From The Rector

Bemerton Parish Reflections - January 2009

Rev'd Simon Woodley writes:

Our site has been visited over 500 times since we launched it 4 months ago - and I may be a man of humble ambitions, but I had never dreamed that there would be that many Herbert fans online. It’s amazing that our pages have been viewed by people in Spain and Hong Kong, New Zealand, Australia, Poland, Turkey, Hungary, and even Iran. How the internet brings the world together!

The New Year

Rector's Medlar Jelly


We have a busy start to our new year, with visits from the Bishop of Ramsbury, the Mayor of Salisbury and Radio 4's Sunday Worship to name a few. Of course our George Herbert’s day celebrations at the end of February will be accompanied by Medlar jelly. I made 6 jars in all, although I had to make it twice, as the first time there was not enough pectin to make it set. Every year I learn a little more about this fruit that would have been common in Herbert’s day.

The winter has just turned bitterly cold, and even at our 10:00am service you can see my breath and my hands go numb.

Hoar Frost



I’ve never yet had frozen water, but I can only imagine how hardy people were in the days before heating in churches - I expect the sermons were shorter! The hoar frost does make everything look amazing though - and I can’t help but be thankful to live in a country with such an amazing diversity of weather. You never know what might happen, even within one day.

The Country Parson

As in Herbert's day, the country parson has a diverse job too - the last few months have seen me involved in school governance and Ofsted inspections, pub carol services, services for those with Aids and others for those with learning difficulties, discussions with Archdeacons about closing churches, training for churchwardens across the diocese on our family service 'Fun Church', funerals, booking and arranging next year's weddings, finding an organist, working with the choir, chairing the Inter-Agency group and trying to get the community to have a say in 1200 new homes planned for the area, and many more mundane things besides.

As clergy we have amazing opportunities in so many areas, but I know that personally this year I am going to need to try and work out what I can leave to one side while I focus on the few things that God has called me to do well. Its easy to be beguiled into fulfilling everyone else’s expectations and lose the one gift that we have - time. Herbert was aware that time was short when he came to Bemerton. It gave him a focus and a clarity that is still going even all these years later

Website Visitors

One of our many website visitors is a clergy friend of mine from Liverpool. He is also a poet and theologian who publishes a blog (web-log) at In his entry for 25th November he drew the attention of his readers to our site which we know helped to point a number of visitors in our direction, so many thanks John


Our website is updated every three months or so. Please carry on visiting so we can keep you up to date with the news from Bemerton Parish.

Simon Woodley (