Church News

Love actually ….

‘I love you’ can be three of the loveliest words to hear; and three of the hardest words to say.

This month, with St Valentine’s Day on 14th February, and also with this being a leap year, permission is given to the least romantic of us to say ‘I love you’ – in person or through Valentine cards and gifts; or when declaring your wish to marry the one you ‘love’!

The English language can prove a bit of a stumbling block when it comes to expressing ‘love’ because the word ‘LOVE’ has so many aspects to it – it can be romantic and sentimental; or deep affection for a parent or sibling or child; or it can mean care for the welfare of your neighbour. In the Bible four Greek words which mean love cover these: eros (romantic), storge (family), philia (love of friends), agape (loving one another generally).

Whoever and however we love, St Paul offers some useful and practical advice about it (1 Corinthians 13). He tells us that love is: gentle, kind, not envious, or boastful and not proud. Love does not dishonour others, is not self-seeking, not easily angered, does not keep a record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. Love always protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres. Love never fails.

There are many people around who live lives filled with love for others and demonstrate these characteristics day-by-day, even though it’s not always easy. And yet these people are often the most lovely, fulfilled, and inspiring people you could hope to know; but they would not necessarily think that.

This month – take the risk to tell those who need to know that … you love them.

The Rev’d Canon John Swanton
01285 851309
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Services at All Saints’ Church

Sunday 26th January: 3rd Sunday of Epiphany

10.00am Parish Communion at Poulton

 Sunday 2nd February: The Presentation of Christ in the Temple

10.00am Parish Communion at Down Ampney

6pm Candlemas Service by Candlelight at Ampney Crucis

Sunday 9th February: 3rd Sunday before Lent

10.00am Parish Communion at Driffield

Sunday 16th February: 2nd Sunday before Lent

10.00am Parish Communion at Ampney Crucis

Sunday 23rd February: Sunday next before Lent

10.00am Parish Communion at Poulton

Wednesday 25th February: Ash Wednesday

Noon Parish Communion with Ashing at Ampney Crucis

Down Ampney Coffee Morning

11am on Wednesday 25th February in the Dakota Room at the Village Hall

Events Team

From time to time I get asked by choirs and people to hold events at the church. It is great to have the church used in this way and to be raising funds for good causes and enjoying music and entertainment. However, all this needs some organising. I hope to pull an ‘Events Team’ together to help with publicity, ticket sales, refreshments, stewarding etc. If you would like to help us organise events and join a happy group of people – you would be very welcome. Please get in contact.

Christmas Flowers in Churchyard

All Christmas wreaths, flowers and ornaments on graves in the churchyard will be removed on 2nd February or very soon afterwards.

The Rev’d Canon John Swanton

01285 – 851309

Caring for God’s Acre

Churchyards are special places where friends and relatives are buried in consecrated ground and people come to pay their respects and remember those whom they love but see no more.

The upkeep and maintenance of the open churchyard at All Saints’ Down Ampney is the responsibility of the Parochical Church Council (PCC) – which is made up of a group of volunteers who oversee the ministry of the church and its property. Down Ampney Parish Council (the civil authority) kindly provides the contractor to cut the grass.

A churchyard is not a private place in which anything is acceptable, but rather a place where many people have an interest in its appearance. The Church of England therefore has regulations about what is and is not permissible in a churchyard. These regulations are designed to help ensure that churchyards have a pleasing appearance, to allow the wild life to flourish, for the maintenance of the grounds and safety of those who look after them.

A copy of the Churchyard Regulations can be found in the church and are also available at

We recognise that churchyards should not be absolutely uniform, however standards have to be acceptable to the wide variety of people who come to mourn their own relatives. For this reason there are general principles which have to be applied and in Gloucestershire many of our churches – like the Grade I Listed All Saints’ Church - are of national importance and their surrounding churchyards deserve special care.

In English law, no one has the right to be buried in a churchyard, but there are eligibility criteria – i.e. people who live or die in the parish are eligible to be buried in a churchyard. When the Vicar or PCC agrees to a burial, the grave remains in the ownership of the church – unlike in local authority or private graveyards where a (usually 75 year) lease is entered into. In Gloucestershire there are rules about what type of unpolished stone can be used for a headstone or memorial plaque.

There are other regulations to do with flowers and ornaments, which we shall cover in next month’s edition of Down Ampney News.

These regulations are not to prevent people from mourning and remembering their loved ones, but rather to help maintain order and a seemly appearance to our churchyards for everyone who visit.

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