Prayer for the Day in Advent

Praying handsEvery weekday from 1st December, there will be a brief thought and a prayer, intended to help prepare our hearts and minds for the coming of Christ at Christmas.

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We listened! No churchyard path.

Last night the PCC met to consider the proposal to put a path through the churchyard to allow access to the school. We decided not to do it.

The background to this decision is that we were approached by the Parish Council and the School to consider this as a possible way of making it easier to get in and out of school in the mornings and the afternoons. The main entrance gets congested and dangerous, residents have to put up with traffic jams, tempers get frayed, and there is always the danger that one day a child will be hurt.

So we worked out a possible route through to the back of the school – not easy, because we couldn’t put a path through that wouldn’t cross any graves. There was one possibility that seemed OK – no marked graves, not too many twists and turns.

We received a great deal of comments, some glad that something might be done to make life easier for children and parents, but many upset or angry at the thought of disruption in the churchyard.

In addition, one of the graves underneath the route the path would have taken has been identified, and it will now be marked with a headstone. So our preferred route is not available. We have also had an incident where a child was injured in the churchyard, and we were swayed by the argument that we couldn’t guarantee the safety of children walking through.

In the end, it was a simple decision, and we were unanimous in putting a stop to the plans.

We never wanted to antagonise people for whom the churchyard is precious, we simply wanted to see if we could help the school and the parents and children who attend. So we are truly sorry for the upset that has been caused to some, and the disappointment to others that one potential solution to an ongoing problem will not happen.

Please join us in thinking what else we can do for the good of our whole community, and let’s resist the temptation to let this issue divide us.

I am personally grateful to everyone who has taken the time to speak to me about this – every single one of you has been polite, reasonable and understanding when I have spoken to you face to face. More than that – many people have given up time and energy recently to care for the churchyard more than ever before, and I thank you for doing so. I hope that no one is feeling cross and upset at me personally, and if you are, please give me the chance to apologise to you and listen more carefully to your concerns. You can email me, ring me on 01992 589147, or you can knock on my door – 17 Barclay Close.

 

Nick Sharp

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Time to Remember

Two important opportunities to remember are coming up.Candles

On Sunday November 2nd, at 3.30pm, we have our annual Memorial Service, at which we recall by name those we love but see no longer. You are welcome to join us for this service, for refreshments afterwards, and to light a candle in remembrance of your loved one.

If you would like a name added to the list to be read out, please contact Nick.

Then on Sunday 9th November, Remembrance Day, our morning service will start at the earlier time of 9.45. We will go to the War Memorial in tine for the two minutes’ silence at 11am. Please come to either or both.

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Gravestones in the churchyard

Dear friends,churchyard2

We have recently conducted a survey of the gravestones in the churchyard, following an incident where someone was injured after a gravestone fell on them, and we have laid flat certain stones that were loose and could be considered dangerous.

We were challenged as we were doing it by Stuart Race, who pointed out that we really should have tried to notify people first, before interfering with the stones. Stuart is right and I thank him for pointing this out to us.

So – my apologies that we have acted first, and consulted afterwards. If your relative’s grave is one of those affected, then we would like to invite you to reinstate the gravestone, making sure that it is secure and can not fall. The stones are not our property, but yours: it is your responsibility to maintain then and repair them, but it is our responsibility to ensure the safety of the churchyard.

If you would prefer not to do this work, then the stones may remain laid flat from now on.

We will be writing personally to families where we know that they are relatives of a particular person or persons buried in the churchyard, but unfortunately we don’t have records going back further than 10 years of the next of kin, and nearly all of the stones we have laid down are older than that.

We have found ourselves in a difficult situation with regard to the churchyard recently, and I’m aware that we haven’t always done the right thing. I’m sorry about this, and I regret the upset and distress that we might have caused. I hope it won’t permanently damage anyone’s feelings towards us in the church, or towards the churchyard itself, which is precious to many. We have always known this, but we know it more clearly than ever now – and I want to say thank you to everyone who has taken the time to write to me or speak to me and express their opinion.


The question of what to do about the proposed path through the churchyard has not been settled yet, I am still open to your thoughts on the subject, and we will let everyone know what we have decided to do in due course.

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Here comes our Harvest Supper!

Harvest Supper

Join us on Saturday 4th October, 6.45 for 7pm at Hertford Heath School for Harvest Supper.

Tickets are £6.50 for an adult, £3.50 for a child and £18 for a family.

Please bring your own drinks and glasses, and a plate – we will provide the food, the cutlery, and the entertainment.

Tickets are available here.

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A path through the churchyard

Some time ago, we were approached by the Parish Council and the village School, to ask if we would put a path through our churchyard to allow children and parents an alternative way in to the school.

If you are involved in the school run at Hertford Heath, you will know how difficult and dangerous it is, negotiating narrow pavements, lack of parking, and only one way in and out of the school. So to be able to get in round the back would make life a lot easier for hard pressed parents. There would also be a spin off advantage for users of the churchyard: a hard and dry path along the length of the churchyard, making access much easier and less muddy in winter.

So what’s the problem? Simply this – there is no way of putting a path through that avoids crossing a grave. No way at all. We have carefully examined various different routes, and chosen the one that seems easiest and best. It does mean crossing two, possibly three unmarked graves.

There are other issues – allowing more people through the churchyard increases the risk that someone will harm themselves on gravestones, or that damage will be done to graves. On the other hand, it could be argued that it makes for a safer environment – the more people are travelling through, the less likely is that anyone will be lurking in there, up to no good.

I have to say, in my 9 years here, I know of no one who has suffered an accidental injury in the churchyard, and the amount of litter that might indicate some kind of “lurking” is very very small indeed.

Nevertheless, we would like to know your views. This is just an informal consultation – if we decide to go ahead with the plan, we will consult more formally. For now, can we invite you to take a look at the route we are proposing, and let us know what you think. There is a plan on display in church, and we have marked the route of the path on the ground in the churchyard.Churchyard path

There’s a comments box available in church, you are welcome to email your comments, or use Facebook or Twitter to get in touch if that suits you.

The darkened area shows where the path would cross over graves.

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Sunday School Party

Tomorrow at 10 our children will be partying in the vicarage garden. The weather looks to be kind, there will be games, food and fun, and we’re looking forward to a happy end of term.Capture

This means, of course, that there will be no children’s provision over the summer, other than All Age Worship services. On other Sundays, there will be some toys and a colouring activity on the table at the back of church, and Sunday School proper will be back on the 14th September.

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Team Service today at All Saints Hertford

If you were thinking of joining us this morning at 10am, change your journey plans and come to All Saints Hertford.
At 10am we have a combined service for the whole of the Hertford team.

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Trinity Sunday

Do you know why this church is called Holy Trinity?
Come along this Sunday, at 8am or 10am, to find out!

Every Church of England church, every Roman Catholic church, and quite a few others, are called by the name of a saint, or some aspect of God’s nature. There is a particualr day in the year dedicated to each saint, or to each aspect of the Godhead, and that day is a special one to a church bearing its particular name.

Our church is named Holy Trinity, and this Sunday is Trinity Sunday.

But what is the Holy Trinity? How we can talk about God being made up of three persons, yet only one God. What difference does it make to us to believe this? Come and ask these and even harder questions if you dare, and we’ll explore the answers together.

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Messy Church for Pentecost!

Messy ChurchOn Sunday 8 June at 4pm, Messy Church lands in Holy Trinity again. We’ll be thinking about the Holy Spirit. Who is he, and why is he our friend?

There’ll be all the usual fun – games, crafts, singing and food, together with the chance to worship God and learn more about his wonderful Holy Spirit.

It’s aimed particularly at families with primary school children, and why not come along and join us?

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