10 Lynden Close, Holyport, Berks, SL6 2LB
Copy for the October issue of St. Michael's News to the Editor please, by Thursday 20 September.
The Revd John Copping
A Personal Appreciation by Richard Cowles
In company with all associated with St Michael’s I have been sad to learn of the passing of John Copping, who will be much missed. I give here some personal memories of the man, with no pretensions at biography, which will no doubt be found elsewhere.
When I first came to Bray in 2008 John had been playing a major role in taking services during the interregnum, keeping the show on the road, as it were. It was clear to me at once that he was very much liked and trusted by the congregation and that here was a wise and experienced priest, a fine resource, whom I should be stupid to ignore. As ever, John was willing to be of assistance and so began our association, which was to last over the next nine years.
In the main, we came to know each other through sharing Sunday services when John would preach and I would celebrate the eucharist. Through talks in the vestry and over at St Michael’s Hall (and also at clergy chapter which he regularly continued to attend) I came to appreciate the company of an interesting and attractive personality.In a sense he was a piece of living history (though I’m not sure what he would have made of that comparison - I can imagine the look on his face!) in that he had been curate of Bray in the 1960’s, under the Revd. Sidney Doran.
John had arrived in the harsh winter of 1962/3, living in St Michael’s House without central heating. He normally used a scooter - a Lambretta which originally had belonged to Anne - to travel around the parish but one Sunday evening the roads were impassable and so he had struggled through the snow drifts and walked all the way from Bray to the church then at Touchen End, to take evensong. However, when he arrived he found the church empty - there was no congregation. None of the local parishioners had shown the same enthusiasm and determination as their young curate.
It may truly be said of John that he never lost his enthusiasm and his determination. In his retirement, following many years as vicar of St John’s Cookham Dean, which also included a period as Rural Dean, he was keen to be busy most Sundays. Other local churches besides St Michael’s also had the benefit of his trustworthy and benevolent presence leading their acts of worship.
In his latter years health problems meant that his mobility was limited and it sometimes seemed a struggle for him to walk up the aisle and get to his chair in the sanctuary. Yet when he entered the pulpit and began to preach, a remarkable transformation would occur, which the congregation and I witnessed time and again. Somehow the signs of physical frailty would melt away: the voice which issued forth from this somewhat monastic looking figure with his beard and hooded alb was vigorous and resonant; he was an animated presence and the words of the sermon gave evidence of an active and thoughtful mind. In his retirement John was not content to rest on past laurels and just recycle old material, but he continued to read and attend films and theatre, as well as of course taking much pleasure in music. For many years he took part in the annual ‘Come and Sing’ Messiah in the Royal Albert Hall and he was a great admirer of Sir David Willcocks who conducted these occasions.
Also present in John’s sermons was a leavening of humour - there would I guess always be at least one moment when a smile was elicited from his audience. He had the comic timing of a good stand-up and his own dry wit enabled him to see the funny side of things.
He was essentially a modest man and it was only after knowing him for a while that some hitherto unsuspected aspects of his individual nature were revealed. There was his hobby of rug-making, for instance. Or his liking of folk music and especially the music of his near namesake, Johnny Coppin, the guitar player and singer/songwriter, whose performances John made a point of attending.
There was too a memorable sermon (perhaps his most memorable) in which John revealed that he had been corresponding for many years with a prisoner on Death Row in a US prison in Florida. He had done this through the organisation ‘Lifelines’ which exists precisely to promote penfriends with such people. John spoke of his correspondent Gerald (on Death Row since 2003) as a friend with whom he shared family news and holiday postcards. He also prayed for him. John shared this story with us simply and straightforwardly without any trace of self-righteousness on his part. He said too: “I realise that some people would consider the very idea of contact with a condemned murderer as totally repugnant. However, it seems to me that if one is able to offer friendship to someone dehumanised by the system, whether they are guilty or innocent, it is a humanitarian duty to do so. Indeed it is also a religious duty. And when Jesus told us in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats, that we must care for those in need; the sick, those without shelter or clothing; those in prison, he made no mention of guilt or self-neglect or imprudence or fecklessness.”
In this and many other ways John was a faithful follower of Jesus and an attractive witness to the truth of the Christian Faith. He was a mentor to me in my parish ministry and an exemplar to younger clergy of how to retain one’s enthusiasm and determination in retirement and old age.
“Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” May he rest in peace and rise in glory.
Bray Open Gardens and Concert
Thank you to all those who supported these two events by coming to either view the Open Gardens or attend the concert in the evening. The weather was beautiful and everyone enjoyed the opportunity to have a peek at other people’s gardens. The garden owners also thoroughly enjoyed chatting to you. The concert “Gardens in Words and Music” was delightful including the two madrigals by St Michael’s Choir.
Thank you also to the volunteers who helped at either or both events. We couldn’t have done it without you! We raised over £4000 which will be distributed equally between The Friends of St Michael’s and Thames Hospice. An amazing amount which made all the hard work worthwhile. Thank you again.
Chris and Julie Graham
Ploughman’s Lunch in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support
Enjoy a substantial Ploughman’s Lunch and help a good cause. That’s the message as we invite you to our annual fund raising event in St Michael’s Hall in support of Macmillan Cancer Support.. We are hosting the event on Saturday 29th September between 12 noon and 2 pm (Come any time between these times.) This event has proved very popular in past years, so to be sure of your lunch please get your booking in early. As well as lunch you can take part in the raffle and buy home made chutney and jams, all in aid of Macmillan.
If you can’t stop for lunch, tea and coffee will also be served to those not wanting to eat. This is a good opportunity after a morning gardening or shopping to relax and enjoy lunch prepared by somebody else, however to minimise waste and to ensure that we raise as much as possible, it is essential that diners pre-book. You can do this by contacting Ken Amery on 01628 675425 or put your name on the list at the back of the church. If you are allergic to cheese, you can still join us, but please let us know beforehand and we will arrange an alternative.
A minimum donation of £6.50 per meal is being requested.
Holyport Village Show
The 23rd Holyport Village Show will be held in Holyport Memorial Hall on Saturday, 8th September. Entries will be received in the hall between 8.30 am and 10.15 am. The show will be open to the public from 2 pm with admission by donation. Refreshments will be available in the afternoon.
The final date for the submission of the entry form is Saturday, 1st September.
More information can be found at or email Andy Birrell - email@example.com
Our July meeting started with our President Jen welcoming a visitor for the evening Jackie Bray. Our speaker for the evening was Barbara Hately, her talk with slides was on” The Changi Red Cross Quilt.”
Some of our members had made a patchwork of flowers in red and various other colours. Ms Katherine Martin had come along to the meeting to judge the various displays for us, the winner will receive the annual Helen Hellyer Cup.
Without delay we proceeded to the speaker for the evening Barbara Hately. First question she asked us was, has anyone visited Singapore and had they managed to visit the Changi Jail Museum, a few of our members had visited Singapore but not the museum at Changi. Barbara was very knowledgeable on her subject. She told us that the Japanese had invaded Singapore in 1942 and had taken all the foreigners in the region to Changi Jail, the Japanese had insisted that Changi should be referred to as Jail and not prison. The wives and children had been separated from their husbands. She told us the women came up with a clever plan to make embroidered quilts for the infirmary in which they would put their name on their embroidered square therefore it would send a message to the menfolk that they were alright. Firstly though they made a quilt for the Japanese, then the Australian and the British quilts were made. The material they used was used rice sacks. She told us we could visit the website to view these quilts which are still around after all these years. A fascinating talk and there were lots of questions put to her at the end of her talk. Pauline J thanked Barbara for a very interesting talk. There was a short break for refreshments. Shan and Jan P provided the refreshments for the evening
Janet announced the next walk, Mary is organising this walk all those going will be finding the answers to clues around Datchet village. Jen announced that all proceeds raised at Bryony’s Garden Party in August will go to ACWW. Shan told members of the final arrangements for the Skittles evening in Binfield.
Jen was pleased to announce that our Quiz evening in June raised £361.00 for our funds. Penny had been our representative at the National Annual Meeting in Cardiff, although she had written a report herself due to the shortage of time at our meeting she suggested we read the report in our WI Life magazine. The 2018 resolution, which was passed with 98% of the vote, calls on WI members to recognise the importance of parity and take action to make it acceptable to talk about mental health, as it is about physical health.
Other speakers at the meeting had been Huw Edwards and Dame Stella Rimington.
Katherine Martin announced the winner of the 2018 Helen Hellyer Cup competition Ann M came 1st followed by Carole second and Bryony third. Katherine was thanked kindly for judging the competition.
Carole won the flower of the month competition
Meetings and Events for September
Thursday, 6th September at 7.45 p.m. in Holyport Memorial Hall.
Monday, 24th September at 2.00 p.m. in Holyport Memorial Hall.
Music at Bray
Sunday, 9th September at 3.00 p.m.
LOUISA STAPLES - VIOLIN
A programme of unaccompanied violin music including Bach's G minor sonata, Ysaye Sonata no.2 ‘Obsession’ and Paganini’s Caprice no.9
Unless stated otherwise admission to the afternoon concerts is free - retiring collection
Tea is served in St Michael’s Hall after the concerts.
Maidenhead Heritage Centre
18 Park Street, Maidenhead.
19th September - 13th October Exhibition - Vanwall - winning for Britain
|Monday, 10th September
||11.00 a.m. - 12.15 p.m.
|Wednesday, 12th September
|Hanover Mead and Jesus Hospital
||11 a.m. - 11.30 a.m.
|Thursday, 6th and 27th September
||2.40 - 3.00 p.m.
||3.10 - 3.40 p.m.