Benefice Letter for November

Message from Maidencombe

As you know Annie is on her Sabbatical, so I volunteered to undertake writing this month’s editorial. You hear sometimes retirees say “I’m busier now than when I was working” I always thought that can’t be true! Retirement is a time of rest and slowing down. No, it’s not. Not least for my wife and I, there are days when we only see each other when we climb into bed, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. We have made so many friends and are welcomed into so many different communities here in South Devon and what a difference it is to an urban community in the Midlands.

The first problem is that I’m not writing this editorial in “real time” as it is being written at the end of September and the beginning of October for the November copy.

November is a time to remember, with All Saints day on 1st followed by All Souls when many remember departed loved ones. Many still celebrate the eve of All Saints, now commercialised as Hallowe’en when it was made into the horror movie by John Carpenter. It should not in my opinion be for Adults and Children to go from house to house dressing as ghosts and asking for treats. Hallowe’en as the name implies was meant to hallow (respect) all the Saints, Souls and Martyrs, men and women who have gone before us. Now like many Christian Festivals it has lost its meaning through commercialisation. A few days later we remember those who have lost their lives in The Great War and since then other conflicts throughout the world. All our services will be found in The Grapevine and on Church Rotas outside each of our Churches.

By the time you read this we will have put the clocks back and the weather will have changed and got colder and probably wetter although September was wet enough. However, it’s our changing seasons that make this country such a wonderful place to live in. I am reminded of a visit my wife and I took many years ago to see some friends who were living in Indonesia and we got talking about the weather and our friends told us that the one thing they missed so very much was the changing seasons, especially the changing length of the days, as the length of daylight hours remained almost the same throughout the year.

When I now look out of the window at this time of year at the long hours of darkness, I am reminded of this conversation, with a promise to never complain about our weather and the long nights. But thank God for the wonderful world he has made for us.

The farmers I believe have had a wonderful harvest with a lot of the crops being brought in before the end of August. The animal farmers struggled a bit with the lack of rain, but this has now been put right with the amount of rain we had in September.

Annie in her September editorial mentioned the number of happy smiling visitors we’ve had to our part of Devon during the summer. I can certainly concur with this statement as we have had many visitors to our home during the summer and they’ve had an exceptional time, with our last set of friends leaving towards the end of October.

The first of our Harvest Season Services was held at All Saints Combeinteignhead on 29th September and what a wonderful service led by Caroline Luff. It was so uplifting to see over 60 in the congregation representing all the churches in our Benefice. It was followed by lunch in the village hall and there were no complaints at the magnificent spread that was put on. So, a big thank you to all those who prepared the food and ensured the function ran so smoothly. Let’s see St. Andrew’s full at the next Benefice service at the end of December.

Towards the end of this month, as part of her sabbatical, Annie will be leading a group of 20+ to the Holy Land, so we wish them a safe, peaceful and uplifting journey.

I mentioned working during retirement earlier, so may I take this opportunity without, I hope, embarrassing her, to say a personal thanks to Caroline Luff, who is, in her retirement, taking many of our regular Church Services as well as Funerals and Baptisms during these three months. Thanks, also, to the other clergy who are helping at this time.

Blessings to you all, and as Dave Allen would say, “May your God go with you”.

Hugh McCormick (lay reader)

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