Tuesday, December 20, 2005

'Good News' at Christmas!

The following is part of a longer article posted on the Church of England website this week:

‘'More than four out of ten adults will attend church this Christmas – up by a third in the past four years.

Christmas worshippers are on the increase with more than 43 per cent of Britain’s adult population expected to attend church over the festival, according to a survey by opinion pollster ORB. The figure has been steadily rising since the turn of the millennium from the 33 per cent found by ORB in 2001, to 39 per cent in 2003 and now 43 per cent in 2005.

ORB surveyed 1019 adults aged 18 and over by a random telephone poll between November 4 and 6, 2005.’'

St. Mark's, Flecknoe: Holy Communion on Christmas Day, 10.30am.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Carol Service 2005 photographs

Once again, our lively annual Carol Service at St. Mark's Church, Flecknoe, proved to be a successful and enjoyable event for everyone. In excess of fifty people made the trip out to St. Mark's, in spite of chilly weather, with many families bringing small children to join in the singing and take home a specially prepared 'Christingle' - a tastily decorated orange, with a central candle representing Jesus as the light of the world. Our grateful thanks, as usual, to those tireless workers who gave up their time to prepare the church so beautifully and to make Christingles for the children.

For those who particularly enjoy singing, don't forget there will be Carol Singing round the village on Tuesday 20th. We will be meeting at Hillcrest House at 6pm. Wrap up warmly!

The children were in fine voice this year for their traditional solo ... after a slightly bumpy start!

'Away in a manger
No crib for a bed
The little Lord Jesus
Laid down his sweet head'

'Jesus Christ - The Light of the World'

The PCC would like to thank everybody who came to St. Mark's Carol Service; we hope to see you again soon! Just as a final reminder, there will be a Holy Communion service on Christmas Day at 10.30 in the morning. Do please join us for that as well, you are all very welcome. In the New Year, services will start again on Sunday 15th January with Holy Communion at 9am.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Carol Service with Christingles: Tonight at 6pm

Please do join us for carols and mince pies at tonight's Carol Service, 6pm, St Mark's Church, Flecknoe. We look forward to seeing as many villagers there as possible!

Also, don't forget, our special Christmas Day Holy Communion Service is at 10.30am next Sunday.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

"Merry Christmas" from St. Mark's PCC

The PCC of St. Mark's Church, Flecknoe, would like to wish everyone a merry, peaceful Christmas, and a very Happy New Year!

Following Rev'd Beth Smith's retirement as vicar last Christmas, 2005 has been a year of change for our little church, and indeed for the whole Leam Valley Benefice. Now Rev'd Bill Griffiths has announced that he too will be leaving the benefice within the next six months, and difficult circumstances mean that we have not yet been able to enter into proper discussions about re-drawing the benefice boundaries and joining with Dunchurch.

In spite of all this, services will be continuing as normal at St. Mark's for the foreseeable future, with a Family Service on the first Sunday of the month and Holy Communion on the third Sunday. However, those of you planning to celebrate New Year in the traditional manner will be relieved to know there will be no service on Sunday 1st January!

Following our Christmas Day service at 10.30am, services will begin again on Sunday January 15th with Holy Communion at St. Marks -- everyone welcome, as always!

The beautiful organ at St. Mark's Church, Flecknoe

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Dates for your Diary

Family Service
Our monthly Family Service will be held this Sunday, December 4th, at St. Mark’s. The service begins at 10.30am with Reverend Bill Griffiths. Everyone is welcome to join us, families in particular! There is a play table at the rear of the church for smaller children, with games and colouring provided.

Bible Study
Bible Study continues on Tuesday December 6th at Willoughby Vicarage (off a lane near the village pond). The meeting starts at 7.30pm and finishes at 9pm. We are reading from the Book of Genesis; newcomers to the group are always welcome! If you would like further information, you can contact our curate Bill Griffiths on 01788 890309.

Coventry LGCM Carol Service
Also, beyond our local benefice, the annual round of carol services begins this weekend with Coventry LGCM holding their Carol Service on Sunday 4th December at 8pm at Earlsdon Methodist Church. New members and supporters welcome.

Coventry Doom Painting and the coming of Advent
In the heart of Coventry itself, the Festival of Doom and Light has just come to a spectacular end at Holy Trinity Church where - in a series of seminars, choral events and candlelit services - they have been celebrating their medieval Doom Painting along with the coming of Advent.

But there’s no need to worry if you missed the Doom Painting events. Situated right in the city centre, near the Cathedral, Holy Trinity Church is open every day for shoppers to drop in for a few moments of quiet prayer and reflection, view the beautifully restored Doom Painting and perhaps visit the gift shop!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Christmas in the parish

The season of advent has arrived, the run-up to Christmas, and our minds are beginning to turn towards the traditional giving and receiving of gifts. For the next few weeks, people will be shopping for presents, writing Christmas cards, and sending out invitations to friends and relatives to celebrate Christmas with them. It's a busy time, a commercial time, and it can be hard for us, caught up in the bustle and fun of Christmas preparations, to remember exactly what we are celebrating and why. But for Christians, this is also a time when our thoughts turn to the birth of our Saviour and what his coming has meant for us all. Here's a short prayer, an 'arrow' prayer, for those moments when the stress of preparing for Christmas makes us temporarily lose sight of its true significance:

Lord, when our lives seem so hectic that we have barely a moment to ourselves, grant us the peace of your presence and the knowledge that you are among us now, here in the world, a living God. In the name of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

And here's a lovely shot of the village pond in Willoughby, one of our neighbouring parishes here in Warwickshire, taken a few days ago during the spell of icy weather. Perhaps it will be a white Christmas this year! Don't forget, our Carol Service in Flecknoe takes place on Sunday 18th December at 6pm in St. Mark's Church, with Carol Singing on Tuesday 20th December, meeting at Hillcrest House at 6pm.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

longing for summer days?

With the recent cold snap, it seems an awfully long time since the warm days of summer. So to cheer us all up, here are a couple of photographs from August 2005, looking back at our Summer School.

Every year the parishes of Flecknoe and Birdingbury get together to organise a Summer School for local children, held over three days in Flecknoe Village Hall, with fun and educational activities for a wide range of age groups. These include drawing, painting, playing, cooking, singing, a special presentation for parents and a day trip out of the parish. The Summer School's theme this year was Joseph and the Technicoloured Dream Coat. The children learnt songs, baked and decorated technicoloured cookies, painted backdrops and made special 'spoon' puppets for the show. On the last day, parents came to see a puppet show of the well-known bible story, performed by the children themselves.

Following the theme of forgiveness and reconciliation conveyed by Joseph's story, our day trip this year was to Coventry Cathedral. The weather was sunny, as these photographs show, and both helpers and children had a wonderful day out. Here they are together, posing on the steps of Coventry Cathedral, next to Sir Jacob Epstein's magnificent wall-mounted figures - just out of sight here - of St Michael defeating the Devil.

Here's another shot of the children near the altar cross in the ruins of the old Cathedral; behind it, you can just see the words Father Forgive.

Thanks to everyone who helped out at the Summer School this year, and to all the kids who joined us for those three busy days. We hope to see you all again next summer!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Carol Service with Christingles - advance notice

For those living in Flecknoe and the surrounding parishes, here’s an advance memo for your Christmas diaries: our annual Carol Service will be held on Sunday December 18th at 6pm, in St. Mark’s Church, Flecknoe. All are welcome to attend this lively and traditional Christingles service; local children will be reading the lessons and there’ll be seasonal refreshments afterwards. Which I suspect translates as mince pies and wine! Another notice will go out in December as a quick reminder, but do remember to check back on this site regularly.

We look forward to seeing you all at that special Carol Service on the 18th December. Meanwhile, do please feel free to join us for Holy Communion this Sunday morning at 9am.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Remembrance Sunday 2005

Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength
They shall mount up with wings like eagles
They shall run and not be weary
They shall walk and not faint

Isaiah 40.31

St. Mark's Churchyard, Flecknoe, Warwickshire

Two PRAYERS follow here on the occasion of Remembrance Sunday; these and further resources can be found at this prayers website.

A Prayer for the Forces of the Crown
From the Book of Common Order of the Church of Scotland
Almighty God, in you alone we find safety and peace. We commend to your gracious keeping all the men and women who serve in the Navy, the Army, or the Air Force, who face danger and put their lives at risk so that others might live in safety. Defend them day by day by your heavenly power; and help them to know that they can never pass beyond the reach of your care. Keep alive in them and in us your vision of that peace which alone we must seek and serve; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Prayer for the Victims of War
From a prayer of St Anselm (1033-1109)
God of love, whose compassion never fails; we bring before you the griefs and perils of peoples and nations; the necessities of the homeless; the helplessness of the aged and weak; the sighings of prisoners; the pains of the sick and injured; the sorrow of the bereaved. Comfort and relieve them, O merciful Father, according to their needs; for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Flecknoe: family research request

We recently received the following request for family history information connected to the parishes of Flecknoe and Wolfhampcote. Anyone who would like to help Cyril with his request can leave a comment below this post by clicking Comment or email the Parish Information Officer (see Links column) for further information.

My grandfather William Esme Wright was born in Flecknoe in 1872, so I assume the family lived in the village at this time. His family was listed in 1881 as living in Puddle House, Wolfhampcote. I believe the family were in service with the Thornton family of Brockhall. I’m interested in this period. Perhaps you can help with a name or other information?

Thanks and regards

Cyril Cooper

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Poetry Group

There will be a meeting this month for anyone interested in forming a group to look at a particular poet’s work each month and maybe stimulate some personal writing. The first meeting will focus on the work of R.S. Thomas, a priest and world-renowned Welsh poet who only died a few years ago and whose work deals with spiritual, scientific and social themes in a highly individual and powerful manner.

The meeting is to be held at 7.30pm on Tuesday 29th November at Offa House, which is the Coventry Diocesan Retreat House and Conference Centre, based at Offchurch, near Leamington Spa.

For further details and to book a place, email offahouse@btconnect.com or phone 01926 433309.

The cost will be £4.

For more information on the work of R.S. Thomas, click here for a selection of poems or here for a short but comprehensive overview of his life and achievements.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Fancy sending some unusual gifts this Christmas?

Ever thought of giving your boss a can of worms for Christmas? A herd of goats for your mother-in-law? Or perhaps a couple of sheep instead?

Christian Aid has a catalogue full of these amazing and unique gifts, priced from only £7. There's a twist though - the gifts go to the people who need them, rather than to your friends and relatives, who will receive a Christian Aid gift card instead, with a picture to show exactly what has been bought on their behalf and how it will benefit some of the poorest people in the world.

For £30, you can buy a can of worms for Bolivian farmers to improve the soil! For only £24, a community tapstand of clean fresh water can be installed to help prevent disease. For those on a budget, £7 buys a vital stethoscope for Cambodian health workers and £11 provides a mosquito net for children at risk from malaria.

More expensive gift ideas include: £55 for a latrine; a herd of goats to be 'revolved' from family to family for only £60; £150 to train a midwife; £370 to provide a Peruvian community with a rural library of 1000 books; £1,200 for earthquake-proof housing, providing much-needed shelter for those left homeless.

This is a fantastic idea and we hope everyone gives it a go this year! You can get hold of a Present Aid catalogue by calling 0845 3300 500 during office hours. Alternatively, you can visit the Present Aid website by clicking here and downloading a catalogue online. It doesn't have to be for Christmas either; you can buy these gifts all year round. Even if you feel it's not for you, why not mention Present Aid to a friend, relative or colleague? You could save countless lives just by passing the information on.

For other information on charitable gifts and what happens to your money, the Christian Aid website itself can be reached here.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

do you know who made this banner?

In St. Mark’s Church, this beautiful Mothers' Union banner, embroidered in gold and blue with a lily design, stands on display near the altar. Sadly, no Mothers' Union activities have taken place in the parish for some time. So it has been suggested to us that this banner, which may be several decades old, could be donated instead to one of the many Mothers' Union groups in linked dioceses in Africa or another part of the expanding Anglican Church abroad.

If anyone knows who embroidered this particular MU banner for St. Mark’s Church, or who objects to it being donated abroad, could they please contact us with the details by clicking EMAIL: Parish Information Officer in the right-hand column opposite under Links, or leave a note on this site by clicking Comments below this entry.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Asia Earthquake: do you want to help?

More than 24,000 people are now estimated to have died in the recent devastating earthquake in South Asia, and that number is likely to rise. The plight of the survivors is pitiable, with no shelter or access to medical help in many areas. As you will have seen on the news, Pakistan has suffered the most in this natural disaster, with many villages completely destroyed, but some regions of India and Afghanistan have also sustained serious damage.

In the face of human tragedy on such an unimaginable scale, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and unable to help. But there are a few simple ways in which we can all make a difference.

One way we can help is to make a donation, large or small. You can do this in High Street Banks or at the Post Office. To make an instant donation, ring the Disasters Emergency Committee 24-hour automated line on 0870 60 60 900, with a credit/debit card to hand, or visit their website here.

Another way we can all help is to pray.

Lord, we lift to you the devastated peoples of South Asia in the wake of the recent earthquake there. Comfort them in their distress and grief, lighten their pain and suffering, fill them with the spirit of hope. We pray also for the charity workers and medical teams in the region, for those who work daily to restore electricity supplies and provide food and shelter for the many thousands left homeless. Be with them, Lord, guide and sustain them in their labours. In the knowledge of your mercy and in the name of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Lastly, we can encourage others to make donations to the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal.

To download this eye-catching official poster, click here and scroll down the page to find Download South Asia Quake poster. Download, print it out and place it prominently at your place of work.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Flashback to Spring Teas 2005

As this Flecknoe Parish website was only launched last month, we have missed out on several opportunities to publish photographs taken at church events over the past year ... and even before.

So, to rectify the situation, here are some shots of our excellent Spring Teas, held at St. Mark's earlier this year.

The Punch and Judy event proved just as popular with the kids as last year

which gave the adults a chance to catch up on village news!

We were blessed with excellent weather for an outdoor event

and the home-made cream teas were mouth-watering as always! Many thanks to everyone who helped.

It's always a pleasure for St Mark's Church to host special events like this, especially when it brings so many members of our village community together.

Thank you for joining us for our Spring Teas event this year. We hope to see you all again soon at St. Mark's!

Friday, October 07, 2005

why bother with church?

Have you stopped going to church in the past few years? Have you thought about going to church but felt it was not right for you? Do you often wonder why people bother going to church at all?

If you are interested in the results of a new nationwide survey examining the causes of declining church attendance, you can visit the Church Survey site and download it for free.

Based on a non-denominational questionnaire, the survey was conducted last year via national newspapers and magazines, parish magazines and Christian organisations. Described as 'a forum for all people to air their views', the results make interesting and provocative reading.

You can also purchase a copy of the survey in booklet form by sending a cheque for £3.50 - payable to the 'Ecumenical Research Committee' - to the following address:

The Ecumenical Research Committee
19 Glenfield Road

Friday, September 30, 2005

Prayer for the International Centre, Coventry Cathedral

Lord, we pray for the International Centre at Coventry Cathedral which does such wonderful work towards reconciliation in some of the most troubled areas in the world. We pray for a solution to the funding crisis and for all the staff who have received redundancy notices.


Wednesday, September 28, 2005

prayer for the hurricane victims

Lord, we pray for those caught up in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and ask that the light of your presence may sustain them through the difficult days and weeks ahead as families return home and begin rebuilding their lives.

We pray also for those helping in the stricken areas, for relief workers and their families, that you may be with them in their struggle to reestablish order from chaos and to bring comfort to those in need. We ask this in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Get Well Soon, Beth!

We have all been delighted to learn that Revd Beth Smith is recovering well from her recent hip operation.

Friends visiting Beth at St. Cross Hospital on the day after her operation found her sitting up in bed with her usual vigour and determination!

Please do join with us in praying for her speedy recovery.

Here's Beth in full flow at last year's Harvest Festival ...

Monday, September 26, 2005

Parish Blog Watch.

If you have a few spare moments, do check out another local parish blog by clicking here. This one is attached to the Rugby Team Ministry and written by the Revd Mark Beach, Team Rector for Rugby.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Harvest Festival Supper and Charity Auction

Our Harvest Service of Thanksgiving, followed by a hot supper and Charity Auction, went extremely well last Sunday and a good evening was had by all!

About 50 people came to the Harvest Festival service itself, always one of the best attended of the year, with about 60 coming to the Flecknoe village hall afterwards for supper.

The food was home-produced and excellent as always! 

We raised £227.55 from an auction of fresh local produce, which will be donated to Rugby Myton Hospice

Our heartfelt thanks, as always, to the hardworking team who decorated the church, set up the village hall, prepared and served 60 main courses and desserts ... and even washed up afterwards!

Our thanks also to David Thomas, our talented auctioneer, and to everyone who attended the evening and gave so generously in their auction bids.

We look forward to another successful Harvest Festival at St. Mark's in 2006!

Friday, September 16, 2005

Thanksgiving Service

'The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the Harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.'
Luke 10. 2

As this photograph of the beautiful window decorations at St. Mark's shows, taken only this afternoon, autumn is here again. Which means it's time for our annual Harvest Supper and auction of fresh - mostly home-grown! - produce. Here in Warwickshire, the blackberries are ripe, the apples are crying out to be made into pies and crumbles, and if you don't pick the last of the runner beans soon, you could be in trouble!

Our harvest celebrations begin on Sunday 18th September with a 6pm Service of Thanksgiving at St. Mark's, after which we will cross to the Flecknoe Village Hall for supper. Photographs from the Harvest Supper will be posted up on this site as soon as they are available.

Bible Study: The Book of Genesis

A gravestone in St. Mark's Churchyard.

‘Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a sword flaming and turning to guard the way to the tree of life.’

Genesis 3, 23-24

Having covered Luke and Acts in the New Testament, we started again after the summer break at the very beginning: the Book of Genesis.

By the end of the meeting, we had covered the Creation of the Universe and reached the part where Adam and Eve disobey God by eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and are cast out of Eden forever. There was a lively group discussion about which of them was to blame for the fall, and on the differences between men and women in general!

The next Bible Study evening will be held on October 4th at Willoughby Vicarage (7.30pm - 9pm) when we will continue reading from Genesis 4. Newcomers and regulars always welcome. Contact Reverend Bill Griffiths on 01788 890309.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Welcome to St Mark's, Flecknoe!

This weblog has been created for the church of St Mark's, Flecknoe, a parish in the English county of Warwickshire, part of the Leam Valley Benefice and within the Coventry Diocese.

Links to the Diocese, to Coventry Cathedral and to the Church of England can be found to the right.

A detail from one of the beautiful stained glass windows in St. Mark's Church

'Just as you have done it to one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it to me'
Matthew 25 v. 40

The PCC will be posting pictures of past and future events here, and letting people know about forthcoming projects at St Mark's. Please feel free to leave a comment!