The Walking Advent Calendar

Thank you to everyone who made such a great effort in the Walking Advent Calendar this year. The photographs can be found here and there were some truly excellent entries. It would be unfair to mention many by name: the simpler ones were very much appreciated and of course there were some extremely inventive and well-constructed entries.

We promised a prize to the “winner” (but literally in this case every entry is a winner) and we had three judges to prevent undue bias. We had a great deal of difficulty separating them out for a winner of the Hamper, which was kindly supplied by the Farm Shop. To help us judge we used the criteria of imagination in portraying the theme, artistic merit, craftsmanship, use of available space and finally that indefinable impact that makes something stand out. To give an idea of how difficult it was, I personally had 4 entries on nearly identical scores, and my co-judges had others as well.

The result was so close that we chose 2 runners-up (who each received a bottle of champagne) as well as the winner. The result was as follows:

Runners up:
Eleanor Cottage, Stortford Road and Douro Field, Papermill Lane, both for “While Shepherds watched their flocks by night”.

Winner:
19 High Street Puckeridge for “Good King Wenceslas”

Well done to Sarah and Di, and especially Louise, but I am sure you each had you personal favourite!

Update 11th December 2021

Dear Friends

As you will have seen in the media, we are at the beginning of covid restrictions once again. I am writing this on Saturday 11th December; we have all learned that with covid there sometimes need to be rapid changes in policy. However, as we stand, the plans for our Christmas activities are as follows:

  • We must wear mask at all our services (unless the person is exempt). Disposable masks will be available in church in case someone forgets.
  • All of our planned services will be taking place as things stand.
  • We are not planning on bookings for services. (The only exception to these last two points is Sacombe Holy Communion on Boxing day, which is under review)
  • I am asking everyone to go to only one Carol service in the Benefice. This will reduce numbers generally and so be safer.
  • It is possible that one or both of the Christingle services will be outside, given the numbers of children involved. If so, the service will be shorter and a full health and safety check will be done. (St. Mary’s Standon, given its size, is intrinsically safer than the other two churches, which is why different approaches may apply)
  • The choir will operate with different numbers and locations in church, according to the building and service. Choir members will be briefed fully by Michael about this. There is no need to wear masks to sing, although congregation members may wish to do so.
  • We are reviewing how we administrate Holy Communion on the Christmas services
  • The Centre, as a café church, will not need to wear masks, but there will be a review of how we operate going on into the New Year (there are no services over Christmas).

John Chitham, Rector

Walking Advent Calendar

This year we are repeating our Walking Advent Calendar, with a new set of carols, and a new set of houses.

See the map and list below. You can find pictures of the windows on our facebook here

Walking Advent Calendar Map

1st The virgin Mary had a baby boy

1 Tollsworth Way

2nd Angels from the realms of glory

18 Huntsman Close

3rd Ding dong! merrily on high, in heaven the bells are ringing

58 Station Road, Puckeridge
1-31 Northfields, Batchelors, Puckeridge
11 Park Lane

4th Good King Wenceslas looked out

19 High Street, Puckeridge

5th The rising of the sun, the running of the deer

28 South Road, Puckeridge

6th Little donkey, little donkey

Something Lovely Tea Room

7th Sing we of the blessed mother

8th I saw three ships come sailing in

9 Plashes Close, Standon

9th Deck the halls with boughs of holly

Standon Village Hall
53 High Street Standon
31a High Street, Puckeridge
The Old George 24 High St. Puckeridge

10th The angel Gabriel from heaven came

56 High Street Puckeridge

11th O little town of Bethlehem

Oliver Minton, 28 High Street Puckeridge

12th Joy to the world!

The Vicarage, Kents Lane, Standon

13th Round yon virgin mother and child

95 Station Road

14th Away in a manger

32 High Street Puckeridge

15th Jesus good above all other

16th Love came down at Christmas

14 Aston Road, Standon

17th O holy night, the stars are brightly shining

Little Bear, 55 High Street, Standon
Tennis Club, Station Road
1 The Moat, Puckeridge

18th Sing choirs of angels

Douro House, 68 High Street, Standon
53 High Street Puckeridge

19th We three kings of orient are

52 High Street, Puckeridge
74 High Street Standon

20th O star of wonder, star of night

Roger de Clare School
Middle Bear, High street, Standon

21st See him lying on a bed of straw

22nd While shepherds watched their flocks by night

Eleanor Cottage Stortford Rd
35 Stanelow Crescent, Standon
Douro Field, Papermill Lane

23rd The heavenly babe you there shall find

St Mary’s Church Standon

24th Christingle service in church and prizegiving!

Services following the lifting of restrictions

All legal restrictions are now lifted on services in churches. We want to take advantage of the easing, but we also want to keep everyone safe, and we know, too, that some are still nervous. This is what we have decided:

  • there is no longer be a booking in process for services nor is there a need any more to ‘sign in’ when you arrive
  • you are no longer requested to wear a mask, though you are welcome to do so if you prefer
  • Bibles, hymn books and service orders will be in the pews rather than handed out by welcomers
  • there will be ‘please leave this seat free’ notices available for you to use to help distance yourself from others
  • there will be an area in each church where chairs will be placed spaced out, so that distancing can be guaranteed
  • we will offer communion to those who wish to receive it at the front, but we will continue to provide individual elements as we’ve been doing and you are welcome to continue to bring your own
  • we will serve coffee and tea after the service, but please continue to be aware of distancing

If you are at all worried about any of this, please speak to John.

Services following the 19th July lifting of restrictions

From 19th July, all legal restrictions are lifted on services in our churches. We want to take advantage of the easing, but we also want to keep everyone safe, and we know, too, that some will be nervous about the new freedoms. This is what we have decided for now:

  • there will no longer be a booking in process for services so there is no longer a need to let Marion know you are coming, but you will need to ‘sign in’ when you arrive so we know who’s there
  • we ask that everyone continues to wear a mask, to protect those around you
  • we will be able to sing, praise God, but we will have fewer hymns than usual, and we ask that you sing through your mask to minimise the risk, except when we’re outside
  • Bibles, hymn books and service orders will be in the pews rather than handed out by welcomers
  • there will be ‘please leave this seat free’ notices in the pews for you to use to help distance yourself from others – please leave all books etc in the pews afterwards
  • there will be an area in each church where chairs will be placed spaced out, so that distancing can be guaranteed
  • we will offer communion to those who wish to receive it at the front, but we will continue to provide individual elements as we’ve been doing. We won’t be sharing the chalice, and we will arrange it so that we’re not touching surfaces
  • for now, we won’t serve coffee and tea, but we’d like to know how you feel about it, so please let us know. If we do decide to serve refreshments, we’ll need more helpers!
  • there will be feedback forms available in the pews; please fill one in and let us know if you have other suggestions or concerns

If you are at all worried about any of this, please speak to John.

Sacombe Faculty

NOTICE IS GIVEN that we are applying to the Consistory Court of the diocese for permission to carry out the following:

The introduction of a commemorative plaque in the ringing room, recording the restoration of the bells in memory of Johanna Wheeler.

For full information, please view the faculty form here

Resumption of Services

Dear Friends,

It is a great pleasure to be able to write to you now that there is more hope in the air. It has been a hard winter with both the virus and the weather, but on both fronts there now seems to be relief in sight! As a church we continue to pray for our villages and lift you to God. On a more practical front we are delighted in the take up of the boxes of hope for those who have been struggling in particular.

You will see on this flyer that our services in person are resuming. We felt, for reasons of personal safety, that it was wiser to continue online for a while, but as of Palm Sunday (28th March) we will be in church again. This is a great joy but sadly there will still be masks, social distancing and no singing, as well as the need to book in.

Other work is happening in and around the church. The fundraising for the Sadleir tombs is gathering pace and we hope to start the work this year. Before Easter the work on the lime trees should be done, so that they do not start to present a danger. They may look bare for a while but will come back! Also, you will see elsewhere that we are having our usual Holiday Club after Easter. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to call me.

The greatest news of all for Christians is Easter. I know it comes round every year, but it is still, in my opinion, the greatest news ever, and especially in this year. Many have been bereaved, either through COVID 19 or through other illnesses, and often the funerals have had to be limited in scope and numbers. There is a sadness in the air. But the events of Easter give the greatest hope. This is the story of the only human ever to have died and to have conquered death. He is the one who shows that there is life after death and what that life is like. This is one of the great reasons why Christians look to Jesus all the time: He conquered death!

Even in the midst of the awful virus there is hope: in vaccines, in the love of others, in government support, but above all that there is the hope of eternal life. May God bless you this Easter!

With love in Christ
John

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