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October 2022, Newsletter Entry

As I write this, we are in unchartered waters nationally as we are currently

in mourning for the Queen. It is all very surreal. I want to thank all the bell

ringers who have rung bells following the strict London Bridge Protocol for

the death of the Monarch. The bells play such an important part in St

Leonard’s existence and having eight bells has made this time of mourning

extremely poignant. Michael Eastwood tolled the tenor bell on the night the

Queen passed away and the bells were half-muffled for the next day,

unmuffled for the proclamation of King Charles III on the Saturday, and

then half-muffled again to be rung for St Leonard’s commemoration service

for the Queen on the Sunday. A number of people came to this service led

by knowledge that faith played such an important part in our Late

Sovereign’s life. Attending a service in the local church together somehow

brought comfort. The church is a constant in a chaotic world, as indeed was

the Queen.

It was a moving service provided largely by the Church of England so that

every parish church could commemorate The Queen with the same words,

obviously St Leonard’s made a few additions, including the choir singing

John Rutter’s “Lord bless you and keep you”. The National Anthem finished

the emotional service - the new words will take a bit of getting used to, for

me at least. I thank everyone for joining us to make it such a memorable

and fitting end to the second Elizabethan era.

It seems appropriate that I move on next to the bell tolling for the burial of

Nora Pointer at St Leonard’s. Nora started ringing St Leonard’s bells in

1957 and was bell captain for many years. Nora was our last verger, and

she held the post for decades being particularly efficient at getting a church

full of people to do exactly as necessary – “All Stand” will never be said

quite the same at St Leonard’s, and her soprano voice from her seat at the

rear of the church will be ever present.

September brings our Harvest Festival and collecting non-perishable items

for Romsey Food Bank for those whose finances are starting to bite. We

celebrate together after the service and if it is sunny, we could even sit

outside on the new bench. St Leonard’s always decorates the church with

fruit and veg and flowers, some real and, quite possibly, some knitted, as

we celebrate everything to do with farming and nature. The

acknowledgement of the seasons in the church calendar is very much at the

forefront of our thoughts in this rural village

The season of autumn is upon us, and as we anticipate the approach of

winter (after the heat of summer do we expect a cold, cruel winter?) St

Leonard’s will be starting a new initiative with a “heat and eat” theme. We

would welcome donations of non-perishable items to make up food parcels

for anyone in this village who is going to have a tough time this winter as

the heating becomes more expensive and food prices climb, and some need

to make the decision to heat, or eat, each day. We will hopefully provide

food parcels for families with younger children, making sure that breakfast

is covered so that they can go to school fuelled to learn. And another parcel

for older people who just need a few extra meals. We hope that those who

genuinely need a little help will be able to venture into the church porch

subtly and collect a parcel at a time which suits them.

If anyone has any “bags for life” to contain the food parcels or nonperishable

food provisions that they would like to donate, then please just

leave them in the church porch and we will parcel them up regularly. We

hope that those in genuine need take advantage of this small assistance, so

please spread the word.

In the event that donations outstrip demand then we will donate the items

to Romsey Food Bank, so nothing will be wasted. It may be that there is no

need for a “heat and eat” project in Sherfield English, but we feel we would

like to support those that may need us in a practical way, so we are going

to try, and we can only wait and see, hope and pray.

Julia Noble. Churchwarden of St Leonard’s, Sherfield English

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