Westwood: St Mary the Virgin


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FROM THE RECTOR….                

 So as we continue to bask in the sunshine, the ‘season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’ is fast upon us and, if you do receive the Update in time, please come and join us for our Harvest Festival Family Service at 11.15am on Sunday, 2 October, followed by a light lunch in church.  If the Fruit and Vegetable Show was anything to go by, it will be a very joyful community event.

For that is surely what we are all about at your Parish Church.  And we have celebrated lots of weddings this year, with some amazing ‘Westwood’ flowers, and music ranging from professional classical musicians hot foot from the Proms, to electric guitar and keyboard – and so each one is unique and very special in its own right.  And there are five booked for 2017 already!  But there never seem to be very many Baptisms (Christenings) here, so it would be good to buck that trend…  It’s a very simple, but special and joyful, half-hour service.  So do get in touch…  We do things well!                  

With my very best wishes         

The Revd Joanna Abecassis   Tel: 864444

E mail: joanna.abecassis@cantab.net    www.htboa.org


Article published: 27 Sep 2016

FROM THE RECTOR….                

 So we’ve had a busy couple of months in Westwood - and our community events of the Safari Supper, the Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebration Service and the Fκte (if ‘Midsummer’ wasn’t quite the word!) were all great fun and a special opportunity to meet up with friends both old and new.             

 But we now find ourselves in challenging times, which the beauty and peace of Westwood can so easily mask.  At best, there is a lot of uncertainty in the air – at worst real, grounded fear for jobs, personal finances, and personal safety.  And so a huge amount of vulnerability.  As the broader church, working and walking alongside some of the most vulnerable in our community, and listening, we are only too aware of this.  But as the church, I think that there is so much we can offer in such a context.  There is that ’faith hope and love, but the greatest of these is love’ from the world’s favourite wedding reading – and the well-known Good Samaritan story ‘to love our neighbour as ourselves’ – whoever that neighbour might be…       

 With my very best wishes   

      The Revd Joanna Abecassis

Tel: 864444

E mail: joanna.abecassis@cantab.net

www.htboa.org 


Article published: 07 Aug 2016

FROM THE RECTOR….

 Well, it’s going to be all go in and around the church this June and July…

 So we have an exciting weekend to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday on 11-12 June: the Wingfield Fκte at Trowle House on the Saturday, 2-4.30pm – then our very own delicious and fun Safari Supper that evening at 7.30pm (all in aid of Westwood Church and with huge thanks to Caroline Philpott) – and then, on the Sunday, a special informal Service of Thanksgiving at 11.15am, to give everyone the opportunity to say thank you for such a very special lady and monarch.  (Copies of a fascinating booklet ‘The Servant Queen’ will be available for a donation to the church.) Do come along and bring a picnic lunch too!   

 And then… on Saturday, 25 June at 2-4.30pm, we have the Westwood Midsummer Fκte. Come and join us in the Manor Grounds by kind permission of Jonathan & Emily Azis and the National Trust - Cream Teas, Jazz Band on the lawn, all the traditional side-shows, stalls and raffle and - a first for this year – the Maypole Dancers from Westwood School!

 See you soon! – and with my very best wishes         

 The Revd Joanna Abecassis  Tel: 864444  E mail: joanna.abecassis@cantab.net www.htboa.org   


Article published: 30 May 2016

FROM THE RECTOR….                

 April and May are such glorious months and Easter falls almost as early as it can this year, and so we can enjoy the whole of April as ‘Eastertide’, a time of renewed hope, life, light, thanksgiving.  And that will be the theme of our ‘Annual Parochial Church Meeting’ (APCM) which will take place in the Parish Room on Sunday, 24 April at 1.15pm, after the 11.15 Holy Communion Service and a shared lunch. So do come and join us, hear what we get up to, and let us have your views and ideas – we’d really like to hear them.  Alternatively, just Email me! And you can read the Annual Report on the Westwood page of the website.

 The month of May will begin – at last! – with the closure of the Parish Room and the very exciting start of our ‘Transformation’ project.  And so a HUGE thank you to all those who have worked so hard in their different ways to bring us to this point, and every blessing to our new Trustees and all those who will be taking it forward.         

With my very best wishes         

 

The Revd Joanna Abecassis

Tel: 864444

E mail: joanna.abecassis@cantab.net

www.htboa.org  


Article published: 24 Mar 2016

FROM THE RECTOR….                

 

‘All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well’.

The well-known words of the 14th century mystic, Mother Julian of Norwich: and for some reason they have been ringing in my ears of late.   

 

They are extraordinarily profound, and extraordinarily comforting and reassuring.  But Christmas is supposed to be a happy time, I hear you say!  Well, yes, but sadly not for everyone…  So I have found myself discussing these words with all sorts of people in all sorts of situations – from the dying, the bereaved, the sick, to those facing infuriating practical difficulties.  And they are relevant too – they have to be relevant too – to the horrendous world migration and refugee situation.  They give us HOPE – something to hold onto… and that is one of the great themes of the Season of Epiphany which runs throughout January, establishing us on a firm footing for the new year.  The other themes, all connected with the revelation of Christ to the whole world, are about transformation and being made new.  So that hope is always there: ‘All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well’.

 

What better way to start the new year in Westwood?  And we can certainly now look forward to a newly refurbished Parish Room in 2016!!                                                      

 

With my very best wishes         

 

The Revd Joanna Abecassis

Tel: 864444

E mail: joanna.abecassis@cantab.net

www.htboa.org 

 


Article published: 27 Jan 2016

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

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