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'If Candlemas be fine and clear
There'll be two winters in that year'
Strictly speaking Candlemas is 2nd February though it gets moved around for the convenience of the lectionary so keep an eye on the weather on 2nd and 4th this year! Candlemas was also the day when the candles for the year were blessed, and all the Christmas decorations absolutely had to be taken down. This year, with Easter so early, it falls only 10 days before Ash Wednesday.
Personally I'm always glad when January's over and I'm looking forward to February and all it has to offer.
This includes the Sidwell Memorial Recital on Friday 9th, this year featuring Nicholas Mogg - details further on and on the website, where you can book tickets - our usual Lunchtime recital and Literary hour; the Community Sponsorship Team will be running another workshop on 17th for people who want to be involved with the Refugee Project and our second "Tea Service at Henderson Court" will take place on 11th. This looks set to be a popular move - warmer and more comfortable than the church, nearer to people who might like to attend - we hope it will allow a good idea to grow.
But February is a short month and it's tempting to look ahead - just a little - to the first week in March when we have two important events: on Saturday 3rd we'll be preparing the voluntary rate letters. We've done this for many years now and it brings in a significant amount of money to our Fabric Fund. But it does involve sending a letter to every household and business in the parish - some 4,500 in all. The mailing includes, as well as the request for money, a leaflet outlining some of the events taking place over the year and details of our regular service times and contact details for anyone who wants to get in touch with the vicar or the church. All of which have to be put in envelopes. And that's where we can all help. The day starts at about 10.30 (time to be confirmed in the pewsheet) and goes on as long as necessary so you can see that the more people we get to help the quicker it will get done. Though no one would want it to finish before the excellent lunch Elizabeth and her helpers produce! At least we no longer have to deliver them as the church has handed that over to the Royal Mail who have access to all those secure blocks none of us can get into.
The other important event? Big Brew Day on Sunday 4th. This year the emphasis is on "Hidden entrepreneurs" - encouraging people with business ideas but not the opportunity to put them into practice. And any money we raise will be matched by the UK government. Sue Kwok goes into more detail in her article further on in this issue. So make a note in your diary now that coffee on Sunday 4th March will be a bit more exciting than usual.
So forget the January blues! Happy February!