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Vicar's Letter

February 2018

Dear Friends & Neighbours,

February the 13th is an important date within the History of Wiltshire and is a point of focus for Wanborough in particular. It is the anniversary of the death of William Stanley. Resident, Magistrate and Governor of the County of Wiltshire, William left a substantial amount of money for the poor of the parish and requested that bread be distributed on or near the anniversary of his death. The children of Wanborough Primary School come and help to commemorate this anniversary each year. A tradition that has been running since 1746, the year after his death. It's this positive image of his memory that is carried in our hearts and minds year after year.

Our local Sainsbury’s bake a large number of 400g Bloomers which are distributed at the service, which is followed by tea and cake for our more senior citizens at the vicarage. The date and time of the service this year is Thursday the 22nd February at 1.30pm at St Andrew’s Church. Collected at 11.30 that morning the loaves are lovely and warm and add a lovely smell to the Church. As well as appealing to our senses this lovely piece of our history and tradition points toward the notion and spirit of community. People are blessed so that they can bless others and other people’s needs are an opportunity for us to share what we have.

With increased working hours, smaller family sizes and an increase in the numbers of people living on their own, the notion of community is very different today to even ten or twenty years ago. The amount of goodwill that is still able to exist in these times of increased financial hardship never ceases to amaze me. Goodwill is something that the artisans of accountancy can never manage to display on the bottom of any financial balance sheet, yet without it many an organisation would be dead in the water. For the Christian, whatever the circumstance, we do not have to rely entirely on our own wits or resources alone.

Philip Yancey in his book entitled ‘What’s So Amazing about Grace’ points out that grace (God’s unmerited blessing and favour) is the one thing that differentiates Christianity from every other faith. David did not tackle Goliath in his own strength, and countless tales of how close our nation came to defeat in the Second World War, not to mention the number of ‘God-incidents’ in our own lives highlight again and again where we have been cared for in circumstances much too large for us to deal with on our own.

God’s statement that He knew us and had plans for us, even before we were formed in the womb, along with many other promises, can provide us with the hope and the certainty that in the end all will be well, and all manner of thing will be well; however gloomy things might appear at a particular point in time. I say this as a guy who is now seeing two very different people in the woman I used to call Mum. Before me at times is the woman I have known all my life, then for a steadily increasing amount of time there’s the lady with Alzheimer’s Dementia. And at certain times she ain’t that nice! Never the less our calling is to love rather than judge, whoever it is we are facing in our day. As Julian of Norwich put it, and as mentioned earlier, in the end all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well. Experience teaches us that it's the memories of what some one has done well that seem to outlive the other's. Just like William Stanley.

With best wishes and prayers

Bill

If you have anything that you would like our village prayer group to pray for please telephone 790088 or
email :villageprayers@gmail.com