HARVEST FESTIVAL

Recently as I drove along Summerswood Lane to Ridge, on a beautiful sunny Sunday morning, I thought how lucky we are to live, to work, to visit or to worship in such a wonderful peaceful area. It’s hard to realise that just a couple of miles away there’s the busy High Street of Borehamwood. A few miles in the other direction we have St Albans with its theatre, cafes, shops, markets and of course the Abbey, whilst London itself is barely twenty miles from here.

All of those places generate noise, chaos and pollution but on that morning there was such an air of quiet that I actually pulled over, got out of the car and looked around. There was not a soul in sight, the only sound was the song of some small birds darting about in a big tree whistling to one another. As I idly looked about, the thought struck me as to just how marvellous nature is. We plant lots of little seeds in the ground then with the help of some rain and sunshine those little seeds grow into something that will help to feed many people.

But is it just pure chance that the rain and sun come in the right order, in the right quantity and at the right time or is someone watching over all this? I like to think that God’s hand is guiding these plants to maturity and watches over the hard working men and women that sow the seed and harvest the resulting crop.

Back in the early summer at St. Margaret’s we had a service of Rogation when we prayed for God’s blessing on the seeds that were being planted; that they would provide an abundant Harvest. Looking around that morning, I would say that our prayers are being answered.

To express our thanks there will, as usual, be Harvest Festival services at both village Churches. Please do join us. If you would like to bring along some fresh vegetables – tinned food – or any other food stuff, that would be great. After the service at St. Margaret’s, the food offerings are’ by tradition, distributed to three houses locally and the remainder donated to the Poor Clare Monastery in Galley Lane, while at St. Giles the offerings are distributed among the elderly in South Mimms to the Poor Clare’s and also to the Borehamwood Food Bank.

Last year after the service, it was my privilege to deliver the donated food to the Nuns. They were so grateful, not just for the food, but that we had remembered them. Our Harvest Festival Services are always meaningful and respectful but quite light hearted. After the service all are welcome to stay for a chat and wander around our beautiful Church and enjoy a cup of tea/coffee or fruit juice and pastries.

At St. Giles the pattern is slightly different. The church service is held a couple of days after the School children have their Harvest Festival service in School, after which they bring their gifts across to the church, to be distributed the following Monday. The church service is held as a Family Communion, and parents and children are invited to join in and bring their gifts to be blessed by the priest. This year the service will be taken by the Revd. Iain Lane, who will make the service light-hearted and joyful, with a bit of fun along the way.

So, a couple of dates for your diary. Or if you want to be a bit more up-to-date, a couple of dates for your smart ‘phone!

September 8th. 9.15 at St. Margaret’s Ridge

October 6th 11.00 at St. Giles South Mymms.

We look forward to seeing you.

Doug Ryan

ANNUAL BIKE ’N HIKE EVENT

The Beds. & Herts. Historic Churches Trust is one of many county trusts which run similar sponsored events on the second Saturday of September each year.
This year it’s September 14th. The idea is to raise money for church repairs and for the churches who take part, with half of the sponsorship going to each.

The Bike ’n Hike is the most important fundraiser for the Trust and key to enabling it to continue to give grants to churches and chapels for the care and repair of their buildings, which are so important in the lives of our towns and villages. The Trust is non-denominational and the Bike ‘n Hike is supported by many different denominations. Grants are available to any place of public Christian worship of whatever age. The church’s share of the money raised can be used for any of the church’s activities, not just building projects.

It is open to everyone to take part, whether church-goer or not, who is interested in supporting our heritage of church buildings. Often churches are open for the event, which normally have to be kept locked, so it is a great opportunity for a visit. If you want to take part, you ask people to sponsor you, either per church visited or as a fixed sum, by signing your sponsor card.

Churches are open between 9am and 5pm. Bikers, hikers and other visitors, whether by car, mobility scooter or horse, sign the card to say they have visited and get their form signed to confirm their visit. Often there are refreshments available and a chance to look round the church.

After the event, everyone who has taken part should give the money raised to their Church Organiser, together with their sponsorship forms. For St. Giles and St. Margaret’s I act as Church Organiser, as well as co-ordinating others across the Barnet, Potters Bar and Borehamwood area.

Sponsorship money can be gift-aided, which increases the amount by 25%, courtesy of the tax man. This gift aid is kept by the Trust to add to the money available for grants. The Trust uses the online site JustGiving to make it even easier to collect sponsorship money. Any participant or team can create a page on JustGiving and use email or Facebook to encourage friends and relatives to sponsor their efforts.

Do have a go this year: contact me for further details William Marsterson

ST. GILES DAY

September 1st is the day we celebrate the life of St. Giles, to whom the church in South Mimms is dedicated. St. Giles is the patron saint of many things – cripples, the poor – and blacksmiths, which is why he is an appropriate saint for a mediaeval Wagonway Service Station like South Mimms. It’s common for churches dedicated to Saint Giles to be near pubs called the White Hart.

Who was St. Giles? He was a hermit in the south of France. He may originally have been a Greek, from Athens (his name means “Little goat” in Greek). What we know of him comes from a Life written for pilgrims in the 10th century, so he lived before AD 900 (allegedly around AD 550), and people made a pilgrimage to his shrine in St. Gilles 1,000 years ago.The Life includes various startling wonders, and anachronisms, including the story of protecting a hind from being shot by a king out hunting. Apparently other saints are credited with the same tale of their zeal for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

This year we will have a Family Communion service on Sunday September 1st, with refreshments afterwards. Our preacher and priest will be the Revd. Iain Lane, who has been taking our services at the start of each month while we have no Vicar, and he generally leads a pretty lively worship, so do come along! Some will still be away on holiday, but hopefully a lot of people from South Mimms and further afield will come along, specially children who go to St. Giles School and their parents and grandparents, to hear about their patron saint. And to enjoy the refreshments afterwards!

PRESERVING RIDGE VILLAGE

Several years ago a group of Ridge residents got together and decided to tidy up the site where the pill box stands. This pill box was rightly deemed to be of historic interest and should be preserved for future generations to visit. The whole area in front of the allotments was overgrown and the pill box was barely visible.

As we can all now see it is a credit to the village with a bench installed and the grass cut on a regular basis. A plaque was provided by Hertsmere Borough Council to adorn the front of the pill box identifying it as an Architectural Heritage Structure which will protect its future as a listed building.

It is now intended to have the red telephone box restored to its former glory following an approach to British Telecom by our Member of Parliament Oliver Dowden. Before the restoration can commence a large sapling tree has to be removed which is pushing against the telephone box. Surrounding vegetation will also be removed which will allow the historic structure to be looked upon as an important village feature of yesteryear to be enjoyed by villagers and visitors alike.

It is also planned to erect a village sign on the green hopefully funded by the Parish Council.

Martin Worster