November 2018

What a beautiful time of the year this is; as I write, the trees are dressed in their dazzling Autumnal colours: a kaleidoscope of rusty reds, oranges, golds, yellows, greens and browns. The season encourages a crisp walk, and the prospect of settling down in front of a cosy fire at the end of the day.

November is, of course, the month of Remembrance. Over the last four years we have marked the anniversaries of important Great War battles, among them the Somme Offensive, Passchendaele and Ypres. It has been a time of reflection, of looking back with sadness and regret at the immense loss of human life; a determination that the sacrifice of so many would not be in vain, and a resolve to face the future hopefully and in the pursuance of peace and justice. The present conflicts in Syria, Sudan, and Yemen remind us that there is still much to do.

This year the centenary of Armistice Day is Remembrance Sunday, so the marking of the Two Minutes Silence on 11th November converge. There will be a service at the Abbey Church at 10am, followed by the Act of Remembrance at the War Memorial. The list of the fallen will be read out, including those associated with Exbury. Our preacher will be the Revd Robin L Nash SSC, formerly vicar of the parishes of St Luke's and St Alban's, Bournemouth. We shall be joined by the 3rd New Forest East Dibden Scouts, and Hythe and Beaulieu District Guides.

As well as the usual 8.00am service at Buckler's Hard, at 3pm, there will be Evensong and Act of Remembrance at East Boldre. The preacher will be the Revd Lynda Mead.

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Mr Philip Baxter BA LGSM ACertCM MBIM as Director of Music at the Abbey Church. Philip is an accredited Royal School of Church Music course director, and holds the Archbishop's qualification in Church Music, in choir training. Formerly, he was Diocesan Deputy Director of Education for Salisbury, a voluntary organist for the cathedral, and Vicar Choral for the Precentor. A Visiting Scholar at Sarum College, Philip has lectured on the “Sarum Use”; and has almost completed his second publication, “Sarum Chant – Plainsong of the English Church”. There is the possibility that Philip will be in post before the end of the year.

We have been most fortunate that Robin Phillipshas been at the helm since Peter Hackston's departure, taking choir practices, as well as giving his distinctive strong bass lead from the choir stalls. We are most grateful to Robin for graciously filling the gap, to the choir, and Andrew our organist, for their faithfulness and commitment. Please pray for Philip as he prepares to take up this important post, and for all our musicians as we look with confidence to the future.

On Saturday 1st December we shall be going to Salisbury Cathedral for their Advent service - “Darkness to Light”. Thus begins our annual celebration of the good news of the coming of God's Kingdom in the person of Jesus his Son. Traditionally, the service begins in darkness, symbolising the dominion of darkness from which we have been delivered through Jesus, the Light of the World. But this is only the eve of Advent Sunday: Christmas Day is still far off. During the winter weeks of Advent we reflect on God's promise of salvation, watching and waiting for its fulfilment.

I hope you will able to join this benefice outing and experience what is a most moving act of worship. A coach will leave Beaulieu at 4.30pm. Further details may be obtained from John and Kathy Hughes on either of the following: 02380 207433, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Congratulations to Lucy and Michael Pelham who celebrated their wedding anniversary during October.

With my love and prayers.