Minister's letter

A message


from Revd. Bob Conway




As I write July’s Minister’s Message, we are continuing the process of reopening our churches of all denominations as relaxation of the Covid-19 lockdown measures progress. Indeed, we are all living in the hope that the Government’s planned relaxation of measures towards the end of June will have gone ahead by the time you read this, although recent developments regarding the Covid-19 variant first identified in India may yet force some curtailment of this. Let us all hope that correct and appropriate decisions regarding these relaxations are made for the good of all concerned, and that this latest variant of interest may be brought under control, as we continue to pray for the people of India and for all others involved.




At a local level, Ministers from the Fromeside Benefice have been conducting live Sunday services in all of our churches for some time, along with offering a recorded internet service from one or other of our parishes on a weekly basis. This can be found on our Benefice website at  Further to this we have also returned our mid-week Eucharists to their traditional slots in all four Benefice churches (See for days and times).


July is a special time with warmer days, lighter evenings and generally more pleasant weather. However, amongst the Saints we commemorate in the Church’s calendar, July 15th brings that of St Swithun an English Bishop of circa 862 and a man often remembered for his weather forecasting legend rather than his sanctity.



Swithun was Bishop of Winchester from 852 until his death in 862. He was born in Wessex during the time the region was in the process of becoming the most influential of the Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms, and was educated at Winchester Minster. He was chosen to become chaplain to Egbert, King of Wessex and also tutor to Egbert’s son Ethelwulf. When Ethelwulf himself became King (in 852), Swithun was appointed Bishop of Winchester, a very important and influential role at the time.






Regardless of the importance of his role, Swithun is believed to have remained a man of simple tastes and on his death, and at his own request, he was buried in a simple grave outside the walls of the minster. However, in 971, some 90 years later, his body was moved to a shrine inside the minster giving rise to his notoriety in popular culture. This is believed to be because he was so upset at the translation of his remains from the humble grave that he had requested, to a special shrine inside the building, that a dramatic rainfall ensued, and which was interpreted as a sign of his spiritual power. Consequently, the legend that he subsequently caused it to rain for the following forty days remains a popular legend today.


I wish everyone joy in their participation in the family of God in the coming weeks, a wonderful summer break, and a dry and sunny July the 15th, and the assurance of God’s love for us all.




Every blessing