View from the Vicarage - September 2015

Listen to an audio version here


To the people of St Andrew’s,


In the last edition of The Fisherman I announced this year’s autumn course, Puzzling Questions, and I am delighted to give some more details now.


First of all, this is an opportunity for those who are not strongly connected to the life of the church to explore life’s most puzzling questions and to see how, over the course’s six weeks, the Christian faith addresses them.


Newly produced and professional video clips intersperse table discussions, with each of the evenings being hosted by a different member of the congregation at St Andrew's.


The meetings are being held in the new Garden Room at the Park Pub on Kimbolton Road, and so the venue, the material and the leadership are all chosen to provide the most accessible and least intimidating environment possible to discuss life and faith.


As members of St Andrew’s, your role is to pray and to invite others to come and, if they would like you to, accompany them. The course is very much in harmony with the Bishop's desire to have us make new disciples. So who do you know whom you could invite?


There is no fee for any of the evenings, nor will there be any singing of hymns or saying of prayers (at least, not out loud). People can come to individual sessions - they stand on their own - but there is a course book for each participant and it would be better to start at the beginning and carry on from there.


Our very sincere thanks goes to the management of The Park for allowing us to use their facilities. As drinks will be available to purchase from the bar, we trust it will be a mutually beneficial arrangement.


The course outline is as follows:


Monday 14 September

- Who am I?

(led by Anne Levine)


Monday 21 September

- What is God like?

(led by Louise Whatham)


Monday 28 September

- What happens after I die?

(led by Fiona McLeod)


Monday 5 October

- How can I be happy?

(led by Elisabeth Rose)


Monday 12 October

- Why is there suffering in the world?

(led by Diana Stretton)


Monday 19 October

- What is the spiritual world and how does it impact my life?

(led by Alison McDaid)


Invitation cards are available from the back of St Andrew’s and the Church Centre Office and you are also welcome to take and display posters.


So, following the example of St Andrew who encouraged his brother, St Peter, to meet with Jesus, we pray,


Almighty God, who called your Church to witness that you were in Christ

reconciling the world to yourself:
help us to proclaim the good news of your love,
that all who hear it may be drawn to you;
through him who was lifted up on the cross,
and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


With my prayers for your ministries,




Choral Scholarships at St Andrew's

Choral Scholarships at St Andrew's


Choral Scholarships


Young Choristers




Tower Bell Ringers


Bats in the Belfry


In 'As You Like It' Shakespeare famously defined seven ages of man, from 'mewling' infant to 'sans everything'. Recently, according to the letter page of The Daily Telegraph, the ages of man have been reduced to three: youth, middle age and 'You are looking well'. If you fall into the 'looking well' category, and a quick glance at the congregation most Sunday's suggests quite a few do, you may remember a TV Western called 'Have Gun, Will Travel'. Now, I am not proposing to write about 'Have Bell, Will Travel', after all bells are not exactly easily portable what with them being large, heavy lumps of metal that are surprisingly fragile, but rather 'Can Ring, Will Travel.'


And what do Bats from this, and other belfries travel to at this time of year? Firstly they travel to ring at weddings. It is apparently 'a truth universally acknowledged' that the number of church weddings is declining. Given the number of weddings in the area in July and August this seems hard to believe. For example, on 25 July there were weddings in five North Bedfordshire villages, all requiring bells. There being a paucity of ringers the services of ringers from here and other Bedford towers were called upon. Indeed several of us fitted in two weddings. Careful calculation of time and distance, with fingers crossed for 'not too late' brides, has led to the two-wedding phenomenon being repeated for several weekends.


Another reason for Bats to travel was to attend a District Meeting at Turvey, a relaxed 'bring your own picnic' affair. For the first two hours fifty per cent of the ringers were from St Andrew’s. The bells at Turvey are a lot heavier than ours and are full of 'character', so much so that, having successfully mastered the tenor (heaviest bell) Philip Kino rather felt he deserved a badge or commemorative T shirt!


Bats also travel to Striking Competitions. The media reported on the National 12 Bell Striking Competition in Norwich; those taking part are what you might call Celebrity Ringers, which did not include us.


However, we do have something of a celebrity in the person of Melissa Nash, who travelled with the rest of her family to Oxford to take part in the Ringing World National Youth Contest. This was the second year that Melissa has taken part and the third year that the contest has been won by Bedfordshire, whose striking was rated A* by the judges. Jonathan Nash was reserve for the team, a real achievement for someone who has been ringing for a comparatively short period of time.


Barbara Woplin


You can listen to the Bedfordshire Team’s Winning Call Change Piece at:



 Barbara Woplin

Church Fete a great success

On Saturday 11 July we held a Church Fete as part of our fundraising project for a new organ. A big thank you to all our volunteers who worked so hard before and on the day, and a special thank you to everyone who came along and supported the event. Here are some images from the day:



Ordination of Revd Atalie Gaines

On Saturday 4 July the Revd Atalie Gaines was ordained as Priest at St Albans Abbey. Here are some photos from the day.

Atalie Atalie with Dr Diana Stretton



The following day Atalie celebrated her first Holy Communion here at St Andrew's.

Atalie and The Ven Christopher Futcher

The Revd James Reveley, Atalie

and The Ven Christopher Futcher


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