The Girton Community Web Site


Girton Parish News - January 2000

The Front Page.

A Happy New Year to you all!

Like many groups up and down the country, the Girton Parish News Editors have spent some time, over the last couple of years, deciding how to celebrate the start of 2000. We came up with three main ideas.

New Blue Livery

You should have noticed the new look to our front page! The new design will allow the typesetters more flexibility in layout of the front and back pages. We have also decided to start numbering the GPN , and decided to start with "Issue 1" in January 2000. (We could even call it Volume 60, Issue 1: see below!)

A funny heading ... this is the address of our web site. When we discussed the creation of a Girton web site we planned for it to be up and running by January 2000. As many of you will know ,the site was launched a couple of months ago, and as you can read elsewhere in this issue it is proving to be a great hit!

Oldest GPN

We have been searching for the oldest issue of the Girton Parish News and believe we have now found it in the Girton Church Magazine from January 1941. (This would make this year the 60th year of a Parish Magazine in Girton!)

The magazine was  a small booklet printed in small type on thin paper (it was war time!) and consisted or three separate publications bound together. In the centre were 12 pages from London with features on "Church News from Home and Abroad",  "Religion and the Sailor",  "Our Weekday Pages for Women with Homes", "Children's Corner" and the first instalment of a story about Romance during a Nazi Raid. The advice to "Women with Homes" included how to join wool, how to make butter go further by mixing with margarine, how to make a coat hanger and how to make a cheap nightlight. The children's pages have encouraging stories and this prayer entitled "Keep us Brave"

O God our Father, we are children, 
Keep us brave
To help our soldiers, sailors, airmen,
Our dear homes to save
The Girton Church Magazine also incorporated The Ely Diocesan Gazette, and then the eight pages of text and advertisements from Girton Magazine itself. 

A couple of points of interest from the pages are the adverts for Friendly Societies offering help with Doctors' bills (this was of course pre-NHS) and the fact that even in 1941 the village had been divided into North and South parts for purposes of delivering the Parish Magazine!

Do any of the advertisements bring back any memories for older members of the village? If so please write and tell us. We have had some very interesting reminiscences published in these pages over the years, and would welcome more!

Please also write and tell us about the things happening in Girton today! We have several regular correspondents now, but would be happy to have more. The Girton Parish News is published on behalf of the whole village community, and so we need people from all parts of that community to let us know when they have news to share or concerns to raise.

And so to sign off as if writing a New Year message to an old friend: 

Looking forward to hearing from you in 2000!

Message from St Andrew's

Agents for Change

It was early December.  I stood under shelter out of a sub-tropical cloudburst and experienced the heavy rain-drops and heady smell of rain on dry earth as it thundered down over  central Harare.  Rain is always a good omen in Africa. Arriving in a downpour is good news for one's hosts, so I joined-in the spirit of celebration!

I was in Zimbabwe to visit the Zimbabwe office of World Vision, the UK charity based at Milton Keynes. World Vision is an overseas mission charity that Girton Parish Church has supported for three years, through our Overseas Mission Group. (You can find details on the notice board in the Church Porch)

I was driven out to see two of the "Agents for Change" projects to the north of the city. 

 There are some wonderful success stories in the midst of visible poverty -a  shanty town housing 30,000 people, inadequate water and sewage, no clinics, a privately funded school, expensive and infrequent transport to Harare, no employment prospects, rampant AIDS affecting 25% of the population in Zimbabwe, and abandonment by the government and the local council. 

World Vision is one of the non-government agencies working hard to make a difference through their "Agents for Change" projects. The idea is simple enough - help people to help themselves in terms of employment opportunities and manufacture, and a whole list of problems are addressed simultaneously - economic, social, educational.

The local office of World Vision has recently moved out of the city centre to the suburbs of Harare, a very attractive purpose-designed and built place surrounded by palm trees and sub-tropical vegetation washed by the rain.

The staff are all extremely friendly, highly competent and caring about what they do, and in best sense "professional" about how they do their work. They are also Christians, for whom faith is daily engaged in their work, and whose prayers have helped transform attitudes of hearts and minds so that some glimpses of God's kingdom can be seen in some of the tough places of our global village.

I was taken to a furniture manufacturing  business, begun with the small investment of twelve local people, now employing fifty people.  Some of the equipment they have purpose-made themselves.  Orders for beds, chairs, cabinets, kitchen furniture, now come in from all over the country. Through the workshop noises of cutting and sanding and polishing, and through the sawdust haze, shines the  hope and optimism so often lacking in a country which has suffered greatly over the years.

We visited a shoemaker who, with a total of five staff, hand-makes five pairs of shoes a day, and is now looking at the export market for leather goods in ostrich and crocodile skin.

In the  dusty-red street outside the house, young children played and vegetable sellers sold the little they had, and for a brief moment the sun slipped from behind the clouds to bathe the whole scene in warmth and light.

On this eve of a new Millennium, the calibre of the next decades will not be measured by our stock market index or our domestic consumption, but they will be measured by how we address these problems both at home and abroad. How much warmth and light we let shine through our own interests to those of the wider family of which we too are a part.

Last but not least, I wish you a truly fulfilling and Happy New Year!

Rob Mackintosh.

Message from the Baptist Church


I expect I should start a January article by wishing you all a "Happy New Year".  Yet I am hesitant to do so, for as I write it is barely December, and I have no idea if the dreaded Millennium Bug will make the start of 2000 miserable.  If it does, the last thing you will want is some well meaning but distant figure wishing you season's greetings!  Even if, as I suspect, things continue in the same way into the new millennium some of you may be dreading what the year will bring and in that case "Happy New Year" becomes one of those standard phrases that we use without actually thinking about what we're saying.  It's rather like when I visit the doctor's,  for inevitably I see somebody I know and we both say "Oh hello, nice to see you, how are you?" - "very well thank you", and then we smile, for if we were "very well", we wouldn't be meeting each other in the doctor's surgery.  To say "Happy New Year" can, at times, be like that.  It's the done thing to say, yet the sentiment can seem empty, particularly if your situation as you look into the new year, is anything but happy. 

Stepping out into the new year is a little bit like embarking on a journey into the unknown.  I once had a train journey like that when travelling to a conference in South London  I was on a Brighton bound train intending to alight at East Croydon, but as we came into the station the train didn't stop and several miles down the line I was still at the door wondering why something I was expecting to happen hadn't taken place.  Fortunately another passenger on the train had a copy of the timetable and it appears that since I had previously used the service every other train misses out East Croydon, their first stop after London is Gatwick Airport.  I expect the moral of the story is to check your destination or make sure you travel with a guide who knows where they are going.
We travel into the new year, knowing some of the scenery, but not always knowing the destination.  Yet on our journey through life we need not travel on our own, for Jesus' last words to his disciples before he returned to heaven were words of assurance and companionship, for Jesus said "Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age".  We wish each other a happy new year, yet none of us knows for certain what the new year holds.  The certainty though is that Jesus, in the power of the Holy Spirit, is there to guide us, indeed he is the good shepherd leading us beside still waters and taking us, when circumstances dictate, not just into, but through the valley of the shadow of death itself.  Jesus promises to go with us and he knows where our path, our new year, will lead.

I think that thought of travelling with God must have been in the mind of King George VI when in a Christmas broadcast during the darkness of the second world war he read a verse by Minnie Louise Haskins.
I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year; "Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown."  And he replied, "Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God.  That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way!"  So I went forth and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.  And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.

Phillip Staves

Message from the Girton Glebe School

Village School's Fundraising Efforts

Thank you to so many of you for supporting the Christmas Fair, £500 was raised for the school.  The children raised £145.35 at their Blue Peter Bring and Buy Sale.  It was a very successful event, with the children running and organising the stalls.

The school took part last month in the Save the Children Global Village Project.  Local schools each celebrated a country in the order that the Millennium will reach them.  Ours on the 1st December was the last country - the United States of America.  We had an American Dressing-up Day and raised £127.24 for Save the Children (£254.48 with local business sponsorship).  Some of the children's work has been published in our 'In Touch' magazine, which you should receive with this Newsletter.  On the 3rd December, all participating schools took part in an evening celebration.  Our Year 6 pupils took part singing a beautiful Negro Spiritual.

The total raised by the project was £7,130!

A Happy New Millennium to you all.

Susan Baker - Headteacher

Last updated: 27th December 1999