Milverton, Somerset
22/06/2024

From the Vicarage in April

Clocks have changed and the Easter season has arrived, In our church calendar we have marked the last few weeks of Jesus’s life, His death on the cross and then His resurrection. A new start, new life, a way forwards.

The Easter season continues in church life for most of April when, in our churches, we hear the many stories of Jesus seeing friends, the early church beginning to grow, new hope around every corner both then and now.

This is a time of change as we welcome Langford Budville and Runnington into our benefice. Each of our churches are unique, they have different ways of connecting with their community, different ways of using their buildings but all rely on the support of their communities. All are welcome to attend their local church annual meeting to find out more.

I have been asked frequently, “how do you manage with extra parishes?” That is easy to answer…the Priest does not run the churches, does not make all the decisions and does not lead all the services….Our local churches rely on the amazing volunteers who care for the buildings, lead services, visit those in need, raise money, manage the legal requirements faced by any institution; and do so with love and commitment.

A big thank you to everyone who keeps our churches running and as relevant parts of our communities.

Easter blessings,
Helene

Easter flowers

Thank you to all those who made donations for the Easter lilies and flowers in memory of loved ones, some of whom we are asked to remember by name while others remain privately remembered.

A board in church bears names and you are welcome to add others. 

We remember all who have died.

Easter garden

In recent years it has delighted everyone that children have made an Easter Garden against the Church Wall.  Do visit and admire it. There is also the larger Easter Garden in Church which is open to all.

Sanctuary crafting

Spring printing on Wednesday 3 April from 6pm to 9pm at St Michael’s Church, Milverton.

A time to relax, share a skill, and enjoy the space





Hedgerow Chaplain in March

Welcome to March!

A spiritual time for our inner awakening, and nature coming alive alongside us!

We are entering that amazing time when all of life and nature, including ourselves comes alive with the warming sun, the longer days and when we can start to throw off the restraints of Winter.

We can reach out, like the trees, plants and animals for what we want, put our plans that we have been working on through the darker days into reality and to journey forth and embrace all that is new!

The Spring Equinox on the 21 March tells us of the balance of the day with night, both equal and therefore both in harmony, as we are with nature.

This is the month dedicated to Oestre, the pagan fertility goddess of humans, crops and new beginnings. Rabbits or hares, eggs and spring flowers are her symbols, all honouring balance, renewal and rebirth with the awakening of the earth.

Lent began on the 14 February so we still have until the 28 March to go through our own time of spiritual discipline and repentance. We are searching our inner souls for self-control to replicate Jesus’s sacrifices in the desert and his avoidance of temptation during the 40 days. We can also instead of the ‘giving up’ of certain food and drinks, give something! How about a donation to Charity, give love and caring to your family and friends or even those you don’t know. How about even trying out some prayers.

Mothering Sunday is on the 10 March. This is the time mum has breakfast in bed and then does not need to do anything for the rest of the day!

The clocks change on 31 March at 1am and ‘spring forward’ to 2am. Sorry, an hour in bed lost!

There is a Super New Moon on the 10 March at 0900, so called because it appears a lot closer to the Earth in its elliptical orbit.

The Micro Full Moon you will see on 25 March at 0700, but this time it is farthest away from Earth in its orbit.

The Celtic names for the Full Moon are:

  • Worm (warming earth brings up the worms)
  • Crow (the crows pop down to eat the worms)
  • Seed Moon (time to sow seeds)

Don’t forget the power of the full moon on your being, let it into your soul to guide and enlighten you through the month.

Spiritual walk in March

The spiritual walk for March will be on 19 March starting at 10am from Croft Way Car Park, Wiveliscombe, TA4 2JP (free parking). We will take a walk on the Wivey Hills which will be about 4 miles and take around 3 hours.

To book a place please email me at stevenwort@hotmail.co.uk or text/phone on 07557 958013

Steve Wort



From the Vicarage in March

From the M5 in appalling weather heading for The Vicarage…

It is 13 February 2024 and I am musing about community Spirit whilst travelling home after visiting my little brother in his nursing home and talking with my sister-in-law about the wonderful love and support she receives from the care home staff, her neighbours in her village and the special friends surrounding her. At 5pm the shaken newsreader on Radio 2 announced the breaking news of Steve Wright’s sudden death, and radio presenter Sarah Cox then had to deal with a complete change of mood on her radio show along with her own grief, and later in the show, as tributes to Steve Wright poured in she thanked everyone and said, “We are one big family here at BBC Radio we are a community sharing our grief and our happy memories with love and care for each other”.

In times of celebration and times of sorrow our villages pull together and support each other. When the first refugees arrived from Ukraine our communities reached out to them and welcomed them into our homes and lives. Now many of those refugees are in their own homes, fully integrated into our schools, colleges, churches and workplaces, and are part of our communities of support and care.

We are so very fortunate to be part of community life when we hear of so many people and places where people feel isolated, alone, afraid and unknown.

As we travel through Lent to Easter we hear, once again, the stories of Jesus teaching, ministering, and caring for all those he met. In all of his ministry what kept Jesus strong and focused on God’s work were his growing crowd of friends, disciples and supporters. These people sustained, supported and cared for Jesus, not just in the good times, but in the toughest times as Jesus faces opposition, accusations, crucifixion and, despite the fear they felt at losing their Messiah, they regrouped and greeted Jesus at his Easter resurrection. A true community of love and care, a community of hope.

I hope and pray that we can all celebrate being loved, cared for, supported and encouraged by those who form our communities of hope.  

Helene

Hedgerow Chaplain in February

Welcome to February 2024!

Spiritual Awareness and our connection with Creation in Nature. Februus was the God of purification with many festivals held in his name. Purification was believed to make way for fertility and creativity, known today as Spring Cleaning!!! Yes, he is the man to blame!!!

1 February brings us Imbloc, the ancient Pagan/Celtic festival which marks the halfway point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox.

It is also associated with Brigid, the goddess of healers, poets, smiths, childbirth and inspiration. She is known as the Goddess of Fire and Hearth. Many people associate the making of ‘Brigid’ crosses on this day, which traditionally are said to protect the home from fire. Amazingly, she is also the only female saint of Ireland.

We have Shrove Tuesday on 13 February when we confess our sins and receive absolution to prepare our hearts and souls for the penitential season of Lent.

Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent is on 14 February. The ashes we receive on our forehead symbolise our mortality, that our physical bodies will decay, but our souls that will live on in eternal life. Jesus’ entry into the desert was on this day before leading up to the 40 days’ of Lent. Easter Sunday and the events leading to his death on the cross follow.

Of course, we must not forget St Valentines day on the 14 February, which was the day he was actually buried. History aside, let us simply use it as the day it has been recognised for since around the eigth century, that being, for giving Love, Roses, Chocolates and simply Caring for our Nearest and Dearest. xxxxx!

We continue into this wonderful New Year, planning and working out our new ventures and looking inside ourselves to understand who and where we are on this amazing Earth. During this time of darkness the plants and bulbs beneath the surface have been busily building themselves up for a new life and a breakthrough to all that the world above has to offer. The sun, the rain the air all to help them grow and nourish themselves.

The same is happening to us if you think about it! We have been through the dark times of Winter and with the longer hours of daylight, and the warmth gradually coming, we to start to dev elop and grow into thebeauty of nature, take on the challenges and tasks we set ourselves to d o through those dark winternights.

We have a Super New moon on 9 February at 2259, which means that it is at its closest to planet Earth in its elliptical orbit around us. Meanwhile, on 24 February at 1230, we will have a Micro Full moon, called the Snow moon. This will be at its farthest point from earth and looking very small, hence being called the Micro Full moon.

February’s spiritual walk

The Spiritual Walk for February will be on the 20 February starting at 10am. We will meet and park at the Church of the Holy Cross, Hillfarrance, TA4 1AW. The walk is around 3.5 miles in some of the beautiful Somerset countryside
and taking a leisurely 2 to 2.5 hour

To book a place please email me at stevenwort@hotmail.co.uk or on 07557 958013

Steve Wort

From the Vicarage in February

This is my first chance to thank everyone for their involvement with Christmas services and events in the Village…so many things happening for locals and visitors alike.

Carols In the Cowshed welcomed 600 people to Houndsmoor Farm on Christmas Eve. Particular thanks must go the Whittle family for being such superb hosts, they put so much work into providing a safe, thought-provoking environment. Thank you also to Tom and James Morrell and Jonathon Jenkin who provided such amazing musical support and, most of all, thank you for coming and paying into our buckets and card machine over £1,500 for Open Door working with the homeless people in the Taunton area. Amazing!

Suddenly it is February, the decorations are (mostly) away and, in the church calendar, we go straight into Lent….with Ash Wednesday being 14 February! Sanctuary Crafting will meet in Milverton Church on 7 February 6pm to 9pm where the theme is love…but not necessarily the St. Valentines sort…we shall be sewing and knitting small items, hearing more from the new yarn-bombing group and relaxing and chatting and enjoying the peace of the building.

The age-old question, what shall I give up for Lent?

I wonder if we could give up competing with each other, doubting each other, criticising each other and instead, love each other, care for and about each other; love this wonderful, created world and do it no harm, love all people and do them no harm…this might sound an impossible ask, but if we all tried a little harder this Lent, who knows what we could achieve.

Lent is an opportunity to change, reform and restart our lives and commitments. As Christians it is a time to repent of our past mistakes and to move towards Easter with a new sense of hope and joy.

May we each find a new, more positive direction this Lent, knowing we are loved and loving one another.

Helene

Milverton church clock

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

Time, in Milverton, is measured and announced by the church clock. All goes well until a power cut, clock 
change or a mishap occurs….and then you discover that our ancient technology is failing to auto-correct! The answer is….a new piece of engineered tech to rectify the problem AND this is where YOU come in.

We would love to receive your donations to the old clock in need of new bits! We expect a bill of £1,500-£2,000 and your donation to our 2024 Time Tech project will be a great help.

Cheques to Milverton PCC, cash or requests for Bank details for bank transfers to The Parish Office in the vicarage barn…The white post box. If you would like to make your donation by card you may use the card reader in the church and then note the amount and your identity and pop those details in the white post box so that we know what the donation is for.

Thank you for supporting Old Father Time into 2024

Helene

From the Vicarage in January 2024

Another New Year….time seems to fly….Did your 2023 resolutions last long? Was it the year you had predicted?

None of us can really predict the future: We can plan, we can book things; but none of us knows for sure.

Life is like that. As people of faith we talk of hope….hope for a better world. Hope for better treatment for those in need. Hope that we might better ourselves.

At the start of the New Year, on Wednesday 3 January 6-9pm in St Michael’s Church, Milverton, those attending Sanctuary Crafting will be designing mottos or sayings to Inspire themselves for 2024. Embroidery, paint, ink, pyrography, written or just held in the heart as a prayer. Think about a quote or saying that could inspire you this year….

There are many familiar ones to choose from; “Be Kind”, “ Never Give Up”, “Love One Another”

And words of reassurance such as; “You Can’t Keep a good man down”  or “ You reap what you sow”.

Mine would be from the end of St Matthew’s Gospel, where Jesus says, “I will be with you always, until the end of time”.  That reassurance in this uncertain world will sustain me and maybe might help others too.

May your 2024 be filled with blessings of hope, love, joy and peace.

Helene



Hedgerow Chaplain in January

 

 

Welcome to January 2024!

A very Happy New Year to one and all.

Saturday 21 January at 09.21hrs takes us into the Winter Solstice meaning ‘Sun stands still’. It varyingly is the symbolic death and rebirth of the Sun, longest night, shortest day meaning the gradual waning of daylight hours being reversed, it is midwinter, a time of new beginnings, a time to enhance spiritual awareness.

We could start off the year thinking of all those exciting new ventures, challenges, ideas and things we promised ourselves we would do last year! Now is the time to start to make the plans and really move into action this year and get them done.

Friday 22 December through to Wednesday 20 March is the Winter season. There is a good starting and finishing point for phase one and to see how you get on. Think of Nature through this period and the plans that are working, unseen beneath our feet. Over Autumn and through this Winter period the bulbs, plants, roots and all those unseen things have been busily working underground, planning and getting ready to burst through above the soil, some in mid-winter and others in Springtime.

Epiphany, on 6 Januaryis when the three Wise Men visited the baby Jesus. This festival celebrates the gift of God to people of all nations. It also reminds us of our journeys and when we can take the time to reflect on our own futures.

The 10 January is Plough Monday marking the resumption of agricultural work. The workers would parade through the streets with boxes for donations of money, Mummers plays and singing part of the activities.

Wassailing was originally on Twelfth Night after Christmas, the 6 January, for the blessing of the apple trees to ensure they bear a good harvest and to drive off evil spirits. There are many wassailing festivals around Somerset on different nights, so keep an eye out for a date near to you, for tis not a night to be missed!

The 25 January brings us ‘Burns Night’ where ‘The great chieftain ‘o’ the pudding race’ takes pride of place alongside no doubt a dram or three of the wondrous and varied flavours of Scottish whisky.

The first Full Moon of the year is on 25 January at 12.54hrs and is called the Wolf Moon and what a time for celebration, a time to embrace change and to expect some high emotional peaks.

The New Moon will be on the 11 January at 11.58hrs. This is a great time for forward thinking, new beginnings and planning.

Whatever celebrations you follow over this period, enjoy them, but stay safe and look after those around you, including your family, friends and not forgetting your neighbours!

Wishing you all A Very Happy and Joyful New Year!

The Spiritual Walk for January will be on the 16 January starting at 10am from St Michaels Church War Memorial. We will take a gentle stroll around the Milverton countryside. It will be 3.5 miles and take around 2.5 hours.

To book a place please email me at stevenwort@hotmail.co.uk or text/phone on 07557 958013

Steven Wort

Hedgerow Chaplain in December

“What came into existence was Life, and the Life was Light to live by. The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn’t be put out.” John 1.

Darkness is the pathway to the sun’s rise, the start of all things new.

It is a wonderful time of year, a time of hope and new life emerging from the darkness. There is that sense of beneath the ground the roots are growing, buds are forming, shoots from bulbs will appear. Some things have died so that new life can emerge and be re-born.It is the circle of life that we are all part of. We look back over the past year while we await the welcoming of our hopes and dreams for the new year.

We might realise and accept those things that went wrong or not according to our desires or wants. Did we carry out those actions, words with love, caring how we would like to receive them.

We can put whatever happened behind us because we cannot change it, but we can look forward and plan how we are going to be through this coming year.

Although now, like the roots and buds still in darkness, they will appear, to encourage us to move onwards, upwards and approach life with new vigour, delight and happiness.

We can prepare ourselves to be the best we can be in all circumstances, we can be a light out of the darkness, give generously of love and caring, speak as we would like to be spoken to. Help when we can, be grateful for what we have and have compassion for ourselves and those around us.

Look at your own spirituality and expand your knowledge. Learn to see differently, be awake, alert and present. Learn the knowledge of the seasons, the moon, what the trees have to offer, all lessons that have been passed down the ages through the Celtic deities. It all makes you a greater part of the whole.

  • The New Moon is on 12 December at 2332
  • The last Full Moon of the year on 27 December at 0033 is called the Cold Moon. The Celts named it as the Full Cold Moon or Oak Moon
  • Winter Equinox is on 21 December when the day is at its shortest and the night is at its longest. After this date the days start to get lighter longer!

The best nights to observe the Germind Meteor Shower in December are the 14 December and 15 December between 1700 and 0800, always a favourite to watch as up to 150 meteors per hour maybe seen.

There will not be a spiritual alk in December, but details of the January walk will be available soon. 

For further details email me at stevenwort@hotmail.co.uk or call on 07557 958013.

God Bless you all, have a Wonderful Christmas.

I look forward to seeing you all on the Hedgerow Chaplains Spiritual Walks in 2024.

Steven Wort

From the Vicarage in December

Getting ready for Christmas? As the shops get busier and deliveries increase so does the excitement and the stress of getting everything “just right” for a memorable Christmas.

The “Christmas adverts” on TV this year are very interesting, several are pushing the point that we can break with tradition and do things our own way. No two homes will be celebrating in exactly the same way, some may choose to ignore all the traditions and others cannot wait to get the decorations up and presents wrapped; some would like to do that but cannot afford to, others will rely on the charity of others to receive food, warmth and friendship if only for a few hours.

In our church life we are preparing too…flowers, trees and decorations, carol services everywhere, in Halse we will make lanterns for Halse by candlelight on 10 December at 2pm, in Milverton Sanctuary Crafting will be making angels on 13 December 6-9pm and the Busy Bees will also have made angels. Our way of preparing for the celebration of the birth of Jesus along with our special services culminating in Carols in the Cowshed on Christmas Eve at 4pm at Houndsmoor Farm, with the cash collection for Open Door in Taunton to support those who are homeless, and a traditional Midnight Mass at 11.30pm at Fitzhead.

Making memories is a huge part of Christmas, special times together, moments of joy, photographs, handed down recipes, decorations made by our children, songs to be sung, films to be rewatched, moments to treasure. This can also mean that for many of us there is a sadness too, changed times, lost or sick loved ones, we may want to just be left alone with our memories as all around us party and celebrate.

Our churches will all be open on Christmas day for those who need time to themselves, to remember, to reflect, to pray. Maybe to focus on the crib, the figures in the stable, no tree, no roast dinner, just people gathered around a baby in a manger, a sign of hope, a gift for us all, the gift of Love from God.

However you choose to spend Christmas this year I pray that you might know that Love and peace.

Helene