Westwood: St Mary the Virgin

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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


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

From the Rector....

Hello again!

Spring is in the air at last and so Westwood's many activities are coming to life again. We've already had one lovely Westwood wedding, and there are two more to follow in July. I've just booked two more for next year today (to join the two already booked for 2015), so that is very exciting, not least as the average since the start of the current Registers is two per year! So an all important part of our service to the local community. Not a bad spot to be married and it is also good to have the church and Manor open to visitors again. We love to welcome people, and had a great crowd to celebrate the Resurrection on Easter Day.

So now I am really looking forward to the Safari Supper again on 7 June, and we are all so, so grateful to Caroline for 'master'-minding this magnificent evening for us and for the


amazingly generous donation it raises for the church - so thank you in advance!   And on that very day is the WINGFIELD CHURCH FETE at Trowle House, 2-4.30pm with dog show, live band, teas and all sorts of other fun stalls and attractions. So do support our neighbours that day as well.

And then of course, there is our WESTWOOD CHURCH FETE at Westwood Manor on Saturday, 19 July at 2-4.30pm - a day definitely not to be missed, and with lots of new attractions this year. You will already have had a coloured flyer through the door for it. So if you do have any ideas for us, or would be able to help in any way on the day, that would be really great and hugely appreciated - please ring Julie Adcock on 862568.

It is quite challenging being your Rector and not living in the village, so do please always feel free to contact me if I can help in any way at all!

With my very best wishes and every blessing

The Revd Joanna Abecassis 8A Woolley Street Bradford on Avon

BA15 1AF Tel: 864444E mail: Joanna@Abecassis.freeserve.co.uk www.brad-avon-ht.org.uk

Article published: 08 Jun 2014


Hello again!

In my last letter, written in January, I was inevitably reflecting back on Christmas - but now, in March, and as the primroses, snowdrops and blossom (and even a little sunshine) abound, we can begin to look forward to Easter!

But of course before that in the church we observe Lent, which we began with a moving service in church on Ash Wednesday morning. The very word 'Lent' comes from the Old English word for spring and there is also of course the French 'lentir' - to slow down...  So perhaps both concepts are useful for us to reflect upon. And it is fascinating just how many people take the opportunity to reflect and be challenged in their lifestyle and thinking during Lent. There is a fascinating Lent Course taking place in several locations in Bradford on Avon and on a Friday evening in Westwood: it is entitled 'Parables and Possessions' and is exploring what is today 'a right relationship with money' in the light of the gospel. Please do let me know if you might be interested in joining a group. This is all a part of our passion as a church, as it was for Jesus Christ, to engage with our community and all the issues which it faces in the broadest possible sense. We live in unusual times and in times where, quite unwittingly, the church nationally is fast becoming the biggest provider of education and, increasingly, of social care and wellbeing.

Then this journey, through the starkness of Lent, leads us into the agony of Holy Week where we are reminded, yet again, of just how much Christ understands our suffering and our humanity - he has been there. There will be services of Holy Communion at Holy Trinity, Bradford on Avon on the Monday, Tuesday and Saturday, 19 July! Please put the date in your diaries, and do come along to a brain-storming and planning meeting in the Parish Room on Saturday 5 April at 10.30am if you are at all interested in taking part in this fun community event in any way.

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.freeserve.co.uk



Article published: 07 Apr 2014


Hello again!

What a long time it seems since mid November when I last wrote this letter - and yet, on the> other hand, I can't believe that it is a year since I first wrote to you in The Update. It has been action-packed for me, and so has flown!

I hope that you will have had a very special Christmas - having escaped the worst of this flooding in Westwood. I really enjoyed the School Christingle and Nursery Nativity Services both in a packed church - but then had to admit defeat and take to my bed with a nasty virus (which I know afflicted lots of other people too) so missing all the rest of Christmas... I hear lots of excellent reports - and am really grateful to the Revd Richard Askew for stepping in the save the day - but I can't tell you how sorry I was to miss my first Christmas in Westwood am to celebrate that great feast amongst so many of you who I'd met during the year and, o course, those who I hadn't! I did make up for it a bit when we had a full array of kings, angels and Mary and Joseph for the Epiphany Family Service, and they even sang their Christmas song for me again, which was great. And then I also really enjoyed seeing lots of people at the excellent Westwood Show party - thank you, Committee, old and new, and every good wishes the 2014 Show!

So now I look forward to our first full year together and I am sure lots of exciting things lie ahead. If only I could extend those 24 hours, then there would be lots more, so please bear with me! But if you do have any requests or ideas, please let me know.

Looking ahead to February and March, we have the start of Lent and Ash Wednesday on f March, and so there will be a service of Holy Communion at 10am to mark this important Christian feast day. Easter is very late this year, not till 20 April - so I shall have to make sure that I am there for that day!

With my very best wishes and every blessing

The Revd Joanna Abecassis 18AWoolley Street Bradford on Avon BA15 1AF Tel: 864444

Article published: 14 Feb 2014

From The Rector….

 Hello again!


How October and November have flown…. But Harvest Festival was great and a very joyous occasion, and then many of us enjoyed a really delicious spread in the Parish Room complete with Viv’s home-made cider (about which I’d heard such a lot!).  The Rector had to make a rather embarrassingly early exit to go and watch her son racing his Austin Healey at Castle Combe (in the gloriously warm sunshine…)!  In fact I’ve been quite amazed at the number of MG enthusiasts in Westwood!  Then we had our third Westwood wedding of the year closely followed by the Golden Wedding of Viv and Betty which was the cause of huge excitement and congratulation all round.  The next day saw the candlelit ‘Miscellany of Words and Music’ in church, combined with refreshments at the Manor, on 25 October which was a sell-out and hugely enjoyed by all, raising a brilliant £860 for the Parish Room.  How we look forward to making the most of it in its fully refurbished glory!


And I am hugely looking forward to the School Christingle and Nursery Nativity both in church in December and it has been really good going into the school once a fortnight to take Assembly on a Thursday afternoon, as it is amazing how quickly you feel you are getting to know one another that way.  And aren’t we lucky to have such a happy and thriving school in our village?        


Evelyn pointed out to me that it wasn’t hugely sensible that The Update and the Church Newsletter landed on your doorsteps at the same time each month. So we are now going to stagger them, which will mean that the next Church Newsletter (complete with Christmas Services) will come out in December.  That way we can communicate every month which is exciting!!


So have a wonderful Advent (the darkness into light, ‘Christmas is coming’, time of preparation season….)  and a VERY HAPPY AND BLESSED CHRISTMAS!  I am certainly looking forward to my first Christmas Day Service in Westwood.    


With my very best wishes and every blessing


The Revd Joanna Abecassis


Article published: 09 Dec 2013

Hello from your new Rector

I haven't met very many of you as yet, so I am really grateful to 'Update' (what a brilliant publication!) to give me the opportunity of saying a brief 'Hello'.

The name may be familiar, as I have been Priest in Charge of Holy Trinity, Bradford on Avon down the road since July 2010 - which is where I continue to live. But we have together made history as the first 'benefice' in the Diocese of Salisbury to be created, with myself installed as rector, by Act of Parliament, back in 2010! So this piece of legislation kicked in on 1 March, which was the Revd Ron Lowrie's 65th birthday, and so the date his retirement took effect. We had already booked the special service for me to be 'instituted, installed and inducted' with our new Bishop Edward and Archdeacon Ruth on 4 March, so were able to transform that into a service of 100% celebration, which was great fun and some of you were able to attend. So Westwood is now a part of the 'Benefice of Bradford on Avon Holy Trinity, Westwood and Wingfield' and I really look forward to us all working closely and growing together.

Before I came to Holy Trinity, I was a parish priest in Devon and so am very familiar with the huge strengths of the rural, village scene. So - whilst just a touch stretched -1 am definitely the sort of person for whom 'every challenge is an opportunity'... Whilst having to pace myself, I can't wait to become involved in village life, not least with the School and Nursery, and I have yet even to visit the shop, about which I have heard such great things.

If you have your ear close to the ground, you will have hopefully heard that I have spent much of the past 2% years becoming involved in the Bradford community -schools, Children's Centre, Chamber of Commerce, BACT (Churches Together), Town Council, Area Board etc etc. That is incredibly important to me and where I was before, in Dartington, I was behind the formation of a 'Community Forum' which led to raising sufficient funds to create a Community Plan which was very exciting (just as I was leaving!). So please do invite me to any community events and occasions in Westwood - and I guess that the 'Update' will be quite a good place to hear about them! And please do contact me if I can ever be of any help to you whatsoever.

From the point of view of events, March has been phenomenally action-packed at the church with our Service of Celebration for the new Benefice, our Annual Parochial Church Meeting, Holy Week and Easter... so there are no great church occasions to tell you about in April and May, though we do look forward to my first Westwood Marriage between Austen Challoner and Christine Sandell on Saturday, 25 May.

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.freeserve.co.uk

Article published: 28 Mar 2013

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