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Church News & Events

SERVICES AT ST MARY'S CHURCH, CUSOP 

Cusop PCC has decided to hold a monthly service at Cusop Village Hall. This is a new venture and the aim is to be based in a more accessible place for those living in other areas of Cusop including Lower Mead.  It's an informal service and an opportunity to meet one another in a relaxed and warm atmosphere. Everyone very welcome!

Church Services

Sunday 22nd January at 11am - Morning Worship at St Mary's Church, Cusop 

Sunday 5th February at Cusop Village Hall - Morning Worship at 11am. Refreshments served from 10.30am

Sunday 25th February at 11am - Morning Worship at St Mary's Church, Cusop 

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 wonderful cleaners and all who continue to provide and arrange flowers.

The bookstall is 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.

“Fellowship and Friends”

Our new venture of holding services in the Village Hall had a promising start! The Village Hall is accessible and warm and it was good to see residents from Lower Mead joining us for a short friendly service. Thank you for coming and we look forward to seeing you on Sunday 5th February! Refreshments will be served from 10.30am and there will be a short service at 11am. Everyone is very welcome!

Tea at Three

Our next “Tea at Three” takes place on Sunday 22nd January followed by 26th February from 3.00pm to 4.30pm at Cusop Village Hall. If you’ve never been, why not give it a try? It’s very relaxed and friendly and the Village Hall is comfortable and warm. Everyone is welcome and it’s free!

Lent Lunch – Monday 27th February, 12pm - 2.00pm

We are holding a “Lent Lunch” at Cusop Village Hall on Monday 27th February from 12pm to 2.00pm with donations to St Michael’s Hospice, Hereford. Please do drop by, enjoy a bowl of soup and help raise money for a very worthy local charity.

Improvements to Cusop Church Car Park

Works to the Car Park have been completed and Chris Carpenter has done an excellent job. These improvements have cost Cusop PCC a considerable amount of money but it’s money well- invested as large numbers of our local community and visitors use the car park. Church-goers, regular dog-walkers, tourists and those exploring our beautiful landscape all use the car park. If you are one of these people, please consider putting a donation either in the box in the car park or in the wall safe next to the refreshment table at church. Thank you.

Bats in Churches Update

I have received a letter of thanks from “Bats in Churches” for taking part in their national survey. I have forwarded this to John Hanson and Paul and Jane Smith who greatly helped with this project.

Thank you, Francoise!

Francoise Verger, local artist, has completed a fabulous display about “The Pomegranate” in the display cabinet at church. This has been greatly appreciated by visitors and our regular congregation.

Well Being Walk

We were pleased to welcome Sarah Price and walkers from the Deanery Well Being Walks on the 8th and 10th December. Everyone enjoyed visiting our church and staying for refreshments after the walk.

Flower and Cleaning Rota

A new rota has been sent out for 2023. A HUGE thank you to all our wonderful helpers who do such an amazing job! Our beautiful church always looks clean and welcoming and that’s all because of their hard work and commitment. We are truly grateful.

Our “Candles and Carols” service on 18th December had a fantastic attendance with over 100 people including 15 children. The church and churchyard looked wonderful lit up and the children reading the Christmas Story were delightful. Thank you, Seb, Edie, Arthur, Barnaby, Mollie and Siri for reading so beautifully. Donations to Hereford Food Bank at the service amounted to £182.20. After the gloomy years of the pandemic, the service firmly placed our beautiful church back into the heart of our community.

It was also great to see the return of the “New Year’s Eve Lunch” at the Village Hall and to welcome some of our new residents to Cusop. A very big thank you to Alison and Jim for organising this popular event. The Village Hall is certainly up and running again. If you would like to book it for a club or for a gathering of family and friends then please see details under the “Village Hall” section.

 

Caring for God’s Acre – Coffee, Cake and Conservation

Our Taskforce Day on 25th October was definitely one of our best God's Acre Days! We welcomed 15 DOE students completing the “ecology” section of their award alongside two teachers, 9 local volunteers and Jemima aged 7. Dave Barber, Deputy Manager, Trewern, has written to say that the D of E students thoroughly enjoyed the morning and that, after a tour and discussion, they now understood the importance of conservation and biodiversity in our churchyard. A HUGE thank you to the students, their teachers and all our volunteers who worked incredibly hard!

Christmas Tree Walk in aid of “Children in Need”

Thirteen people and two dogs joined us for a fabulous walk on 5th November when we raised £165.00 for “Children in Need”. We decorated the Christmas Tree and discovered a mysterious “Fairy Door” inside a knobbly, old oak tree! Our thanks to John Gibson, who kindly led the walk. It was great that everyone came to look at the church afterwards and together we enjoyed refreshments.

 

Hereford Food Bank

More donations are being left at our box at church which is very encouraging and last month the box at the Hall was overflowing!  Volunteers pick up items every Wednesday morning from Cusop Church and Cusop Village Hall at 11.30am. Thank you so much for everyone’s generosity and kindness.

 

Alice in Wonderland

Five performances took place in Cusop Church and Churchyard from Wednesday 17th to Sunday 21st August. Well done, Janine and the whole Theatre Company! Thank you for giving all the audiences such pleasure and entertainment. It was an ambitious, highly professional production involving a breadth of ages and was a huge success! The vestry was filled with excited children and teenagers and it now seems very quiet and desolate. The talent was bubbling over and it was certainly an experience that those young people will always remember and cherish. Our thanks to Hay Theatre Company who have given Cusop PCC a generous donation towards the upkeep of the church building and churchyard.

A very big thank you to all the volunteers who made jam tarts and served refreshments during the interval. We raised £381.55 for our church funds which is fantastic! It was also a great opportunity to welcome people from our wider community to our beautiful church and churchyard.

Hay Day Café Concert at Cusop Church

Our thanks to the Fitzwilliam Quartet who gave a wonderful concert to members of the Hay Day Café and its friends. There was a jolly and light -hearted atmosphere and the afternoon was thoroughly enjoyed by all. The Quartet enjoyed it too as they ate their lunch in our beautiful churchyard and commented that Cusop Church has excellent acoustics!

Plan of Graves in Churchyard

A new and updated plan of all the graves in the churchyard is now in the church for visitors who are searching for their relatives’ memorials. There is also an alphabetical list of all memorials for quick reference. Our thanks to John Wilks who produced the original version of this as previously, there was no accurate record. We’re also very grateful to Jane Weaver who has photographed every memorial individually.

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.

Support and Care

If you would like to talk to someone, there are people who are there to listen. Life doesn’t always go to plan, for all kinds of reasons, such as illness, grief, change of circumstances, relational issues or loneliness.  As a church community we are here to offer you support, a listening ear and prayer, whatever it is you’re going through.  Our pastoral visiting team are good listeners and have all undergone safeguarding checks and training. If you would like to speak to one of our pastoral visiting team in confidence, please contact Revd Angie:

E mail: pastoralvisitors@gmail.com

Telephone: 01981 501032

 

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 fruit and vegetables in season 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 buy glass or paper products.
  • 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 some scrub and seed heads for shelter and food for the birds during the winter months. Get involved with "No Mow May" by leaving parts of your lawn to grow wild to encourage pollinating insects like bees and butterflies and to provide a habitat for 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