During this past week we have marked the Christian feast of All Saints’ and the solemnity of All Souls’. I have been reflecting on how easy it is for us to be partial and selective where God is generous and inclusive, and especially of how, when we think of great saints and holy souls, we tend immediately to think of already prominent people: the writers and teachers of the Church, the priests and prophets, the big historical figures, people who already have a bit of the spotlight, people whom the world also admires.
And also, as is perhaps fitting in a season of remembrance, we tend to restrict “All Saints’” to the departed, although, in fact, they have their own day in “All Souls’”. But what about the living? What about the ordinary saints, the ones we know? What of the saints we overlook, quietly toiling in their own modest sphere, secretly serving others?
Malcolm Guite develops this thought in his sonnet about the ones we overlook, but whom God knows and loves intimately. It’s called “A Last Beatitude”:
And blessèd are the ones we overlook;
The faithful servers on the coffee rota,
The ones who hold no candle, bell or book
But keep the books and tally up the quota,
The gentle souls who come to “do the flowers”,
The quiet ones who organise the fête,
Church sitters who give up their weekday hours,
Doorkeepers who may open heaven’s gate.
God knows the depths that often go unspoken of
Amongst the shy, the quiet, and the kind,
Or the slow healing of a heart long broken
Placing each flower so, for a year’s mind.
Invisible on earth, without a voice,
In heaven their angels glory and rejoice.
And so we look forward towards Remembrance. On November 14th, Remembrance Sunday, we shall make use of the pandemic reality that it is two years since we marked Remembrance Sunday, other than online, and recognise our changed society by doing things just a little differently. As the numbers of virus cases increase again, it is wisest to do as many things as possible outdoors, where the air flows freely between us. Therefore, at St Peter’s, although we shall gather earlier than usual, at 9.30 am, for a Remembrance Sunday Eucharist in church, once that is over we shall be led by our choir in procession to the War Memorial in the Lower Gardens, where we shall join with, probably, two to three thousand people from all over the conurbation in the formal Act of Remembrance, which, by local tradition, the Team Rector of Bournemouth Town Centre leads at 11am.
This visibly demonstrates our position of service to the centre of our town. Our choir will be clearly visible, standing at the top of the steps, behind the bugler, and it will be a significant visible witness for as many as possible of our Church community to also be gathered round.
At the 9.30am Eucharist in church, the preacher will be our friend Dr Rob Sawdy, due to be made Deacon next Petertide (end of June 2022). Amongst his many accomplishments, Rob is a serving Colonel in the TA and he has battlefield experience as a medic, quite recently, in Afghanistan. I am delighted, therefore, that Rob has very kindly agreed to come back to preach to us on Remembrance Sunday. Also, if you would like your loved ones who have died remembered in the intercessions in church on 14th November, please, add their names to a list at the back of church or send them to Simon Cruwys who will kindly be leading intercessions that day.
We shall particularly hold in our prayers Elizabeth, our Queen, as she stands at the Cenotaph in this year when her husband of very many years, HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, has died.
Services throughout BTCP this weekend:
7th November, services will be as follows:
8am Communion St Peter’s.
10am Communion: St Peter’s. I shall preside and our LLM, Mrs Lucinda Terry, will preach.
10am Communion: St Augustin’s: The Rev’d Steve Parselle.
10.45 am Communion: St Stephen’s: The Rev’d David Lund.
4pm Choral Evensong: St Peter’s.
Next Sunday, 14th November, services are:
8am Communion: St Peter’s.
9.30 am Communion: St Peter’s: I shall preside and Dr Rob Sawdy will preach. We shall go straight to the War Memorial in the Lower Gardens to join in the Act of Remembrance after receiving communion.
10am Communion: St Augustin’s: The Rev’d Dr Chris Steed.
10.45am Communion: St Stephen’s: The Rev’d John Staples.
4pm Choral Evensong: St Peter’s.
Amongst others, your prayers are asked for those who are approaching the end of their lives: particularly for Trevor Lambe.
Might we politely ask you to be just a little more conscious than we have been recently of the desirability of making and keeping church as a safe space? Please, let us refrain from leaning over others and from hugging them? Masks can be worn at worship in all three churches – although it is no longer a legal requirement. Sanitising remains a safe practice. If you don’t want to be next to folk who are singing robustly, just quietly and politely move away. Our churches are large enough to accommodate people with a variety of views and vulnerabilities.
Communion will continue to be offered in one kind (bread only, dipped lightly into the consecrated wine) to those who queue, one by one, distanced, in the main aisle.
Let me know, please, if you can help with teaching in Sunday School – it is an urgent and sharp need, to enable us to care properly for the many children who are brought to our churches.
Keep safe and well,
The Rev’d Dr Ian A. Terry
DTh, PhD, MA, FRSA
Visiting Research Fellow: Winchester University
Team Rector: Bournemouth Town Centre
Chair: Local Governing Body: Bournemouth Collegiate School
18 Wimborne Road, Bournemouth, Dorset BH2 6NT