St. Nicholas Church, Silton, Dorset


   St Nicholas Church
   Silton, Dorset
   SP8 5PR

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Page Updated
21-Aug-2017

 

Dear Friends,

 I suppose years ago somebody brought the Himalayan Balsam seeds to our shores.   Now it is rampant, and worthy souls are battling to stop it spreading ever more densely in our ditches and watercourses and streams, and choking our native species of marsh plants and flowers.   And I wonder whether the Spanish 'bluebell' was carried over from that country, now to be battling to take over our fragrant native bluebells?  It is from small cuttings, bulbs, or seeds that we are faced with their harvests.  It often strains credulity that such small beginnings can produce and become so widespread and causing either despair or giving much pleasure.

 Similarly, it is from a few words, uttered in anger or irritation, that can provoke a feud in a family or a community that can spread, even leading people to take sides.  There are also stories from the Civil War about villages being either Royalist – on the side of King Charles I - whilst neighbouring villages supporting Oliver Cromwell were Roundheads.  Loyalties that affected the history and development of those villages; some Royalist communities developed a 'high church' tradition of worship and ceremonial, and attract the description of being 'catholic’ – or Anglican; whilst others have been rather more austere and have been called 'low church' or Protestant.

Let none of us think that just a few words should make much difference; they do make a difference and can produce many unfortunate consequences. Just as a small act of thoughtfulness or a few kind words, can make a huge difference, giving to those involved a deep sense of well-being from those few words and small acts.   As we look forward to our Harvest Festival, let us remember that wise saying, 'what you sow, that shall you reap.' (Galatians 6:7).   Let us always try and sow good seed everywhere.

I have used the word 'remembrance'.  Since  31st July, we have been remembering the three months' Battle of Passchendaele – or the Third Battle of Ypres.  The casualty figures are disputed, but the conservative estimate is that 310,000 British were killed, and 260,000 Germans; making a total of 570,000 during those costly three months on the Ypres salient. Of those casualties, there are 55,000 names of those who have no known grave carved on the Menin Gate Memorial, and a further 35,000 carved on the Tyne Cot Memorial on that Ypres salient.  So 90,000 bodies of men of all ages, but so many only in their late teens and early twenties disappeared into the mud of that battle.  Today farmers work those rolling acres, and remains of the battle are still coming to the surface.   The soil there is sacred, containing, as it does, the remains of our brave forebears.   From the first soldier who fell on 31st July 1917, those tens of thousands followed.   That harvest of souls was sown in brave anger, and reaped in tears of loss and remembrance.

 We have much on which to reflect this coming harvest.  May the voices of many join as one as we come before our God, not only at Harvest Festival on 8th October, but also on Remembrance Sunday 12th November.   Let us remember that small things grow and lead to greater things – either for good or ill.

 God bless you.                                                                                                                    Bede Cooper

 

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