Vicar's Letter

July 2015

[Our editorial this month is written by Barbara Sabin]


Dear Friends

Do you ever give thanks for the kindness of God? You can read in the Old Testament ‘God chose you not because you were big and important, the fact is there was almost nothing to you, He did it out of sheer love….’

Have you heard of Eddie Rickenbacker?

"Thousands of Americans laid aside their newspapers on Oct. 22, 1942, and abandoned hope for Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker and his seven companions after reading the last message, radioed from their Flying Fortress...."

They were eight men adrift in the Pacific with four oranges, no water, one working watch, life jackets, a Bible, and a few flares. Could they survive the weeks between disaster and rescue? Seven did. This is their story reconstructed from the salt-encrusted diary of

June 2015

[Our June Article is written by John Barrett


Dear Friends

In my last Parish, almost ever day, my wife and I would walk our dogs in a very well known area of Birmingham known as the Lickey Hills. Being creatures of habit we followed an almost identical track through the trees and then out onto the open space to look down on Rubery (our Parish). We would walk in the wind, the rain, the snow and even the sunshine. It was one of the glorious privileges of living in that part of the county.

Usually Mary and I walked together and so kept each other company. However on rare occasions I had to walk the dogs alone. Our dogs may have been pretty but they were not great conversationalist. So as I walked I tended to find myself deep in thought and miles away and walking on automatic pilot. My feet knew the way!

However I recall one particular occasion when walking by myself. I suddenly I looked up and saw what I thought was a new wooden memorial erected on the green. I thought that’s strange. That wasn't there yesterday! I went forward a few paces to examine this new memorial more closely. Then I saw it wasn’t a new memorial but the same broken down seat, which had stood in that spot for ever! It wasn’t that my eyes had deceived me. Rather that my first look at it had been from a different position. For some reason I had cut the corner and. so approached the seat from a new and for me, unusual angle!

Because of this I saw things very differently. My eyes and then my mind had taken in the information. A quick analysis and I had drawn the conclusion that before me was a new object. From that angle the old seat the old bench became a brand new wooden

May 2015

[Our Article for May is written by Matthew Wiles]

The Church Journey

The sense of history that places of worship convey can inspire us.

Not only are they used for religious services, but they provide a place where we can spend time and where we can quietly reflect: a place for private prayer, a place to collect and contemplate our thoughts and a place to be among our friends and loved ones.

As well as this, they provide a place where we can learn.

Predominantly, this is about God, His word and His love. Most of the stained glass and imagery we see in our churches help to show and explain this. In past times, when very few people could read or write this was a particularity important feature for spreading God's word and teaching the stories of the bible.

Moreover, these places can often help us develop a sense of community, trust and citizenship too: through the new friends we make, the old friendships we cherish, the committees we join and the events we hold.

They allow us connect with our heritage and learn about people that were here before us; the decisions they made, the lives they led and the traditions they had. Much of this is in the form of memorials to various people and plaques erected to mark special occasions, but a lot of these are through the records that

April 2015


On the first Good Friday at the Place of the Skull—Golgatha—nails were smashed through the wrists and feet of Jesus - the teacher from Nazareth. He was betrayed by friends, made fun of by soldiers, was a source of amusement and entertainment as he provided a spectacle for the crowds following him. The soldiers with indifference to his pain drew lots and divided up his meagre clothes. All the time his mother and a small knot of women friends helplessly looked on and watched in agony,

Always Good Friday continues. It happens again and again in terms of innocent suffering, of cruel tyrants with an indifferent public ready to enjoy the anguish and hurt of

March 2015

[This month, there is no 'Vicars Letter', instead a poem about Lent by Ann Weems]


Lent is a time to take time to let the power
of our faith story take hold of us,
a time to let the events get up
and walk around in us,
a time to intensify our living unto Christ,
a time to hover over the thoughts of our hearts,
a time to place

February 2015

[Many thanks to our very good friend Richard for taking the time to write our leading article for the month]

Dear Friends

The nearest thing the clergy have to a trade’s union paper is the Church Times. Over the past century it has changed greatly. In January 1914 they printed a piece about the Germans arresting Cardinal Mercier of Belgium. He had written a pastoral letter counselling people to obey the invader whilst retaining an inward loyalty to their king and government. Clearly, the German army felt this was encouragement to resistance and put the Cardinal in irons. This showed, the paper wrote, the Germans' “entire lack of the finer feelings of gentleman”. One feels that the editors might have noticed the far wider atrocities committed by the enemy, but no, it was only the effect upon a Prince of the Church.

From being 'the Conservative Party at prayer' the Church of England has moved towards something more akin to a recruiting sergeant for the Labour Party (except at

January 2015

Getting a good perspective on ageing.


[This months article has been written by David Coldrick]

As a tired old year is replaced with a new vigorous one how do readers in our Parish feel about ageing? When you are a child you want to be a teen and when you are a teen you want to be an adult. Then the media portrayal suggests we call a halt or go into reverse. What nonsense.

Artist Jennifer Yane once quipped ‘Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what happened’ – too true - and indeed real live older people tend not to exist in much of the media, especially advertising. So it is not surprising that getting older is often viewed negatively. If you are over 60 then magazines aimed at you contain pictures of 30 year olds with a

December 2014

From the Vicarage

In bygone days – well the last century! – the King or Queen’s Christmas message, first on the radio and then on TV, was a national institution. Of course, times change and customs fade and die. I expect the pattern of pausing to listen to the Christmas message has ceased in many homes. Perhaps we are satisfied to hear and see the highlights on the News later in the evening.

However there have been occasions when the royal Christmas message really struck a chord and lifted the nation’s spirits. There is one in particular, of which I have no conscious memory, but I am sure some will.

On Christmas Day 1939, the then king, George VI ended his call for faith and hope as the Second World War began by quoting from an obscure, unknown author. The words which

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