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Church News & Events

SERVICES AT ST MARY'S CHURCH, CUSOP 

We look forward to Morning Worship with Communion on Sunday 19th June at 11am and on the following Sunday, the 26th June, there will be a Celtic Morning Prayer Service.

In July, there will be a Holy Communion Service on Sunday 17th and the following Sunday (24th) we will gather for Morning Worship at 11am. Please do join us if you can!

For details of all church services please look under the "Services" tab on this website. Dates and times of services are also displayed on church notice boards and in "The Link" magazine.

Cusop Church is open all day, every day! 

 Please do visit our lovely church. It’s so uplifting to have a clean church with beautifully arranged flowers. A huge thank you to our cleaners and all who continue to provide and arrange flowers.

The bookstall is now up and running and it's evident from the books disappearing and donations in the box that there’s now a steady flow of visitors. A big thank you to everyone who has donated books.

Once again, we welcome back Janine and her Theatre Groups who will be rehearsing in Cusop Churchyard in preparation for their performances of “Alice in Wonderland” from August 17th to 21st August. It’s not to be missed so make sure you make a note of it in your diary!

June 2022 was indeed a memorable month with all the Jubilee celebrations, Hay Literature Festival and ‘How the Light Gets In’ all happening at the same weekend and occasionally competing with each other! It was wonderful to see Hay packed with people after two years of desolation and to be able to admire the castle beautifully restored. The weather was kind and we welcomed a great number of people visiting our church and churchyard during the Festival week.

We had a service with a difference on 29th May when we enjoyed a wide variety of poems including  ‘We thought we’d lost him’ written by Nick Fawcett, ‘Kneeling’ by R S Thomas and ‘Choruses from the Rock’ by T S Elliot.  It’s always good to laugh in church and some lighter moments were provided by ‘The Whitsun Treat’ a nostalgic and humorous poem written by Margaret Morgan (Sue Hodgett’s mother) and Keith’s impression of Elvis reciting ‘If I can Dream’ which was entertaining but also meaningful with the words, “If I can dream of a better land where all my brothers walk hand in hand”. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this special service.

Don’t miss our first Village Social Event for two years! There will be a Village Hall AGM and BBQ on Sunday 3rd July at 12.30pm and everyone is warmly invited. The BBQ has always been a very popular event as it’s informal and sociable. There have been many new residents in Cusop since the pandemic and it must have been so difficult for them to meet local people. We do hope you’ll all come along and enjoy meeting your neighbours.

Caring for God’s Acre 

At our last Taskforce Day we had some very excited volunteers as we spotted some Yellow Rattle flowering in our meadow areas!! We meticulously planted the seed last year and it’s wonderful to see the fruits of our labour. We worked hard until 4pm when the heavens then opened with a tremendous shower – perfect timing!

We’ve planted some sunflowers and pulmonaria in the Bee and Butterfly Garden which is looking very happy with its border of foxgloves and various herbs flourishing. All these plants have been donated by local people so it’s a real “Community Garden”. There’s now fewer unwanted brambles under the yew trees, and we’ve created more room for our apple trees to breathe – a very big thank you to everyone who turned up and helped.

 

HEREFORD FOOD BANK

When there’s war in Ukraine and thousands of refugees, it’s difficult to remember that there are still struggling families in Herefordshire. If we have the means, we can give to both causes. Please continue to generously donate to the Food Bank and leave items in the box at Cusop Church or Cusop Village Hall where it’s collected every Wednesday morning. Thank you!

All donations for churchyard maintenance gratefully received!

It costs Cusop PCC over £1000 a year to have the grass mowed in our churchyard. We don’t receive any grants towards this even though the whole community benefits from the wide open space in our beautiful churchyard which is incredibly popular with dog walkers, young families and people of all ages.

One sunny day, I met two ladies laying a tablecloth and sharing coffee and cake together in the open air.  It’s thanks to our wonderful God’s Acre volunteers and the grass cutting regime that we can keep our costs down to £1,000 but it is still a lot of money. If you would like to make a donation towards the costs of maintaining our churchyard, please place it in the Donation Box inside the church by the main door or contact Celia Cundale, Churchwarden, or our Treasurer, Malcolm Darbyshire.

Any donation large or small will make a difference. Thank You!

 

Churchyard Flowers 

As part of our Eco Church programme, we do not allow artificial flowers or oasis in the churchyard, “Fresh flowers are encouraged as the symbol of the gift of creation and the brevity of life.  Artificial flowers, e.g. silk or plastic flowers, are inappropriate”. (Diocesan churchyard regulations)  It’s wonderful how everyone has taken this on board and the PCC would like to sincerely thank you for this.  Thank you for helping to keep our churchyard beautiful and for being kind to nature.

Apple Tree Project

The project has been a light on the horizon after such a difficult year and admired by all who visit our churchyard.  It’s wonderful that it’s become a real community effort and there are so many people to thank for giving up their time and offering their skills.

Thank you to all those who took wood chippings and made generous donations to the church. A special thank you to Julian Smith for removing a large, ivy- infested trunk and Andy Fryers and John Hanson for helping to transform the area into an attractive and comfortable home for the apple trees. The trees were carefully planted by ten masked volunteers supervised by Ainsleigh. A huge thank you to Ainsleigh and the Marches Apple Network for all their expertise and help with this fabulous project.

As always, our very grateful thanks to our loyal volunteers who excelled themselves with the planting and then continued working in the churchyard weeding and clearing unwanted brambles.

It has been a joy to see children hugging their trees and faces lit up with smiles on seeing the trees planted which have become beacons of hope for the future. Thank you again to all who have helped with this inspirational project.

Pastoral Care

If you would like to talk to someone, there are people who are there to listen. Please contact Revd Luci (01497-821877) who is available as well as other trained pastoral visitors. All calls will be dealt with in the strictest confidence.

 

Cusop Church is an Eco Church 

“He saw all that he made and it was good”. God loved his creation and it’s our responsibility to care for it.

God loved his creation and it’s our responsibility to care for it. At Cusop Church, we’ve been guided by the wonderful charity , Caring for God’s Acre, and thanks to the hard work of local volunteers, we’ve been able to follow a conservation programme for over 15 years. This includes a grass cutting regime so we have meadow areas where wild flowers and grasses can flourish. The increasing diversity of plants that now grow encourages not just pollinators like bees but a whole range of species of insects and minibeasts.

We have bird and hedgehog boxes, a fabulous Bug Hotel and four enormous compost heaps! We know our churchyard is a haven for wildlife as we’ve found toads, slow worms and fascinating beetles on our taskforce days and we must protect these animals.

One autumnal morning, we went “hunting” in the churchyard and found thirty-five species of fungi.  We love memorials made from natural local stone as it encourages different kinds of lichen that are so important for our ecosystem. A lichen survey revealed an incredible seventy-nine species of lichen in our churchyard with the oldest natural stone memorials “being home” to the rarest lichen. We’ve now signed up to Eco Church and that’s inspired us with new projects including planting eight apple trees which are all Herefordshire varieties.

If we added up the acreage of all churchyards it’s a massive amount of land. If at least some of this land is carefully managed to encourage wild native plants and animals that would increase biodiversity and make a significant difference to our environment.

Every single organism plays a role in our ecosystem from the tiny bee that pollinates the wild flowers to the huge ancient yew which provides a home and food for wildlife.

God wants us to protect the glory, beauty and diversity of his creation so please let’s do it!

 

Bats in Churches

Churches are important roosting sites for bats and, for generations, many churches have provided a refuge for bats due a loss of habitat, in particular, ancient woodlands, and barns and buildings that have been converted. Why do bats migrate to churches? Many (like Cusop Church) have a roof that actually resembles the canopy of an ancient woodland! Step inside our church, look up and you will see the fabulous wooden structures above you. Also, bats can squeeze through the roof voids, tiny holes in the eaves, and gaps in the stonework.

Bats love churches like Cusop because of our fabulous churchyard. It’s quiet and rarely lit up at night. The yew trees provide shelter when the bats are flying in and out of the eaves and the bats relish the long grass in our meadow areas which is a rich habitat for insects.

Of course, bats can cause problems in churches. They can spoil the internal fabric of a church; furniture, brass plaques and vestments can get stained. The good news is that the charity, “Bats in Churches” (www.batsinchurches.org.uk is providing sustainable solutions and giving advice to churches that have significant problems with bats. After identifying the various entry points of the bats, they can position bat boxes in the eaves so the bats do not enter the church and the bat boxes can be cleaned out every year.

Why should we bother about bats?

Bats play an important role in many environments around the world. Some plants depend partly or wholly on bats to pollinate their flowers or spread their seeds, while other bats also help control pests by eating insects. In the UK, some bats are ‘indicator species’, because changes to these bat populations can indicate changes in aspects of biodiversity.

While some people think bats are pests, some bats are actually pest controllers eating thousands of insects every night. UK bats won’t bite you or suck your blood but they will actually help clear the air of bloodsucking mosquitoes! Bats have very big appetites because flying uses up lots of energy. A common pipistrelle can eat over 3,000 tiny insects in a single night! Because bats eat so many insects, they can also reduce the need for pesticide sprays.

After completing my “Bat Detective” training, I ventured with John Hanson to survey the bat population in and around Cusop Church. Paul and Jane Smith have also kindly helped and are now going to arrange a visit from the Hereford Bat Group who will hopefully identify the species of bats in our church – this can be quite tricky even for experts.

Anyone can log onto the (www.batsinchurches.org.uk and complete the training which is excellent. Surveys need to be completed before September when the bats will begin to go into hibernation. If you would like more information please don’t hesitate to contact me. Celia Cundale, Churchwarden

 

Everyday Eco Tips

How many of these can you tick and so help to save our environment?

In the House

  • Buy produce, especially fruit and vegetables, with the minimum amount of packaging which should be recyclable.
  • Eat less meat. Try to buy locally-sourced produce.
  • Don’t waste food. (7.3 million tonnes of food is wasted in the UK every year and it adds to the amount of CO2 being created in landfills.)
  • Recycle everything – the centre at Kington is brilliant - visit https://www.herefordshire.gov.uk/directory-record/35/kington-household-recycling-centre
  • Try to cut out plastic.
  • Use green cleaning solutions containing white vinegar and lemon Juice which are more natural, organic, and far less harmful than chemical products  (see https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/features/vintage-tips-to-green- clean-your-home)
  • Use cloth instead of paper to clean your kitchen. Re-use old towels and t-shirts and cut them into small cleaning cloths.
  • Turn down the thermostat and put on an extra layer of clothing.
  • Use LED light bulbs.
  • Unplug unused chargers and appliances.
  • Try to fix items, not throw them away. There’s fantastic videos online showing how to fix anything from printers to zips. It also gives you a real sense of achievement!

In the Garden

  • Don’t be too tidy in the garden. Leave part of it to grow wild to encourage pollinating insects like bees and butterflies and a wider variety of invertebrates.
  • Collect rainwater and use it to water your houseplants and garden
  • Make a compost heap. If you need to buy compost, always purchase peat-free compost. If your local supplier doesn’t have any, ask them to order it! (It takes 500 years to replace a peat bog.)
  • Reduce your use of pesticides and weed killers in the garden as these will eventually make their way into rivers, lakes and groundwater.

 

Calculate your Carbon Footprint!

Visit :   https://www.carbonindependent.org/ and calculate your carbon footprint. It's easy and only takes a few minutes. It also shows you where you can cut back to reduce your carbon footprint.

Below the questionnaire, there's a graph so you can compare your carbon footprint with the UK average, Mozambique (the lowest in the world) and USA (the highest). 

To find out more about Eco Church visit: https://ecochurch.arocha.org.uk

 

Welcome Booklet

In conjunction with Cusop Village Hall and the Parish Council, Cusop Church has produced a Welcome Booklet and we have already started delivering this to new residents living at Bookers Edge. The booklet contains a wealth of useful information about amenities and activities in and around Cusop. If you want to view it, log onto www.cusop.net and you’ll find it on the Useful Links page under Home. Our thanks to Alison Matthews for setting up this link on the village website. If you know anyone who would like to have a printed copy of "The Welcome Booklet", please contact Celia Cundale (01497-820396).

For any further information about church activities  please contact the Churchwarden, Celia Cundale at celiacundale@aol.com or phone 01497-820396.

Production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in Cusop Churchyard Production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in Cusop Churchyard
Hay Theatre's production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in Cusop Churchyard Hay Theatre's production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in Cusop Churchyard
Our wonderful "Bug Hotel" made by our local God's Acre Taskforce Team. Our wonderful "Bug Hotel" made by our local God's Acre Taskforce Team.
Taking a rubbing at our Annual Community Picnic. Taking a rubbing at our Annual Community Picnic.
Cutting the meadow in the churchyard with scythes and planting yellow rattle seed. Cutting the meadow in the churchyard with scythes and planting yellow rattle seed.
Jemima Phillips, Royal Harpist, performing at Cusop Church. It was a fabulous evening's entertainment! Jemima Phillips, Royal Harpist, performing at Cusop Church. It was a fabulous evening's entertainment!
Sunset and Wild Daffodils in Cusop Churchyard Sunset and Wild Daffodils in Cusop Churchyard