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REFLECTIONS  FROM THE RECTORY 

Reverend Robert ThewseyDear friends
As I write this Dunsden Church is stripped as the decorators are in repainting the church, some of which we believe has never been decorated since it was first built in 1842!! Well overdue. Some of you will have seen the pictures of what is happening on Facebook and we, as a Benefice will be joining Dunsden on Sunday 3rd November for their Patronal Festival and a grand reopening at 11am. We even have the Archdeacon of Dorchester as our guest preacher that day. Please do come along and support the lovely people of Dunsden.
November for me is a time of remembering, especially with the redecorating of Dunsden this year and the change that this is already having on the building, but also with All Souls Day, Remembrance Sunday and the general change in the weather forcing us to try and recall the all too brief Summer, when our senses are assailed by the smells and chills of blustery Autumn days. But I also have to admit that actually Autumn is my favourite time of year, and I actually love the way Americans refer to the season as ‘Fall.’ To me this conjures up a far more romantic image of the seasons as it brings to my mind the russet reds, and burnt golds of the leaves of the trees. (I am really just an old romantic.)
But I do know that many people do find this time of year a challenge; one of my clergy friends suffers from SAD syndrome and at this time of year his ‘day light lamp’ comes into play for a few hours each day to boost his feeling of wellbeing, and I sympathise with his plight.
Autumn is a time for remembering, and that is why All Souls day is so important to many people, the chance to remember a loved one, to have permission to once more grieve for their loss, to remember the happy times and rejoice, and to mourn what has been lost. I invite you all to share in this special service (Shiplake Church, 2nd November 7.30pm) and to also remember and cherish those who are no longer with us.
As I write this article, I am just about to meet up with the staff team to plan the whole of 2020! A rather terrifying thought, but one of the changes that we are considering is the timings of the Benefice Services. For the last few years this service has been at the same time as the host church’s normal service, i.e. Harpsden 9.30am and Shiplake and Dunsden 11am, but several people have asked that we go back to having a set time for Benefice services: hence the questionnaire given out in church the other Sunday – even I, at the moment do not know the outcome as Sarah Nesbitt has been kindly compiling the responses so please do look carefully at the new diary when it is published in just a few weeks’ time.
Yours in Christ
Robert