NEWS FROM THE PARISHES

St. Margaret’s Parish and Church are fortunate in that, for the moment, their church is in good order, and their congregation stable. While the congregation at St. Giles is stable, indeed, growing slowly, the same cannot be said for its structure! We have reported in the last year or so, the gradual deterioration of the fabric of St. Giles, caused by subsidence on the north side. It is good to report, therefore, that the church’s Surveyors and Structural Engineer will meet with the Diocesan Officers who attend to church fabric at the end of January. Indeed by the time this paper has been distributed the meeting will have taken place.

We hope that the Structural Engineer will make recommendations for work to stabilize the structure, and repair the damage caused by the subsidence. It is unlikely that this will be cost-free!!! If the money required to make the Chapel and North Aisle stable and safe is excessively great (and we were warned it could be in the order of half a million pounds two years ago), that money will have to be raised before work can start.

People may wonder why we have not sent round the begging bowl already. The problem with that is, we have no idea just how much we have to raise, and it would be wrong to get people to give, without knowing what it is for. St. Giles is blessed with some invested resources (due to the generosity of past benefactors), and there are various grant-awarding bodies who we will approach. The Church of England, as such, does not fund church repairs, and nor does the Government, although there is the Heritage Lottery Fund (and that is by no means guaranteed). When we have some idea of what needs to be done, and what it will cost, we will get out the begging bowl.

We hope that local people will be able to help, so far as their means allow. After all, it is the local church, where people hope to get married, have their children baptised (not necessarily in that order), and in due course be buried. We hope that it will be here for many more years to come, to carry on that work.

Also at the end of January we will know who has applied for the post of Vicar of the two Parishes. Interviews have been scheduled for the end of February, and God willing, we will be able to make a successful appointment.

The Churchwardens

PRIMARY SCHOOL PUPILS SHOW THEIR COMPASSION FOR THE HOMELESS

On a cold late November night, small groups of children aged 7-11 could be seen walking in pyjamas and dressing gowns in the dark towards St Giles’ Church in the little village of South Mimms, clasping an assortment of teddies and blankets. Over 45 children arrived at the church to spend the night sleeping on mats on the floor in their sleeping bags as part of a sponsored charity event to raise money for the homelessness charity, Centrepoint.
This is becoming something of a tradition for St Giles’ Primary School, and this year they hope to raise even more than last year’s £1200. This isn’t just about money for good causes however, as the school prides itself on pupils learning about compassion. The children all spoke about what this meant for them and what it must be like not to have a home or a safe place to stay. It has also led to some sensitive conversations with adults about the best way to help those we see sleeping rough.
The children also enjoyed immensely the chance to enjoy games, hot chocolate with marshmallows, and experience the wonderful atmosphere in the historicl church (with some of the structure dating to the C13th). This was a really memorable experience for the children and, despite the many sleepy faces in the morning, there was a real sense of having done something important and made some lasting memories with their friends along the way.
Toni Johnson

THE CHRISTMAS TREE

The Village Hall Management Committee and SMYCA have to say “Thank you” to some village residents.

We had a beautiful tree on the green by the War Memorial, which was sponsored by Raine and Co., so thank you to them.

There was a great effort from the “Village Men”, Barry Stallan, Gordon Cameron, Martin Pryke, Ian Martin, and John Jones, who put it up, with a bit of help from Len with his truck, which made it a lot easier as it was so tall.

Thanks also to the Parish Council for buying the extra lights, because it was so big, and the star which finished it off. It looked beautiful this year, and what’s more, it stayed up despite some strong winds, and shone out every evening to brighten up the village. AND – nobody vandalised it this year! Things can’t be all bad!

Finally, thank you to the English Garden Company, from the village, who disposed of the tree afterwards.

We also had an afternoon of Tea and Cakes, which was sponsored this year by the Parish Council. About 50 people came, young and old. The children did some colouring and we had entertainment for the adults with music. As well as Cakes and Tea there was Prosecco, which was supplied by Tesco. Finally, thank you to Wendy for lending us her cups, teapots, etc.

What a lovely community we have here in South Mimms!
Village Hall Management Committee

CAROL SERVICES AT ST. MARGARET’S AND ST. GILES

Once again our Carol Services were a great success. The number of visitors to both Churches were slightly up on last year, and more people than ever said how much they had enjoyed the services.

A lot of work goes toward making the Churches look attractive and welcoming. Flower arrangements, decorating the Christmas trees and of course making sure that we have enough mulled wine and mince pies.

Probably the most important task is choosing which Carols to include and having the right number of readings to tell the story of the birth of Jesus. There is always so much to do as Christmas approaches and lots of choice as to where to go to sing Carols, so it’s particularly heartwarming to see the villagers coming out on a cold winter’s day to support their local Churches.

We hope to see you again next December.
Doug Ryan