will be run by Janet Lambourne and Revds Roger Balkwill and Sally Day. They are for anyone from the benefice who
would like to know more about praying. We all know we are very bad at it!
Entertainment by Jean Martyn.
Last year the scheduled
concert by the versatile and irrepressible Jean Martyn had to be postponed so we are very glad to welcome her this year on
Friday 23rd March. Please contact Pippa for tickets at £10 each. There will be a glass of wine, canapés and a
raffle. All proceeds to Tong organ fund, as our little J. W. Walker organ needs refurbishing and we have accepted a quote
for £28,500 plus VAT. As it is rather urgent, we are keen to raise the money in the next few months.
Are You an Organist? (
or even a pianist prepared to sit on the organ stool?)
We are looking for occasional organists to play once or
twice a year when our regular is away. Please get in touch with Pippa if you could offer to fill in even just once for the
11 o’clock service. Hymns only and something at the beginning and end if you like. Be warned that the organ is in rather
a poorly state, but we have a faculty to repair it when we collect enough money.
Maundy Thursday at the cathedral
Each year there is a big service in the cathedral at 11.00 am. It is a time when lay people and clergy renew their commitment
to serving the Lord, and it is always rewarding and uplifting to be part of a huge gathering in worship. Being a Christian
doesn't then feel so lonely. It would be good if some of the Tong congregation decided to give it a go, and I would have
space in my car for 3 or 4 others. Let me know.
The Pulpit Fall - or is it a reredos?
Hanging up in the vestry for many a long year has been
a piece of embroidery in a glass-fronted wooden case, approximately 4ft high by 6 ft. wide. Apart from the fact that we know
it was given to the church in 1635 by Dame Eleanor Harries, who also gave the wooden pulpit, (and the Tong Cup) we have not
really had much clue what it was or how old. After many blind alleys, Paul and Jane Joseland kindly took it to the School
of Needlework at Hampton Court and they have done a full report which I can forward to anyone who is interested. The upshot
is that they think the fabric and original embroidery dates from the sixteenth century but that there were embellishments
added in the seventeenth. So now we have to work out where we are going to display it and how, so that it can be seen by visitors.
At present it is being conserved - for which of course there is a considerable cost! Any donations specifically for the work
on the embroidery or on the organ, both of which are special interest items, and we would be overjoyed to hear from you.
DO YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT PUBLICITY?
Another request is for someone who would be prepared to “up” our publicity. We are suggesting 3
hours per week which will be paid.
On 27th February,
Bishop of Lichfield passed through Tong with the latest batch of curates on their pilgrimage from Shrewsbury to Lichfield.
They couldn’t have picked a worse week weather-wise, except that it was mainly dry but the Beast from the east was ferociously
in their faces all the way. It was lovely to be able to welcome them and give them lunch, and for us they gave
“Pop-up Faith Stories”, 2 minutes each on why they were Christians which was well attended and truly inspiring.
Diocesan Advisory Committee
(DAC for short) visited St. Bartholomew’s to look
at the proposals for the intended WC & kitchenette on 22nd February. They seemed to be supportive and although there is
a long way to go and plans in minute detail will have to be drawn, that is one hurdle behind us. They also looked at the work
that has been done around the ruins and in the field and want us to put a ramp as well as steps, so it is back to the drawing
board for that. Meanwhile work continues on money raising, the ‘development phase’ of the Heritage Lottery grant
(and others) for the stonework on tower, spire, crenellations and pinnacles - and even the weather vane - which we hope will
be completed later this year.