What price the "Big Society"?
I ask that
question - partly because our politicians are fond of encouraging
it, but also because as we move through the summer the village
becomes alive with all sorts of community activity. It is a lot
to do with why we choose to live in a place like Pattingham.
That 'village spirit' - which is not of course limited to the
church and our activities - but which certainly owes a lot to
our shared Christian and agricultural heritage.
So we have the delights of the Village /Church fete; a Lunch
Party in the garden of Roger and Gill Evans; the holiday club
in August and the Scarecrow Festival in September and the Bells
Run in October to look forward to. And there are also events
at the School - fete and barbeque etc., and later in the year
I believe a drama production to involve the whole village too.
So much for our 'entertainment' but there are also the ways in
which we care for each other - whether informally as good neighbours
- keeping an eye on the elderly person next door or over the
road; or the young family struggling with a new baby and with
grandparents far away; maybe helping out with transport for an
elderly or infirm person nearby?
the rub - all this activity, all this 'village spirit' - is in
danger of running out.
This could well be
the last year that the Fete is held. It might be the last time
we can put on a Holiday Club. It could be the final Bells Run
and maybe Scarecrow Festival too.
Well a very
simple reason... Those who for years and years have helped make
sure that all these varied events happen in our village calendar
and life are gradually growing older - and they are, quite frankly,
particularly want to give up. They certainly don't want to see
the end of those fixtures in the life of the village that make
it such an attractive place to live. But they cannot defy the
passage of time indefinitely.
So - with the
full knowledge of the PCC and our Churchwardens, I give you notice
that all this activity may well be grinding to a halt... and
eventually that will affect the viability of the church too in
the long run.
unless some of you out there in the community begin to step
forward to do your bit and put something back into this village.
Yes, we know how very busy you are - but, funnily enough so are
we! It is only busy people who - paradoxically - will find the
time to make village life a priority.
Am I being
alarmist? Quite possibly - but, if things begin to die (and we
have already lost the 'Thursday Club' many years ago and now
the last of the uniformed organisations in the village - the
Beavers - is under threat I believe), if things begin to die
and Pattingham becomes less of a village and more of a dormitory,
please do not complain that no-one told you!
"God loves a cheerful giver" , we are reminded by St
Paul. And that does not just apply to what we do with our money
- but also to what extent we will give our time and energy to
help support village life... But the funny thing is, if you
talk to those who have volunteered and run things over the years,
they will tell you how much more they have gained as a result.
The more you give, the more cheerful you may well become!
Every blessing for an active, community-minded summer.