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Mad Hatter's Tea Party

tea partyMany of us enjoyed a traditional English Afternoon Tea - infact, a Mad Hatter's Tea Party - at the home of Mij Mahoney, earlier in October. The prize for the Best Hat was won by Dorothy Browne for her wonderful floral creation and we all indulged in the delicious array of savouries and pastries provided by the skillful members of the Monteton congregation. Many thanks to Mij for organising this most enjoyable event.Funds raised will go to our nominated charities. A Saturday Coffee Morning also took place at the home of Norma and Leslie Eckett, another planned for 13th November, 10.00 am – 1200 noon as usual. So please let Norma know if you would like to attend, on 05 53 93 53 86 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Harvest Thanksgiving at Monteton

Our Harvest Holy Communion took place on Sunday 10th October with Assistant Chaplain Revd Liz Morris as our celebrant. The church was filled with beautiful Autumnal decoration and produce, including generous donations to our local Food bank charity, Secours Populaire. The Choir sang as an Anthem Elizabeth Poston's haunting “ Jesus Christ the Apple Tree” and we enjoyed singing together traditional harvest hymns, with Adrian accompanying us on the organ. In her Address, Liz read from the lovely poem by John Keats “Ode to Autumn” and we were reminded of the importance of conserving and cherishing all that the natural world offers to us. Many thanks to all those who made this memorable service possible, still something of a challenge in these Covid- dominated times.


Choir meets for summer barbecue and rehearsal

choir rehearsalOver the summer, the choir met for a garden barbecue and rehearsal, and are looking forward to the full Choral Evensong at Monteton on Sunday 31st October. We have been preparing new music in the run up to the Autumn. Choir Leader Peps has plenty of plans for services and for various events, hopefully next year as some joint ventures with visiting UK Choirs.

Apart from the Traditional Ecumenical Service of Lessons and Carols at Monteton, Peps is also planning a Christmas Concert to take place in early December, so watch this space for more information!


July Coffee & Cakes fundraiser

july coffee and cakes

Norma and Leslie Eckett were at long-last able to arrange a Saturday morning Coffee and Cakes on 10th July in their home in Auriac-sur- Dropt! The weather was glorious so that we enjoyed sitting at tables arranged in their lovely garden, indulging in a wonderful range of cakes and pastries produced by Norma's loyal band of Monteton cake-makers. Numbers were necessarily limited but it was lovely to see both old friends and some newcomers.

This event supports our chosen charity Secours Populaire Francais and with a Cake Sale as well, we raised over 200 euros! As ever, many thanks to Norma and Leslie.

There will be another Coffee Morning at a later date but in the meantime, Mij Mahoney is planning a luncheon party in September at her home, details to be issued soon.






December worship back in church

On Sunday 13th December, we were grateful to be able to gather together safely at Monteton for a Service of Christmas Praise led by Rev'd Liz Morris. Duly masked, in a church decked with lighted candles and Christmas flowers and foliage, we were glad to be able to sing favourite Christmas carols. We were sad to be without the Choir leading us, but we managed to make the little village around the church resound with our cheer, Adrian Inscoe accompanying us with wonderful music on the organ. Liz lit the first of the Advent candles on the wreath and between carols we listened to several of the traditional Gospel readings, interspersed with Meditations, the imagined thoughts of several witnesses at the birth of Christ including those of Joseph, a resident of Bethlehem and one of the Magi. Many thanks to Liz and to Richard for compiling this service of celebration for us, and to Norma and Leslie and other members of the Committee for all their work in preparing the church.


Thankful to gather for worship in church

choir at montetonAt our service on October 25th, we gave thanks for Marjorie Etschmanns' years of dedication and service as choir director, and celebrated as she 'handed over the baton' to Peps Inscoe.

Those of us who were able to attend our Harvest Holy Communion in September were thankful for a quiet and very moving service, observing all the regulations but also with members of the Choir present, carefully positioned at the back of the church, Everyone agreed that it was wonderful to have live music again, to sing harvest hymns behind our masks with Paul Cook at the organ and the Choir giving us, a cappella, Pitoni's rousing Anthem, “ Cantate Domino”. The church was decked with flowers and a good array of Harvest gifts donated by the congregation was arranged on a table in the Porch, to be given to our local branch of Secours Populaire de France. Many thanks to Paul for his skilled accompaniment to all the hymns and for playing a lovely Prelude and Postlude, to the Choir, to Liz, Roger and Richard for the organising of the service, and most importantly to Norma, Leslie and Sally for the careful preparation of the church for the service, no mean feat in these Covid times!

Monteton hosted the Chaplaincy AGM on Saturday 10th October with a dignified Said Holy Communion led by our Chaplain, Tony, before a necessarily brief Annual Meeting. Reviews of Chaplaincy activities during 2019 were given, with Tony's Chaplain's Report, written back in March 2020, giving us much food for thought, and I quote this which has particular resonance....

“It will, I am sure, feel very strange to celebrate Easter whilst in lockdown........But can you imagine how it will feel when we can, once again meet together to pray and praise God? That will be a real celebration of resurrection. Easter Sunday is only a date, Easter Resurrection is an eternal reality for us all every day and will, I believe, seem even more wonderful and real to us when we finally come together in worship”.


Local Annual Meeting: Feb 23rd, 2020

monteton meetingOur service of Holy Communion began with Samuel Wesley's Introit "Lead me Lord", especially requested by Rev'd Liz Morris who was celebrant and who also chaired the meeting which followed. The choir sang Richard Lloyd's haunting "View me, Lord", sung a cappella with both Adrian and Peps Inscoe joining us in the choir (Adrian also on the organ), before dashing off North and back to work!

Following the Opening Prayer, the various Reports for 2018 and 2019 were given, then two Elections took place, one for Chaplaincy Council Representative where Norma Eckett was duly elected and the other for a new Committee Member where Michael Davison, a relative newcomer to our Congregation, was duly elected. Liz announced that Peter Walton, who had been Committee Member for nine years and also served as a Local Warden, would be standing down. In her Observations, Liz referred to the variety of services that had taken place at Monteton during 2019,  such as the fifth Sunday service for "The Blessing of the Animals" . She also announced that following an experimental period for the pattern of services at Monteton, after much discussion we would be returning to the former pattern as from Sunday 3rd May: 1st Sunday BCP Morning Prayer (choir), 2nd Sunday Prayer and Praise, 3rd Sunday Holy Communion (choir), 4th Sunday Informal Communion (no choir), 5th Sunday different themed services. In Any Other Business, the subject of a new charity for Monteton to support was raised, with several ideas put forward which will be discussed further at Committee. The Meeting was then closed in Prayer.



Easter Day at Monteton: such joy!

Easter Day at Monteton was celebrated with a joy-filled service of Holy Communion led by Rev'd Barrie Green. It was also a feast of sacred and choral music led by Marjorie and the choir, plus the talents of oboist Jane Davison who, with her husband Michael, has recently moved to France. The two of them are also members of the choir, Jane as alto and Michael bass. The choir gave us James Gibb’s glorious “Introit for Easter Day” with its peal-of-bells Alleluyas, Jane accompanied the singing of the Sanctus and Benedictus and later she and Marjorie played and sang a beautiful baroque Postlude, Vivaldi’s “Domine Deus”. For the Anthem the choir (plus Barrie) sang Handel’s uplifting “Since by Man came Death” from the Messiah. All of this with Roger Williams on the organ accompanying the Easter hymns, including “I am the bread of life” with its rousing refrain of “and I will raise him up…… on the last day”! In his very thought-provoking sermon, Barrie pointed out the deliberate change he had made to the traditional Gospel reading of The Resurrection of Jesus, giving us instead the later part of Luke Chapter 24, “The walk to Emmaus”. This is where Jesus appears as a walking companion to the disciples but they do not recognise him until the evening when he is at table with them and breaks bread, “Then their eyes were opened, and they recognised him: and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” Barrie related this to the kind of life-changing experiences most of us have during our lives, whether it be a cataclysmic local or world event or something more personal such as the death of a much-loved family member or friend and where, as a result, nothing is ever the same again.


Palm Sunday at Monteton


April 7th concert 'From Darkness to Light'

concertWe brought our Lenten contemplations to a near close in the afternoon of Sunday 7th April with a concert of sacred music “From Darkness to Light” by The Becket Consort, a choir of professional singers associated with Norwich and Canterbury Cathedrals. This had been most kindly arranged for us by visiting members of our choir, Peps and Adrian Inscoe, who have a holiday home nearby. They both and with son William, are members of the Consort and their older son George, who is organist at Norwich, is Director and Conductor of the Consort. It was a very moving experience to hear this ‘Cathedral sound‘ filling the beautiful little parish church of Notre Dame at Monteton, perhaps an echo of an earlier era for the Commune. The programme was mostly a cappella, with magnificent polyphonic versions of works from the 16th century to more modern times including Tallis, Victoria, Handel, Elgar and Lauridsen. Few in the congregation will forget the spine-tingling introductory piece, “Magnificat Octavi toni” by David Wood, the exquisite Handel duet “As steals the morn” and the two organ solos, Dubois’ “Fiat Lux” and Widor’s “Toccata”, where George Inscoe really exploited our recently acquired organ to the full! We are enormously grateful to the Consort, and especially to the Inscoe family, for giving so generously of their time and their talents in this way. It was good to meet them all afterwards for the Vin d’honneur, and to return baby Albert, who had behaved impeccably throughout, to his Alto singing father and mother! In all, we raised 1000 € to be divided between the Chaplaincy and Chap-Aid charities.


Lent Lunches

We gathered during Lent, for prayers and meditation, followed by a light soup, bread and cheese meal. Many thanks to Norma and Leslie for opening their home to us for these lunches and for providing the delicious food.



Friendly and festive Christmas Carol service

carolsOur Ecumenical Service of Lessons and Carols took place on Tuesday 11th December in a candlelit church decorated with festive greenery and in the company of our French friends and their priest, Père Taillade, from the local Roman Catholic congregation. Our Assistant Chaplain, Rev'd Liz Morris and Parish Priest, Père Taillade, led the service jointly whilst members of the French congregation read some of the Lessons. It was a moving experience to hear these traditional readings spoken in French, as it was to hear Père Taillade’s thoughtful message in his homelie, where he spoke warmly of the coming together of the two communities.


carolsThe Monteton Choir, led by Marjorie, gave us a selection of beautiful English and French carols which interspersed the readings, including Boris Ord’s setting of ‘Adam lay ybounden’, John Rutter’s glorious ‘Nativity Carol’ and David Wilcock’s setting of ‘Quelle est cette odeur agreable’, then led the congregational singing of other well-loved hymns and carols. Simon Kenworthy, on our wonderful ‘new’ organ, really pulled out all the stops!

The beautiful little church of Our Lady was full to bursting, the French numbering at least half of the 130 in the congregation, and our French friends were full of praise for the event as they tucked into the vin chaud and mincepies served afterwards. Many thanks to all those who made this such a success, Revd Liz and Père Taillade, Marjorie, Simon, the choir and visiting members, but also not to forget those kind makers and servers of mincepies and mulled wine!


September BBQ Lunch and Harvest Festival

Our service of Harvest Festival on 30th September was led by Roger Verrall and took place amongst beautiful seasonal decorations and generous gifts of non-perishable foods which were later donated to, and gratefully received by, our local branch of the French charity 'Secours Populaire de France'.

The day before, we also enjoyed a wonderful barbecue Harvest Lunch on Saturday 29th September at the home of Jim and Dorothy Browne near Lauzun. In the warm late summer sunshine, over 50 people, friends old and new, sat in the shade of the barn at beautifully arranged tables whilst Rev'd Liz and husband Richard manned the barbecue and Charles and Elizabeth Clarke regaled us with Kir aperitif, elderflower spritzers and local wines. A splendid raffle was held of donated prizes and we raised over 750 euros for Chaplaincy funds and Chaplaincy sponsored charities. Our most sincere thanks go to Dorothy and Jim for welcoming us to their home and for all their hard work before and after, to Liz and Richard, to Charles and Elizabeth, and to all the friends who contributed to the delicious meal and to the setting up tables…. the list could go on and on! It was both a most successful event and a day of fellowship to remember!


Delightful Ploughman's Lunches for charity

The second Ploughman’s Lunch organised by Charles and Elizabeth Clarke at their home Le Pauvert, near Cogulot, on Saturday 8th September was yet again a resounding success, raising in excess of 250 € for our charities. A delicious selection of English and French cheeses, pickles and chutneys, salad garnishes and wine was enjoyed in the Clarkes’ lovely garden by a large number of our congregation and friends. Charles is proposing to co-ordinate a diary of social and outreach events with the aim of promoting enjoyable fundraising for our charities and for enjoyable fellowship, so please contact him with your ideas on: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The first Ploughman’s Lunch held at the home of Charles and Elizabeth Clarke on Saturday 14th July was a delightful occasion attended by 28 people and raised funds for our Church charities. Many thanks to the Clarkes for all their hard work on what will have been one of the hottest Bastille Days!


Wonderful Flower Festival!

What a lovely service held at Monteton church on Sunday 8th July, shared with the Roman Catholic community, celebrating the Flower Festival weekend at Monteton. We give thanks for these artistic creations which made the church so welcoming and colourful. Many thanks to all who contributed to making this such a special occasion.


Monteton Pentecost Prayer & Praise

prayer and praiseBy the normal run of events the morning service for 20th May would have been in the usual style of Prayer and Praise. However, it being Pentecost Sunday, Holy Communion was incorporated into the service, which was led by Rev'd Liz Morris.

Innovation didn’t stop there as instead of seating the congregation in rows a circle was formed including Liz herself. Communion was made special by passing the (real) bread and wine round the circle, each member presenting it to their neighbour. A stimulating and memorable experience.


Moving Holy Week and Easter services

Our service for Palm Sunday was led by Rev'd Louise Courtney and included a beautiful and very moving tri-part reading of St Mark’s Gospel by Norma Eckett, Janet Tarr and Ron Tillyer. The congregation joined in the rousing singing of much loved Palm Sunday hymns whilst the choir gave us John Rutter’s setting of “God be in my head”. In spite of wet and windy weather, we gathered together again on the evening of Maundy Thursday for a solemn service of Holy Communion celebrated by Rev'd Liz Morris, with Liz carrying out the Washing of Feet and the final silent Stripping of the Altar.

Easter Sunday Holy Communion was again celebrated by Rev'd Liz Morris, beginning with James Gibbs’ wonderful peal-of- bells “Introit for Easter Day” by the choir, its numbers boosted by ‘the swallows’ - our talented band of holiday visitors – and with Roger Williams at the organ. The choir also gave us Thatcher’s lovely Anthem “Come ye faithful” and the very large congregation enjoyed the singing of the Easter hymns. It was on this occasion that we marked also the formal retirement of Lay Reader Roger Verrall, thanking him for ten years of service to our congregation, but hoping that from time to time he might step in to lead us again.

The service of Morning Prayer on 8th April saw our choir still boosted by our ‘swallows’ in the singing of Rutter’s setting of “For the Beauty of the Earth”, augmented at the organ by the son of Adrian and Peps Inscoe , (second organist at Norwich Cathedral), a great treat!


Lovely Mothering Sunday service

Our service of Morning Prayer for Mothering Sunday on 11th March was led by Lay Minister Roger Verrall. This was the day when traditionally people returned to their ‘mother’ church, the one where they were baptised; it also became the day when young people ‘in service’ were given a holiday to visit their families, presenting their mothers with a bouquet of wild flowers, usually picked en route home. The Lenten fast was also relaxed on this mid-Lent Sunday, often with the eating of Simnel cakes, hence the other name, ‘Refreshment Sunday’. At our service, as ever, Norma Eckett kindly provide bouquets for all the mothers in church but this time the bouquets were filled with chocolates, for our ‘refreshment’! Despite having no Choir – most were looking after members of the wonderful Crimean Choir who had given a concert in the church at Eymet the night before – Marjorie led the congregation in heart-felt singing of the hymns. Our thanks to Roger, Norma and everyone else involved for a lovely mid-Lenten service.



Joyful Service of Lessons and Carols/Chants de Noël at Monteton

Our service this year, held on the evening of Tuesday 12th December, was a joyful ecumenical event which we celebrated with the local Roman Catholic congregation. The service was conducted by our Chaplain Rev’d Tony Lomas and Père Taillade, responsible for the local Roman Catholic parish Saint-Vincent de Paul en Guyenne. The Monteton Choir, led by Marjorie Etschmann, gave us a wonderful selection of traditional French and English carols, beginning with “Once in Royal David’s City”, Liz Berks leading us in a lovely solo for the first verse. Pere Taillade gave the “Acceuil” or “Welcome”, where he reminded us to think particularly at this time of all the suffering and poverty in our world, and our Chaplain Tony gave the “Priere d’Appel” or “Bidding Prayer”. French carols included “Noel Nouvelet”, “Les Anges dans nos campagnes”, Il est ne le Divin Enfant”, and the exquisite lesser-known “Le Sommeil de l’Enfant Jesu”. It was a moving experience to hear some of the well-known Lessons read in French, and so beautifully read by members of Pere Taillade’s congregation. After the service we all, both French and English, enjoyed delicious refreshments of mulled wine and mince pies and an opportunity to talk together and to form new friendships. Many thanks to all those who made this gathering such a memorable experience, and one which we all hope to be repeated.

Our service of Holy Communion for Christmas Eve was also a very moving occasion, held at our Chaplain’s suggestion on the morning of 24th December. Tony was also our celebrant and it was lovely to have Ingrid as reader of the 2nd Lesson. The Choir, boosted by its loyal contingent of occasional visitors, gave a magnificent rendering of the Basque carol, “The Infant King”, as well as lots of carols to welcome us before the service. It was very good to have Roger Williams back on the organ for Christmas, also to have Marjorie’s family from Germany with us in the congregation, the children having made special festive cookies for us to enjoy after the service!


Memorial service for Paddy Atkinson

paddy atkinsonA Service to Celebrate the Life of Paddy Atkinson: 11th Feb 1920 – 13th Sept 2017

On the 24th November in her beloved church at Monteton, led by Rev'd Liz Morris and our Chaplain, Rev'd Tony Lomas, we gave thanks for and celebrated the life of Paddy, surrounded by her family and friends in a church filled with her favourite flowers and with her silver candelabra placed on the altar. We began with the choir singing “Paddy’s Song” which had been written especially for the Monteton 40th Anniversary Concert in July; Marjorie then led the choir in Paddy’s chosen anthems of Faure’s “La Cantique de Jean Racine” and Rutter’s “The Lord Bless You and Keep You”, with Richard Errington on the organ, accompanying us in Paddy’s favourite hymns. There were moving contributions read by Paddy’s grandchildren, Emily, Harriet and Hugo and her daughter Carolynn, in her Tribute to her mother, told us of Paddy’s amazing career in the WRAF, (including a spell at Bletchley Park, about which Paddy was typically dismissive!), her marriage to Barry, an officer in the RAF, and their life in the countries in which they served, their time in Aden being particularly dramatic. Grand-daughter Harriet spoke warmly of all the family gatherings at the house in Montaillac, of many golden summers in the beautiful garden with its astonishing view over the Lot et Garonne countryside, and of days constantly in and out of the swimming pool! Following the service, we gathered at Paddy’s home in Montaillac to join with the family for refreshments and, as Carolynn put it, “to say goodbye as and where she would have wished”. In the order of service booklet, with the photograph of an eager young WRAF officer on the front cover, a quotation from Dag Hammarskjold sums up the Paddy we all knew and loved: “For all that has been, thanks. To all that shall be, yes”.


Blessed Harvest service: Sept 24th

We celebrated Harvest at Monteton on Sunday 24th September in a church filled with glorious flowers, autumnal foliage and fruit, a Harvest Loaf on the altar and a massed array of non-perishable food gifts for the local French charity “Secours Populaire Francais”. We enjoyed singing well-loved hymns to the Harvest and the choir delighted the congregation with the John Rutter anthem “Look at the World”.

Visitors to the “Brocante Professionelle”, also taking place in Monteton that Sunday, were evidently both astonished and impressed by what was going on in the church, constantly peeping in and asking Sidesman Charles Clarke what it was all about! After the service many of us proceeded to Norma and Leslie’s garden at Auriac to enjoy a very convivial Harvest lunch. Many thanks to everyone who made this day so memorable with the beautiful decorations in the church, the wonderful service and its music, and the delicious lunch which followed.


40th anniversary concert: a musical delight!

celebration singThe Monteton 40th Anniversary Choir Concert on Sunday 30th July was an event never to be forgotten. The Choir led by Marjorie Etschmann and numbering 26 singers, was boosted by former members and friends, some of whom had travelled especially to be with us. We also had the luxury of the talents of four organist/keyboard players as accompanists: Brian Meredith, Roger Williams, Jonathan Smalley and Paul Cook.




celebration singIn addition, celebrated local baritone Peter Fowler was the soloist in a magnificent rendering of “Libera me” from Faure’s Requiem No. 6 and he later joined with Marjorie and Barrie Green for the beautiful trio section of “The heavens are telling” from Haydn’s “The Creation”. In all it was a feast of favourite anthems by the choir and of hymns chosen by the Monteton congregation, in which everybody joined with great enthusiasm. During the evening, a message was read from Paddy Atkinson who, sadly, had not recovered fully enough from recent illness to be with us, but in which she told of the circumstances of the founding of the Anglican congregation at Monteton all those years ago. The final item in the programme was in fact a tribute to Paddy, “Paddy’s Song”, cleverly composed by Marjorie and Paul and set to the tune of “The Londonderry Air”. (A recording of the concert has been made and a copy will be sent post-haste to Paddy).

As Marjorie later commented, “everyone was delighted….and we managed to do a concert, service and tribute in one event”. Reactions from the audience came in remarks such as, “it was spine-tingling” and “I felt as if I was amongst the angels”. Praise indeed! Our thanks go of course to Marjorie, the choir and accompanists but also to all of those behind the scenes such as Norma and Leslie and the members of the Committee, then to our lovely Priest-in-Charge Liz and husband Richard who provided and served the delicious refreshments afterwards.


Rev'd Liz Morris completes a 26-mile sponsored charity walk

charity walkRev'd Liz Morris writes:

Doing a 26 mile walk began as a personal challenge, and my sister Sarah also signed up to do the walk and as we had done a 20 mile walk together in 2010, I knew that her company would help keep me going! Then it made sense to raise funds for charity to make it even more worthwhile!

The morning was with perfect conditions as far as we were concerned. We set off just before 8am, walking up the beautiful Suffolk coast from Thorpeness to Walberswick and then headed inland across heathland with gorse in full flower and trees with their new bright green leaves. By 1pm we were entering the village of Westleton where Richard and I used to own and run a restaurant when the children were younger. There, by the duck pond, were Richard, his mother, sister, brother-in-law, niece and her fiancé encouraging us on our way and handing out Minstrels and apples! When we returned to our starting point at 3.40pm, mum and dad were there to greet us and in honour of the fact that our father used to run marathons we decided to jog across the finishing line!

I was delighted to have done it and not to have suffered too much afterwards. I certainly enjoyed my hot bath and dinner of steak and chips cooked by Richard that evening!

I am also delighted to report that I will have raised around €800 in a mixture of sterling and euros. If you sponsored me – thank you very much – and I will let you have a final total when it has been allocated to the charities. (the Rotary Club’s chosen charity, St Elizabeth Hospice in Ipswich, Suffolk, and the 'Dorset Murugi Project', which is supported by the Lot et Garonne churches).

I think I have persuaded Richard to accompany me on a half-marathon walk in September in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society in memory of his dad, so watch this space!


Wonderful Easter Sunday celebration, Allelulia!

A wonderful service of Holy Communion was led by Rev'd Barrie Green, where Judy and Paul Mazzotti welcomed us with Easter eggs and the choir, its numbers boosted by many talented visiting members, gave us James Gibbs’ joyful, peal-of-bells “Introit for Easter Day” and R.S Thatcher’s setting of the words of John of Damascus, the Anthem “Come ye Faithful”!

Peaceful Palm Sunday and Holy Week

Palm Sunday, 9th April, was celebrated at Monteton with a special service of Morning Prayer led by Lay Minister Roger Verrall. We began in the square of the Salle des Fêtes led by Roger swinging the censer and with Leslie as Crucifer, then processed singing through the village to the church with palms held aloft. We were very fortunate to have members of the Iscoe family with us again, Adrian and William both singing in the choir and playing the organ! Many thanks to Philippa who, in Marjorie’s absence, conducted the beautiful rendering of David Hall’s Anthem, “Wash me Throughly”.

Philippa again conducted the choir on Maundy Thursday for Stainer’s glorious Anthem, “God so Loved the World”, in a service of Holy Communion where Liz carried out the solemn ritual of The Washing of Feet.Our feast of services at Monteton continued with Prayers at the Cross led by Roger on Good Friday.


Successful AGM: Thanks to the Team!

agmOn Saturday 8th April, it was a privilege to host our Chaplain’s first AGM at Monteton in the Salle des Fetes where we enjoyed good fellowship with people from all over the Chaplaincy. Following the main part of the meeting, a delicious and very gourmand Bring and Share lunch was served, organised by Sally Davies and Norma Eckett. The afternoon concluded with a peaceful and very moving service of Holy Communion in the parish church, led by our Chaplain and assisted by our cohort of female priests, Gill, Liz and Charlotte.

Many thanks to all those who contributed to the success of the day by providing the refreshments, to the Committee members and friends who prepared the Salle and not least, to all those who took on the task of clearing and cleaning up afterwards!

Click here to view the gallery of photos.


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.

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.




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.


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!


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!









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.

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.





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.

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).

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.



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.



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.

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


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.







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’.



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!

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.



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.