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Services for Easter Sunday 20 April 2014

 

09:15 Easter Family Service  MB

11:00 Easter Family Service  LH

11:00 Easter Family Service  WF

18:30 Evening Service & Holy Communion   LH

 

 

Services for Next Week (27 April)

08:00 Holy Communion  # WF

09:15 Parish Communion  MB

11:00 Parish Communion  LH

11:00 Morning Service  WF

18:30 Evening Service  LH

 

# 1662 service

 

Your coming in and going out

 

 Come, let us go up to Zion

To the Lord our God

 

(Jeremiah 31:1-6)

  

 

Readings for Easter Sunday

Acts 10:34-43  &  John 20:1-18 (MB, WF & LH 11:00)

Jeremiah 31:1-6  &  John 20.1-18 (LH 18:30)

 

Please pray for

Tony Clements, Dianne Gant, Hugh Houston,

and David Reeve

and all who have asked to be remembered in our prayers.

 

Thanks

 Sheila and Meriel would like to thank all those who contributed towards the cost of Easter lilies for MountBures and Little Horkesley churches respectively.

 

 

 Happy Easter

 John and your Churchwardens would like to wish you all a very Happy Easter.

 

 

 Coming Soon!

An early note for your diaries:

11 May  Little Horkesley Rogation Family Service

24-26 May  Wormingford Flower Festival

And don’t forget the Mount Bures Flower Festival coming in June.

 

 More Information

 

To volunteer to help with running your church, or for more information about anything in this Bulletin contact your Churchwardens or Deputies, or see your parish websites:

www.wormingford.com, www.littlehorkesley.com or www.mountbures.com

Items for inclusion next week by Thursday please to:

Churchwardens or Deputies.

RichardB on April 18th, 2014

Thomas Hardy’s tree reminds Ronald Blythe of a childhood mystery

AS WITH most of us, my past offers itself either as a serial that promises to run and run, or as vignettes that are complete in themselves. I am idling around the childhood market town when a VR letter-box says: “Halt!” Two schoolmistresses are passing. They are sisters, the Miss Crossleys. They wear small hats and lisle stockings, and they carry armfuls of red exercise-books.

According to the present notion of them, suffering from a shortage of men – it is the 1930s – they will stay spinsters. But since they will lose their profession if they marry, being a teacher might be a preferred choice to that of wife. They swing along in strap shoes, and with ready smiles.

“Good morning, Miss Crossley. Good morning, Miss Crossley,” the boys and girls cry. To which Miss Crossley?

They live in the dusty shade of monkey-puzzle trees in a brick villa named after the Prince Consort. It has flashing plate-glass windows and heavy drapes, and no pupil has ever entered it. In August, it is locked up, deserted. It is then that the Miss Crossleys go on great travels – Snowdonia, or the Wash. “Do you think they take their tuning-fork? Their box Brownie?”

No one has seen their snapshots, their going, or their coming back. And the monkey-puzzle villa looks the same whether it is occupied or deserted. And Mr Hurst, the postman, empties their letter box three times a day, whether they are there or not. They smile as they swing along to the elementary school, and have low, throaty voices.

“Walk, don’t run, children.”

“Yes, Miss Crossley.”

Minute sweetshops were oases on the way. Respect rather than love floated them along. It made conjecture out of the question. So what did go on in the monkey-puzzle villa out of class? Library books, ludo, prognostications. Catherine would do well; Aubrey would not. The blackboard stars foretold it.

All this was brought on by discovering a photo of the monkey-puzzle which Thomas Hardy had planted at Sturminster Newton in the autumn of 1876. And, as with the Miss Crossleys, too near the house. He and Emma were newly married, but while their unmarried servant became pregnant, she did not. He was in his early thirties, and writing Far From the Madding Crowd. She said: “Your novel seems sometimes like a child, all your own and none of me.”

Thunderous weirs in the neighbourhood provided a way out, should his characters find life impossible. My childhood river was the Suffolk Stour; his the Dorset Stour. My early water-meadows had been half-flooded town-lands since the Middle Ages; his a territory for desperate remedies.

In a wet year, you might find it hard to find where our river began and its pastures ended. Enormous trees such as the monkey-puzzles, planted as striplings, threw their weight about in small streets. And, of course, in the Miss Crossleys’dry patch of massively walled-in garden.

Both here, and in Hardy’s garden, they announced social confidence, light not gloom, a ground-to-sky magnificence. They rose in pairs before double villas, anything from 50 to 100 feet whose inhabitants need say no more.

Araucaria Imbricata, speak for us! We will put up with your everlasting Chilian dust and shade.” But Hardy and Emma moved on, until their worst tree-planting ever at Max Gate. Here the author of The Woodlanders planted so many pines that he could not see out. He wrote a complaining poem about this.

RichardB on April 12th, 2014

 

Services for Palm Sunday 13 April 2014

 

08:00 Holy Communion  # WF

09:15 Parish Communion  MB

11:00 Morning Service  LH

11:00 Morning Service  WF

18:30 Evening Service  LH

# 1662 service

 

Services for Next Week

Maundy Thursday 17 April

19:30  Benefice Holy Communion  WF

Good Friday 18 April

14:00  Benefice – Last Hour At The Cross  LH

Saturday 19 April

20:00  Benefice Easter Vigil  MB

Easter Sunday 20 April

09:15 Easter Family Service  MB

11:00 Easter Family Service  LH

11:00 Easter Family Service  WF

18:30 Evening Service & Holy Communion   LH

 

Your coming in and going out

 

 At the name of Jesus

Every knee should bow

 

(Phillipians 2:5-11)

 

 

Readings for Sunday 13 April

Phillipians 2:5-11  &  Matthew 21:1-11 (WF 8:00 & MB)

Zechariah 9:9-12  &  Luke 16:19-end (LH 11:00 & WF 11:00)

Isaiah 50:4-9a  &  Matthew 26:14-27end (LH 18:30)

 

Please pray for

Pray for the soul of our dear friend Ken Sparkes.

His funeral service will be at St. Andrew’s Wormingford, on Tuesday 15th April at 12:00 p.m.

also

Tony Clements, Dianne Gant, Hugh Houston,

and David Reeve

and all who have asked to be remembered in our prayers.

 

Ken Sparkes

 

By now many of you will have heard of the sad death of Ken Sparkes, Secretary of the Friends of St. Andrew’s Church. Ken will be sorely missed. He was a man of great ability and integrity, while being kind and wise.

On behalf of the other Trustees I extend my deepest sympathy to his widow Pam and to his family.

Tom Dobell (Chairman – Friends of St. Andrew’s)

 

 

 Little Horkesley Easter Flowers

Meriel will be pleased to receive donations towards the cost of the Easter lilies and altar flowers for LH.

 

 

 Mount Bures Easter Lilies

Sheila would be grateful for donations towards the cost of Easter lilies for MountBures. Thank you.

 

 

 More Information

 

To volunteer to help with running your church, or for more information about anything in this Bulletin contact your Churchwardens or Deputies, or see your parish websites:

www.wormingford.com, www.littlehorkesley.com or www.mountbures.com

Items for inclusion next week by Thursday please to:

Churchwardens or Deputies.

RichardB on April 12th, 2014

Ronald Blythe sees the contradictions in a funeral held in the spring

CHILLY spring rains, pear blossom clotted on the bough, damp cat, seeds to sow, and a new name to paint on the incumbents board. The reassuring prayer of a mower that starts at first pull. And Easter everywhere. So why not preach on immortality? But first of all, I must get those boyhood visions of graves’ balancing rather grim porcelain blooms and hands in glass cases out of my head. “Immortelles”, they call them. Rained on, spotted, rusted, they did a turn.

The Quaker hymn “Immortal love for ever full, For ever flowing free” does more than this because “Faith has still its Olivet, And love its Galilee.” Thus we re-map our village. Drenched sticky buds are about to burst. Sheep complain or rejoice – it’s hard to know which – in sodden grass.

Taking a country funeral on a wet spring morning is a contradiction in terms. The high language of heaven rules out low thoughts. At the Easter sepulchre, itself a dusty answer, the message is: “He is not here. He is risen.” Just a heap of linen. And lavish piles of linen here, white as snow. And an angel whose face was like lightning.

And then – maybe because Adrian is getting rid of the last signs of winter outside – this changing of the familiar figure of Jesus, the rabbi-healer, into a gardener, unrecognisable to those who knew him best.

The gardener-Christ entranced Julian of Norwich. She came upon him as he was receiving orders from his master, and dressed roughly in a “single white coat, old and worn, stained with sweat, tight and short. . . threadbare . . . ready to fall apart at any moment.

“Outwardly, he looked as if he had been working hard for a long time, but to my inner understanding he seemed to be a beginner, a servant who had never been sent out before. Then I understood: he was to do work that was the hardest and most exhausting possible. He was to be a gardener, digging and banking, toiling and sweating, turning and trenching the ground, watering the plants the while.

“And by keeping at this work he would make sweet streams to flow, fine abundant fruits to grow; he would bring them to his lord, and serve them to his taste. . . I thought that in the Lord there was everlasting life and every goodness, except the treasure that was in the earth. And that treasure, too, had its being in the wonderful depth of his eternal love.”

Julian’s thoughts on the cultural divinity don’t come amiss when I watch gardening TV, but it is strangely upsetting that Christ’s terrible death was begun in a garden – maybe one in which he had enjoyed watching gardeners at work. Gethsemane.

It was there that he became “sorrowful and very heavy”. And it was in the garden that he asked his Father to let this cup pass from him – this appalling fate. It was springtime, and new life was everywhere. He, too, was youthful. Passion – interior suffering. The intensity of the hymns.

Samuel Crossman wrote his “Love unknown” – he had been reading George Herbert – over the hill near here. Tragic language meets in time and place, and above stripped altars. But the spring birds do not speak it. They are noisy with nests and partnerships, and pure life. And the horses on the hill do brief, cumbrous gallops, disappearing and reappearing over the horizon. And this for no apparent reason.

RichardB on April 12th, 2014

A flower prompts memories of a bike ride in Ronald Blythe‘s past

AS ALWAYS, the fritillaries halt me in my tracks. Since I search eagerly for most seasonal treasures, I have never understood why a small group of them under the walnut tree are not seen until they wave at me to stop. They are about a foot high,and stand up well in the not-quite-mature spring grass. Each bloom has six matt, lustreless petals, and it declines rather than droops, with dark threadlike stalks. Every April and May, from time immemorial, they show themselves in my orchard to remind me of what I have cometo think of as their native land – Framsden, in Suffolk.

It is there, at the long pasture in the dell, which is covered with these speckled, bell-shaped, vaguely sinister blooms – the British species of genus Fritillaria liliaceae. It was an hour’s bike-ride from my house, and a proper pilgrimage for a member of the Wild Flower Society. And Mrs Fox, tall, elderly, and generous, standing at the gate to welcome us where snake’s heads grew.

For 50 weeks her long meadow was no more than two acres of dank grass, with a lush drainage ditch severing it; but when the fritillaries came, it turned into the Plains of Enna when Persephone set foot in them. There they were – hundreds, thousands of them, some a papery white, but most a muted purple colour with the reptilian markings that gave them their nickname. Nightingales sang over them. There was a cold wind blowing, as well as these mysterious spring flowers.

It would have been a Saturday afternoon when Mrs Fox was at home. There were so many of them that we never knew where to tread, and when we left she would give us little fritillary bouquets. This was the time when country people believed that the more you picked the more they grew – a policy that rioted when it came to bluebells.

Fritillaries were so called by the Romans after their dice box, or shaker, which was one of the few personal belongings that a soldier carried around. This, and a chequer-board. “And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them and upon my vesture did they cast lots.”

Matthias succeeded the tragic Judas by the luck of the draw. The rattling dice-boxes decided great matters. And here is this dicey flower, with its suggestive markings, among the primroses every year in my garden – often a meal for blackbirds if I don’t protect it.

I will keep those that Mrs Fox gave me until they shrivel to nothing on my desk, but I never pick mine. I walk to them, and watch them. And tread around them. Tidying up a “Rambling Rector” rose so that it knows its place; hanging up a fallen apple branch; raking sodden leaves; and hearing the rooks carrying on, thinking of Framsden and Mrs Fox and her countless snake’s heads. -”Put them in water as soon as you get home, dear. They’ll last: you’ll see!” And her joyous dog – “Get you down!”

I must make a proper remembrance of Framsden, and place a single snake’s head on the windowsill, but the March wind, how icy it is, and the nesting birds, how they sing! And the continuity of all things. At matins, we sing the Benedicite: “O all ye fritillaries, bless ye the Lord. Praise him and magnify him for ever.”

RichardB on March 29th, 2014

I’m here at last! Well, by the time you read this, I very nearly will be. After helping to support the Church over the last year or so, it’s a wonderful privilege to be arriving as Priest-in-Charge. The first thing I must do in this first Vicar’s letter is to thank everyone who has worked so hard during the Vacancy – our Churchwardens and their Deputies of course; Ronnie, James and all the others who have led services; but the whole host of people who have not only “kept things going” but have continued to bring vision and action to the Church’s ministry in the community.

The first thing I want to do in the Benefice after being installed on 6th April is to get out into it, walk it, take note of what I see – and to enjoy being here in delightful villages amid stunning scenery. I already know that the people are lovely too, and I look forward to meeting folk, having a good chat and gradually becoming part of the scenery myself!

But enough about me; I’d rather talk about Jesus. This month is a crucial one for all Christians – literally, of course, as we remember Jesus’ crucifixion. We’re currently in Lent, and some of us may have given something up to remember Jesus’ time in the wilderness; but I hope that all of us are right now buying up Easter eggs, to give to others as a sign of the new life Jesus has given us. Because of that, I find Easter more important even than Christmas. We remember famous people by their greatest achievements – Hillary on the summit of Everest; Armstrong on the Moon; Bannister for the four-minute mile; Martin Luther King, Mandela, and so on – but we rarely know their birthday. We are remembered by our actions, rather than a birth date, and so at this time of year it’s good to remind ourselves of Jesus’ greatest achievement – that by dying and rising again He demonstrated God’s power over everything He had created – and even death. Jesus is alive – so it’s good to celebrate His birthday too of course!

Our Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday, 13th April, with services in each Church in the benefice at their usual times; then there’s a Service of Holy Communion in Wormingford at 7:30pm on Maundy Thursday, We then follow the way of the Cross at our service in Little Horkesley at 2pm on Good Friday, and on Saturday 19th there’s an Easter Vigil in Mount Bures at 8pm. Then I’m really looking forward to our Easter Celebrations in Church on Sunday 20th.

Back in my old home town in the North-East, we had other traditions at Easter, as well as eggs. We always used to wear something new to Church on Easter Day – another sign of the renewal of all things promised by Jesus. But nature got the idea first; it’s always wonderful to see the spring flowers in their bright attire, seemingly dead twigs showing a hint of green, grass calling to be mown and seeds begging to be planted! The wilderness of winter is long gone. May we take the time to dwell on these signs of new life, experience the joy of Spring and the expectation of summer, and give thanks to the Lord for His creation and re-creation. And may we know the joy of Easter, and the expectation of good things to come – in the Kingdom of heaven yes, but also in our villages, which are no less a part of His kingdom!

Yours in Jesus

John

 

Services for Mothering Sunday 30 March 2014

 

09:15 Family Service  MB

11:00 Family Service  LH

11:00 Family Service  WF

18:30 Evening Service  LH

 

# 1662 service

 

Services for Next Sunday

(6 April 2014)

 

15:00 Benefice Service WF

 

Licensing & Installation Service for our new Benefice Priest-In-Charge

Rev. John Chandler

 

Your coming in and going out

 

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts

Since as members of one body

You were called to peace

 

(Colossians 3:12-17)

  

 

Readings for Sunday 30 March

2 Corinthians 1:3-7  &  Luke 2:33-35 (WF & MB)

Exodus 2:1-10  &  Luke 2:33-35 (LH 18:30)

 

Please pray for

Tony Clements, Dianne Gant, Hugh Houston,

and David Reeve

and all who have asked to be remembered in our prayers.

 

Bill de Havilland Memorial Service

 

There will be a Memorial Service for Bill de Havilland at Little Horkesley Church on April 8 at 2.30 p.m. Marion will be pleased to see anyone who remembers Bill and the family.

 

Benefice Licensing & Installation Service

 

The Benefice Licensing & Installation Service for our new Priest-In-Charge Rev. John Chandler, will be at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday 6th April at St. Andrew’s Church, Wormingford.

 

 

 Little Horkesley Easter Flowers

Meriel will be pleased to receive donations towards the cost of the Easter lilies and altar flowers for LH.

 

 

 Mount Bures Easter Lilies

Sheila would be grateful for donations towards the cost of Easter lilies for Mount Bures. Thank you.

 

 

Lent Meetings – Build On The Rock

 

Lent Study Group meetings continue at 7:30 p.m. on Monday as follows:

31 March – Malting Farm, School Road, Little Horkesley. CO6 4DW (hosts: Duncan & Jean Brown)

 7 April – High House, Bures Road, Lamarsh, Bures. CO8 5EP (hosts: Meriel & John Sparkes)

 

This final session will include Holy Communion.

 

 

 More Information

 

To volunteer to help with running your church, or for more information about anything in this Bulletin contact your Churchwardens or Deputies, or see your parish websites:

www.wormingford.com, www.littlehorkesley.com or www.mountbures.com

Items for inclusion next week by Thursday please to:

Churchwardens or Deputies.

RichardB on March 29th, 2014

Ronald Blythe‘s features are moulded in clay in the hands of a sculptor

EVERY now and then, whatever hour it is, getting up becomes an imperative. I have never worked out why. But I am at the window, looking out at the moon, which is staring in. It appears yellow, and lopsided, throwing huge shadows and light barriers across the river valley in equal proportions. You could read by it. Certainly a night for a walk.

But I return to bed, to think about Amos, a favourite of mine, and who must be talked about on Sunday. He was, you will recall, a young fruit-farmer from Tekoa, who shouted out fearful warnings, disturbing the beautiful liturgy of the temple. He and Jeremiah were a couple well matched. Too eloquent for their own good. Apologising for his oratory, Amos said that he was not a prophet, only a gatherer of sycamore fruit. But why shouldn’t Lent sackcloth and ashes arrive in his words? Penitence is something which is honed down, and which makes dust in the process.

This week, the sculptor Jon Edgar arrived to make a terracotta bust of me. No dust. It takes two days. It brings me back to earth. Not only my features, but my very soul – not to mention my age and personality – fly between his hands.

Every now and then, he takes a leap in my direction, as if to see that I actually exist. To prove it, I take him to a pub and give him lunch. I feel that although he has only just arrived, he knows me only too well. How is this?

Then back to the ancient farmhouse, and the flying clay, and my divine-like emergence. He dances about; I sit still. The hours pass. The white cat watches. Soon I will be fired, hollowed out, and mounted. Fragmented yet entire. I feel moved and honoured, yet, at the same time, vulnerable.

I tell him about the imagery of the potter in the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, of which he has never heard. This pleases me, because it allows me to philosophise on his art. I am actually able to show off. I repeat some of this poem by heart. Edward FitzGerald, the author, was buried near my house when I lived near Woodbridge, and had, like many Victorians, difficulty with conventional Christianity, and found an acceptable version of life in this old Persian poem.

Thus the potter and his model passed the time; the latter awed by the swift hands that were making his face. Dare I make some tea? How is it that Jon, the terracotta sculptor, can not only draw out my face, but my experience – even something akin to my soul?

Lamentations for Lent, of course, and in this tragic book the following: “The precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold, how are they esteemed as earthen pitchers, the work of the hands of the potter!” But when God shapes us, are we not heavenly? And when Jesus uses his own spit to create a healing clay, what then?

Jon, the clay sculptor, takes my image away to fire it. I feel very Etruscan: both fragile and lasting.

“Do you use special clay?” I ask.

“No, ordinary clay,” he says.

But not ordinary hands or eyes, if it comes to that.

He accepts a sip of sherry – no more than a robin – and takes me back to Sussex with him. There is hot sunshine on the old brick wall where he has been. Like the children in the burning fiery furnace, I will emerge angelic. Eventually, I will return, having been dried for a month; for his kiln fires me at 900° Centigrade.

 

Services for Sunday 23 March 2014

 

08:00 Holy Communion  # WF

09:15 Parish Communion  MB

11:00 Parish Communion  LH

11:00 Morning Service  WF

18:30 Evening Service  LH

 

# 1662 service

 

Services for Mothering Sunday

(30 March 2014)

 

09:15 Family Service  MB

11:00 Family Service  LH

11:00 Family Service  WF

18:30 Evening Service  LH

 

# 1662 service

 

Your coming in and going out

 Let us come before Him with thanksgiving

And extol Him with music and song

 (Psalm 95)

 

 

Readings for Sunday 23 March

Romans 5:1-11  &  John 4:5-42 (WF 8:00, MB & LH 11:00)

Amos 7:10-end  &  2 Corinthians 1:1-11 (WF 11:00)

Exodus 17:1-7  &  John 4:5-42 (LH 18:30)

 

Please pray for

Tony Clements, Dianne Gant, Hugh Houston,

and David Reeve

and all who have asked to be remembered in our prayers.

 

Bill de Havilland Memorial Service

There will be a Memorial Service for Bill de Havilland at Little Horkesley Church on April 8 at 2.30 p.m. Marion will be pleased to see anyone who remembers Bill and the family.

 

Benefice Licensing & Installation Service

 

The Benefice Licensing & Installation Service for our new Priest-In-Charge Rev. John Chandler, will be at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday 6th April at St. Andrew’s Church, Wormingford.

 

 

 Little Horkesley Easter Flowers

 Meriel will be pleased to receive donations towards the cost of the Easter lilies and altar flowers for LH.

 

 

 Lent Meetings – Build On The Rock

 

Lent Study Group meetings continue at 7:30 p.m. on Monday as follows:

24 March – Wormingford Community Education Centre, The Old School, Church Road, Wormingford. CO6 3AZ

31 March – Malting Farm, School Road, Little Horkesley. CO6 4DW (hosts: Duncan & Jean Brown)

7 April – High House, Bures Road, Lamarsh, Bures. CO8 5EP (hosts: Meriel & John Sparkes)

This final session will include Holy Communion.

 

 

 More Information

 

To volunteer to help with running your church, or for more information about anything in this Bulletin contact your Churchwardens or Deputies, or see your parish websites:

www.wormingford.com, www.littlehorkesley.com or www.mountbures.com

Items for inclusion next week by Thursday please to:

Churchwardens or Deputies.

RichardB on March 21st, 2014

Ronald Blythe reveals the source of his knowledge about the Holy Land

THIS delectable springtime continues. Lunch in the garden on Sunday after matins. All the birds operatic. The horses on the sloping meadows benign. The Wordsworthian daffodils under the budding fruit trees making a show. “They make a show,” an elderly woman said as she planted asters. But no show in church. Lent is plain fare.

I must remember to see the hares’ boxing-match over my horizon. Sparring would be a better word to describe their activity. Meanwhile my badgers hump and trundle themselves through the orchard to the cold-running stream, leaving a highway through the shooting grass. As for daffodils, they have lost all sense of proportion, and wave everywhere, trumpeting their worth to the skies.

At the poetry society, Andrew and I pay homage to Mrs Girling, a Georgian lady who founded our school 100 years before the 1870 Education Act. Where would we have been without her? I think of John Clare being taught to read and write in the vestry, and of boys such as Thomas Bewick who were encouraged to draw on the smooth surfaces of the stone floor in church. Or, much earlier, the women who taught themselves to read from chained Bibles. I got the hang of the Holy Land as I pored over the maps at the back of Revelation during Canon Hughes’s sermons.

William Hazlitt wrote tenderly about such things as he saw his old father, a man who had suffered greatly for his radical stance, “withdrawn from the world of all of us”.

He goes on: “After being tossed about from congregation to congregation [he was an Irish Unitarian minister] . . . he had been relegated to an obscure village, where he was to spend the last thirty years of his life, far from the only converse that he loved, the talk about disputed texts of Scripture, and the causes of civil and religious liberty.

“Here he passed his days . . . in the study of the Bible, and the perusal of the Commentators – huge folios, not easily got through, one of which would outlast a winter! . . . glimmering notions of the patriarchal wanderings, with palm trees hovering in the horizon, and processions of camels at the distance of three thousand years . . . questions as to the date of creation, predictions of the end of all things; the great lapses of time, the strange mutations of the globe were unfolded with the voluminous leaf, as it turned over. . .

“My father’s life was comparatively a dream; but it was a dream of infinity and eternity, of death, the resurrection, and a judgement to come.”

I have always loved this passage by Hazlitt, a young man who no longer believed what his father believed. The most honest and in its way shocking example of this dilemma is, of course, Edmund Gosse’s Father and Son. One needs to be brave to read it.

Turning to the altar, I say “I believe”, thankful for the formula but never analysing it. Credo. Somewhat lost in it, like old Mr Hazlitt’s camels, is my love of Christ as it journeys on from year to year, expanding, narrowing, leading ahead. Liturgy takes me over deserts. And then there is George Herbert’s “dear prayer”, with or without words.

“Let us pray,” I say to the familiar faces which look towards me, and they gently acquiesce. The other Sunday I said Robert Louis Stevenson’s prayers – the ones he said in Samoa – and they suited us very well, talking as they did to God and his “household”.