Untidiness or Who do you think you are?

How’s this for ancestors… a famous adulterer, a foreigner, the occasional murderer, rapist, and an unmarried mother for a parent? And then your actual birth.. no antenatal arrangements made, no decent place to be born in. It all sounds a bit chaotic.

I’m talking about Jesus, of course, and his family tree is in some places not very wonderful. You sort of feel that God should have chosen better; a family tree with no black sheep. Is there such a family? Did He have a choice?

But in November we are beginning to look to the time when God came to be part of our world; to be born into it … to be part of our human family… the Incarnation in other words and our world is not squeaky clean. And our God I do not believe is very tidy minded. He does not tidy away or sweep under the carpet the less than wonderful people and events of the world. He came… He comes to be part of all the mess and muddle.

Think of someone who is diametrically opposed to Jesus.. couldn’t be more unlike .. a dictator…

Hitler will do. He was very tidy minded. He tried to get rid of and sweep away all the sorts of people who did not fit into his great plan of the pure Aryan race. You may think that is a somewhat trivial way of talking of the Holocaust but it’s true nonetheless and lots of dictators share that view. They will not tolerate people who do not fit in or who oppose them; they kill them.

But God in Jesus came to live among the whole mixed bunch of us.. those who loved him and those who hated him and all the more lukewarm people in the middle. He accepted them as they were but wanted them to be part of his Kingdom…..to love God and one another. And I hope that God’s ultimate aim is that all of us will eventually, eternally, be part of his kingdom. We are not a tidy bunch of people. We will not be Jesus clones.   All we have in common is that we are loved and redeemed by God.

I hope that the kingdom is not a neat and tidy place but a joyful loving mixture of all that is best.



………and I’m not talking about prayers that go on and on and on.. ad infinitum, ad nauseam and ad boredom.

And in my definition the opposite of big prayers is not little prayers but personal prayers; the ones we pray about people close to us.

Sometimes these are prayers that only we can pray because only we are close enough.

The ones I’m thinking of are slightly less personal or dealing with more abstract topics. At this particular day I prayed about the visit of Lottery representatives to Portbury church and about the ongoing maintenance of St Mary’s.   That will probably not be relevant by the time you read this [though the maintenance goes ever on].

I would like to encourage all of us pray for our churches… our visions for them .. our visions for the benefice and for the “Churches Together” in our area. This could involve wild dreams of a “Revival” in our communities or could be more down to earth….. more administrative help for Astrid.

That’s two topics to think and pray about. And when you think of other things to pray about, you could tell other people or let me know and we can share it.

Margaret Samuel



ALL SOULS SERVICE – Christ Church 2nd November at 7pm

All Souls Day is also known as the Commemoration of the faithful departed – a time when we are giving special space to remembering our loved ones who have died. This year, Christ Church, Pill, will be open for a service at 7pm; to light a candle, listen to some poetry and music and to have the names of our loved ones read out in an act of commemoration. There will be a sheet for you to write down the names as you come in before the service, so they will be read out at a particular moment.

All are welcome.


Informal Ecumenical Prayer

Please remember that the Informal Ecumenical Prayer meeting is held in the Church Room at Christ Church on the first Saturday of the month. The next meeting is on Saturday, 4th November at 9am.


Schools’ Prayer Meeting

The next schools’ prayer meeting will be held at Crockerne Primary School, in their library, from 11 to 11.30am on Thursday 23rd November. All welcome.


Children’s Society Boxes

Thank you to everyone who collected money for the Children’s Society this year. We made a grand total of £420.92, so all those pennies really do add up!


LEE ABBEY 14th-16th September 2018

If you’ve never been to Lee Abbey: it’s an experience not to be missed! If you have: you know it’s true!

‘Lee Abbey is the most special of places, and if I could afford only one holiday a year it would have to be there. As soon as I drive through the gates, it’s as if I physically feel the Spirit of God descending on me and all my troubles can be forgotten while I re-engage with our most wonderful, loving God’ (Bobbie S).

If this sounds a bit churchy, don’t be put off, because Lee Abbey can still be for you. Even though there will be a tailor-made programme of worship and biblical teaching laid on by the community, there will also be the opportunity to do your own thing in your own time: for instance, you could spend most of your time walking in the beautiful surroundings and along the coastal paths, enjoying the breathtaking scenery (there is a beach!), or enjoy the zip-wire!

The Lee Abbey community are dedicated to looking after your every need, like tea and cake on arrival and all your meals. They’ll do all they can to make you feel at ease and comfortable.

Lee Abbey is also a great place for families and children are made very welcome. They’ll be invited to their own programme by specially trained young people, and they’ll get the chance to join in specially arranged activities.

If you want to seek God, Lee Abbey is a great place to do that. And if you simply want a weekend to enjoy the beautiful countryside and the beach, then Lee Abbey is for you. We are planning this weekend together with a neighbouring benefice in Nailsea and it would be nice if we could make up the number and enjoy it all together. Please let Astrid or any of the wardens know soon. (leeabbeydevon.org.uk for more information and pictures).


Christian Aid Christmas Sale

This year’s Christian Aid Christmas sale will take place on Saturday, 18th November at Pill Community Centre from 10.30am till 1pm; bacon butties, hot dogs and soup to enjoy. And a selection of Christmassy treats to buy.


Fresh Expression of Church in Pill – Churches Together Special Meeting

Church Leaders in Pill are holding an ‘Exploring the future together’ event at 5pm on Sunday 12th November at the Salvation Army, to share something about an idea that we have been mulling over of developing a Fresh Expression of Church in Pill. “Fresh Expressions are new forms of church that emerge within contemporary culture and engage primarily with those who don’t ‘go to church”. The event is open to anyone who would like to find out more about what a Fresh Expression is and also anyone who may be interested in joining a core group of people who would like to explore, pray and consider together what this might look like in the community of Pill.


Crib Festival

We are holding the Annual Crib Festival at Christ Church this Advent, on Saturday, 2nd December, 10am to 12.30pm. If you would like to display your crib at the church, please let the Editor know (see page 5 for contact details) and let’s see if we can get over 100 this year! Fuller details will appear in December’s edition.


Benefice Bible Study

You are most welcome to join our friendly Benefice Bible Study group.  In November we shall be meeting at 8pm on Wednesday 8th November  and Wednesday 22nd November at Chloe Clarke’s home at 20 Oak Grove  We are studying Book 1 of  the ‘Grow Stage’ of the Church of England ‘Pilgrim’ series of study booklets, based on the Creeds.  Please contact Jennie Baker on 373514 for information.  Do come, we hope to see some new faces.


Fundraising Clothes Swap

We shall be holding the next clothes swap evening on Friday 3rd November at the Community Centre. Please bring your items from 7.30pm and have a glass of something while we set up, swapping will start at 8pm. Please root out your nicest stuff that you never wear anymore and let’s make this a really good one!

Funds raised will go to the Pill Tiddlers play group and the Sensory garden at Crockerne school.

For anyone who hasn’t been before: you pay £5 entry which includes a glass of wine or soft drink, bring along a few good quality items, ladies’ clothing, shoes, accessories, maternity all welcome (and nice men’s clothes – no kids’ clothes though). Then have a browse and take what you like. Always a great fun night, so spread the word and bring your friends.


Pill Community Café

Café is open on Fridays in November from 9am to 11.15am at Pill Community Centre; bacon rolls, cakes, coffee, tea and much more, plus there’s Tiddlertown for any younger visitors to enjoy. All money raised goes towards supporting our local young people.


Pill Methodist Christmas Fayre

Pill Methodist Church is holding a Christmas Fayre on Saturday 2nd December from 11.30am to 2pm. Lots of stalls, raffle and light lunches will be served. Please come along and join in the fun and get a Christmas bargain.


Café Church

The next Café Church is Sunday, 5th November at 4pm at Pill Community and the theme will be ‘Music and Faith’. Tim Judson is interviewed and provides the music! Tea, coffee, cakes, savouries and children’s activities too.



Letter from the Right Reverend Peter Hancock, Bishop of Bath and Wells
Going to Church is good for you – Research proves it!

A recent article How to live to 100–plus caught my eye. It basically crunched the numbers and listed twelve things which researchers believe contribute to a longer life. Some of it comes down to genes, but lifestyle is thought to be the biggest factor in longevity. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) recently reported that Britain now has 15,000 centenarians – twice as many as in 2002 – making this the fastest growing age group. The ONS attributes this largely to improvements in nutrition, lifestyle and living standards.

So what are these factors that influence life expectancy? One is being a woman and another is being Japanese, who have the longest life expectancy of anyone in the world. Family and friends are also very important. In a study from California those with a close family and good friends live longer. ‘Getting down with the kids’ – whether those are children, grandchildren, nephews, nieces, or the children of our neighbours and friends is a good thing to do. Marriage is also known to be beneficial to good health. Diet is obviously important and although advice on diet seems to change every time the wind changes direction, there is general consensus that dark chocolate, leafy greens, strawberries, chillies and small amounts of wine are good for us. Exercise is obviously important too, as Fauja Singh, now 106, said just after he completed running his latest marathon.

However, among the list of factors that can lead to longer life was ‘Going to Church’. Until her death last year 116 year-old Susannah Mushatt Jones was the world’s oldest person. When asked for advice as to how to live a long life she said ‘Believe in the Lord’. A recent study by a Public Health School at Harvard supported this. It concluded that those who go to church more than once a week are less likely to die of heart attack or cancer. Staying for coffee afterwards is also likely to be beneficial. Age UK has demonstrated that social contact promotes well-being and helps stave off loneliness in later life.

In the gospels we hear Jesus saying: ‘I have come that you may have life and have it to the full.’ Life in all its fullness is not however simply about how long we live, but how we live. Jesus’ promise is to be with us in this life, in all that life may bring, and also to bring us safely to the life that is to come, life everlasting.


Sermon without words
For many years old George operated a small ferryboat service between two remote islands, using his rowing boat. On one occasion a passenger noticed that on the handle of one of his oars there was carved the word FAITH and on the other the word ACTION. When asked about the significance of the carvings, George simply slowed the boat, lifted one of the oars out of the water and pulled hard on the other. The result, of course, was that the boat went round in a circle. He then did the same with the other oar. He smiled at the passenger, then pulled on both oars and they soon reached their destination.


  • Christ Church Pill

Verger: – Maggie Robbins

Tel 01275 374534


Morning Prayer and Mid-week Holy Communion

Morning Prayer and Mid-week Holy Communion are now included in the Rota of Services for the Benefice.  Please look up in the magazine when these services are (see pages 6-7).

In particular we at Christ Church enjoy the small gathering for Morning Prayer at 9am on the 1st Monday in the month (this month 6th November). We have also been enjoying mid-week Holy Communion which is held at the new time and date of noon on the 3rd Wednesday of the month (this month 15th November). Last time twelve of us gathered and afterwards enjoyed a lunch of sandwiches which we brought and tea/coffee including a chat.

We’d love to see you at these services and if you have  problems getting to Church, please let the wardens know and we will arrange lifts.


Annual Closure of Churchyard Gates

The churchwardens give advance notice that the churchyard gates will be locked for 24 hours from 8.30am on Wednesday 8th November 2017 to 8.30am on Thursday 9th November 2017. This closure is to affirm the churchyard as private church property. In order to do this, the precinct must be closed once a year for 24 hours. The churchwardens regret any inconvenience caused by this necessary measure.


Coffee Morning

The November coffee morning will take place on 14th November from 10am until noon in the church room, home-made cakes on sale and a raffle. The October coffee morning raised £41.20 for church funds.


Christ Church Gift Day

Our next Gift Day will be Tuesday 14th November, to coincide with the Christ Church Ladies November Coffee Morning.


Soup and Chat at Christ Church

Soup and Chat lunches will take place on Mondays 30th October , 13th and 27th November.  The cost of £3.00 includes soup, a bread roll and a piece of cake, followed by tea or coffee.  For further details please contact Maggie Robbins on 01275 374534.


Crib Festival

We are repeating the Crib Festival at Christ Church this Advent on Saturday, 2nd December, 10am to 12.30pm, more details next month.


St Mary the Virgin Portbury

Verger – Valerie Marshall

Tel 01275 374201


Flower Rota

5th November    Mrs Marshall

12th November  Remembrance Poppies

19th November  Mrs Marshall

26th November  Vacant

Church Cleaning

Under a new system areas have been allocated for those involved to choose when they wish to church clean.


Bold Brass Christmas Concert

Bold Brass have been performing together for forty years, and we are pleased to say their Annual Christmas Concert is in St Mary’s Church on Thursday 14th December at 7.30pm.

Tickets are £7 (can be purchased at the door) include mulled wine and mince pies. VM.


Wives Group

On Tuesday 14th November we visit the RNLI Station in Portishead, followed by lunch out; further details at our previous meeting. Then on Tuesday 28th November is our Social Evening to raise funds for the Children’s Society.  Bring a wrapped present worth £2 plus which will be sold to raise money for the Society; there will also be a raffle.  Jenny Sharman has offered her home for this event, 10 Brittan Place at 7.30pm.


Community Café

Breakfasts, cakes and stalls will be open in the Village Hall on Saturday 4th November at 10am. All welcome.


Change of time for Monday Morning Prayer

Please note this service will now start slightly later at 9.15am due to the traffic congestion at the primary school before 9am.

St George’s Easton in Gordano

Verger:- Ian Crichton Tel 372698


Church Flowers

5th November   Mrs Ramsay

12th November                  Mrs Beswick

19th November                  Mrs Betts

26th November                  Mrs Kelly & Mrs Willcox


Church Cleaning

The team for this October is Mrs Mortlock, Mrs Goodfellow & Mrs Webb


Weekday Services at St. George’s

Just a reminder, 9am Morning Prayer on 13th November and Communion Service at noon on 22nd November.


Do you enjoy singing?

St George’s Church is looking for men and women to join their choir.  If you are interested please contact Claire on 372405 or clairereeve01@yahoo.ie


St George’s Christmas Market

You are warmly invited to St George’s Christmas Market which will be held in St George’s Church Hall on Saturday 2nd December from 10.30am until noon. You will find your usual favourite stalls: bottle stall, beautiful crafts, scarves and necklaces, cakes, preserves, tasteful teatime china, book bargains, jigsaws, Church mugs and an exciting stall with all things Christmassy. You might win the Christmas hamper, find the Treasure on the map or guess the weight of the cake! You can certainly enjoy a hot drink and delicious slice of cake whilst chatting to friends.

We would be grateful for contributions to the stalls and these can be brought to the Church Hall on Friday 1st December between 3pm and 5pm. Bottles can be delivered to Ian Crichton at 36 Church Rd.

For more information telephone Jenny Billington (372329) or Annie Morris (373917). We thank you most gratefully for your wonderful support of last year’s Christmas Market when £1537.78 was raised. We venture to hope that the South Aisle Roof Fund can be similarly boosted this year.


St George’s Bottle Stall

We are hoping to have a bumper supply of bottles for our bottle stall at the Christmas Market; any donation of bottles for the stall can be delivered direct to Richard Humphries or to Ian Crichton and will be gratefully received. IC


November programme for Easton in Gordano WI

On 1st November we shall be holding our AGM at the earlier time of 7.15pm.   After this meeting we have a talk by Peter Watson on the work of the Met. Office.   Visitors are welcome to join us in St George’s Church Hall.   On 23rd November the Group Social will be held in the Somerset Hall – this is a ticketed event.   The Craft Group dates for November are the 14th and 28th, please join us and bring along whatever you are currently “crafting”. Jan Robertson, Secretary


Church Services for November
  Christ Church Pill St George Easton-in-Gordano St Mary Portbury
2nd November 7pm All Souls Ecumenical Service    
5th November

4 Before Advent All Saints

10am All Age Worship Team 10am Parish Eucharist ATS


10am All Age Worship Team
6th November 9am Morning Prayer ATS    
8th November     Noon Holy Communion ATS
11th November


10.45am Remembrance Day    
12th November

3 Before Advent Remembrance

See St George 10am Ecumenical Remembrance Service ATS/MS 10am Remembrance Service NW
13th November   9am Morning Prayer ATS  
15th November Noon Holy Communion ATS    
19th November

2 Before Advent

10am Family Holy Communion ATS 10am Family Service MS 8am Holy Communion NW
20th November     9.15am Morning Prayer ATS
22nd November   Noon Holy Communion ATS  
26th November

Christ The King

10am Holy Communion ATS Patronal Festival 6.30pm Evening Holy Communion ATS 10am Family Holy Communion NW
3rd December

Advent Sunday

10am Morning Worship MS 10am Parish Eucharist ATS


10am All Age Worship Team
Abbreviations Used: * BCP; + by extension; H C Holy Communion; ATS Revd Astrid Tiesema-Samsom ; NW Revd Nick Williams; MS Margaret Samuel; Team – lay team at church.
Taizé and Christian Meditation Services: Christian meditation continues most Thursdays at 6.30pm at the Vestry at St Mary the Virgin, Leigh Woods. There is a Christmas Taizé service on 10th December at St Mary, beginning at 6.30pm. View www.theparishchurch.com.

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