Every year it seems that I’m taken by surprise by the arrival of spring. Winter seems to stick around for a long time, and it never seems to be getting any warmer. All the same, the signs are there – the days slowly get longer, a few early flowers appear from below the soil, the sun can actually feel warm as long as there isn’t a piercing wind blowing. But one day, I can step outside and it is definitely Spring. It’s a mix of different things and there is no single reason why one particular day feels more spring-like. It’s just that everything suddenly fits together to make the beginning of Spring, and it is always at least a bit unexpected.
Writing this at the beginning of Lent, it can be hard to see all the way ahead to Easter. This year we quickly went from the Christmas season to Lent, with only ten days between Candlemas and Ash Wednesday. So it still feels a long way from the celebrations of Easter, with the focus still on preparation and little to show us what is to come.
But the signs are there if we look for them. We reach Mothering Sunday, with its flowers and cards, a day for our own mothers and those who mother us and others. That tells us we’re halfway through Lent. Then the vestments change to red, followed by Palm Sunday with its processions and the Passion Gospel, and then we’re into Holy Week. The readings we hear in church bring us from the temptation in the desert to the brink of Jesus’ arrest.
And yet, there is still a surprise at reaching Easter. Each year, it is new and unexpected, but still familiar and normal. You celebrate Easter and it’s like the world has changed. The Easter story is such a victory of love over hate, of light over darkness, that we cannot
fail to feel that a new world has begun, a new life has dawned for everyone.
We still have to wait for that day. But we look out for the signs, we enjoy the changes, and we know that our Lord will come to us.
In the meantime, enjoy your Lent – if that’s the right way to describe it!
With Christian love
From the Benefice Registers HOLY BAPTISM February 24 Joshua Satherley
HOLY MATRIMONY February 18 Bernard Terence Hopgood and
Wendy Kathryn Thacker
CHRISTIAN FUNERAL January 28 Colin Potter
28 Fiona Hawkins
February 6 Doreen Hackman
7 Iris Hill
12 Virgina Meredith
15 Rosemary Richardson
St John w St Anne Branch Report
12th February 2013 The annual general meeting of the branch was held on the 12th February at 2.00pm in the Church Hall.
There were 12 members present with apologies received from The Revd Chris Stone and 9 members. Margaret the Branch Leader opened the meeting with worship.
The meeting continued with the minutes from the last AGM being read, approved and signed.
The Treasurer gave her report which showed that after expenses the branch had £67.82 in the bank and £26.83 in cash at the end of the year. After discussion it was agreed that £40 would be given to the church towards heating and lighting in the hall, members would pay a branch sub of £20 a year to cover this and support the work of the Mothers’ Union both locally and overseas.
Elections: - After discussion it was agreed that the current officers, Margaret Hayes, Leader, Jenny Barton, Secretary, and Maureen Ray Treasurer, being willing, were elected ‘en bloc’ for the next Triennium. Thanks were given by Mary for the work undertaken by the officers during the year.
The meeting continued with the giving out of Branch Programmes, information and patterns to enable members to knit ‘Hats for Heroes’, details of an outing to be held in July, and The Women’s World Day of Prayer, which takes place in March. It was decided to hold a Bring and Buy for our Away From it All holidays at out June meeting.
The next meeting will be on 12th March, in church, when the Revd Chris Stone will lead a Lenten Meditation.
For our meeting on 9th April we will welcome Carol Jackson who will tell us about ‘The Girls’ Friendly Society’.
You are welcome to join us for any of our meetings.
For further information please contact me on 01633 891193
St. Anne’s 21st April 10.30am
St. Basil’s 22nd April 8 pm
St. John’s 25th April 7.30pm
St Basil’s Mothers’ Union The branch AGM took place at the end of January and all officers will remain the same for the coming year. Bev Knight secretary, Wendy Gibbs treasurer and Kay Rogers as branch leader.
The New Year meal was held at the Parc Golf Club and proved a great success once again.
Prayer is very much part of Mothers’ Union life and all meetings begin with prayers often taken from a booklet titled “United in Prayer and Worship”. We are also encouraged to pray for leaders and their branches throughout the world, many in very remote and impoverished areas where they work tirelessly to improve life for all. At Mary Sumner House, the headquarters of the Mothers’ Union, prayers are said daily at mid-day so that all can join in spending time praying for those less fortunate than ourselves, for the sick and bereaved, and for the work of the Mothers’ Union worldwide.
In Bassaleg branch we pray that the work of the Mothers’ union will continue and grow, and that the four million members worldwide will be continually joined by new fresh faces.
Jenny Barton, St John’s branch, wrote in last month’s magazine of the Mothers’ Day Campaign, the booklets with gift ideas for this project are available at the back of St Basil’s church. Please take one to browse through and consider using this gift idea this year.
Everyone is welcome to join us at our meetings which are as follows:-
Tuesday March 12th 2.30pm The Girls’ Friendly Society
Carole Jacobs. Tuesday March 26th 7.30pm Holy Week Service
St Anne’s church
Members wish everyone a blessed Easter, which seems to be approaching very quickly.
Easter Craft on Good Friday at St Anne's Church Hall
On Good Friday a children's craft event is held at St Anne's Church Hall for an hour before the "Time for God on Good Friday" service. We aim to have around 8 tables, each having an Easter themed craft and are looking for volunteers to run a table. Materials will be provided as will the activity, but if you have any ideas about what you would like to do, they would be most welcome.
If you think you can help, or for more information please contact
Carole Loftus - 662973
or Claire Cowper - 895222.
The arms of the past two Popes – John Paul II (left) and Benedict XVI (right)
I was as surprised as everyone else (except, it seems, Rowan Williams) when Pope Benedict announced his resignation in February. I had been brought up to believe that Popes never resigned – who was to think that the laws allowing it had been put in place 700 years ago?
The Pope holds a very central position in the Catholic Church and in the hearts of the Catholic laity. It can’t be compared to the role of the Archbishop of Canterbury: perhaps it’s more like the place of the Queen, the person on whom the system rests and who attracts great affection. The loss of a Pope is a time of mourning and of emptiness. So having a Pope resign is more like an abdication – a shock to the system, even a challenge to it.
As a Catholic child, I was used to seeing the pope as a remote figure, treated with great ceremonial and the very heart of the Catholic Church. I remember clearly my parents telling us of the death of Pope Paul VI, and then the shock of John Paul I dying after only a few weeks in office. The election of a Polish Pope – the first non-Italian for over 450 years – meant a huge change to the face of the papacy, and I remember crowding into Pontcanna Fields in Cardiff when John Paul II visited Wales.
By the time his successor was chosen, I was an Anglican, and, like many, was concerned that Joseph Ratzinger, the strictest of John Paul’s lieutenants, was elected as Pope. As Cardinal, he was the author of the encyclical which described Anglican and other Protestant groups as ‘ecclesial communities’, not churches, and his reputation for orthodoxy suggested a very strict papacy.
But Pope Benedict did not live up (or down) to these expectations. He made moves towards the traditionalists, reinstating the old Latin Mass and reviving some of the papacy’s more unusual vestments. Nothing has changed on the role of women or clerical marriage. Yet he has been open to discussion with other faith leaders, developing a good relationship with Rowan Williams for example, and he has not closed down debate in most cases within the Catholic church (there are, as always, exceptions). His own visit to Britain drew both crowds and positive reaction, even in this increasingly secular and suspicious country. Many in the church who disagreed with his approach still held him in affection.
The last time a Pope resigned, he was one of three claimants to the throne of Peter. This time, Benedict leaves a church able to choose a successor from a pool of cardinals mostly in his (and John Paul’s) image. The lasting change may be in the way that he left the papacy, more than how he acted as Pope: it need no longer be a post for life, and others may follow Benedict’s example in the future.
The next Pope will lead a Catholic Church which still faces the same problems that afflicted Benedict, and will face an ever-changing world with the unchanging message of life in Christ. Whoever he is, we will wish him well.
Holy Week and Easter 24th-31st March 2013 Palm Sunday
8.30am Blessing of Palms & Holy Eucharist at St. Basil’s
9.30am Blessing of Palms & Holy Eucharist at St. Anne’s
10.00am Blessing of Palms & Holy Eucharist at St. Basil’s
10.45am Blessing of Palms & Holy Eucharist at John’s
6.30pm Evening Worship at St. John’s
Monday in Holy Week
7.30pm Holy Eucharist and Address at St. John’s
Tuesday in Holy Week
11am Chrism Eucharist at St. Woolos Cathedral
7.30pm Holy Eucharist and Address at St. Anne’s
Wednesday in Holy Week
7.30pm Holy Eucharist and Address at St. John’s
7.30pm Celebration of the Lord’s Supper, Stripping of the Altar and Watch until 9am at St. Basil’s
10.30am Craft Party at St. Anne’s Hall
11.30am Time for God at St. Anne’s
2.00pm Celebration of the Cross at St. Basil’s
7.30pm Evening Prayer at St. John’s
8.00pm The Easter Vigil
Easter Day –
The Day of Resurrection
8.30am Holy Eucharist at St. Basil’s
9.30am Holy Eucharist at St. Anne’s
10am Holy Eucharist at St. Basil’s
10.45am Holy Eucharist at St. John’s
11.30am Time for God at St. Anne’s
You will be delighted to know that I am already making plans for Christian Aid Week!! This year it runs from Sunday, 12th May to Saturday, 18th May inclusive. Please do not plan to be away during this important time! Lat year, nationwide, Christian Aid Week raised £12,500,000, of which £9,000,000 was a direct result of the door-to-door collection, so it is a major part of Christian Aid’s fundraising. A lot of the money donated via the door-to-door collection will be from people who otherwise may well not have given, had they not had an envelope through the door, and a smiling person knocking on the door a couple of days later to collect it. It really is important to give everyone the opportunity to give, if they so wish, and to make it easy for them to do so. I’m sure a lot of you, like me, have, at some time or other, intended to give to an appeal, and then never quite got around to doing so, so you can appreciate why I am passionate about trying to cover as many roads as possible. Last year we raised £3,429.74, a really worthwhile sum, and I am hoping that we can do even better this year. Please, I urge you, do think about volunteering to be a collector; if you have not done it before, talk to someone who has, or have a word with me; it really isn’t as daunting as you might imagine, and I will give you all the support you need. You will find that the majority of households will give something, and for those that don’t, it is quite liberating to be
able to still smile, say “Thankyou”, and walk away. Perhaps as a start you would like to do it with a friend, then you can encourage one another. We have swathes of the Benefice that do not get covered, and almost all of Afon Village is up for grabs! Lists will appear in all three churches in April, but start thinking about it now, so that when the lists go up you are ready to sign up. Don’t leave it too late if you have set your heart on a particular road, in case somebody else gets there first! There are copies of the last issue of Christian News in all three churches; do take one, and read it, to see how Christian Aid is helping to transform lives by working with local Partners who know and understand the particular problems the people of that area have. It really is humbling when you compare our lifestyles with those of some of our brothers and sisters in undeveloped countries. Christian Aid is also trying to tackle the root causes of poverty, by campaigning for fairer trade laws, and lobbying governments about Climate Change. Pat Nicholls
This is one of the nicest e-mails I have seen and is so true:
I dreamt that I went to Heaven and an angel was showing me around. We walked side-by-side inside a large workroom filled with angels. My angel guide stopped in front of the first section and said, ' This is the Receiving Section. Here, all petitions to God said in prayer are received.'
I looked around in this area, and it was terribly busy with so many angels sorting out petitions written on voluminous paper sheets and scraps from people all over the world.
Then we moved on down a long corridor until we reached the second section.
The angel then said to me, ' This is the Packaging and Delivery Section. Here, the graces and blessings the people asked for are processed and delivered to the living persons who asked for them.' I noticed again how busy it was there. There were many angels working hard at that station, since so many blessings had been requested and were being packaged for delivery to Earth.
Finally at the farthest end of the long corridor we stopped at the door of a very small station. To my great surprise, only one angel was seated there, idly doing nothing. 'This is the Acknowledgment Section' my angel friend quietly admitted to me. He seemed embarrassed ' How is it that there is no work going on here? ' I asked.
'So sad, ' the angel sighed. 'After people receive the blessings that they asked for, very few send back acknowledgments.'
'How does one acknowledge God's blessings?' I asked...
'Simple' the angel answered. Just say, ' Thank you, Lord.'
'What blessings should they acknowledge? ' I asked.
'If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep you are richer than 75% of this world. If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish, you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy. '
'And if you get this on your own computer, you are part of the 1% in the world who has that opportunity. '
'If you woke up this morning with more health than illness ... You are more blessed than the many who will not even survive this day. '
'If you have never experienced the fear in battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation ... You are ahead of 700 million people in the world. '
'If you can attend a church without the fear of harassment, arrest, torture or death you are envied by, and more blessed than, three billion people in the world. '
'If your parents are still alive and still married ..you are very rare.'
'If you can hold your head up and smile, you are not the norm, you're unique to all those in doubt and despair'
Ok, what now? How can I start?
If you can read this message, you just received a double blessing in that someone was thinking of you as very special and you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world who cannot read at all.
Have a good day, count your blessings, and if you care to, pass this along to remind everyone else how blessed we all are
ATTN: Acknowledge Dept. 'Thank you Lord, for giving me the ability to share this message and for giving me so many wonderful people with whom to share it. '
If you have read this far, and are thankful for all that you have been blessed with, how can you not send it on? I thank God for everything, especially all my family and friends!!
St. John’s Church Hall The hall is available for hire at a cost of £7.50 per hour.
The large hall is suitable for
Kitchen facilities are included with the cost.
For bookings please contact Rose Pugh – 01633 897962 who is always willing to talk through the availability of the Hall for hire.
SIGHTSAVERS INTERNATIONAL This report would have been in last month’s magazine, had I not been snowed up in the ‘Wilds of Hampshire’ whilst staying with my daughter. Country lanes do not get cleared of snow and ice, therefore, I missed Geoff’s dead line.
In December I sent off a cheque for £150 making a total of £650 for the year plus an anonymous donation of £100.
I really am most grateful to all who continue to save coppers and small change, also the generous people who from time to time give me donations of £10 or £20. Keep those coppers rolling. Every penny really does count in helping to combat so many eye problems in the Third World.
COFFEE MORNING and CAKE STALL St. John’s Church Hall
Saturday 9th March
10.30am to 11.45 am
In aid of Church Hall funds
St. John’s Church Hall
MODERN SEQUENCE DANCING
Friday Nights 8.00 pm to 10.00pm
Many thanks to all who have contributed towards this
month’s magazine. Strangely enough I have received two contributions this month concerning windows in two of our churches. The first, from Muriel Percival, describes the East Window in St. John’s, and the second, extracted from a web site drawn to my notice by Hugh Clatworthy, relates to a memorial window in St. Basil’s.
Could you please ensure that all contributions for the April edition of Basilican reach me by 24th March.
Thank you Geoff Nicholls
We have a lovely stained glass window situated just behind the altar in St. John’s Church. It depicts the resurrection of the Risen Lord, The Redeemer.
Kneeling at the foot of Jesus is Mary Magdalene, clad in a red garment. On her left side is a border of lilies, long considered to be symbols of purity.
Sitting near Jesus are two angels in reflective repose. There seems to be such an air of calm on their faces.
For quite a long time I was unable to see everything clearly, but after medical treatment, was able to see the window in a new light.
There are more beautiful windows in the church, but this particular one has something special for the onlooker.
Lt Col Charles Joseph Wilkie There is a memorial window in St Basil's Church dedicated to the memory of the Officers and men of the 17th battalion of The Welsh Regiment who died during the First World War.
Ray Westlake's book; First World War Graves and Memorials in Gwent; Vol 1; describes in detail, St Basil's Church memorials. They are dedicated to the fallen of both world wars but, in particular, to the fallen of the 17th (Service) Battalion The Welsh Regiment, The First Glamorgan Bantams. All of the fallen of the 17th Welsh are listed, on brass tablets, adjacent to the stained glass window dedicated to Lt Col Charles Joseph Wilkie, their Commanding Officer, who lived in Rogerstone prior to the War.
Lieutenant Colonel Wilkie was in command of the 17th Battalion The Welsh Regiment when it departed for France on 2nd June 1916 until his untimely death on 18th October 1916, at the age of 47 years.
Unfortunately, Lt Col Wilkie's Service Record appears to have either disappeared from or be unavailable at the Public Records Office, Kew.
Charles Wilkie was born in Melbourne, Australia on 8th January 1869. He was the only son of Capt Joseph Wilkie, The Victoria Mounted Rifles, of Melbourne. His mother was Frances Elizabeth, widow of Capt Joseph Wilkie and later widow of George B. Robathan MRCS of Risca, Monmouthshire and of Radyr.
He married Dora, only child of the late Lewis George, of Derw-allt, Rogerstone
Charles Wilkie was educated in Brighton and at Owen's College.
He was gazetted 2nd Lieutenant, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, from the Militia, on 9th April 1892 and was promoted to Lieutenant on 18th July 1893. He became Captain on 23rd Oct 1899.
During 1897/98 the 2nd Battalion, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry was stationed at Tirah on the North West Frontier of India and Lieut Wilkie served with the Tirah Expeditionary Force. He received a medal with two clasps.
At various times he was Commandant, of a Convalescent Depot, and of a Discharge Depot, also Station Staff Officer and acting Quartermaster of his battalion for two years; he was subsequently offered an appointment as A.D.C. by General Fitzgerald, on the Chitral Campaign, but his own Commanding Officer would not permit him to accept it, as he desired all his own officers to be with the battalion.
He was specially commended by the Commander-in-Chief for work in connection with N.C.O. instruction; he was specially selected by his Commanding Officer for command of A Company, which was considered to be in an unsatisfactory condition of efficiency. This was over the heads of all the senior subalterns, and the following year 'A' company took first place in musketry.
In 1899 he was invalided with malaria and dysentery. As a consequence he was unable to pass the medical board on the mobilization of the 1st Battn., and was not allowed to go to South Africa. He was sent to Ireland in command of details, Limerick and Buttevant and placed in command of mixed troops at Buttevant in 1900 and was in command of the station for eight months. He organized the 6th Provisional Battn. (Regulars) at Fermoy in 1901; he was appointed Battn. Adjutant with a staff of three assistant adjutants and 30 orderly clerks and assistants.
During the period 1899-1902 he personally trained over 5,000 young officers and recruits, despatching them as drafts directly to the front in South Africa. He was Brigade Major in the Cork district for the manoeuvres in 1901. The following year he was appointed Adjutant to the South Middlesex Volunteer Battn and to the 26th Middlesex (Cyclist) Battn. London.
He retired from the Army 8th May,1907 and joined the Reserve of Officers. He was appointed Brigade-Major The South Wales Infantry Brigade in 1908, and in 1909 took over the secretarial duties of the Glamorgan Territorial Force Association, during which time he represented Wales on most committees connected with the organization of the T.F. and National Reserves, including those of the W.O. and T.F. Council of Associations. He was also deputy for Wales on Lord Esher's Territorial Tournament Committee; he took part in carrying out the mobilization in Aug. and Sept. 1914; he was appointed Major 9th Battn. The Welsh Regt. 8th October 1914 and promoted Lieut.-Col. Commanding 17th Battn. on 26th Nov. He then served with the Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders from Mayand was killed in action 18th Oct.1916.
An officer who served under him wrote;
"Colonel Wilkie was a man amongst men and a soldier amongst soldiers. His attributes as a man were only equalled by his exceptional and far-reaching capabilities as a soldier. In the field he was a leader with a knowledge and personality which created absolute faith and trustfulness, and in the orderly room his administration was just exemplary. I had the honour and privilege of serving under him as an officer from Dec. 1914, until June 1916. During the time I learned his character as a man and his qualities as a soldier. Both were the finest I have known, and during that period I heard no word of complaint or reproach against him from any rank. The officers, non-commissioned officers and men of the Welsh Regiment knew him first as a soldier, and secondly as a gentleman, and as such they loved him as only soldiers know how to love. They would have followed him through anything, and would have rejoiced to have had the chance to do so. They knew that no injustice would be done to them provided Colonel Wilkie had a say in the matter. His loss will be felt amongst all ranks so deeply and so terribly that it is impossible for mere words to describe it."