December/January News

Posted on December 5th, 2015

From the Rector

A refugee Christmas.

When I was a fairly young teenager, our local church youth group put on a play entitled a Refugee Christmas. It must have had a profound impact on me because I can remember it now. Sadly it would seem that it is just as topical now as it was 40 years ago with vast numbers of people on the move.

Each year we donate the proceeds from one of our carol services to Embrace the Middle East, the charity which used to call itself Bible Lands. Its strap line this Christmas is ‘No crib for a bed?’ It calls us all to remember as we sing those famous words in the carol Away in a Manger, (in my case it will probably be too many times to count!) those mothers who will have nowhere to lay their babies this Christmas time. Their Christmas appeal reminds us that history is tragically repeating itself in the lands where Jesus was born and lived 2000 years ago. Whilst Mary and Joseph had to place their newborn son in a feeding trough, todays refugees have been found placing their babies in a discarded plastic crate. In makeshift accommodation for Syrian refugees across the border in Lebanon one young mother, Farah, cut holes in the crate to make room for her baby’s legs as she grew. It is hoped that the generosity of our congregations will help transform the situations for young mothers such as Farah. Jesus reminds us that ‘whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ [Matthew 25 v 40]

Christians believe that one day Christ will return to redeem the earth; I wonder whether he would choose to return as a refugee fleeing from conflict in the Middle East?

Closer to home many of us face struggles of our own. As always we hold special thoughts and prayers for those facing their first Christmas without a loved one and those still finding it difficult even many years later. All of our churches will be decorated for Christmas and be open not just for services but for your own quiet moments of prayer, contemplation and reflection. This year at Pembridge we have added a candle stand in the Lady Chapel where you can go and light a candle for a person or situation that is on your heart. Prayers too can be written and left there on the board and each one will be prayed for silently by myself or another member of the clergy.

People often ask me how I cope with the sadder parts of ministry and I tend to say that I try to balance it with the joyous parts. So I will be uplifted as always by the excited babble of Messy Christmas up at Pembridge village hall, the sound of children singing carols across our group, the beauty of our churches lit up by candlelight, the smell of wood smoke as it curls up from the chimneys as I walk back up to the Rectory in the evening and the joy of the dogs as they re-discover the delights of rolling in the first snow of winter. But most of all it will be the thought that God loved us so much he was prepared to send his son as a vulnerable little baby into a dark world to bring Good News to us all. Whatever cheers your heart I wish that you find it in great abundance this Christmas and that it will bring you peace.

May the true message of Christmas bring you peace and joy this Christmastime.

With every blessing Brenda

Travelling Crib

Each year we have three travelling cribs with knitted nativity figures which go around our homes in Pembridge, Lyonshall and Shobdon.
The cribs will be blessed at the group Advent carol service at 11am November 29th in Pembridge church before they begin their journey. As the crib goes round, each child, or household if you are young at heart; may keep a sheep from the flock to remind them of their visit. On Christmas Eve [or the day before!] we hold a crib service where we invite everyone to bring their sheep to church to re-unite it with the flock. We hear once again a simple retelling of the Christmas story and sing a few traditional carols together.
Travelling with the crib figures will be a story book, carol sheets and a short ‘handover service’.
Ideally one family brings it to the home of the next people on the list, they share the short service, sing a carol together and maybe eat a mince pie or two! It is a great way to get to know each other a little better. Sometimes this sort of handover isn’t possible and the handover takes place at the school gate. Either way we hope you will want to be involved.
If you would like to host the crib for a night please contact one of the following:
Shobdon – Cerian Stokes 01568 709293
Lyonshall – Tracey Kerr 01544 340889
or Pat Addis 01544 340261
Pembridge – Sarah Norman
01544 388305

Crib services this year take place at:
Shobdon church Wednesday 23rd December at 3pm
Lyonshall church –crib and Christingle Christmas Eve 3.00pm
Pembridge church Christmas Eve 4.30pm

Feel free to come to whichever best suits your family arrangements!

Arrowvale Choir

The Arrowvale choir goes from strength to strength under the direction of Tim Hollinghurst. They are singing for us at all the major festivals as well as at a monthly 11.00am communion service at Pembridge on the third Sunday of each month. They are also singing choral evensong at 6.00pm at Shobdon on alternate months. The next one is scheduled for January 17th 2016.
We would welcome any new members either young or not so young and we are particularly short of tenors. If you could sing even on an occasional basis Tim would be very pleased to hear from you. Regular practice sessions are currently held on Tuesday evenings. Christmas is a lovely time to join the choir as much of the music is so familiar to us all. Further details from:
Tim Hollinghurst on 01547560805

Early warning – Lent begins on Ash Wednesday – 10th February 2016. Lent groups will be meeting morning and evening for 5 consecutive Wednesdays beginning Feb 17th. Look out for further details in the next issue.

Byton News

This service was well attended and the church beautifully decorated by Rosemary Segrott and Sally Evans. The supper was very much enjoyed thanks to the excellent catering ladies.
Carol Service
This will take place at 7pm on Monday, December 21st and be followed by mince pies and mulled wine.
PCC Meeting
There is to be a PCC Meeting on Monday January 11th at 8pm at Court House Farm.

Whisky Galore
Come and join us for a Scottish themed evening on Saturday, January 23rd, 7.30 for 8pm, at Kinsham Village Hall in aid of Church funds.Tickets £15 to include haggis supper, raffle ticket, whisky tasting, quiz,and dancing. Details from Paul Segrott 01544 260075, or

Lyonshall News

Lyonshall Church Draw
Latest winners are: Tony Hern, Della and Mike, Gina Melville, Mr Sutherland, Mike Powell

Lyonshall Coffee Mornings
Join us at the Memorial Hall, Lyonshall, for our monthly Coffee Mornings every second Friday, between 10 and 12 noon.
The next two dates for your diaries are the Festive special (with a few extras!) on Friday December 11th and then into the New Year; Friday January 8th, 2016.

Fundraising news…
In October we raised £80 which was donated to Churches Housing Trust, and in November we were able to support Parkinsons UK with a cheque for £100. Thanks, as always, to everyone for their generous support.
Come along to our monthly social get-together and meet some old friends and new. Enjoy refreshments, stalls and good company in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, and support a good cause at the same time.
For further details or to arrange transport, please contact Kathy Thompson on 01544 340386. Everyone welcome.

Macmillan Coffee Morning
Thank you to everyone who came along to support the Macmillan World’s Biggest Coffee Morning in September in Lyonshall.
The support was exceptional as always, and we raised a fantastic total of £400.00 for this amazing charity.

Christmas Concert
This is to take place in Lyonshall Church on Friday, December 11th at 7pm. There will be singing from two local choirs and some solo preformances. There will also be a chance for everyone to sing along to carols. Admission £10 including Ploughman’s Supper at Titley Village Hall. Proceeds to be given to Lyonshall and Titley Churches.

Santa Special
This event, which was to have been held at Titley Junction on December 13th, has been cancelled due to a combination of circumstances. It is hoped that it will take place again next year.

Pembridge News

Happy Birthday Pembridge CE Primary School
150 years ago on 29th January 1866, a new Church School opened in Pembridge. An endowment from Mr William Carpenter of the village in 1650 established the first village school (the original building still exists today), but the National Society ordered the construction of a new purpose-built Victorian building. It was originally two separate schools – one for the girls in two rooms on the West side and the boys in two East rooms. Each school had its own school house. The two buildings united 12 years after opening.
Miss Alice Tudor and Mr David Harmer were the first head teachers of the school which consisted of 53 girls and 50 boys. They taught lessons alongside pupil teachers. The three R’s with singing, religion, needlework for the girls and drawing for the boys were the main subjects taught in tiered classrooms with long backless benches and desks.
Today the extended and refurbished school is still at the heart of this thriving village and receives huge support for its contribution to education in the community. During the last school year, it has been awarded outstanding Ofsted and Church School (SIAMS) inspection grades and is a school which lives up to its original Christian heart, seeking to provide ‘inspiring learning through faith and values’.

Invitation to all
On Friday 29th January 2016, we will be holding a service at St Mary’s Church, Pembridge at 1.30pm with Bishop Richard where we will celebrate exactly 150 years of our wonderful school. You are welcome to attend our celebrations. The afternoon will continue with refreshments here in school. Please let Mrs Biddle know if you are able to share our 150th anniversary with us by phoning the school on (01544) 388366 so that we can cater for you.

Can you help?
Do you have any photographs or documents relating to the history of the school which we might borrow for the occasion? Family memories, old school reports, work books could all help create a special record of the effect this school has had on the village. If so, please let us know and we will make a copy if possible. Do you have stories about the old school before it was extended and remodelled in the 1970s? Do you remember the old classrooms, what you were taught, what happened if you were naughty…? If so, you would be very welcome to come into our classes in January and share your memories. Thank you.

Harvest Supper.
Thank you to all who attended and helped at this event. It was another very enjoyable evening and raised £350 towards church funds.
The harvest collection amounted to £417 and was split equally between Tearfund and R.A.B.I. The food donated during the service has been taken to a local food bank.

Food Bank Collections.
Due to the ever increasing need for local food banks, there is a box just inside the church in which you can donate items suitable for this purpose. These items will be taken to Kington or Leominster to supplement the demand in these areas.

Tapestry Calendars.
If there are any calendars still for sale they will be available either in the church or from The Olde Steppes.

Woodcock Fayre.
Thank you to all who supported this event. Full details regarding this new venture will be in the next magazine.

Reading Rota.
Dec 6th Communion A Anderson C Price
20th Carol Service TBA
24th Midnight Mass TBA
25th Christmas Day TBA
Jan 3rd Communion E Lynch R Scott
17th Communion E Hardy S Pim
24th Family Service K Skelton
Feb 7th Communion C or R Barclay C or M Fothergill

Pembridge WI
Pembridge WI usually meet on the second Wednesday of the month in Pembridge Villge Hall but in December we are going to The Cider Orchard Restaurant at Hereford College for a Christmas lunch. We are also going to The Courtyard Theatre for the pantomime. In January we will be back in the village hall for an afternoon of craft, chat and tea. In February we will be hearing about The Titanic.
If you are interested in the WI you are most welcome to join us at any of our meetings. We also have a reading group and we often go walking , ten-pin bowling and lunching.
Contacts: Marguerite Fothergill (01544 388279) Tricia Lloyd (01885 488319).

Moorcourt Harvest Festival
1st October, 2015
I would like to thank everyone who contributed to my retirement gift, lovely flowers and the very special evening that followed at the home of Clare and Eric. I was absolutely overwhelmed and I shall remember the evening always with great pleasure.
I retired from acting Church Warden duties solely due to ill health as I have very much enjoyed the many years that I have cared for Moorcourt Church and met so many lovely people whilst doing so. However, I am confident that those taking over my role will ensure continuity in this wonderful Church and that I can come along and just enjoy future services when I am able.
Thank you all again
Margaret Reid

Shobdon News

Shobdon Flower Festival News
A big thank you to all the musicians who came to enhance the Festival, with its lovely flower arrangements.
These included the Organists, Recorder players from Kington and the following Shobdon youngsters who played as follows:-
Flutes. Megan Roberts and Isobel Standring (Tutor = Catherine O’Rourke) Violin. Luke Doyle (Tutor and pianist = John Hymas and Mrs Doyle), also Tintinabulls Handbell Trio from Burghill. Their musical talent was much appreciated.
Morag Morley

The Bible Study Group
Has been discovering the Biblical background to what we believe, usually called The Creed, and recited at least once in every service. This was not just dreamt up, but was decided upon by priests and bishops from one end of the Mediterraneum to the other putting together the ideas that are essential to a simple statement of what Christians believe; and it is based on the early books and letters in the Bible written in the two hundred previous years, c. 100 – 300AD. The Creed comes from a long time ago, and it is good to study it once in a while to make sure one understands it, and to see where it comes from.
If you would like to join in this study, you would be very welcome. The group meets alternately in Shobdon and Stansbatch on Monday evenings at 7.00pm starting with coffee and biscuits, and the dates are in the calendar in the Messenger. Alternatively, phone John Andrews on 01568 708277 if you need directions.
Similarly, there is a group which meets for prayer on the first and third Tuesday of every month at 10.30am in the Methodist Chapel in Shobdon. Prayer is centred on people and needs in the group of parishes, particularly for the sick and the grieving. If you want support in your prayers, please join us, and we would pray with you. I need hardly say that what is prayed about is entirely confidential. If there is anything you would like included in the prayers, please phone Brenda Jacobs, Rector, or John Andrews.
Bible reading and prayer are to the Christian what water is to a plant – without water the plant dies

Staunton-on-Arrow News

A Day of Bridge hosted by Claire Burton was a great success, and thanks to the enormous efforts of everyone who contributed to the occasion. £832 was raised and will enable the PCC to progress necessary works to the fabric of the church.

Coffee Spot in the Village Hall on the 1st Saturday of every month. In addition to the excellent coffee and sumptuous cakes, on 5th December there will be a mini Christmas Fair to help you with those Christmas presents!

Crib Service & Father Christmas
Do come and join in our Village Christmas celebrations on Thursday 17th December. The event will start at 5pm in the Village Hall and continuing to the Church with our Rector Brenda leading children and adults through the Nativity theme and carol singing. There will be refreshments of mulled wine, mince pies and goodies for the children – and not forgetting Santa’s visit! Something for everyone.

Family carol service at St Peter’s Church will be held on 20th December 2015 at 11am, followed by seasonal refreshments in the Village Hall. All welcome.

Christmas Whist Drive at Staunton-on-Arrow on Wednesday 2nd December at 7.45pm, and at Pembridge on Thursday 17th December at 7.45pm. All welcome.

Staunton on Arrow WI
By the time you read this we will have had our November Annual meeting and will have elected our committee for 2016 and our officers. We would like to thank all who supported the Harvest Supper in October; hopefully we will be able to show the short film about Hereford at another date. Our final meeting in the year is below:
Wednesday 9 December: Christmas meeting, Room of Beauty, Nikki Scott
Hostesses: The committee

No meeting January 2016, but we will be having our usual post-Christmas Sunday lunch outing.
Wednesday 17th February “Where they served” Elizabeth Hills.
A group of members plus extras will be carol singing around the village as usual before Christmas. Our lunch club is up and running between meetings and our next lunch will be in the New Year.
Please consider visiting us at our meetings with a view to joining us as a full member; visitors and new members of all ages are always welcome. £3.50 to include refreshments, 7.30 pm at Staunton on Arrow Hall, speaker at 8pm. We have been very pleased to welcome three more new members in this last quarter: Avril Blanchot from Uphampton, Debbie Weaver and Sandra Evans, both from Staunton on Arrow.
There is a lot more information about us, plus photos and reports of our activities on our website,
Alison Lord President 01544 340256

Ringing in Memory of Pte Henry Wall
On 13th October 2015 a Quarter Peal lasting 40 minutes was rung on the bells at St Peter’s Church, Staunton-on-Arrow to commemorate the centenary of the death of Private Henry Thomas Wall of the 10th Battalion, the Gloucestershire Regiment who died on this day in 1915 aged 21 years. Henry was a bellringer here and his name can be found on the War Memorial in the churchyard.
Unfortunately we do not have any personal information about Henry other than that his parents lived at Elmfield Cottage, Stretford Bridge, an address which no longer seems to exist.
Henry’s death is recorded on the War Memorial at Loos. The Battle of Loos took place between 25th September and 19th October 2015 and records show that 13th October was a particularly tragic day with a large number of casualties. A total of 459 men from the Gloucestershire Regiment were killed during this one campaign.
In this modern age, details of Henry’s sad demise can be found on various websites about the Great War. His name is also recorded in the Rolls of Honour kept by the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers at St Paul’s Cathedral which contain the names of bellringers who gave their lives for their country.
“We will remember them.”

Kington Community Choir
Christmas is coming and Kington Community Choir has a full calendar of concerts in and around the local area in the run up to the festive season. This community choir, set up and run by Valerie Whittaker and Tina Davison, residents of Stansbatch in the parish of Staunton-on-Arrow, has proved a big hit with its friendly and dedicated membership. Under the leadership of its talented and charismatic Leader, Jon Watson, the choir’s repertoire and confidence has grown since it held its first choir practice in January 2014. Why not consider becoming a member of this friendly choir and experience the positive health and social benefits singing together can bring? There are no auditions and new members, particularly to our tenor and bass sections, are always welcome. You will find details on our website,, of practice nights and forthcoming events or you can contact Tina (01544 262762) or Valerie (01544 260633) for more information. You can be assured of a warm welcome when you join us on a Thursday evening, so why not give it a try?