As we go to press we are experiencing a record-breaking July with “blowtorch temperatues” apparently set to “engulf the country”. I don’t think I am alone in hoping that the tabloid press are exaggerating somewhat!
This issue brings news from both the World Team on page 23, and Newbiggin Hall on page 27, as well as the promised article on the bears in the woods closer to home (page 21).
St John’s Choir are having their customary well-earned break in August, which is why Music Notes are missing, but if you happen to be in the Midlands on 18th and19th August you could pop into Coventry Cathedral and hear them singing the services there!
It is to be hoped that September will be a little cooler and that many of you will join in the annual Ride and Stride event advertised on page 6. Years ago I took part in Ride and Stride in Kent and met a couple who weren’t up to cycling or walking long distances but who were having a very enjoyable day using their bus passes to go into Canterbury and visiting the city-centre churches there. That would work from here with Winchester, so no excuses!
If St John’s does get a lot of visitors on 8th September it would be great if the churchyard looked it’s best, and it would help if we’d all read and heeded the message on page 27.
Don’t forget to read all our regular contributors too.
Finally a reminder that we still need a new editor to take over at the start of 2019. We are planning to try something a bit different (to see if it works) for the October edition – details next month.
Leading Article from August edition of The Magazine
Have you Heard?
So, finally I am here and slowly settling into life in the Arle Valley Benefice. It seems a long time ago, I first wrote to introduce myself and now I’m enjoying the delights of living in Alresford and being Curate in the Arle Valley Benefice. For those of you that joined me for my ordination service at the Cathedral I am very thankful you were able to share that special day with me. I would also like to thank everyone for the very warm welcome I have received. I’m really enjoying getting to know people in the area and visiting the churches of the Arle Valley Benefice.
The last few years have felt like quite an adventure. From my earlier days of working for Peter Symonds College, it has been quite a change – especially spending two years doing student living in a shared house in your late forties! One thing that I’ve learnt throughout the adventure to ordination, is that God is faithful.
But, if you think being a curate in the Church of England is an adventurous thing….have you heard about the wonderful fundraising projects for the new Winchester hospice on the grounds of the Royal Hampshire County Council. They are converting Burrell House into a ten bedded hospice supporting patients with life limiting illnesses and their families. This will also extend into a ‘hospice at home’ and outpatients service, but for all of this to happen, £2.5 million needs to be raised.
Obviously, becoming a Curate was not enough adventure for me, and I’ve agreed to abseil down the side of Spinnaker tower on August 19th to raise money for this amazing project. I’ve never abseiled in my life and am not keen on heights either, so it will be a bit of challenge to even get off the top of the building!! But, the cause is such an important one, I couldn’t resist supporting it. So if you would like to join me in supporting the Winchester Hospice, then please sponsor me on my abseiling adventure. There will be a sponsor form at the back of church from this Sunday, and I’ll have one on me in person as well, so do stop me in the town, if you see me. Alternatively you can contact me on my email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hopefully, if it is possible, there will be photo’s evidencing my abseiling adventure in the new issue!
I look forward to getting to meet more people over the coming weeks as we enjoy the Summer sun in the beautiful Arle Valley.
Tributes: Roger Page (February 2018)
Before my interview in 2001 for the position of Rector of New Alresford and Ovington, I did what any wise candidate would do to research the place;– I “Googled” Alresford. Two things came up immediately – the first was the Alresford Rugby Football Club, and the second was CLC. In my ignorance I knew nothing of CLC*, and became excited as I realised what a wonderful resource it was, and right on the doorstep.
Some eight months after the interview, I was “Collated” into the living of New Alresford and Ovington, and I made it my business to call on CLC to introduce myself during the following week. I recognised Roger as someone whom I had met in Church, and he couldn’t have been more-welcoming as he showed me around the warehouse and the offices. He introduced me to the lovely folk who worked with him, and to the concept of how CLC worked then, with Roger, Pearl and their co-workers “living by faith”. I so admired the strength of trust in the Lord that Roger, Pearl and the others displayed, and found Roger and the whole operation a truly inspirational project. It was so good to have in our midst a business which was managed prayerfully and faithfully, and to know that as we prayed for CLC, so Roger and his co-workers would hold the parish church in prayer also. With that confidence it was good to pop in to see him, just to share prayerful concerns with him.
In one of the earliest confirmation groups we ran, I asked Roger if I might bring the young people in to see how CLC operated, and for them to discover the outworking of “living by faith”. I know this particular aspect of CLCs operation made quite an impact on those young people, as it did me.
Whist we were sitting together in the staff room, I noticed on the wall a world map, showing the connections between CLC Alresford and places around the globe. One of those places was Vellore, in Tamil Nadu. When I led a group from St John’s to Vellore later that year, it was marvellous to visit the ELS Bookshops, both in Karigiri Hospital and at The Christian Medical College and Hospital, Vellore. In the latter shop, those who served me knew of Roger very well, and I tried to phone him then and there to pass on their greetings to him. Unfortunately, I hadn’t quite remembered Roger’s phone number correctly, and thus spoke to another pleasant Alresford soul instead!
As far as CLC International was concerned, it was the opening of the Bookshop in Belarus that I most-associate with Roger. It can’t have been a straight-forward project to manage, but with his usual diplomacy and tact, and firm conviction that this was from The Lord, things got underway there, and seem to have gone from strength to strength since.
Saint John’s Church has always been a “middle of the road” sort of place, which has called for compromise on the part of those who are from a more-defined churchmanship. Roger’s and Pearl ‘s “stable”, along with others at St John’s, has been firmly evangelical, whilst there are others who would class themselves as from the “catholic” wing, with the vast majority admitting to being simply “Anglican”. I was thrilled that Roger and Pearl felt they could be a part of St John’s Church fellowship. What they have been able to bring to the Church has been nothing but enrichment.
Roger was no stranger to leading worship, and I understand he had quite a prominent role doing this whilst he and Pearl were with another fellowship prior to my arrival. I was particularly grateful to Roger for the ministry into which he grew with “Sundays at Six”. It was obvious to me that the Lord was calling Roger to play a key role in that service, and his warm, prayerful, easy style, with insightful interjections and comments, and excellent choice of music to fit the theme, helped to turn it into a most-worthwhile venture.
A large amount of Roger’s time was devoted to musical and other assistance at HMP Winchester. There are many folk, both staff and prisoners alike, who have been grateful to Roger for the noteworthy part he played in the spiritual life of the place – not always an easy environment in which to minister.
I was also greatly indebted to both Roger and Pearl for the assistance they gave at the monthly devotional service in Ellingham Close, and especially appreciated his skills on the accordion, which were put to good use for Churches Together in Alresford occasions of outdoor witness.
In more recent times, Roger has been instrumental in forming and running a group for bereaved men, which has been greatly valued by those who belong to it. There were many other ways in which the pair of you just got on very quietly with caring for others; I can remember on many occasions the kindnesses done on behalf of the Wright family, for instance, and there were others besides them who have benefitted from the kindnesses extended by the pair of you.
The sadness of losing a dear Churchwarden in Dorothy, on Boxing Day, 2013, was a major blow. Ian was scheduled to retire from his role as Warden at the next APCM in the following April, and Dorothy’s sad demise left me with the responsibility of finding two wardens for St John’s.
After prayer and deliberation, two people stood out in my mind who, if they agreed, would be marvellous for this. I asked both Roger and Jackie if they would consider taking-on this crucial role, especially at a time when my retirement was imminent.
I saw Roger and Jackie as a complementary pair, with different gifts and perspectives on a whole range of concerns and interests. They were also both pastorally aware, and had an eye for detail, which is just what is required of those who take on this position.
I was thrilled when they both agreed to care for St John’s in the approaching time of transition. The vacancy unfortunately proved to be at times rather trying, and not without its difficulties, but both Jackie and Roger brought warmth, sensitivity and understanding into the situations as they arose. Since then, of course, they have been there for Julia, at the start of her ministry in The Arle Valley.
I am so very grateful for the support I received from them both in my last couple of years. I valued the many meetings we had together, and the wisdom and insights we shared in the fulfilment of our mutual duties. I will never forget the “leaving do” they organised on my last Sunday in The Arle Valley, and their kind words spoken on the occasion. Jackie and Roger were a true team, and I am so sorry that this partnership in faith and practice has been brought to an abrupt end.
I have always held Roger in the highest esteem. The perfect gentleman in all he undertook, he could charm and disarm people with his smile, and even a reprimand could sound like kindness itself from his lips! He was always very kind to me, and constantly asked after my well-being, most-concerned when he received an email from me, sent at an unearthly hour of the morning! “You’re not overdoing it, are you?”…….
I thank God for Roger, and am certain that he is well-at-home with the Lord, there with his Mum and all whom have gone before. I just wish, Roger, you could have stayed with us a bit longer.
With my love and prayers,
*CLC = Christian Literature Crusade
We were immediately drawn to Roger and thus St John’s the first time we visited the church as potential new members of the congregation. He gave us a warm and sincere welcome. If there’s at least one person on whom you can focus your attention when getting to know everybody else it makes it that much easier to become and feel involved.
We constantly hear what are the attributes of a committed Christian – open, warm, caring, concerned, prayerful, friendly, genuine, trusting and so on. We all hope that we each have some of these qualities, and more, to one degree or another. Roger had them all in equal and significant measure – he ticked all the boxes.
He is sorely missed.
God bless you Roger; rest in peace.
These thoughts have been rumbling around in my head ever since I heard the devastating news of Roger’s sudden death. Where do you begin to describe a man who has become so much a part of your life; a dear and respected colleague and fellow churchwarden, a much loved, cherished friend who felt rather more like a brother? I have known Roger for many years since we were both asked to be part of a group set up by Graham Trasler to explore setting up a healing ministry in St John’s. Later we both became part of that healing team where his care, concern and prayerfulness inspired us all. Over the years our paths often crossed in other ways but it was only when we became churchwardens together that I felt I really came to know him.
Many lives have been touched by Roger’s intuitive sense of care. He became a pastoral visitor and was often asked to visit recently bereaved men which resulted in him becoming involved in the Fresh Directions group. He could often be seen chatting to people in the churchyard, sometimes to those visiting a grave, always showing sensitivity and concern. I recall how he looked after my young nephew who was struggling with emotion at John’s funeral. It did not matter that they had never met before because to Roger this was someone in need of support and that is what he instinctively did. I often thought of Roger as the local bus chaplain because he loved the buses and was so often seen travelling on them chatting to passengers and drivers alike and I am quite certain, making many people feel all the better for the contact.
Since we became churchwardens there has hardly been a day, apart from holidays, when we have not had contact in some form or another, sometimes it seemed that there must be a direct phone/email link between our homes. Roger was so conscientious, always leading by example, always wanting to give of his very best for St John’s and all its people and above all for the God he loved. He was wise, discerning, extremely conscientious but at the same time very modest and self effacing. He took it upon himself to regularly empty the bins in the churchyard saying ‘it keeps me ‘umble’. Most of us have rarely met such a humble man. It has been a very deep privilege to have worked so closely with Roger, especially as we encountered some of the challenges of the interregnum. It is so good to also recall the happy harvest supper when we performed Mrs Beamish together and the laughter as we tried practising it beforehand. Roger’s warmth and welcome to all is unforgettable.
Roger’s faith underpinned all that he did. He really did live the mission of Jesus and I firmly believe that his life was a true example of Christianity in action. We miss him deeply but let’s give thanks for all that he has been to us, all that he has given to us and for the love and witness he has shared. We have much to learn from this great man.
Roger was a gentle and kind soul who was full of wisdom and part of the glue that held St John’s together
It has been my privilege to know Roger and Pearl since the 80s and to enjoy their staunch and supportive friendship during that time.
Our families used to share Sunday lunches together which was always fun (especially The Webberly Hills Mysteries which the children produced on a bulky video camera!)
In the Great Storm of 87 they showed their love in practical ways in meals and welcome baths as we had no power
We have shared in our children’s weddings and our anniversaries as well sadly in family funerals. As St. Paul wrote about his friends, I thank God for every remembrance of you Roger (and Pearl)
A note from my diary on 20th March 2017
“I saw Roger Page while waiting for my husband in the doctors’ surgery.
We talked, he lifts my heart.”
I so miss that man.
|WORDS of Condolence sent to the Page family|
|How shocked and saddened I was to hear of Roger’s passing – he was so lovely, and a great support to me – I really missed him when he left HMP Winchester. Please be assured you are in my thoughts and prayers – I do hope that you are taking care of yourself; that is so important at this time. Please pass on my condolences to your children. God bless you Pearl – now and in the future.|
|Our thoughts and prayers are with you and the family at this really sad time. Roger’s warm welcome when we first arrived was one reason we continued to worship at St. John’s. He will be badly missed by all.|
|Your lovely Roger’s face was the first I saw as I walked into St. John’s on 9th March last year. His warm handshake and smile instantly made me feel both welcome and at ease in his presence. Although our acquaintance has been fleeting, I shared a couple of churchyard ‘clean-ups’ with him and grew to respect him and enjoy his humour – I will miss him. Grief is a strange creature that sneaks up on you at times you wish it wouldn’t. I have never realised this quite so much as in church last week. As the choir began “O Holy Night” (also a special favourite of mine) all my thoughts were focussed on you. Without any warning I was thinking of Ken and I trying to find a particular recording of it, without any knowledge of the ultimate singer – I totally “lost it” and almost didn’t go to the Communion rail as I was so distraught.|
|It is clearly obvious to say that Roger will be GREATLY missed! In his quiet and unassuming way, his life was full of service and ministry in so many ways and to so many and such varied people. His ability to get alongside some of the most difficult of offenders as well as alongside the most devout of believers was such a wonderful gift and one which he used with the utmost of discretion in the service of his Master. It was a privilege to have known him and to have worked in fellowship with him. Only heaven will reveal the number of lives that he undoubtedly touched with his gracious approach – to sinners and saints! How suddenly the commendation and call came – “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your Master’s happiness.” What a blessed calling Roger has received – with happiness and joy that is beyond our understanding… I pray that in your loss and grief, the Lord will give you just a little taste of the unspeakable joy that is now Roger’s. How wonderful to realise that our parting is just for a short time…|
|Roger will long be remembered, by us and so many others, as a man of deep Christian faith combined with practical efficiency and a delightful sense of humour. It was so appropriate that he was elected Churchwarden of St. John’s for the critical time of interregnum and he appointment of Julia as pseudo-Rector! Roger brought to that difficult but crucial work a deep understanding of the complex world of Christian leadership, and clearly gave up his time and energies to produce and excellent result – which we are all thrilled with! While all that was going on, Roger somehow managed to keep up his organ playing – which was always a delight to listen to. And having been a Churchwarden myself (at Christ Church Winchester, including an interregnum!) I can imagine how much boring administrative stuff passed across his desk and needed his attention… The services at St. John’s in the last two days have shown the love and admiration which all of us who knew Roger have had for his in recent years…|
|Roger was such a kind, gentle man; a true gentleman, who was a true and genuine Christian, down to the last bone in his body…. Gratitude for all the work he did for the church, especially as Senior Warden…|
|Although this is a hard and difficult experience, we are sure that you will be comforted because you know that you have not lost someone, when you know where they are. You also have the comfort of one who knows what it is to weep and who has promised to be with you in every situation. Roger was a most remarkable friend and encourager. We recall attending Christian book conventions over many years when Roger would be gracefully playing the piano as we gathered and during our worship time. Almost invariably when Carine and I would enter the room, he would catch us with the corner of his eye and immediately switch to a Scottish metrical Psalm tune, much to our delight! Invariably in contact with Roger, we enjoyed fellowship about the things of the Gospel with particular reference to our glorious Lord. You will be, as we are, thankful for the sweet memories that we have of Roger’s commitment to others, to the ministry in which he was engaged and to the Lord whom he so faithfully served.|
|We remember Roger with affection and thanks for all that he did for us and meant to us. He was most gracious – gentle and kind in every way. Truly a “Christian Gentleman” and friend. Roger was our “St. John’s Godfather” and will always be held dear in the hearts of all who knew him.|
|[His] will be a great loss to many of his friends, a most kind, funny and loving man. Together, [Pearl] and Roger were an inspiring couple and so many have said that you were the kindest of people.|
|Our tears are nothing to the ocean of tears [Pearl] must feel. Roger was a friend to all, so calm so kind so hard-working, always there for everyone. Giving sympathy when needed and spurring on when work needed to be done. There will be so many holes in the tapestry of life at St. John’s and the wider community that had been filled by Roger. He will be missed so very much.|
|No words can do justice to Roger’s contribution to the life and spirit of Alresford. Everywhere we went in our church circles, he was there – offering wisdom and friendship with that ever-ready smile of his… we know, with absolute certainty, that Roger is now rejoicing with our Lord…|
|Roger – one of life’s rare gifts. Like a rainbow in all the different colours and facets of how he served our Lord. We do not expect to meet anyone of his shining example of the fruits of the spirit again in our lifetime. We will treasure his memory and our hearts go out to you [Pearl] but be comforted by the huge influence Roger has had on so many lives. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart”.|
|As we got to know Roger more over the past few years because of church PCC and Standing Committee we came to realise what a truly good man he was. Every bit an exemplary Christian. Whenever he was leaving our house he would always say with such genuine feeling “thank you for all you do and God bless” when, in fact, it was he who had done so much for church. A wonderfully committed Churchwarden – so successful in the interregnum and arrival of Julia. He will leave an enormous gap and we shall all miss his calm wise and humoured approach.|
|Roger was the first person to welcome us to Alresford with a bunch of daffodils when he came to see us shortly after we moved here. We really appreciated his cheerful help in introducing us to worship at St. John’s and we will miss him greatly.|
|Roger will be in our memories for years to come. His love, tenderness and kindness to others were so evident. He was one of God’s people, doing God’s work in God’s way, in God’s time, in God’s place. From “For all the Saints” – When the strife is fierce, the welfare long; Steals on the ear the distant triumph song…” Roger is now part of that triumph song! God will be in there with you [Pearl], discernible and indiscernible.|
|Roger was such a wonderful person: kind, full of fun, full of life, always had time for people, gentle with those who needed him to be gentle, patient but firm – and totally firm in his faith. I believe – as I know you do – that he will already be with God and that for him everything will now be perfect – no longer looking through a glass darkly. But I find it so hard to understand why we couldn’t have him for longer!|
|He was a friend, a kind, generous and utterly selfless person, who gave his time so generously to others. He gave so much to the life of St. John’s that no person will ever fill the gap.|
|Roger was the most welcoming and kind man that I have ever met.|
|Roger was such a lovely, lovely man and a good friend to everyone who knew him. I hate writing about him in the past tense. I lost count of the number of times he thanked me for all I do for St. John’s – but he did far, far more and as a volunteer too. He supported me in so many ways and his Roger the Bus Pass Rover articles were such a success in The Magazine. I shall miss making music with him at St. John’s – both at Sundays at Six and singing in the Community Choir. I shall miss his humour, his kind words and his (usually) calm presence. As someone remarked yesterday he was the father-figure at St. John’s, like a godfather to all of us. A truly spiritual and really warm gentleman.|
|We rejoice that [Roger] is now safe in the hands of our Lord but our thoughts and prayers are very much with you. Roger was someone whose Christian faith shone out of him in all he was and did. It was a privilege to know him, not least to experience his musical gifts and I shall always be grateful to you both for all you shared and have done for me.|
|Roger was the first person we met in church when we called in before we moved here. He was so kind to us. Roger was also such a wonderful musician as well as such a wonderful person. We are all going to miss him so much but give thanks that we had the privilege to get to know him.|
|If ever there was a true Christian man it was Roger. He was very special, always caring and sensitive; a true gentleman, and did so much for so many. I think Julia really captured the essence of him at the morning service on Sunday [after he died].|
|He was a much-loved member of St. John’s and the wider Alresford community and we shall miss him so much. We got to know him better as we worked together for the church and it seems only yesterday that he told us how much he appreciated the fellowship demonstrated at our planning suppers. We shall remember him in many guises from the formal procession of Churchwardens to the many musical events and ‘entertainments’ particularly the Harvest Supper rendition. He was efficient, caring, funny, talented, everybody’s friend and a lovely man. He is now in the arms of the Lord he worshipped.|
|As everyone will have said, in Roger we had the example of a good, kind and truly Christian man, through and through. All that was said on Sunday [just after he died] showed how far his faith and example spread. We are all so blessed to have known him and to have learnt so much from him, as well to have enjoyed his company and his lovely sense of humour… Pearl, I know that you are as truly a servant of Christ as Roger and I pray that that will sustain you in the bleak times. I understand that Roger called you his ‘Pearl of Great Price’ and that is certainly what you are.|
|There are no words to convey what the loss you all are feeling must be like. We are all praying that you will find some comfort in the Lord at this time. We remember Roger as such a lovely, humble, gentle man with so many talents and such a lovely smile and welcome.|
|I have so many happy memories of all eight of us spending fun afternoons together at your house and how much part of the family we all felt. You and Roger were very much part of my childhood, from fun days out to church outings to work experience in the [CLC] warehouse to everything in between. Roger was truly a rare combination of warmth, success, love and generosity and I am so sad to hear that he is no longer with us.|
|The Churchwardens in our Diocese do a great job but I was always particularly impressed by Roger as his dedication in service was marked by such a deep care for the people in the congregation and desire to do his best for them; he was an exemplary Warden. I know his loss with be keenly felt by so many.|
|We give thanks to God for the relatively short time that we have had the privilege of knowing such a lovely man and seeing, knowing his love of Jesus and for you [Pearl]. “This is our God, the Servant King; He calls us now to follow Him; To bring our lives as a daily offering; Of worship to the Servant King.” “So let us learn how to serve; And in our hearts enthrone Him; Each other’s needs to prefer; For it is Christ we are serving.” This, for me, sums up Roger’s serving heart. “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your Master’s happiness.” (Matthew 25 v. 21)|
|We remember Roger fondly for being such a kind, funny, warm and caring person, who always had time to listen and who has done so much for the wellbeing of others in the community. He has always lived his life as a true witness of his strong faith. We shall miss him very much.|
|Roger was such a lovely man, with a great sense of fun. Nothing was too much for Roger, from essential tasks like emptying the bins to leading the team through the demanding period of interregnum. A good friend who led by example and always cheerful. He is very much missed.|
|I had really only got to know Roger over the last year and he was such a kind, lovely person. He was brilliant through all the interviews and pre-interview meetings for the new priest, with his calm manner and gentle sense of humour. What a tremendous loss for the church and the community.|
|Such a shock to everyone. Roger was such a genuinely lovely man and a good friend to Jackie – for which we are eternally grateful – his passing will leave a great hole in our community.|
|I have always held Roger in the highest esteem. The perfect gentleman in all he undertook, he could charm and disarm people with his smile, and even a reprimand could sound like kindness itself from his lips! He was always very kind to me and constantly asked after my wellbeing, most concerned when he received an email from me, sent at an unearthly hour of the morning! “You’re not overdoing it, are you…?” I thank God for Roger and am certain that he is well-at-home with the Lord… I just wish, Roger, you could have stayed with us a bit longer.|
|There are so very many things that I will miss about Mr. Roger. The tasty scraps from his dinner plate, which he hoped Mistress didn’t know about (she did), our nice walks together, his cry of “Where’s ball-ey?!” (a game he liked to play where I had to bring him my toy ball so that he could have a go at throwing it) – this cry indicated that the game was a-paw, the way he always took my part and spoke up for me when I had been naughty. The way he always liked me to stand on his newspaper when he was trying to read it. Everything about my life with him was nice and made me happy. You see, there are lots of different Mr. Rogers in the world. But only this one was MY Mr. Roger and I miss him every day. Gisèle-Stephanie the Parson Jack Russell Terrier.|
Roger Page was a champion for St. John’s bell ringers. He was always supportive of the ringers and ringing activities; he attended several tower AGMs in the ringing chamber at the unsociable time of 8:30pm on a Friday evening in (usually cold) January. We hope he and Pearl enjoyed being our gests at our annual tower Christmas lunch – quirkily held in April.
The whole band was saddened at Roger’s sudden and untimely death but tried to show their love and appreciation by ringing bells. On Sunday, 3 December, we rang a quarter peal of 1260 changes of Plain Bob Triples prior to the Advent carol service at St. John’s. Later that evening, a hand bell quarter peal of 1260 changes of two Minor methods was rung at the home of Derek Yates in Oak Hill. Derek was one of the many people whom Roger visited, having met him and his wife Barbara at Coffee, Cake & Chat.
Prior to Roger’s funeral, Rodney Skinner and Elizabeth Johnson tolled the tenor bell very slowly and solemnly for half an hour before the service.