St James The Great
Old Milverton, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire
Here is our June update, giving details of what’s happening in the coming month.
The Sunday Club will not be meeting this month
Annual Parochial Meeting
At the Annual Parochial Church Meeting on Thursday 27th May, the various committees of the PCC gave their reports for the year ended 31st December. These will be posted onto the church website if you would like to read them. At that meeting, we re-elected three members of the PCC (Sue Frost, Veronica Davis and Gus Marshall) to serve for another three-year term. We’re also delighted that our wonderful churchwardens Carol and Michael have both agreed to continue in post for the coming year. They are a great team and we thank them for their ongoing commitment to overseeing the day to day running of St James on behalf of us all.
Churchyard Clearing on June 12th
Everything is growing rapidly at the moment so if you’re free, please come along to St James and help us keep the churchyard in good order on the morning of June 12th . (Please bring your own tools). The other two clearing dates for this year are September 11th and October 30th
A reminder that the car park along the lane belongs to the Village Hall, not the church and is not available for general parking on weekdays at school times. We can still use it at weekends. There are also many more folk driving up to the village to go for a walk these days, so may we remind you to park herringbone-fashion in front of the barn to allow room for as many cars as we can.
News from our students in Malawi – I have recently received letters from the two boys we are sponsoring through secondary school in Malawi, sent on their return to school after a whole year of being closed because of the coronavirus. They are in their last year and as long as there are no more disruptions, they will take their final exams in November. Results will come out in 2022 at which point they will know whether they could continue to university if they wish.
Both our students write about the difficulties caused by the closure of their schools in February last year. Edington says: ‘At home we don’t have enough resource that can be used for schooling and we were lacking both light and books because we are far from libraries.’ Innocent also wrote of his concern about the time he has lost and its effect on his exam results this year. Clearly life has been very difficult for both of them.
The charity included an explanation of the problems they have faced this past year. They explained that some students board at the school, where they get electricity in the classrooms and in their own rooms. During Covid times however, the students may be sent home where (as Edington writes) there is often a lack of electricity at home owing to lack of money in the family. The students all receive the core subject books for their course, but not everyone receives the non-core books such as RE or Geography. They have to share or make use of copies in the local library (if they live close enough to access them).
Thinking about how difficult it must have been for both of them this past year makes me very aware of the importance of sponsoring a student through secondary education and
what a difference we can make to the type of job they can expect to get once they have completed their schooling.
Geoff’s Eco-tips for June: Have an ‘eco-friendlier’ summer
Summer will soon be here! The warmer weather will lift our mood and encourages us to relax more enjoying quality time inside or outside with family and friends. Here are a few simple tips to help you have an ‘eco-friendlier’ summer whether at home or taking that much needed vacation.
1. Swap standard sunscreen for a non-chemical version
A lot of sunscreens actually contain harmful chemicals that pollute your skin and the environment. Of course, it’s not a good idea to skip sunscreens as they shield your skin from the damaging rays of the sun but look for safer sunscreens, avoiding the more harmful ingredients (such as oxybenzone, retinyl palmitate or parabens), and go for mineral protections.
2. Use fans instead of air conditioning
Since a fan just moves air around it uses 90% less energy than central air conditioning units, but still keeps your house cool during summer. To beat the heat even on hotter days you can also place a bowl of ice in front of the fan, allowing the breeze from the fan to blow onto the ice cubes and blow out cooler air.
3. Buy local summer produce
Buying from the local Farmers’ Market ensures that the vegetables you’re eating haven’t travelled thousands of miles just to reach your plate. You’ll help support small farms, which often use organic farming methods, and you’ll get to choose from a vibrant array of very fresh, seasonal produce. The Warwickshire County Council website currently says that Farmers’ Markets are on the fourth Saturday of each month in Leamington and also in Warwick when there is a fifth Saturday in a month. The website includes further details of others in Stratford, Rugby and Coventry.
4. Save water
Saving water saves money and also minimises the amount of additional water resources being taking out of our rivers and aquifers, especially as demands are rising. To help save water at home or during our holidays:
❖ Don’t overwater the garden
❖ Wash fruits and vegetables in a pan of water instead of running water from the tap ❖ Avoid leaving the tap running freely when brushing teeth or washing hands
❖ Shorten your shower by a minute or two
❖ Upgrade older toilets with water efficient models
❖ Collect water from your roof to water your garden
5. Look out for eco-friendly clothing and skin care
If you are thinking of revamping your wardrobe before the holidays, look out for eco-friendly options using low-impact dyes, organic pesticide-free cotton and upcycled natural materials. More and more brands are becoming increasingly mindful of how their products are actually made and offering more eco-friendly clothing lines – it’s becoming trendy! The same thing is happening with cosmetic companies that offer eco-conscious natural beauty products and skincare. If you have any high chemical skin care products, try replacing them with something better for your body (and the planet)!
6. Sign up for a beach or park clean-up
Find local volunteer activities to pick up trash in your neighbourhood or at your vacation spot and improve the ocean’s health while enjoying being outdoors. www.keepbritaintidy.org is a good website which provides information and motivation.
7. Adopt a few more ‘living air purifiers’ (i.e. indoor plants).
Indoor plants liven up your home as well as help fight indoor air pollution, which is often worse than most of us realise.
8. Plant some native plants.
There are many good reasons why you should plant native species in your garden. They are adapted to the local climate and soil conditions where they occur naturally; they provide nectar, pollen, and seeds that serve as food supporting significantly more wildlife than non- native species and are also likely to require less water.
Thought for the month: God in the Ordinary
We’ve gone green in church. 30th May was Trinity Sunday and we now enter what the church calls ‘ordinary time’, so our altar frontal, pulpit fall and lectern hangings will be green for all those Sundays after Trinity that take us right through to the autumn.
The church’s choice of green to mark ordinary time feels right. After the glory of white at Easter, the red fire of Pentecost, green represents the continuity of life itself, the colour of nature and a reminder that whatever happens in our own lives, the seasons of the year continue, leaves appear and flowers blossom.
The older I get, the more I appreciate the ordinary things of life: the warmth of the sun when I’m out for a walk, time to myself at home just doing the mundane everyday things that have to be done, the simple patterns and rhythms that make up daily life for all of us.
Excitement is great, but exhausting! We need the ordinary to offer us a contrast to the special; the familiar to help us recognise the unusual when it comes along. I think this past year has taught us all to value the ordinary just a little more and whilst we’re all tempted to rush out and see our friends and family now that we can, or perhaps to plan holidays, I know I would be sorry to completely lose the calm, routine way of life that has been a large part of the past twelve months.
It can be easy to forget that whilst God is the God of those big, powerful moments such as Easter and Pentecost, he is also the God of the ordinary. He is always waiting to surprise us around every corner, but sometimes we’re so busy looking for him in the big events of life, we miss him in the little things. God doesn’t always bless us in huge dynamic ways, sometimes his blessings come in quiet, ordinary situations, when there is no “hill to climb,” no vision given, no miracle performed, nothing wonderful or beautiful – just the commonplace things of everyday.
The Canadian theologian Eugene Peterson says:
“Christian spirituality means living in the mature wholeness of the gospel. It means taking all the elements of your life—children, spouse, job, weather, possessions, relationships—and experiencing them as an act of faith. God wants all the material of our lives.”
As we embrace the ordinary time of this Trinity season, let’s remember that God is the Creator of those very ordinary things that we encounter everyday and include him in everything we do.
With love, Sue
Father, thank you that you never leave us, even when life seems so ordinary and commonplace. Come and meet me today in the ordinary rhythms of my life so that your love and hope may fill my heart and overflow into the lives of others.