The Tove Benefice - Activities, Events and News

Christmas Services 2018

Christmas Services - Towcester 2018

There are a variety of services in Towcester to help you celebrate Christmas
   - the coming of Christ our Saviour into the world.
Please do join us on any occasion and we hope you will feel welcomed and blessed!

Carols in the Square     Carols in the Square
Carols in the SquareThursday 20th December at 6.30 pm with the Studio Band   


Chantry Christmas Dinner
We have a good team lined up to offer this meal and Waitrose have already filled up half of the ingredients list.
Thank you to you all as you continue to support this great venture.
Please do consider who you could invite so we get the right people there and all the hard work is worthwhile.

Greens Norton Christmas Lunch
Greens Norton are holding a Christmas lunch in the Butcher’s Arms this year again on Thursday 20th December at 12.30 pm.
This is designed to bring together the elderly, housebound, and any who might be isolated over the Christmas season.
The meal is free of charge but if you are able give £10 that will enable the venture to be repeated in the

Messy Church Thursday 20th December - 2.30 pm to 4.30 pm.Messy Church
Thursday 20th December - 2.30 pm to 4.30 pm.



Children's Church
Children's ChurchTwice a month during the 9.30 am service.

25th November, 9th December and 23rd December.

The Tove Messenger is a monthly publication with news and information about the Tove Benefice.
It is priced at 80p per copy or £8.00 per year.
Please contact the Parish Office in the Chantry House  to start receiving your copy.

Farewells and New Beginnings
Sunday 6th January marks Epiphany, the Covenant service, and yes, Ben and Sarah’s last Sunday. 
Do join us at this. 
There will also be a meal, sing and send off in The Town Hall at 12.30 pm for 1.00 pm that day.
St. Lawrence are seeing to a hot main course, St. Bartholomew’s to pudding, St. Michael’s to liquid and St. Mary’s to coffee etc.
Please bring your own weapons – plates, cutlery etc so it is easy on the day.
Thank you.

Ben’s Licensing
You are warmly invited to travel down to find where Ben has got to and pray him in at his Licensing Service on Monday 4th February at 7.30 pm at St Thomas, Goring on Thames, RG8 9DR.
There are several pubs there where you can book an early supper if you want to make an afternoon of it. 
Following the service there will be light refreshments served.
Please share lifts as there is limited parking. 
Parking is best done in the public car park off Station Road 300, metres from the Church, access adjacent to the Catherine Wheel Public House, RG8 9HB.
Alternatively, on-street parking may be available after 6.00 pm in Thames Road and Manor Road. 
A map of the village is available on the Church website which gives the location of St Thomas’  Church.
Please let the office know by Sunday 27th January if you plan to attend or if you want to share a lift.

Vacancy Process
Our parishes now need to put together a Benefice Profile of where we are as Churches, what are our strengths, weaknesses, cheers and yes, concerns. 
Please do all join in this and pray for our Church wardens and for Lulu and Paula, John, Jane, Dawn and Mary in all the extra load they are carrying.
Can you please send to your prayerful response to the following questions to your Church wardens, or to the Church Office, by Tuesday 8th January?
What five things are precious to you about our Church?
Concerning our Church, what three things do you pray for most?

Children and Families Work, Alleluia!
I am very pleased to tell you, that we have interviewed a wonderful woman called Claire Reetz, who has great experience as a primary aged teacher, mother of three, and has a clear vocation to work with children and their families. 
She has a great faith. 
Like all of us she has an adventure to go on and lots to learn in the making of this post. 
She will begin on 7th January, working three fixed days and one floating day each week in term time with some flexibility in this.
In September it is expected that she will join the Diocesan training apprentice and degree course. 
This leads eventually to a wider deanery role as well. 
Please read her introduction about herself in the Tove Messenger.
There are lots still to iron out to make this work most effectively and fruitfully.
This does not mean everyone else can now breathe a sigh of relief. 
All the children’s work we do can now continue with everyone already involved, but with a new breath of inspiration, a deeper foundation and ability to be followed through in a deliberate and co-ordinated manner.
I'm sure that God is at work in this. 
It was a pleasure to interview her, hear all she has to give and all she is keen to share with us. 
I ask for your prayers and continued support, please. 
Thank you for all you are doing and will have to do in the coming months.
We now need to work out details of her induction programme!
with my prayers
Rev’d Ben

Can you offer anyone a lift to Church, please?
There are several people who do not drive who would love to join us.
Might you be able to offer a lift occasionally, regularly or even often?
Please have a word with the clergy or Mary Blanchard or Jane Small. 
They are always very pleased to know. 
Thank you.

Christmas in Church
Thank you so much to everyone who dressed our Churches so stunningly or offered Hospitality or Welcome over the busy Christmas season in Church. 
Every Church member has a vital part to play. 
Please do now pray for all who came and continue to look out and invite guests to come with you.
We need to see what ways we can bless people with the gift and knowledge of Good News of God’s love, revealed in Jesus. 
Thank you.

Manna Bookshop
Local News: Sadly the shop in Northampton is having to close its High Street presence. 
The good news is that “Manna4theWorld”, their on-line service will continue and will be managed and run by Martin Brown and Tony Solomon.
Thank you to everyone who has supported it in the past. 
They continue their very valuable Counselling Service.
Please pray for all involved.

Men’s Curry Club
The Men’s Curry Club has been going for over 12 years and we thought it would be a good idea to have a reunion with our founder the Rev. Neil Warwick. 
Neil is the Vicar of St Nicolas, Early in Reading, where they have a curry club on the 1st Wednesday of the month, so we are organising a trip to join with St Nicolas Curry Club in Reading on Wednesday 6th February.
If you are interested in coming along please let me know so that I can organise transport, journey time is about 90 minutes.
Please give me a call on 07803 815130 or speak to me at Church.
Alan Gilbert

Men at the Bull
This friendly group meets at 7.30 pm on the last Wednesday of the month. 
All are welcome to come and chat and enjoy good company.

Epiphany Tradition
When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 
On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. 
Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Matthew 2:10-11

Read the story in the Tove Messenger.

Epiphany at St Mary's Easton Neston
Saturday 5th January at 6.00 pm accompanied by the Cotswold Voices.

Lent 2019
Following the success of the film "The Greatest Showman" we are running a five week course during Lent based on the film.

What are seniors worth?
Remember old folk are worth a fortune, with silver in their hair, gold in their teeth, stones in their kidneys, lead in their feet and gas in their stomachs.
I have become a little older since I saw you last and a few changes have come into my life, frankly I have become a frivolous old gal.
I am seeing six gentlemen everyday. 
As soon as I wake up Will Power helps me out of bed. 
Then I go and see Johnny Loo. 
Next Charlie Cramp comes along and when he’s here takes a lot of my attention. 
When he leaves Athur Ritis shows up and stays around all day, he doesn’t like to stay in one place very long, so he takes me from joint to joint.
After such a busy day I’m really tired, and glad to go to bed with Johnny Walker. 
What a life. Oh yes, I’m also fighting Al Zymer.
P.S. The vicar came to call the other day, he said I should be thinking of the hereafter. 
I told him, Oh, I do all the time on my way home, in the parlour, upstairs, in the kitchen or down in the cellar, I say to myself: “Now, what am I here after?”
(Seen in a Derby over sixties magazine – shared by Elva Weston and also ladies from our St Lawrence Church family).
Mary Blanchard

A Plea for the Tove Messenger
This magazine has recently come into criticism in respect of its content in that there is little of interest in it. 
In some ways the people who have expressed this opinion are of course correct.
The answer to this is that unless notification of events or items of local interest are sent to me I cannot put it into the magazine. 
The magazine is an opportunity for people here in Towcester and the villages in the benefice to publicise their events and also others in the surrounding areas.
Paul does some chasing around but is not always able to do so. 
Looking to the future we are intending to circulate local organisations for their input to publicise their events, hopefully to a wider audience.
So, dear reader, the answer is, in what you can supply to make the magazine more interesting and more relevant to the benefice as a whole.
Paul Loveday 

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Poppies Decorate St Lawrence to commemorate the Fallen and Mark 100 years since the end of the First World War.

Poppies in St Lawrence Church Towcester 2018 by Ben Bucklow

Baptism and Confirmation Service at Bradden

Baptism and Confirmation Service at Bradden
Left to Right: Rev’d Paula, Jamie Clark, Tim Lane, Marion Jackson from Kelmarsh,
Bishop John, Charlotte Gleeson, Yvonne Lowe, Rev’d Ben

Photograph by Isobel Gilbert

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Bamboo Cups
bamboo CupsOur very own, diocesan branded bamboo cups. 
Each year, 100 billion single use coffee cups end up as landfill. 
Our 12 oz reusable coffee cup is made with natural bamboo fibre – one of the world’s most sustainable resources. 
Fully dishwasher safe, suitable for hot and cold drinks, with a resealable ‘no-drip’ lid.

(Not suitable for the Microwave.)
Bring and re-use at diocesan events.
Keep in the car. 
Great gifts for Church members. 
Discounts & extra loyalty stamps at high-street coffee shops when you use your bamboo cup, and a great conversation-starter about caring for God’s creation.
Order yours now at £7.00 each from

“Star Baker” - could it be you?
So far 250 cakes have been delivered in your name, well, from the Churches Together in Towcester, to all the new houses opposite the race course. 
I fear that we have been letting the Baptists do more than their share of the work. 
The good news is that it is not too late.
Anne Townsend Pendry is kindly coordinating this and is keen to hear of offers from bakers or deliverers. 
They find the oblong tin; (lemon drizzle or fruit cake) goes down well. 
No fresh cream as they are not always in when you call. 
It is however a wonderful way to bless and welcome these new residents as we try to make this a good community to live in and invite them to feel welcome at any of the churches in town.
Anne can be contacted by phone number 01327 350666, or on e-mail:- 

Foodbank are looking for new trustees.
FoodbankPlease see the notice at the back of Church for details.
Towcester foodbank needs to replenish its stock of the basic foods which go into the bags.
We are running low on many of these items. 
We invite you to give donations of pasta, rice, custard, tinned meat or fish, tinned spaghetti, tinned fruit, sponge puddings, UHT milk, sugar (500g), jam and biscuits.
Please check that the items are well within date.
Donations can be left at the Church or at Tesco or Waitrose in Towcester. Thank you for your continued support of the foodbank.

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St Lawrence Remembrance Memorial Garden
Some of you may have noticed activity going on in the corner by the Vicarage. 
Thanks to a great community effort spearheaded by the Towcester WI, and the WW1 committee, SNVB and the Church a plan is being carried out to plant and prepare the Garden as a place to remember those who sacrificed their lives that we might live in freedom and peace. 
To date the paving slabs are in place and wood chip laid down ready for a planting session in June.
The first cross in the corner was broken on Saturday night when someone tried to wrench it from the wall. 
A broken cross is perhaps a symbol of God’s broken world and the work that has yet to be done by all of us to restore a community of harmony and peace.
Fortunately, there is much goodwill in our community and a new cross has been made and prepared and put in place of the broken one.
Once again, we are so grateful for all the goodwill and hard work of those who make the churchyard a place of beauty and remembrance. 
We look forward to the installation of the Poppy Cascade in October.
Rev’d Lulu

Children’s Church at St Lawrence 
Children’s Church at St LawrenceWe 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.

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St Lawrence Churchyard
The churchyard is well kept, and a lovely place to visit.
Sitting and relaxing there can give visitors time to see some of the wildlife that lives and visits the gardens.
There may not be much natural bio-diversity, but there will always be something there of interest to the observer.
Jackdaws in the bell towerIn the Spring, that tends to be a few early flowers, like Daffodils or Celandine, or the inevitable nesting of the many Jackdaws in the bell tower.
Having the allotments next door, the Water Meadows across the mill stream, and plenty of trees nearby, it can attract a limited variety of wildlife species. Robin - St Lawrence Churchyard
Some can be quite elusive, like the many Grey Squirrels that tend bit be wary of people, but others, like the Robin can be so tame as to come right up to people, and almost pose for photographs.
During a visit in April, there was also an abundance of Blackbirds searching for food, mostly males, and all keeping a respectful distance from each other while search through the grass and fallen leaves for food. And there were many other regular visitors too, like Woodpigeons, Chaffiches, and Blue Tits, but the recent weather means not much insect life has started to emerge yet after a particularly cold winter.
Jenny Lunn

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 28th March 1918 age 38.
Royal Garrison Artillery 135th Siege Bty.
Service No.172843.
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.

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.

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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.
Thank you.
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
St Lawrence Church, TowcesterThe 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.
Churchyard Working BeesFrom 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.
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.

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Support The Tove Benefice Website
Support The Tove Benefice WebsiteActivity 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. provides details on service timesforthcoming 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.
Hope Reflected - Jenny LunnPublished 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.

Hope Reflected
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.

Coffee Mornings
Don’t forget our Friday coffee mornings at the Chantry House and Saturday coffee mornings at both St Bartholomew’s, and in the Chantry House, Towcester from 10.30 am to 12.00 noon.
You will be warmly welcomed whether you are a regular or here for just today.
Join in the chat and enjoy the refreshments.

Used StampsUsed Stamps
Silverstone Primary is collecting used (including gold and white postage labels on parcels) for the RNIB who use them to raise funds.
It would be much appreciated if you could save any you get and drop them to the Chantry on an on-going basis.
Lee will pass them on.
Thanks in advance.

Parking on Sundays at St LawrenceParking on Sundays at St Lawrence
We all tend to think of our own needs when behind the wheel of a car!
I know there are different complicated reasons behind each person’s choice of parking place.
Can I though please ask, if you are fit and able to walk and not offering a lift to someone with mobility needs, can you please offer a servant ministry and park at some distance from Church and walk the last part?
The Mill have kindly said we can use their car park on Sunday mornings  and you are welcome to go for a
drink after Church if the sermon has  gone on long enough.
We hope to leave several spaces for those less able to walk.
I would like to keep one space for blue badge holders and be mindful and caring of those who struggle to
reach us in this way.

Young Bellringers
In 1960 two friends from the then Towcester County Modern School (now Sponne) decided they would like to learn to ring the church bells.
They told their friends about it and soon there was quite a group of eager ringers (aged 13 and 14 years old) under the direction of Mr Vic Burt, the Tower Captain.
He lived with his wife in the little cottage at the bottom of the churchyard.
He was the local blacksmith and had his workshop in Brackley Road.
We used to practice on a Thursday evening and then ring the bells before morning and evensong services.
Climbing up the twisted stone steps to the belfry was quite a feat, but stepping down was even worse, especially as we girls were in our Sunday best and of course high heel shoes were the fashion of the day, but fortunately no accidents occurred.
On practice nights in the summer whilst waiting for our turn to ring we used to climb out through a window onto the church roof and sit and survey the scene over Towcester right up to the racecourse (no health and safety then).
There were six bells and they all had to be pulled up before they could be rung properly.
We each got in position on a bell, No.1 being the lightest and No.6 the heaviest.
Holding the ‘sally’, the red white and blue fluffy part, and the rest of the rope in both hands, Mr Burt on No.1 bell would say, “Look two she’s going, she’s gone” as he pulled the sally down and let it go up through the hole in the ceiling to the bell, whilst still holding onto the rope.
We would follow in turn and there would be call changes to make different rounds.
You had to be careful you did not lift your foot up when the rope came down as you could easily get it caught under your foot and go back up with it, which we all soon learnt, to some peoples cost.
When it was nearly time for the services to begin we pulled the bells down, being careful not to pull at the same time as not to clash with another bell, tie the rope the correct way and make the perilous journey down to the service.
On New Year’s Eve the firemen always held a dance in the Town Hall with a band (no discos then!) which we all went to, and at five to twelve we rushed out to the Church to ring in the New Year.
Happy days!
Susan Sanders

Hospitality and Welcome
We all love to be made to feel at home when we travel, visit and especially if we move house.
Christians are called to carry on a long tradition of hospitality.
Usually the welcomer is as blessed as the one welcomed.
Jesus’ teaching overflows with encouragement for this behaviour, but sadly it isn’t always obvious.
We can easily get pre-occupied with our own concerns and forget what it was like ever to be new anywhere ourselves.
It is wonderful to hear reports back when people have felt at home.
At the recent funeral of Joyce Sykes her daughter said how wonderfully welcomed Joyce felt when she returned to church after many years away from it, following the death of her husband, and what a vital part of her last years her faith became again.
There are several opportunities I would like us all to be involved in.

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
Little Sprouts, TowcesterMonday 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!

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Poems by Steph Ince
Poems by Steph InceThe 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

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.  

We have prepared a Welcome card but now want to invite the residents of the houses on the old Council offices site to a get to know your neighbour event.
We will need help with cake making and hosting.
Please pray for the new residents and these events.
Please also let Ben know if you can help in any way.
Thank you.

Monthly Home Visiting
Monthly Home VisitingDo you like visiting people?
Have a few hours free weekly or monthly?
Perhaps you could consider joining our visiting team?
Caring for our faithful friends who may be housebound, lonely or less able to take part in Church life is our duty and our joy!
We would love to hear from you if you would like to call on someone monthly.
Appropriate training can be given, but a friendly face and shared faith is all that is required.
The rewards are enormous and help our own faith journey.
Please pray about what God is calling you to do and speak to Ben, Lulu or Paula, Mary Blanchard or Jane Small if you would like some more information.
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Photographs and News for this web site... 
St lawrence Flower FestivalThe provides the opportunity for your photographs of Benefice events to be viewed by all visitors to the web site so please send in your photographs.
Photographs can be sent directly to or delivered to the Chantry office.
Photograph courtesy of Alan Burns.

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Little Sprouts and BIBS
Little Sprouts at the Tove BeneficeI’m so pleased to write these positive pieces for the magazine.
BIBS - Baby Interrupted Bible StudyI 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!
Rev’d Paula

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.

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Church Development
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.
Paul Loveday

The Legend of the Pelican and its place in Christianity
PelicanThe 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.

PelicanHowever 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.
Pelican Mural Restoration and Conservation, St Lawrence, TowcesterIt 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.
Paul Loveday

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.

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Bradden Churchyard

Bradden Churchyard, Leucodon sciuroides otherwise known as Squirrel Tail MossA 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: click on the Field Guide on the left of the home page.


Churchyard Wildlife Conservation

St Lawrence ChurchyardSt 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.
Jenny Lunn
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 ( 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.

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