Filling Christmas with Festive Delight
She is one of several church members busy knitting festive items to hang on the tree or play with as finger puppets. Since August she has made 40, which include Santas, snowmen, soldiers, dogs and teddies.
Nichola is a Sacristan at St Eustachius’ Church and among her creations is a collection of figures representing the Last Supper, used by the children’s Vestry Group.
She enjoys knitting during the evenings while listening to the radio or music and said: “People are very generous, leaving bags of wool outside my door. I never know what I am going to find when I get home.”
The church’s 43rd annual bazaar will be opened by Tavistock Mayor, Councillor Philip Sanders, at 10.30 am. A variety of stalls will sell everything from cakes, free trade goods, toiletries and crafts, to good quality clothing, bric-a-brac, paintings, puzzles, toys and games.
Other attractions will include the ever popular Vicar’s Whisky raffle, which is held every half an hour, tombola and a guess the name of “The Traveller” competition. A local artist’s painting of the church will also be raffled.
At 2 pm hand bell ringers will perform in the parish hall, which is across Plymouth Road. Proceeds are for the fabric of the church, which celebrates its 700th anniversary in 2018.
Dairy Farmer’s Wife is Ordained Deacon
Judith, who will be serving as an assistant curate in the Benefice of Tavistock, Gulworthy and Brent Tor, was one of 14 Ordinands to be licensed at a special service by Bishop Robert. For the occasion Judith was joined by members of her church, St Eustachius, Tavistock, and Brentor Church.
At Tavistock Parish Church’s Evensong, Judith was warmly welcomed to the benefice by the Very Rev Dr Christopher Hardwick, who presented her with a stole from Gulworthy church members, whose collection will also contribute towards a Home Communion set.
Judith has been a member of the Church all her life, serving both as a Sunday school teacher and Parochial Church Council secretary. She was originally a member of St Mary’s Church, Brixton, near Plymouth, where she was born, moving to Gulworthy in 1983.
She said: ‘The thought of serving God as a priest has been a growing calling and wasn’t undertaken lightly.’
Initially, she had to go through a discernment process and then face an advisory panel. Once accepted, she began her journey to the priesthood with South West Ministry Training and has another year’s work before achieving her goal.
‘Being under the supervision of Chris Hardwick is a huge privilege and I welcome also the experience and support of the ministry team, which includes deacon the Rev Sue Tucker, being ordained priest later this month.
In more earthly matters Judith works on the farm with husband Peter, their son, Philip and daughter-in-law Sally and runs a B and B. The couple also have a daughter, Helen, son-in-law Dave and three grandchildren.
Photo caption: Newly ordained deacon, the Rev Judith Blowey, wearing the stole she received at her ‘welcome to the benefice’ service
Vicar’s Plea for Parish Church
An appeal has been made to the community to help secure the future of Tavistock Parish Church as it prepares to celebrate its 700th anniversary next year.
Vicar, the Very Reverend Dr Christopher Hardwick, speaking at a buffet supper attended by 150 guests at the town hall on Friday 14 July, said: ‘Moving forward we face a challenge. Last year it cost the church £174,000 to do all that we did, but with total income of £155,000 a year, we have a funding gap. It is a shortfall of £19,000 a year –that is £365 every week, nearly £52 every day.
‘We are entirely self-financing and receive no financial support from the government, or the national church, or from endowments, and so we are looking as a matter of urgency to bridge that gap’.
He stressed that the church was working hard to reduce its deficit and for its anniversary its priority was to eliminate the existing deficit to secure a firm, financial footing for the future. ‘To do this we need your help, please, to add to the support of those within the church. Can we dig deep?’
The supper, to launch a new programme for St Eustachius’ called “The Way Ahead – Supporting Your Parish Church”, included a sit-down meal, slideshow, musical entertainment by the choir and vocal and piano duo Gin and Pimms, plus guest speaker, Canon Dr John Rea. James Teague gave an overview of finances and Katie Stevenson spoke about the Community Giving Scheme.
Dr Hardwick said church organisers were optimistic about the future and funds were already set aside for the first phase of the 700th Anniversary project; to make the vestry roof watertight. He also outlined aims for a longer term re-ordering plan, which include the provision of a new galley and toilets and an improved heating, electrical and sound system; enhancing the church’s musical provision through a new chorister/organ scholarship scheme; an enhanced programme of concerts and events; re-instating access to the church via the tower using landscaping and a lych-gate to “re-connect” the church to West Street.
He added: ‘Other plans to mark our 700th anniversary through a variety of church and community events are progressing well and will happen – 2018 promises to be a busy and exciting year!’
James Teague, a Tavistock businessman, said: ‘This is about building a community. It’s about everybody. I am not a religious person and am not part of the worship – I don’t come from a religious sect at all. I have been working with St Eustachius’ for some years helping to optimise our income – our finances are under control as much as they can possibly be.
‘We can’t re-order the church if we are just about managing. The bread and butter is just about managing, so this is about the cream.’
Anyone wishing to support St Eustachius’ Church is invited to contact the Parish Office on 01822-61667, email firstname.lastname@example.org or view more details at the church.
Busy Sewing Bees are Buzzing for Church Fete
A GROUP of crafty recyclers are ‘sew busy’ making quality items for Tavistock Parish Church’s summer fete next month – while helping to save the planet!
Calling themselves Vintage Green, they use old, unwanted and donated materials to make anything from quilts, cushions and aprons, to bags, cards and craft gifts. Since joining forces four years ago they have raised over £5,000 for St Eustachius’ Church and hope to add another good sum from their next stall.
With years of experience between them, the crafters have all the makings of a successful ‘church family’ business, spending much of their spare time in production.
One of five members, Sarah Pendle said by using recycled, old and unwanted items from the environment, the group was supporting the church and God’s creation.
‘We produce high quality items, unique and limited edition – goods you would look to buy in a shop. We are very purposeful about it and want people to appreciate what we do and pay a fair price.’
Another member, Pat Knock explained: ‘We have a production line – I do the pinning, cutting out, ironing etc, while Sarah, Pam Hunter, and Hilary Sanders do the sewing and Hilary Johnson does the sticking’
Sparking off each other, they make the best possible use of whatever items come into their hands, creating anything from tepees and circus play tents, to scented candles and cards.
Pam, a quilter for almost 40 years, said: ‘It is much better to come together and share our ideas and we like to try new things for each event.’
Hilary Sanders describes the group as ‘very supportive, sharing fun and friendship and inspiring other people’.
Vintage Green, started in 2014, is a splinter group of the Church Green Team, which gained an Eco-Congregation Award for being environmentally friendly by developing better ways to use resources.
Besides the summer fete the group usually has a stall at St Eustachius’ Christmas Tree Festival and in the run-up to these two big events the sewing ladies spend ‘countless hours’ adding to their stock. View their latest range at the fete on Saturday, June 10, from 10.30am to 3.30pm.
Other stalls will include woodturning by Eric Cockings, handicrafts, bric-a-brac, nearly new clothes, books and plants. There will be a bouncy castle, face painting, entertainment from Flute Ensemble and The Saxophonics, plus church tower tours, a barbecue and refreshments.
More Families Get “Messy” at St Eustachius Church
INCREASING numbers of families are being welcomed to the monthly ‘Messy Church’ sessions at Tavistock Parish Church.
The after-school get-togethers combine creative crafts, bible-themed activities, music and worship, rounding off with a shared hot meal. Since the group was launched in March last year, 62 families have been welcomed, with 15 adults and 25 children regularly attending and some 50 people, including helpers, sitting down to eating together.
At the annual meeting of St Eustachius’ Parochial Church Council, vicar the Very Rev Dr Chris Hardwick said: ‘As a church we have month by month gradually increased the number of children coming to “Messy Church” – a formula for bringing all age groups together to try their hands at crafts and activities based around a simple theme and Bible story and ending in informal worship. It’s a wonderful way of allowing people to begin or renew their experience of faith, worship and church.’
Sarah Pendle, who runs the group, said since the groups’ launch, 13 sessions had been held, including three summer ones (“Mini Messy”) and a Saturday one.
‘There is a very dedicated team of disciples who work amazingly hard, with more than 40 people who minister in a variety of ways in “Messy Church”.’
Sessions include the parables of Jesus, Creation, the Bible, Mountains, Joshua, Christmas and Easter. Worship is led by vicar Chris, assistant curate Steve Martin and Sally Pancheri.
Sarah said through activities children shared what they had learnt about God’s word. Singing was greatly enjoyed and during worship time prayers were written and read out by children, then displayed on the Clothworkers’ altar and used in intercessions.
She thanked the PCC for funding the group and all supporters. Families are welcome to just turn up at any “Messy Church” session, usually held the first Wednesday of the month. The next one is on June 7, 3.30pm to 5.30pm.
Sean Sweeney’s 60th Birthday Celebration
Choristers from St Eustachius’ Church toasted Sean Sweeney’s 60th birthday with a surprise celebration at The Bedford Hotel, following their practice on Friday April 28. Sean was presented with gifts including a bottle of wine, wine glasses, flowers and a birthday card picturing a church organ, specially embroidered by chorister Rita Bilverstone. A birthday cake, iced with a keyboard and music notes, was made by Gulworthy resident Hilary Barnardo, and assisting Sean with the cutting was his wife, Carol.
On Sunday April 30, Sean, Director of Music at St Eustachius’ since 2005, led a joint choral evensong with the Cornish choir, Canoryon Lowen, as part of Tavistock Festival 2017.
TAKING a leading role in Palm Sunday’s procession from the parish centre to St Eustachius’ Church was Arthur the donkey, who duly trotted in once again to take Jesus into Jerusalem for the Tavistock Passion Play on Good Friday morning.
Also pictured are the vicar, The Very Reverend Dr Christopher Hardwick, assistant curates the Reverend Dr Steven Martin and The Reverend Sue Tucker, with Arthur’s owner, Heather King from Tavistock.
Palm Sunday followers, clutching ‘palms’, accompanied the choir singing, All Glory, Laud and Honour as they circled the church before entering for the service.
Also featured below is an Easter Garden in the church porch made by the members of the Vestry Group.
Feature Stories 2016
Chicks Santa Run
On Saturday 10 December the Chicks Santa Run took place – over 250 ‘Santas’ came to Tavistock to take part – from babies in prams to … Eileen Hooper, who was the oldest competitor. Well done Eileen – we are very proud of you. The weather was poor but it did not put a dampener on the Run. Eileen is seen being presented with her medal by the Mayor, Councillor Mandy Ewings.
Festive Tree-t at St Eustachius!
THE focal point of Tavistock’s Dickensian Evening on Friday 25 November, will be St Eustachius Church, glowing with festive cheer on the opening of its annual Christmas Tree Festival.
Exhibitors, including traders, schools, groups and organisations, are busy putting final touches to their trees ready for the event opening at 6 pm. This year there are several new participants, including Morrisons, Boots Opticians, Broadley Speaking, the Town Hall, Tavistock Times, besides many old favourites such as Goosey Quilters, the Flower Club and the Turners and Carvers Club.
In response to requests last year, on Wednesday 30 November the church is staying open late (until 6.30 pm), a new departure. Mulled wine will be on sale and carols fill the air as the choir practices its Advent Carol Service, being held on Sunday 27 December at 6 pm.
The ten-day spectacular, running until 4 December, attracts visitors from far and wide. Last year more than 10,000 people walked the tree-lined aisles and over £12,500 was raised towards church funds.
Event co-ordinator, Pat Morrison said: ‘Last year’s attendance was fantastic and in the run-up to St Eustachius’ centenary in 2018 we are hoping for another great year. The sight of all the wonderfully decorated trees filling the church with warmth and light captures the true spirit of Christmas. What better way to highlight Tavistock’s Dickensian Evening, with the streets and shops bustling with shoppers and entertainers?’
For more information on the Festival opening times, please see the main page of this website under ‘Friends’.
Chorister Eric Helps Turn Christmas Bazaar into a Record Breaker
CHORISTER Eric Cockings, who sold wooden gifts, at the Christmas Bazaar on 19 November, that he had made from St Eustachius’ old church doors, helped to raise the record-breaking sum of £5,073.
The event was at Tavistock Town Hall and Eric alone took over £1,000, with some 50 orders to follow.
The doors, believed to be two to three hundred years old, were replaced two years ago, and with no plans for them, Eric was permitted to rescue them for St Eustachius’ benefit.
Eric has crafted everything from bowls, pots and coasters, to pencil holders, egg cups and jewellery stands. His paperweights he inset with cast iron studs from the church doors.
Born and bred in Ivybridge, Eric and his wife Sylvia, moved to Tavistock in 2000, and a few years later both joined the church choir. Eric, a chorister since he was eight, met his wife Sylvia, in the choir at Ivybridge when he was 16 and she 14. They have been married 58 years and still enjoy singing together as tenor and alto.
Eric is a founder member of Tavistock Turners and Carvers Club, and now president.
Artists of All Ages Create Colourful Church Exhibition
ARTISTS from primary school age to talented amateurs and professionals attracted a steady flow of visitors to St Eustachius Church’s Art Exhibition in Gallery 26 at the Bedford Hotel, on Friday and Saturday, October 7th and 8th.
Entrants were asked to create a picture or artwork of Tavistock Parish Church, or any part of it. Exhibits included everything from watercolour, gouache and oil, to acrylic, pencil and pastel. Among other work were monoprints, fabric and illuminated pictures and customised glass.
The schools competition was run by Hugh Walkington, with entries from Lamerton Church of England Primary, Mount Kelly Preparatory and Senior schools, St Peter’s C of E, Tavistock College and Whitchurch Community Primary School.
These were judged by a panel of well-known local artists, including Nick Collier, Ian Pethers and Ros Pierson.
Prizes were awarded to: Alice Tucker (Tavistock College), Rick de Wilde (Lamerton C of E), Annabelle Hess and Charlotte Tilney (Mount Kelly Prep), with another 19 children receiving certificates of commendation.
Visitors were asked to vote for their favourite picture and chose Colin Hale’s oil painting of floodlit St Eustachius, entitled ‘Night Light’.
The event is the first to be organised by The Friends of Eustachius in the run-up to the church’s 700th centenary in 2018, with plans underway to help attract a wider community to the church.
Chairman of The Friends, John Rea organised the event, ably assisted by Judy Hirst, deputy chairman.
John said: ‘The exhibition was seen by many people and was a great success. A big thank you to artists young and old, who contributed beautiful works of art’.
Vicar Chris Hardwick said: ‘A big thank you to all The Friends who made this possible and everyone who contributed. This is all part of building for the future in which we hope to engage more widely with our Christian community in the Tavistock area, where we have been for several hundred years and longer’.
A proportion of money raised from the sale of exhibits is being donated to the church’s upkeep.
Newly Ordained Priest Steven Martin Baptises His Son
THE day after being ordained priest at Tavistock Church, the Rev Dr Steven Martin baptised his son during his first Eucharist service.
Steven was ordained by Bishop Nick of Plymouth, on September 24, together with Carl Budden, from St Edward, Eggbuckland, and Leon Catallo, of St Andrew and St Paul, Plymouth.
St Eustachius Church was packed for the event, for which the choir was joined by choristers from the Collegiate Church of the Holy Cross and The Mother of Him Who Hung Thereon, Crediton, where Steven had formally been Director of Music.
The following day, he presided over the Eucharist for the first time and christened his son Henry George Buxton. For this service, choristers from Steven’s Taunton choir, In Ecclesia, swelled the choral ranks.
Steven is pictured with his wife, Caroline, after Henry was clothed in The White Garment, which represented being clothed with Christ. The gown was made from Caroline’s wedding dress by churchwarden, Hilary Sanders.
After the service Steven returned to the High Altar to give First Blessings to those wishing to receive one. In this ancient tradition, the newly anointed hands of the priest (sanctified by the Holy Spirit through the bishop with the holy Oil of Chrism) are used to give God’s blessing for the first time.
Vicar of St Eustachius, the Very Rev Dr Christopher Hardwick, who is Steven’s training incumbent, said: ‘I am delighted that Steve has been ordained priest and will continue his training within the parishes of Tavistock, Gulworthy and Brent Tor. We all look forward to his ministry among us and pray for God’s blessing upon him in his new life as a priest.’
Steven, an accomplished musician, chose hymns and anthems for the services. His love of church music stems from his childhood, when he joined the choir at St George’s Metropolitan Cathedral, Southwark, aged eight. He progressed to learning the organ and at Tavistock occasionally supports Director of Music, Sean Sweeney and the choir.
He studied music at Exeter and Bristol universities, was a choral scholar at Exeter Cathedral and led choirs in Exeter and Taunton. His organ playing pursuits include Broadhembury, Payhembury, Crediton and Exeter Prison (as a visitor!).
Steven began to feel a call to the priesthood while at St George’s cathedral, initially exploring his vocation at secondary school. He vividly remembers his interview with the careers advisor.
‘When I told her that I wished to become a priest, I am not sure that she quite knew what to say or recommend, so she telephoned Lambeth Palace and I remember her passing the receiver to me and speaking to a nice gentleman – not the Archbishop I think! – and he asked me what I was interested in. He recommended that I focus on music for a bit, as I seemed to be enjoying that, and then I could go forward for selection.
‘That is basically what I did, but I focussed on my music a while longer than anticipated – about 17 years, before going forward for selection!’
Steven, assistant curate at Tavistock Church, will perform his priestly duties in the benefice of St Eustachius, St Paul, Gulworthy and Christ Church and St Michael de Rupe, Brent Tor.
He said: ‘Tavistock is an excellent place and Caroline and I love being here. We have been overwhelmed by the warm welcome and support we have received since our arrival just over a year ago. Our heartfelt thanks to all who attended the services and for all the good wishes and messages of support we have received’.
Tavistock Parish Celebrates New Church Deacon
Sue was ordained Deacon to serve as Assistant Curate to the Benefice of St Eustachius, St Paul’s Gulworthy, Christ Church and St Michaels, Brentor, at a special service at Exeter Cathedral last Sunday (September 11).
People from the three parishes travelled to Exeter to see her ordained along with 13 other candidates by the Lord Bishop of Exeter, Bishop Robert. That evening, at St Eustachius Church’s evensong service, she was warmly welcomed by the vicar, The Very Reverend Dr Christopher Hardwick, who presented gifts of books and liturgical stoles from the parishes. A celebration party was held afterwards at the parish centre.
Sue, who has two children, three step children, 11 grandchildren and one great-grandchild, will be working half-time as self-supporting Assistant Curate in the benefice. Retired herself, she is particularly keen to grow ministry with the elderly, people with dementia and the bereaved.
For 24 years Sue worshipped at St Mary the Virgin Church, Bickleigh, in the Benefice of Roborough and 16 years ago was licensed as a Reader. Eight years later she became Rural Officer for the Diocese of Exeter, working closely with rural churches and networking with rural communities and farming organisations.
Sue had retired when she was encouraged by the then Bishop of Crediton, Bishop Bob, to become ordained. After a few ups and downs, she spent three months on placement with the West Dartmoor Mission Community and started her training in 2015.
It was a steep learning curve, as she had never written an academic essay before, but with great support from parishioners, she managed to pass all her exams.
Last Sunday was the culmination of Sue’s calling to ordained ministry. She said: ‘I am delighted to be serving the people of the benefice. I feel this is the place God has called me to be. It is hugely affirming being at St Eustachius, St Paul’s and Christ Church and I pray that together we will all be on a wonderful journey as we truly become disciples of Christ’.
Paint Tavistock’s Historic Parish Church in Summer Art Competition
ARTISTS of all ages are being invited to paint a picture of Tavistock’s beautiful parish church, or any part of it, in a summer art competition – and their work will be displayed in an autumn exhibition.
The competition is one of the events marking the 700th anniversary of St Eustachius Church in 2018, and the exhibition will be open to the public at the Bedford Hotel, on October 8 and 9.
The competition has three sections: Junior (under 13), Senior (13 to 18) and Adults (19 and over) on September 1, with cash prizes for the best entries.
To inspire you, artist Ian Pethers, exhibition secretary of Tavistock Group of Artists, is pictured holding a watercolour he painted showing part of the Lady Chapel east window, with a carving of the Virgin and child.
Ian, a member of the Hilliard Society of Miniaturist Art and the Royal Miniaturist Society, is pictured with Canon Dr John Rea, chairman of the Friends of St Eustachius Church, which is organising the competition.
Mr Rea said: “I think this is a wonderful painting, featuring part of the church which is very special to me. I hope it will inspire anyone who enjoys painting to capture the church, or part of it, which is special to them.’
Schools have been posted with details of the competition. For an entry form please contact John Rea (email@example.com; 01822 613420) or Hugh Walkington (firstname.lastname@example.org; 01822 614972).