We are getting on top of the prolonged summer growth in the graveyard. Roger Bennett and other volunteers have worked hard through the year but there is a limit to what can be achieved by a few. Tom Vickers has put in a day’s work with strimmer and mower, tidying hard-to-access areas around the back of the church and along path edges and the results look good. We are hoping he will have time to do further work when it is not quite so wet.
Perhaps it is useful to point out here that the planting of shrubs on graves is strongly discouraged as they get in the way of mowing . Several have appeared recently and we are in the process of asking that they be removed. The Diocese of Southwell issues strict guidelines for what is allowed in graveyards, including rules about gravestones, monuments and inscriptions. Churchwardens are asked to discourage artificial flowers, candles, windmills, ornaments and other mementos and to remove them should they be left on graves. Seasonal materials for festivals and poppies for Remembrance Sunday should be removed after a few weeks. The intention is that a rural church graveyard should reflect its setting. I hope this goes some way to explain why we try to abide by the rules. The vicar and churchwardens hold copies of the rules, which are available if anyone has a query.
Singing around the Christmas tree on the Glebe Field was a new joint venture between, Parish Council, WI. and church. We invited the Salvation Army Junior Band who performed in church some time ago in celebration of William Booth. The weather was perfect, the village turned out in good numbers and the band led the carol singing. Hot drinks, mince pies and ginger biscuits were provided by the WI and mulled wine was served at the Waggon. Thank you to the Parish Council for organising marquee, lighting and the Christmas tree, and to all those who worked hard to make the event such a success.
The Crib Service held on Christmas Eve attracted a full house as usual. We managed to find seats or perches for 250 adults and children. Thank you to the Children of Bleasby School and the young men from the Minster School who read so well and helped with organisation, and to everyone- children and adults who dressed up. “It always gets Christmas off to good start” was representative of views from the pews!
The Christmas morning Holy Communion service was well attended, and we had the additional pleasure of welcoming Tim and Joy Linnell, their daughter and son-in-law Sarah and Steven, and two of their granddaughters. Many of you will remember Tim and Joy, who were strong supporters of St.Mary’s before they moved away.
We are holding a Shrove Tuesday Supper again this year and we are pleased that the Sheepish Grin duo have agreed to return and provide musical entertainment. If you missed them at the harvest supper in 2012 you missed a treat. £10 will secure you a ticket which includes a hot supper, wine and entertainment. Please book early to avoid disappoint-ment. The village hall can accommodate 50 for a sit-down supper and tickets are likely to go quickly.
Soup and cheese lunches will be held in the village hall on three Saturdays in Lent, March 15th and 29th, and April 12th. Everyone is welcome to these events which take place between 12.30 and 2pm. If you intend to come as a group and would like to sit together, it is a good idea to come early. A donation of £5 per head is requested. No tickets required, but prior notification of large groups would be helpful. We aim to draw attention to all those who go hungry, in areas affected by natural and man-made disasters and through poverty throughout the world - including this country. The proceeds will be given to Christian Aid.