News & Events

We are in Interrugnum and currently seeking a new Rector.

Christian Comments, August 2017

Posted by on Feb 21, 2018 in news and events | 0 comments

I read recently in a disagreeable rag owned by an antipodean that people, including atheists, find it way easier to distrust people who have no faith than those that do. This is really interesting because most people extend this to assume that obviously, whilst they do not trust people who have no religion they also place them into the same category as psychopaths and murderers who, it is also assumed have no religion. Religion therefore is thought to be what gives a person the internal component of morality – religion is the site of the moral compass, the place where our ethical world view is located, and the place that helps us navigate the ethical dilemmas of everyday life. It also informs how we respond to other people, those around us and how we approach life in all its glory. The scientist who conducted the experiment concluded that this assumption is false, however. He did so because he thinks in the modern world there is a Social Lag – in that religion has left an indelible mark upon society. Society has moved on, but somehow a religious moral shadow remain hard to extinguish. He also concluded that a psychotic murderer is no more or less likely to have religion than not – although I do wonder if psychopaths are really proof of anything? I have met a few, and ‘moral compass’ was not what I was thinking when I met them! What I do know is that Jesus, if He is in your life – is your Moral Compass. It is impossible to do anything, see anything, say anything without a knowledge of whether it is adding to the Kingdom or detracting from it. There is nothing you can do without Him, He is in the very fabric of your being. That might sound a little scary, or even simplistic, but it isn’t, as we all know Jesus’ burden is light (Matt 11.30). Jesus – everything He stands for, everything He said, everything He ever did/does comes from a limitless deep pool of love, God’s love – for all humanity. If we all did indeed have a religion, true religion there would only be peace and tranquillity, no more hunger, war, violence persecution….but then that would be Paradise, would it...

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Christian Comments, July 2017

Posted by on Feb 21, 2018 in news and events | 0 comments

As I write, in our daily Morning Prayer we are coming to the end of St Paul’s letter to the Romans. I have enjoyed reading it. I like the letter a great deal. One reason I think I like it so much is because Romans is a letter – Paul writes to the Church in Rome and to us, opening his heart. He is talking to communities that need his help and guidance – they may not have sought his opinion, but St Paul was not shy. The letter, whilst packed with theological insight (some more controversial to the modern ear than others), is still nevertheless not a great tome of academic exhortation that has been formulated over months or years. Paul is responding to problems that are immediate and relevant to the immediate situation of his audience. And responding theologically. This is rather a comfort to me, because over the last few weeks it has felt as though I have only had enough time to respond to need – seeking the best in every situation, yes – but just having a nagging feeling I’ve been a little lightweight. There is a list of priorities that all contend for my attention – a triage of priorities dropping off the response list as more pressing things arise. Then, a couple of weeks ago it all come to head and I needed to step up – a moment where all my energies where required to be focused and attentive. What was important and what wasn’t became very clear. That day, at Morning Prayer, the set New Testament reading was Romans 12.9 onwards. It strongly reminded me so very much of the wonderful Benediction, based on 1 Thessalonians 5.13-21, which I have used at the ends of many services over the years – the Benediction always inspires me and offers me great hope. Whilst the letter to the Romans can be seen as rather demanding, having within it some sections that we in the modern Church have yet to reconcile, this Blessing gives us a crystal-clear insight how we are to behave in the world, what we are to do for others and what we are to believe, loving and serving the Lord. I think this is how each of us, all people, should live. It is a blessing, but it is also a demand. It is mission statement to the world. What St Paul says can be drawn from the Romans & the Thessalonians passages….. ‘Go forth into the world in peace; be of good courage, holdfast to that which is good, render to no-one evil for evil, strengthen the faint hearted; support the weak, help the afflicted – honour all people. Love and serve the Lord, rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit.’ For me the words could not have come at a better time. Can you imagine a world, a Church, that actually did this? If I ever had a personal statement of faith – here it is, and I commend it to...

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Christian Comments, June 2017

Posted by on Feb 21, 2018 in news and events | 0 comments

We live in interesting times’, currently as a statement, seems a rather matter-of-fact and weak declaration to make. The Chinese curse – ‘may you live in interesting times’ after the events of the last couple of months and years seems rather like a ghastly threat. At this juncture, I would like to point out that no-one is able to actually attribute this curse to anyone or anything remotely Chinese. But do we imagine for one single minute we are the only people in history to have been challenged by the events going on around them? Of course not. We all know that history is littered with events that could be defined as abominable, unjust and dreadful. Whilst describing our current situation as interesting might seem a little glib, the problems we now currently face – after the horrors of Manchester and London Bridge, and in the last week the Grenfell Tower block disaster – rightly demand a stronger adjective than ‘interesting’. But it should also be screaming out to all of us – and especially the leaders of this country – that we need to think very carefully, seriously and intelligently about how we respond. Do we respond with force, suspicion and the exercising of power, or with love? It’s a simple question to a complex and fraught situation I admit, but it is a simple question. The outcomes of either response will be very different. For all the horror we have seen lately, we have also seen many amazing examples of the sharing of resources, the seeking of the wellbeing of those affected, of caring, of the greater good; brilliant examples of generosity, kindness and warmth. For every act of hate or stupidity we have seen exemplary examples of the human desire to love. The intelligent response to the problems we face is to resist the exercising of haughty or ignorant political and physical control, and resist any leader who simply wants power – a leader should find power a curse. We should we wary of social traditions that strangle mobility and aspiration; we should embrace and empower everyone, encouraging them to succeed to the exclusion of social barriers. Everyone must be invited along for the ride, everyone must be seen as a child of God, no one should be a footstool for the powerful to place their thrones upon. All of us must be a stakeholder. Now that to me sounds like Heaven! We live in interesting times. Jesus our Lord lived in interesting times. Hate and distrust and ignorance killed him. But Jesus loved those who persecuted him, hated him, destroyed him. We also know that he, and love, triumphed. As much as humanity is seemingly wired to destroy, we are also wired to love. Be wary of those who would tell you the way forward is to hate and persecute, because in the end it will destroy you too. Rather love, love and be free of all the bile that would turn this world to ash. Peace and Love, Peace and Love...

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New Candidates Confirmed

Posted by on Feb 21, 2018 in news and events | 0 comments

Congratulation to the five candidates Confirmed by the Bishop of Basingstoke at St Michael and All Angels church in Cheriton on November 5th 2017. They were joined by in a packed church by friends and family for this wonderful service. They are from Left to right……. Emily Beardmore-Gray, Jamie Beardsmore-Gray, Martin Curwen-Bryant, The Bishop of Basingstoke: David Williams, Connie Batt and Phoebe Batt.

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Christian Comments, April 2017

Posted by on May 7, 2017 in news and events | 0 comments

The other day whilst driving home from church, I flicked on the radio and heard what sounded like a very exciting discussion going on. The debate was between some very passionate protagonists. I wondered what it could possibly be that had so animated this panel of learned and wise individuals? World hunger, poverty, war, politics, ethics, economics. No, they were in fact arguing about Marcel Duchamp’s extraordinary submission to an art competition in Paris in 1917. I know, the current affairs of today! Duchamp took a mass-produced toilet and signed it – declared it art, called it ‘Fountain’ and, according to the panel, divided the art world into two camps lineated along the lines of: ‘It is Art’, and ‘It isn’t Art’. They did forget my own personal camp, the – ‘Who Cares if it is Art’ category however. The panel concluded that whatever it was, it was a significant ‘artistic’ milestone. Even though it added nothing to human knowledge, well-being or progression. I arrived home and immediately asked my wife, who went to Art College, whether Duchamp’s ‘Fountain’ was art? She looked at me deeply, thoughtfully, and then asked me: ‘Define what is Art?’ All those years at Art School not wasted then, I thought quietly, secretly, and expressionlessly. Basically, in our modern world it can be concluded that Art is anything people want it to be. If people think an American urinal is beautiful and worthy of a place in a museum, then it is. And who am I, or any of us, to say it is not. So here’s the conundrum: how do we deal with a world where growing numbers of people no longer recognise divine authority or knowledge to guide them in life? Authority is shifting from what is divine into the heart of oneself, not God. What the Human Being wants and thinks is the only thing that truly matters. In Politics, the people know how to vote; in Ethics the person does what feels good; in Economics we produce ever more to keep the customer happy. The source of authority in the universe belongs to us. We no longer need to rely on God – It’s all about the Human Being, our choices. It’s all about us. That is a lonely place – and I feel the shame of it, of a humanity that still relies on weapons to decide arguments, withholds resources from those in need, pollutes, destroys and agitates. I cannot think of a time when God was more needed by humanity. Thank God then he sent us Jesus, Jesus who gave Himself up to death on the Cross so we can know we are never abandoned, never alone, never not loved, even if we choose to abandon God ourselves. Jesus asks God to ‘forgive us, because we know not what we do’. We must choose, seek, listen and pray, for God is listening. I lament our arrogance and self-reliance. ‘I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax, it has melted within...

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Christian Comments, March 2017

Posted by on Mar 24, 2017 in news and events | 0 comments

The other day I attended a wonderful service at Winchester Cathedral at which the new Dean was Installed. I love the Cathedral and its worship. There is something about it that sort of floats my boat – I am very passionate about our Cathedral and the mission it serves to the county. By a sort of accident however, I ended up taking my daughter’s boyfriend along with me to this service. It’s a long story, so I will not explain. At the end of the service, which was quite long, he told me that he had never actually heard a Cathedral choir before, and found the music amazing; and the spectacle of the installation thought-provoking. He then went on to ask ‘who was the fellow with the big stick’? He was referring to the Bishop of Winchester, his description only mildly less dubious than enquiring about the fellow in the pointy hat. I have been thinking a great deal recently about something this rather tellingly illustrates. My daughter’s boyfriend was not ill disposed towards the church. In fact he rather thought it all very compelling. He was not dismissive of the theological, ethical and cultural significance of Christianity – but he just didn’t know anything about it. ‘Who’s the guy with the big stick’, is nearly as glib as was reported to me recently – but might not be accurate – that David Beckham (the ex-footballer) had said that he wanted his children baptised, but hadn’t yet decided what religion. Anyway, the point clearly being made is that the message of God’s love is a universal one. Many people understand their existence in relation to God – they are spiritually hungry and inquisitive – but the church has not for some unfathomable reason engaged them. Church has passed them by, yet their lives are full of need and desire, looking for meaning and answers. They have somehow missed the incarnational, inspirational empowering message of Christ. Why? I cry out – WHY! Now that might need a little bit of unpacking – and in reality I do not have the answers – but here’s what I think. Christianity is not just a Sunday morning expedition in the realm of God, it is not something we leave behind when we step out into the world on Monday morning. It is the spring-board into the market places, the work places, the homes and shopping centres where prayer (especially prayer) and Christian presence can and will make a difference. A disciple that is a true follower of Christ, who is confident that God loves them, and us and the world, has the answers to all the questions and anxieties and despair anyone could possibly have – Christ is the answer to all our hungers, all our fears, all our anxieties. We should see our faith as an adventure that is liberating and fulfilling. We need to encourage – especially the young – and nurture the tradition we have inherited. We need to tell those that have not heard, and invite them into the family of Christ – all of you tell someone about your faith, and tell them Jesus sent...

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“Now and Then.” A little Saxon Church its neighbours and its visitors…

Posted by on Feb 5, 2017 in news and events | 0 comments

Over 14,600 people visited the big house during December and also enjoyed our display of Christian Christmas Traditions, here at All Saints, Hinton Ampner. Many came to the Services, sang carols, listened to readings and saw our advent candles lit. So much so, we all but exhausted the quiz with its questions about the true meaning of Christmas! It was a joy to look on as parents explained the story behind the Nativity Scene and learnt about it; the meaning of the wreath, and the origins of Crackers and Christmas Cards, or simply enjoyed the tranquility of All Saints and its Christmas Tree, hung with angels and twinkling lights. Every day the first arrivals opened one of our advent calendars, read out the Christmas story, and hung a message on the tree for others to read. Thank you to everyone who bought Christmas Cards and also to Cheriton Village Stores, Hinton Ampner House and Bramdean Garage for selling so many more than we dreamt possible. To think that in houses all round the world, families and friends enjoyed 1200 of our cards showing the beautiful Nativity Scene! The money from sales is apparently going towards regular maintenance and an audio and lighting improvement project; we can’t wait! All very different from the young Saxon days when King William ordered the Domesday Book. Back then the village was known simply as “Hinton” and the Benefice looked very different too. We looked up to our neighbours in Beauworth with their three churches; Bramdean and Kilmeston had two Lords. Aldred’s wife ruled in Kilmeston, while Bramdean even had two freemen. “Miles the Porter” was one of its Lords. As to Cheriton and Tichborne: marshy places in the Itchen valley, Miles the Porter always took the visitors via the high...

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Rectors Report February 2017

Posted by on Feb 5, 2017 in news and events | 0 comments

Since the last Forum meeting on Oct 31st 2016, there have been three funerals, one at Cheriton, Tichborne and Bramdean respectively. There have been no weddings and two baptisms. Christmas was a particularly wonderful and busy time so thank you to everybody who gave so much time organising and delivering services and supporting the mission here. The period was complicated for me this year because I developed a flu in the early part of December. I then, as the month progressed lost my voice, which meant by Christmas day I had to invite the congregation at Bramdean to ‘Join with me as we whisper our Christmas day service’. It has taken some time to feel that I am back in my stride, and back to normal. We did see many wonderful services across the Benefice during the Advent/Christmas period. Again, the Crib which was great fun to be involved with – but a lot of preparation. The Midnight services also seem to have been very well received again this year. Christmas Day itself, services were very well supported and brought many from our communities into the church. To everybody that made our churches so welcoming and vibrant – again thank you. I continue to write for the Christian Comment in the Hampshire Chronicle – the coordinator of which is leaving the Diocese a little before Easter. It has been intimated to me that a new coordinator needs to be found, I am pretty reluctant to take on that role. I am on the board of Governors at Cheriton School. I take assembly there once a fortnight. I am a member also of the Diocesan Board of Education and the Executive Resource Group of the DBE. I continue to be on Diocesan Synod, and have just completed my first year as Area Dean, which is a very interesting piece of work, but at times rather challenging. One particular joy, on the 25th Jan we licensed the Revd. Clare Welham as the new Priest in Charge of the Bishop Sutton, West Tisted and Ropley benefice. Clare is lovely, and previously was the Chaplain to Harrogate Ladies’ College. I invite you all to pray for her, and her ministry as she takes on a set of parishes that require a lot of love and attention. Caroline and I now offer some hours a month to the Cathedral as Chaplain, and Jan does the same for HMP Wincher’s chaplaincy dept. I have been variously involved in supporting Alresford and the Arle Valley as they no longer have an incumbent. I have taken a number of Funerals and Holy Communion services for them, as required. They do have a very good and dedicated Ministry team so this has not been a particularly difficult thing to do. On December 11th we welcomed the Right Reverend Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester, at Cheriton Church. He was warmly received – which was a bit of a relief. Also, while we had him, he was asked to licence the Revd. Jan Brookshaw as our associate Priest, which he duly did. We have an ongoing structural project at Bramdean, a lighting project at Hinton Ampner, as well as an archaeological project at Kilmeston church. We also have the sale of the Parish Hall in Cheriton. At the time of...

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Christmas at All Saints, Hinton Ampner

Posted by on Nov 29, 2016 in news and events | 4 comments

“No room at the Inn,” and not much in the stable, with Shepherds, Magi, Mary, Joseph, the heavenly host and a baby using the manager as a cot! But, there is always room for you in our delightful little Saxon Church, at this important time in the Christian year, to see our Nativity Scene and much else besides.   All Saints, Hinton Ampner’s display of Christian Christmas Traditions including our beautiful Nativity Scene begins on 3rd December. You are very welcome to join us for the Services too; National Trust Carol Service on 9th December, All Saints Carol Service Sunday 18th and Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. Last year we welcomed hundreds of visitors all keen to share in the true meaning of Christmas and this year we also welcome the Cheriton Singers. Take home a memento of your visit and share it with family and friends. Christmas Cards of this beautiful nativity scene with “Happy Christmas and Peaceful New Year” are now on sale at Cheriton Post Office and Stores, Bramdean Garage and Hinton Ampner House, in aid of All Saints. They work out at just 60p each in bundles of 10. Profits will be used for the regular maintenance of All Saints Church, the installation of a sound and audio loop system, and improvements to our church lighting. Details of all our Christmas Services and the many activities in the Upper Itchen Benefice are here, and there’s definitely room at the Inn for...

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