The news over the Easter holiday period made grim viewing and reading. Hope and celebration, new life and springtime growth was marred by people who deliberately pursued death and destruction. It was enough to make you weep – and many did and many are doing so still.
The Cotswolds can feel rather distant from these tragedies and atrocities, yet I know there are people locally who are experiencing their own dark times and this can feel isolating and lonely. We can be left feeling that there is nothing we can do; we feel helpless and hopeless – and in many ways we are.
Very soon after the twin towers tragedy in New York (Sept 2001), a pilot – before take-off - invited his passengers to speak to the person beside them and introduce themselves and find out something about their neighbour. The pilot did so on the basis that it is harder to think bad of those who aren’t strangers and very much harder to blow-up someone you actually know
We can’t change the world, perhaps; but we can influence for good – if we choose to - our part of the world.
There is an ancient law still on the statute book that gives the local vicar the right to summon all parishioners to archery practice on the village green at The Butts after the Sunday service. In Poulton, there is still part of the village known as The Butts! I’m not sure how many of you own a bow and arrow – I certainly don’t! So this law (enacted in 1363 and reaffimed in 1512 and 1633) might not be very practical to invoke!
But I would encourage everyone to join in our village/parish life by supporting local events – like our village fetes (Ampney Crucis, Down Ampney Poulton), T ug-O- W ar (Harnhill), Car Boot Sale (Ampney St Peter) and more besides. Let’s get to know our neighbours a little better and make our villages and streets, communities where we get to know each other just a little and, by doing so, change our part of the world for the better.
The Rev’d Canon John Swanton
Services at All Saints’ Church
Satday 4th May
7.00pm Vaughan Williams Singers in concert in the church
Tickets on the door £12
Sunday 5th May : 3rd Sunday of Easter
10.00am Parish Communion
6.00pm Evensong at Ampney St Mary
Wednesday 8th May
6.00pm Choral Evensong with Keble College Choir at Eastleach
Sunday 12th May : 4th Sunday of Easter
10.00am Parish Communion Service : Driffield
Sunday 19th May : 5th Sunday of Easter
10.00am Parish communion at Ampney Crucis
Spring Fayre at Down Ampney Village Hall
6.00pm Word & Worship - an informal service at Poulton
Sunday 26th May : 6th Sunday of Easter
10am Parish Communion at Poulton
6.00pm Evening Prayer and Meditation at Ampney Crucis
Thursday 30th May : ASCENSION DAY
7.00am Parish Communion and breakfast at Bibury
7.00pm Parish Communion and drinks at Poulton
Friday 31st May
5.30pm - 9.00pm Pub Night at Ampney St Peter
4th Wednesday of each month – at 11am in the Dakota Room. Please do come along and join us.
For details of the Lenten activities taking place in our parishes – please have a look on the church website – www.ampneyinfo or Google ‘Ampney Vicar’ and the website appears.
There is a dedicated page entitled ‘Lent 2019’
The Rev’d Canon John Swanton
01285 – 851309
Caring for God’s Acre
Churchyards are special places where friends and relatives are buried in consecrated ground and people come to pay their respects and remember those whom they love but see no more.
The upkeep and maintenance of the open churchyard at All Saints’ Down Ampney is the responsibility of the Parochical Church Council (PCC) – which is made up of a group of volunteers who oversee the ministry of the church and its property. Down Ampney Parish Council (the civil authority) kindly provides the contractor to cut the grass.
A churchyard is not a private place in which anything is acceptable, but rather a place where many people have an interest in its appearance. The Church of England therefore has regulations about what is and is not permissible in a churchyard. These regulations are designed to help ensure that churchyards have a pleasing appearance, to allow the wild life to flourish, for the maintenance of the grounds and safety of those who look after them.
A copy of the Churchyard Regulations can be found in the church and are also available at
We recognise that churchyards should not be absolutely uniform, however standards have to be acceptable to the wide variety of people who come to mourn their own relatives. For this reason there are general principles which have to be applied and in Gloucestershire many of our churches – like the Grade I Listed All Saints’ Church - are of national importance and their surrounding churchyards deserve special care.
In English law, no one has the right to be buried in a churchyard, but there are eligibility criteria – i.e. people who live or die in the parish are eligible to be buried in a churchyard. When the Vicar or PCC agrees to a burial, the grave remains in the ownership of the church – unlike in local authority or private graveyards where a (usually 75 year) lease is entered into. In Gloucestershire there are rules about what type of unpolished stone can be used for a headstone or memorial plaque.
There are other regulations to do with flowers and ornaments, which we shall cover in next month’s edition of Down Ampney News.
These regulations are not to prevent people from mourning and remembering their loved ones, but rather to help maintain order and a seemly appearance to our churchyards for everyone who visit.
Vaughan William Singers in Concert : Saturday 4th May 7pm
at All Saints’ Church, Down Ampney
Sumptuous choral music by Eric Whitacre, Morten Laurisen, Eriks Esenvalds, Ola Gjeilo and more.
Tickets £12.00 available from www.vwsingers.org/events on the door or locally from The Vicar; and from Down Ampney Village Shop
RAF PRESENTATION TEAM : Tuesday 23rd July at Down Ampney Church
Find out about ‘The RAF Today’ – through an engaging and dramatic audio-visual presentation and question and answer time with serving RAF personnel who have operational experience.
7pm Doors open and drinks & nibbles
7.30pm start (30 minute presentation)
8pm Question and Answer (20 minutes)
Tickets £5.00 towards the Arnhem 2019 Commemoration costs; available on the door or locally from The Vicar; and from Down Ampney Village Shop