Shepton Beauchamp

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December 2007 The Christmas Story

The Christmas Story

Rev'd Geoff Wade Year after year we celebrate Christmas; we sing carols; we listen to the Christmas Story; we give and receive presents. But how often do we really think about the first Christmas and what it means? Here are three pointers to help you think.

  • There has been a lot in the newspapers and on the TV about poor people from the EU migrating to Britain; about their effect on our job market, economy, health-service, standards of living, etc. Mary and Joseph would fall into this category today; they were poor; they were forced to move from their home; their presence in Bethlehem was a drain on local resources and they were largely unwanted. When we get angry and annoyed at “foreigners invading our country” aren’t we also being angry with the Holy Family? Aren’t all these people refugees of one sort or another? How would we feel if we had to leave our homes and settle in a strange land, among people who by and large hated and mistreated us?
  • There are people in our society who are “outside the pale” – travellers and gypsies for example – people whom society wishes just weren’t there. The Shepherds were such people. They may have been the people who kept the flocks of sheep owned and used by the Temple in Jerusalem for sacrifices, and were therefore of great importance to the proper running of the national religion. Yet their way of life – because of their working conditions – excluded them from polite society; they were unclean and unwelcome because of their life style. However these were the first visitors to the new-born Christ-child. Kings and Priests, the Great and the Good were not invited to the manger; societies excluded and unclean were the first called to witness the Saviour’s entry into our world.
  • King Herod was the legal authority in the land, placed there the occupying Roman powers, but nonetheless he was the lawful government of the time. Yet his “death squads” roamed the area around Bethlehem murdering all male children in an attempt to find the infant Christ. In how many countries of the world, will this same action be taken ….. the “lawful government” murdering it’s citizens?

Have a safe and blessed Christmas.
Fr Geoff

Theives About

PLEASE: Keep an eye on our Church: Thieves throughout the country are making the most of the high prices of scrap metal by stealing it from Church roofs. If you see any workmen around the church please ring the Vicar or Church Wardens IMMEDIATELY (‘phone numbers inside the front cover of the Web) to check; or ring the Police on 999. There are no works scheduled to be done on our church in December or January.


From the Registers Baptism: 19th August 2007 Freya Marie Paul at Shepton Beauchamp

In a lighter Vein

MY LIVING WILL: Last night, my friend came to visit and we were talking and I said to her, 'I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine and fluids from a bottle. If that ever happens, just pull the plug.' She got up, unplugged my computer, and threw out my wine. (Sent in by Rob Allen)

AN EMAIL FROM GOD: One day God was looking down at earth and saw all of the rascally behaviour that was going on. So he called one of his angels and sent the angel to earth for a time.

When he returned, he told God, “Yes, it is bad on Earth; 95% are misbehaving and only 5% are not.”

God thought for a moment and said, “Maybe I had better send down a second angel to get another opinion.”

So God called another angel and sent him to earth for a time also. When this angel returned he went to God and said, “Yes, it's true. The earth is in decline; 95% are misbehaving, but 5% are being good.” God was not pleased.

So he decided to email the 5% who were good, because he wanted to encourage them, give them a little something to help them keep going.

Do you know what the email said? No? Okay, just wondering. I didn't get one either……..

(Sent in by the Vicar’s Mum!!!)

Friends of Manjushree

Friends of Manjushree Vidyapith school & orphanage (FMVSO)

Latest News from Di Website:

Di Gallagher enjoys a group hug

This time last month I was at Manjushree – rising at dawn for early morning walks with the little ones or for army style PT with the bigger children. With my son Rory and my old friend Tim, I spent 3 weeks living at the orphanage and working with the children.

We were fully integrated into the daily routines; teaching, play, sports and hobbies. The children and the teachers all welcomed Rory and I back as if we had never been away.

Our Manjushree family has grown; there are now 125 resident children and 36 day pupils; instead of the motley hand-me-downs they were wearing last year, all the children now wear smart red and grey uniform for classes. Last year’s ‘babies’ have grown in size & confidence; Nursery has a new batch of 4 & 5 year olds.

Buildings: Since my last visit in May 2006, there have been all sorts of exciting developments. It was thrilling to see the boys happily settled into their new dormitory and to know that the Friends of Manjushree have made this happen.

The boys now have the luxury of indoor bathroom facilities and the solar water heating system works very well when the sun shines. A further storey was being added to the dormitory block; this will provide badly needed accommodation for Lama Thupten and other staff. They have currently been sharing in small cramped rooms and Lama Thupten’s room doubles as his office and the school’s prayer room.

The outside toilets are also being rebuilt. FMVSO are funding this project. Thanks to Tibet Living Community (the US charity who funded the solar water heating) the old dining hall block is being replaced with a much larger, better built, two-storey structure. Downstairs there will be a new dining hall, kitchen, office and domestic staff quarters; upstairs the study hall will also be used for entertainments and cultural programmes. Foundations have been laid and project should be complete by March.

Education: Classroom space is still a problem. Nursery and Kindergarten have classes on the dormitory floor or outside. Class 1 are taught on an open veranda. FMVSO have pledged to contribute the £8,500 balance required to make the new education block a reality. This will provide, downstairs, a special room for Nursery and KG, plus a hobbies room. Upstairs will be a large library/study hall for seniors plus a smaller library for juniors. An Indian TV company has donated 6 computers and the seniors have computing, debating and presentations as extra curricular subjects.

There are now 2 children at University in Delhi. 4 more will be finishing High School in the next 18 months and FMVSO aim to assist with fees for academic or vocational further education.

General: A US charity concerned with world health is sending a medical team to Tawang this month. It is hoped that their mission will bring benefits to Manjushree – they may decide to fund the much-needed infirmary. FMVSO continues to send a regular contribution towards general costs; food, clothing, books etc.

Lama Thupten Phuntsok’s wonderful work with the deprived children of Tawang district received national recognition in April 2007, when the president of India bestowed on him one of the highest honours in the country, the prestigious Padma Shree Award, in recognition of the Lama’s distinguished service in the field of social work.

Lama Thupten distributing gifts

//Italic Text//

Lama Thupten & the Manjushree family join me in sending love and thanks to you all for your continued support.

Di Gallagher FMVSO Trustee

Life in the 1500’s

Some facts about the 1500s…

Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the upper crust.

England is old and small, and folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a bone-house, and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the graveyard shift) to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be saved by the bell or was considered a …dead ringer..

What Love means

Words from the mouth of babes

  • “Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss.” Emily - age 8
  • “Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.” Bobby - age 7 (Good one Bobby!)
  • “If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate.“ Nikka - age 6 (we need a few more Nikka's)
  • “Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it veryday.” Noelle - age 7
  • “Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.” Tommy - age 6
church/vicars_letters/december_2007.txt · Last modified: d/m/Y H:M (external edit)