Parish Outing: St Giles, Rowley Regis visits St Andrew in Wells

God smiled, yesterday, the sun shone and a party of intrepid explorers set out at 9:00am (N.A.S.A. couldn’t have timed a launch any better) on a journey of 107.2 miles via the M5 to the smallest City in England.

Wells, may be small, but it is charming, full of character and history. The Wells which gave the city its name have made it a sacred site from at least Roman Times probably earlier and still run through open channels helping to keep the streets clean and sweet. Arriving at noon, meant plenty of time for folk to do whatever they wished, Carole, wonderfully organised, as ever, furnished us all with comprehensive guides and suggestions for itineraries, so some went this way and some went that – but all met together for tea at 4pm; scones, jam and cream shared together in the Cathedral Cafe were a delicious way to end our day.

The Cathedral Church of Saint Andrew is well worth a visit, mainly built between c1180-1239 and mainly from limestone from Doulting, eight miles away it is noted for its pointed arches and ribbed vaulting. I find Cathedrals are a bit like time-machines, providing a path back through time, but they also provide a path into the future and eternity, if we will just sit still long enough to look ‘up the road’ and find it. Home church, St Giles was founded around 1199, but our first church was ‘Norman’ style not Gothic like Well Cathedral, and a lot, lot smaller.

For more please follow the link to discover more.
Wells Cathedral

These are some of the many photographs taken.

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(This one taken by Jane Proud, thank you Jane)

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And, because, I love the ‘architectural’ lines of swans, cygnets, and ducks, blue skies, sunlight dappled waters there is this one, taken from the moat wall surrounding the Bishops Palace.

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May your days be sunny and blessed, especially if they are holidays.
Travel safely.
Go with God.

Let it be, let it be…

What do you see when you look at this photo?

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(St Mary the Virgin, Mother of our Lord) – Arranger Vera Round

This simple study in blue and white surprised more than one visitor who saw, quite plainly in their mind’s eye, Mary holding her baby son in her arms although a puzzled Vera, said that she hadn’t been thinking about that at all, just that blue and white were Mary’s colours … How lovely that some should have taken away with them a glimpse of Mary.

St Giles is not a Catholic Church, or of the high church Anglican Tradition, just a simple, middle of the road, C. of E. Parish Church.

Back in the Middle Ages, during the ‘Shewings’ granted to Julian of Norwich over the course of several hours, she must despite her pain, have been hoping for a glimpse of Mary. She records Christ asking her,
“Do you want to see her, do you want to see her?”

Most certainly she did

Mothers always make it right, or if they can’t, know what to say.

Currently a group of St Giles folk and friends are practising hard for a concert at the end of July, this is one of the songs, rather a well known one.


When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

And when the broken hearted people living in the world agree
There will be an answer, let it be
For though they may be parted, there is still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
There will be an answer, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

And when the night is cloudy there is still a light that shines on me
Shine until tomorrow, let it be
I wake up to the sound of music, Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, yeah, let it be
There will be an answer, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, yeah, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

Songwriters: LENNON, JOHN WINSTON / MCCARTNEY, PAUL JAMES
Let It Be lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Yeah, my Mum would give me that advise often enough but it is St Mary, mother of the Lord Jesus, speaking to an Archangel no less, who gives all Christians the perfect example of simple, quiet acceptance of our heavenly Fathers will, just as Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane when he said, “Your will be done, not mine”

Luke 1:38New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised (NRSVA)

Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.

During a very long interregnum, Sister Phoebe of the Anglican Community of St. Mary the Virgin was a frequent visitor to Sunday morning services, an ordained Priest she celebrated Communion for us. We do miss Sister Phoebe, she and the other sisters from the Smethwick House, were called back home to the Mother House in Oxfordshire

Please follow the link to take a peek.
Mother House

He Ain’t Heavy/St Christopher

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St Giles Flower Festival/St Christopher created by Carole Annetts

St Christopher medals, key rings … Some one’s going on a journey. Someone travels a lot, from time to time practically everyone has received a little Christopher … Just so they know we wish them safe journeys.

Did St Christopher really exist. So very little is known about him, apart from that he was a martyr probably in the reign of the Emperor Decimus who reigned between 249/251 A.D. Although there is an alternative Emperor suggested in Maximinus Ii Dacian (308-313 A.D)

The name Christopher means Christ bearer and as children we all heard the story of how, one dark stormy night the Saint was roused from sleep by a little child knocking on his door, pleading to be carried across the swollen, dangerous river. I suppose the kindly man would sooner have given the child shelter and a safe, warm bed for the night, but the story goes that he did indeed take the child up onto his back and step into the raging torrent, at each step the child grew heavier but Christopher persevered and both reached the far bank safety, then the child’s true identity, Jesus Christ was revealed.

Now, whatever your thoughts of the story are, please bear in mind these words from Jesus

The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
(Matthew 25:40)

As Followers of Jesus we are asked to help carry each other’s burdens, and to even to carry our brothers and sisters if necessary. To reach out that helping hand, is to follow in Christopher’s footsteps .. Who in his martyrs death followed in Christ’s.

He Ain’t Heavy

The road is long
With many a winding turn
That leads us to who knows where
Who knows when
But I’m strong
Strong enough to carry him
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother
So on we go
His welfare is of my concern
No burden is he to bear
We’ll get there
For I know
He would not encumber me
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother
If I’m laden at all
I’m laden with sadness
That everyone’s heart
Isn’t filled with the gladness
Of love for one another
It’s a long, long road
From which there is no return
While we’re on the way to there
Why not share
And the load
Doesn’t weigh me down at all
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother
He’s my brother
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother…

The road is long, but made easier when another shares our journey.

St Giles and St Michael

From 1913 until 1923, in summer and fine weather Rowley folk worshiped in the open air, following a disastrous fire the church had been reduced to a burnt out shell. Some services and meetings were relocated to a church school, and a social club, and in some cases people’s homes. Then along came Reverend Cheverton who set to work with vigour and military precision to put things right, thanks to his energy the 4th church building was consecrated on the Feast of St Michaels 1922; it had been Vicar Cheverton’s hope that the new building could be re-named for St Michael, but the people of Rowley had grown fond of their Patron Saint (since 1199) and stuck by him, but gave St Michael a prominent place together with St Giles, St Faith and St George in the Stained Glass of the East Window.

Rowley lost its church school in the 1950s, but, God moves in mysterious ways and the opening decade of the 21st Century bought St Michael’s School to a new location, just over the road to St Giles! Our present, Vicar, Reverend Ian Shelton is very active over in the school, links and friendships have been and are being forged. Reverend Ian writes a ‘Thought for the week for the school web site. ….. Please follow the link to learn more.
This was this weeks.

Thought for the week
St Michael’s School

Thought for the week – Reverend Ian Shelton 8th June 2015
Once a year, a Sunday newspaper produces a “top 100” list. Not the wealthiest people in the UK, that’s another list! The 100 list that came out yesterday is called “The Happy List”, people nominated by the public, checked out and recognised for their contribution to making life better.
2014’s list included; Stephen Sutton, The teenager whose “bucket list” made millions for the Teenage Cancer Trust, along with people who’d gone the extra mile for others; people with disabilities, neighbours who needed help, ventures to make life better.
They gathered in a London Hotel, near St Pauls to celebrate their contribution to making life better.

Over the weekend we celebrated in church, some important lives that the church recognises. By the entrance door there is a display in honour of St Michael, created by a member of the school staff. At the far end there is a display remembering St Giles, who was safe guarding a deer, there is a rather cute Bambi model on our display. In between there are many more people who over the years have given beyond the course of duty for faith and have inspired others.
There was an omission at church, not deliberately, but we should have included St Barnabas, who’s remembered later this week. Someone whose generation, courage, selflessness made him one of the most attractive personalities in the Christian calendar.

For more about Stephen Sutton please follow link
Stephen Sutton

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(Detail from St Giles flower display by Nellie Bird)

Summer Fayre 2015/Rowley Church Hall

Yvonne Owen our new Church Warden took these photos on Saturday 6th June, and kindly said we might share them.

The hall was suitably attired in red. white and blue in honour in celebration of 6th June 1944, some of the older ones who paid us a visit remembered those days well, some of us weren’t born but all appreciated the presence of ‘Help the Heroes’ and the Stirling work they do to take care if today’s wounded service men and women: lost count now of the number of times, I’ve heard people say that the atmosphere was so special.

So here goes, Yvonne’s pics.

Getting Ready: Dennis and Barbara Callow, Yvonne’s Mum and Dad are always on hand to lend a hand.

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Getting Set: Larry and Olga Rose

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Baubles, Bangles and Beads: David Russell getting ready for the gold rush

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All Dressed Up: Trish and friends

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One of Today's Heroes with Joyce Walker who with her
Husband, David grew all the perennial plants on sale.

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Cake: No celebration or Summer Fayre is complete without it. Pat Comfort made these

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Stop Press: I understand plans are already being made for the Christmas Fayre.

Remembering Saint Mabel

The end of a long day and busy week for the whole of St Giles’ family, some have baked for England, and the Cake Stall sold out, breaking records.

Thank you to all, to Jane for organising and to all who contributed in any way, thank you to St Michaels C of E. school, fund raising for Birmingham’s Children Hospital, to ‘Help the Heroes’ — who work tirelessly to assist wounded service men and women, to Rowley’s Scouts… You were all such wonderful people to spend the day with …

Thank you for all who came to buy from the stalls and support your Parish Church; in return we hope to support you when you find things get rough and tough.

On the other side of the road, we know that a record number of you popped into take a peek at the Flower Festival, and to say a prayer. The Flower arrangers celebrated ‘Saints‘ this year, and many photos have been taken, but this one was chosen to appear in this hurried post for a reason.

That reason being we are all called to be saints Saints with a little ‘s’ we are called to live wholesome lives, to show in our everyday, ordinary lives the goodness, kindness, patience,and love of our Saviour who lived amongst us as one of the crowd. A simple man with no great material riches to share, but with all the treasures of heaven at his disposal.

Today 6th June, would have been Mrs Mabel Tromans 92nd Birthday, and our flower ladies were delighted when Aunty Mabel’s (I always called her Aunty although unrelated) asked if they could place an arrangement in church in Memory of one of the kindest persons, Church and Rowley has ever known.

The scroll in the arrangement is in Mabel’s own handwriting, done as a gift years ago for some family members, whom she called the girls, Mabel was never blessed with children of her own, but spent a lifetime loving, caring for and mentoring every child she knew.

Please read the first line carefully,

Some one did a golden deed today,
Was it you?

Small, kind, golden deeds, these are the works of little saints, all of us with a little thought can do at least one a day

It was a truly a pleasure knowing you St. Mabel.
You made it so.

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Pentecost, I remember it well..

On Pentecost Sunday, instead of the usual sermon. our Vicar interviewed a member of the congregation, opening the conversation with a question,

What does Pentecost mean to you?

A good question, and one with as many answers as interviewees.

But suppose that the interviewee was the Holy Spirit?

Pentecost, I remember it well,
I called the meeting. In the upper room,
So quiet, Peter lost for words,
So still,
Until I moved,fanned up a wind,
Took flight.
A violent wind, that’s how they wrote it down,
Excuse me, but I still have to raise a storm –
Before I’m heard,
To light a fire
Before I’m noticed.
Yet, I still come to church,
Every Sunday, invisible, unheard, unnoticed –
I slip in listen and brood as I’m mentioned in liturgy
Addressed in prayer.

Of course,
no one really expects me to do it again,
And anyway,
there is lunch, and the family are coming today,
You all really must fly…..

So must I.
One day, soon
I intend to raise a storm,
Light a fire,
Excuse me, I really prefer the gentle way,
But you don’t listen,
And you don’t see…
Afraid, you give me, no other choice,
I will just have to raise my voice …
You still have work to do,
Fish to catch,
Fishers of men,
And sheep to feed…
WE have a Gospel to proclaim…

Yes, I really might do Pentecost again!

(Words from a member of our congregation who doesn’t want to be named but felt inspired to write..)

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