|NEW YEAR READING ON QUARKS, CHAOS AND OTHER MATTERS
This is to remind you that the Church library contains a selection of varied and interesting books.
One example is Quarks, Chaos and Christianity by John Polkinghorne, former Cambridge University Professor of Mathematical Physics and Anglican Priest. Subjects under discussion in this book include whether science is fact and religion merely opinion, and is there a mind of a creator behind the universe.
Another good read is Born Again by Charles Colson, a former aide to a controversial US President, which gives fascinating insights into life in the Oval Office.
For those who like a more devotional read, I recommend Just As I Am by Ruth Etchells, a book of thought-provoking prayers. There is also a copy of the Koran in the library, and I personally found reading this a most surprising and interesting experience.
So, feel free to unlatch the gate of kids corner, resist the temptation to play with the toys and have a browse.
I would like to thank everybody who made cakes for the stall at the Christmas Fair. It was much appreciated. I would also like to thank my helpers on the day.
The November meeting was the AGM. At this meeting the President and the Secretary resigned after three years in office. They were presented with a basket of flowers each and given a vote of thanks for their work.
The position of President will now be taken up by Mrs Joan Webb, and for the most part, a new committee was formed.
After the general business of the meeting was over, the members enjoyed a very interesting talk and slide show which gave an insight into the country of Argentina. A place few of us knew anything about.
I am delighted to report that our annual box opening has once again exceeded £1000! This is a tremendous achievement and I would like to say on behalf of the Society A VERY BIG THANK YOU to everyone who contributed to this total.
PS New box holders always welcome!
At the time of writing (beginning of December) there is no news to report of the appointment of a new Dean but the good news is that Canon James Newcome is to become the new Bishop of Penrith in the Carlisle Diocese. His consecration will be in York Minister on 19th March. Dean Stephen Smalley has retired to live in Gloucestershire where he is continuing to work on a great commentary on the Book of Revelation.
For some time many people have wished to see the curtains at the great West doors replaced, as well as those inside the south-west porch. As far back as 1993 it was agreed that some money left over from the 1992 celebrations should be devoted to some new ones. Thanks to the Friends of the Cathedral this will now take place. They have been commissioned by the Chapter and will be of hand-dyed silk velvet and a work of art in themselves.
The dedication of this remarkable window was one of Dean Smalleys last duties before he left Chester. Unfortunately, within a very few days of its installation a cobblestone was thrown through it. It had been thought that the window stood enough back from Abbey Square to be safe sadly that was soon to be proved wrong. Most of the glass is irreplacable but the stone fortunately shattered a piece that could be replaced. A temporary protection was quickly put in place by the Estate Team and a permanent steel grill will now protect it. The Friends Council has very generously agreed to bear the cost.
New Song School
The Friends Council has also promised a very significant contribution towards the cost of the new Song School and have pledged enough money to pay for the beautiful rose window that will adorn its north-facing gable end. It was hoped to begin construction last April but for various reasons connected with the complexity of the site it had to be deferred and is now scheduled to begin next March and all should be finished by the end of April 2003. The medieval staircase that used to link the monks dormitory to the Cloisters will then be in daily use again.
A number of Cathedral staff reached retirement in December 2001. Margaret Lewis, cleaner for 46 years; Peter Hebblewhite, joiner for 20 years (previously a Lay Clerk and a resident in Abbey Street since the 1960s); Yvonne Mason, cleaner for 17 years; Doug Hall, gateman for 16 years; Reg Lee, gateman for 10 years; George Ford, bedesman for 11 years; Noel Darlington, bedesman for four years; and Ruth Heale and Maureen Crudge, both in the Shop for three years but both will be staying on as volunteers. They are all wished a happy and fulfilling retirement.
A record was probably set when on 5th November the Cathedral Shop sold, in a single transaction, to an American lady, who was buying Christmas presents to take home, goods worth £500!
Burns Eve Night
A treasure trail in the Cathedral with a prize for the winner takes place on 24th January. The ticket price is £3 which includes shortbread and a glass of wine.
David Poulter will be giving three recitals in January on Thursday 3rd and Thursday 10th , and also on 24th. William Nicholson will give one recital on 17th and Roger Fisher on 31st.
BRITISH LEGION POPPY APPEAL
I would like to say thank you to everyone from Littleton, Marbury Road, Cedar Park, Stamford Court, and Broadmead areas and down the A51 for their generous support for the Poppy Appeal 2001. The amount I collected was £391.00.
During the autumn local gardens have been full of wild birds looking for food in the lawns, borders, from fruit, flowers and seeds etc, and now that this source is diminishing they are tackling food from the hedgerows. Recently we've had up to four coal tits feeding on the bird-table, and Ive seen parties of 20 or so in the Churchyard, together with similar numbers of long-tail tits. Robins are now in their full winter plumage and dominate life around the bird tables, whilst the mouse-like hedge sparrow forages at the base, often in the company of the more vociferous jenny wren. Now is a good time to make sure that you have a tray or container of water for the birds to drink from, especially if we have some hard frosts during the winter months.
Other large parties of birds in and around the village at present include redwing and fieldfare. These large highly coloured thrushes winter here, coming from their breeding grounds in Scandinavia. When they arrive at the end of October they can strip a long hedge of berries within days. A group of 60 or so lapwings, or peewits as they used to be called, can be seen in fields around Littleton. These are small wader-like birds that once were very common on local farmland, but are now really quite scarce. Skeins of Canada geese, probably from Eaton Hall or the upper Dee meadows, and parties of mute swans can also be seen flying around the village.
Also keep an eye out on a sunny day for buzzards, a large brown bird of prey, soaring in the thermals above the village, and for the male hobby, a small but very colourful bird of prey that often comes into canalside gardens during winter months. Sparrowhawks can often be seen swooping low along hedgerows, and also visit village gardens, usually to feed on a pigeon or small bird it has caught. Recent reports indicate that there are several tawny owls calling in the village at night, which might indicate that they are looking for a new territory, or perhaps a temporary roost site. The smaller Little Owl is also likely to be seen on oak trees, or telegraph posts along village lanes, now that the leaves have fallen to the ground
Photo of the Month
This is a photograph of a sketch of Rowton Bridge dating from between 1850-1870. The artist is unknown but it comes from the collection of village memorabilia of Roy Fisher. The cottage was known as the salt box and was built of local sandstone, probably from the quarry in Quarry Lane. It seems that canal boats would deposit supplies of salt at the cottage, and villagers wanting salt for salting meat etc, could obtain it there. The meat could then be kept hanging in dairies during the winters, or perhaps in the village Ice House situated at the bottom of the wood near Hen Davarn, to the right of the main entrance way to Christleton High School. It is said that this route through the village was once used by travellers wishing to avoid the Toll Gate opposite Christleton Bank (The Abbotts Well). Perhaps the large posts at the foot of the bridge indicate that there was once a toll gate there. The gate on the left probably leads down a track, which is now known as Skips Lane.
A Celebration of Christleton: History & Wildlife
A new slide presentation together with a Buffet Supper at the Parish Hall on Saturday 26th January 2002 at 7.00pm (in aid of village charities).
Admission £6 adults, £3 children (includes buffet supper & glass of wine/orange juice).
This talk will include many new photographs of village life taken from the collection of slides made by Ernest Hall whilst Post Master in the village during the 1960s and 1970s, and from other new sources. The first half will describe the history of the village over 2000 years, and the second half will be devoted to the wildlife of the village, including the village swans, and at the Hockenhull Platts Nature Reserve. Please reserve your tickets beforehand from David or Beryl Cummings at 332410, or from Paul Jackson at the Post Office in order that catering can be organised. Thank you.
Dont be a prisoner to domestic violence is the message from the Diocessan Committee for Social Responsibilitys Domestic Violence Action Group which aims to enable the church to begin to tackle the evil of domestic abuse.
Domestic Violence is defined as the emotional, physical, sexual or psychological abuse of persons by their partners, family member or someone with whom there has been a relationship.
The facts are genuinely shocking. The British Medical Association confirms that one in four women experience domestic violence, with two women dying each week at the hands of their husband or partner. In Cheshire police reckon they attend no more than 5% of all incidents and last year were called to over 8000.
And its not just adults who suffer. Half of all children who come to the attention of social services live with the devastating effect of violence in the home. It is also cited in one in three divorces. It is becoming known also that an increasing number of elderly people suffer abuse of this kind.
Domestic Violence respects no boundaries of class, creed or race. It may simply be better disguised in some communities than others. We who attend church week by week are not immune. We may be those who suffer, or the friends, relatives or colleagues of those who live through the hell of feeling trapped and powerless in an abusive relationship.
In our churches we celebrate and promote Gods gift of lifelong, loving relationship.. So we have a particular responsibility to be involved when, or before, things go wrong. Yet we are part of a culture of silence which surrounds the whole issue.
Now we have an opportunity to join in a growing network of those who want to break that silence. Not only clergy, and pastoral workers pastoral but ordinary members of the congregration can make a real difference by developing awareness of the fact that domestic violence is no respecter of persons. Even people we think we have known for years may be suffering in silence. So much of peoples lives remains hidden. We can all help through this awareness by providing the opportunity to confide, listen, affirm, support and point to expert help. No one need be a prisoner to domestic violence.
There is a poster at the back of the church, highlighting the problem and giving helpline numbers. The Chester number is 01244 317929. You can contact them direct or if you would prefer you can make the initial contact through either Gill Hibbert(01244 336544 ) or Liz Evans(01244 335468) who are the local representatives for the Committee for Social Responsibility.Any such contact would be completely confidential.
MAKE YOUR SPARE CURRENCY COUNT!
As many countries in Europe change over to the Euro, after February 2002 their old currency will no longer be accepted. You wont be able to spend this foreign currency, so make sure it doesnt go to waste by donating it to Christian Aid.
Collecting up the small amounts of foreign currency left over from holidays or business trips is very easy. It costs you nothing, but every kilo of currency you collect is equivalent to £16. Christian Aid will use all the money to benefit people in the worlds poorest countries.
The 12 currencies are:
You can collect the currency as a church, at school, at work or amongst your friends. Then all you have to do is drop your currency in at a branch of The Co-operative Bank. For your nearest branch visit: www.co-operativebank.co.uk
You can donate coins and notes. Although the currencies listed will no longer be in use after February 2002, you can make your donations at The Co-operative Bank until May 2002. Christian Aids website www.christian-aid.org.uk has up-to-date information about the appeal.
CHRISTMAS AND THE OUTCASTS
Exclusion in its various forms is at the heart of the Christmas story. Mary and Joseph were turned away from the inn that should have given them shelter. As a new-born baby Jesus was denied even the comfort of a babys crib, and the whole family then found themselves driven out of their homeland by Herods cruelty.
These are familiar details. Yet it comes as a shock to know that there are people today who suffer similar forms of exclusion: people who live in the poorest conditions and are kept at arms length by other people, as a result of cruel, and illegal, discrimination.
India's hidden apartheid
Indias caste system places the dalits at the bottom of the social hierarchy. They fall outside the Hindu caste system, which consists of four groups, from the priests (Brahmins) at the top, down to the service caste (Shudra) at the bottom. Ninety per cent of people living below the poverty line in India fall into this group. They take their name from the Sanskrit word meaning crushed or downtrodden and are sometimes referred to as the untouchables.
The dalits are the true outcasts and make their living doing the most menial of tasks,such as sweeping the roads or disposing of dead animals. They usually live apart from caste Hindu communities and are forbidden from entering places of worship or using public wells.
Untouchability is illegal under the 1950 Indian Constitution, yet despite certain constitutional provisions, oppression and open discrimination of the dalits continues.
Christian Aid supports a number of organisations that focus on the empowerment of dalit communities.
Thangamani from Tamil Nadu is one of nearly 250 million dalits in India today. Her husband Chinnakannu was responsible for keeping land records for the local village administrative officer. When a landlord asked him to illegally transfer the title for the common land worked by the dalits of the village to his name, Chinnakannu refused to abuse his position. This is one of the many ways in which upper caste landowners attempt to increase their landholdings.
The law states that, after 50 years, ownership of common land passes to the children of the dalits who tend it. Thangamani and her husband have since been in a longstanding land dispute with the landlord.
Thangamani is able to support her family thanks to an initiative by Christian Aids partner, Activists for Social Alternatives (ASA). ASA is working to educate, organise and mobilise rural workers, most of whom are dalits. In Thangamanis village they have promoted a womens association (sangam) of which Thangamani is the leader. The sangam has enabled the women to set up their own rural bank, Gram Vidyal. Vidyal means dawn in Tamil. The women chose that name because it signifies a new dawn in their lives and a way out of being trapped in debt to commercial moneylenders.
Thangamani says, Attending the sangam meetings and representing my dalit colleagues has given me the confidence and strength to keep fighting for our rights.
Christian Aids Christmas appeal is focusing on ASAs work with dalit communities. With your help they hope that one day the dalits will no longer be outcasts at Christmas.
Ours is a battle, not for wealth or for power, it is a battle for freedom. It is a battle for the reclamation of human personality. Dr BR Ambedkar, architect of the Indian Constitution.
Christleton Tadpoles are just the Best on the Net
The Woodland Trust were looking recently for suitable pictures of tadpoles to illustrate their phenology leaflet and searching the internet they found the photographs I had taken in my pond at Stoneydale in the Spring which appear on the Christleton web site. I was only too pleased to give permission for them to use the picture above. The whole incident has made me smile as I never considered that one of my achievements in life would be that of a tadpole photographer!
SAYING THE LORDS PRAYER: A REFLECTION FROM NICARAGUA
Dont say Father if you dont behave like a son each day.
Dont say Our if you only ever think of yourself.
Dont say As it is in heaven if you only ever think of earthly matters.
Dont say Hallowed be your name if you dont honour that name.
Dont say Your kingdom come if you are weighed down with material goods.
Dont say Your will be done if you dont accept the hard times.
Dont say Our daily bread if you have no concern for the hungry or the homeless.
Dont say Forgive us our sins if you remain angry with your brothers.
Dont say Lead us not into temptation if you intend to continue sinning.
Dont say Deliver us from evil if you wont make a stand against injustice.
Dont say Amen without considering the words of your prayer.
Because Easter is early next year, its not too soon to be thinking about your Lent reading. One suggestion is the Christian Aid/Hodder Lent Book, Jesus Hope for Life, edited by Paula Clifford (priced £5.99).The theme of hope is explored through daily readings on topics such as Jesus reaching out to outsiders, welcoming strangers and forgiving failure. Each week begins with a reflection on one of the I am sayings of Jesus.The book can be used for private prayer and reflection or as a basis for small group study. Its contributors include members of Christian Aid staff and some distinguished theologians from outside the organisation, including Inderjit Bhogal, Kathy Galloway, John Gladwin and Leslie Griffiths. It offers the opportunity to think about some of the issues of crucial importance to our world today among them justice, peace and conflict, and the crisis of HIV/AIDS.
Help me to be a person of the future. I want to go beyond lamenting violence to repent of the things that make for violence. I want to go beyond declaring peace to making peace. May we walk your paths in a community as wide as the world we share. Amen.
Rebecca Dudley in Jesus Hope for Life