A Whale of a Time

Perhaps – at two-and-a-half hours – A Whale of a Time lived up to its name a bit more than we would have liked, but looking back, who could you have left out?

The church was completely full for the fifth in the series of ‘Concerts for Africa’, which was both varied and fun. Eighteen different acts, from young André at the piano


to Grove Place Strummers and Pluckers (a ukulele orchestra), from David singing(?) A Mother’s Lament to Alida Stoman performing songs by Mozart and Jule Styne


– the full programme is reproduced below. Some are already firm favourites – the puppets, Jim Carter’s poems, and the ‘Steady 5’ jazz ensemble, some of whom had come home from university especially to be here – but Alida and the ukuleles were appearing for the first time, as was the Fairy Chorus (with added rappers).


The programme closed with a rousing rendition of ‘Guide me, O thou great Redeemer’; as songs about whales are rare, we chose one from Wales!

It’s invidious to pick out acts individually, so Hilary and Sue want to thank –

  • every single performer, young or old, seasoned or quaking at their first stage appearance;


  • all the accompanists (Carol, Sarah and Julian)
  • all the front-of-house staff (Martin Saunders, Alan Bulpit, Bernard Butcher and Dave Edes) and refreshments team (Vivien Butcher, Sheila Bulpit, Linda Purkess and Simon Purkess)IMG_5127
  • David Newbitt, for the programme and screen presentation;
  • the sound man (Andy Cambridge) and roadies (John Holden and Peter Skidmore)Mark
  • Pat Wills (video camera) and Graham Cowdery (stills photography)
  • Chris Pritchard, for the video interview with Bishop Jackson;
  • the Lady with the Candlelighter (Sharon Cambridge)
  • and the lovely appreciative AUDIENCE, who have helped us raise over £1140 so far.


If we’ve  forgotten anyone, please do tell Sue (it’s her age, you know) so we can put it right!

‘The Mix’ Puppet Ensemble Love is shown by what we do

Jonah Jazz

Linda O’Hara (acc. Carol Bishop) O Divine Redeemer
André Dance Budgie

Dwarfs in the Mist

Angela Jones & Liz Roles Comfortable Shoes

Climb Every Mountain

Carol Plunkett The Footpath to Otterton Mill
Mark Williams (trumpet) Hummel Trumpet Concerto, 1st Movement
Fairy Chorus Nobody loves a fairy when she’s forty
Jim Carter The Blackbird
Ian Shatwell & Julian Williams The Mud and the Stars
Jonathan Klein Running for Love

If there were twenty-five hours

Steady 5 Jazz Ensemble Chattanooga Choo Choo

Stormy Weather

Take Five

O When the saints

Julian Williams The W C

When Night Comes

Grove Place Strummers & Pluckers Good Evening

Caribbean Medley

Goodnight Irene

Ian and Sarah Shatwell I want a hippopotamus for Christmas

The Hippopotamus

Julian Williams Mozart Piano Concerto, last movement
David Newbitt A Mother’s Lament
Alida Stoman Als Luise die Briefe

Funny Girl

Love’s Philosophy

The Russian Nightingale

The Entire Company Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer


Quiz Night 2015

On Saturday October 3rd, rather than chew their nails in front of the rugby World Cup, eager teams of quizzers gathered at the Peter Digby Scouting Centre for the annual Quiz Night.  This year Carol Plunkett acted as Quizmaster and she had set some fiendishly difficult questions (as well as some less demanding) which had the contestants racking their brains for the name of the cat in the Simpsons, or what was the proper name of ‘Earth’s second moon?!

Eventually it was the Infamous Five (Jane Coomer, Linda Klein, Jane Carr, Fiona Skidmore and Sue Newbitt) who bore away the coveted Quality Street in triumph, with the Scatterbrains as worthy runners-up.  Many thanks to Vivien Butcher, Sheila Bulpit and Linda Purkess for organising the event, as well as to Carol for the questions – same time next year, everyone?

Potato harvest in Rownhams

It’s Harvest Festival season, and for children and young people in Rownhams – this time it’s personal!


Back in May, children from years 3 and 4 at Rownhams St. John’s Primary School spent a day at St. John’s Church, turning what had been a compost heap into a mini-allotment. They planted onions, potatoes, courgettes, tomatoes, beans and lettuces, then young people’s groups from the church took over to care for the plot and provide the elegantly turned-out scarecrows!


Throughout the summer, vegetables have been regularly provided to the Basics Bank, run at Lordshill Church on Fridays by volunteers from local churches, and last Sunday over 40 kilos of beautiful fresh potatoes were harvested to benefit families in need.


‘What could be a better use for a compost heap?’ asked John McGinty, who co-ordinated the project. ‘Children love to see things growing, and when these can be used to benefit other people it’s a real win-win situation. Fresh vegetables are always needed and these are as fresh as they can be!’ John also runs the Gardening Club down the road at Nursling CofE Primary School, which regularly sends gifts of vegetables to the Basics Bank.


Tinned and packet food from Harvest Festivals in schools and churches all over the area will also go to Basics Bank, but none will be more joyfully offered than these potatoes.


Romsey Advertiser article…..


Trinity Band – 21/6/15

What better way to celebrate the Trinity 3 Sunday than with a visit to our morning praise service by Trinity – the Christian band from Holland


They were ending a short UK tour and interrupted their journey home to come and play for our service. A 5am departure from Torquay saw them arrive at 8:30am in time to setup for our 10am service…………..20150621_085118


and grab a quick breakfast…..


And what a memorable service it was. A great mix of their material with popular worship songs which included all ages…………

IMG_3940 edited

IMG_1376one comment from a ‘senior’ member of our church – “Wow, what an inspiring service today”.


we will look forward to them returning hopefully in 2016





May Festival 2015

It’s been a packed May Day weekend at St. John’s, with our arts and crafts festival ‘Celebrating Creativity’ and a Church Fête in association with the 21st Romsey (Nursling and Rownhams) Scout Group, as well as All-Age Worship with special thanksgiving for the safe and timely completion of our much-needed stonework repairs.

All over the weekend the church was open for visitors to admire (perhaps to buy!) art and craft exhibits of all kinds, as well as colourful floral displays echoing the ‘creativity’ theme, paralleled on a grand scale by the impeccable craftsmanship of our stonemason Colin Avery.


Marina Stuart, local artist and teacher and well-known to all at St. John’s and St. Boniface, organised the exhibition to showcase the many talents of local people, both within the church and from outside, displayed in paint, needlework, photography and wood-turning. In addition, sales from the exhibition will have raised substantial sums for the church!

Sunday morning’s service featured a heartfelt thank-you from the church to its generous donors, among them Viridor Credits Environmental Company, Hampshire County Council, Hampshire and the Islands Historic Churches Trust, and the All Churches Trust.


Our vicar Julian Williams, who himself raised several thousands of pounds with a sponsored bike ride around Corsica, said ‘We as a church are most grateful to all the people and organisations who have donated almost £30,000 to allow us to repair the stonework damaged by weather, and allow everyone to use the church and its grounds in safety. As well as the larger funds and trusts, we want to thank all the individual donors, both within our church family and from the wider community’.


The service, which in addition to young musicians from the church featured Christian dance group ‘Movement in Worship’, was attended by Cllr. Roy Perry (representing Viridor Credits and Hampshire CC). Afterwards at coffee time Cllr. Perry cut a beautiful celebration cake from The Cupcake Angel, decorated with a picture of the church surrounded by mason’s tools and pieces of ‘stone’. This was rapidly and appreciatively devoured by young and old alike.


Then on a blessedly sunny Bank Holiday Monday, hundreds of happy people thronged the church grounds and the Glebe for traditional stalls and entertainments, eating burgers from the Scout barbecue and cupcakes which were themselves works of art, and joining in enthusiastically with games and the puppet show. The ever-popular puppets, operated by young people from the church, performed to a capacity crowd– two songs celebrating God’s love and His Creation, as well as versions of the Lost Sheep and the Good Samaritan! Traditional maypole dancing by the Jane McKinnon School of Dance was not to be missed.


Many people worked long and hard to ensure the success of this weekend – fund raisers, artists in many media, flower arrangers, cake makers, dancers, musicians, vicars, face-painters, stallholders, Scouts, puppeteers, and organisers of all kinds of events; tea and coffee makers, washer-uppers, pew movers, vacuum cleaner operators – just about everyone had a role to play. Thank you very much to everyone, we couldn’t have done it without you!