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Gironde

2017

February 26th Communion service and Local Annual Meeting

renewal licenseOur service of Holy Communion at Monteton on Sunday 26th of February, followed by our Local Annual Meeting, was a sad yet uplifting occasion. Sad, because the church was filled with flowers in memory of Doris Hogarth, a former Local Warden at Monteton and up until her untimely death last Autumn, one of our Representatives at Chaplaincy Council. Uplifting, because it was good to celebrate the enormous contribution Doris had made to the Chaplaincy with our new Chaplain, Revd. Anthony Lomas, who led the service and then chaired the Annual Meeting. We were delighted to welcome Tony as our celebrant and also Ingrid, his wife, who read the 1st Lesson. The Choir, despite being still rather depleted in numbers, gave us John Watson’s lovely Anthem “Break Thou the Bread of Life” and we were very fortunate to have Paul Cook’s masterly playing of the organ, especially for the wonderful congregational hymns chosen to celebrate the Day of Christ’s Transfiguration. Tony’s sermon pursued this theme in his thought-provoking discussion of Christ as both ‘Son of God’ and ‘Son of Man’ emphasizing the importance of this duality, particularly in the context of our currently very unsettled and divided world. The service was also an important occasion since it marked the official re-Licensing by the Chaplain of Roger Verrall as Lay Reader and Minister.

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The Local Annual Meeting which followed the service consisted of the various reports for the year 2016 at Monteton, the Election of Norma Eckett as Chaplaincy Representative and the Election of Roger Verrall as a Committee Member. It was good to hear of the Licensing of Lay Reader and Minister, Michael Torne, by the Archdeacon of France, the Venerable Meurig Williams, which will take place in Condom at the Chapelle de Notre Dame de Pietat on Saturday 11th March. In her ‘Priest in Charge Observations’, Revd Liz Morris spoke of a successful year at Monteton with many occasions of joyful celebration both in church services and in social events, inspite of the loss of congregational members, especially key figures such as Doris. Liz was thanked most warmly for her tremendous commitment to ministry in the sector, and for all her hard work during what have been some testing times.

 

 

2016

Farewell to beloved Doris Hogarth

dorisIt was with very great sadness that on Monday 17th October we said farewell to Doris Hogarth, who died on 8th October following a brief and terrible illness. Her loss is enormous, not only to her family and friends but also to the Chaplaincy of Aquitaine, especially the congregation at Monteton where she and her husband Brian have played such a vital part for many years. The church was filled with the flowers that Doris so loved; indeed, the successful Flower Festival held twice at Monteton was very much at her instigation. The very moving funeral service was attended by 193 people, including both French and English friends, with some standing at the back of the church and even in the porch. We listened to many fitting tributes to this lovely lady, in both words and music. Now our thoughts and prayers are with Brian, with Frankie their daughter and with Peter, the grandson who was so special to Doris.

 

 

October News

harvestWe were delighted to welcome Revd Barrie Green to Monteton a second time on Sunday 2nd October, to take our Harvest Festival Holy Communion service. For the anthem, the choir gave us Maurice Greene’s celebration of harvest, ‘Thou visiteth the earth’, whilst the church looked glorious filled with Autumn colour and with harvest produce, including a beautiful floral arrangement at the altar kindly donated by Paddy Atkinson and the traditional Harvest loaf made by Linda Whitby. The generous gifts of non-perishable items were passed on to our local French charity for those in need.

On Sunday 9th October, our Reader Roger Verrall led us in the service of Morning Prayer. We now have two new part-time members of the choir, (and of the congregation), Sharon and Roger Moncur, who fortunately for us are back and forth to their house here quite often. They are both experienced choral singers and it was a delight to hear Roger Moncur sing the solo part of Stanford’s magnificent setting of the psalm ‘O Praise God in his Holiness’, the anthem chosen for this service. Whilst mentioning the choir, we are also so grateful to have Barrie Greene’s fine tenor voice amongst us when he is not having to do priestly duties elsewhere!

 

'Cry in the Dark' charity weekend of treasure, tea, and worship

The ‘Cry in the Dark’ charity weekend on Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th September was a great success. The Treasure Hunt and English Afternoon Tea in Allemans du Dropt on the Saturday raised an amazing 750 Euros for this, one of our sponsored charities. Thankfully, the weather was kind for hunt along the riverside spotting clues! Afterwards, 50 weary walkers enjoyed a sumptuous tea in the Salle Fallieres, sandwiches, scones and cakes all served on traditional English bone china! Many thanks to Linda Craxford-Smith and Mike Smith and their team for once again organising this most enjoyable event.

On Sunday, at the service of Prayer and Praise, we were privileged to meet Steve Cooper, founder and CEO of ‘Cry in the Dark’ and his PA Beth Johnson, to hear how the work with disabled and disadvantaged children in Romania began. In 1998, Steve and three friends visited an orphanage in Bacau, northeast Romania, and found 26 children in appalling conditions, (some left just lying in a dark room), suffering from malnutrition and neglect, most also suffering from serious illness or disability. Thus ‘Cry in the Dark’ was born. Steve and other Christian friends worked hard to raise funds, build a new home for the children in Bacau and find staff to run it. Two years later the children were moved to Casa Lumina (House of Light), their new home-for-life. Casa Albert Hospice followed, offering Community Palliative Care for 80 – 100 children and their families and a Day Care Centre, open two days a week, for 10 – 12 children. Plans for the future include being able to extend the Day Care provision and to provide end of life care for adults. Their presentation gave us all much food for thought and we felt grateful to have helped in some small way. Again, our thanks to Linda and to Mike for organising Steve and Beth’s visit.

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Festive BBQ to celebrate the Queen's 90th birthday

god save the queenWe celebrated Queen Elizabeth’s Official 90th Birthday on Saturday 11th June with a splendid barbecue lunch at Garrigue, the home of Charles and Elizabeth Clarke. Despite the unpredictable weather, a superb and efficient band of volunteer cooks served us a delicious meal of baked potatoes, barbecued chicken and sausages with various salads and a grand finale of Union Jack Birthday Cake! This was a clever and beautiful concoction of sponge cake decorated with cream and hundreds of bilberries and raspberries in the design of the flag, kindly made by Dorothy Brown, (see the photograph below).

After the meal, when the sun eventually emerged, Charles, Marjorie and members of the Monteton Choir led us in a rousing singing of the British National Anthem, the French National Anthem and Happy Birthday. It was good to have amongst us so many friends beyond the usual Monteton congregation to share in this memorable occasion. In all, over 1000€was raised for the Chaplaincy and the charities it supports. The most heartfelt thanks go especially to Charles and Elizabeth and then to all of those others who worked so hard to make this event such a resounding success. God Save the Queen indeed!

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March Performance of "An Impossible God"

impossible godMembers of the Allez congregation brought their production of Frank Topping’s classic meditation on the Passion and Resurrection of Christ to Monteton on Tuesday 29 March.

We listened to the powerfully emotive accounts of some of those who were there at the time: the Centurion who was in charge of the crucifixion, the disciple John, Mary, mother of Jesus, Joseph of Aramathea, Mary Magdalene, Cleopas and his wife and doubting Thomas.

Our thanks to all the Allez actors for their fine performances, to Gail and Stuart May for arranging the beautiful music and to Monteton’s congregation for preparing the church and refreshments. The retiring collection raised a gratifying 110 € for Chaplaincy funds.

 

Delightful Easter service

easter montetonOur Easter Day service of Holy Communion was led and celebrated by Rev’d Bramwell Bearcroft. We were delighted to welcome him and Jennifer back to Monteton. The Choir opened the service to a packed church with the a cappella singing of James Gibb’s glorious Introit for Easter Day, “Alleluia! The Lord is Risen!” and later gave us the much-loved anthem from Handel’s Messiah, “Since by Man came Death”. There was rousing congregational singing of traditional Easter hymns, including Sydney Carter’s adaptation of “Lord of the Dance” and a Methodist favourite,“I Cannot Tell…”.

Bramwell, in his sermon, drew on one of his father’s favourite questions to him, “What do you know?”, asking us what indeed do we know about our faith, about what Christ in his ultimate sacrifice is offering us? Jennifer brought the children up to the altar with the Easter garden they had created and with all the drawings they had made, which Poppy told us about. After the service, we all enjoyed gifts of chocolate eggs and other festive refreshments; a truly wonderful Easter Day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2015

December's Delightful Coffee Morning

coffee morningOn 5th December Norma and Leslie opened the doors to their lovely home to host the final coffee morning for 2015. Norma had decorated the room with Christmas Tree and decorations and the tables laid with fine china and lots of lovely cakes.

Twenty two people came to celebrate the morning with friends,  to join in the lovely fellowship that this event brings.

The event raised 120 € for the Chaplaincy, and a good time was had by all.  It was a lovely way to start the Christmas Celebrations.

 

 

'The Mirabelles' concert in Allemans du Dropt

mirabelles concertThe concert by ‘The Mirabelles’ female choir took place on the afternoon of Sunday 15 November in the lovely setting of the parish church in Allemans du Dropt. We were serenaded beautifully with well-remembered songs from the 1960’s and 70’s, accompanied on piano by Jonathan Smalley and compared very wittily, in both French and English, by Conductor and Choir Director, Peter Fowler. After the concert, refreshments provided by our talented group of congregational caterers, were served in the Salle Fallieres. This most successful event raised 320 euros to be divided between the choir and Chaplaincy. ‘The Mirabelles’ will be singing again on December 6th at 5.00pm in the parish church of Miramont de Guyenne.

 

Monteton Church Remembrance Sunday services

remembrance sundayThe morning Roman Catholic mass (in French) officiated by Pere Jean-PierreThibaud was attended by dignatories, veterans and folk from neighbouring villages, in such numbers that the great west doors could not be closed and folk standing at the back of the church spilled out into the porch and surrounding area. Rev'd Bramwell Bearcroft and his wife Jennifer attended in support, along with several others from our Anglican congregation. Afterwards, the assembly gathered at the War Memorial adjacent to the church for the civil ceremony where the Government message was read aloud and a roll call was made of those named on the memorial. Naturelement there was un verre d'honneur provided in the Salle des Fetes afterwards, where both poppies and bleuets intermingled.

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The Royal British Legion, through Warden Emerita, Paddy Atkinson, had organised the afternoon service which was led by Roger Verrall and attended by more than 70 people. Flag bearers Mike Brooks and John Mills-Baker presented their flags to the altar for display during the service. Mike Brooks read the first lesson with Richard Holworthy, President of the region's R.B.L., reading the second lesson. Other dignatories included John Allsop, Chairman of the R.B.L., Ken Napier chairman of the Royal Naval Association and members of SSAFA.

'We are our memories' was a point made by Roger Verral during his address at the Royal British Legion service at Monteton, expressing that we were not there to glorify war or the supremacy of our or any other country, nor to defend the cruelty and agony of warfare and terrorism, nor to justify the armed services or the Establishment or to label deaths as a sacrifice, for sacrifice suggests a degree of choice that was not present for many serving in the forces. We were there to remember all those people, from whatever country, who had died in the pursuit of freedom and goodness. We were there to give thanks to God for their lives given for the freedom of many countries around the world. We were there to acknowledge publicly and before God the countless people have given their lives for us, for our freedom and for others and their freedom. We were there to pray for all who suffer and have suffered as a result of war, particularly those of us who, as Roger said, are too young to have experienced war and who need to remember those men and women who ‘gave their today for our tomorrow’.

We give thanks for Bugler Martin Earle's playing during the solemn moments of the service, the uplifting organ music provided by Richard Errington, and for refreshments afterwards provided by Penny Verrall, which gave an opportunity to chat and catch up with friends.

 

Blessed September Harvest Service

harvestOur Harvest Festival Holy Communion service on 27 September was led by Rev'd Barrie Green whom we were delighted to welcome to Monteton as celebrant, although he and his wife Ainsley have often been part of the congregation since their arrival in France earlier in the year. We were glad to learn that he will lead us again as celebrant of our Holy Communion service for Advent Sunday. The church was filled with glorious Autumn colour, with a spectacular display of flowers at the altar kindly donated by Paddy Atkinson and many harvest gifts which were passed on to a local charity, Secours Populaire Francais. After the service many of us adjourned to the home of Norma and Leslie for a Bring and Share lunch.

 

july music

July 24th Musical Fundraising Evening in Monteton

The Musical Evening held in the church at Monteton on Friday 24 July drew a large audience of both French and English people to listen to the Monteton Choir and soloists.

We were very fortunate to be able to hear internationally known flautist Atarah Ben-Tovim play Renaissance and Baroque compositions, along with her student Alice McCarthy who has won a scholarship to the Purcell School in London.

music

 

 

 

Alice is a former member of the Monteton Choir and the event was partly to raise funds for the instrument she needs in order to continue her studies. Alice also has a beautiful soprano voice and she delighted us all with several solo pieces.

The choir performed well-loved anthems from its repertoire, led as ever by Marjorie Holdsworth-Etschmann and we in the audience joined in the singing of pieces such as ‘Brother James’ Air’ and ‘Jerusalem’. We are told that the small village of Monteton positively resounded with our voices! The tremendous sum of 920 Euros was raised, so that we are able to offer Alice a generous donation as well as the charities our Chaplaincy supports.

You can watch Alice McCarthy here.

 

jazz under the trees

Summer Jazz Picnic and Coffee Cakes Morning

Our summer lunchtime picnic, "Jazz sous les Arbres", took place on July 10th at Monteton. The weather was glorious and 70 of us enjoyed being serenaded by the talented troupe Chanson Internationale as we feasted under the trees overlooking the Dropt valley. A tremendous sum of 780 € was raised for the Chaplaincy and the charities it supports. The event was organised by the Social Group and our thanks go to them and to the other helpers on the day for all their hard work.

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Delightful May Songs of Praise

songs of praiseA service of Songs of Praise took place at Monteton on Sunday 31 May, organised by Revd Bramwell and Jennifer Bearcroft, with the Choir of the University of Central Lancashire who were on tour in the area. A large congregation filled the church to sing well-loved hymns along with this wonderful young choir, whose musicianship and professionalism impressed us all. We hope they will come again!

 

 

 

Spring Dance a great success!

The Spring Dance on 11 April was a great success, raising over 600 € for the Chaplaincy and for our chosen charities. It was very good to see Brian and Janet Jellyman with us again and out on the dance floor, (see the photograph).

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Music was provided by Chanson Internationale and was such a tremendous hit with our keen dancers that the Social Group has booked the band again for the summer event at Monteton.

 

easter

Blessed Easter Week services

Our Maundy Thursday service of Holy Communion led by Revd Liz Morris included the traditional ceremony of 'The Washing of Feet', carried out by Liz, assisted by Sue Blomley. The Choir gave us the Anthem 'Ave Verum' by Pearsall and led us in the solemn singing of Passiontide hymns.The service ended with the 'Stripping of the Altar'.

 

maundy thursday

 

 

Easter Day Holy Communion at Monteton saw the church filled with Spring flowers with a wonderful white display at the altar. We were very pleased to have our Chaplain Paul and his family with us to celebrate this, the Queen of Festivals, and to hunt for Easter eggs around the church! The Choir led us in the singing of joyful Easter hymns and gave us a wonderful rendering of the Introit 'Victimae Paschali Laudes', then for the Anthem, a rousing setting by Charles Wood of 'This Joyful Eastertide.

 

2014

September Harvest service followed by lunch

harvestOur service of Holy Communion for Harvest on Sunday 28 September was led by our Chaplain, Paul. The congregation included two very welcome surprise participants, the Rt Revd Bishop Rupert Hoare and his wife, Gesine, who were visiting the area. Bishop Hoare was Anglican Bishop of Dudley, then Dean of Liverpool until his retirement in 2007, when he became an Assistant Bishop in Manchester. We believe that this is the first time an Anglican Bishop has visited us at Monteton. During our first hymn, members of the congregation brought our Harvest gifts to the altar, to be donated to the Miramont branch of Secours Populaire Francais. These gifts were most gratefully received later by the French charity.

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Following the service the congregation, (including the Bishop and his wife and our Chaplain and family), repaired to the nearby home of Norma and Leslie Eckett for a Bring and Share lunch. We were blessed with a beautiful, warm sunny day enabling some to enjoy their meal alfresco, ( see photos). Our thanks to both Norma and Leslie for their hospitality, for allowing us to enjoy their beautifully restored chai and garden, and to Leslie especially, for so efficiently organising all the parking in their field!

 

Blessed baptism service in July

The Holy Baptism of Edward Henry Needham Roy, son of Charlotte and Peter Roy and grandson of Elizabeth and Charles Clarke, took place at Monteton on Sunday 6th July conducted by our Chaplain, Paul. Elizabeth and Charles are long-time members of our congregation and, two years ago, Paul conducted the marriage service of their daughter Charlotte at the Clarke’s local parish church in Fonroque. Thus it was an enormous pleasure to see all of the family back to celebrate little Edward’s baptism into the Church, cheered on by all the Vrolijk children who led the Action Song “Our God is a great big God” !

 

July Jazz sous les Arbres

jazz

On Friday 11th July, we held our annual summer lunch, Jazz sous les Arbres, beneath the shade of the plane trees beside the Monteton Salle des Fêtes. We all enjoyed our grand Glyndebourne-style picnics, bubbly and all, serenaded by Anthony Sycamore and Grand Cru.

The sun shone, Sally Davies ran a very successful Bric-a Brac stall, a raffle was held and many of us danced to the well-loved music of the Swing era. Many thanks to Jan Winser and her team for all their hard work in organising this delightful event.

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2013

cabaret

November Cabaret Evening 

The Cabaret Evening on Friday 29 November was a celebration of ‘ Show Time’, with Marjorie, the Monteton Choir and Friends, giving us a splendid night of songs ranging from Gilbert and Sullivan to “Fiddler on the Roof” and “West Side Story”. In addition, Alice McCarthy thrilled us with a beautiful version of Ella Fitzgerald’s “Dream a Little Dream”, Philippa Tillyer gave us Susan Boyle’s “I dreamed a Dream”, and John Hatton mesmerised us, in wig and gorgeous frock, with “Why am I always the Bridesmaid?” Brian Hogarth was our suave Compere , Jonathan Smalley provided the expert piano accompaniment, and Jayne Pound and her team provided a delicious curry. The evening closed with a great Sing-Along of “Cailfornia Dreamin’” and “What a Wonderful World”. Many thanks to all those who organised this evening of fun, and especially to Marjorie and her talented troupe.

 

 Weddings at Monteton 

weddingweddingThe beautiful parish church at Monteton regularly hosts weddings over the summer months. On Saturday 14 September, Paul, our Chaplain, celebrated the marriage of Emma and David Kearns, as you can see in the accompanying photographs.

 

 

 

September Harvest Supper and Service 

monteton harvestOur traditional Harvest Supper took place on Saturday 21 September in the Monteton Salle des Fetes, organised by Sue Blomley. A delicious Chilli-con-Carne was served, followed by Apple Pie and cream, and we were entertained by a Quiz put together by Paul Brown; we managed the Nursery Rhymes puzzle quite well but, to our dismay (and to our shame), the Biblcal quotations defeated us! Many thanks to Sue, Paul and their helpers for giving us such an enjoyable evening!

The next day, Sunday 22 September, we gathered together again for a Harvest Festival Holy Communion in the church, celebrated by Revd Liz Morris. A team led by Norma Eckett had decorated the church most beautifully to celebrate harvest, as you can see in the photographs here. It was a gloriously sunny early Autumn day, with many visitors and their families in church. We all rejoiced in the choir’s singing of Rutter’s most appropriate anthem, Look at the World’.

 

monteton

August Summer concert: Look at the World

The church at Monteton was packed out on 30 August for the summer concert, ‘Look at the World’, given by the Monteton Choir and Friends and under the direction of Marjorie Etschmann. Guest soloists Jane and Michael Davison, on oboe and guitar respectively, gave us bewitching renderings of Albeniz’ Granada and of Villa Lobos’ Bachianas Brasilieras. Baritone Peter Fowler delighted us with songs by Vaughan Williams, Samuel Barber and Richard Strauss and soloists from the Choir, including Marjorie herself, gave us a feast of works by Handel, Mozart, Hayden, Vaughan Williams and John Ireland. All of this, with Jonathan Smalley accompanying on piano.

The programme also included favourite choral pieces by John Rutter, with the concert’s title piece of Look at the World. The evening ended with excerpts from Hayden’s The Creation, including a spine-tingling finale, with the whole choir, of The heavens are telling. We are indeed blessed to have such a talented choir at Monteton who apart from producing a concert like this, prepare week in week out to sing at our regular Sunday services.

 

 Concert at the Eglise de St Pierre, Loubes Bernac

concertThe Monteton Choir and friends of the Choir, under the direction of Marjorie Holdsworth- Etschmann, gave a concert at the Eglise de St Pierre, Loubes Bernac, on the evening of Saturday 20 April, proceeds from which will go to Chaplaincy sponsored charities. The beautiful old parish church was packed, much to the delight of the Maire, M.Joel Kleiber, who stated that he had never seen it so full!

The programme consisted of works by both French and English composers sung by the full choir,(including some wonderful Negro Spirituals), solo pieces, duos and trios from works by Mendelssohn, Handel, Offenbach, Faure and Poulenc, sung by members of the choir and by the superb guest baritone, Peter Fowler. The latter also joined with soprano Choir Leader, Marjorie, for some charming duets from Mozart’s ‘The Magic Flute’ and ‘Don Juan’. Jonathan Smalley, who performed the marathon task of accompanist throughout, also gave us exquisite renderings of several Debussy piano pieces, one of them a duet with fellow pianist, Elizabeth Taylor. The choir is certainly acquiring a reputation in the region, with requests coming in for more concerts during the summer, so watch this space!

 

April Songs of Praise at Monteton!

songs of praise

The ‘Songs of Praise’ at Monteton on the evening of Thursday 11 April, was a most joyful event, in spite of the rather chilly and wet weather outside the church. The Monteton Choir, conducted by Marjorie Etschmann, led the singing of well-loved hymns, with Janie Tervet accompanying us on the organ.

The choir gave a beautiful rendering of J.S Bach’s “Jesus, Priceless Treasure”, and finally, Rutter’s “Gaelic Blessing”. Philippa Tillyer, Choir Librarian, and Richard Errington, former Choir Leader, introduced all the items with much interesting information about the composers and the history of the hymns. It was good to have Richard back with us for this event and his comments about the talented new ‘young blood’ in the choir, Alice, Daniel and Luke McCarthy, were particularly noted.

We certainly filled the church, and indeed the village of Monteton, with our singing! We were pleased to welcome amongst the congregation the fine voices of people who were visiting the church for the first time – and who we hope to see again! Roger Verrall closed with a Benediction and then we all gathered together for well-earned refreshments.

 

Holy Week and Easter Services

palm sundayOur services in Holy Week and at Easter, gave much food for thought and for prayerfulness. Palm Sunday began with a procession led by our Chaplain Paul, from the Salle des Fetes and up through the village to the church ; no donkey, but plenty of enthusiastic waving of palm fronds by the children as we sang our way through the streets!

On Maundy Thursday, during a very moving service of Holy Communion, our celebrant, Liz Morris, carried out the Washing of Feet and finally, the Stripping of the Altar.

Easter Day brought us David Jones as our celebrant for Communion, with a wonderful sermon, where we could almost hear the feet of Martha, then the disciples, running through the narrow cobbled streets of Jerusalem on that first Easter Day to spread the news!

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Successful Swing Band evening

The very successful Swing Band evening held in Duras on Saturday 30 March, raised enough funds to provide three boxes for the amazing Shelterbox charity.

 

2012

Monteton choir at December Carol Services

monteton carol serviceThe Monteton choir again led the singing for Carol Service at Eymet on 12th December, in a service of lessons and well-loved carols conducted jointly by our Chaplain, Paul, and the parish priest, Père André Peryga, assisted by Sue Blomley. Père Peryga, as ever, gave our Anglican congregation the warmest of welcomes, and it was delightful to see the children in the congregation bringing the Nativity figures to the crib as the service unfolded. As has now also become a tradition, the singing of carols continued after the service in the town square, where mulled wine and mince pies were served along with a visit from Père Noël!

Our Carol Service in Monteton took place on Sunday 16th December, with our Chaplain, Paul, and Rev'd Liz Morris leading a traditional service of Lessons and Carols. The beautifully decorated church was packed as ever and the choir, with organist Jonathan Smalley, led us in a feast of congregational carols, plus its own glorious renderings of Boris Ord’s ‘Adam lay bounden’, the Basque carol ‘The Infant King’ and John Rutter’s ‘Jesus Child’. Following the service, many of us repaired to L’Etape Gasconne in Allemans du Dropt for a delicious celebratory meal, organised as ever by Paddy Atkinson and where we were pleased to welcome as our guests, Francoise, Adjoint to the Maire of Monteton, and her husband Didier.

 

Brian Anthony Scrivener: 27 November 1937 - 21 July 2012

The funeral for our much-loved Lay Reader Emeritus, Brian Scrivener, was held in the church at Monteton on Monday 30 July, followed by a private Cremation at Tonneins.

The service was conducted by the Rev'd David Jones, before a large congregation including Brian’s family and many of his French friends from the Lauzun area, where Brian and his wife Valmai had lived for many years.

The service and its music had been planned by Brian himself and included ‘God so loved the World’ from Sir John Stainer’s Cantata ‘The Crucifixion, and the beautiful ‘Notre Père’ to music after Rimsky-Korsakov, both performed by Monteton Choir who were joined on this occasion by members of the choir with whom Brian once sang.

The service ended with a very moving ‘Last Post’ and Elgar’s ‘Nimrod’ from the Enigma Variations.

 

Service of Renewal of wedding vows

On Sunday 1st July, at a service of Holy Communion celebrated by Revd David Jones, we joined Monteton Choir members, Terry and Pauline Cordery, in special and very joyful commemoration their 40 years of marriage, and the Renewal of their Wedding Vows.  

The choir, naturally, was in top form with a beautiful rendering of the Anthem chosen by Terry and Pauline, ‘How lovely is Thy dwelling-place, O Lord of Hosts’, from Brahm’s A German Requiem.

After the service, we all enjoyed coffee and cakes provided by the happy couple who now, we believe, are spending a long-planned holiday in China.

 

Easter Joy with the Monteton Choir

On Easter Day, we celebrated the risen Lord with wonderful music from the Monteton Choir, including a most moving Easter Introit by Gibbs, the anthem ‘The Lord is risen indeed’ by Billings and Mozart’s ‘Ave Verum’. The Rev'd Liz Morris led our service and treated us all to chocolate eggs afterwards!



Successful Leeds University Dance Event!

The visit of the Leeds University Union Dance Band on Saturday 7 April was even more successful than previously!

The band of thirty-odd delightful young people entertained us with music and song throughout the evening in the Duras Salle des Fetes – an excellent venue – where we danced, held a Raffle and raised a large sum for our designated charities, including Shelterbox. More information about this to follow.

The Monteton Social Group worked tirelessly to make this event such a success, negociating with the Mairie and the Band, preparing the Salle and all the tables which looked so attractive and inevitably, clearing up afterwards! Special thanks to Leslie and Norma Eckett who held the fort during Jan Winser’s absence to attend the birth of her grandchild; we are very pleased now to announce the safe arrival of Rupert!

The 2012 Lot et Garonne Annual Meeting

The Lot et Garonne Annual Meeting was held at the Salle des Fetes in Doudrac following the monthly service of Holy Communion and was chaired by our Chaplain, Paul. The meeting was followed by most convivial Bring and Share lunch, hosted and organised by members of the Doudrac congregation. Evan Mackenzie also brought along many good things from Colin Pratt’s store cupboard of jams and preserves, which were duly sold for charity. (Evan’s account of Colin’s Memorial Service can be read under the Doudrac heading).

Peter Walton, who was stepping down as a Local Warden, gave a report on the church year 2011-2012 where  he thanked all the congregations in our sector for their work, with special thanks to Doudrac for hosting this Annual Meeting. The Committee had met ten times during the year and had received regular reports from each of the congregations. It was good to see more frequent services held at Dondas and at Envals because of growth in those congregations. It was also wonderful to learn that following on from Meryl Gregory’s departure from Allez, and all her hard work there with the help of Colin Pratt, organisation of services and other events now will be in the very capable hands of Judy and Paul Mazzotti, under the guidance of Lay Reader Roger Verrall.

Peter commented that 2011 in the Lot et Garonne had been marked by both very happy and very sad events. Priests, Lay Readers, Worship Leaders, musicians, organists and choirs had led our worship so well that many more people had been drawn in to the church. The saddest event was the sudden death of Colin Pratt, whose tremendous contribution to the work of the Chaplaincy was summed up in all the moving tributes to him at his funeral before Christmas. The Memorial service for Colin, which had to be postponed, would be taking place on Tuesday 13 March at Monteton. Peter paid tribute to the Monteton Social Group who had worked hard throughout the year to bring people together to enjoy themselves in Christian fellowship and to raise funds for the Chaplaincy and the charities it supports. He cited particularly the Monteton Flower Festival last May, organised by Doris Hogarth, which attracted a large number of both French and English visitors. He referred to the large number of Carol services now held throughout our sector and which attract big congregations, and of the Parochial Visitation in January of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Agen, Monseigneur Hubert Herbreteau, who specifically asked to visit Monteton and to meet our Chaplain. Peter reported the count of numbers of people who had attended services in Lot et Garonne during one calendar year; it was estimated that in the year 2011, across the whole sector, 3700 attended our Sunday services. He then told us that the final Committee meeting of the church year had taken the form of an open forum, where the discussion was about how the English Speaking Church in Lot et Garonne might develop in 2012 and beyond. He said that the new Committee would have a lot to think about.

This was followed by reports from the Treasurer, Chap-Aid Co-ordinator and the Director of Music.

The Chaplain thanked those on the Committee who were standing down, Peter Walton, Chris Train, William Parker and Jan Winser, ( Jan will be continuing to head-up the Social Group).He noted that Helen Raphael will be taking over Chris’ role with the Prayer Chain and thanked Roger Verrall for his continuing work as Local Warden.

Elections of Committee members followed, with Doris Hogarth becoming the new Local Warden, Basil Tarr continuing as Treasurer, Vanda Walton continuing as Communications Officer and Marion Evans and Helen Raphael becoming newly elected members. Doris was also elected as a Chaplaincy Representative for the Committee, along with Sue Blomley.

In all, a very good meeting! Particular thanks to Sally and Chris Stedman for the delicious soup they provided and for their work in co-ordinating the lunch.

 

Visit of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Agen, Mgr. Hubert Herbreteau

The Roman Catholic Bishop of Agen, Mgr. Hubert Herbreteau, included the church at Monteton in his recent parochial visit.

The Maire of Monteton, Mme Genevieve Le Lannic, and the parish priest, Pere Jean-Pierre Thibaud were keen for the Anglican congregation to be represented at this visitation, ‘since you use the church the most’ – Mme Le Lannic’s words! Thus our Chaplain Paul duly attended at 16h00 on Wednesday 18 January, plus Monteton’s two Wardens.

The Bishop obviously enjoyed visiting the church which is very much the jewel of the area and which the Commune has lovingly restored – with considerable input from our congregation as well! He also greatly appreciated meeting Paul and hearing about the work of the Anglican Chaplaincy in Aquitaine. Whilst we enjoy a very amicable relationship with the Maire and with Pere Jean-Pierre Thibaud, the parish priest, it was good to have made contact with the Bishop and with Mme Marie Blanchard, the local lay Deleguee pastorale.’

 

 Obituary Colin Pratt: 1948 - 2011

Colin Pratt

This is a transcript of the eulogy the Rev Bramwell Bearcroft gave at Colin’s funeral on Dec 15th in Rives.

The temperature outside was a sweltering 32 degrees on the day I received my first e-mail from Colin regarding this year’s Carol Services. It was August. For those of us who worked with Colin this was nothing new. He was everything I am not, organised, efficient and meticulous but he knew this about me and was prepared to work with what he had. I loved him for it.

I knew without a moment’s hesitation that if I turned up to Doudrac or to any other church where he was involved that everything would be organised to perfection. I knew as well, that if I asked him to preach at one of the services where I was celebrating Holy Communion that he would prepare and deliver a challenging, inspiring and well-argued sermon. He would never cut corners.

Colin had strong opinions and sometimes a strong dislike for certain types of hymns. He was not above telling me that my choice of hymn for the forthcoming Sunday was not, to his way of thinking, suitable. His e-mail confirmation of receipt of my hymn choices would often contain comments such as, ‘Do you really want that melodramatic drivel?’ Or, ‘If you really want that hymn at least can we use a decent tune!’ Janet Tarr was often copied into these e-mails so she knows this to be the case. At first, I confess, it annoyed me. Then it amused me and sometimes I would just give in and take his suggestion as to an alternative. It was just easier.

Colin was not an evangelical Christian in the normal sense of the word but he was a keen evangelist. He was driven by the desire to get the Christian message to as many people as possible. It concerned him that sometimes we in the Chaplaincy of Aquitaine can be guilty of congregationalism ...... we consider our own church centres to be the most important aspect of our worship whereas he argued that we should always be looking outside our walls to those who, unless we take it there, will never hear the Gospel message. It was this conviction that led him to be the driving force behind the outreach at places like Dondas and Allez and he already had his eye on several other areas where he felt the church needed to make its presence known.

The carol service at Doudrac on Tuesday evening was organised by Colin and we missed his presence there dreadfully. Colin has been involved with Doudrac since its very early days and there seemed, despite the church being full, to be an empty space. But I thought as I heard the choir sing the words to ‘The Infant King’ that it was appropriate that we should not have cancelled the service. For in that Christmas carol we hear the words...

Sing lullaby, Hush, do not stir the infant King, Dreaming of Easter, Gladsome morning, Conquering death, Its bondage breaking...

And, if we take time to think about it, there in the manger is the Saviour of The World. The story does not end there. For there in the manger is the One who will conquer death. And the truth of the matter is we can dress Christmas up any way we like but if we lose the reason for the birth of that baby in the manger then Christmas can be just a hollow show.

Colin’s faith that Christ was born, that Christ was truly God and truly man, that he was crucified, dead and buried and that he rose again on the third day was behind everything he did. That was what made him what he was. That was what drove him. And Colin believed in Easter morning. He believed that Jesus’ resurrection meant the conquering of death and the breaking of the bonds of death.

Like you, I will miss him dreadfully and I mourn his loss but we can be comforted to know that Colin loved his Creator and, for sure, the angels in glory will certainly be a well organised lot. Amen.

 

Au Revoir, Gerry and Chris Train

Sadly, we shall soon be losing Gerry and Chris Train who are returning to live in England and who have played such a major part in the church life of our sector. Chris has relinquished her role as Prayer Chain Co-ordinator for Lot et Garonne; so many of us have benefitted from Chris’ very sensitive and efficient approach to this, and she will be sorely missed.

Helen Raphael will now be replacing Chris; she can be contacted on 05 53 47 78 93 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.