Bats in the Belfry
On Monday evenings there is a mind-taxing but fascinating programme called Only Connect in which two teams attempt to find connections or sequences between apparently diverse facts, figures, snippets of music or pictures. Here is a, sort of, Only Connect for you to try:
1. St Peter Mancroft, Norwich 1715
2. Bedford 1915
3. St Andrew’s Bedford 2015
4. Stevington September 2015
2 and 3 are easy to connect since in 2015 we celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the creation of the District of St Andrew’s in Bedford in 1915. To mark this a celebratory peal was rung here on 30 December 2015. The peal notice, as it appears in The Ringing World, is as follows:
Wednesday 30 December 2015
in 2hrs 57 mins. (5-2-22 in B)
5040 Plain Bob Minor
1. David S Heaslip
2. Jonathan J Nash *
3. Barbara J Woplin
4. Melissa F Nash *
5. Lisa J Adams *
6. Alexander J Nash (C)
Rung by a Sunday service band to mark the 100th Anniversary of the establishment of the District of St Andrew’s Church.
* First peal
And what of St Peter Mancroft? The connection is that in 1715 in Norwich the very first peal was rung. To mark this the Ringing World challenged the nation’s ringers to reach a target of 300 first pealers. By 31 December 2015, 385 people had rung their first peal, three of that number being from St Andrew’s, a real achievement.
Are we bats? Just imagine standing still for nearly three hours and raising and lowering your arms over 5,000 times! You decide! Which leads nicely to Stevington, a belfry with real bats, spotted by members of our band ringing there in September.
In addition.....we were pleased to have been able to ring for the major Christmas services, managing to ring all eight bells for Christmas morning. We also rang for New Year, following the tradition of ringing half muffled, as for a funeral so marking the dying year, up to midnight. Then the tenor (heaviest bell) was tolled twelve times for midnight followed by the much cheerier sound of unmuffled bells to welcome in the New Year.
We always welcome people interested in seeing what we do, or those who would like to learn to ring. We ring from 9.30am every Sunday and practice every Thursday at 7.45pm.
View from the Vicarage - February
As it happens, I was out when the box was delivered. One might have thought that the parcel company had brought a large new toaster or a set of encyclopaedia, but in fact it was a new 10-week course on the Ten Commandments. The box contained fifteen books and six DVDs. It was, in short, a toolkit for an important initiative at St Andrew’s for the autumn. It’s title: “Just 10”.
You may well have seen “Just 10” appearing in the Parish Diary over several Sunday Evening Services from September. One or two people have asked me about this and, now Christmas is over, here is the news.
Just 10 is a collection of ten presentations explaining and expanding on the Ten Commandments, but with a contemporary and humorous twist.
The material was first assembled by the Christian speaker, J. John, whom you might remember spoke at last year’s Diocesan Centenary Festival at Keysoe.
The sessions - which we are incorporating into our evening services in September, October and November - present the Ten Commandments, not as a list of ‘do’s and don’t’s’, but as laws of love set in stone and given to us to encourage good living and challenge destructive behaviour. The Ten Commandments are, after all, the maker’s instructions.
Thus, ‘Thou shalt not steal’ is tackled under the heading, ‘Prosper with a clear conscience’ and ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery’ is unpacked as ‘Affair-proof your relationships’.
Just 10 is for everyone - churchgoers and non-churchgoers, the committed and the questioning. If you are not sure whether to get involved, take a piece of paper and see if you can list the Ten Commandments, and get them in the correct order. See how you go! (You’ll find the answer at Exodus 20:2-17.)
I passed the test - although I almost forgot about murder! Many people remember the ones about adultery and coveting one’s neighbour’s wife but struggle with the others. So there is a need for this course, don’t you agree?
Just 10 is an accessible, engaging and direct series of teaching presentations that will help us all get deeper into the questions about how to live a good life. As J. John says, the commandments are a map, not a trap. So let’s seek the way together.
Our course will begin on Sunday 11 September at 6.00pm and continue every week until 13 November.
It’s “Just 10” weeks. But will be time well spent.
More information will be available in the summer.
With my best wishes,
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: