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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

28 November 2018: Sylvia Roberts, St Peter's Church, Petersfield

The Thankful Town

One thing led to another this month.

Firstly as the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day approached I became fascinated to find out more about “The Thankful Villages.” These were villages from which all the men who went to war between 1914 and 1918 returned home safely. Somerset had nine such villages but Hampshire had none. Our nearest “Thankful Village” was East Wittering – the only village in Sussex to be so blessed. I learned that there were 53 “Thankful Villages” in the country and 14 villages which were doubly thankful, in that all returned safely from the Second World War too.

Secondly I was touched and moved at the war memorial on November 11th when after all the ceremonies had taken place, Will Hughes, the Vicar of Petersfield, paused before pronouncing a blessing on us all and asked us to look around us at all the people who share the town with us and to be glad and grateful for every one of them, for our lovely town, and for our peaceful way of life.

And thirdly, in this very paper on 14th November my eyes fell on a letter from Christopher Sparkes…and I quote, “ However it is well known that adopting the psychological attitude of gratitude and a positive outlook contributes to a better and healthier life and character.”

We have so very much to be thankful for. The Bible says, “Be joyful always, pray at all times, be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life.” (1 Thess 5:16) This may seem a ludicrously tall order in a world of difficulty and sorrow but Mr Sparkes has pointed us in the right direction – it is about a mind-set, a philosophy of life which can be consciously cultivated. In church each week we give thanks over bread and wine and then share both these together with each other. I hope and believe that our simple weekly service encourages us to go out and be thankful, grateful people in our everyday life.


The Methodist Church is organising a Nativity Set Festival on the 8th and 9th of December - click the link for details

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