I’m not a ‘dedicated follower of fashion’, as the song puts it, but of late I discover that I just might be fashionably unfashionable!
There has been some recent comment in the press about the huge amount of clothes that are bought and, being relatively cheap, only worn once or twice and then thrown away. Apparently, Britain’s threw away some £12.5 billion of clothes last year; 300,000 tonnes of clothes were dumped in landfill.
And I look at my clothes (some bought from charity shops) and I see I have a sweatshirt that was bought before our daughter (now 21) was born. It’s a bit threadbare but I am still wearing it regularly – but not in public! Even my black cassock is 25 years old. And I confess that some of my aged trousers seem to have shrunk around the waist!
I sort of work on the principle that if I keep something long enough, it might come back into fashion.
The season of Lent is unfashionable and many people have ditched it. Fewer people are ‘giving up’ something for Lent or indeed taking up something. I think it’s a bit of a pity.
The six week period of Lent is a good time to attempt to do or be something positive. Researchers tell us that if we do something for about six weeks, it is enough time to make or break a habit. Many years ago, I gave up sugar in tea and coffee – and at the end of Lent I just couldn’t stand sugar in my drinks anymore.
Perhaps, this year, you and I might use the season of Lent to do something different - from 6th March – 21st April – and make difference. It might be simply being still each day and thinking about those you love and name them before God; or ringing up someone each week who you’ve meant to keep up with; or give a little time to others. Even clear out that wardrobe you’ve been meaning to do and have a trip to the charity shops.
It might be out of fashion – but Lent can be a good time for a new start; and in my case, a new cassock....
The Rev’d Canon John Swanton
Services at All Saints’ Church
Sunday 3rd March : Sunday before Lent
10.00am Parish Communion
Thursday 6th March: Ash Wednesday
Noon Holy Communion with Ashing at Poulton Church
Sunday 10th March : 1st Sunday of Lent
10.00am Parish Communion Service : Harnhill
Sunday 17th March : 2nd Sunday of Lent
10.00am Parish Communion : Ampney Crucis
6.00pm Word & Worship at Poulton
Sunday 24th March : 3rd Sunday of Lent
10am Parish Communion at Poulton
6.00pm Evening Prayer and Meditation at Ampney Crucis
Sunday 31st March : Mothering Sunday
10am Family Communion at Ampney St Peter
A family friendly service for all with presents for mothers of all sorts!
Lost in Translation : Tuesday 26th March 10.30am for an hour or so
a look at St John’s Gospel at those passages that over time have been ‘lost in translation’.
Coffee, discussion and a look at scripture. The Rectory, Ampney Crucis, GL7 5RY
4th Wednesday of each month – at 11am in the Dakota Room. Please do come along and join us.
For details of the Lenten activities taking place in our parishes – please have a look on the church website – www.ampneyinfo or Google ‘Ampney Vicar’ and the website appears.
There is a dedicated page entitled ‘Lent 2019’
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.
Vaughan William Singers in Concert : Saturday 4th May 7pm
at All Saints’ Church, Down Ampney
Sumptuous choral music by Eric Whitacre, Morten Laurisen, Eriks Esenvalds, Ola Gjeilo and more.
Tickets £12.00 available from www.vwsingers.org/events on the door or locally from The Vicar; and from Down Ampney Village Shop
RAF PRESENTATION TEAM : Tuesday 23rd July at Down Ampney Church
Find out about ‘The RAF Today’ – through an engaging and dramatic audio-visual presentation and question and answer time with serving RAF personnel who have operational experience.
7pm Doors open and drinks & nibbles
7.30pm start (30 minute presentation)
8pm Question and Answer (20 minutes)
Tickets £5.00 towards the Arnhem 2019 Commemoration costs; available on the door or locally from The Vicar; and from Down Ampney Village Shop