Disaster or Opportunity - Rev David G Mason
We are in the midst of discussing plans for the Deanery's Future
development. This process is gone through every three years in each
Deanery in the Diocese, and I am sure that a similar process takes place
in most of the other dioceses in the country. The Church cannot isolate
itself from the great changes that are taking place in the community,
indeed it is important that it should not do so. The rate of clergy
retirements is greater than the rate of new ordinations to the priesthood,
this coupled with a decline in church membership is causing difficult
decisions having to be made. In a recent Deanery Synod we were told that
our deanery cover 200 square miles, and shares with Biggleswade Deanery
the distinction being the largest Deaneries in the diocese, each Deanery
covers 9% of the area of the Diocese. But our Deanery population at 15,800
is below that of most urban Parishes. Our Church attendance percentage
figures compare very favourably with the Diocesan average. There are 28
churches in the deanery, Many of them, with their congregations share the
services of a Priest.
It is inevitable that with fewer stipendiary (paid) priests to go round it
will be necessary for an even greater sharing of these resources. But
should this be seen as a disaster or as an opportunity? For many years now
Readers coming from the community and being provided with training locally
have been an invaluable source of help to the Parish priests and a great
support to the congregations. More recently opportunities have been
provided for those with a vocation, and who are already employed in
secular work or coming up to retirement be trained in local schemes for
the Priesthood or Readership, and many have come forward for ordination.
Often these people will serve in the nonstipendiary priesthood, and many
have served or are serving in this deanery. This Deanery has led the way
in providing lay training courses to help people to have a role in their
local church. I consider that the present problems should be regarded as
an opportunity, and also as a challenge for members of local churches to
become more involved in the spiritual life and pastoral work within the
parish and deanery. It is an awe inspiring thing to feel the call to
explore a vocation, and there is a temptation to pretend that it is not
there. But take courage, the exploration may be challenging and difficult,
but well worth the effort and the most rewarding thing that you will ever
Brownies - Pat Keeble
Brownies have started back for a very busy Autumn Term. The Unit is
thriving and we are very pleased to welcome Carol Stork (Barn Owl) as a
regular helper. They are undertaking the Friend to Animals badge and at
our first meeting we were lucky to have a trainee vet come and talk to the
girls about pet care and management.
Also planned during this half term is a Circus Workshop badge, with Nigel
Roder from Milton Keynes demonstrating numerous skills and a sponsored
Scavenge Hunt for the Walk for the World badge.
Planting of the tree, which Brownies have purchased for the villages to
celebrate 90 years of Brownies UK will take place in conjunction with the
Parish Council. We meet every Thursday during term time at Pinchmill Hall
between 6-7.30 p.m. and should any girl aged 7 to 10 wish to join us,
contact me on 782134.
W.I. - Karen Stokley
Thank you to Patrick Doyle of Pavenham Road. He is Head of Support
Services at the Bedfordshire Magistrates Courts, and he kindly took a
group of us on a most informative and enjoyable tour of the Bedford Court
W.I. evenings are always full of surprises, and this month was no
exception. Most of us had no idea that Peter Rattu from Sharnbrook School
would inspire us with his description of the work of their charity - a
run-down house used as a shelter for street children in South Africa. His
enthusiasm was refleced in the faces of these neglected children who have
nothing in the world except the love, care and hope for the future given
to them at the shelter. The heart-warming pictures of Peter and Sharnbrook
School students on their essential annual visits were truly uplifting. The
affecting anecdotes of three young students were a testimony to the
life-changing experience of helping those less fortunate. It might, or
might not, be a surprise to learn that the name of the shelter is 'Miracle
The October meeting is a demonstration in pastels by the well-known
Cranfield artist and teacher Jane Rhodes. You are warmly invited to join
us on Tuesday, 19th October at 7.30pm in Pinchmill Hall
Save the Children Fund - Jacky Phipps
By the time you read this, you should have received a Save the Children
catalogue. Christmas cards, wrapping paper and gifts will be on sale at
East Grange, on Saturday, 16 October from 10am - 12 noon and 2 - 4 pm and
on Sunday 17 October from 2 - 4 pm. If you haven't received a catalogue
and would like one, please ring me on 781789.
If you aren't able to come to the sale, you can order through me at any
time between now and the end of November and save postage. Just let me
have your order form, a cheque and your phone number and I will contact
you as soon as the goods arrive.
Bedfordshire and Luton Local Network Fund (LNF)
You may remember reading about this Government Grants programme at the end
of last year. The good news is that the full £354,221 allocated to Beds
and Luton for 2003-4 was successfully awarded to local voluntary groups
working with disadvantaged children and young people.
We are now part way through the next financial year and are delighted to
have been allocated a further £354,221 to award in grants for 2004-5. We
would particularly welcome enquiries from areas that have not already
successfully applied for a grant.
You need to be set up as a voluntary group and have an idea for a project
which will give children and/or young people opportunities that they would
not normally have. This might be because they live in rural or social
isolation, or perhaps because existing activities are inaccessible to
them. So far we have funded a huge range of projects including village
sports clubs, a support project for young people at risk of becoming
homeless, arts and drama activities, development of play groups and many
more. The maximum you can apply for is £7000 for a year but you may only
need a few hundred pounds to get your ideas off the ground.
We are always pleased to give advice about groups and projects that may be
eligible and to offer support in putting together documents and
Please call Sarah Masterson or Maxine Hayes at Bedfordshire Rural
Communities Charity on 01525 87ai71/0 for more information.
Colin Payne - Bellringing
The Peterborough Diocesan Guild of Church Bellringers will be visiting St.
Mary's on Saturday 23rd October from 10am to 12-00 for a special practice.
felmersham.net Groups - Ken Shrimpton
There are currently three groups set up on feirnersham.net and they are:
Heating Oil Group - This group provides heating oil to group members at a
discount price. This is achieved by members making a bulk purchase and
hence receiving a bulk purchase discount. This group was set up several
years ago and is frequently used by members.
Family History Group - This group has currently 20 members who are
researching their family histories. Each member has a family connection
with Felmersham or Radwell and through the group hope to find out more
about their family history.
Parish Plan Group - This is a relatively new group and is part of the
Parish Council's Vital Village initiative. Members can make comments,
suggestions or express ideas about the future of our parish. Every comment
or suggestion will be looked at by the Parish Plan Committee.
To find out more about these groups go to www.felmersham.net and click
onto the "Groups" drop down menu. To find out more about the Vital Village
project go to
Do you have any World War 2 memories? - Sue Keen, Bedford
Museum are delighted to announce that they have become an Associate Centre
with the BBC for the People's War Project. There is a dedicated computer
in the ground floor gallery so people can come in and get help with
posting their stories, or talk to Jenny Ford, the Oral Historian, if they
Jenny is also happy to visit people and groups to talk about the project
and to record their stories. Jenny can be contacted at Bedford Museum on
Town Lot Allotments - Geoffrey Hulatt
A number of plots are available. If anyone would like one please contact
me on 781082 to arrange a meeting to look at the site
Felmersham Cricket Club - Terry Longstaff
Congratulations to the Cricket team for finishing second in the First
Division of the Bedford and District League. This means that the team is
promoted to play in the Premier Division of the League next year. This is
the first time the team have played in the top division since 1980.
The team won 12 of the 18 fixtures, 3 were drawn and 3 lost The highlights
of the season were 113 not out by Nick Kitchen against Putnoe and in
bowling Daniel Barford took 5 wickets for only 8 rums against Riseley.
Felmersham Quilters - Janet Cook
Felmersham Quilters are up and sewing and will meet at the Village Hall
this month at 7.30pm on Wednesday 6 and 20. In the coming months the days
and times change so do please check in the Parish Diary section of Ouse
News. Everyone is welcome at this lively new village club - you don't have
to be an expert needlewoman! For more details phone Janet Cook on 781373.
The Parish Plan Progress Report - Carol Stork
Seven months have passed since the Felmersham and Radwell Parish Plan
Project was inaugurated with the open meeting in the Village Hall. The
meeting presented the aims of the project and enabled those parishioners
who attended to comment on various aspects of parish life - social &
community; services; economics ; land & environment; and leisure. Since
then, the Parish Plan Steering Committee has been busy finding other ways
for all parishioners and community groups to contribute their ideas:
* Thanks to Ken Shrimpton, there is a 'Vital Village' section on the
Felmersham and Radwell website, providing details on the project, regular
updates, and an easy to use `group' facility which enables visitors to the
site to record their views.
* Consultation with the Women's Institute - WI members were consulted for
their views and this has already contributed two local initiatives - one
of which is the Afternoon Club for senior citizens to be run by WI
* Village Fair stall - 18 July 2004. A Parish Plan stall was manned by
Committee members and - prompted by photographs taken around the parish -
parishioners posted their thoughts in the suggestion box provided.
Parish Plan suggestion boxes (complete with paper and pens) have now been
sited in St Mary's Church, Felmersham, The Swan Inn, Radwell and the
Village Hall, Felmersham. The boxes will be in place until the end of
Sharnbrook Upper School were approached about involvement in the project
and a local A-level student has taken up the challenge to produce a video
showing his views of the good and bad aspects of the parish for young
people and how it should develop in the future.
To enable as many young people as possible to make their feelings known, a
'Graffiti Wall' will be put up in the back room of The Sun in Felmersham.
(Our thanks to Steve for agreeing to this initiative.) A similar wall will
be erected in Radwell near the village notice board on the green.
Regular updates in Ouse News, the village website and on the notice
And all of this is only part of the process. The results of these initial
consultations will inform a questionnaire which each household will
receive. So please use any of the methods listed above to tell us your
thoughts on the future development of the Parish. It will help us to know
what aspects you wish to preserve and those that might need to change - to
help us to fine tune the questionnaire and present the most accurate
picture in the resulting report.
What is Biffaward? - Sue Keen
Biffaward is a fund and its aim is to support projects (between £5,000 -
that show an innovative use of a community amenity to enhance, maintain or
introduce real community led social, economic or environmental
The types of project supported are. village halls, skateparks, nature
reserves, community rooms, museum education rooms, voluntary sector led
sporting facilities, internet cafes, green spaces, historic parks
provision for children and teenagers, community gardens, cemeteries and
churchyards, civic spaces etc
To find out if your project meets the criteria, contact Beni Wright at
Beds RCC on 838771 ext 106. Applications for the MSG must be submitted
through Beds RCC.
The Mill Theatre, Sharnbrook
The Mill Theatre presents My Fair Lady. Lerner & Loewe's Delightful
Musical Legend for All the Family from Friday 12 to Saturday 20 November,
2004 at 7.45 pm Matinee: Saturday 20 November at 2.30 pm. Please note Box
Office changes: The Post Office, Sharnbrook is now your local booking
point in person, and Bedford Central Box Office 01234 269519 where
Credit/Debit Cards accepted. (NB Tickets are no longer available from The
Castle Box Office, Wellingborough). For Party bookings phone Alison Bean
01234 781372 *NB: Friday 12 November is a Charity Gala Performance for
Gladys Ibbett House, a Macmillan Cancer Relief Hospice. Tickets for this
evening are only available from Angela Parker 01234 266803.
Churchyard Working Party - Rev David Mason
On your behalf I thank all those who recently spent time clearing and
tidying the Church Yard, and also those who keep the church in such good
order. The comments in the visitors book show how much people notice and
appreciate the care with which the Church is looked after.
Merging of the Benefice of Felmersham with Sharnbrook - Paul Keeble
Several years ago the Parochial Church Councils of Felmersham and
Sharnbrook agreed to merge the separate Benefices when the present
incumbent at Sharnbrook retired. The living at Felmersham has been
suspended for over 20 years and in view of the size of the parish,
Felmersham alone will never be provided with another full time stipendiary
priest. During the suspended period St Mary's Felmersham has been
fortunate to have an appointed part - time non-stipendiary
Canon Ian Arthur has recently retired and with the approval of the Bishop
of Bedford applicants are being sought for the new stipendiary post
created by the merged Benefice, which also includes Knotting with Souldrop
The Church Wardens of the various parishes along with the Bishop and
Archdeacon are interviewing short listed applicants in early October and
once an appointment is made details will be given in Ouse News. The new
incumbent will live in the Sharnbrook parsonage but is unlikely to take up
duties until early 2005.
If a parishioner has any questions about this change please do not
hesitate to contact me or Sally Carr, our phone numbers are shown on the
Coffee Morning - Jane Wells
The Coffee Morning for October in aid of the Church Heating Fund will be
held at the home of Tom and Jane Wells, on Saturday 2 October 2004 at
The November Coffee Morning will be on Saturday 6 November at the home of
Michael and Joan Thomas.
Home made cakes, toiletries, produce and bric-a-brac for the bring and buy
stall will be greatly appreciated. All welcome
Concert by Wealden Consort - Lorraine Shrimpton and Pat Hartop
The concert on 4th September was a great success and raised the sum of
£480 for Cancer Research UK. Our thanks go to the Wealden Consort for a
wonderful evening, to all those who came along to hear them (over 100), to
those members of the audience who helped during the interval, and not
least thank you to the vicar and the PCC for allowing the use our
wonderful church to raise money for this charity. All who attended will
have to agree that the setting is magical for evening concerts. Thank you
for your support.
Diary date: Our next concert will be by the Hemingford Choir on Saturday
11 June 2005 - the proceeds from which will also go to Cancer Research UK.
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