The annual Shepton Mallet snowdrop Festival
Nothing to do with snowdrops, but a quote jumped out at me from one of the many mailouts I get from Lee Abbey, which is a retreat centre in North Devon. I remember giving my life to Jesus there when I was about 15, far too young and naive to know what I was doing but it was a step in the right direction I feel.
“Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.” ―Maya Angelou
I do trust text that jumps out at me especially when I’m not looking for anything in particular. To stand against the crowd especially in this day of social media requires more and more strength of character. The problem is if we don’t stand up for anything we are really nothing more than robots.
We went to day one of a two-day festival in nearby Shepton Mallet where all aspects of snowdrops were to be examined. Indeed there are many aspects. Someone was offering single specimens of snowdrops at £25. there are about 250 different types of snowdrops most of which I understand are found in Turkey.
An old church is almost adjacent to the main road through Shepton Mallet, now a mere tributary but fascinating and romantic. there are a cluster of cafes which I feel I just struggling to exist, no less than two Polish shops (how do they both manage?). Anyway, through the lovely historical churchyard and into the church.
It is an indication of a lively church that there are so many younger involved people. As the son of a vicar with visits to hundreds of churches under my belt, you know how to see the signs. This is the church of St Peter and St Paul more or less in the middle of Shepton Mallet and part of a Benefice– that means a group of churches – which include St Aldenham’s church Doulting and St Bartholomew’s Church Cranmore.
This church opened its doors in 1274 A.D. presided over by one Hugh De Clifford, followed by in 1280 ‘Bertrand’ and 1316 ‘Reginaldus’. I think we take our wonderful ecclesiastical history for granted; here is a building that has been open continuously for worship and prayer for nearly 750 years. You can certainly feel it as you walk in the door, the welcome and prayers are in the walls. The many volunteers gathered within gave the impression of being in a close knit but not cliquey group.
There is an extraordinary two manual organ almost hiding away