Rector’s Letter

                                                   Rector’s Letter April 2018

One of the joys of celebrating Easter in church is the singing of the glorious Easter hymns.

Easter is a time of great celebration, but understanding exactly what happened during the time of Jesus’ passion, crucifixion and resurrection is not easy. However, the hymns and worship songs we sing, especially at this time of year, can help us with our understanding.

For example, the hymn There is a green hill far away, written by Mrs Cecil Frances Alexander, was written, she said, to help children to understand the statements in the creed which say that Jesus “Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried”.

Mrs. Alexander was born in Northern Ireland in 1818 and had a poetic gift which her father encouraged. She wrote There is a green hill far away when she was only twenty years old, while she sat by the bedside of a sick child. She was inspired by a little hill outside the walls of Derry, where she lived, as in her mind it was on a hill like that that Jesus was crucified.

Several great musical composers have written tunes for the hymn. Charles Gounod pronounced it the most perfect hymn in the English language because of its charming simplicity, while the composer of Faust said that some of her lyrics “seemed to set themselves to music.”

The child for whom the hymn was originally written recovered from her illness and always regarded the hymn as especially hers, even when she grew up. Its greatness lies in the fact that we still sing the hymn today and it is still helping children and adults to understand the sacrifice made by Jesus for us all.
Mrs.Alexander also wrote “All things bright and beautiful”.

May I wish you all a very happy and blessed Easter,
Yours in Christ,
Revd. Jackie Buck

 

Rector’s Letter March 2018


The number of cards people send and receive at Easter will be far fewer than at Christmas, but the day is no less important, in fact for Christians it is the most important day in the Church year.


This year, as in other years, the churches are delivering an Easter card to every home in the three villages, a card which details the services taking place across the benefice of Great Doddington, Wilby and Ecton. On the front of the card there is a cross and the words “This is love” a reference to the sacrifice paid by Jesus for the whole world.
At Easter, Christians remember the greatest act of love in history – and celebrate its glorious conclusion, the resurrection.


Jesus’ death on the cross was an act of love, grace and mercy that promises a fresh start for all who believe. And his return to life makes Easter the greatest celebration in the Church calendar.
If you live in one of the villages we hope the card you receive will be a reminder of the real meaning of Easter and maybe encourage you to come to one of the services across the benefice. Service details can also be found on this website on the Lent and Easter page and everyone is welcome to join us.


Whenever we receive a card, for whatever reason, it means someone has thought about us. The Church is here for everyone, whether you are a regular attender or not and we regularly pray for our villages and those who live and work here. I am more than happy to visit people and, if you are unable to come to church, I or a trained Lay Minister can bring Communion to you at home.


I look forward to seeing many of you over the Easter period and wish you all a very happy and blessed Easter,
Yours in Christ,
Revd. Jackie Buck
01933 631232     

 

Rector’s Letter February 2018

With the arrival of the month of February the evenings are gradually getting lighter and signs of spring are beginning to appear. The first spring flowers are bursting  into life and the trees and shrubs are beginning to stir out of their winter slumber. As a keen gardener I am looking forward to the prospect of getting out into the garden once again and I have already been sorting through my seed packets to see what I can set first.

February also sees the beginning of Lent, a season which begins on Ash Wednesday, which this year is on 14th February, Valentine’s Day. The season of Lent, a period of 40 days (46 if you include Sundays) reminds us of the time Jesus spent in the wilderness before his ministry began.

Many traditions have grown up around Lent from the giving up chocolate, to learning a Bible verse each day, to reading a Lent book. All have their own advantages and help prepare us for Easter Day and I’m pleased to say that this year there will be a Benefice Lent Course run.

Beginning on Thursday 22nd February at Ecton Church the course will be held each Thursday between 11.30am -1.30pm ending on 22nd March. Everyone is welcome. Drinks will be provided, but please bring a packed lunch with you. More details about the content of the course are available from Jackie but come prepared to listen, pray, reflect, discuss and, if you want to, get creative. There will also be an opportunity to spend some of the time in silence or reading.

To begin Lent there will be a service of Holy Communion on 14th February at Ecton church at 7.30pm. During the service we will receive the sign of the cross, in ash prepared from last year’s palm crosses, on our fore heads with the words “Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return. Turn away from sin and be faithful to Christ”  This reminds us of our own mortality and our need of repentance, saying sorry for the things we have done wrong, and asking for God’s forgiveness.

Lent gives us the opportunity to grow closer to God, and so be ready to meet the risen Lord on Easter Day, which this year is on 1st April, April Fools Day. It is lovely to think that by the time Easter comes our gardens will be bursting with new life, reminding us of the new life that God offers to us through His Son Jesus Christ.

However you prepare for Easter I pray you will have a very holy and peaceful Lent.

Yours in Christ,

Revd. Jackie Buck

 

 

Rector’s Letter January 2018
May I begin by wishing you all a very happy and peaceful New Year.
Just what 2018 will hold for us all is unknown but as with other years it will no doubt be a mixture of both happy and sad events, with new experiences and memories made and I wonder how many of us will record, either in a traditional diary or electronically, privately or publicly, the key moments of our lives?

Today the sharing of news and the recording of events can happen instantly but that was not the case in Jesus’ time.
News of Jesus’ birth, while told instantly to the shepherds, would possibly have taken weeks to get back to Joseph and Mary’s home in Nazareth and the Gospel accounts were all written some 30 – 60 years after Jesus’ death and resurrection.

In church most of our Gospel readings this year will come from the Gospel of Mark. Thought to be the first written, probably between AD 65-70, it is the shortest of the four Gospels and focuses on the person of Jesus, his works and his suffering. It is written, probably by John Mark a follower of Jesus, as a fast-paced account possibly for a Gentile audience, as in it many of the Jewish customs are explained. Recording key events of Jesus’ life, the Gospel of Mark still provides an easily accessible account of the Good News and with just 16 chapters can be read in about two hours. Free Bibles are available in the church porches and from the Rectory.

Whatever 2018 brings your way, please do remember the church is there for everyone and I am more than happy to meet with you to discuss aspects of the Christian faith; baptisms; confirmation; weddings and funerals, you do not need to be a member of the church. Everyone is also welcome to any service or event the church puts on.

I hope and pray 2018 will be a good year for you.
Yours in Christ
Revd. Jackie Buck

 

 

 

Rector’s Letter December 2017

In November I went on a Conference and while there we studied the Gospel of John, a wonderful Gospel full of rich language which begins with the words “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God” (John 1:1). The Word refers to Jesus and as you will know it is at Christmas that we celebrate Jesus coming to live among us.

As we enter December preparations for Christmas will most probably be at the fore front of our minds. With presents to buy and cards to write; food to organise and plans to be made, the real meaning of Christmas can quite easily get lost.

The Christmas card, detailing the various services in the benefice, this year has the words “God with us” on the front and a picture of the holy family in the stable. That is the real meaning of Christmas, that God chose to come among us, as a baby, born in a borrowed stable. And He came, as you will read in the card, to offer us a relationship that changes everything about our past, our present and our future.

If you want to know more about how that relationship can begin and grow please do talk to me or visit www.churchofengland.org and search for God with us.

To help us to prepare spiritually for Christmas and to remind us that God is with us always, we have many services and events across the benefice. Please see the special Christmas Services and Events page for more details.

May I wish you a very happy and blessed Christmas,

Yours in Christ,

Revd. Jackie Buck

 

Rector’s Letter October 2017

When a major life event occurs, such as a birth, marriage or bereavement words from scripture can help us make sense of the occasion, speaking deeply to our hearts, minds and souls, words of welcome, understanding and comfort.
For baptism the words, from the Gospel of Mark chapter 10 verses 13-16, capture perfectly the welcome the church gives, both to children and adults, as they join the church through the sacrament of baptism “Jesus welcomed the little children, took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them”. For a wedding, the words from 1 Corinthians chapter 13 verses 1-13 are often read, it being a beautiful passage which talks about love as being patient and kind and able to endure all things.
But I think it is at a funeral that scripture can really help us and comforts us, giving us an understanding that death is not the end but a new beginning, a beginning bought for us by the sacrifice made by Jesus on the cross. Words such as “Do not be afraid…for I go to prepare a place for you…” from the Gospel of John chapter 14 verses 1-6
Major life events can signal a new chapter in a person’s life. Baptism, the beginning of a journey of faith; a wedding, of a new relationship, blessed by God; a bereavement, while bringing sadness to those who mourn, begins, Christians believe, a new life in heaven for the person who has died, a life lived in the full presence of God forever.
Life, especially after the death of a loved one, will never be the same again but we can keep the memory of those who have died alive in our hearts forever, and with this in mind, there will be a Benefice Memorial Service on Sunday 22nd October at 3pm at Ecton Church.

A service to remember and give thanks for the lives of those who have died. It is a service for everyone, whether your loss is recent or many years ago, whether you usually come to church or not. We will meet in the main part of the church for about 45 minutes, after which refreshments will be served. The service will be quiet and reflective with hymns, readings, a short address, prayers and the opportunity to light a candle in memory of our loved ones.
Everyone is welcome.
Yours in Christ,
Revd. Jackie Buck

 

Rector’s Letter September 2017

Over the past couple of months I have rediscovered the joys of jam making! With an abundance of blackberries, earlier than normal this year, and the availability of apples, currants and plums I have had fun experimenting with different recipes, with varying degrees of success, success measured not only in taste but of course in how well the jam has set.

I have found the process of making jam very relaxing and while, in the past, I have only made strawberry jam, the challenge of making mixed fruit jams and plum jams has been very rewarding, even fishing out the stones from the plums as they rise to the surface has brought its own satisfaction.

With September comes harvest time and it has been lovely to see not only the fruit on the trees and in the hedgerows ripening but also the fields being harvested as I have travelled from parish to parish. Traditionally churches hold a Harvest Festival around September and October, to thank God for all He provides for us and this year the Harvest services in the benefice are as follows:

St Mary the Virgin, Wilby Sunday 17th September at 9am

St Mary Magdalene, Ecton 17th September 10am

St Nicholas, Great Doddington 24th September 11.15am

Everyone is welcome. The services will be Communion with traditional harvest hymns and the bringing of our harvest gifts to the altar. The gifts will then be given to the Daylight Centre and Food Bank in Wellingborough.

As I look at the jam I have made it reminds me of how abundant life is and how rich in taste and colour the fruits of the earth are, surely something to be thankful for.

Yours in Christ,

Revd. Jackie Buck

Rector’s Letter August 2017

In July Derick and I were fortunate to go on holiday to Bath. We had never been to the area before but everyone had said how lovely it was and we weren’t disappointed. The Abbey, Roman Baths and architecture were wonderful to see, as were the gardens, both formal and informal. I always like to see other people’s gardens as they inspire me and give me ideas for future planting schemes in the Rectory garden.

As you will know by now I enjoy gardening and this time of year everything is happening, no sooner has one plant flowered and faded, another takes its place, the vegetables are in abundance and so are the weeds!

There is a saying that “One is closer to God in the garden than anywhere else on earth” and as Christians believe God created the first garden maybe there is much truth in those words. I certainly find peace and a sense of being part of something much greater when I am outside, even if I am pulling up weeds at the time.

On Saturday 12th August 2pm – 4.30pm the Rectory and garden will be open for everyone to visit. The garden is certainly not show standard but it is loved, a product of many years work by previous Rectors and still a work in progress. Everyone is welcome, entry is free and there will be refreshments, a raffle and various stalls. All money raised will be given equally to the three churches in the benefice of Great Doddington and Wilby and Ecton.

Hope to see you there!

Yours in Christ,

Revd. Jackie Buck

 

 

 

 

Rector’s Letter June 2017

“Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth” Psalm 96:1

One of the joys of being a Rector is the planning and leading of worship. From the beginning of time people have worshipped God and worship is central to the Christian faith. Coming together on a Sunday, to remember and celebrate the resurrection and to bring our thanks, needs and praise to God equips Christians for the week ahead.

There are many and varied ways in which worship can take place and not all kinds of worship will suit everyone. With this in mind on the first Sunday of each month at 6pm there will be a new style Praise and Worship service at Great Doddington Church.

The first service is on Sunday 4th June 6pm and will take the form of an informal café style gathering, using a screen from which the songs will be sung. We are fortunate to have a live band with us in June and would love to hear from anyone interested in playing at future services. This is a benefice service to which all are welcome from the three villages and beyond, and if you have never been to church before this may be the service for you. Do come along and experience a different way of worshipping God.

Continuing the theme of worship, six months ago we changed the times of all the services in the benefice and the time has now come to review how things are going.

There are questionnaires at the back of church and in the porch so please do fill one in and return it either to the box in church or to the Rectory by 2nd July. The questionnaire is also on the benefice website, in a survey format which can be returned electronically. The responses will be discussed at each PCC and at the joint PCC in October.

The questions ask, among other things, if the new service times have affected people and if so how and offers a space for any comments about the services in general.

As always everyone is welcome to come to church, the service times are Wilby 9am, Ecton 10am and Great Doddington 11.15am. Details of the different services can be found on the church notice boards, in the church porches and on the website gdwebenefice.wordpress.com. You can come to any of the services, regardless of which village you live in, and you can be sure of a warm welcome.

Yours in Christ,

Revd. Jackie Buck

Rector’s Letter April 2017

“Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God”  -Philippians 4:6

When Justin Welby became Archbishop in 2013 he was asked what he planned to do for the church. His reply was sincere and to the point, his priority was to pray. Prayer must underpin a Christian’s life and the life of the Church if both are to survive and thrive and one of the Archbishop’s initiatives, along with the Archbishop of York, has been to set up an annual prayer event called Thy Kingdom Come.

Thy Kingdom Come is a global prayer movement, which invites Christians around the world to pray between the days of Ascension and Pentecost which this year is  8th – 15th May. What started out as an invitation from the Archbishops’ of Canterbury and York in 2016 to the Church of England has grown into an international and ecumenical call to prayer with the hope being to see a great wave of prayer across our land, throughout the Church of England and many other Churches

More details can be found on the website www.thykingdomcome.global

In Ecton church there is to be a benefice prayer event held on 27th May 2pm – 4.30pm. There will be prayer stations around the church and an opportunity to spend time quietly engaging with various prayer activities.

Do come along and discover the value of prayer both for yourself, the church and the world.

All are welcome.

Yours in Christ,

Revd. Jackie Buck

 

Rector’s Letter March 2017

Last month I wrote about the snowdrops appearing, this month it must surely be the turn of the daffodils. Everywhere, in our gardens and along the verges the beautiful bright yellow heads are finally bursting into flower, heralding in the spring. This year I have been waiting with extra anticipation as back in the autumn I set quite a lot of new bulbs in the Rectory garden. Throughout the winter they have laid in the cold, dark earth waiting for the right time to appear and then slowly they have emerged. As the days have grown longer and warmer their heads are now opening to greet the world. None of this would have been possible if the bulbs had not gone through the period of darkness and waiting at the beginning.

Spring not only heralds in the lighter nights and warmer days but is also the season when we celebrate Easter, this year on 16th April. A celebration, the greatest in the Christian calendar, which, like the daffodils, is preceded by a time of darkness and waiting, the season of Lent.

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which this year is on 1st March. At the service, to be held in Wilby church at 7.30pm, we will be reminded of our own mortality and our need of repentance, saying sorry for the things we have done wrong and asking for God’s forgiveness.

We will receive the sign of the cross, in ash prepared from last year’s palm crosses, on our fore heads with the words “Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return. Turn away from sin and be faithful to Christ”

And so begins the season of Lent, a period of 40 days (46 if you include Sundays) which also reminds us of the time Jesus spent in the wilderness before his ministry began. Some people find it helpful to give something up for Lent, for example chocolate, as the season is one of fasting. Others take something up, committing maybe to spending more time in prayer or reading the Bible or other literature. There are many good Lent books available please contact me if you would like me to suggest something for you.

With Easter still some time away maybe we can use the waiting time now to make our celebrations of Easter more meaningful. Just as a daffodil bulb needs time to grow, unseen underground, so we can use Lent to help us grow closer to God, and so be ready to meet the risen Lord on Easter Day.

Yours in Christ,

Revd. Jackie Buck

 

Rectors Letter February 2017

I love the delicate flowers snowdrops produce at this time of year and look forward to them appearing, as they surely herald the coming of spring, along with winter aconites and early varieties of daffodil.

Because snowdrops often flower around the beginning of February they are sometimes called Candlemas Bells, as the feast of Candlemas falls on 2nd February.

Candlemas marks the midpoint of winter, halfway between the shortest day and the spring equinox. In pre-Christian times, the day was known as the ‘Feast of Lights’ and celebrated the increased strength of the sun as winter gave way to spring.

The weather for the rest of the winter is also said to be forecast by what happens on Candlemas Day:

                                   If Candlemas Day be fair and bright
                                   Winter will have another fight.
                                   If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain,
                                   Winter won’t come again.

In the Christian traditional the festival commemorates the ritual purification of Mary, forty days after the birth of Jesus. On this day, Jesus was presented in the Temple by Mary and Joseph who, having gone to the Temple to give thanks for their son, are met by Anna and Simeon. The prophet Simeon takes the baby Jesus in his arms and calls him a Light to the World (Luke 2:22-38). Today candles are lit in church, to remind us that Jesus came to be a light to guide us in the darkness of the world and it used to be tradition that all the church’s candles for the coming year would be blessed at Candlemas.

Along with the snowdrops, heralding the lighter nights, candles remind us that the light will always overcome the darkness, something to hold onto as, at Candlemas, we look back at Christmas and forward to Easter, the church crib scenes are put away and the countdown to Lent begins.

Yours in Christ,

Revd. Jackie Buck

 

Rector’s Letter January 2017

May I begin by wishing you all a very happy and peaceful New Year. Amid the Christmas festivities I hope you have been able to have a rest and contemplate not only the true meaning of Christmas but also what the New Year may hold in store.

“Be still and know I am God”(Psalm 46 v.10) says the Psalmist.

And Jesus, through his example and teaching encourages us, at times, to be still, to leave the busyness of life behind for a while and spend time instead in prayer and contemplation. If this Christmas season has been a busy one for you then maybe reminding ourselves of the story of Mary and Martha, found in Luke 10 verses 38-42, will help us to put things back into perspective.

Martha was a friend of Jesus and this passage in the Bible tells of a time when Jesus has gone to visit her family. While Martha busies herself in the kitchen her sister Mary simply sits at Jesus’ feet and listens to his teaching. Martha gets quite upset with Mary for not helping her and says so! Jesus however tells those gathered that Mary has chosen the better part.

Over Christmas many of us become ‘Martha’ figures for a while, busying ourselves with all that needs to be done and then before we know it Christmas is over and another New Year has begun. Being a “Martha” figure is commendable but how easy it is to let activity take over and so neglect to sit at the feet of Jesus as Mary did.

Sitting at the feet of Jesus could be interpreted as taking time to pray and read the Bible and by simply by spending 5-10 minutes each day in these activities we will find our thoughts becoming more in tune with God, so making our plans and activities more in tune with God’s.

This New Year will no doubt bring with it joys and sorrows, arrivals and departures, changes and challenges, some welcome some not so, but by making time to stop and spend time with God we may well find a sense of peace beginning to invade our lives, a peace that the world cannot give.

With God’s Blessing to you all,

Revd. Jackie Buck