From the Rectory
November 2006

By the time you read this the clocks will have been put back one hour. The darkness of winter, despite the mild temperatures, will be with us. It has been a long and very pleasant summer and we should all give thanks for that. The short winter days provide us with opportunities to get on with different things. The garden can be left to its own devices, at least the Rectory garden can! It'll be busy beneath the soil no doubt, but it won't need any assistance from me.

How many of you make your own Christmas cards and gifts? Much better than trudging around the shops trying to find suitable presents whilst being pushed and shoved by the crowds, and so much more valuable if you've taken the time yourself to make them. You could of course always buy them at the Christmas Fayre on Saturday 25th November. How about using the long evenings to start making things for next year's Craft Exhibition and Sale?

It has been a challenging time for a number of people, my mum fell and sprained her ankle and had to come to the rectory for some TLC. Ronnie Kershaw fell whilst on holiday in Cyprus and broke her hip and then had to spend some time convalescing with her son Andrew. As I write this an accident has happened outside. A cyclist has been knocked down by a car and the paramedics are there. Traffic is so busy and relentless, and we are so fragile. So perhaps a time to take a little more care when traveling on the roads, especially at night. So take extra care. We don't want to see any more bandages or plasters in Church for a while.

November is often a melancholy time, we move from All Saints' to All Souls' and then on to Remembrance Sunday: A time of remembering what has been, and for thanksgiving. A time also when many begin to think ahead to Christmas - hopefully not forgetting that Advent happens in between! All Saints Day is a Holy Day of Obligation, a day when Catholics must attend Mass. It's ajoyful day, suitable for a special late-Autumn outing. Perhaps you went on a family walk, scuffing in the leaves? Children should know about the saints. How about telling them the story of any saints whose names happen to be in your family? By contrast, All Souls' Day is a solemn day, when we remember our duty of praying for the dead, and hoping that one day we might all be saints in heaven together. Not a time to dress up as witches and go around frightening people in the streets though!

Remembrance Sunday is always the Sunday nearest to November 11th. This is because the Armistice which sealed the end of the First World War was signed at 11.00 am on November 11th. "Flanders Poppies" were worn - replicas of those that bloomed on the terrible muddy Flanders battlefields in that war. The poppies came to represent the lost generation of Europe. The Two Minutes Silence has become part of our national calendar.

A Reflection on Remembrance Day [Anon]

Why are they selling poppies, mummy,
Selling poppies in town today?
The poppies child, are flowers of love
For the men who marched away.
But why have they chosen a poppy, mummy,
Why not a beautiful rose?
Because, my child, men fought and died
In the fields where the poppy grows.
But why are the poppies red, mummy,
Why are the poppies so red?
Red is the colour of blood, my child,
The blood that the soldiers shed.
The heart of the poppy is black, mummy,
Why does it have to be black?
Black, my child, is the symbol of grief
For the men who never came back.
But why, mummy, are you crying so?
Your tears are giving me pain
My tears are my fears for you, my child,
For the world is forgetting again.

Yours for Christ's sake.