Blessed are those who count their blessings

Blessed are those who count their blessings

A poem by John Rollings, written as a result of our Lent Studies

The poor in spirit search for God
Those who mourn find oneness
The meek rely on inner strength
Those searching good find wholeness

The merciful receive God’s love
The pure in heard find glory
The peacemakers want peace on earth
and try to change our story

We all try to live in faith
and follow our Lord’s aim
We know He gave his life for us
but would we do the same?

Ruth Writes

Ruth Writes

When you read this we’ll have travelled with Jesus through Lent, Holy Week and celebrated the joys of Easter Day. But as I write this I’m relaxing after a busy day.

I’ve just spent a lovely day in the Yorkshire Dales. A visit to the ruins of Jervaulx Cistercian Abbey, followed by coffee and cake, the cheese factory in Wensleydale, (yes, I did try and buy!) followed by lunch. We had a look around a 13th century church in Hubberholme then a walk around Brimham Rocks, where it was very misty and a bit chilly so coffee to warm up!

I’m spending a few days at the Vicarage in Bishop Monkton, near Ripon, with friends Sheila and Andy. Andy some of you will remember was a former organist at St. Mary’s.

We’ve just folded the Service Sheets for Palm Sunday and Easter Morning. Sheila is Associate Priest for two village churches and, just the same as all those responsible for leading worship, is preparing for the busy Easter period. I was reflecting with her on how comforting it is that wherever you go, whichever church you visit, the life of the Church has a certain familiarity, whatever their history. Annual Meeting notices, times of services, rotas can be seen in most churches, and then, of course, there are all the familiar symbols of our faith for all to see.

It’s very reassuring to know that many, many Christians are joining together through a common thread, and especially at this time of year, giving thanks for a God who was prepared to give His only Son for sacrifice, so that we could know the joys of a resurrection sunrise.

When we cannot see the end of things
When the darkness shines brighter than the sun,
When the wound will not be healed
When we can see no answer to our questions
Fill us with knowing you are there,
For us.

You are the first to weep over shattered lives,
The wounded healer who mends broken hearts,
The first to die and rise,
The holy victim who shouts through the silence,
“It is finished!”
When we are blinded by the power of present things,
Fix our eyes on you,
And break the power of our painful days
With reminders of new and better days still to come,
Your resurrection sunrise,
For us. AMEN

Men’s Shed @ St Mary’s Chard

Men’s Shed @ St Mary’s Chard

Connect, Create, Converse

The Men’s Shed @St. Mary’s, Chard, was conceived after it was realised that although there are many social groups, not only at St. Mary’s, but also in Chard town, men were not attending them.  Therefore, for the purpose of bringing together men who were isolated and alone, the men’s shed idea was formed with the help of a small steering group of five men; Peter Stefanovic, Ian Jones, Jim Lamb, Terry Hackling, John     Rollings  and Robin Bailey. It should be mentioned here that our very own Liz Jones had the same inkling about a Men’s Shed too!

So, what is a Men’s Shed? The concept was developed in Australia. It’s a bit like the shed at the end of your garden where men like to ‘tinker’ with things, but on a much larger scale and in the company of other men. Anecdotally, it was found that interaction of this kind was of great benefit to men’s health and wellbeing.

The steering group agreed that the Men’s Shed should be linked to St. Mary’s church and with that in mind, a proposal was put to the PCC for the Men’s Shed to become a PCC authorised activity. This proposal was agreed unanimously, and the name of the shed was born: Men’s Shed @St. Mary’s, Chard. The next thing to consider was, where would the shed be based?

Ian and Liz Jones graciously offered their barn and workshop facilities at their smallholding on a free to use basis for the shed. This was, of course, a massive help towards the running costs of the shed as there would be no rent to find for the accommodation (we had use of Ian’s tools, too!); the knock-on effect is a low weekly subscriptions fee for the shedders (that’s what the members are called, Shedders) currently at only £3 per week for the two days the shed is open (Wednesday 2pm – 5pm, Thursday 1pm – 5pm).

The offer of the barn and workshop made it a simple choice regarding activities: one day would be allocated to social and the second day to woodworking. The reason for having two types of  activities was to attract as many men as possible; after all, not everyone wants to do woodwork.  Soon, the shed also intends to have allotments so that those who like growing vegetables will also be accommodated.

The next thing to acquire for the shed was funding to help with the set-up costs. We already knew that just the liability insurance alone would cost almost £500 annually. Funding applications were submitted which resulted in donations from the Royal Voluntary Service, Southend Schools Education Trust and the Rotary Club of Chard. There was also one private donation. The Men’s Shed @St. Mary’s is very    grateful for those donations because they were instrumental in getting the shed off the ground and helping the local community.

Having a social day at the club never really took off; when the doors were opened to members, it was obvious that the Shedders wanted to concentrate on woodworking projects. There are men with  different skills, and indeed level of skills, in woodworking, and those more able patiently taught and helped those who have less experience with the more technical aspect of the woodwork craft.

The existence of the shed, and what is provided here has become quite well known in the carers’ community, not only locally bu throughout Somerset. There are instances where men have been referred to the shed by GPs and one, from Honiton Hospital! There have also been requests for the shed to put up displays both locally and as far afield as Bridgwater; but this has put us into a little difficulty.

There are four vulnerable men attending the shed at this time. We would like to take more but unfortunately, for safety reasons, there aren’t enough ‘able-bodied’ men at the shed to manage the vulnerable men who need a one to one ‘buddy’ system. Can you help?

If you are interested in joining the shed, please contact Peter Stefanovic

email: mensshedchard@


HAPPY NEW YEAR!     Peter Stefanovic

Chard Chimes 2019……Subscriptions

Chard Chimes 2019……Subscriptions

To all the magazine readers……..

Thank you for continuing to subscribe to Chard Chimes, the      magazine of St. Mary’s Church Chard. If you were able to pay your      subscription to your delivery person this month then Thank you! If not we hope it will be convenient for you to do so when your       February copy is delivered. The amount for the year remains at £4.80.

To all the magazine distributors……

You will be collecting subscriptions for Chard Chimes at varying times and we hope you will find it convenient to choose your own time to pass these to our Treasurer by delivering the total collected to St. Mary’s Parish office. The office is normally open Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays from 9.30am until 12.30pm. Please mark the envelope ‘Chard Chimes Subscriptions’ and your name.

Freda said ‘Thank you’ to you last month and I would like to repeat that in appreciation of your help in the last phase of our monthly   production of the magazine.


St Marys Electoral Roll

We are required to compile an entirely new Church Electoral Roll once every six years and this is due in 2019.

To be kept in touch with events at St. Mary’s and to be eligible to vote at the annual meeting you need to be on the Electoral Roll, so even if you are on the list at present you will need to complete an application form for the new list.

Please look out for the forms towards the end of this month of    January when the closing date for applications will be displayed. (Late   entries can be added but not until after the APCM)




In the Western churches, the Epiphany (‘manifestation’) became an occasion to celebrate one element in the story of Christ’s birth, the visit of the far-travelled magi, understood as the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles. Matthew’s account speaks simply of ‘wise men from the east’; later tradition fixed their number at three, made them kings and recalled their resonant names – Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar.

The season of joyful celebration that begins at Christmas now continues through the successive Sundays of Epiphany, and the festal cycle ends only with the Feast of the Presentation (Candlemas). The child who has been manifested to the magi at his birth is now recognized by Simeon and Anna, when he comes to be presented in the Temple according to the Law of Israel. He is both ‘a light to lighten the Gentiles’ and ‘the glory of God’s people Israel’. But the redemption he will bring must be won through suffering; the Incarnation is directed to the Passion; and Simeon’s final words move our attention away from the celebration of Christmas and towards the mysteries of Easter.

In Celebration of the Epiphany at St Marys we will be leaving the Tree and lights up until February 3rd when the festal cycle ends with Candlemas. The branches will then be removed and used to make a cross for Lent.

From the Churchwardens

From the Churchwardens

During the last Sunday service before Rev. Ann was installed as our new     Rector we took the opportunity to say ‘Thank you’. Our message is repeated here to reach those who were unable to be at that service

We have been in vacancy for just over a year and now as we look    forward to having a full Ministry team again we want to acknowledge all the help that has allowed our church life to be fully maintained.

Our ministry team, George, Katharine, Ruth, John  and Charles have all taken on extra duties to cover services across the benefice. The wardens team, and Eddie and Rita and Chris have helped to keep those services running smoothly. Kath and Peter have helped Ken and Chris as vergers at weddings and funerals.

Thank you, too, to everyone who contributes to the content of    regular services, reading, prayers, sidesmen, etc. and music from Mary, Margaret, Rachel and the music group.  (more…)

Ann Writes

Ann Writes

So we come to the beginning of another new year.  Mick and I have been here just over a month, boxes have been unpacked, walls painted, and pictures have been hung.  The books are now safely all in   alphabetical order!

We all want to have somewhere to call home, surrounded by familiar objects, places and, most of all, people.  It is a natural human desire to want to settle and to belong.  Having somewhere where we can ‘nest’ and feel safe is particularly important during the dark days of winter.  January and February can be particularly trying months and we seek the warmth and comfort of our homes. We draw the  curtains to keep out the dark and put on lights, light fires and  perhaps light candles too.

We have become afraid of the dark.  We have street lighting and  security lights on our houses, and, is it just me, or have car headlights got brighter?

But it is in the dark that light has its origin.  In the story of the creation in Genesis, God created light out of darkness, not the other way around.  It is at the darkest time of the year that the Christian church chose to celebrate the coming of God into the world.  It was through the darkness of death that Jesus brought resurrection into the whole of creation. (more…)

The 5 Simple Rules to be Happy

Remember the 5 simple rules to be happy

  1. Free your heart from hatred – forgive
  2. Free your mind from worries – most never happen
  3. Live freely and appreciate what you have
  4. Give more
  5. Expect Less

Lords Larder Christmas Appeal

The Lord’s Larder began as a Chard Churches Together service, and in 2018 became a registered charity in its own right. With the support of a diverse team of volunteers, it provides emergency food supplies for people in need. We offer bags of non-perishable food to those who come with a referral form from a Doctor, Social Services, similar professional agencies or a church. We rely on donations of tinned and packet foods,

As it is Christmas we try to put a little extra in each bag. We would especially welcome Festive foods: Chocolate and fancy biscuits, Mince pies, Smaller Christmas cakes and cake bars, puddings of all sizes ,

Donation baskets are in Sainsburys and Tesco supermarkets and also at Forefront, 42 Fore Street, CHARD.

Also donations of tinned and packet foods, but they must be in date : Tinned meat products,Corned beef,Tinned ham. Tinned pies, Tinned fish products. Packets of instant mashed potato. Tins, packets and jars of cooking sauces. All Tinned fruits, Tinned rice pudding, tinned or packet custard. Tinned puddings Coffee, Drinking Chocolate, Bottles of squash Jams and Marmalade

Christmas specific donations are needed by the 10th & 17th of December

Baked Beans or tinned Spaghetti as we seem to be overstocked with them!! All donations are gratefully received and will not be on our shelves for long!

Ann Writes

It is lovely to be joining this community as Rector at this time of year.  I grew up in Taunton and have so many fond memories of Christmases past, particularly Boxing Day by the sea in Lyme or Sidmouth!  Since then I have lived in many different parts of the country, but now I am looking forward to coming ‘home’.   Mick and I are really pleased to be coming to Chard and to Combe, Wambrook and Whitestaunton and getting to know each of your communities, hearing your stories and being part of your lives.

Getting to this point has been a long and not always straightforward journey.  I spent over twenty years in secondary education teaching in London and in Suffolk, and I also managed a Debt Advice Centre in Cambridge. I always thought that ordained ministry was for other more ‘religious’ people, but God, it seems, had other ideas!  I nearly left it too late to respond to my sense of calling, but since taking the plunge I have been blessed and encouraged by so many people.  I have come to realise that being ‘religious’ has got nothing to do with it.  What matters is how we live our lives, both individually and as a community.  It is about kindness, generosity and tolerance, things which we all lack at times, but also things we can learn from one another. (more…)