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Girton Parish News - February 2000

The Front Page.

WOT? No BUG?

The front page article discusses the relative absence of the much-hyped Millennium Bug around the world.  However, computer professionals are aware that the effects of the rollover to the year 2000 may well last until 2005.  So we are not in the clear yet, but global collapse has passed us by... this time!
 

Message from St Andrew's

To the End of the Next Millennium

What would you want to say to those who live in Girton a thousand years from now? Ely cathedral is burying a time capsule with records and messages for those who are yet unborn, people who will live ten centuries and  25 generations away from now.

Of course, we cannot easily imagine what the village will look like then, if it exists at all.  The awesome prospect in this 'back to the future' -type project is not knowing who will be there to open the capsule, or whether
our 'phone call' to the future will be left hanging off the hook, unanswered.

Perhaps  a starting point is to think what WE would like to have known about those who lived in 1000 AD. Who lived in the village, and what did they do? (Probably less than a hundred people, clustered on small holding north of the church and along Dodford Lane, speaking an early form of English we wouldn't understand.) What were their immediate concerns? - crop yields, taxes, disease? Or perhaps fears for the next Viking invasion, an uncertain political climate, suspicion of those across the Channel (well, some things never change!) What did they do during a typical day? (Toiled in the fields or over the hearth, I suspect.)

What did the church look like then? (Probably a low,  thatched, Anglo-Saxon building with not much lighting.)  Did most people come to worship most Sundays? (The building would have been too small for even a hundred people. It would be another three or four centuries before the church was large enough to take the whole village, while today we would need 25 services seating to capacity on Sunday to accommodate present day Girton!)

What were their hopes and fears for the future? Did they believe that the end would come soon?  From what we know of elsewhere in the country at that time, many probably did,  as at least some have expected over our entry into this millennium.

Well, the world did not end at midnight  31st December 1999, and perhaps we will never know whether the 'millennium bug' was an expensive red herring, or a crisis well managed through careful preparation. So we are here now, and what would we like to say?

You will undoubtedly have your own things to say, but mine would be something like this:

'We want to express our gratitude for all the good that we enjoy today. No generation in this village has lived as well as we do now.  But things have become so overcrowded now, but on the plus side we are connected to the world in a way that previous generations would have envied - as we might envy you, with your 'cars' that travel pollution free on invisible roads through the sky;  or perhaps you just have to think and you arrive.

"We also want to say  'Sorry' for the mess we've brought with us into this new era - our pollution, the extinction of species of wildlife,  the devastation of  centuries old forests, our inability to make peace with the same ease that we make war. We hope you've become a lot better at it than we are.

"Finally we want to send you a message of faith. The last thousand years has not led to the extinction of faith, in fact the opposite is true.  But we've got too much 'religion' of the kind that sets neighbour against neighbour,
friend against friend, yet never bringing us closer to Truth.  We hope that you have learned the secret of putting your faith to the service of neighbour rather than of dogma.

"And finally, there's uncertainty around, certainly, on this threshold of a new era; but a quiet hope too that you will build on the positive and the good, the just and the true.

"We know that the speed of change will accelerate more and more, but the 'constant' in the universe is not so much the speed of light; it is that God is the same, yesterday, today and forever: faithful in giving, in caring, in
loving all that  has been made, from one generation to another.

"We wouldn't know this if our ancestors, a thousand years ago, had not faithfully passed on this 'deposit' to us; and it is our  privilege to pass this life giving truth on to you.  We pray that you will use it more wisely,
live it more fully,  and cherish it more dearly than we.

From your ancestors of the twenty first century."

Rob Mackintosh.

Message from the Baptist Church

Christmas is Past


Did you get everything you hoped for at Christmas?  I did, and in addition received a few surprises in my Christmas stocking.  One of them was a Christmas tie covered with pictures of Santa Claus and when pressed in a certain place it plays a few bars of "We wish you a merry Christmas".  Amusing and nice to wear on Christmas day, but not much use now that Christmas is past, for once into January even the shops put Santa Claus away for a few months.  A few years ago at Christmas, I received a pair of musical Christmas socks with a hidden button which when touched played a snatch of "Jingle bells".  Again the tune was limited as to when you could play it, but as the socks were basically black with a small holly motif, hidden by shoes and trousers, I thought it safe to wear them into the new year.  Imagine my embarrassment though when, at a fairly formal gathering, I accidentally activated the button and "Jingle all the way" started playing in the room.  I couldn't even pretend it was a mobile 'phone, for who keeps their mobile in their shoe.

The Christmas tunes I've mentioned have a very limited shelf life, but if my Christmas tie played one of the Christmas carols I might go on wearing it all year as a talking point, for the theology of the carols outlasts the season.  If the tune was "Christians Awake, salute the happy morn" and someone heard it being played in the summer they might tell me it was a bit late in the year for the manger, and I would agree, but point out that the tune reminds me of the verse "Trace we the Babe who hath retrieved our loss, from the poor manger to the bitter cross".  For "Christians Awake" doesn't leave us in Bethlehem, but takes us on to Jerusalem and the reason why the baby Jesus was born.   If we only look at Jesus in the manger then we just see a glimpse of his life with a very limited seasonal appeal. 

On the radio in December, I heard an interview with a man who celebrates Christmas not once a year, but on every day in the calendar.  He lives continually surrounded by the trappings of the season, streamers, cards and lights fill his house and he regularly tucks into his favourite meal of turkey and Christmas pudding.  He wishes that everybody celebrated Christmas all year and thinks that the world would be a better place if we did.  I don't agree with him, for we also need Good Friday and Easter Day.  For just as we celebrate Jesus coming at Christmas, we need to know that he was born to die on the cross for us on Good Friday and rise again on Easter Day so that we might know our sins forgiven. 

For that reason, the carol "O Little Town of Bethlehem" would be another good one to play all through the year because of its prayer in the last verse that Jesus might, "Cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today".  In contrast to Christmas songs and jingles that have a very limited life, the Christmas carols contain truths that can be sung all year.  What a conversation stopper "Once in Royal David's City" would be if my tie played a snatch of it in June, for the truths contained in its verses outlast the twelve days of Christmas and tell us that because of Christmas (and Easter) we might one day see Jesus, "not in that poor lowly stable, with the oxen standing by, we shall see him, but in heaven, set at God's right hand on high". 
Christmas might be past, but Christ is still present!

Phillip Staves
 

Message from the Girton Glebe School

"Cinders"

Just before THE BIG EVENT the children at the Glebe were all given a Millennium candle in a special pack with the Millennium promise.Thank you St. Andrews Church. The children really enjoyed your gift and  we had a lovely assembly on the first day of term  hearing about when they lit their candles.

Our next Millennium celebration is our Panto "Cinders" on the 8th and 10th February at 6.30pm with a matinee on the 9th at 2pm.We would love you all to come but we may need a bigger hall! Parents will have first call on the tickets and any spare will be available in the week before. Please telephone Fiona Marks on 276484 or write to us if you would like them. Wishing you all a very happy new millennium.

Susan Baker - Headteacher

Last updated: 27th January 2000