March 2018

"It is more blessed to give than to receive"

2018 thus far, volunteering has occupied my mind. Volunteering is about giving. The time one gives to volunteer could be used for one's own personal benefit. But by giving that time, or money, skills and effort to someone else or for the greater good, what one loses, however, is not without unintended blessing.

The Bible is full of verses that assert this idea. The most popular verse is "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35). The apostle Paul reminded church leaders that they themselves should be living a life of giving. Of course, he knew that church leaders didn't have much money to splash but nevertheless they were to give with what they had. Another verse from the Sermon on the Mount is "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you (Luke 6.38).

Here are some things that one could volunteer to do in our villages. I have already hinted at the Community Gospel Choir which is creating a lot of interest. We are now in the search for community singing group leader; hopefully we could get things up and running by April. Please register your interest in the choir by leaving your details on my answerphone (01525 211864).

There are three belfries in our community and perhaps bell ringing will appeal to you. Bell ringing itself is going through seeds of change; some campanologists would like it to be registered as sport, not just as a hobby. Whatever view one takes the benefits are clear. English style ringing (full circle ringing) and in particular change ringing has a place deep within our cultural heritage. As a ringer you will have the satisfaction of helping to keep this tradition alive within your community. Furthermore bell ringing improves agility, co-ordination and reaction times, tones core abdominal muscles and glutes, works biceps, quads and calves with minimal force and develops muscle endurance. In addition, it is extremely popular with wedding couples although it is rather expensive to have wedding bells. We have experienced teachers who could get you ringing in no time.

Flower arranging is a great activity that brings so much happiness to those who receive the blessing of flowers. Flowers really lift one's mood and have an immediate impact on happiness, notwithstanding the long-term positive effect on moods both on those who arrange them and those who see them. Please do get in touch with one of the Wardens – there's even a few sessions running this Spring to help learn the skills necessary, advert later in the magazine.

In rural communities like ours, the local church provides much needed social support whether one is of faith or not. There's so much more that takes place in a local church than singing, bell ringing and flower arranging. Please volunteer; contact one of the Wardens and ask how you could be involved. We live in hope that there will be even more to do in our three already thriving local church communities.