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From the Rectory – August

If you ever take a cursory glance at the collected musical works of writer and composer Lionel Bart, you’d be forgiven for thinking that he had more than a passing fondness for the exclamation mark. Having had moderate success with both Lock Up Your Daughters in 1959, and then Fings Ain’t Wot They Used T’be later the same year, the runaway popularity of his most famous work Oliver! just twelve months later encouraged Bart to write the World War Two themed Blitz! Despite a run of more than a year, Blitz! didn’t achieve the global popularity that Oliver! had. Bart put this down to its subject matter resonating more clearly for UK audiences, although playwright Noel Coward described it as ‘twice as loud and twice as long as the real thing’’. read more

From the Rectory – July

For church junkies who enjoy nothing more than travelling around the country and visiting places of worship – and there are some – the lack of imagination when it comes to the naming of Anglican Churches must be quite striking. St Mary is far and away the most frequently used. More than 2300 churches in the UK are dedicated to her, with the catch all ‘All Saints’ the next most popular, followed by St Peter, St Michael & St Andrew.

This makes it even more noticeable when a church is dedicated to a Saint that is unique to one particular place. read more

Library News – July

People are very generous to our Church Library. They leave boxes and bags full of books in the tower space, or they bring me books they hope I can use. We are given surprising and wonderful books. I don’t always catch up with organising them, though.

Just lately a combination of me being not very mobile, some generous gifts of books, and the tower space being blocked off for that splendid Flower Festival left the Library in more than usual disarray. I’ve just been rearranging it.

I thought at first I could just put the extra books into the same shelves as before, but no. I found that books had been put back all wrong, so there was a muddle to sort out. Then I saw that “Bible Study” had spilled over into “The Christian Life”, and the “Prayer and Meditation” section had taken over “How to Look at a Church” and that some books were too tall for their shelf and had been put somewhere random. I sat there and despaired. read more

From The Rectory – June

The logo of the actors union Equity features a pair of masks, one smiling and one frowning. This traditional symbol has long been associated with drama and represents the ancient Greek Muses of Thalia and Melpomene, the muses of comedy and tragedy.

Masks were first used to enable actors, who were originally all men, to play a variety of male and female characters and differentiate between them with a mask for each. Not a disguise as such, but a way of hiding the actor’s own features, and presenting an alternative face to the world. read more

Library News – June

If God were small enough to be understood, He would not be big enough to be worshipped.” wrote Evelyn Underhill.

I picked up the February newsletter of the St. Edmundsbury Cathedral Library the other day, and found this splendid article by James Knowles.

“Although Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941) wrote poetry and novels, she is best remembered for her prolific writings on spirituality and mysticism. Spirituality, contemplative prayer, and mysticism have always been part or Roman Catholic personal devotion, but until the early 20th century, the Church of England and other Protestant traditions had viewed them with suspicion. Through her writings, she was instrumental in changing this. As well as being an author, she was much in demand as a retreat conductor, and in promoting the retreat movement, which is now part of mainstream Anglicanism. She was the first woman to be invited to be a member of the theological faculty of Oxford University. read more

From the Rectory – May

The Shepherd Gate clock that is mounted on the wall outside the gate of the Royal Observatory in Greenwich is unusual in one key respect. Designed to display Greenwich Mean Time to the public the clock, that was constructed and installed in 1852, has a 24 hour analog dial rather than the usual 12. Originally the clock indicated astronomical time, where the counting of the hours starts each day at noon. In the 20th century this was changed to the more familiar system of the counting of the hours beginning at midnight. read more

Library News – May

Having a cataract operation on one eye has made me see very badly. My eyes are out of balance, my glasses don’t work, everything is out of focus with or without them. It’s horribly frustrating. I wait with longing for the optician to give me new glasses to see properly again.

There’s often an echo between physical things and spiritual things. What would it be like, I wondered, to see so badly with my spiritual sight? To see only through a fog the way that God has laid out for me? To see Jesus all out of focus, so I can’t recognise Him? Where would I find a spiritual optician who could give me a way to see Jesus clearly? read more

From the Rectory – April

The seventeenth century dutch artist Johnannes Vermeer was a slow but careful painter, often using expensive materials to produce his pictures which mostly depicted domestic scenes of middle class life.

Although he remained largely ignored for more than 200 years after his death, by the nineteenth century, his reputation began to grow and he is now considered a significant figure among the painters of the Dutch Golden Age.

Among his most popular paintings is ‘The Guitar Player’. It depicts a young girl – probably one of Vermeer’s daughters – wearing a full green dress, yellow fur trimmed shawl, and clasping a finely made guitar. read more

Library News – April

I’ve just ordered a couple of books for the Library that I think may be fun. Get to know your way round the Old and New Testaments through cartoons!

Jay Sidebotham is an American priest whose first profession was as an animator and cartoonist. He uses his skills now to tell the story of God’s love for us.

He also draws his cartoons to help us take a good look at ourselves in our Church life. Does this look familiar? I hope not.

You can say things in a cartoon, “ Jay says,”that you can’t say in any other way.” So his “The Old Testament from A-Z” and “The New Testament from A-Z” may be lighthearted, but I hope you’ll learn something while you’re laughing. read more

From the Rectory – March

Friendship, family, prayer, celebration, relationship, welcome, worship, spirituality, support, belonging, ritual, sacrament, thanksgiving, love.

For all these reasons, and for many more, people have been coming to Lawford Church for at least 700 years. Over the centuries, the Church has stood at the heart of our village, a place to meet with friends, family and God.

This year, in order to maintain the day to day running of this ancient building, and to continue to offer ministry to those who need it, when they need it, we will have to raise more than £1,500 per week. read more