This Month's Message











My Life is my Message." Mahatma Gandhi

Revd. Judith Pollard

Team Vicar




May 2018

So now we’re in the merry month of May, sitting comfortably at the crossroads of Spring and Summer. This month many historical influences are strongly felt. “Cast not a clout until May is out” is an old warning not to shed winter clothing too early in the year. 

The wind at North and East was never good for man nor beast, 
so never think to cast a clout until the month of May be out.

Let’s hope the weather improves so that ‘clouts’ (clothing, rags, patches ) can be cast with impunity!

The Anglo-Saxons called this month thrimilce because then cows could be milked three times a day. The present name, from the Latin Maius, probably refers to Maia the goddess of growth & increase. May is a month of blossom. Virgil says that Roman youths used to go out into the fields and spend May Day dancing and singing in honour of Flora - another goddess, this time of fruits and flowers.

The English have long celebrated May Day with games and sports - particularly archery and Morris dancing; and the setting up of the maypole on the village green for dancing around with long ribbons. There was also a competition for the prettiest girl, the May Queen. May used to be a popular girls’ name -and is still occasionally used.

May Day was also (in times mercifully gone by) the festival day for London chimney sweepers.           
It also has deep political connotations for the Labour movement, being International Labour Day.

“Here we go gathering nuts in May” from the children’s nursery song is probably a corruption of “knots of May” referring to the old custom of gathering posies (knots) of flowers or hawthorn twigs on May Day. May blossom is another name for hawthorn.  There are no nuts to be gathered in May!

In the Church calendar, May is the month of Ascension day and Whit Sunday - also called Pentecost, of Whitsun weddings, works outings and public holidays: of the coming of the Holy Spirit to inspire and invigorate the life and worship of the Church. It is a welcome time of renewal and new growth.

We would do well to tap into this resurgent Maytime blossoming and growth - we really need it in our lives, our communities, our churches. If a few people do a lot all of the time it’s really hard work for them;  but if many people regularly do a little it can be far less burdensome – fun even!  

Finally, Mayday is an internationally accepted radio signal word for distress/danger used by aircraft or ships. It comes from the French for ‘help me’ (m’aider).  In these troubled times globally perhaps we should pray fervently that this May, mayday will not be needed...                  

With my love and prayers,

Reverend Judith +

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