The Rector's letter - December 2019
Have you ever wondered 'Why do we give presents at Christmas?' In western countries the origin of Christmas presents can be traced back to the first Christmas when the wise men brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the baby Jesus. These symbolised his kingship, his divinity and his coming sacrifice on the cross for us. Later on, Saint Nicholas and St Wenceslas were noted for their gift giving to the poor. But it wasn't until the 18th Century that gift-giving became central to Christmas celebrations.
Christmas gift-giving has now come a long way from its original roots in caring for the poor. Nowadays we tend to give gifts as signs of love or appreciation. Sadly, it is often not the thought that counts, but the cost. We're made to feel that unless we spend extravagantly we aren't really showing our love. And sometimes we give only because we feel we have to - perhaps only because they gave something to us and we feel we have to reciprocate. Many complain that choosing and giving gifts has become a consumer marathon, testing the patience and the pocketbook of the best of us.
Maybe Christmas would be more meaningful and less stressful if instead of being driven by the adverts for things we must get, we could try to emulate St Nicholas and St Wenceslas. We could agree to limit the amount we spend on ourselves and loved ones and then give an equivalent amount to charity. Maybe volunteer to help serve a Christmas dinner or staff a temporary night shelter for the homeless.
By doing so, we can truly enter the spirit of Christmas. Jesus came not to be served but to serve. He came as a gift to show God's love for us as the Bible says "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). Elsewhere we're told that he came to give us life in all its fullness and to give us love, joy and peace.
May God bless you and yours this Christmas and in the coming year with those precious gifts.
Improvements to the Church Building
A new oak door has been installed in the outer entrance to the main porch, and new glass doors with an engraving have replaced the inner porch timber door. This creates a much needed draught lobby, as well as introducing a fine piece of 21st century art to our beautiful building.
All Saints’ new heating system is installed, and the Church is now beautifully warm for our Services in the cooler months! Come and see for yourself and enjoy being warm at All Saints'.
We now have sound enhancement. A system was installed at the end of May 2019, and this will make a big difference at services and events in church.
All Saints’ regularly supports the MK Food Bank, the Tearfund, and Crisis at Christmas. Various charities are also supported at the monthly Thursday lunches.
All Saints’ has an enthusiastic small choir, who lead the singing at Sunday Services. Choir members enjoy joining the Royal School of Church Music for some of their ‘Come and Sing’ events. The Choir is supported by the "Emberton Occasionals" at Weddings and special Services. For further details please contact Hilary Proud via the Rector.
There is an active band of bell ringers, who ring All Saints’ 6 bells before Services, and also practice on a Tuesday night 7.45 – 9.00pm. New recruits are very welcome. Please see the Bell Ringers’ page on this website, or contact Sheila Watts 07703 279165 for more information.
The Children’s Church meets in the Institute on the 2nd Sunday each month at 11.00am under the leadership of Maddi Forrester and Judith Taylor. See the photographs for some of their activities, and please contact Maddi Forrester, 01234 714903, for more details.
The Homegroup meets on alternate Monday evenings to discuss various aspects of the Christian message. The group includes people from other parishes, and new members are always welcome. Please contact Judith Taylor on 01234 240690 to find out more.
Friends of All Saints’
All Saints’ is supported by the Friends’ group (FOAS), who are a registered charity. They work with the Parochial Church Council to preserve and protect the fabric of the Church and Churchyard and to raise funds to assist with improvements to make the building suitable for use by the community for a wide variety of activities. Please see the FOAS page on this website.
A Brief History of the Church
It is believed that the building was constructed between 1340-1410. It is in the ‘Decorated Gothic’ style. Work began on the Chancel, with its magnificent east window and progressed through to the building of the tower. During this period, England was at war with France and the Black Death killed thousands of the population resulting in a shortage of skilled masons. This led to wages and prices soaring, which explains why the decoration becomes plainer on the west side of the Church.
Unusually we have a portrait in brass of Reverend John Morden, who was the priest when the Church was completed. His brass records that he gave two bells, one of which had the inscription ‘In Multis Annis Resonet Campana Joannis’ (John’s bell shall sound for many a year).
An interesting ‘rumour’, for which there is some corroborative evidence is that the remains of Sir Everard Digby, hung, drawn and quartered for his part in the Gunpowder Plot, lies buried in the Chancel.
By the mid 19th Century, the Church was in danger of falling down. Very extensive restoration work was undertaken by the Reverend Campbell Hulton - many of his relations and descendants gave generously to the scheme and are commemorated in the mural tablets and windows which are such a dominant feature of the Church interior. Restoration and improvements continue to this day, with the recent addition of cloakroom and kitchen, as we strive to bring the building into the 21st Century.
Rector: Revd Richard Caddell, The Rectory, High Street, Haversham, MK19 7DT. 01908 312136
Churchwardens: Maddi Forrester, Cedar House, High Street, Emberton, MK46 5JB. 07769 923787
Sheila Watts, 28 Gravel Walk, Emberton, MK46 5JA. 07703 279165
Parochial Church Council Secretary: Janet Gamlen 01234 711729
PCC Treasurer: Warwick Clarke 01234 713174
PCC Members: Louise Cook, Candy Godber, Bill Moody, Hilary Proud, Libby Wemyss
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