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Don’t be a fool and miss out.
This year we get to Easter day on April Fool’s Day, but if we think we can get to the delights of Easter with no idea of what led up to it then we are truly fools.
Holy Week takes us on the true journey of just how much God loves us.
This is seen in the Passion, the life giving love of Jesus and his journey to the cross.
Please think ahead and plan how you are going to make it a Holy Week.
It might include some time quietly in the Lady Chapel in Towcester joining Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane but admitting that we do often desert him in the end.
Ideally do sign up to fill a time slot on the rota, but you are welcome just to turn up.
In the end we all leave, but yet He still gave himself for us.
It may be coming to one of the meditations each day reflecting on an aspect of the journey.
You will be welcome.
We wish you a truly blessed Holy Week.
Annual Parochial Church Meetings
Annual Parochial Church Meetings are approaching.
Please check your name is on the Church Electoral Roll.
Please pray for the church council members.
Could you take part in one of our committees and/or planning and action groups?
Find out who is standing as Church Warden, could it be you…
St Bartholomew’s Annual Parochial Church Meeting is on Sunday 15th April 9.30 am with coffee and croissant before the service.
St Lawrence Annual Parochial Church Meeting is on Sunday 15th April 11.00 am with coffee after the service.
St Mary’s Annual Parochial Church Meeting is on Saturday 7th April 6.00 pm.
The Choral Society will be performing Mozart’s Requiem, Mozart Clarinet Concerto and Vaughan William’s Five Mystical Songs on Sunday 25th March 7.30 pm at St Lawrence.
Children’s Church at St Lawrence
We are encouraged by Children's Church so far, and thank God for answered prayers that children have come along and seemed to enjoy themselves, and more importantly seemed to have understood what has been covered so far.
We are enjoying using the Jesus Storybook Bible and think the children are too!
For those who don't know, each session has some material to go through together and includes a slot where the book can be read or a short DVD session watched.
Hannah Godwin has been an enthusiastic and helpful person to have in the sessions.
Session 1: Six children from two years up to 9 (Nic has all the attendees and their ages recorded in a register if you want to know!) and 2 accompanying adults.
We introduced the Bible and covered the fact that there are 66 books in the Bible, which are about Jesus.
The Old Testament points to him, and he is the fulfilment of all that is promised in it.
We also sang a couple of songs together.
Session 2: The ages ranged from four to nine years.
Five children came with one accompanying adult.
The session covered creation, and the children learned that God made everything and that it was good, and that the climax of creation was Adam and Eve, whom God loved.
The children drew some lovely pictures of the steps in creation - trees, animals, birds, fish... and people!
The plan is to display what the children have been doing at the back of Church.
We have had feedback sessions in Church so that the Church family know what the children have been doing.
We hope and pray that this will enthuse everyone about Children's church, encourage everyone and help to focus people's prayers.
Please pray that God will continue to bring children along, that they will have fun, that we will explain things clearly to them, and that the children, their parents or carers and the Church family learn more about Jesus, know and love him more through what is going on.
If there is anything else you would like to know please ask.
St Lawrence Tower
There is an ongoing project to ring to remember all the bell ringers who died in WW1, and who are remembered in the Central Council Rolls of Honour housed in St Paul’s Cathedral.
We thought there was only one from this area, being one of the Slarke family from Easton Neston in whose memory the treble bells were added there.
However the following has just come to light...
...found from a newspaper trawl carried out by David Willis.
His is quite a tragic story:
Gunner Mayo Townsend, Towcester, & District. Died 28/03/1918 age 38.
Royal Garrison Artillery 135th Siege Bty.
Commemorated at Aubigny Communal Cemetery Extension, France, Grave III. D. 7.
Baptised on 15/02/1880 at Cold Higham, Northants.
Son of William Townsend and the late Rosanna Townsend (died 1881) and step-son of Ellen Townsend.
Husband of Ellen Townsend (née Basford), whom he married in 1910, of Islington Road, Towcester.
Father of Frank Townsend, Olive Elizabeth Townsend, Florence Mabel Townsend and Elsie Townsend.
He joined the Towcester & District Association in June 1912.
At the time of the 1911 census he was working as a shoe finisher at C & E Lewis in Towcester.
From the 1911 census it shows that his household included his widowed sister in law Angelina Townsend and her three sons, William Frederick Townsend, Harry Townsend and Herbert Townsend.
Two of these, Private William Frederick Townsend, Yorkshire Regiment, not known to be a bellringer, also fell, on 23/04/1917, and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, France, and Private Harry Townsend, Lincolnshire Regiment, not known to be a bellringer, also fell, on 24/10/1918, and is buried in Ovillers New Communal Cemetery, Solesmes, France.
Born: Cold Higham, Northants.
Enlisted: Towcester. Resided (1911 Census): High Street, Towcester.
A peal will be rung on the day of his death Wednesday 28th March, in Holy Week starting at 4.00 pm.
This will be halfmuffled, one side of the clapper wrapped in a leather pouch.
This has a stunning effect and means anyone falling out of sync is a real clanger.
The effects are hard to undo.
We remember the costs of love and service given and the lengths God’s love to bring a channel of reconciling love which we are invited to celebrate and receive.
Pilgrimage to the Holy Land
Following in the Footsteps of Jesus.
We invite you to join us in November 2018.
Why go on pilgrimage?
It is always good to set aside time for God.
He always is there for us wherever we are, but to travel deliberately to the place where he touched the same earth opens up deeper resonances to us.
This experience can help us find new insights into the Gospel – the Good news of God with us and God for us.
It can freshen our reading of familiar scriptures and strengthen us in following His call to serve the world He loves.
Israel/Palestine is the place where lives were touched and changed 2000 years ago.
Today still, amidst much richness, dispute and pain, “living stones” of hope are found there.
We will hope to encounter some of those through the contacts Lightline has and encourage the beleaguered Christian community.
We pray you will be able to join fellow pilgrims, get to know them, yourself and our Lord more and find this a blessed part of your journey in life.
Ben Phillips , Lulu Pelly and Paula Challen. Clergy of the Tove Benefice
Click here for more information...
Vacancy for Treasurer
The Churches Together in Towcester work well together doing many vital events in schools and in the town.
We need a treasurer for this group.
It is a simple set of accounts.
Could you help please?
Talk to Ben or Lulu or John Lindsay.
John is having to standdown because of his eyesight.
Baptism and Confirmation Candidates with Bishop Donald and Benefice Clergy
Rev’d Lulu, David Tarbun, Rev’d Paula, Debbie Oliver, Rachel Carrington
Nadine Muir, Shane Muir, Bishop Donald, Catherine Tarbun, Eiron reid
Ashton Muir, Imogyn Muir, Nadine Muir, Shane Muir, Fr. Ben and baby Clara
This was a very blessed day.
After so much rain the day before during the setting up we were blessed with perfect weather for hot food and ice cream.
The generous sponsorship of SNC and others enabled the re-enactors to be there.
They were enthusiastic, informative and engaging.
I was amazed that a small wooden crate with a pair of bellows could get a furnace going reaching temperatures of over 1000 degrees Centigrade enabling steel to be forged.
Thank you to Martin Johns, Paula Challen and all the 917 committee.
Also, huge credit to the Churches Together team of Helen Castle, Oliver Low, and Arthur Hughes who had recruited a huge range of talent to offer calligraphy, storytelling, prayer opportunities and much more during the whole event.
Thank you to everyone who took part or who came and supported.
There was much laughter, fellowship and community.
St Lawrence Patronal Festival
A huge thank you to Rona and all her flower arranging team for a stunning exhibition on Towcester through the Ages.
It was an amazing experience to see the creativity and talent in our midst together with the fascinating history of the famous people born and bred in Towcester who went out into the world to achieve great things.
What an inspiration to us all!
Thank you too for the very hard work in providing Cream Teas, Tombola, Children’s Activities, BBQ and for selling Raffle tickets and for the beautiful 917 Cake.
We enjoyed good worship on Sunday morning supported by the Towcester Studio Band and on Sunday evening led by the Benefice Choir.
It was a joy to meet visitors and to share St. Lawrence Church and for us all to see it in all its glory.
It’s Your Move Books
These were given out to all Year six children along with a carefully prepared lesson around it on behalf of
Churches Together in Towcester which we all fund and are part of.
This was a great privilege to be able to be with all these children.
Prayer Bus and Prayer Spaces
If you have not seen the feedback we have had from the schools please talk to Paula.
St Lawrence Church, Towcester
The Church is open for you every day from 9.00 am to 5.30 pm at least.
It is a lovely place to find peace and many people make use of it.
Do join them, but please be aware, we have unfortunately suffered from very occasional anti-social behaviour, attempted thefts and damage to the building.
If you see anyone acting suspiciously please do call the church office or vicarage 01327 350459.
Churchyard Working Bees
Nothing makes a community like working together on something.
Fortunately, we have opportunities galore for this.
All our Churches come with churchyards which need tending and caring for.
St Bart’s and St Lawrence have a tradition which needs building up of the first Saturday morning of the month.
This has slipped in Towcester.
From September, there will be renewed vigour and the offer of sausage sizzle after a morning’s work. Please come and bring your own weapons of war, pruning hooks, secateurs or whatever to add to our resident armoury already here for those who come on foot.
Please put these dates in your diary 7th October, 4th November, 2nd December.
There are ash trees and elders sprouting in comers of graves and paths which need to be removed, ivy galore, satisfying drain clearing moments, refined deadheading, bonfire tending and much much more.
If you are not physically up to this we would love to have a coffee maker, BBQ tender, list keeper or foreman, and someone to advertise and remind and invite us.
Please feel loved and wanted.
And the good news is, if it rains we have a list as long as your arm and cobwebs specially provided for us to have an opportunity for inside church building working bee instead.
Revd Lulu Pelly was inaugurated as the Northamptonshire chaplain for the St John Ambulance last month.
This amazing organisation which does such important work teaching children and adults to save lives has deep Christian roots.
Do encourage Lulu in this role
Support The Tove Benefice Website
Activity on the web site continues to increase, but the site would still benefit from your input, comments and feedback, even if it is only to suggest the removal of obsolete material.
It is easy to make contact by using the “Your Comments” tab at the foot of the menu or via the Benefice Office.
It is vital for the Church to communicate in as many ways as possible and it is important to have social media accounts, but they do not replace the Benefice web site, as there are major differences.
If someone is trying to find information they tend to search the Internet looking for the relevant web site as this gives the searcher confidence that this is the right place to find out about the Church or Benefice.
Social media is great fort those who know about the Church and perhaps existing Church members, but for the Churches of the Benefice to be discovered by those within the local area, and those outside, who probably do not know that we have social media accounts; the web site provides a guiding light.
The web site contains information such as contact details and maps that verify that the searcher has found the right information they are looking for, which is important as so many Churches have the same names.
ToveBenefice.org.uk provides details on service times, forthcoming events, reports on past events, photographs, virtual tours and other information essential to someone trying to find out about the Benefice and its Churches.
Much of this is not easy to communicate using social media as the platform is completely different and rapidly changing, so I appeal all to participate in the web site and pray for its continues success.
The Towcester Prayers
Jenny Lunn, our own resident poet, has had her work published in this beautifully presented paperback.
It sensitively and inspiringly covers issues from pain and purpose to care, community and thanksgiving.
Published by the Unboring Book Company of Northampton is hot off the press.
They are available from the Church Office or from Jenny, at a cost of £2.50, all profits go to St Lawrence.
Jenny Lunn has produced this new collection of poems to compliment her earlier book of Prayer Poems, both of which are available from the Benefice Office and the Library at £2.50 each.
I do invite you to be part of one of the following.
In church: reaching out to anyone we see who is or might be new.
Also there is our continued care for each other and those going through testing times.
Coffee Times: week by week we offer refreshments at several times and places.
After church services, Friday and Saturday mornings in the Chantry and Saturdays at Greens Norton.
All of these rotas need extra recruits to make it less onerous for a faithful few.
Please do tell the office if you can help with any of these.
A Welcome Party for New Residents
We are hoping to offer a welcome party to everyone who has moved in to The Green (where the old council offices were) and into Moat Lane.
We need some party planners and helpers to make this possible.
Please offer your services to Ben or Lulu for this.
Little Sprouts at Towcester
Monday mornings from 9.30 am until 11.00 am.
This is for babies and all pre-school and children and their parents or carers.
This is huge fun.
Come and have coffee and a snack, join in the chat and play, and join the fabulous singing on the carpet!
Poems by Steph Ince
The two books of poems by Steph Ince from Greens Norton were reprinted for her funeral at the end of June.
There are still some copies left, so if you would like one or more, please contact me.
They are £5 each or both for £8.
Profits go to St Bartholomew’s Church, Greens Norton.
Kevin Parfitt 01327 353966 firstname.lastname@example.org
New Housing News
There is a small window when people move in to a new home or town where they are open to new things and new people.
Those early months matter in terms of feeling part of a community or not.
Churches Together in Towcester have been looking at what we can do and are keen to make the new housing in Towcester work well.
Little Sprouts and BIBS
I’m so pleased to write these positive pieces for the magazine.
I hope they will make you smile and inspire you as we journey together in sharing the gospel within our Benefice.
Following our 6 week trial of Little Sprouts (not Brussel Sprouts), I’m very pleased to say that we will be continuing after half term.
During the trial weeks we met some 29 families and had an average of 14 children attended each week.
Designed on similar lines to the successful ‘Tots Own group’, we have: sung and danced to the wiggle song; heard bible stories like the one from Ben (our puppet) who’s great, great, great, great, grandad was Abraham; we have glued, painted, created with play dough and iced biscuits; and played with wooden train track, cars, bricks and baby dolls.
Sarah and I are very grateful to ‘our team’ each week of lovely ladies who in pairs have provided a warm welcome and refreshments – and we would love to add to this team; so if you are free perhaps once a month and would like to be rejuvenated (as one lady put it) do speak to us about joining our merry band.
Please continue to hold all those involved in leading this group in your prayers as we walk alongside families and share the Good News of Christ with them.
Over October we have had 2 groups meeting weekly in Greens Norton giving parents a whistle stop tour of a few bible stories ones which they can share with their children these have included Creation, Noah & Joseph.
I have really enjoyed walking alongside the mums and exploring at a deeper level the stories we think we know, but on reading say I didn’t realise... and as we’ve also thought about how this effects our everyday lives.
This has been my first solo time at leading a series of bible studies and I have learnt so much – like not to try and fit quite so much into a short session.
We have 2 more weeks at the beginning of November when we are looking at a few parables and then we will take a break.
However I have already been asked if we can have another group (or groups) perhaps around Lent / Easter – so watch this space!
Wanted - Yew tree trimmer
Could you enjoy some moments of uninterrupted peace in our wonderful churchyard?
We have a number of lovely trees and bushes of ancient decent who need an annual or biannual trim to keep them at their best and form getting leggy.
We would love to talk to you if you are interested.
Dr Lewis has tended them for many years and has now hung up his shears.
We are so thankful for all the work he has carried out in the past.
Contact a churchwarden or Ben please.
Churchyard Working Parties
Greens Norton and Towcester.
On the first Saturday of each month we have a churchyard working party.
10.00 am until noon. Do come along, you will get a free coffee and a huge thank you.
In today’s modern era it has become apparent that the church needs to evolve to meet the needs of the people of the future.
This will mean a number of changes are required to meet these needs.
These will not happen overnight but gradually on a basis of what are perceived to be the most necessary.
As most of you are aware Jim Hyde has been steadfastly leading the working party and under his guidance we have come a long way.
A number of projects have been discussed and we have had plans drawn up by Bruce Deacon, architect.
Due to various reasons Jim has decided to stand down from this role and hand it over to someone else who is willing to take it on.
To go forward we will be asking the DAC (Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches) to visit us and give advice on what we plan, and how we should prioritise our future planning.
This visit will hopefully be before the next PCC where the reforming of the Development Committee will be a subject for discussion. Ideally the proposed work will be split between sub groups of the committee.
Any work done must be subject to a Faculty granted by the Chancellor of the Dioscese and part of that process will be the drawing up of a Statement of Significance and a Statement of Need.
Granting of a Faculty requires a good deal of paperwork.
If you are interested in taking part please contact either myself or Stephanie Watts, PCC Secretary, or the office.
The Legend of the Pelican and its place in Christianity
The legend of the pelican is a very ancient one and goes back to a time around the 2nd century.
References to it can be found during the 2nd century when it appears in the Physiologus, a Christian adaptation referring to popular animal legends and symbols.
According to one legend, in a time of famine the mother would draw her own blood and use it to feed her chicks.
Another is that the pelican chicks strike their parents who retaliate and kill them.
However on the third day the mother opens her side and pours her blood onto their bodies.
In so doing they are revived, and made whole.
In medieval Europe the pelican was believed to provide her own blood to feed her chicks, which resulted in the pelican becoming a symbol of the Passion of Jesus and the Eucharist from around the 12th century.
The legend was taken up by many writers, amongst them William Shakespeare, who makes reference to the pelican in Hamlet.
It was also adopted by Queen Elizabeth 1st to signify her position as head of the Church of England.
Therefore the symbolism behind the Pelican Mural in the Lady Chapel is that of the Eucharist and Christ rising on the third day.
Pelican Mural Restoration and Conservation
The work to conserve the Pelican Picture in the Lady Chapel has now been completed.
The work was carried out by Deborah Russell after a great deal of research and took a week to complete.
The work consisted firstly of cleaning away, as far as possible, the accumulation of dust and grime from over the years.
Further examination revealed that the surface on which the picture itself was painted was in a fragile condition.
This required the insertion of a consolidating material allowing it to bond with the wall.
Lime mortar being used to repair small missing sections.
It has always been a dark painting, not helped by its position and the fact that the surface had been treated at some time in the past with a wax compound which has darkened with age.
It has not been possible to remove the majority of this material.
Renovation was then carried out and as far a possible matching the colours as originally used.
The age of the picture is not known but a time during the 17th century is a possible date.
The result of this work is that the picture is much clearer and more easily seen.
Below the painting is a corbel which dates from the Middle Ages and would originally be part of what was originally contained within the niche.
The original paint is still visible as is the pattern on the left side of the corbel. In addition the remains of the framing of the niche also still shows the original paint.
The pigments used originally must have been of the highest quality.
The original cost would have been extremely expensive.
We will never know what was originally held within the niche, but would have been of a deeply religious significance.
The Reformation under Henry VIII no doubt resulted in the loss of whatever was there, and the rough surface of the stonework under the picture may have been caused by the destruction carried out at the time.
Gluten Free Communion Wafers
If you require a gluten free communion wafer there are a number of small laminated cards in the top of the bookstall.
Please take one and hold it in the palm of your hand at the rail when taking communion.
Parking in the Churchyard
Since the One Way system has been put in place, the church parking area has become a convenient place for anyone to do a quick turnaround, in order to avoid driving all the way round.
If you do park in the Church, please try to close one of the gates to minimise the number of cars using the church.
A recent survey of mosses was carried out in Bradden churchyard. Amongst the mosses and lichen found was an example of Leucodon sciuroides, otherwise known as Squirrel Tail Moss.
This a rare type of which there are only some twenty instances known in the county.
If you feel inspired to look for pictures of the others, go to: http://www.britishbryologicalsociety.org.uk/ click on the Field Guide on the left of the home page.
Churchyard Wildlife Conservation
St Lawrence Churchyard is over 500 years old and provides a rare conservation area for wildlife where the land has been left untouched by chemicals or fertilisers and contains many mature trees, including a yew tree identified as being over 250 years old. Towcester Wildlife Trust and St Lawrence Church have teamed up to improve the churchyard for wildlife and visitors based upon the Wildlife Trust’s new ‘Churchyards for Wildlife’ project. This will include activities such as adding bird boxes, treating diseased and damage trees, planting wildflowers and bushes for birds in carefully selected places, purchasing tools, and creating an annual management plan for grass cutting and site maintenance. The Churchyard is accessible for all, as is the Church, and provides a restful place for spiritual reflection and walking.
Read more about the Churchyard
Read about the progress in maintaining St Lawence Churchyard
Read more about the project on the website for the Towcester Wildlife Trust group
Letting People Know!
The success of the Tove Messenger, like all other magazines, is dependant on its content.
Likewise the success of events within the Benefice is dependant on people being made aware of these events.
If you are involved and want some publicity please let Paul (email@example.com) know and he will do his best to see that there is something in the magazine.
Paul does know that at least one person missed an event here in Towcester only finding out that it had been on when the Town Crier was delivered after it had happened!
The comment made to Paul was "Why wasn’t it in the magazine?"
The answer was of course that Paul had not been told or asked to put something in.
So please give this some thought and hopefully we can help to contribute to the success of our local events.
This message also applies to this web site, so please let us have your input.
The Tove Benefice is currently served by a number of web sites, each with their own identity, character and information.
Whilst it is considered important to continue with this, it was proposed that the Tove Benefice has its own web site, which has lead to the creation of this site.
Please feel free to comment and put forward suggestions or add your input on the Your Comments page.
Please click here for more information.