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Hurstbourne Tarrant Parish

"From the Vicar" November 2017

From the Vicar

November is a time of remembrance and reflection. We have All Saints, All Souls and Remembrance Sunday.

All Saints is a time when we remember all the saints, known and unknown, who have gone before us and are now at rest in heaven. We celebrate the major saints on the anniversary of their death, but for the rest we celebrate them on 1st November, or the nearest Sunday. This year this is Sunday 29th October.

All Souls’ Day is also known as the Commemoration of All Faithful Departed and is when we remember our own loved ones. The prayers on that day remind us that we are joined with the Communion of Saints, that great group of Christians who have finished their earthly life and with whom we all share in the hope of the resurrection from the dead. It is always on 2nd November, except when it falls on a Sunday when it is moved to the Monday. All who have died during this year will be remembered.

We are holding two services. At St Mary the Virgin, Vernham Dean our service is at 11 am. For those who cannot make that service we have a service at St Peter’s Hurstbourne Tarrant at 7.30 pm.

Our Remembrance services for those who have fallen in war since the First World War are on Sunday 12th November. A time when we remember the many people who gave their lives for our freedom today. A time when as a community, we take time to remember them.

Although this may appear to be very solemn, in all these services we share in the hope that we have through our Lord Jesus Christ and his resurrection from the dead. We then move forward through to Advent and then Christmas, so it is good that we take this time once a year to recognise what others have meant to us and have done for us and to remember them.

God Bless you


What is a Sexton and a Verger?

A Sexton is a church officer charged with the maintenance of its buildings and/or the surrounding graveyard. In smaller places of worship, this office is often combined with that of Verger. This office reports to the Church Wardens.

The general duties of a modern Sexton may include: -

·         Supervising the maintenance of the churchyard, even if an outside contractor is employed to do the work.

·         Maintaining a record of burials within the churchyard, and addressing enquiries about such records.

·         Operation and maintenance of mechanical systems, such as hot water systems, kitchen equipment, and piping systems (i.e.   water, and sewer systems).

·         Operation and maintenance of electrical and instrument systems,

·         Ordering/receiving supplies and equipment.

·         Aesthetic appearance, security, and fire protection.

·         Logistics for events on church calendar (chairs/tables, lighting, acoustics, audio/video, etc.)

·         Emergency response during bad weather, etc.

·         Other building and grounds tasks not handled by a contract service and/or church volunteers, such as the replacement of ceiling light bulbs, returning premises to a neat and orderly state following services and events, disposal of rubbish, and running any local errands or trips that are needed by the church.

A Verger is a person, usually a layperson, who assists in the ordering of religious services and therefore responds to the presider at the service. The Office of the Verger has its roots in the early days of church history. Historically Vergers were responsible for the order and upkeep of the house of worship, including the care of the church buildings, its furnishings, and sacred relics, preparations for liturgy, conduct of the laity, and grave-digging responsibilities. Although there is no definitive historical examination of the Office of Verger, evidence from Rochester, Lincoln, Exeter, and Salisbury Cathedrals points to the existence of Vergers even in the twelfth century. Perhaps the best-known portrait of a Verger in fiction is in Somerset Maugham's short story, "The Verger."

During the service itself, a Verger's main duty is ceremonially to precede the religious participants as they move about the church; he or she does not typically take any speaking part in the service itself. It could be argued that a Verger's main pride during a service lies in his or her inconspicuousness; Vergers often play a very prominent role "behind the scenes" — helping to plan the logistical details of service and discreetly shepherding the clergy through it.

The office's title comes from the ceremonial rod which a Verger can carry, a virge (from the Latin virga, branch, staff or rod). You see this in Cathedrals and some larger churches. The Maces of State used in the House of Lords and the House of Commons of the British Parliament are examples of another modern use of the medieval virge. In former times, a Verger might have needed to use his virge to keep back animals or an over enthusiastic crowd from the personage he was escorting or even to discipline unruly choristers.

In small churches today, the office of Verger is often combined with that of Sexton: the Verger assisting at services and the Sexton maintaining the church building the rest of the time are one and the same person.


Confirmation is when young people and adults decide that they want to confirm their own faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and be confirmed by the Bishop. In 2018 there will be at least two chances of being confirmed. If you would like any more information on confirmation or how you can be confirmed please contact the Rev’d Trevor Lewis.