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St Michaels and All Angels Church, Bodenham The Chancel, St Michaels and All Angels Church, Bodenham

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The Vicar's Monthly Message



This month we enjoy our pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, before the season of Lent starts on Ash Wednesday, 14th February. This is traditionally a period of fasting and preparation for Easter and it has been customary for people to ‘give up’ something like sweets or alcohol for Lent. Two years ago a New York Times bestseller was a book about a prayer – “The Serenity Prayer”. The sub-title of the book was “finding peace and happiness”. This prayer has been attributed to St Augustine and St Francis but it was revived in the last century by the theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr

The prayer has three simple petitions:

Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

In this troubled world of ours, where there is so much worry and anxiety, perhaps serenity and calmness is what we should be aiming for in Lent - less rush and stress – more tranquillity and peace.

Our Church Advent Appeal this year was for the Muheza Hospital in Tanzania. We saw a film about the work, the patients and the staff there in one of our Services in January. What was striking was how happy the people there seemed although they have so little, while many people in our European world, who have so much, seem so unhappy.

Another aid to serenity is, of course, the arts – music, singing, painting, sculpture, craft, flower-arranging etc. and our organist, Tony Smith has written an article (below) about music in our church. That is one aspect of church life which so many people enjoy!

Vivien Moffitt and Tom James-Moore

A letter from Tony Smith, Organist and Choirmaster at St Michael and All Angels Parish Church

It was a pleasure to be invited to contribute to this month’s Newsletter on behalf of the Church. There is no doubt that music is one of God’s greatest gifts to us; it plays such a large part in all our lives. And this is especially so in the Church. St Augustine said that he who sings prays twice, implying that music and singing intensify the effect of prayer, indeed in the same way as they intensify many of our other human activities.

At the Parish Church we try to use music in our services in every way we can. We have a very good pipe organ built in 1892, having two manuals, pedals and a variety of stops. We have a choir who throughout the year sing a lot of interesting and worthwhile music and a congregation that enjoys great hymn singing. We are very fortunate in Bodenham, as nowadays there are only a few villages around which have their own dedicated choir. In addition, we have a much admired bell tower, with an excellent team of ringers.

We would love to have some new recruits in our choir. Our practices and services are not demanding, and they are certainly enjoyable and rewarding, particularly at Christmas, Easter, Harvest and Remembrance.

If anyone reading this would like to explore the possibility of joining our choir I would love to hear from you – do please telephone me – on 01432-278751. Or just come along to a choir practice on a Friday evening at 5.30 p.m. in the Church. The duties are really not demanding – we appreciate that nowadays we all have all sorts of competing activities which may often prevent us from attending as regularly as we would wish. Also, we would like to re-establish our junior choir – please get in touch with me if you have a child who might be interested in joining.

Finally, as most people will be aware, we are currently without a Vicar at St Michaels, but we carry on according to our usual pattern of services, with the much appreciated assistance of visiting clergy. Do come and join us if you can. You are assured of a very warm welcome.

Tony Smith, Organist and Choirmaster

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