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Girton Parish News - April 2001

The Front Page.

From the ship's log of HMS Pinafore

(a review of Girton Operatic's recent production)


There are two problems facing any producer of HMS Pinafore. First the operetta is one of Gilbert and Sullivan's shorter works and second there is little for the female chorus to do. Both of these problems were imaginatively solved in Alan Lodge's recent production for Girton Operatic. By reference to the fact that the captain of the Pinafore, Captain Corcoran also appears in another G & S operetta, Utopia Limited, the production started on a tropical island with the native women singing a chorus from this later work. Since the last production the society has invested in a set of curtains for the stage and while these were drawn across, the set was changed into a wonderful scene of a ship's deck drawn up alongside a quay. An organ grinder complete with monkey were on the quay and with the help of a few extra songs several members of the female chorus were able to stowaway as sailors before the proper start of HMS Pinafore.

The ship's crew was indeed an interesting collection. Among them were Ray Gordon as the Boatswain, Helen V. Smith as "Mrs" Carpenter and George Thorpe as Ralph Rackstraw, the sailor who falls in love with Josephine, the captain's daughter. They played their parts well and their voices blended nicely together in the trio extolling the virtues of a British Tar. Jeremy Harrison played Dick Deadeye, a sailor who stands apart from his colleagues. Although the script does contain the line "Ah, it's a queer world!", I have never seen the part played in a "camp" style before, but Jerry carried it off very well. Another of Gilbert's lines though was ignored, for Mrs. Cripps, otherwise known as Little Buttercup, is described as plump and pleasing. Whilst Laura Staves' singing and acting of the part was very pleasing, she could hardly be described as plump. Also enjoyable was the singing of Lizza Baines, as Josephine, who was convincing in both the serious songs and the comic numbers. She was joined in the trio, "Never mind the why and wherefore", by the two principal comics, Geoffrey Maitland as Captain Corcoran and Roger Few as Sir Joseph Porter, KCB. These two worked together particularly well and the trio was deservedly encored several times. The ladies' chorus, as Sir Joseph's sisters, cousins and aunts, were ably led by Claire Dewing as Cousin Hebe. Although their appearances were limited, they were never still and the choreography by Helen Thompson Garner deserves a special note.

Also deserving of praise was the impressive set designed by Helen Wilson and the lighting and special effects by Steve Winpenny.

No operatic society can perform without music and the orchestra under the baton of Petrina Lodge did them proud. Tucked away at the side of the stage the musicians play without seeing much of the show, but who knows, that might change. Girton Operatic has come a long way in just over ten years, perhaps another decade will see the building of an orchestra pit!

Phillip Staves
 

Message from St Andrew's

Rector to leave Girton

By now, many  will know that I shall be leaving Girton at the end of June this year, and finish on May 31st.  This has not been an easy decision for me to make. These last (nearly) twelve years have been both good and memorable ones in the Girton community, and one could scarcely find a more supportive, talented and mature parish than we have here. Girton is also the place where I have lived  the longest, and where the crucial formation years for our two sons have taken place from primary school to adulthood. We are grateful for all  with whom we have shared this part of life's journey in the parish.

 I have been offered the position of Director of the recently formed Leadership Institute formed  a year ago, and which is currently centred  in Cambridge. The main aim of the Institute is to provide training for lay and ordained members of the Church of England. This will be carried forward through their respective dioceses,  in offering   insights, skills and practices of  leadership for the huge and unpredictable demands that a new era is placing upon all of us. 
 
My background in teaching at the Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town, followed by theological education at Oxford, and  lastly 15 years in parish ministry in the Church of England ,  have furnished me  with a slightly unusual combination of  skills and experiences to bring to the work of the Institute.

The scope of the Institute is wider than the Church of England in two respects. Firstly, it includes leadership development in the wider Anglican Communion, particularly in Africa, where training resources are practically non-existent.  I have already  run  courses in Central Africa, and more are planned for East Africa.  

The second is that the Institute also works with companies and non-profit institutions, providing in-house training and consultancy. Partly for the income, but also because of the 'cross-fertilisation' of insights, concepts, values and skills that are relevant to both 'church' and 'world', particularly now that so many companies are concerned with their corporate 'values' as a source of motivating and retaining the best staff in their company.

All of this will involve travel, but the base will continue to be Cambridge; precisely where in the area we shall be living  is not yet finalised.

Thoughts turn swiftly to a successor, and the process is unavoidably laborious. As the Lord Chancellor is Patron of the living, the process will  take six to twelve months after June.  In this period of vacancy, the Churchwardens ( Nora Rutherford and Bill Orton) will have the legal and executive responsibility for administering the work of the Parish Church, with the assistance of our Readers (David Perril and Dugald Wilson) retired clergy, and others who may be invited from time to time to lead worship or preach.

I know that the congregation and Parochial Church Council will offer every assistance and encouragement, and the church is more than capable of self-organising for ministry, leadership and administration.

My sincere thanks  for all that you have done for St Andrew's Girton, and for your continued and wholehearted support of the churchwardens in their task in the months ahead.

Finally, I wish you a blessed Easter and  the hope of resurrection in these deeply troubled times for the farming industry, and all whose lives are affected by the foot-and-mouth outbreak in the country.

Rob Mackintosh.
 

Message from the Baptist Church

THE WEAKEST LINK

One of the most popular television programmes of the season, or so the publicity machine would like us to believe, is “The Weakest Link”.  In case you have never watched it, let me briefly sketch in how it works.  The quiz starts with eight people each being asked in turn a general knowledge question by the question mistress, Anne Robinson.  Their reward, if they answer correctly, is to be given money for the team, but if they get the question wrong any money they have accumulated, but not banked is lost.  At the end of the round the participants each nominate the one they think is the “weakest link”.  The person with the most votes is then subjected to some sarcastic comments by Ms. Robinson before she cuttingly dismisses them with the words, “you’re the weakest link, good-bye”. The quiz continues with more rounds of questions, nominations and dismissals, until only the strongest remains.

I am not sure I can see what the attraction of the programme is.  The prize money is nothing compared to “Who wants to be a Millionaire” and the tension is, to my thinking, less than on “Mastermind”.  As for Ms. Robinson’s rudeness, well she might think of herself as a school- ma’am, but anybody with her line in astringency would quickly be OFSTEDed out of the classroom.  I just wonder if the popularity is because we can associate with the weakest links being shown to the door.

The phrase “The Weakest Link” does not appear in the Bible, although the word “Weakest” occurs once.  It comes in connection with a man called Gideon who describes himself by saying, “my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family”.  When we first meet Gideon he is the epitome of cowardice; trying to thresh wheat in a wine press, for fear of being seen by his enemies.  Gideon felt weak and vulnerable and was so paralysed by fear that he could not see any way out of his situation.  God knew that, but also saw the picture in a bigger frame; he saw the future, as well as the present, and knew Gideon’s potential, that with his help the weak could become strong.  Gideon might have seen himself as  “The Weakest Link”, but when the angel of the Lord appeared to him, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior”.  “Weakest Link” to “Mighty Warrior” was some transformation, yet with God’s enabling, Gideon proved himself to be a worthy champion and leader of the nation.

Cleverness, money and beauty are all standards of the world, but God is in the business of working with the weak things.  To the world, Jesus’ death on the cross might be an example of foolishness, weakness and failure, but God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise and chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.  Jesus humbled himself and died, so that we, the weakest links, might live. 

Phillip Staves
 
 

Message from the Girton Glebe School

John Kennedy, our school caretaker for the last eight years, is retiring on the Friday before his 65th birthday, the 11th May.  John supports both our school and the local community and over these years has given so much of his time to the Glebe.  He will be greatly missed by all children, staff, governors and others from all the many village organisations.

Please come and join us in our farewell to John Kennedy on 11th May - everyone welcome.

3.30pm - 4.30pm Open House Party
4.30pm          Presentation

Please call into the school office to sign a card, or send your greeting in on a self-adhesive label.

If you would like to make a contribution to a retirement gift, please bring to the school office by 27th April.

Susan Baker, Headteacher

Last updated: 3rd April 2001