News from Water Stratford



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The Christmas season was launched here at the beginning of December, with a pre-Christmas village social evening which also raised funds for the Old School Hall. The hall was decorated in a very festive way by Dawn and Miles, with lots of tinsel and twinkling lights. It was lovely to see a number of villagers at the start of the festive season. A few short weeks later, villagers made their way to our annual Carol Service. Lanterns lighting the path through the churchyard provided a traditional atmosphere from the start. The church itself looked wonderful, with its fine, beautifully decorated Christmas tree, tall candle-holders at the end of each pew, and magnificent arrangements by our talented flower ladies. Grateful thanks to Chris H, the tree decorators, flower arrangers, and, not to be forgotten, those who cleaned and tidied the church ready for the service and who cleared up afterwards. Thanks too, of course, to Sara D, who accompanied our singing on the keyboard which has now been donated to us by Buckingham Evangelical Church – we are so grateful to them for this generous gift. Thanks also to readers, candle-lighters, and everyone who came and joined in. Not least, thanks to Guy for organising the event and providing very welcome mulled wine, and to Revd Paula for preparing and leading a reflective yet joyous service.


Only three days after this, we were fortunate to host the Benefice Family Communion service on Christmas morning, when it was lovely to welcome people from the six villages of our group of parishes to fill the church and create a suitably festive atmosphere. Thanks to Chris and Paula for organising this; we hope they were able to relax afterwards at last. But not for long: the Church's Christmas season (in contrast to the commercial one) ends with Candlemas on 2nd February. We observed 'Long Christmas' (as did our late Queen, who liked decorations at Sandringham left up until Candlemas): Christmas decorations remained in our church until after the evening Candlemas service on 4th February. We enjoyed one last look at the tree, pew candles, flowers and crib; the crib was carefully dismantled towards the end of the service and we took home candles which had been blessed in accordance with tradition. Revd Paula's talk, a pot of snowdrops and a Charles Causley poem reminded us that we are now moving towards spring, Lent and Easter.


We are so lucky to have people who help throughout the year; sincere thanks to Susan and her team, to Di and hers, and to everyone else who helps in any way (including by much-needed contributions to funds) to keep our church, churchyard and Old School welcoming and alive for everyone to use.

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