Monday, October 27, 2014

WW1 stories - the Long Shadow

Stories are coming in thick and fast for our Long Shadow project, which aims to collect people's family stories of the effect of WW1. I am gradually putting them up on a board at the back of church, so do pop in to have a look if you are passing. There is still time to add your family story, though, so please do send it along. The form to use for the story is here.
There are many stories of those who fought, of course, some surviving, some not, some wounded or traumatised, some gaining medals for gallantry. But there are also stories coming in of women nursing the wounded, and of those on the home front, trying to keep the family going, or waiting anxiously for the return of a soldier who never arrived. Stories for the Long Shadow project don't have to be long. While some people have written long accounts, many have  have just written down a name and their relationship to the person they are remembering, or have photocopied a old family photo to include (please don't give us any originals - I can't guarantee their safety.)

I know that quite a few people are still working on their stories, often finding out all sorts of things they didn't know as a result - it is a fascinating process. Some are using genealogical websites like Ancestry  or Find My Past , or the national archives - many of the sources they give access to are free, and they are quite easy to use. Google can often tell you a lot about the background to your family story- try googling the regiment a serviceman served in, or a campaign you knew they fought in, for example, and that can sometimes tell you about the kind of experience they must have had.

The stories we collect, which don't have to have any connection with Seal, will be displayed for Remembrance Sunday, and left up until Advent, when I will gather them together into a display book which will be kept in church.

Monday, October 06, 2014

A great harvest service & a surprise for me!

We had a very joyful harvest service, and enjoyed welcoming Josie Monks into the church in baptism as part of it. We gave thanks for all God's gifts - and especially the gift of Josie!

Unbeknownst to me, the congregation had their own plans for the service, however (not that I ever feel very much in charge of what's going on!), and surprised me at the end of it with a lovely card and a gift to celebrate the 20th anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood - I was ordained on Oct 2 1994. There was also a fantastic cake, decorated with edible pictures - how clever is that! It was a slightly surreal experience to cut myself up and eat myself, but it was a delicious cake!

Thank you also to Seal School who had also given me a card, with drawings and messages from all the children as well as a gift for the garden at their Harvest Service on Friday.

After such an exciting weekend, I am hoping for a quieter week ahead...

Thank you all for your kind wishes and support. It makes all the difference.

Harvest Quiz & Supper

Many thanks to all who organised and ran the Harvest Quiz and Supper (and to Stephen for the photos below). For reasons beyond our control we couldn't have the Hog Roast we had hoped for, but at the very last minute Kemsing Fish Bar came up with fish and chips for 50, so all was not lost!

The winning team played on the culinary problems of the evening and called themselves Team Hogless. Well done to all of them.

The all important scoring

Don't ask us...!

Our quizmasters for the evening

Deep in thought for the speed round

Having a break before the (long-awaited) food!

Team Hogless - worthy winners

And a selfie!

Saturday, October 04, 2014

And the winners are...

 Many thanks to all who entered our scarecrow competition. It has been much enjoyed by the whole village, and those who have driven through (even if it has almost caused several traffic accidents and heart attacks!)

Drum roll, please.....
The winners are...

Joint first prize

Scary Mary

Sir Reginald Humphry

Joint Second Prize

Jack and the Beanstalk
Scarecrow gardeners

And a special prize for Seal Scouts for their splendid encampment

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Where are the scarecrows?

Sir Reginald Humphrey setting off for his commute to the city

Keep your eyes open for burglars

Top Banana scarecrows

Help for Heroes cyclist going nowhere fast
Ready for Hogwarts

Serious gardening

Apple Harvest

An allotmenteer

Keep the flag flying

Taking a rest in Childsbridge Lane

Setting the world to rights

Just relaxing

Watch out! Scouts about...

The newest member of the choir

Scary Mary

The Daleks are coming...

Nattering over the gate at Church Farm

Memories of Seal Fire Station

Late for school...?

Jack &...
....the Giant (and the beanstalk)

October Parish News and Harvest

Harvest Festival is nearly upon us. We celebrate it this weekend, with a Hog Roast and Quiz on Saturday (Oct 4th) at 6pm at Seal School (Adults £10, Children
£5, Family ticket £25 - let me know by Thursday if you want to come and haven't already put your name on the list in church).
Our Harvest Festival service, which will include the baptism of Josie Monks, will take place at 10 am this Sunday (Oct 5th ). 
There will be a cash collection for Rochester Diocese's "Poverty and Hope" appeal. You can find out more about this here. 

You can find the Seal's October Parish News here, with details of our WW1 Remembrance project, "The Long Shadow". We are trying to collect as many family stories of WW1 and its impact so that we can display them on Remembrance Sunday (Nov 9) and then archive them. We don't just want stories of those who fought, but also those at home who were affected by war. You might have an ancestor who did war work, or was a conscientious objector, or was widowed or orphaned by war. Whatever the story, we'd like to hear it.

I hope you will join in - most families have a story to tell, even if it is very vague, or just a name.

Spotted any good scarecrows...?

Have you spotted any of the scarecrows entered in our scarecrow competition around? (The scout encampment on the triangle at the top of Childsbridge Lane is hard to miss...)

This is the newest recruit to our choir, made by the Junior Choir, with a bit of help from the vicar. I'm not about his musical abilities yet, but he is all ready for choir practice tonight. He is working hard on mastering "We plough the fields and scatter" for our Harvest Festival service on Sunday. If you have photos of other entries, please send them along and I'll post them here.