The Latest News from Peppard and All Saints’

News about life in the church and in the parish is found in several publications.

All Saints’ publishes a monthly magazine that includes a keynote message, and details of the month’s services.

Peppard News, produced independently of the church, is delivered on a quarterly basis free to every household in the village. This newsletter contains information from All Saints, and the local Congregational and Roman Catholic churches, as well as details of other parish matters.

Finally there are topical messages on the noticeboard in the church porch.

This month and the coming months

March 2019

  • World Day of Prayer Service – Friday 1 March at Christ the King, at 6.30pm
  • Benefice Lent Lunch – Monday 11 March at Christ the King
  • Benefice Lent Lunch – Monday 18 March at Christ the King
  • Family Communion for Mothering Sunday – Sunday 31 March at 10.30am

As Christians, we live in harmony, peace and love

When we encounter Christ we feel a joy and peace like no other. It’s a joy that comes from the nearness of God and manifested through his Son, Jesus Christ. It is through the Son that we see and feel the beauty of God.

Jesus has showed us how we should live with one another. The Jesus model for life is one of love and forgiveness. He is the crucified Saviour. He came to forgive our sins and the sins of the whole world. It is through His life and death that we are reconciled with God, when we invite Him into our lives.

In Holman Hunt’s painting of the famous image of Jesus as the Light of the World, there are two lights shown in the picture. The lantern is the light of conscience and the light around the head of Christ is the light of salvation. The door represents the human soul, which cannot be opened from the outside. There is no handle on the door, the figure of Christ is asking permission to enter.

Dr Alexander Maclaren a great preacher and scholar tells us that ‘when I open my eyes the light comes in, when I open my lungs the air comes in, when I open my heart to Christ, then Christ comes in.’

May we all live in harmony, peace and hope!

Stewart Morgan

Recent events

Henley Choir Festival 2019

The tenth annual Henley Choir Festival was held on Saturday 26 January in St Mary’s Church. Seven separate choirs participated. In the first half of the evening programme, they contributed 11 items. Their choice ranged from the well-known, like Bethlehem Down (Peter Warlock) and the 16th century anonymous setting of Rejoice in the Lord alway, to several pieces by living composers who included a Scot and two Welshmen, Peter Nardone, Karl Jenkins and Michael J Lewis. Lewis, born in Aberystwyth but working in USA, was composer of Heaven is my home, sung by the Choir of All Saints’ Church, conducted by David Butler, with soloists Rebecca Bell and James Stickings and organist Michael Howell.

The last three named featured in the second half of the programme when the combined choirs sang Part 1 and Hallellujah! from The Messiah (Handel). They were joined by Lucy Gibbs (alto) and Emlyn Williams (tenor), while the whole performance was under the direction of Frances Brewitt-Taylor. The nine previous Henley Choir Festivals raised £13,621 for charitable causes. This year, about £1,700 was contributed which benefited the work of Diabetes UK.

 

Candlemas at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford

On the Friday before Candlemas we awoke to a few inches of snow, an event unremarkable in Germany where snowflakes are very efficiently removed almost before they touch the ground. In this country, traffic chaos ensues, public transport is delayed, schools close, the media go into overdrive and the doomsters at the AA and the Met Office encourage a national curfew. Even the RSCM Candlemas celebration at Christ Church was thought to be in jeopardy! By Saturday morning a thaw had begun and the gritting lorries had been effective so a substantial body of singers was able to converge on the cathedral to prepare and sing a service of music and readings for Candlemas. The RSCM usually has such a service for Epiphany but this year the event was postponed due to building work in the cathedral. In the event, the nave was still blocked with scaffolding and the service took place at the crossing in a north-south orientation; both the RSCM singers and the cathedral choir being crammed into the north transept with a good congregation on the south side.

Despite being used to a world class cathedral choir, the new director of music, Steven Grahl, immediately struck a good rapport with the disparate band of village singers given to him for this event. He patiently coached us into providing some shape and polish to two standard church “potboilers” O thou the central Orb by Charles Wood [the final anthem] and the Nunc Dimittis in C by Charles Villiers Stanford. Much less well-known to us were two contrasting motets from the 16th and 20th centuries. For me the high point of the service was singing When to the temple Mary went by Johannes Eccard (1553-1611). The text encapsulates the story of the presentation of Christ and Simeon’s response in what we now know as the Nunc Dimittis. The music is a beautiful unaccompanied polyphonic setting in six parts, typical of its era, that requires great concentration on counting if it is not to collapse! The other motet, Christ whose glory fills the skies, is the standard Charles Wesley hymn text set to music by Harold Darke (1888-1976). The more modern harmonies and rhythms formed a pleasant change to the usual version. Unfortunately, I was not able to sing this item in the service as I was being “verged” to the pulpit to read the poem In the garden of the Lord by Helen Keller on behalf of AllSS. From my vantage point in the pulpit I realised that the music was unknown to most of the RSCM contingent.

The service was led by The Revd Dr Grant Bayliss, recently appointed Diocesan Canon Precentor. It opened with the cathedral choir singing the introitO nata lux by Thomas Tallis (c1505-1585) from the anti-chapel. This slightly “off stage” effect provided an atmospheric start to the service that should have been in semi-darkness but the lighting system did not respond as intended. The various musical items alternated with readings and prayers spoken by both college dignitaries and lay RSCM choir members. The cathedral choir sung a second carol Ave Maria, gratia plena by Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611). This was impeccably sung but the hard acoustic made their highly trained voices seem rather harsh, at least in the close proximity of the north transept. The congregational hymns Angels from the realms of Glory, Lord let your light shine and Hail to the Lord who comes [new words for the event to an old tune – Highwood] were initially a little challenging until the various participants settled on a common tempo to suit the cathedral acoustic. As voluntaries, the senior organ scholar, Makoto James, played the Sonata ? 4 by Felix Mendelssohn (1809-47) with movements I, II and III before the service and movement IV afterwards.

As usual, the event was impeccably organised by Janet Lowe with her Oxford helpers and included the essential “choir tea” to the accompaniment of the cathedral choir preparing their pieces for Sunday. It proved to be a very worthwhile and enjoyable occasion, well justifying the trip. Next year it is planned to revert to an Epiphany service. This could present the opportunity for All SS to have a Choral Evensong for Candlemas when the magical effect of the candlelight could be better appreciated than in a morning service. Candlemas 2020 actually falls on a Sunday.

Ian Heriot

Other News

Benefice Lent Lunches 2019

Just so you get the dates in your diaries, the bread and soup lunches will be held in Christ the King Hall, Sonning Common on Mondays 11 & 18 March and 1 April.

Plans are not finalised but it is intended that each one of the three lunches will support a primary school in the Benefice i.e. Peppard Primary, Sonning Common Primary and Kidmore End Primary. Schools never have enough money for all the activities they wish to provide for the pupils. So we will be inviting each school to send a small group of children and a teacher to one of the lunches to explain a fundraising project at the school to which donations at the Lent lunch can contribute. More information nearer the time.

Sue Nickson