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CHURCH NEWS - December 2003/ January 2004

Our minister, David Streater retired in September and one of the options for the future would be a continuing minister dedicated just to Odell on a 'house for duty' basis.  While this isn't the final decision and there is no certainty this will be approved by the CofE, we stand a good chance if we find the right person who is enthusiastic to work in this way.  If you are or know of an energetic minister with an interest in spreading the gospel and being a spiritual leader in our small village, please contact   <>  

December 2003

Thoughts on Christmas

Christmas is celebrated by people of all ages, of widely different backgrounds; people of different cultures and different races, many of whom would probably not call themselves Christians at all. The question I am asking is: "Why does this story – the story of the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem 2000 years ago – have such a wide appeal for so many people, an appeal which never seems to diminish from year to year? " No doubt you will have your own answer (s) to this question. Let me give you mine.

First of all, it has such a widespread appeal because of its simplicity. This is in stark contrast to the complexities and complications of our lives and of twenty first century living in general. A young mother, Mary, and her baby; a father, Joseph, anxious for their safety; the problem of finding accommodation (there was no room in the inn). Here were ordinary down to earth folk involved: a village girl, a carpenter, and, later, some shepherds. It all makes up the common currency of everyday life. To turn aside (and Christmas gives us this opportunity) from our own complicated lives and to reflect on such simple, everyday things and to remind ourselves that this was God at work should be in itself a means of refreshment and renewal.

Then again, Christmas makes its appeal because of what I call a matter of identification. What I mean is this: the person who was born into this world at Christmas was no other than God the Son, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. He became man, taking flesh and blood upon Himself and entering our world in the same way that we do – through human birth. This is what we mean by ‘the Incarnation’. Of course, He was conceived miraculously in the virgin’s womb by the power of the Holy Spirit, but He was born by natural means.

We identify Him as the Son of God. He identifies Himself with us as the Son of Man. This is what I mean by identification. His arrival on earth in this way means that God is not a God far away and out of touch, a stand-offish spectator God – but He is Emmanuel, God with us. As one of our Christmas hymns puts it:

"He came down to earth from heaven

Who is God and Lord of all."

A little boy stood in front of a photograph of his absent father. Wistfully he said to his mother: " I wish father would step out of the picture." What he meant was, "I wish he were here in person sharing our lives with us." The Son of God at His Incarnation stepped out of the picture to make a personal appearance here on planet Earth. He came to share our humanity, to show us God’s love and, eventually, to die on the cross to save us from our sins; all this to show how much God cares and is concerned about us. This, I believe, is a significant part of the appeal of the Christmas story.

It also makes its appeal because of its universality. Although born of a Jewish mother and therefore a member of the Jewish race according to the flesh, Jesus Christ was not only for the Jews but for everyone. He came to be the Saviour of the world:

"Red and yellow, black and white,

All are precious in His sight.

Jesus died for all the people of the world."

(In passing it is worth remembering that we must not separate what happened in Bethlehem from what would happen some thirty years later in Jerusalem when Jesus was crucified. The truth is that He was born to die and to give His life as a ransom for many.)

But, to return to the point about the universality of His birth. His coming is good news for all people. From the very day of His birth this note of universality had been apparent. He is a light to lighten the Gentiles, i.e. all non-Jews. Soon Wise Men would come from Eastern non-Jewish lands to acknowledge Him their King and Saviour. So, we can unite with people everywhere to worship the universal Christ. Such unity is bound to have a great appeal in a world divided in so many ways. At least here we find millions of people at one with their faith, their thoughts, their praise and worship focussed on the One who came to Bethlehem so long ago – the Word made flesh, even Jesus Christ our Lord. Douglas Smith

If you would like to read about the birth of Jesus Christ for yourself you can find it in the following places in the New Testament:-

The Gospel of St. Luke, Chapter 1 verse 26 to Chapter 2 verse 20;

The Gospel of St. Matthew, Chapter 1 verse 18 to Chapter 2 verse 12.

The Prayer Chain

The Prayer Chain is there if you need prayer for yourself, for others or for members of your family. Please don’t ask for prayer outside your own family without people’s permission. To have a number of people pray just telephone Dennis (822992).

Church Opening

Many of you will know that because of the problems of vandalism and theft from Churches generally, the Parish Church is kept locked. Unless there is a specific reason for opening it earlier, it will be opened for Sunday and occasional services half an hour before the Service is due to start.

A letter from David and Valerie Streater

"I have been meaning to write to say thank you for the kind cheque and the etching of Odell Parish Church. I was not able to say very much when it was presented but I am sure that you will know that Valerie and I appreciated these tokens very much. Do please pass our thanks on to the Council and to the Church.

It has been a very full five years, quite traumatic in some ways, and not without some pain at coming to the end of the time. I have much appreciated the fellowship and friendship of so many including some who have not attended church.

We both miss the Church and the fellowship and the interest of those from overseas in the parish of Odell. Our prayer is that the Lord will raise up the right person to take the Church forward as I believe it has a very special place in the economy of things in the area.

With prayerful good wishes and thanks,

Sincerely, David.

News from St. Albans Diocese

Interfaith Adviser settles in

Jay MacLeod, the Diocese's new Interfaith Adviser, is settling into his new roles. Jay is also Priest-in-Charge of All Saints in Queens Park, Bedford. He said: "My parish is hardly in a central position in the diocese, but it's a great base for interfaith work. Muslim, Sikh and Hindu colleagues are neighbours, and many are fast becoming friends. To exercise my diocesan role credibly and creatively, I need to be deeply committed locally." Jay can be contacted at 01234 266945 or

Fund-raising on the cards

Eye-catching Christmas and greetings cards and postcards will boost the project to carry out extensive upgrading of the Chellington youth centre, near Carlton, Beds. The cards are available from the Diocesan Education Centre, Hall Grove, Welwyn Garden City, Herts, AL7 4PJ. The Christmas and greetings cards are £3 for a pack of ten. The postcards are 15p each. Postage is 50p per pack of cards, 25p for 10 postcards. More information: 01707 335968.

Peace Light comes to Luton

All Saints’, Luton, will be one of the first churches in the UK to receive the 'Peace Light' from Bethlehem in December. The light will arrive at the Shaftesbury Road Church on Monday December 15th for distribution at a special service at 7.30pm. Since 1990, the light from beneath the Church of the Nativity has been distributed around the world with a message of hope. Churches wishing to receive the Bethlehem Peace Light are asked to bring an oil lamp or something similar to the service at All Saints’ Luton.

December SeeRound

In the December edition of SeeRound, the Bishop of St Albans encourages the creative use of church buildings and gives several examples. The edition also tells how Watford's churches are working together to serve the thriving town centre; how memories of a wartime childhood were stirred by a visit to a former Soviet republic; and how the new Diocesan Synod has begun work. There is also the chance to win a colourful book telling the Christmas story, plus news of numerous parish activities and events.

Peter Crumpler  Communications Officer Diocese of St. Albans.

Meeting Point


Wednesday 3rd 10.30am at Catherine’s, Manor Cottage,

High St., Harrold.

Wednesday 17th 11.30am Christmas Lunch at Liz Dodwell’s, Watermead, Odell Rd., Harrold.

January 2004

Tuesday 6th 10.30am at Eileen Shakespeare’s, Corner House, Wymington Park, Rushden.

Wednesday 21st 10.30am at Jill’s, Rectory Farm, Odell.


Tuesday 3rd 10.30am at Jane’s, Newton House, Avenue Rd., Newton Bromswold.


Our Giving in December will be to the following Charities:

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

Christian Family Care

The Bedford Area Schools Christian Support Trust (SU)

In January our giving will be to Mission Aviation Fellowship. This is an airborne mission, which takes the Word and much-needed help to many remote and inaccessible places – a very worthy cause.

Christmas at All Saints’, Odell

Saturday December 20th

10.00am - Church decorating. Come along and help to decorate the Church and Christmas tree – this is always a lot of fun – everyone welcome.

6.00pm – Carol Singing around the village. Meet outside The Bell at 6.00pm with torches and don’t forget to wear lots of warm clothes!

Sunday December 21st

6.00pm – Carol Service by candlelight in All Saints’ Church. Mince pies and mulled wine will be served after the service.

Wednesday December 24th

11.30pm – Midnight Communion.

Thursday December 25th Christmas Day

10.00am - Family Worship followed by Holy Communion.

Celebration of Christian Healing

in the context of the Eucharist

Healing of the Whole Community

Venue: St Albans Abbey, Sat 21st Feb, 2004, at 10.30am

Speaker: Dominic Walker, Bishop of Monmouth

Personal ministry for physical, emotional or spiritual problems will be offered. Several members from Odell church usually go so if you want help with transport, please contact Liz Dodwell (720640) or Jen Cuddeford (781123)

Aid for Romania

We launched our special fund raising effort to help Mihaela and

Alexandru with two Open Days at Watermead at the end of November, when many things were on sale including cushion covers and honey. From last month, you may remember that Mihaela, who is 17 years old and has cerebral palsy, needs an electric wheelchair which will probably cost at least £2,000. We are trying to make arrangements to bring Alexandru, who is seven years old and nearly blind, and his Dad, to England to see a specialist about his eyes. If you would like to know more, receive the current newsletter, make a donation or buy some cushion covers or kettle holders, please contact us at 720640.

Tim and Liz Dodwell

A Great Start! We are delighted to report that only five days after the launch of the appeal for Mihaela and Alexandru nearly £1000 has been raised! This is wonderful. Do please continue with your support.


Christmas Hamper Coffee Morning

In support of Christian Family Care

Friday 5th December

Hobbs Green Farm

Church Lane, Odell

From 10.30 am to noon.

Admission Free

Please bring donations of Christmas fayre

All Saints’ Appeal Fund

With the help of the three recent concerts in the Church, and a further grant of £500 from an outside trust, the total raised is now a few pounds short of £36,000. More concerts are planned for the spring when the weather is warmer!

Work has continued on the plain glazing of the windows – one on the north side of the church is currently boarded up while the glazing is away being rebuilt, three have been completed and there are two more to go. In the meantime Martin and Robert Eshelby have been experimenting with temporary convector heaters in two of the pews. Those who have sat in them report that they are very satisfactory.

The Lost Art of Wooing – an appreciation.

On Sunday November 2nd the audience in the packed candle-lit church was splendidly entertained by Jeni Melia (soprano) and Christopher Goodwin (on lute) as they directed us through the medieval conventions of wooing through song. We were transfixed by Jeni’s spellbindingly beautiful voice, which was so wonderfully enhanced by the lute, now so rarely heard. The evening left us wishing for a return of the romance of those days; how dull today’s courtships seem in comparison!

Very many thanks to Jeni and Chris for aiding our Church Appeal in so enchanting a manner.

News from the PCC

Martin Eshelby, Tony Roche and Steve Robinson have been co-opted as additional members of the PCC to assist in the running of the parish following the Rev David Streater’s retirement. With a vacancy for Churchwarden following the sad death of Keith Merret, the PCC has appointed three former churchwardens as deputies to assist Jill Cheadle until the next Annual Vestry meeting in April. These are Martin Eshelby, Philip Lewis and Tim Dodwell.

Our main concern now is with the future ministry in the parish, and a paper outlining various options was given to the Bishop of Bedford at a meeting with the PCC following the service which he took on 16th November. The primary objective is to have a minister responsible for the Parish of Odell resident in the Rectory. The next step is a meeting with the new Archdeacon of Bedford, the Ven Paul Hughes. After that we hope to be able to start the search to find the right person.

While the professionals are dealing with the main work in the church, volunteer working parties have been trimming the bushes and generally tidying up the churchyard. Our grateful thanks to all concerned.

Tim Dodwell

Looking to Jesus

Looking to Jesus with hope.

"Finding God in the ordinary"

‘There were…shepherds…and…the Angel of the Lord came upon them..’ Luke 2:8-9

It was an ordinary night. In fact, if it hadn’t been for God who loves to put ‘extra’ before ‘ordinarys it might have gone unnoticed. One minute the shepherds are sleeping, the next they’re rubbing their eyes, staring at an extra-terrestrial being who says, ‘..I bring you good tidings of great joy…unto you is born…a Saviour…’(Luke 2:10-11). A Saviour - just what we needed, right?

Ever wondered why the angel appeared to ordinary people. Think about it; if he’d appeared to theologians, they’d have had to consult their dusty commentaries and denominational boards. If he’d appeared to celebrities, they’d have had to check and see who was watching. If he’d appeared to jet-setting executives, they’d have had to look at their Filo-faxes and spread sheets. So he gave the news to a bunch of guys with no reputation to protect, no axe to grind, no ladder to climb – men who didn’t know enough to argue that angels don’t serenade shepherds and messiahs aren’t found wrapped in rags in a feeding trough.

In Bethlehem, there’s a church marking Jesus’ birthplace. Behind the altar is a cave with a symbolic star embedded in the floor. You can enter and admire the ancient church. You can also enter the cave - but with one requirement. You must bow down. The door’s too low to get in standing upright. The same is true of Jesus. He’s generally found among the commonplace. To experience Him, all you have to do is get down on your knees!

Taken from ‘Word for Today’ with kind permission from United Christian Broadcasters (01782.642000)

Jesus is the reason for the season.

Without Jesus we cannot celebrate Christ-mas. The birth of the Saviour, Jesus Christ, Lord of all, is the meaning of Christmas and why people celebrate and give thanks.

Father, we thank and praise You for the birth of your precious Son Jesus Lord of everything. We give You humble thanks for all He has done for us throughout the year. We think of those who do not know of His love for them. This Christmas-time there will be so many living on the streets, no bed to call their own. Every one of these is Your child, many looking for love but going the wrong way.

Father we place all the lonely and destitute into Your hands, praising You and thanking You for the people who take them under their wing providing food and drink for them, Your angels of mercy. Lord we praise You for the ones so willing to give with such unselfish hearts. Please would You bless every ‘lonely and hurting’ child of Yours who is trying in desperation to survive. Lord we know that there is no greater love than Your love. May this love, so special, touch the hearts of so many this Christmas time. We as Christians thank You for loving us and as a new year approaches, with many hidden obstacles we ask You afresh into our hearts, praying that You would go before us every day. We know it is the only way to succeed in this dark and sometimes dreary world. Christmas can also be a lonely time so please bless all those who live alone, and the elderly of our villages. Particularly we remember those known to us who have a terminal illness or are in any pain and suffering and continue to pray for Your hand to touch and bless them. May Your will be done.

Bless all the Christmas Services as All Saints’ continues to ‘tick’ whilst we wait for the decision on a Church Leader.

Father at the end of this year, where there is still so much turmoil abroad, we do continue to pray for world peace. May Your spirit continue to spread across the world reaching all peoples. We are so blessed and sometimes we do forget to say thank you for all we have right here under our noses. Help us to love all people with our hearts and not our minds. May we all know Your love so, although we all experience many setbacks, we can still say, Thank You Lord, How great Thou art. It is still a wonderful World. Amen.

Anne Turner

Heartfelt Thanks

I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one who has shown me such kindness since I have been diagnosed with cancer. The telephone calls, cards, letters, emails, texts, and people knocking on the door to share their love with me. It is so overwhelming to feel so loved. Thank you for the prayer-chain intercessors too! I know and feel the strength of the prayer for me. God is so very good and He hears every prayer that is said. Please continue to give Him thanks and praise for the way He is dealing with this for I know and believe that He will bless you abundantly too. It is all in His hands and I believe that the outcome with be good. His ways are perfect. I stand on His promise that ‘He will never leave me or forsake me‘ (Is 41.10) especially as I go through the Chemotherapy and the operation that follows. He knows best. Thank you everyone. God bless you all this Christmas time as you celebrate the birth of our Wonderful Saviour. Anne Turner.

Amongst Ourselves

In this magazine we have a very very special birthday to celebrate. Marion Smith who resides in Avenue House, Avenue Road, Rushden will be celebrating her 100th birthday on 12th January 2004. This lady so loved her church here in Odell, and loved her Lord so very much too. We pray that she will be so very blessed and enjoy the most wonderful day celebrating her 100 years. In turn we give thanks and praise for God’s goodness and love to her throughout her life. Hopefully next month we shall be able to print a photo of her celebrating.

Welcome back to Odell to Gary Clark and Gillian Dunn who are returning to live at 96a High Street. We wish them every happiness and lots of blessings upon their return here.

Anne Turner

Obituary: Frank Dowdeswell 1914 - 2003

Frank William Dowdeswell was born in 1914 in the mining village of Coalville where his father was Station Master. Frank stayed out of the mines but came into contact with the miners and their hob-nailed boots on the football field. He was a dedicated man of sport, enjoying rugby, football, cricket and tennis, in his army days playing with some of the

great football players of the day.

His family left Coalville when Frank’s father took up a post at Sharnbrook Station, but Frank’s future lay in another direction. Like many other young men in the years of the depression Frank cycled from town to town looking for work. He found an opening eventually at Odell Leather Company and worked his way up to a position of responsibility. He had his own home built in Sharnbrook where he lived happily with his first wife, Kathleen. War, however, brought dislocation. Frank joined the military ranks, becoming a tank fitter after initially applying to join the RAF. While he was training in Northumberland Kathleen and a newly born child tragically died.

Frank, always a pragmatist, got on with things. He knew you had to keep going the best you could. On D-Day he was at Gold Beach on the first wave of the Normandy landings. He never talked of the horrors he witnessed during the following months.

Towards the end of the conflict he met and married Phyllis Mary Pentecost. Their only child, Frank James was born in 1946. Frank returned to work at the Odell Leather Company, moving onto the Board of Directors, a position which took him all over the world, from Australia to Paris.

He retired into a comfortable way of life, enjoying the close proximity of his son and other loved ones. He cared for his wife Phyllis in her declining years with patience and devotion, and although her suffering and the tragedy of his son’s death cast a shadow over his latter years he always persisted with a philosophical outlook on life.

Thomas Dowdeswell

For many years Frank could be seen in church every Sunday until his hearing deteriorated and he could no longer participate easily.

News from Nepal

This is an extract from the latest bulletin from Richard and Lorraine Hudson who are back in Nepal on missionary work, after a brief respite in England.

‘TAP (Technical Assistance Programme) continues to explore change. Please pray for Richard as he attempts to find the right way of closing down what needs to be closed down, and so on. We still don't know for sure what the government will be doing, but the rough idea is that if, as signs appear to show, the government is finally starting its own hospital maintenance system, then we want to have staff seconded into that system rather than running a workshop ourselves. Meanwhile the work goes on. We have nearly finished one of the two new workshops in the Far Western Region, in Dhangadhi and Mahendranagar. The technician training course revisions have been started, and we are exploring how these can best be made part of the government system. And visits continue. Richard is off to Gorahi on a regular hospital visit, and the rest of the team are travelling to Salyan, Jumla and elsewhere. We have not got to Kalikot yet, and I'm not sure if we will. Kalikot is one of the least accessible places in Nepal these days. You cannot fly there, and it is three days walk through Maoist country from the nearest airport (Jumla) or road head (Dailekh)".

Richard & Lorraine

Faith in the Countryside

….a Training Course for Rural Ministry.

This is a course for ministers, readers and members of congregations wishing to increase their knowledge of the countryside, the village community and the role of the parish church. It will be particularly helpful for those coming new to rural ministry and those forming local ministry teams in the countryside.

The aim of the course is to give participants opportunities to engage with rural issues and to develop strategies of ministry that respond to the needs of the rural community. It will consist of six sessions each giving opportunity for reflecting on the rural scene, learning about countryside issues and meeting with country people. It will be underpinned by a Christian perspective.

Venue: Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity’s office at The Old School, Cardington, Bedfordshire.

Dates: Six consecutive Saturdays from January 17th 2004 to February 21st 2004 inclusive.

Time: Saturdays, 9.00 am – 12.00 noon

Fee: £35.00. This is a subsidised fee, made possible with funding from the Diocese of St. Albans.

The course is promoted by Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity and the Diocese of St. Albans. Tel. Rev David Quin on 01767 640490 or Janet Ridge on 01234 838771 x 101 for further details.

All Saints Odell Flower Rota


7th D Wheeler

14th J Eshelby


28th TBA

Please contact Jill Cheadle, 720261, regarding the key for the church and if you have any problems please contact Jane Eshelby on 01933 410959. The only flowers that need attention are the two vases up by the altar and the large vase behind the lectern.


Birthday greetings to

Katherine Sykes 11 on 3rd December

Katherine Freeman 10 on 6th December

John and Elinor Lee 12 on 7th December

Yasmine Novisky 11 on 23rd December

Rhianna Ford 10 on Christmas Day

Evette Allen 14 on 28th December

Hannah Hudson 13 on 17th January

Happy birthday to you all !



3rd 10.30am Meeting Point at Catherine’s, Manor Cottage, Harrold.

5th 10.30am Christmas Hamper Coffee Morning, Hobbs Green Farm.

9th 7.30pm W.I. Bring and Share Christmas Meal at Rachel’s.

10th 12.30pm Senior Citizens Christmas Lunch, Village Hall.

17th 11.30am Meeting Point Christmas Lunch at Liz Dodwell’s, Watermead, Odell Rd. Harrold.

19th 6.00pm Family Christmas Party, Village Hall.

20th 10.00am Church Decorating in All Saints’.

6.00pm Carol Singing – meet at The Bell.

21st 6.00pm Carol Service, All Saints’.

24th 11.30pm Midnight Communion, All Saints’.

25th 10.00am Christmas Day Family Worship and Holy Communion.


6th 10.30am Meeting Point at Eileen’s, Corner House, Wymington Park, Rushden.

13th 7.30pm W.I. Village Hall.

21st 10.30am Meeting Point at Jill’s, Rectory Farm, Odell.

31st 7.30pm Burns Night Celebration, Village Hall.

Magazine Deadline

Please send all entries for the February 2004 magazine to Tricia Hudson (, Anne Turner or Catherine Corkery by January 12th 2004 at the latest. May we remind you that the editorial team exercises the right to edit, shorten or alter any items that are submitted. Also, the opinions expressed in the articles are those of the contributors and are not the responsibility of the editorial team.

electronic mail address is <>

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Last revised: December 05, 2003.