Magazine November 2020.
Another magazine on line – if you can share it with anyone please do. As usual there is an article about the month and a quiz about historical events which occurred in November. The answers are at the end. A 100 years ago the Church magazine reveals changes that are taking place and the questions they raise. Charlie has solved another problem – at least to his satisfaction! Two All Saints’ parishes and their churches are described and the part they have played in my life are mentioned. A stained glass window and a chapter in one of Rowan William’s books led to an article about Florence Nightingale. The Bible’s 775,632 words are reduced to 50. Light hearted statements will make you smile or grimace.
Look after yourselves and stay safe. Eva.
The month of November.
“These early November hours
That crimson the creeper’s leaf across
Like a splash of blood, intense, abrupt,
O’er a shield; else gold from rim to boss
And lay it for show on the fairy-cupped
Elf-needled mat of moss.’ R. Browning.
The name suggests that it should be the ninth month of the year as ‘novem’ means ninth. Indeed it was before January and February were added. The Anglo-Saxons called it ‘Blotmonarth’ (Blood -month) possibly linked to the custom of slaughtering cattle about Martinmas ready for the winter. In Middle English it was known as ‘Novembre’ and in Finland as Marraskuu, the month of the dead, linking strongly to the end of growth in the natural world. Indeed November, with the 11th being the traditional date for the start of winter, represents the final stages of life before death. This could be part of the reason that the Roman Catholic Church regards it as a time for praying for Souls in Purgatory.
Topaz and Citrine are the gems chosen for this month. They signify friendship. A gift of Topaz is seen as a gift of the sun bringing healing.
Chrysanthemums are the flowers of the month and are linked to love and cheerfulness. As a gift they bring happiness and joy to a home.
Scorpio and Sagittarius, form the 23rd, are the Zodiac signs this month. Scorpions are seen as driven by a desire to be successful an are resilient by nature. Sagittarians are optimistic, restless and adventurous and hate to be thwarted.
My bird of the month is the song thrush as its loud, melodious song repeating each phrase twice pierces the air. They announce their presence often at dawn and dusk but more frequently during the mating season. These olive brown birds are distinguished from others of similar size by their light buff speckled breast. Often they will be seen with their head on one side looking for worms on grassland. This is typical stance of many birds as their eyes on either side of their head necessitates this in order to focus on one spot. They are not listening as many think! Perhaps they are more often linked to feeding on snails as their ‘anvils’ for cracking the shells reveal their presence. Their nests are lined with mud so can easily be identified from other similar ones made with twigs.
Mottoes associated with the month.
‘November take flail, Let no ships sail.’
‘If there’s ice in November that will bear a duck,
There’ll be nothing after, but sludge and muck.’
All Saints’ Day (1st) brings a second summer, which lasts three hours, three days or three weeks.
At All Saints take muff and gloves.
On All Saints cut of the bark from a beech tree and then a slither of wood; cut it; if it is dry the ensuing winter will be dry, but pretty warm and temperate; if moist, a wet winter.
On St. Andrew’s day (30th) the night is twice as long as the day.
Dates to remember.
1st All Saints’ Day.
2nd All Souls’ Day.
11th. St. Martin’s.
22nd. St Cecilia’s.
25th. St Catherine’s.
30th. St. Andrew’s.
St Andrew’s day.
“The first foundation was jasper.”
Feast of the First called! Leader evermore
Of those brave souls who at the Call Divine
Have preached the Living Word this wide world o’er,
And as the stars in glory ever shine!
First from the things of this world called apart!
First to obey the Master’s “Follow Me!”
And first, yes first, on whom He set His heart,
With Him for ever where He is to be!
Feast of the First-Called! Ah, not earth alone!
The Holy City too records his fame,
That City where the first-laid jasper stone,
Through days eternal bears S. Andrew’s name!
Events that happened in November. Can you name the year?
1.. Apartheid ended in S. Africa on the 1st in —–.
2. On the 2nd —– the BBC began the first regular TV service.
3. Guy Fawkes arrested attempting to blow up the Houses
of Parliament and kill James I on the 5th in —–.
4. On the 6th in —— Henry VI was crowned.
5. On the 15th the liner Queen Elizabeth docked in Southampton
on her last voyage across the Atlantic in ——.
6. The Pilgrim Fathers in Mayflower arrived at Cape Cod on
the 19th in ——.
7. Queen Elizabeth married Philip Mountbatten in Westminster
Abbey on the 20th in —–.
8. On the 22nd in —– Margaret Thatcher resigned as P.M.
9. J. F. Kennedy was assassinated on the 22nd —-.
10. on the 24th in —- Darwin published the ‘Origin of Species.’
11. Nancy Astor, the first female MP entered parliament on the
28th —– .
12. The first English newspaper was published on the 29th —–.
13. The Suez Canal was opened on the 17th in —–.
14. Winston Churchill was born on the 30th in —–.
15. On the 30th in —– the Crystal Palace was burnt down.
Select from the list below:-
1429; 1605; 1620; 1641; 1859; 1868; 1874;
1919; 1936; 1936; 1947; 1963; 1965; 1990; 1995.
From the Church Magazine a 100 years ago.
The Two Sides of Village Amusements by A. M. Pearson.
“All work and no play
Make Jack a dull boy;
All play and no work
Makes Tom an idle Turk.’
The proverbially sleepy country village is rousing itself. The alteration of work and quiet recreation in the house is now no longer enough for our young people. They must also have outside amusement. To meet this need whist-drives, dances, and other things have made their appearance. Thoughtful people may well consider what effect these will have on the village life of the future, as undoubtedly they have come to stay.
By contact with others ideas are broadened which may have been too narrow. Our minds may have been moulded only in the twilight of grumbling, gossip, and ailments, till, almost because we needed a change, we took up a quarrel with somebody, and tried to divide the village upon it. If our young people saw no one else, we were led into the bugbear of village life, continual intermarriages between certain families only. Again, the “lights” of the towns which lured away many juveniles to doubtful pastimes will not shine so seductively if amusement can be had at home. A better understanding will spring up between all classes when they share more recreations with each other, and learn, whether it be by muscle or brain, to play the game.
Unfortunately other points not so pleasing must have consideration also. Daily the public Press utters warnings against all form of extravagance and useless expenditure. Yet to this, constant evening amusements even in the village may lead.
Dresses of flimsy materials, though dainty and pleasing to the eye, become agents of temptation to women and girls with limited incomes.
There are very clever managers among us, and a girl should try to make the best of herself, within her means, but frequent going out in many cases causes her to run up bills carelessly, if she can obtain credit. When debt is incurred, many a girl finds herself led into ways from which she would have once shrunk in horror. In any case the wage-earners should endeavour to save, as present prosperity may be followed by a sudden slump; nor would a generous person surely like to spend everything upon herself or himself.
Then there is the matter of late hours. If these become habitual, if there be frequent exchange of amusements between villages, as well as local gatherings, next day the worker cannot work, which is badly done in consequence. The worker cannot get his necessary amount of sleep.
A good game of whist is excellent recreation, but cards may have their part in leading youths away to the unreformed public-house. Excessive drinking and betting, as sins, are not touched upon here. What one asks is whether the constant pursuit of pleasure has an enervating effect? Must not both sides be looked at by promoters of village amusements?
A problem solved!
Do you wonder if I think? I don’t come to church to sleep; I come to relax, meet my friends and sort out my problems. I know what goes on and can mull over things in my mind as I will not be disturbed. Leaves litter the ground where I walk and often stick to my paws. They don’t belong on the ground – they litter it. Why have them come, leaving their perch to be trampled underfoot? The trees look sad and have lost their clothes – luckily not all at once so they can gradually get used to being bare. I would hate that – nothing to keep me warm and dry. I would look silly and be upset! Do trees feel like this? I don’t think so as some of them stay green and dressed as before. The others may feel they want a change as they cannot run about and find a new home. It does give us a chance to enjoy the colours as they liven up the days with hues of yellow, gold and brown. They say ‘goodbye’ and let their clothes fall down. Strangely though in a short while their clothes return but then in hues of green. It must be something about the hot and cold and wet and dry times of the year. I’ve figured that much out. Do the trees want to protect the old leaves from getting too cold or stop the gales tearing them? No! I think they are ‘parents’ having lots of children year after year. When they grow up they tell them to leave and fend for themselves. Yes! The problem has been solved! What do you think? Charlie.
The Bible in fifty words.
There are 775,632 words in the Authorised or King James Bible. This is a condensed version:
God made Adam, Adam bit, Noah arked, Abraham split, Joseph ruled, Jacob fooled, bush talked, Moses balked; Pharaoh plagued, people walked. Sea divided, tablets guided, promise landed. Saul freaked, David peeked, prophets warned, Jesus born. God walked, love talked, anger crucified, hope died. Love rose, Spirit flamed, Word spread, God remained.
All Saint’s Day – a time for remembrance and celebration.
All Saint’s churches have great significance for me. Although baptised across the river at St. Paul’s I grew up in an All Saint’s parish in Berkshire (now in Oxfordshire due to boundary changes). I was taken there as a child by my grandmother. Here I spent my childhood in an old church, now a listed building.
The church at Sutton Courtenay was founded in the twelfth century and was possible linked to the nearby abbey. Most of the nave and the lower part of the tower are Norman and so is the font. The chancel and the upper part of the tower were added in the thirteenth century. The church was enlarged in the fourteenth century when the north and south aisles were added. The five bay rod screen was added in the fifteenth century and a two story porch. The upstairs room was reached by a narrow spiral staircase and at one time held a library with chained books. Then Stuart coat of arms was above the chancel arch. There was a peal of 8 bells and a one handed clock, one of only 22 in the country, in the upper part of the tower. Luckily it rand so strangers knew what time it was.
There are notable tombs in the large churchyard including two chest tombs one dating from the 15th century and the other from the 19th. H. H. Asquith, a U.K. prime minister and his second wife are buried in the church yard. The newspaper owner, David Astor, and the novelist, George Orwell, are also buried there.
Now I am again living in an All Saint’s parish and I went to All Saints’ for evensong when I first came as the vicar invited me to attend when I first came to Wick. (Now I’m in Littlehampton due to boundary changes.) What a contrast from a large intimidating church ( at least for a child) to a small homily one. Perhaps now I would say from an awe inspiring one that embraces you. All Saint’s Wick was built as a chapelry, linked to Lyminster, in the 19th century. It became a separate parish in 1973. It is a typical chapelry, built cheaply. The architects were W. C. Street and H. G. English and the foundation stone is dated 1891. It is built of flint and brick with lancet windows. The windows are painted and are a rare survival of cheap church decoration. It has a scissor trace roof.
This church holds a special place in my heart because it was here I became a fully committed Christian when I was confirmed there just after coming to Littlehampton.
You can see, apart from the usual events associated with All Saint’s day, why All Saint’s Day has a very special place in my heart. I am reminded of my own Christian journey from one All Saint’s church of great historical and architectural interest to a simple, welcoming and cheaply constructed chapelry locally in the parish where I now live.[Info taken from All Saint’s Wick web-site.
Details about Sutton Courtenay remembered from childhood.]
Florence Nightingale. (1820 – 1910)
Was she a saint?
Coventry Patmore:- “The saint does everything that any other decent person does, only somewhat better and with a totally different motive.”
Jonathan Edwards:- “None are true saints except those who have the true character of compassion and concern to relieve the poor, indigent, and afflicted.”
Evelyn Underhill:- “A saint is a human being devoured and transformed by love.”
These quotations, one from the 18th, 19th and 20th century, put forward ideas about what merits a saint to which could be added some one who “has received the Holy Spirit” and “has married himself to the soul”. (Abraham Kuyper.)
How does Florence Nightingale fit into these ideas?
A recently installed stained glass window in Romsey Abbey near where she grew up shows a long girl, about 16, sitting on a bench, a book on her lap and a pen in her hand, staring at a bright light. The other half of the picture reveals a cross like light inscribed with the words ‘it is I’. This window, designed by Sophie Hacker, seems to suggest quite clearly that she believed that she had been called to serve God and that she had received the Holy Spirit to be her mentor and guide.
She was called to be a nurse and hospital reformer and when she heard about the suffering during the Crimean war volunteered her services. With 39 other nurses she set up a hospital at Scutari in November 1854 paying special attention to hygiene and sanitation. This result in a dramatic fall in deaths from 50% to 2% from Cholera, typhus and dysentery. She worked tirelessly and earned the title ‘Lady of the Lamp’ as she visited her parents at night with a lamp. The bright light in the window reflects the impact this had had piercing the darkness and bringing light to many of the casualties.
After the war in 1860 she founded the Nightingale home at St Thomas hospital for training nurses. Despite being unable to nurse due to ill health as a result of the war she helped set up nursing home for the next 30 years. She was the first woman to be awarded the Order of Merit in 1907.
Indeed Roman Williams headed his chapter about her with “The light of life”. [See ‘Luminaries: Twenty lives that illuminate the Christian way.’] The right side of the window reflects an inner light shining from the darkness. Her life is an inspiration to us all in serving others despite the cost and a Christian way to journey through life.
Finally she wrote:- “Life is a hard fight, a struggle, a wrestling with the Principle of Evil, hand to hand, foot to foot. Every inch of the way must be disputed. The night is given us to take breath, to pray, to drink deep at the fountain of power. The day, to use the strength which has been given us, to go forth to work with till evening.” “The very vastness of the work raises one’s thoughts to God, as the only one by whom it can be done. That is the solid comfort – he knows.”
Is she a saint or just a saintly example to emulate?
A time to smile or grimace!
‘The fasting and prayer Conference includes meals.’
‘At Evening Service tonight the sermon topic will be ‘What is Hell?’. Come early and listen to our choir practice.’
‘Ladies don’t forget the Jumble Sale. It’s a chance to get rid of things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husband.’
‘Don’t let worry kill you off. Let the Church help.’
– – – AND From the mouths of babes and infants.
‘Are you really invisible or is it a trick?’
‘What does it mean, you are a jealous God?
I thought you had everything.’
‘We read at school that Thomas Edison made light. But in Church they said you did. So, I bet he stole your idea.’
Answers to the quiz.
1. 1995; 2. 1936; 3. 1605; 4. 1429; 5. 1965; 6. 1620; 7. 1947;
8. 1990; 9. 1963; 10. 1859; 11. 1919; 12. 1641; 13. 1868;
14. 1874; 15. 1936.
Finally, a night prayer in the Celtic tradition.
‘May the light of lights come to my dark heart from thy place;
May the Spirit’s wisdom come to my heart’s tablet from my Saviour.’