Category: Times and Seasons

Doing and Giving, Watching and Waiting

Although we still have 16 more days to go, the Church on the Hill is putting on its Christmas dress, and will be seeing several hundreds of people pass through our doors during the days leading up to Christmas Day itself. The lovely roses adorning this tree in West porch were lovingly hand crafted by Linda Clinton, Our Messy Church leader.

Next Sunday, 15th December Messy Church will be holding a Messy Party to celebrate another lovely year of Messy Craft, Games, Stories and togetherness; we are hoping that Churchwarden, Yvonne Owen will once again be making the ‘best jelly in the world’ ….

Ps 147.16 He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes.

No snow on our Hill Top yet, but we have seen frost, and felt the keen wintry wind. Iris Westwood created this beautiful window display. Mike Tandy took the lovely photos. And there are very many more on St Giles Facebook Page

Tell me the old, old story

Of unseen things above,

Of Jesus and His Glory,

Of Jesus and His love.

Olwyn Plant, Trish Cornford with Joyce Walker created this happy little corner for the Open the Book Team – they open the big book, read and act out stories from the Bible at morning assemblies in our primary schools. As you can see multi talented.

Over the past few weeks the church family at St Giles have been generously putting together and wrapping gifts for the Shoe Box Appeal, chocolates, biscuits and festive eats for the Loaves and Fishes Shoe Bank, warm socks, hats, gloves etc for distribution by Outreach Angels to the homeless, and today bought new toys for those little ones who might otherwise receive none and also today held our Annual Christingle Service.

Here are Revd. Barrie Roberts and Revd. Carole Christensen, two stalwart friends to all of us at St Giles.

Tides and Tidings sends its good wishes for the Christmas Season to all who follow us on WordPress, but since we are still, despite the cheery glows and happy faces still in this solemn season of Advent, we pray,

Father be with all who wait,

Be with those who wait for the birth of a child, we ask for a safe delivery,

Be with those who wait watchfully over loved ones who are sick.

Be with those who cannot wait for tomorrow’s joys

Especially be with those who dread tomorrow’s sorrows,

For the sake of your Son laid in a manger,

Grant us steadfastness, courage and peace in all our waitings ,

Perfect Trust in His Coming again, when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess, Jesus Christ is Lord, to Your Glory Lord we ask it.

Father grant to us all that your Holy Angels, watch and wait with us.

Seventeen Mice at the Big Picnic

(Or the 13th Basket)

Once upon a time, no, really and truly, once upon a time, this is a story from many, many, many, many long mouse years ago; James and Ruth and their 15 mice-lets were very hungry; it had been a long hot summer and their usual food had shrivelled up in the hot sunshine, everything including the little stream had totally dried up—to be a country-mouse was so-not-good.

Ruth and James were very worried. They said their prayers many times a day, and the mice-lets just got thinner and thinner, and Ruth thought James’ whiskers would fall out with worry. They moved to a new home.

They moved as close as they could to the seashore and made a home in an old basket that the fishermen had thrown away, and keeping themselves as quiet as they could, crept out while the fishermen were eating their dinner and, creeping very, very close stole crumbs. (A very dangerous thing to do, because you know little church-people-persons- big people-persons don’t like mice.)

Then one morning, they heard the sound of feet, thousands of feet, plodding, plopping, plodding, plopping, some running very fast- no time to plod and plop. And there was excited shouting, lots of happy talking and even singing. And then they heard a big voice shouting for everyone to shut-up and listen, and then the mouse family heard something very wonderful. They heard a big voice, but a gentle voice and a man began to tell stories about the Kingdom of God.

Never, never had little country mice heard such lovely stories and ….

they forgot they were hungry – they just wanted to listen and listen. So, they did another very brave thing and all 17 crept under their basket home and quietly, secretly moved it closer and closer, to the front of the crowd and the pair of feet that belonged to Jesus, so that hiding beneath and lifting it ever so slightly they could hear every word.

They were there a long time, 17 Mice persons and thousand of People Persons. There were lots and lots of little people-persons all being very good and quiet, some sucked their thumbs, but everyone was very good and quiet. No one wanted to miss a word Jesus had to say.

The Sun was getting ready to go to bed, and the friends of Jesus were worried. The Mice-lets heard them whisper to Jesus about their worry.

“Look it’s getting late it will dark soon. Everyone is getting hungry. Please send them away, so they can go and buy something to eat.”

Ruth, James and Mice-lets heard their own tummy rumbles then. They had quite forgotten they were hungry. Oh No! it didn’t seem there would be any food for them today!

Somewhere far above their heads they heard Jesus say, “You give them something to eat?”

That made his friends very worried, there were not enough pennies to buy bread to feed all this great crowd of people- persons.

Jesus said, “How many loaves do you have? Go look!”

And when they came back, they said, “Five and two fish.”

Jesus said everyone was to sit down on the green grass. And everyone did, flop, flop, flop, flop all the bottoms sat down with a flop. The Mouse Family, quaked, and shivered all over with fright would someone sit on their basket-house? But a kindly hand reached down and moved their basket-house with them in it- safely out of the way, and They knew it was Jesus.

They did not see Jesus break the loaves and the fishes to share them up, but they did hear His lovely voice as He said thank you to Our Father in Heaven …. And they knew, just knew that there would be plenty for the 5000 men and their wives and little children to eat and plenty for little mice.

It was a very good picnic, the biggest picnic the Mouse Family ever knew and when all the people-persons were full-up of bread and fish, Jesus friends collected up 12 baskets of left overs, but, don’t tell, little people-person friends there was another basket besides, the 13th Basket was the Mouse Basket-House and it had lots of tiny pieces of bread tucked safely underneath – Ruth and James said, and Mouse-folk every where still remember and talk about it to this very day- and they all say it was the hand of Jesus, His very own hand that put them there.

The End.

Rosy Mouse

Story based, very loosely, on the feeding of the 5000 in the Gospel of Mark 6; 32-44) and retold by Rosy Mouse for Yvonne, the Churchwarden-her biggest fan.

Rosy Mouse and husband Fred are Wood Mice, their children an descendants are numerous and coming from an extremely long-line of Mice 🐁 with many tales to tell of illustrious forebears. Rosy will sometimes produce a story for our Church Magazine, – quite a feat for such a small creature – typing them up on the Compiling Editor’s old iPad and emailing them just in-time for photocopy day. Rosy and Fred live, quite happily, at the bottom of the Churchyard, close to the ‘Celtic Cross’ ✝️ and enjoy cake and other crumbs 🧁 left behind after coffee which always follows Sunday Services. If visiting St Giles Church please take care not to step on our mice!

We plough the fields, and scatter~

The good seed on the land,

But it is fed and watered

By God’s almighty hand:

He sends the snow in winter,

The warmth to swell the grain,

The breezes and the sunshine,

And soft refreshing rain.

All good gifts around us

Are sent from heaven above;

Then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord,

For all his love.

(M Claudius. Tr. Jane M Campbell)

Harvest Service: This coming Sunday 6th October at 10:15am.

All very welcome…

Doubt and faith. Love and Joy

Thomas called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, ‘We have seen the Lord,’ but he answered, ‘Unless I can see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes that they made, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe.'”

And so Thomas called the Twin became Thomas called the Doubting.

I have often, because I am made that way, felt that I would have gone away grieved to my heart that 10 of Jesus’ other friends, and Mary Magdalene had seen Jesus and I had not. Always I have felt, that I would have felt .. well left out! Why had Jesus come to the others and not to me?

There are many, many words written by scholarly Writers, much ink spent on explanations, comments including the frequent ‘ Doubt is good’ and we all doubt from time to time. But, the thought is always there ~ had I been in Thomas’ place ~ I would have wondered ‘Why did he leave me out? Doesn’t he love me?’

This possibly says more about my own feelings for my Lord than it does for Thomas, and I can easily relate to how Thomas felt 8 days later when,

The disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them. The doors were closed but Jesus came in and stood among them. ‘Peace be with you.’ he said. Then he spoke to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here, look here are my hands. Give me your hand, put it into my side. Do not be unbelieving any more but believe.’ Thomas replied, ‘My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him,

You believe because you can see me. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

I hear, and read no scolding for Doubting Thomas here, I do hear, and feel the love of Jesus for Thomas, and the love of Thomas for Jesus… I can see, Thomas falling at the feet of Jesus, see tears of a wounded heart made whole as well as the worship of a man who utters for the first time in the Gospel pages “My Lord and my God.” Worship for me, is bound up tightly in that word, Love. Later St Peter, left us some words on believing.

You have not seen him; and still without seeing him you believe in him and so are already filled with a joy so glorious that it cannot be described; and you are sure of the goal of your faith, that is the salvation of your souls.”

Why did I choose two little birds, mother and her little fledgeling?

Because our Lord watched over Thomas, Peter and the others for 3 years, and after dying for them and for us, after burial and Resurrection returned to teach them how to fly… true he had to tip them out of the nest on the day of Pentecost and carry them out into the streets on the wings of a mighty wind, but fly they did, including Doubting Thomas, in faith believing, in love ~ Messengers of the Gospel of peace.

A final word from Jesus

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” The Lord replied, ‘if you had faith like a mustard seed you could say to this mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and planted in the sea,and it would obey you.”

The thing which bound Jesus, his disciples and us together is Love. Love does not see fault in doubting but looks to see Doubting Souls fly.

Scriptures from New Jerusalem Bible references:

John 20. 24-29, 1 Peter 1-9, Luke 17.5,7

Photo: unsure of origin but not my own.

Beware the Wolf is always around

Despite having no Incumbent in the Vicarage, St Giles carries on, with a number of us gathering on Wednesday mornings for a short Communion with Revd Carole Christensen or Revd. Barrie Roberts. These Wednesday gatherings are loved because they are quiet, tucked away in the Lady Chapel, under the watchful gaze of Mary and Joseph looking over the infant Jesus in his Manger bed. They are times to remember that we also are being “watched over” as we go about our everyday, ordinary lives. We are, after all the Good Shepherd’s sheep, in need of His comfort and care.

Today’s Gospel Reading: Matthew 7. 15-20

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves, you will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? In the same way every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that bears good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits.”

Sometimes the wolf operates from the inside, much as the serpent operated on the inside of Eden, he lies low at the back of our minds, waiting to convince us that it is perfectly alright to have a foot in both camps, one in the world and one in church. He is pretty sneaky Mr Wolf, one of his favourite lines is “Off course it’s alright to do this or that, everybody does this, these days.” Or, the one that really scares Christian folk, so much that they say nothing at all, when they see the thorns and thistles growing like wildfire, “Perhaps you ought not to think like that people will say you are a prude, worse still a bigot!”

Some Thorns and Thistles:

Jealousy, Quarrelling,

Those are probably the ones, the devil has most success with,

The Longer List: (Some really poisonous ones here) Gal 5:19-20

Fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing and things like these.


Good Fruit (of the Spirit) 5. 22-23

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.

It is of course self-control that checks our inner wolf. To exercise self-control is to be tuned in to the Holy Spirit, it is to turn up the volume to listen to the Word of God and cultivate a holy deafness to the deceitful wisdom of the world, flesh and devil.

The false prophet is sneaky, and seeks to make a profit from pedalling his tacky wares, the good prophet has no other agenda than that set by the Lord, our sanctification, blessing, our place as a good tree in God’s heavenly orchard.

O Lord our God,

Grant us grace to desire you with our whole heart;

That so desiring, we may seek and find you;

And so finding may love you;

And so loving may hate those sins from which you have delivered us;

Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Scriptures from NRSV

Prayer: St Anselm (1109)

Photos; Upper Portion Stained Glass Window-St Giles Lady Chapel (artist Benjamin E, Warren. And Nave

Details of St Giles Services please visit our website

What would you ask Jesus?

#1 “So I say to you: ask and it will be given to you; search and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; everyone who searches finds; everyone who knocks will have the door opened. What father among you, if his son asked for a fish, would hand him a snake? Or if he asked for an egg, hand him a scorpion? If you then, evil as you are, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will the Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

#2 “Whatever you ask in my name I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. If you love me you will keep my commandments, I shall ask the Father and he will give you another Paraclete* to be with you for ever.”

When I look at this portion of the Caritas Window in the lady chapel, I see ‘Black Country Faces” ~ thin, angular faces as they would have been in the early 1900s when the window was painted, and, I sometimes ask myself:

What is the little boy asking Jesus for?

As we approach Pentecost Sunday, what are you asking Jesus to do for you?

What are you asking the Father for?

#3 Come , O Spirit of God, and make within us your dwelling place and home.

May our darkness be dispelled by your light,

And our troubles calmed by your peace;

May all evil be redeemed by your love,

All pain transformed through the suffering of Christ,

And all dying glorified in his risen life. Amen

#4 Lord, your Kingdom come on earth, your will be done as it is in Heaven. We ask for the heart of a little child, a heart that brings all needs and thanks to your knee; a heart that speaks the truth to you and says, sorry for what it does amiss; a heart that gazes up to your face and seeks out your approval and gaze of love in return; a heart that always knocks, but knows the door to your’s is always open. Send your Spirit Lord and claim us as your own. Amen

*Gk word means ‘advocate’ – ‘counsellor’ – ‘protector’

#1 Luke 11. 9-13, #John 14. 13-16, #3 Collect for Night Prayer Ascension Day to Pentecost (Common Worship) #4 One of St Giles Intercessions Team

Broken and given for you and for me

Ascension Day comes and we shall share the bread, and body of Jesus in Communion and Fellowship together. In faith, believing the church and family of Jesus share his sorrows as well as his joys, for we know, most surely that he shares ours. Some of us, know that the sadnesses and difficulties of this life are times of special blessings and it is our experience that Our Lord uses broken things:

Broken Things

God uses broken things

It takes broken soil to produce a crop,

Broken clouds to give rain.

Broken grain to give bread,

Broken bread to give strength

(Vance Havner)

I once asked what a saint was and Jesus answered me, “God’s chosen heart”

I read in my bible, “God doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

I am thinking of the hearts of the apostles broken with the loss of their friend, their sense of loss as he finally returned home to Heaven, his home .. their home for he had promised. Soon comes Pentecost … soon the church will be born …. here we are but first Christ’s heart and body was broken for us. These are the words we say together, “Though we are many, we are one body, because we all share in one bread”

And this sharing is real, not illusionary, it becomes real every time we show those who are aching and suffering the compassionate heart of Christ, who gave his new life and strength when he gave us his heart.

He asks that we give him ours…that we allow him to break the soil, and to take away our sins, our many trespasses as weeds from a field, to burn away the stubble of previous years failed crops, to make us ready to receive in good soil the good seed, that will accept the good blessings of Holy Spirit rain, that good seed may become good grain and good grain, good wholesome bread that gives strength, his hidden strength to a needy world. For, just as Christ is hidden in Communion bread, so it is that he delights to be hidden in you and me. The world may not know this, but the hands the church (you and I) holds out to it, in welcome, in sincerity, in peace, in love are his hands.

Life has taught me that God’s chosen heart is never chosen because it is perfect. Rather it is chosen because His Compassionate heart loves it, and we are loved with an everlasting love. Everlasting Love is prepared to persevere with our heart until our difficult, obstinate, stony, barrenness yields good grain.

Posted in love, for all who struggle with life’s hardness and losses, that together we may know, Jesus Christ, the Son of God gave his heart and body to be broken, that our losses might turn to Eternal Gain.

Prayers for times of difficulty and brokenness:

Teach us, Good Lord,

To serve you as you deserve,

To give and not to count the cost.

To fight and not to heed the wounds,

To toil and not to seek for rest,

To labour, and not to ask for any reward,

Save that of knowing we do your will. #1

Lord, I am small, often lost, often lonely and often feel that I cannot go on. Lord I feel your arm around me, to support me, it is your hand which wipes the tears that blind, from my eyes that I may see the way ahead. Speak to me, words of comfort until I see the rain has come, and gone and left behind your blessing, Lord the dove returned to Noah with a twig from the olive tree, so that Noah might take courage, and wait. Grant me courage and perseverance Lord to wait for the promised blessing.#2

#1 St Ignatius of Loyola

#2 St Giles Intercessor

Friend to friend

Shorter days and darker mornings tell us that the Season of Advent, Christmas and New Year are near.

We are waiting, at St Giles to hear news of the new man or woman who the Lord will send as our new Spiritual leader. We wait in hope.

Waiting is often the last thing, any of us like to do, in any context.

But if we hold our times of waiting alongside the many centuries, that the Lord’s people waited in prayerful hope for the coming of Jesus our waiting pales into insignificance.

Soon the Christmas Tree will arrive, in time for the Schools’ Carol Services, many hundreds of small feet will visit and little angel voices sing out carols learnt. Cheerful, smiling faces will brighten wintry waiting days.

There is something about being together in friendship that warms the coldest day, and shortens the longest waiting one. Christian Friendship and Fellowship is to be wrapped around in the love, peace and joy of Christ.. all who have waited patiently for His knock on the heart’s door and have opened it to let Him in know this we don’t wait alone, we wait with Christ, and we cannot be disappointed Christ Himself leads us, sustains our patience, blesses our perseverance, leads us joyfully from one joy to another.

For us, who believe it is Christmas and Easter Morning every day.

All scriptures written so long ago were written so that we learning perseverance and the encouragement which the scriptures give, should have hope. Now the God of all perseverance and encouragement give us all the same purpose, following the example of Christ Jesus, so that we may together give glory to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ with one heart.”

Posted for all who wait in hope…

Prayer adapted from Romans 15. 4=6 .