Thought for the month – Provided by Roger Neal – Congregational Worship Leader
It’s hard to believe that 2020 has arrived already. I would like to wish everyone a happy
and peaceful new year
This year, Candlemas falls on the 2nd February – the date of our next service. It is the
third of three “festivals of light” (the first two being the nativity, followed by epiphany) in
what is, for many, the darkest time of the year. It is the halfway point between the
winter solstice and the spring equinox.
Historically it has also been called “cross day”
because it was the day we cross over from
winter to spring.
However, in the southern hemisphere it is
midway between summer and autumn which this
year has produced extreme summer
temperatures resulting in terrible and destructive
consequences. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected.
As we reflect on the turbulence of political and climatic events in 2019, our hopes and
prayers are for a more settled 2020.
“Lord of time and eternity,
we stand on the threshold of a new year.
Strengthen our resolve
to dedicate our lives afresh in your service
leaving behind all that would distort your image within us
and lead us astray.
Keep us in peace,
guide us in justice,
sustain us in all this year may bring
for in you is our hope and our salvation,
our lasting joy and fulfilment
through Jesus Christ. Amen.”
The Revd David Paton
It is with great sadness that we note the death of The Revd David Paton. He was a good
friend of St Michael’s in the Gard, attending services in Boisset and Bagard for many
years, and he officiated at many of our services. He also held services in St André de
Roquepertuis for a mixed congregation of French and British churchgoers.
David was a barrister earlier in his career. He was later ordained and worked for many
years in the East End of London in a number of parishes, where he dealt particularly with
such problems as drug addiction and social deprivation. His final charge was in the City
of London – St Vedast, Foster Lane, combined with St Botolph’s Bishopsgate.
He was Area Dean for the City of London and a Prebendary of St Paul’s Cathedral. His final
years saw a return to the East End where he was appointed Master of the Royal
Foundation of St Katharine, Limehouse.
When David was nearing retirement, he came over to Goudargues to take the funeral of
an old friend. While there, he was introduced to Christiane Duvelius, doctor and friend
to so many in the area, and mentioned that he would like to live in this part of the world
but wondered how he could best continue his work as a priest. She encouraged him to
use his background to help as a counsellor to some of the ex-pat community. Once the
move was made, he was introduced to Père Jean-Luc, the curé of Goudargues, and
asked if he could use one of his churches for a monthly Eucharist. Thus he came to hold
services on the second Sunday of every month and was delighted to find that they were
attended not only by Anglicans, but also local villagers at St André, who were so pleased
that their village Church was to be used regularly that they joined in. Consequently,
David had the service books printed in both languages, there were readings in both
French and English and he had his sermons translated so that his French congregation
could follow the service. He always chose rousing hymns and led the singing with gusto.
He was a kind and compassionate man; an interesting and amusing dinner companion
and had a gift for delivering profound thoughts in an accessible way. He battled with
illness for many years and was courageous and dignified in his last illness.
His Requiem Mass was concelebrated by his friend Père Jean-Luc and his assistant priest
Père Jean-Bosco. It was well attended by many of his friends and parishioners including
a colleague from his early days as a barrister as well as his sister and brother-in-law.
Needless to say, he will be sorely missed and we ask you all to remember him in your