Dedication service for one of the youngest at the church. Church packed!
Wedding of a daughter of a church member brings much rejoicing. God invented marriage and it is good.
Central heating installed in the church for the first time in 250 years. Also hot running water. The 20th century is catching up with us. A new separate church water supply will soon be installed, too. Central heating in the Manse also replaced and extended.
Yew tree removed at the front of the church. Now you see us!
Bible studies in the book of Haggai have galvanised us to action on the buildings. A working party cleared the Manse of all remaining furniture, stripped out the kitchen and removed many layers of wallpaper. Damp in the walls between the older and newer halves of the building needs to be fixed before repainting the walls or installing a new kitchen. The old central heating system will be replaced in March, at which point we will also install central heating to the church.
Badger club re-convened after the Christmas break with a party the first week. Around 20 primary school aged children come each week for a mixture of games, crafts, songs and bible stories.
The Badger Club Carols by Candlelight Service took place in 19th December. This year we had a beautiful covering of snow for the first time in living memory. The children performed a nativity play brilliantly and everything was picture perfect. A short talk focused on perfection; nothing in this world is ever quite perfect, or permanent. Only God can give us permanent perfection - that's heaven, the gift of God through Jesus Christ.
A Christmas letter from Edward Short records how he continues to be active in Christian work at the age of 91! He now lives in Carlisle with his daughter Ruth and brother Stephen.
Permission was granted to remove the yew tree at the front of the church. This is a much-loved and beautiful tree, but the reasons for removing it eventually became overwhelming: 1) The poisonous berries posed a risk to children and made the path to the front door slippery and treacherous for the elderly. 2) The tree obscures most of the carpark from the road, making it possible for a large quantity of roof tiles to be stolen earlier in the year. 3) The tree is so close to the church building that it threatens the foundations.
We rejoiced in the birth of a healthy baby girl to a young couple at the church.
The annual Leprosy Mission meetng was well attended. Bill Hewis gave an excellent update on the work of this Christian charity. Gifts to the work totaled £650.
Great news from Lindsay, granddaughter of the Shorts who used to live in the Manse. She gave birth to a healthy baby boy named William, who weighed in at a mighty 12 lb 13 oz! The family will soon return to Brazil where they are working as missionaries with O.M.
The wedding of a church member at Combe Down church in Bath. The happy couple are now home from honeymoon and the church has a new member. The fiancé of another church member has joined us from the USA. Badger club at the movies – 2nd July. The children watched a film of the life of Samson, while the helpers served popcorn. The final badger club of the summer took place on 9th July. Prizes were given out, and the club will resume on 10th September.
A picnic lunch and Sunday afternoon at Bowood to celebrate a milestone birthday of one church member. Two regulars graduated and another passed his driving test. Karting at Hullavington to begin the stag night of a church member.
Missionaries Caleb and Sophie Massey, with their two young children, returned from South Africa to spend some time here. For the past 5 years they have worked with AIDS victims in the Kwazulu Natal region and established a new church in the area. They have also trained local pastors and translated Christian books into Zulu. The church is now self-sufficient and their work in South Africa is at an end. They are moving to start a new work in the USA.
In keeping with years of tradition, our Good Friday service was attended by many friends from nearby churches at Yatton Keynell, Luckington, Nettleton, West Kington and North Wraxall. The speaker was Paul Pike, an ex-missionary to Japan. He spoke on Galatians 2 v 20 “I have been crucified with Christ”.
On Easter Sunday at a family service, the children from the Badger Club performed an Easter play and enjoyed an egg-hunt. This was followed by a church lunch at the nearby home of some members. A glorious spring day was enjoyed to the full.
The Short and Burle families have moved from Scotland to their former home in Carlisle, for the sake of the education of their daughter. They all continue to be in good health. A church member returned from the USA and announced his engagement to a girl from there. Close relatives of several church members have died of cancer recently. We mourn with those who mourn.
The badger club (for primary school children) resumed after Christmas with 4 new children coming. This term they will be learning the story of Moses. Games, singing and crafts also fill the hour from 5.00-6.00 on Mondays.
A meeting was held to publicise the work of FEBA radio. The Far East Broadcasting Association (www.feba.org.uk) broadcast the gospel on short wave radio to some of the most repressed nations on earth. Among the programmes they carry are the broadcasts of Living Waters Radio, which was founded by our ex-pastor, Dr Edward Short. The church was full to hear from a missionary couple who are based in Iran.
One member of the church returned from China, where he made several trips carrying bibles through customs. No details can be posted here because the church in China is still heavily repressed. The people receiving the bibles were under threat, if caught, of prison or being sent to ‘re-education’ centres. We were given a moving report of the situation.
The funeral took place at Grittleton Parish Church of Captain Cecil Hirst., who died peacefully aged 81 after a short illness. Capt. Hirst was the church secretary and an elder for many years. He had been instrumental in appointing our last Pastor, Dr Short. Over 200 people filling the church heard of his eventful life. At 17 he joined the navy to fight in the Second World War. His ship was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine, and he was shot at in the water. After 37 days in a life raft he was rescued on his 18th birthday. Returning to Nettleton, he married a local farmer’s daughter. After a spell farming in Kenya, he became a master mariner and worked for many years in the Middle East. In his retirement he was a key member of the missionary organisation ‘OM’, whose ships travel the world. He was also a very active volunteer driving people to appointments at the RUH. He was a stalwart of the church at Nettleton as well as at Castle Combe. His humour and wisdom will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, two sons and two daughters.
The front wall of the Manse is bowing outwards under the weight of the roof. Secure fencing has been erected around the front to make the site safe. A structural survey has been commissioned. It is clear that extensive renovations will be needed before the building is reoccupied.
The carols by candlelight service was attended by over 50 people. Parents of Badger club children saw them enjoy performing songs from the musical ‘Hosannah Rock’. A free CD of carols was distributed along with the mince pies.
The re-roofing of the church is complete. The stone-tiling of the car-park side was carried out by Brookman and Sons over a 5 week period. With the other side of the roof having been overhauled 15 years ago, we look forward to many years in the dry! The chapel was last re-roofed when it was converted from a granary in 1914. Many of the tiles used then, and re-used this time, came from the old chapel at Slaughterford, which is now just a ruin in the woods.
A member of the church returned from Croatia, where he had spent 2 weeks with the charity 4H, helping to turn an old manor house into a building for the rapidly growing church out there.
The baptism of a new member of our church took place. Since we practise baptism by complete immersion, we borrowed Yatton Keynell Baptist Chapel for the service, where there is a specially made baptistery.
The church was full to bursting for the farewell service for the church pastor, Dr Short, and his wife Mary. We gave thanks to God for their long lives of service, as medical missionaries in India and in what should have been their retirement, at the church in Castle Combe. As they move to Scotland with their family we wish them a long and happy retirement, and look to God for His guidance about a replacement.
The re-wiring of the church building was completed.