Sunday Services – 7th May

Dear all

On Saturday morning I was up at 4am and driving to the Army base at Okehampton to see my son, Jim, start the annual Army Ten Tors event.  It was nearly 30 years ago that I was in his shoes (or boots!) and it was with a profound sense of deja vu that, as I arrived at the Camp as dawn was breaking, I heard the strains of Tina Turner (Simply the Best) blasting out over the Camp tannoy.  It was the same music that was played all those years ago!  2332 teenagers were readying themselves for the biggest challenge of their lives – two days of unsupported walking over between 35 and 55 miles on some of the most difficult terrain in this country .  I caught up with Jim in amongst the sea of tents and found him having breakfast with his teammates.  As a parent you want to jump in and get involved – have you got this; have you checked that?  But they knew what they were doing and by 6:30am, along with everyone else, the great mass of youngsters and adult entourage were walking to the start line below the looming Tors.
As if the atmosphere wasn’t charged enough, just short of the start line two large Merlin helicopters were firing up – the engine notes and rotors building to a screaming crescendo.  They will be the eyes in the sky for the weekend and I said to Jim’s team that we didn’t want to see anyone needing a lift!  At 6:55am, with all the teams crowded on the hillside, and us mere observers some distance away overlooking the start, Colonel Gary McDade addressed ‘his troops’.  It was a motivational speech par-excellence, but the bit that stood out for me was when he said something like, ‘when the pain starts, and it feels like it is easier to stop than carry on – remember that the pain is not forever and will end when you cross that finish line tomorrow and it turns into joy’.  Then followed the Ten Tors prayer and, with true military timing, at 0659:50 a count down started and, at the dot of 0700, two canon boomed rolling thunder and smoke down the valley.  2332 teenagers invaded the hills and in a few short minutes had all but disappeared into the mist and wilderness.
Over the next couple of days we were all glued to the Ten Tors website as it provided timing checks as the teams passed through the mandatory check points on their various routes.  I’m not sure if I have ever felt so nervous!  Despite a number of challenges to overcome late on Saturday which had slowed them down, they persevered and reached their hoped for over night destination at 8pm, which set them up beautifully for Sunday morning.  Indeed – they managed to finish at lunch time on Sunday – which meant yours truly was sneakily glimpsing updates in the hymns during the Benefice service!
It was not possible for me to be at the finish in time, but Florence was there – and she was tasked by Jim’s school to meet them as they approached the finish and give them a flag to carry across the line.  That also meant she got some amazing photos and the look of pride, achievement, and joy, on Jim’s face is truly wonderful.
Also on Sunday we celebrated together as a Benefice in Tatworth, exploring another journey – that of the disciples on the road to Emmaus.  It too was a journey that was on difficult terrain; came with challenges on the way; and culminated in overwhelming joy.  It is in many ways an echo of our faith lives, a journey of life where we encounter the unexpected and challenging; where sometimes there are easy steps but often they are difficult.  We carry so much, perhaps not always necessarily, but when we perservere there is such joy in the discoveries made.
Here is the Ten Tors prayer that perhaps may also speak to you today:
O God who has made the Earth of great beauty,and who has given us the Spirit of Adventure,we thank you for the beauty of the world,for the courage and vigour of young people,for the companionship and for the opportunityto enjoy all these gifts.We pray that you will keep them safe on this great ventureand grant that they may meet each challengeand difficulty with unselfish courage and so find thetrue spirit of comradeship as shown to us byJesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen
The Coronation of King Charles III is on Saturday 6th May.  There are a number of community events happening over the long weekend in the various parishes, so please check locally about what is happening in and around your area!
As a Benefice we will be celebrating the Coronation with a special commemorative service at 6:30pm in St Stephen’s, Winsham on Sunday 7th May, followed by celebratory drinks and cake.  There will also be an early 8am service of Holy Communion (BCP) that day at Forde Abbey.  We have kept the centre of the day clear so that we do not clash with the various community events and lunches that are happening that day.
Here is a link to the liturgy that will be used at the Coronation itself (11am 6th May) that you may like to follow at home!  23-24132 Coronation Liturgy Commentary_02 May.pdf (
BIBLE STUDY EVENINGS – Easter to Pentecost, Thursdays from 27 April to 25 May
I will be hosting a series of Bible Study evenings here at the Vicarage between Easter and Pentecost.  ALL WELCOME.  We will be looking at passages of scripture from Luke 24:13-end; Acts 1; Acts 2.
Last week we looked at the Road to Emmaus.  This week (tonight) we are looking at Luke 24:36-49.
7:30pm at The Vicarage, 3 Home Farm, Tatworth, on Thursdays 4 May, 11 May, 18 May, 25 May.
The Vicarage is at 3 Home Farm, Tatworth, TA20 2SH.  To find us it is by far the easiest to park at St John’s church, cross the road and walk down School Lane (road opposite the church) about 50metres – Home Farm is the driveway on the left.
Wild Church is back on Saturday 13th May at 3pm outside St John’s.  ALL WELCOME!  If you think you may be able to help at all with this, in any capacity, then please do get in touch with either myself or Rev Michelle.  This has been a real success and we would really like to expand the team so that it is even more sustainable going forwards!
It was wonderful to welcome the September Singers at Winsham last week who sang a lovely collection of songs during the coffee morning.  Thank you to all of you!
For a further musical feast, The Yorkshire Mixtures are performing in aid of the Ukraine Nightingale Charity in St Mary’s Church, Chard, at 7pm on 16th May.  Billed as ‘from Mozart to Mama Mia’, tickets are £12 and available from Dave Bostock Smith.
Whitehouse Farm Cherries (Knowle St Giles) have written to me with the following:
‘It’s that time of the year again when we’re inviting everyone to enjoy a walk around our Cherry Orchard during the peak of the Blossom Season in aid of Cricket Malherbie Church. These walks will be unaccompanied, come & go as you please, between 10 am to 5 pm during the blossom period while observing the orchard rules’
The 27th – 29th May sees the return of the Bienniel Chaffcombe Flower Festival.  There is a full programme of events across the 3 days at various venues in the village.
Please hold in your prayers all you know who are struggling in any way, in body, mind or spirit.  We are asked to pray by name for:
Dave Boyland; Terri Boyland; Sheila Clement; Wendy Cotton; Jan Knott; Mary Marsh; Tony Taylor; Margaret Bandy; Dorothy White, Di Nicholls, Hester Down, Stella Hutchison; Oskar Lee; Margaret Shields; Andrew de Pury; Frank Long; Cyril Larcombe; Valerie Palmer, Ron Bone; Bob Stacey, Lynn Ranson, Keith Legge.
We remember all those whom we love but see no longer; particularly at this time: Joan Hawker (funeral held on 27th April), Jean Dodd (funeral held on 2 May), John Scrannage (funeral in St John’s on 4 May); Ken Johnson (funeral in St John’s on 9 May); Tony Meech (funeral in St Stephen’s on 11 May); Joan England (funeral in St John’s on 5 May), Jackie Scott (funeral in St John’s on 17th May); and Nan Austin, funeral details to be confirmed.
We also pray in celebration for new births at this time, and also those celebrating marriage.  Particularly Gemma and Matthew Baker, married in St John’s last Saturday.
Finally, here is a prayer for King Charles III on his Coronation:
Almighty God, the fountain of all goodness,bless our Sovereign Lord, King Charles III,and all who are in authority under him;that they may order all thingsin wisdom and equity, righteousness and peace,to the honour of your name,and the good of your Church and people;through Jesus Christ our Lord.Amen
The Reverend Philip Butcher
Rector – Two Shires Benefice (Tatworth, Thorncombe, Winsham, Chaffcombe & Cricket Malherbie)
The Vicarage
3 Home Farm
TA20 2SH
01460 221286
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