Editor’s Letter – March 2020
Hello and welcome,
How time flies! Having just got used to saying and writing ‘2020’, I tear off my calendar (old school) and, lo and behold, it is already March!
As March is the first official month of spring, I could not pass up this cute wee lamb for the cover. Let’s hope that the rain will ease a bit and we can all have the opportunity to enjoy the surroundings without a windbreaker or wellies!
This month brings all sorts of things to look forward to including World Day of Prayer, St. Patrick’s Day and the continued observance of Lent. There is so much to celebrate in March and I wish you all a lovely month.
Finally, don’t forget to sign the St. John’s Electoral Roll before 24th March by completing an application form which is available online or at the rear of the church. Details can be found on p6. Please send in any photos and articles that you wish me to include in future editions.
I do hope you enjoy this month’s issue. I am eager to visit the art exhibition in the Alresford Library (p27) and do a bit of local bird spotting (p17).
Penny Forbes (Editor)
Leader – Lent
I love the longer days of Spring, when the days begin to lengthen and our clocks change. I’m especially enjoying walking along our lovely River Arle, a little bit later and longer into the early evenings.
In the Church calendar, the season of Lent is now well under way. I wonder for those of us that have given something up, how are we doing? For the first time last year, I gave something up for Lent – chocolate. For people who know me, they will understand how hard this was for me. I LOVE chocolate! I battled on, initially resisting temptation and the familiar rhythm of diving into a chocolate bar, but eventually the chocolate won! It really did feel like that chocolate egg was shouting at me from the fridge “Eat me!’.
Lent is so often associated with the giving up of something, but the word comes from the old English word for Spring meaning to ‘lengthen’, referring to the time of year when the days gets longer. It represents a time of renewing and rediscovering. Whilst it can be helpful to deny ourselves some things for a time, Lent is as much about getting ready and preparing ourselves, as denying ourselves. Before the bulbs bloom forth, they rest deep within the ground. Before we enjoy the longer days of Spring, we turn our clocks back to experience the shorter, darker days of Winter.
In the same way the season of Lent helps us to prepare for new spiritual rhythms and seasons in our lives. A time for reflection and repentance from what has been, which can lead to a rediscovering, renewing and refreshing of our lives. This rhythm of both looking back and looking forward, helps us make room for God and space for him to speak to us. The Church of England Live Lent 40 day challenge (www.churchofengland. org/livelent) encourages us to reflect and consider how we care for Creation during this Season and 40 Acts (www.40acts.org.uk) helps us reflect on how we can live generously within our community. It’s not too late to give one of them a go!
One of reasons I enjoy the lengthening of the Spring and Summer days for walks along the River, is that it provides new opportunities to reconnect with people. In the lighter days and better weather people tend to walk more slowly and chat for longer. Amy’s Duck Table and the ‘Happy to Chat’ bench are wonderful additions to this. In the same way, may this season of Lent provide us with new opportunities to reconnect with God and His Creation.
NEW ALRESFORD REGISTER OF BURIALS
The burial database on the Church’s website has been updated!
In 2017 Julia asked us to oversee the plots being used for burials and cremated remains in the churchyard, a role previously carried out by Roger Page. At first this seemed quite simple, but when a request was made to bury someone in an existing plot we realised we needed to find it! We went to the website database and discovered that it had last been updated in 2014 and over 300 of the records, many of them cremations, did not indicate a location. We decided to update
it and we have spent the last 2 years doing just that.
The handwritten Official Registers are kept in the Church safe and date from 1949. Using photocopies, we set to work comparing them with the website database. Detective work followed e.g., some surnames and addresses tallied, but only one had a location. By looking at inscriptions on stones we were able to resolve many of these.
We soon realised that to find the missing cremation locations we would need to look at the actual memorial stones. These are in 3 areas and, with help from Julie James, these were plotted and many locations were found.
We had almost finished the task and were thinking about publishing the results, when Penny arrived to work with Julia. During a “what’s in the cupboards” session she found some handwritten booklets and a box of information that related to the churchyard, and passed them to us. The booklets provided a whole host of new information, some of which pre-dated 1900, going back as far as the 1700’s! Information dating from 1900 has been added to the database and the rest we are still working on!
Only 6 out of the 16 designated areas of the Churchyard had a plan on the database, but amongst the documentation in the box were hand drawn plans for all the burial areas. Thus, together with the cremated remains sites and the current burial area, plans for all areas have been created.
All this information is now on the website and we hope it proves useful. Of the 2851 entries 106 were not recorded in the official registers and 92, which were recorded, do not have a known location. There will undoubtedly still be mistakes, but we plan to update the website each January so if you find one please let us or the Parish Office know.
Roger and Kathryn Lockyer
Churches Together in Alresford
Away Weekend – 13 – 15 March 2020
Due to popular demand, Churches Together in Alresford is returning once again to the Best Western Hotel Royale in Bournemouth for our annual weekend away. If you have not been before, you will find the hotel perched on the East Cliff in Bournemouth town centre, just a 5-minute walk to the beach and the shops. The hotel also has a leisure club, which boasts a large and airy indoor swimming pool. You can see more information by going to the hotel web site http://www.thehotelroyale.com/. Once again, the weekend promises to be great fun, including free time as well as opportunities to get to know each other better with joint study, workshops, worship and social activities (just ask anyone who came last year if you are not sure). Please note however that unless significant number of children register it is not anticipated that there will be any specific children’s activities.
The cost is £175 per adult which represents exceptional value for what is included. Children under 18 are free if sharing a room with a parent. The cost includes bed and breakfast on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th March plus a-la-carte dinner on Friday and Saturday, and buffet lunch on Saturday and Sunday. Check-in is after 3pm
on Friday 13th and check-out before 11.00am on Sunday 15th. There is a choice of single, double, twin or family rooms, all of which are en-suite. Full payment will be due by 17th January 2020 at the latest. After this, places may not be guaranteed and it may not be possible to refund payments already made (you may wish to consider travel insurance but this is entirely up to individuals).
We recognise that in some circumstances individuals might find that the cost of the weekend deters them from coming. In order to help with this there may in some circumstances be assistance available with the cost. Please discuss this in confidence with your clergy if you would like to know more.
If you require transport or indeed are able to offer transport to someone then please can you indicate this on the form.
All you need to do now is to complete a registration form and return it to Gary Carter, together with your deposit, to The Shieling, Tichborne Down, Alresford, SO24 9PA. Payments details which may be made by cheque, cash or by bank transfer are shown on the registration form which should be available in church. You may also give your registration form and deposit to your CTIA representative to pass on to Gary. It will be of great help in our planning if you could register as soon as possible and certainly by 31st October.
Should you have any questions regarding the weekend, then please contact Gary by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 01962 732350.