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Sunday 10 a.m. Sung Eucharist. Common Worship (1 hour).
Sunday 10 a.m. All Age Eucharist. First Sunday of the month (1 hour).
Tuesday 9:30 a.m. Eucharist. (No Tuesday service in August)
“Please to remember the fifth of November
With gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot”
Well, as a matter of fact, I do.
In my childhood November 5th was Guy Fawkes Night. While we were piling up the wood for the fire we also took my father’s old clothes, stuffed them with paper, and made a guy. This sat on the top of the pile, and everyone cheered when it caught fire. But I well remember, as a little boy, being led away howling at the sight. And I would not want anybody today, young or old, to watch the sight of a burning body.
But almost nobody does. When did you last see a guy on November 5th? And when did you actually express your thanks for the saving of parliament from gunpowder? In 1605 the hunt for Guy Fawkes and his fellow conspirators led to a fierce outbreak of hostility against the Roman Catholic church. Apparently there are still today a few places which use their bonfire to stir up anti-catholic feeling.
If you question young families nowadays they say they enjoy ‘Bonfire Night’ as a celebration of light at the time when winter darkness has set in. This commonly happens at the weekend and no reference is made to Guy Fawkes or gunpowder treason.
Human beings have a memory and have from the earliest days looked back to commemorate events from the past. Christian people in particular keep the past in mind, remembering the Saints on their various festival days, remembering the foundation and dedication of churches, schools and other institutions, above all remembering the story of Jesus’s life. We would all agree that these acts of commemoration are beneficial, valuable and enjoyable.
But we should also be aware that there are memories, both personal and public, which can be destructive, poisonous and out-dated. Memories need to be examined and purged. And some of them are best forgotten.
Reverend Jeremy Hurst
Come join us!
You are welcome to join us at St Stephen and St Agnes, regardless of race or gender or sexuality. We are part of the Church of England and our worship style is modern catholic: this means the service uses contemporary English, but still has ritual and incense (‘smells and bells’). Services finish with Fairtrade tea and coffee, or a glass of sherry if that is what you prefer. There is a Fairtrade stall selling a variety of goods from Traidcraft (chocolate, biscuits, tea, coffee, rice, Christmas cards later in the year, etc.)
There are areas in the church that make it easy for parents with prams or people in wheelchairs to join the worship. Our congregation age ranges from babies to 98-year-olds. On the first Sunday of the month, we have a family service with home-baked cakes. Study and discussion groups are available throughout the year with special courses run during Advent and Lent.
We are committed to safeguarding children, young people, and vulnerable adults. The parochial church council has adopted the Church of England’s policies and best practice on safeguarding which may be found on the Church of England’s website. Our Parish Safeguarding Representative is Laura Betteridge and she may be contacted at church or by email.