Monthly News from our Churchwarden

A sad note start in the Parish was that the Gott Hall was broken into. The thieves entered originally through a small lancet window and then went around to the Vestry window and broke that. The next night the cheeky things came back and broke one of the Sanctuary windows and entered the Church of the Good Shepherd. Luckily there was not a lot that took their fancy but the damage, the hassle and extra work caused was both distressing and costly.


The beginning of December brought the Roseland Shanty Singers to the Gott Hall and all those present were entertained by a medley of Sea Shanties, lots of foot tapping and hand clapping, plenty of fun and laughter, it was a really enjoyable evening. The excellent food for the supper was all provided by Marlene and was as good as a banquet. Jill and Chris led everyone in playing Heads or Tails for a bottle of whisky which was quite hilarious, we overheard lots of things in Par that evening from them and others, unfortunately not printable in this magazine. Marlene herself proved to be a star in many ways, not only in her generosity but by taking centre stage and taking us all by surprise with her sense of humour and the tales she told. We know where to go now for an entertainer! Watch this space! Many, many thanks go to Marlene and Pat and the Shanty Singers for making it such a splendid occasion. Unbelievably the evening raised £620 for the Spire Fund and we thank all who came to support the event.


The choir and others have had a busy December singing carols at various venues. The month began with Saturday lunch times singing at Wyevale Garden Centre. Our grateful thanks to them for allowing us to sing to their visitors among the plants and garden gnomes. We sang for three consecutive Saturdays and the first week were accompanied by a brass band ensemble.


We visited Rosehill House to sing at a short, enjoyable service led by Fr Derek, some of the clients read the lessons and all joined in singing. We went to Elmsleigh Care Home where several of the clients joined us for some rousing carols and meaningful prayers led by Ruth Wyatt, some of the clients were quite emotional remembering times past. We were treated to some mouth watering mince pies the chef had specially cooked for us and still hot. They literally melted in your mouth. I won’t relate the story of what happened to my mince pie, but I was thanked for entertaining those present!


The Turkey and Tinsel lunch was delicious, the turkey as usual cooked to perfection by Anne Retallick and the various vegetables cooked around the parish by different people and all put together to make a first class meal. Several partook of some mulled wine or sherry to get them in the party mood, crackers were pulled, paper hats donned and silly jokes exchanged The sad note was that in the previous days we had lost two of our hard working and much loved colleagues in Penny and Beryl, but everyone pulled together and it all worked out. We also raised £318 for parish funds. Following lunch we had a moving service of Five Lessons and Carols in the Good Shepherd led by Garth with Angeline as organist.

Carols were sung the following Saturday outside the Good Shepherd with PL24, it was fortunately a dry sunny morning, the downside was the sun was on the other side of the road. Lots of Santa hats were worn and everyone was in a Christmas mood singing with gusto, following all the instructions of Fr Derek! Mince pies and hot chocolate were served in the Good Shepherd throughout, a very welcome warm-up. £90 was raised for Spire Funds.


During the week before Christmas many gathered again in the Welcome Home for another session of carols, this time joined by all the regulars at the Welcome. The evening was hilarious with Fr Derek and Dom who played the piano. All joined in the singing, and we had a version of “While Shepherds” sung to the tune of “Amazing Grace” by one of the regulars present and three noble others did the solo parts for “We Three Kings”. The evening finished with the Twelve Days of Christmas with all the actions, amid much laughter. Thanks go to Nicola and her staff of the Welcome for their hospitality.


Lorna Curtis held a Christmas Floral Workshop in the Gott Hall where she demonstrated how to make a three different Christmas displays. “You just put this here and just do this and this” she said, while we, who are not flower arrangers looked on in awe as everything always stayed in place and she ended up with perfect, exquisite flower arrangements. It was very interesting to listen and watch. The crux came when we had to make our own table centrepiece. How to get all that greenery, a candle plus decorative pieces into the small piece of oasis, looked quite daunting to most of us. Prizes were awarded and Jan who vowed she would not be able to make anything presentable was awarded Highly Commendable, much to her surprise. The evening finished with home made mince pies. Thank you Lorna, it was an informative and fun evening and raised £117 for the spire fund.


Christmas weekend was busy having four services within 24 hours, but all were well attended. Families came to the Crib Service and there were lots of children most of them eager to help with the making of the Crib scene. We welcomed lots of visitors to the Midnight service and the Christmas Day service found Fr Derek with his guitar, his Christmas gift to us, a sermon of song. The churches both looked resplendent with flowers and greenery and thanks go to everyone who helped prepare for these special services in any way. We now go forward and look forward to a New Year. Who knows what it will bring for us but the message of the Christ Child - to live in love and peace with all - is as relevant today as it has been for over 2000 years.


I wish you all a Happy and Healthy New Year