COLUMN: Just a Thought


A column from the diocese of Chichester. this week Rev. Mark Betson, the diocese’s Environment Officer

I am currently making preparations for the Plough Sunday service to be held at Chichester Cathedral on the 7th February.

Although the agricultural calendar would usually see the plough tilling the earth much earlier, this time has been set aside to stand back and ask for a blessing on the work of our hands and for a bountiful harvest.

It’s a good time of year to do that not just for farmers, but for all of us and what we hope to achieve this year.

Christmas preparations can be so focused on creating one perfect day, which if expectations are built too highly, can disappoint.

Too much money spent, too much food consumed can lead to the days after seeming haunted by guilt at the memory of that day.

It helps create the atmosphere of the so-called ‘Blue Monday’ a few weeks later.

However, Plough Sunday turns that around. It’s not about looking back, but looking forward.

It may be hard to see that on a grey January day, just as it’s difficult to see from the bare earth of a 
ploughed field that a crop will grow.

However, life is full of surprises and, given time, you will hopefully see something start to grow.

It’s not easy, but given nurture and faith, you can see the shoots of hope for the year begin to bear fruit.

This week is the annual ‘week of prayer for Christian unity’. At a time when news from the church can often seem to highlight areas of difference and division, this week provides an opportunity for Christians of all denominations to express their unity in faith.

Various events are being organised in places across Sussex from Petworth to Horsham, look out for local publicity if you’d like to know more.

Chorister Open Day

On Saturday 6th February, parents with boys in years 2 and 3 are invited to an informal event at Chichester Cathedral from 2-4.30pm to hear more about life as a chorister.

You can join the junior choristers for an afternoon and discover more about what they do and the enjoyment they find in coral music.

To book please contact the Prebendal school on 01243 520970.

Farewell Service for the Archdeacon of Hastings

The Ven. Philip Jones has served the communities of East Sussex as Archdeacon of Hastings for many years. As he retires at the end of January, a farewell service of Choral Evensong at St John’s Upper St Leonard’s on Sunday 31 January at 6.30pm. All are welcome to come and give thanks for his contribution to the spiritual life of the Anglican Church in Sussex.