Westwood: St Mary the Virgin


St Mary's link for full details of services, events, features and facilities, and contact information


FROM THE RECTOR….

 The Seasons of Advent and Christmas are rich and exciting in the church.  Unlike the rest of the world, we keep Advent with its purple liturgical colour and evergreen theme, and lots of candles, from Sunday, 29 November right through to Christmas Eve.  This is a time of expectation, of anticipation, of reflection – in some ways analogous to ‘eyeing’ the presents under the tree – AND THEN…. the real and enormous excitement and joy of Christmas kicks in from Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve.  Our celebration of the coming of Christ, the Son of God – who is LOVE - to dwell amongst us, as one of us, amidst the murk and the gloom of our world is perhaps more relevant this year than ever?  And again, unlike the rest of the world, our celebrations last throughout the Season of Epiphany to the end of January.  So do make a point of coming to join us in our worship this year!

·         8-13 December, 10.30am – 6pm: CHRISTMAS TREE FESTIVAL AT HOLY TRINITY, BRADFORD ON AVON, complete with some 60 trees, a warm welcome, live music & refreshments

·         Sunday, 20 December at 6pm: CAROL SERVICE WITH NATIVITY TABLEAU

·         CHRISTMAS EVE at 11.15pm: MIDNIGHT MASS

·         CHRISTMAS DAY at 11.15am: FAMILY SERVICE WITH CAROLS

·         Sunday, 3 January: FAMILY SERVICE FOR THE EPIPHANY

With my very best wishes for a fantastic Christmas and New Year         

 The Revd Joanna Abecassis

Tel: 864444

E mail: joanna.abecassis@cantab.net

www.htboa.org 


Article published: 17 Nov 2015

From the Rector . . .

 

 The Flower Show was as great as ever – such a fantastic village institution, and such talent… - not to mention the flowers in the church.  But the Music Hall evening on the Saturday did almost.. steal the show.  What an amazing time - and what good fun everyone had (myself most certainly included) and Hamlet will never be the same   again… So a HUGE thank you to ‘The New Inn Team’ for a tremendous evening – especially on behalf of the Parish Room, for which it raised a huge sum.

 

So we now move on into the autumn and here are our up-coming events…

·      Sunday, 4 October – Family Harvest Festival + lunch in the Parish Room

·      Friday, 9 October – Canzona Concert with David Bednall (from Bristol Cathedral) on the organ – ‘Hail Bright Cecilia’ – Holy Trinity Church, Bradford on Avon in aid of their ‘Big Community Connection’ Appeal – tickets @ £10 (£8)

·      Sunday, 1 November at 6pm at Holy Trinity Church, Bradford on Avon: ‘Lighten our Darkness’ Service – an informal service for anyone who has been bereaved at any time with the opportunity to have individuals remembered by name in the prayers and to light a candle                      

With my very best wishes and every blessing       

 

The Revd Joanna Abecassis

Tel: 864444

E mail: joanna.abecassis@cantab.net

www.htboa.org  - PLEASE NOTE NEW WEBSITE ADDRESS (with Westwood page) 

 


Article published: 22 Sep 2015

FROM THE RECTOR….                

 The well-earned summer holidays will be beginning for many as this Newsletter reaches you, and our Church Fκte will have come and gone – and will, hopefully, have been a huge success!    

And they will certainly be ‘well-earned’ by the children and staff of our Primary School who have had a fantastic year.  I hugely enjoy going in there (nearly) every other Thursday to take Assembly, and it was so hot a few weeks back that we all noticed that the tall candle which I use, and which lives in the car, had bent into a very strange shape!  And I’ve now become a Governor as well and had my first meeting, and so it is really good to be more closely involved with the school – and to learn about their impressive array of achievements, not least the school Blogs, which have an international following…

But August is not all quiet at Westwood…  For we have the glories of the Flower Show on the Bank Holiday Monday to look forward to, and John and Caroline Philpott and Chris Edwards are organising a clearly riotous Music Hall Event with BBQ in the marquee on the Saturday evening (29th) at 7pm in aid of the Parish Room Transformation.  That is so kind of them, and it looks as if a great time is most certainly going to be had by all!    

 With my very best wishes and every blessing        

 The Revd Joanna Abecassis

Tel: 864444

E mail: joanna.abecassis@cantab.net    www.brad-avon-ht.org.uk


Article published: 18 Jul 2015

FROM THE RECTOR….

 

The first week of May, as the Update goes to press, has been quite extraordinary – a real ‘Solomon Grundy’ time.  We started with the national excitement of the birth of Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana on the Saturday and then witnessed the most unusual and surprising outcomes in the General Election over the early hours of Friday morning turning much of the nation upside down.  But then, also on Friday (but in the afternoon), we had the opportunity of watching the very moving, solemn and thoughtful ‘VE Day 70’ Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, where the three (former) political leaders walked up to lay wreaths together, David Cameron having just returned from Buckingham Palace as Prime Minister and the other two having already resigned, and some of the horrors and loss of WWII were revisited. And meanwhile, the death toll of the Nepal Earthquake was rising as more and more bodies were pulled from the rubble.                                              

 

So what does that have to say to us in Westwood?  One thing is very certain, and that is the old adage carpe diem: ‘live for the day’.  Life is short and very precious, as all of these events make manifest – and it is also a journey, forever rolling on.  As we celebrate the safe arrival of that new royal baby, always the perfect image of innocence and utter vulnerability, we become incredibly aware of the world she is entering: a world full of loss and shattered dreams, but then also a world full of hope, light, joy, peace, love, friendship and staggering beauty.  I heard a very moving interview on the radio the other day.  It was with a cellist who was sitting playing amidst the rubble of the streets of Baghdad and he reflected: “I can’t beat the bombs with it, but I can bring respect for the dead”.  I always find it fascinating to see how different people react to situations in such very diverse ways.  So this was one musician’s response.  And people have reacted to the General Election Results with anything from unadulterated jubilation to outright grief and shock at the sheer loss and utter life-changing and bitter devastation inflicted on some really faithful, hard-working and long-standing MPs.

 

And the Christian faith calls us not only to reflect deeply and with empathy on the world around us, but also to love and to serve.  It’s a good message – it works – it’s changed a few lives down the centuries!   So now we in Westwood look forward – not only to our regular Sunday worship – but to the two great events of the summer: to Caroline’s amazing Safari Supper on Saturday, 6 June and then to the Church Fκte at Westwood Manor on Saturday, 18 July at 2pm.  Both are great village events and (apart from anything else!) a brilliant opportunity for me to meet folk.  So I shall look forward to seeing you there!                                          

                                                                               

With my very best wishes and every blessing        

 

 

The Revd Joanna Abecassis

18A Woolley Street

Bradford on Avon BA15 1AF

Tel: 864444

E mail: joanna.abecassis@cantab.net

www.brad-avon-ht.org.uk


Article published: 13 May 2015

FROM THE RECTOR….

 Well the clocks have ‘sprung forward’ - the bulbs and buds are pushing their way out – and spring is just about here!  That is all about HOPE if ever anything was, and it just so happens that our bishop – Bishop Nicholas of Salisbury - is challenging all of his flock at this time with the charge: ‘RENEWING HOPE: PRAY, SERVE, GROW’.  The more I think about it, the more passionate I become about the importance of HOPE in our lives.  And so ever since the bishop’s visit in January, I have been asking people what has ‘renewed their hope’ of late?  And, of course, asking myself the same question.  It makes for some fascinating conversations, and has the very significant and healthy ‘fringe benefit’ of inducing positive thinking and memories.  As we all know only too well from listening to the news, let alone each other, there is just so much negativity about.  So do try it!

 

And HOPE – along with the ‘renewing’ and transformation – which it can offer is, I think, one of the great gifts of the church.  And a gift which people are continually discovering, if often stumbling upon it unawares.  I feel more and more convinced that in this world of increasing stress, and loneliness and personal insecurity, the qualities and gift of ‘faith, hope and love’ – which are at the very core of the Christian life – are precisely what people long for and so which draws them to the church today.  And, of course, the ‘the greatest of these is love’: a very rewarding challenge to us all.

 

As you read this, hopefully Easter will be just upon us (if not, it will have already arrived!).  And Easter Day and the story of the resurrection is the ultimate message of the overcoming of pain and new life and light and hope restored.  So do come and join us for Holy Communion at 11.15am on Easter Day.  I leave you with some very special words, on healing from cancer surgery, from a poem by Kathy Keay:  ‘Where once there was too much sky and cloud, now plenty of grass and a path on which to walk with steady feet’.                                 

                                                                               

With my very best wishes and every blessing for Easter and a ‘renewed hope’ to you all      

 

The Revd Joanna Abecassis

18A Woolley Street

Bradford on Avon BA15 1AF

Tel: 864444

E mail: joanna.abecassis@cantab.net

www.brad-avon-ht.org.uk


Article published: 18 Mar 2015

From the Rector . . .

Since The Reverend Joanna Abecassis is a regular contributor to the Westwood Update I have decided to add her column to the St Marys Church Westwood News webpage which provides a wider column space. The link to the page can be found on the Community web page


Article published: 30 Nov 2014

News From The Rector

Hello again!

I ended my last letter with a reference to our planned special Remembrance Sunday Service which was going to have a particular First World War in Westwood focus. Well now it has taken place and thanks to the painstaking research of Jill Ross, John Streeter and others, the most amazing stories, records and memorabilia have come to light. So Westwood had a very special and moving (and packed out) service - with thanks to Richard Askew - and then... an amazing (and packed out) community war-time event in the Parish Room with lots of chatter, lunch, wartime memorabilia and poems, and a jolly sing-song. I likened the 'challenge' of the numbers to the catering team, to the story of the loaves and fishes! But actually, on reflection, it felt very appropriate in the war-time context and setting. It was very special to be able to welcome the descendant families of the Westwood fallen, and there was a real 'war-time' and community spirit. What a fantastic event for us all to look back on as the fund-raising efforts for the TRANSFORMATION of the Parish Room gather pace. So a big THANK YOU to Jill Ross whose brainchild this event was.

But by the time you receive this Update, we shall be in the Season of Advent: a really valuable season in the church calendar as we try just as hard as we can to screech on the brakes and press the 'Pause' button, to watch and to wait, in anticipation and in hope as we await the coming of Christmas. And just as presents are so much more exciting wrapped - and prodded and felt first! - so this time of reflection and anticipation really enhances the excitement of Christmas.

And then, just as we all seem to have experienced Remembrance Sunday in an enhanced and renewed way this year, so perhaps we might have an extra exciting Christmas! For Christmas does actually have a lot of parallels to Remembrance Sunday. We deck out Christmas with light and glitter and fun - because the occasion is the cause of such joy - which is just great! But the actual event which we remember, as recorded in the Bible, was messy and murky, and cold and lonely, and full of bewilderment. The future was far from clear or secure for Mary, Joseph and their new baby. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, arrived in this world as one of us, in these grimand immensely human circumstances - and in the midst of political turmoil and a violent occupying regime. And so the great message for me is 'Emmanuel' - God with us.

So do come and join us for the celebrations as we remember together the incarnation - the 'taking flesh' - the 'dwelling among us' - of Jesus Christ this Christmas! We shall kick off this year with the School Christingle on Tuesday 16th, the Nursery Nativity on Wednesday 17th, and then we have the Carol Service on Sunday 21st at 6pm, Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve

at 11.15pm and then our Family Service with Carols on Christmas Day at 11.15am. I really look forward to seeing you all then!

And last but by no means least, I'd like to offer my thanks to Evelyn Wildy for having done such a fantastic job in compiling The Update. Not an easy task, and doubtless often a thankless one!, but such a very valuable resource for the community. So THANK YOU from us all, Evelyn!

With my very best wishes and every blessing to you all

The Revd Joanna Abecassis

18AWoolley Street

Bradford on Avon BA15 1AF

Tel: 864444

E mail: joanna.abecassis@cantab.net

www.brad-avon-ht.org.uk


Article published: 29 Nov 2014

FROM THE RECTOR...

Hello again!

It will very soon be Harvest Festival (hopefully before this is delivered!) which is always an exciting and traditional annual event in any rural community.   I was at the school today and they were already practising the fun 'Harvest Samba' which we shall be singing at the Parish Church at our special Family Service on 5 October - along with some of the traditional harvest hymns. We hope very much that some of the school might be able to join us on the day which would be great (and they will be in good voice!) - so do come along too - and bring some harvest gifts. I can confidently predict that the church will be looking fantastic - as it always is on these occasions! I hope you managed to get to see the amazing floral display in the church at the 'Flower and Vegetable Show'? We are so lucky to have the energy, commitment and skill of Jenny Maggs and her amazing team.

But as well as the privilege of worshipping in our beautiful medieval building - and having that sense of sharing in the worship and prayer of Westwood parishioners down the centuries - and in addition to those amazing flowers - music is of course a really important element of our worship. We love live music, and it is brilliant now to have Elizabeth Luxton on her guitar at Family Service, as well as our three regular organists. But if there are any other Westwood 'shrinking violet' musicians out there (of any age...), we'd really love to hear from you??  We've even

tempted a ukulele into Wingfield Church! It's wonderful to be able to share the gifts that God has given us, and it's extraordinary how music breathes life into worship.

On a more sombre note, and looking further ahead, I do commend to you our annual 'Lighten our Darkness' Service at Holy Trinity, Bradford on Avon. This will take place on Sunday, 2 November at 6pm and is a very special service for anyone who has been bereaved, at any time -an informal and gentle service of hope and light with some carefully chosen words and music. It has in the past provided a very welcome and helpful opportunity to shine a small light in the darkness of our loss, and includes the chance both to come forward and light a candle in memory of those we have loved, and also to have them remembered by name in the prayers. So please do let me know if you'd like someone remembered, even if you are not able to come.

And then there will be a very special Remembrance Sunday Service this year on the following Sunday, 9 November, as we commemorate in particular the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, in the context of Westwood.

With my very best wishes and every blessing to you all

The Revd Joanna Abecassis

18AWoolley Street

Bradford on Avon BA15 1AF

Tel: 864444

E mail: joanna.abecassis@cantab.net

www.brad-avon-ht.org.uk


Article published: 01 Oct 2014

From The Rector....

Hello again!

We shall have had -1 am quite sure - a hugely successful Church Fete by the time that you read this, with lots of new events this year, not least for the children - who will have gone home with their 'Super Star' awards - and it will have been great to welcome members of the prize-winning Westwood with Iford School dance team. So my thanks to all of you who will have come along to join us, of course to Jonathan and Emily Azis and the National Trust for hosting us so generously as ever, and to everyone who worked so very hard beforehand - not least our magnificent new team-leader Julie Adcock.

 

I seem to be incredibly busy at the moment with the 'hatches, matches and dispatches' which make up such an important part of the life of every church and every community. We shall very soon have had three Westwood weddings this year, all the brides being local girls - and it is always such fun when I show them other people's Service Sheets as an example and they say, "Oh, I knew them at school!" And then both at Holy Trinity and Wingfield, I have lots and lots of Baptisms (or Christenings) at the moment. It's a very special and exciting service - full of movement and of imagery - and can either take place in the main morning service or on your own in the afternoon (just V2 hour long) - and is all about becoming a member of God's church, so there is no charge (and no age limit either!). So if you might be interested in arranging any special service at the church, just let me know. It is a wonderful privilege that we have of being able to provide the setting, the framework, the friendship and, above all the spiritual context, for these great family events.

It has been huge fun going into the school this year to take Assemblies, and Mr Rockey is already talking about arranging the Christmas Christingle Service - help!

With my very best wishes and every blessing

The Revd Joanna Abecassis

18A Woolley Street, Bradford on Avon BA15 1AF   Tel: 864444


Article published: 01 Aug 2014

Church Fete 19th July

Come to the Fete @ Westwood : Church Fete on Saturday 19th July, 2014 - 2pm - 4.30; hot dogs and cream teas for you to enjoy whilst listening to the jazz on the lawn.

Lots of fun - children's games, raffle, silent auction, skittles, coconut shy; bric a brac and more - come along and join us @ to be held at the Church and grounds of Westwood Manor, Nr Bradford on Avon. Wiltshire.


Article published: 08 Jul 2014

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