News Archive

 

May 1st 2014: May Day Poppy Day

Bishop Colin came to Steeple on May Day as part of our commemoration of the centenary of the beginning of the First World War.

 

We gathered at 1pm in the church, a wonderful group of children from Dr Radcliffe's School, members of the congregation, enough photographers for a Royal Wedding and Bishop Colin. The faint drizzle couldn't dampen our spirits, and the Bishop put the children through their paces about the commemoration before they asked him about his Bishop's crook and whether he enjoys his job (he does).

 

Then it was to the business in hand: Rector Marcus Green seemed to struggle for a moment in opening the packet of poppy seeds, and then the Bishop held the seeds in his hand as children took a few each and planted them symbolically by the bush that has been cut to read "Love". Church members added their own seeds as well.

 

Now we wait: hopefully the poppies will grow, and our own little field of Remembrance will be in full bloom for our Vigil Service on August 4th.

The Big Lunch

June began with a Bang at Steeple.

 

The sun shone, and as the village opened gardens for all to visit, the Church played host to this year's Big Lunch after the 11am service. Bunting adorned the churchyard, and a wonderful time of fun, food & fellowship followed.

 

During the service, Revd Marcus Green had reminded everyone of the 70th Anniversay of D-Day which falls this week, and villagers with memories of those times came to join in the commemoration. Speaking from 1 Peter 4 and 5, and drawing illustartions from D-Day and other episodes of the Second World War, the rector reminded the congregation that there is a kind of suffering which is worthwhile; a suffering which comes from standing up as Christians for the things that genuinely matter. When we do this, we discover how much God cares for us, that we are far from alone, and that we are given strength to endure.

 

Afterwards, sandwiches and smiles were the order of the day from the youngest to the oldest as everyone scrambled to find somewhere to sit in the sun or the shade - chairs for some, and one or two handy memorials for others. Let's hope the weather holds and that this summer season of Fetes and garden parties continues as it has started!

 

 

Community Piano

The application for a grant for a new piano to be placed in the church at Steeple is progressing, with a decision expected in the next few weeks.

 

The church is often used for events by Dr Radcliffe's School, and by the Steeple Aston Choral Society, and is a super venue for everyone in our village as well as being our common place of worship.

 

Martin Dale, chairman of Steeple's choral society, says: "To provide a good piano for use not only by the Choral Society but also various other musical groups and soloists which enhance community life here would be unquestionably a great blessing for all."

 

Local resident & internationally acclaimed conductor Nicholas Cleobury agrees: "This is a thriving community with people of all ages making music and a quality new instrument would enhance and encourage music making, so important in so many ways."

 

After some consideration, a digital piano by Roland has been chosen for the new instrument, and this is the piano we hope will be funded by grant applications. Matt Butcher, sound engineer and musician living on Cow Lane, says of this decision: "I  have worked with Damon Albarn and the band "blur"  for 20 years and we have now finally started using a Roland Digital piano for his shows because we feel that its sound and feel is so realistic."

 

Watch this space for further news!

Tackley Organist Celebrated

On Sunday June 1st, the regular Tackley evening congregation was joined by friends of the late Bob Clow as we again paid tribute to one of the village's best loved sons.

 

Bob sadly passed away at the start of the year, but it was his dear wish that we remember him in the church, and on Sunday evening a small plaque was unveiled in his honour. He served in so many aspects of our community, yet his desire was simply to be remembered as the church organist, and the PCC and Rector were more than happy to honour Bob in this way.

 

Fr Robin Gibbons read Psalm 150 with its great hymn of praise to God, and its encouragement for everything that has breath to praise the Lord; Rev Marcus Green reminded us of the music of Bob's life as well as his organ playing, and stories and jokes were shared as well as holy silence being kept.

 

Afterwards a small number went to the pub to drink to Bob's memory, and to continue to plan the village's future health, as Bob always did.

 

We miss you Bob. We will never forget you.

Coffee on Wednesdays

With Morning Prayer now happening across the Benefice on Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Thursdays, a group of volunteers has decided to add an extra social aspect to village life as well as the mid-week worship life.

 

On Wednesday mornings, after Morning Prayer, coffee ("real coffee - not instant!") will be available through the summer at Steeple Aston church. The church is open to everyone - not just those who come to pray - and the coffee is good. 

 

Today, the first time the church opened for coffee, saw the village Keep Fit group all head off for a well-earned cup after their group finished, and the verdict was: "Excellent!"

 

The church is open at 10am in June and 10.30 from July 9th for coffee through the summer, and all are welcome. There is a box for contributions rather than a charge, and although biscuits are available, people are always welcome to bring a cake to share!

Community Piano - Update

This week we were informed that our bid to Viridor Credits Environmental Company has been successful, and that we have been awarded the full grant we sought for the new piano for Steeple (see News Archive page).

 

The church is often used for events by Dr Radcliffe's School, and by the Steeple Aston Choral Society, and is a super venue for everyone in our village as well as being our common place of worship.

 

Martin Dale, chairman of Steeple's choral society, says: "Wow! This is absolutely great!" Guy Brigg, teacher at Dr Radcliffe's School agrees: "Amazing news! It will make such a difference."

 

The news of the award has been received, but there is further paper work to be completed and full conditions of award must be satisfied before the piano will be installed. For now - all those who have worked for this are delighted.  

Tackley Church & Village Fete

Glorious sunshine made this year's Tackley Fete an extra-special success. 

 

There were record numbers of dogs in the dog show, huge numbers buying raffle tickets, ice creams being consumed by the dozen, cakes disappearing like hot - well - cakes, and bric-a-brac finding countless new homes along with libraries of books.

 

Not to mention the exploits of old and young as nails were hammered into tree trunks, rowing machines tested to within an inch of their lives, penalties taken in an exciting football final, and all marvellous traditional country dancing from the children of Tackley CE School. 

 

Revd Marcus Green opened the Fete & compered the afternoon (somehow managing to draw out a prize for himself in the raffle, so maybe his prayers are very effective after all) with great good humour.

 

A classic Fete - and well done and many thanks both to everyone who worked so very hard to make the day a success, and to everyone who came along and joined in with such enthusiasm. 

Steeple Aston Church & Village Fete

Steeple wasn't quite as lucky with the weather as Tackley... 

 

A torrential downpour of Biblical proportions late in the morning caused all the stalls to be relocated in the Village Hall and the Sport & Recreation Centre, but we prayed on and at 1.30 the sun burts through ready for the start of the fete itself.

 

Over the next two and a half hours, people poured through the doors, enjoying the Silver Band, the teas, the stalls, the books, the cakes, the company, the food of all sorts, the classic cars, and even (eventually) the games out on the field outside as well as giving generously to the church in the process. 

 

Revd Marcus Green opened the Fete & thanked everyone for being there. 

 

Many thanks indeed both to everyone who worked so very hard to make the day a success, and to everyone who came along and joined in with such enthusiasm. The weather certainly didn't get the better of us - over £3,000 was taken on the day, a truly amazing sum.

20 Years and Counting

The United Benefice Festival Service on June 29th saw a double celebration:

 

Stan and Vicki Owen brought baby Freddy for his baptism, and lots of family and friends joined with them and the godparents as well as the congregations from Steeple, North & Tackley in welcoming Freddy into the family of the church.

 

In addition, our Rector Revd Marcus Green celebrated the 20th anniversary of his ordination. 

 

Revd Clare Hayns of the Blenheim Benefice, a friend of the Rector's who had been at his ordination 20 years ago, spoke at our Festival Service. She reminded us all that we need to hear the call of Jesus and find how we might best follow our Lord. Clare pointed out that ordination wasn't for everyone - but following Jesus is.

 

The choir sang an anthem written by Marcus 25 years ago for the wedding of friends who were also with us: their singing and Nick Cleobury's playing raised the roof with the words, 'Thine be the glory, risen, conquering Son!'

 

The congregation presented Marcus - very fittingly - with a huge chocolate cake, which everyone then proceeded to eat!

Congrats Mrs Plumridge!

The children of Tackley School joined with family and friends from the village to celebrate Daphne Plumridge's British Empire Medal in a special church service at St Nicholas' today.

 

The service was organised by Julie Sale from Tackley school, and was followed by an amazing tea in glorious sunshine on the village green.

 

The school children sang their school hymn, I the Lord of sea and sky, as well as Sing Hosanna and Lord of the Dance (Daphne's favourite). Several members of the community spoke of their debt to Mrs Plumridge's care and service over the years, and at the rector's questioning she herself revealed how during the war years she saw children her own age who had so little and could barely read or write, and how this had made such an impression on her. She continues to help children in our school develop essential skills today.

 

She also revealed that she has no particular favourite author as she simply loves reading!

 

The BEM is awarded for particular service to local communities, and we are all inspired by Mrs Plumridge's service to our community. Rev Green encouraged us to follow this example and to give as we have recieved, to be encouragers and to be generous just as Daphne has been such a generous encourager to so many of us.

 

Congrats Mrs Plumridge!

Congrats Mrs Plumridge!

The children of Tackley School joined with family and friends from the village to celebrate Daphne Plumridge's British Empire Medal in a special church service at St Nicholas' today.

 

The service was organised by Julie Sale from Tackley school, and was followed by an amazing tea in glorious sunshine on the village green.

 

The school children sang their school hymn, I the Lord of sea and sky, as well as Sing Hosanna and Lord of the Dance (Daphne's favourite). Several members of the community spoke of their debt to Mrs Plumridge's care and service over the years, and at the rector's questioning she herself revealed how during the war years she saw children her own age who had so little and could barely read or write, and how this had made such an impression on her. She continues to help children in our school develop essential skills today.

 

She also revealed that she has no particular favourite author as she simply loves reading!

 

The BEM is awarded for particular service to local communities, and we are all inspired by Mrs Plumridge's service to our community. Rev Green encouraged us to follow this example and to give as we have recieved, to be encouragers and to be generous just as Daphne has been such a generous encourager to so many of us.

 

Congrats Mrs Plumridge!

Dedication of Jubilee Sycamore Stone in Steeple

The Jubilee Sycamore Stone has finally been erected and dedicated in the church yard at Steeple, after much preparation, hard work and good will on behalf of very many people in our village.

 

Margaret Mason spoke in thanks for all who have helped - those who worked tirelessly to bring the project to fruition, principally Graham Clifton and David Kewley, those who gave so generously, the Rector for welcoming the project to the church yard, and Bernard Johnson whose creative endeavour has turned the vision into a reality. She reminded everyone of the purpose of the stone, to commemorate a great tree that had stood for hundreds of years, to celebrate a new tree planted in its place, which we hope will stand for hundreds of years to come, and to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, a significant marker of time in our own day. 

 

The Rector added his words, introducing Bernard and thanking him, before blessing the stone with words from Joshua and Isaiah. He spoke of 'the meeting point of past and future between thse two great trees', and prayed that God might 'make this stone a remembrance and a blessing'.

 

The gathered crowd applauded enthusiastically and examined the stone all around to see the craftsmanship and to enjoy the occasion. It remains on display hopefully permanently in the church yard!

North Aston Fete

Forecasts of thunderstorms caused the villagers of North Aston to pray hard - and to receive (mostly) warm sunshine for their annual Fete in mid July. One errant shower freshened us up half way through, but apart from that a splendid afternoon was enjoyed by everyone.

 

All the traditional games were present - from whack the rat to peggoty and beyond. Very brave souls tried jousting; I saw a welly being thrown backwards into an unsuspecting crowd...

 

Then there were cakes and cakes and cakes. A very good raffle. Rides in a horse drawn carriage. The silver band. The best and cheapest Pimms anywhere in Oxfordshire - 

 

And of course, North Aston Fete's unique aspect: the Japanese element. Thanks to the many students of the language school which come to the Fete every year dressed in traditional Japanese costume, there is a very special element to this Oxfordshire party that most never get. When you go home from North Aston with your name in Japanese script - it's for real! As is the origami.

 

A terrific afternoon. Well done to all.

© 2014 The United Benefice of Steeple Aston with North Aston and Tackley. www.sntchurch.com