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Compass is the name of St.Mary's Parish magazine. It is published at the beginning of every month and is distributed throughout the Parish by a band of volunteers.

If you would like to receive a copy of the magazine nearly every month (there is a combined December/ January edition), it is available for an Annual Subscription of £5.00

If you live outside the Parish and would still like to receive a copy, arrangements can be made to post it for an additional charge
For more information about the magazine, please contact either:

Editors                          Robert Pearson
                                     Mary Norris 
                                     Ed Sands    
Distribution Manager    Vacant

Articles from our December 2018 / January 2019 Magazine

Vicar Margaret Caunt writes
I was down in a well-known store in Nottingham the other day picking out a present for a friend’s new baby. It took me ages to choose something because there was so much on offer. The colours, textiles, patterns, age and height ranges of little outfits, the blankets and toys. It all made my head spin, there was so much stuff, so much to choose from. I had to retreat to the coffee shop for a drink and a think!
In comparison with some other countries we are very well off, the vast array of goods in our shops, department stores and on the internet for us to purchase, consume and collect indicate this. I was wondering as I sat with my coffee if all this stuff is really necessary? And if all this material stuff, which our purchasing power allows us buy, make us any more content, loved, secure or at peace with ourselves?
Money, possessions and collecting material stuff, can be a bit like junk food, they satisfy our cravings for a while but then we feel empty, hungry again. I believe that many people in our society today are deeply hungry. Hungry on the inside and try to fill that ache, that hunger, with all kinds of things as they search for something or someone to fill and satisfy their restlessness. Many are hungry to find the answers to life’s big questions like; why am I here? What’s the purpose of my life? Am I loved?

My shopping trip reminded me of another new born who once came into the world. This baby came with nothing. Jesus the Son of God was born to parents who were so poor that He was dressed not in John Lewis’ finest but in rags and his crib was a manger, the animals feeding box. In coming to earth as one of us, Jesus gave up all his heavenly splendour and plenty. In Jesus, God took on flesh and bone and stepped into our time, to be with us, to share our joys, our struggles. God in His love came to have a relationship with us. A relationship filled with love which satisfies those deep hungry questions in our hearts and souls, a relationship which gives our life meaning, purpose, direction and peace.

Someone once said that when God gives a gift, He wraps it in a person. That is so true, money and possessions are no substitute for the gift of relationship and love. So this Christmas Season, why not try to spend a little less cash and spend more time with loved ones. Love and care for them, thank God for them, they also are His gifts.

And remember Gods gift of love and peace to you and the world. That gift wrapped in Jesus, in whose service we find peace and deep lasting joy! Why not come along, say hello and celebrate with us at our Christmas services.

You are really welcome
Every Blessing
Vicar Margaret  



Christmas throughout the Christian world
For nearly four weeks leading up to Christmas Christians recognise a period called Advent. It means ‘coming’. It is a time of spiritual preparation. 'Coming' refers to Jesus’ first coming as a baby, but it also looks forward to a day when Jesus is expected to return in triumph at his ‘second coming’ to establish perfect justice and a new order of peace.
Originally Christians marked Advent as a time when they refrained from excessive eating and drinking. Then Christmas Day reintroduced them to the joys of
feasting. Christmas celebrations lasted for twelve days, with gifts exchanged as a climax at Epiphany (6 January). Today, however, Advent is more likely to be associated with accelerating festivity, with the days following Christmas something of an anti-climax until ‘twelfth night’, on which decorations are
removed. Many Christians worldwide are trying to revive the spirit of Advent by setting aside time to pray and address global poverty.

Christmas Day is celebrated as the anniversary of Jesus’ birth, although the actual date is not known. Most Christians celebrate it on 25th December. However, the Orthodox Church (the ancient churches in Eastern Europe and parts of Asia) follows a different calendar and celebrates on 7th January. Christians make a point of taking communion on Christmas Day. Many make it the first thing they do as the clock strikes midnight.
On 6th January the Christmas festival continues with a celebration of Epiphany, which means ‘the appearance’. Christians remember the visit of wise men (Magi) to Jesus, bringing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. The Christmas tradition of exchanging gifts originally honoured these men, who were the first non-Jews (Gentiles) to worship Jesus. It forms a reminder that in Jesus God was giving Himself for the benefit of the entire world.
Orthodox Christians use this day to recall the baptism of Jesus as a grown man. The significance of Jesus being baptised was that He identified Himself with
human beings in all their need. They mark the day by praying for God’s blessing on rivers, wells and water sources.

Christmas has never been just an escapist festival for Christians. Those who treat it seriously recognise that not all the world is able to face the days with frivolity or joy. The day after Christmas, Boxing Day, was historically marked as the feast of St Stephen. He was the first man to be put to death rather than give up his belief that Jesus was God. And two days later a day remembering the Massacre of the Innocents recalls Herod’s attempt to destroy Jesus by killing all male babies in Bethlehem. Although not so widely marked as Christmas Day, it gives Christians the opportunity to pray for children in today’s world who suffer as a result of the actions of adults.

This is from:

God’s Special Gift
For those of us about to spend Christmas with a new child or grandchild, we will know how very special the arrival of a baby is! This Christmas we
celebrate again God’s gift of Jesus: ‘Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!’ (2 Corinthians 9:15). What can we say about this baby?

He is God Himself:
The unthinkable has happened: God has become a human being! The eternal,creator God enters the world of time and space, both fully human and fully divine. This divine baby can bring hope to our messy world, because He has fully become part of it. He doesn’t stand apart, but demonstrates a commitment to be with us and on our side in the midst of sin and suffering.

He is human like us:
Jesus fully engaged with the jungle of human experience. By His cross and resurrection, He can release us from the power of wrong, hurt and shame to
secure for us a life of love, peace and forgiveness. Remember, the crib and cross are made of the same wood!

He is one with us:
In the coming of Jesus, God doesn’t draw us simply into a cosmic event, but into a relationship. Just as you or I can hold and hug our children and grandchildren, so we have a God who wants to be intimately involved in our lives. As Emmanuel, ‘God is with us’ (Matt 1:23), therefore, the question is: Are we with Him? Are we ready to make space for Him at the centre of our Christmas Celebrations this year?

‘At Christmas time, when we receive presents we don’t really need, God offers us a gift we cannot do without.’ (J John).  

Arnold Food Bank
Arnold Food Bank was founded in December 2012 & is a member of The Trussel Trust which supports a network of over 420 food banks across the UK to provide emergency food to people in crisis. We receive no help from the Government and are self-sufficient in raising funds.
Here are figures we have for our year ended 31/03/18:
We issued 1,705 vouchers serving 2,258 adults and 1,289 children. This is an increase of 33% of people served for 2017. The main crisis types were 48% for benefit changes and delays, whilst a further 27% was for low income. The total figure for food donated was 28,363 Kg or 28.36 Tonnes.
Some reasons for using Food Bank:
·       I thought of shoplifting to feed my children
·       For the past few days I have been begging on the streets
·       Without the food bank I don’t think I would be here today
·       The Food Bank saved our lives
·       We didn’t know where our next meal was coming from
·       And – on a brighter note, The food bank gave me faith that there are people who understand and who you can trust.
Thank you ALL for volunteering and giving your time. Without your help the Food Bank could not run.

Alan Langton
The worse you feel, the more likely you are to believe in God.
At least that is a finding from the latest British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey, which has found that patients admitted to hospital are more likely to have religious faith than people in the general public.
It seems that more than half of us are happy to say that we have 'no religion', according to the latest BSA survey, which found that 52 per cent of us deny any religious affiliation.   But this figure drops to only 15 per cent once you become a NHS patient.
Data from the Manchester University NHS Trust also shows that while 40 per cent of the population identify as Christian, this figure soars to 66 per cent once people are admitted to hospital.  

                                                  Remembering the end of World War One
This year Remembrance Sunday (11th November) marks the centenary of the end of World War One. Of the 65 million men who were mobilized, 8.5 million were killed and a further 21 million wounded. Wilfred Owen wrote of those ‘who die as cattle.’
How should we celebrate this anniversary? In remembering the Armistice, our response should be to desire Micah’s vision of universal peace in our world: ‘They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.’ (Micah 4:3).
However, why keep asking God for peace, when we continue to see such violence and unrest in our world? The Bible makes it clear that peace is not just the absence of war or being untroubled. It means being in a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ, with other people and with wider society.
Of course, Micah’s words are looking to end of time when God will make all things new in His universal kingdom. However, these promises also can speak to us now. The ministry of Jesus demonstrated the kingdom or reign of God breaking into the everyday, as He healed the sick and brought reconciliation and hope. When we pray for peace, we’re rejecting the ‘old order of things’, of violence and war and asking God to make His kingdom real today. We’re citizens of the new kingdom, reshaping the old.
The end of the centenary of World War 1 is a time to consider peace. Although the war did not bring a lasting peace to the world, for the Christian there’s a deeper lesson: peace begins with the healing of hearts, the restoring of relationships and with a deep, costly commitment to justice.
Tower update

Progress continues to be made on assessing the cost and extent of work needed on the Tower. We now have had two estimates submitted for the work needed and await a third. The good news is that the work is not as extensive as we first feared, the bad news is that current estimates range from £25 to £35K for that work with the cost of accessing the Tower a major factor.

Our own efforts to raise funds now have reached an excellent total of around £7K but we now need to develop a strategy for generating financial support from the variety of funding bodies supporting such work. Meanwhile, to increase our own contribution, an afternoon event will be held in church on Thursday, October 18th. The speaker Professor Julian Evans, was formerly Professor of Forestry at Imperial College & Chief Research Officer for the Forestry Commission and has written or been a principal editor of some 16 books on forestry and tree-related subjects, including his book 'God’s Trees’ on trees, forests and wood found in the bible.

He was a popular speaker on a recent eventful ‘Round the British Isles’ cruise taken by Ralph and led the meetings and Sunday worship held on the boat.

The intention would be to have his talk followed by afternoon tea. We would hope as many as possible would come to enjoy his presentation.’ See advert flor more details and please put it in your diary!

The Plastic Revolution

The recent Blue Planet II series exposed just how much plastic waste is an issue in our seas. The Prime Minister has called plastic waste ‘one of the great environmental scourges of our
time.’ The best estimates suggest 10 million tonnes of plastic ends up in our oceans, contaminating and killing sea life. How should we view this issue from a Christian perspective?

When God created the universe, He saw ‘everything He had made, and indeed, it was very good.’ (Genesis 1:31). He call us to share in His care of creation: ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the
earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves on the ground.’ (Genesis 1:28). Our rule over living creatures is not an excuse to exploit them in a selfish way. As those who made in the image of God, we are entrusted to care for them with responsibility and trustworthiness.

Why do the sea creatures being killed by plastic matter? Because of human rebellion against God (see Genesis 3), our relationship with God and His creation was damaged. No longer do we live with living creatures in harmony and interdependence. Yet after the flood, when Noah rescued the animals in the ark they are included in God’s everlasting promise to protect the earth: ‘I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you, and with every living creature that was with you.’ (Genesis 9:9,10). This also points to God’s cosmic plan to restore all creation to Himself.

What is our response to be? Where is God calling us, as His people in this time an place, to make a stand in protecting His creation? Time for a plastic revolution?  

The ‘Other’ Mary
A new film about her has stimulated fresh interest in one of the most elusive characters in the New Testament story, Mary Magdalene. I saw the film recently and personally found it disappointing. How do you make a rather boring film about such a fascinating person? Was she, as widely believed, a prostitute converted by Jesus? Probably not. Did she wash the feet of Jesus and dry them with her hair? Again, probably not. Was she the sister of Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead (as the film assumes)? Again, not proven. But amidst all the assumptions we actually know a lot about her, clearly recorded in the Gospels.
On her saint’s day (July 23rd) this year) it would be best to concentrate on them, rather than guesswork. She is mentioned by name 14 times in the New Testament - more often than
almost all the other disciples. Jesus ‘delivered’ her from seven demons (in first century terms, an awful mental or moral condition), and she then led a group of women disciples who travelled with Jesus and supported Him out of their own resources (Luke 8:1-3). Most significantly of all, the unanimous testimony of the Gospels is that Mary was with the mother of Jesus at the cross, helped with His burial, and was the first human being to see and speak with the risen Christ (John 20:11-18). At the command of Jesus, she went and told the apostles, but they wouldn’t believe her, because she was a woman. How times change!

As He was dying, Jesus made provision for His mother’s future care. As soon as He was raised from death, He provided the ’other’ Mary in His life with the assurance of His risen humanity – and made her the ‘apostle to the apostles’.
by Canon David Winter

To see the Movie Trailer, please click here. Hopefully we will be showing this at a special showing at our Community Cinema later this year!

There was once an old monastery that had fallen upon hard times. Centuries earlier it had been a thriving monastery where many dedicated monks lived and worked and had great influence, but now only five monks lived there and they were all over 70 years old. This was clearly a dying order. A few miles from the monastery lived an old hermit who many thought was a prophet. One day as the monks agonized over the impending demise of their order, they decided to visit the hermit to see if he might have some advice for them. Perhaps he would be able to see the future and show them what they could do to save the monastery.

The hermit welcomed the five monks to his hut, but when they explained the purpose of their visit he could only commiserate with them. "Yes I understand how it is," said the hermit, "the spirit has gone out of the people, hardly anyone cares much for the old things anymore."

"Is there anything you can tell us," the Abbot enquired of the hermit, "that could help us to save the monastery?"  'No I am sorry," said the hermit. "l don't know how your monastery can be saved, the only thing that I can tell you is that one of you is an Apostle of God."

The monks were both disappointed and confused by the hermit's cryptic statement. They returned to the monastery wondering what the hermit could have meant by the statement "one of you is an Apostle of God". For months after their visit, the monks pondered the significance of the hermit's words.

'One of us is an Apostle of God," they mused. "Did he actually mean, one of us monks here at the monastery? That is impossible. We are all too old, we are all too insignificant. On the other hand, what if it is true and if it is true, then which one of us is it?

'Do you suppose he meant the Abbot? Yes, if he meant anyone, he probably meant the Abbot. He has been our leader for more than a generation. On the other hand he might have meant Brother Thomas. Certainly Brother Thomas is a holy man, a man of wisdom and light. He couldn't have meant Brother Elred. Elred gets crochety at times and is difficult to reason with. n the other hand, he is almost always right. Maybe the hermit did mean Brother Elred. But surely he could not have meant Brother Philip? Brother Philip is so passive, so shy, a real nobody. Still, he is always there when you need him. He is loyal and trustworthy. Yes, he could have meant Philip. Of course, the hermit didn't mean me, he couldn't possibly have meant me. I am just an ordinary person. Yet suppose he did. Suppose I am an Apostle of God. Oh God, not me. I couldn't be that much for you. Or could l?"

As they contemplated in this manner, the old monks began to treat each other with extraordinary respect on the off chance that one of them might actually be an Apostle of God and on the off, off chance that each monk himself might be the apostle spoken of by the hermit, each monk began to treat himself with extraordinary respect.

Because the monastery was situated in a beautiful forest, many people came there to picnic on its lawn and to walk on its paths and now and then to go into the tiny chapel to meditate. As they did so, without even being conscious of it, they sensed the aura of
extraordinary respect that now began to surround the five old monks and seemed to radiate from them, permeating the atmosphere of the place. There was something strangely attractive, even compelling, about it. Hardly knowing why, people began to bring their friends to show them this special place, and their friends brought their friends.

As more and more visitors came, some of the younger men started to talk with the old monks. After a while one asked if he could join them, then another, then another. Within a few years, the monastery had once again become a thriving order and thanks to the hermit's wisdom a vibrant center of light and spirituality throughout the region.

Alan Langton - British Empire Medal Award.

It is with great pleasure that we announce Alan’s recent prestigious award  for his involvement with the community life of Arnold and Mapperley. This will be presented to him on 1st September at Nottingham Council House by the Lord-Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire, Sir John Peace, and he will have an invitation to Buckingham Palace for one of the Garden Parties next year.

Alan says: “My professional career was always in teaching, and I taught at Eastwood Hall Park School and Carlton le Willows School, before being appointed to the Headship of South Wolds School at Keyworth in 1981. I retired from this post in 1994 after thirteen very happy years within this village community. At the same time as teaching during the week I was licenced as a Reader in the Diocese of Southwell in 1963, and have continued to serve the parish of Saint Mary’s Arnold for fifty four years, and worked with seven different vicars during that time.”

In 1986 he was one of a group of men who formed the original Rotary Club of Arnold and Mapperley, where he is still a member. This lively group seeks to address and respond to local issues and local people by helping with money and practical schemes which we feel require additional support. He has also been the local representative for the Leprosy Mission in the area, and helped to help raise large sums of money for this international cause over the last thirty years
“After my retirement from teaching I wished to continue making a contribution to society, especially in the area of Arnold and Mapperley, where I have always lived. I formed the ‘Arnold Golden Eagles’, a group especially for older citizens where they could find out more about the workings of health and council and social service organisations as they affected their lives. This was a sub-group of the Arnold Area Forum, which I have represented on the county-wide Older People’s Advisory Group (OPAG), the object of which is to try and ensure that local issues of older people are heard by the County Council for their consideration in future strategies.

“I have served as vice-chair of this Nottinghamshire group for several years until last year. I have also served on the Southwell Diocesan Older People’s Forum, which ties up well with the local parishes’ issues concerning the welfare of older parishioners.

The award came as a complete surprise, but is deeply appreciated.” Vicar of St. Mary’s, the Rev’d Margaret Caunt, says: “I think Alan is a worthy recipient of the award. I’ve not been here long but I know that he’s done a lot of good work in the Arnold community and here at St Mary’s over the past 40 years.
How do people encounter God?
Human beings from ancient days have looked to the skies in a state of wonder, and attributed the scope and beauty of what they see to a Creator. For those who believe in God, that sense of wonder has increased in recent years as science has made us increasingly aware of how very unlikely it has been that life of any kind
Like many people, Christians look at nature and marvel. In it they find powerful evidence for the existence of God. It speaks of the character of God – powerful, eternal and with a special place for humans in His purposes. However, it also poses unsettling questions about God, because nature is a place in which catastrophes can overtake men and women in a way that seems meaningless and entirely unfair.

Deep down in human nature is a curiosity that leads us again and again to speculate that there may be a God. These encounters take place in circumstances in which we confront something that money cannot buy. Sometimes it is a shock that leads to these questions – the loss of a job, a friend or health. Sometimes it is joy – such as the birth of children and the longing to give them a future full of hope. Sometimes it is disappointment that the activities of life do not make us feel fulfilled. Occasionally people encounter God through supernatural experiences that they cannot explain.

There are many circumstances in which people find their attention grabbed by the possibility that God might be making Himself known to them. However, Christians
have always recognised that the most significant way that God has made Himself known is through a specific event in history. God has lived in a human body. At the
start of the first century AD, God inhabited human flesh, and walked and talked on this planet - Jesus, the founder of the Christian faith.

When a child asks, ‘What is God like?’ a good answer would be, ‘He is like Jesus.’ Christians study Jesus’ life and teaching because they appear to answer some of
the questions they have about God.

You can find answers to questions about Christianity at is the website of the Christian Enquiry Agency Ltd. This is an
agency of Churches Together in England.  

Understanding and living with depression
Lady Gaga helps others with Anxiety and Depression by declaring an inborn tendency to such mental illness herself which is made worse in living such a public life. In times of Depression I am helped to endure by people I admire, such as Winston Churchill, depression he called ‘black dog’, and some Church leaders when depressed felt the Spirit of God deserted them. Depression impacts people
of all ages. Parents may feel, often wrongly, that it can blight a child’s life. Many depressions are one off events. Depression can arise from our inherited make up, with or without some element of life’s stresses. For instance, it’s half of Bipolar Disorder. It can arise from a traumatic experience.

Every 2 people out of 10 are likely to feel it from their experience. The NHS Wales booklet on’ Depression in Young People’ states ‘It is normal to feel down and not enjoy things sometimes, but when these feelings are severe, long lasting or keep coming back, and begin to affect your day to day life, this may be a sign of affects your moods, energy, thoughts and behaviours. Depression can be treated’. It can make us feel unable to concentrate and make decisions, lose confidence, no energy and see no hope. Treatments are available but the sooner accessed via your Dr., the shorter the illness. Talking Therapies are first line. The aim of CBT Cognitive Behavioural Therapy etc. is to help us manage what is happening to us by finding a changed way to think, behave and cope so as to break the cycle of feeling down. Family or friends can sometimes make us feel worse by saying ‘pull yourself together’ and make us feel more doomed. Listening and caring is what’s needed. For more severe forms, medication may help to lift over a few weeks but younger people are helped by different antidepressants to older people. Counselling, Art, Music help some and a recent introduction of Mindfulness training can help us relax, under pressure, our body and our mind. Those who suffer would not wish it on others but can value the learning for their life and empathy.

Michael Allen  


It is said that people over 50 years fear Dementia,  and responding to others with Dementia,  more than the big C (Cancer). Yet many sufferers live a fulfilling life and contribute to groups that benefit others.                                                                                                                                                                  Dementia is a brain disease that causes us to lose some ability to think and reason as well as we have been used to.  Basically there are 3 types:

ALZHEIMERS Disease – 3 out of 4 are this type;

VASCULAR Disease – often the after effect of multiple strokes;

LEWI BODY Disease which is Parkinson like.

We are more susceptible as we enter our 80ies though a few are affected in middle age.   Memory  of past and recent events are harder to recall, but not totally for most people.  Sufferers can become frustrated with themselves in not organising and problem solving as they are used to doing. Family and close friends may experience unusual displays of emotion including anger and depression. Sufferers may offer less empathy to nearest and dearest, whereas understanding and love can help sufferers to help themselves.  Keeping memories alive is helped by photos, events recalled and by ‘their music’.                                                                                                                                                                      Seeing your doctor is key to learning how medication & diet may inhibit progress of the disease. Also  therapy and information on what is best exercise for you.   Each person has their own journey to holding in well.
Later stages of Dementia may be years ahead, when extra care help is needed.

Michael Allen & Sue Baxter,  MHAGS for St. Mary’s  (Info. Mainly from Alzheimer Society)

DO COME on SAT. 1 OCTOBER to ‘UNDERSTANDING and LIVING with DEMENTIA ‘                              from 10.15 for coffee at St. Mary’s Family Centre  and 10.45 Presentation on Understanding Dementia  by Dr Richard Turner, Adults Psychiatrist- now retired -also Reader, followed by questions                                                                                          11.20 Sharing on Living with Dementia and Alzheimer Friends by Rowland and Carole Harris, followed by sharing experiences. 12 noon close

Page was last altered 29 November 2018

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