. These young lads were educated in what was then a one room school. Just last week we held a memorial service for a dear lady, Clarrie Price, 1890 - 1996, who was a Quidhampton saint, forgotten for a while, but now rightly restored. She too walked the mile from her village to our school, and sat and learnt her lessons and went on to teach others. And older members of our current congregation went there, and then those I have baptised have grown up through all the classes and now go on to secondary school. This history runs everywhere but we often do not take time to be aware of it. Something about saving the church, helping the school, possibly creating a deeper community in Bemerton for the future, is also about honouring all that has gone before - a way of remembering.
'..thou once didst write on stone'
Last year’s George Herbert Festival was amazing, but what remains now? We have the splendid commemorative booklet 'Gladnesse of the Best', which can be ordered from our Gift Shop, but there is also something more permanent. A stone roundel, with “Love bade me welcome”, one of Herbert’s most famous lines, engraved on it now stands in the porch of St. Andrew’s church to welcome visitors and pilgrims. It was created by Robyn Golden-Hann (www.bespoke-memorials.co.uk), a member of St. Michael’s congregation, and blessed by Lord Williams.
It is cut from Chilmark stone, the same stone the Cathedral is made from, and indeed they donated the stone too - a wonderful link between the two buildings and testimony to the well worn path that George Herbert took between here and there. The Bible speaks of Ebenezers (1 Sam 17) - stones that remind you of things - and, in his poem 'The Altar', Herbert speaks of God writing on his stone heart to remind him too. Lest we forget.
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