This page shows some notable events in the life of the church family in 2001.
The Parochial Church Council
Meetings of the Parochial Church Council (PCC) are inevitably concerned with housekeeping.
Finance, care and upkeep of the two churches and maintenance of the churchyard are usually on each month's agenda. Other issues with which the PCC is concerned include worship - type and pattern of services for example - and mission - including joint activities with Churches Together in Leatherhead.
Sometimes the PCC is legally bound to consult with the whole parish on a particular issue. An example of this was the recent Union of Benefices. Informnation on the proposals was published regularly in the magazine. Notices were posted at all churches in both parishes, giving everyone the chance to make their views known. As no objections were received, the proposal went before the Queen in Privy Council in November, allowing the United Benefice of Leatherhead and Mckleham to come into being on 1st December.
Other consultations have taken place, not because of any legal requirements but in order to give everyone a voice in decisions. The Outward Giving Committee mounted a display showing the charities we were considering for our Christmas collections. Voting papers were supplied and there was a gratifying response. Thus the decision was made to divide the Christmas collection between The Rainbow Trust (Bookham) and the Afghan Appeal (via the Red Cross).
A consultation is taking place in the form of a questionnaire concerning the reordering of the church - the replacement, partial or complete, of the pews by chairs and of the inner North door by a glass one. A working party will report the findings of the questionnaire at the January PCC meeting.
In all this, the PCC is aware that the church is here for the worship of God and for witness and service to others. In even the most practical of matters the PCC tries to keep that as their first priority. Your views and concerns about all church matters are important. Please speak to any PCC member if you want any issues raised at a meeting.
Dorothy Paine (PCC Secretary)
In memory of Simon Pearce November 2001
Thanks: Sincere thanks to Ron and Eileen Pearce who have given new candlesticks and altar cloth for the Chapel of Remembrance and Hope in memory of their son, Simon, who died earlier this year. They are a fitting tribute to Simon, and a welcome addition to the Chapel.
Something for Everyone
Unfortunately, only two people expressed interest in the Alpha course this Autumn and we were unable to have a Parish Church Alpha group. However, as you may have seen on ITV, Alpha is a great way for people either to explore the Christian faith or to strengthen their faith.
Many of us will have friends or neighbours who are seeking to, understand more about Jesus, particularly after the tragic events in New York. There will therefore be an exploratory meeting about Alpha at our house, Ilex House, The Downs, Givons Grove, on Thursday, 22nd November at 8pm.
Anyone interested in Alpha, in leading/participating in leading an Alpha course and/or inviting friends to participate in an Alpha course, or similar introductory course, is most welcome. The evening will include coffee and cake/biscuits as well as extracts from an Alpha talk by Nicky Gumbell and is intended to help us find a way of successfully running a course in early 2002 for anyone seeking to widen their understanding of Jesus' relevance in our lives today.
Several other groups will continue into 2002, including the Prayer group led by Helena Hill on the third Tuesday of the month and the Bible study group led by Sheila Reynolds (379385). Ginny Eaton is also willing to continue to lead a fortnightly group for quiet, contemplative prayer. It would be from 8pm to 9pm on a Wednesday in the Reeves Room or the Church. If you are interested, please contact Ginny.
An Open Group will also take place at our home on Tuesday evenings at 8pm. These evenings begin with about 15 minutes worship using modern songs and then continue with discussion around a different theme each term. This autumn we are discussing the relevance of the 10 Commandments in our lives today using material written by J John a well-known Christian speaker. Next term's topic is not yet decided, although we have had suggestions for subjects which range from outreach to the study of a 2nd book by Philip Yancey.
As Home Group Co-ordinator, my intention is to ensure that there is a group for everyone who wants to participate in a group activity. I am conscious that many people may not be able to participate in a group but, if you do and there is no suitable group for you, please do let me know and I will try to arrange something which includes you.
Finally, one of the most enjoyable group activities for several of us this year was the week's holiday at New Wine, a Christian conference held at the Bath & West Showground near Shepton Mallet in Somerset. There are activitiesfor every age group, there is inspirational worship and excellent speakers certainly provoke thought, but above all it is a wonderful time together whatever the weather. Several people have already expressed interest in attending New Wine next year and have decided to attend Week A from 27th July to 2nd August.
If you think you might be interested in coming along, do join a group of experienced New Winers' at our home on Thursday, 15th November at 8pm when we will tell you all about New Wine and show you a short video.
Tim Hauxwell, Home Group Co-ordinator
October 2001 Autumn Round Up
We are indebted to our Church Choir and Director of Music for the support they give to services month on month and also now the Music Group who add that extra contemporary dimension. Special thanks for the commitment of Choir and Group for Harvest Services, and good wishes to Chris Slater who has been partly out of action following an accident to one of his hands.
We have had to recognise that numbers available in an evening make a choir no longer viable. In the light of this there will not usually be an evening service choir, but once a quarter the choir will lead a Choral Evensong.
New Services - October 2001
We have successfully introduced Common Worship, the new Church of England Prayer Book, both to Sunday worship and at baptisms, weddings and funerals. I would like to see greater use in our evening worship and I will be consulting with the evening service congregation over this.
Ministry - October 2001
We said a sad farewell, but in a happy mood, to Juliette Hulme last month, wishing her well for the future. I have been in touch with our Bishop John, through Archdeacon Mark Wilson, about a successor.
We will receive a Deacon in his or her first post in June next year. I am currently meeting possible candidates who will not be priested until a year later. This necessarily means the use of locum priests to maintain our ministerial commitment so please welcome them when they lead services. I am grateful to mainly retired priests for their willingness to serve in this way.
The Union of Benefice with Mickleham has now been to the Diocesan Pastoral Committee for recommendation and forward progress to the Bishop. It eventually goes to the Privy Council for approval. I expect this process to be concluded either later this year or early next. This will establish the new Benefice which will mean the sharing of ministry between the two parishes. You will, therefore, see from time to time Revd Barbara Steadman-Allen, Priest in Charge at Mickleham, or Revd David Ireland, Non-stipendiary priest within the benefice, leading worship at Leatherhead.
September 2001 - Aftermath
I write two days after the terrible tragedy in New York with its great loss of life and destruction. The impact of this on local people in New York and worldwide is difficult to exaggerate. We must continue to pray for all of the victims, whether survivors or bereaved relatives. We must honour those who have died. We will want to support actions to bring to justice countries or individual terrorists who are responsible. We may believe that God works both for those whose wounds, whether physical or psychological, need binding and healing; and that He fights for justice to be done when evil has been unleashed.
A backdrop to all this is the ongoing relationship between the Arab and Muslim world and the West. Some will have been rightly shocked to see people rejoicing in Palestine at the news of the catastrophe. We were heartened to hear Islamic leaders both in Britain and overseas condemn the attacks for what they were, blatant acts of terrorism.
We know that in Islam, as in other religions and cultures, including Christianity, there are or have been fundamentalists and fanatics. We also know that it is easy to group people together and tar them all with the same brush. Many Muslims are moderate and peace-loving, as the Koran teaches.
I was struck by the reaction of a friend who lives and works in Leatherhead but whose extended family lives in Iraq. He lamented the American Disaster but he also lamented the bombing of Iraq by America and Britain which, he said, had caused many civilian deaths. Sanctions had deprived even children of the medical supplies they need. Saddam Hussein has himself been the aggressor and we know the reason for these sanctions and actions.
Nonetheless it can look very different if you and your family are on the other side of the fence. It is all part of a growing estrangement between the West and the Muslim countries. I have no wish to defend the indefensible, but I have every wish to support actions which draw people together rather than force them apart.
Too much is it true that we live in isolated communities. This has severe consequences, because it allows ignorance to brand other people in a way that demonises them. Even when different communities come together clashes are not avoided. In the film East is East a Pakistani man and a white British woman are married, with growing children. But the way of life in which each has been brought up is very different. The domineering husband is brutal both to his wife and children. A culture clash keeps them apart.
Traditional Muslim roles for men and women look in the West to be badly in need of refom. Islam is critical of what it sees as loose personal morality in the West. Some Muslims and some Christians also propagate their faith aggressively and exclusively. This approach tends to make God smaller than He is, rather than seeking to respect differing integrities within a broad vision of God's activity on earth.
We have to recognise that on our small planet people can travel easily It means our world can no longer be packaged so that differing peoples never meet, or that a master class can run large swathes of the world through colonialisation. We have to give ourselves wholeheartedly to meeting and understanding people who are different from us. We have to do the sometimes hard work of listening to and appreciating difference. We are not all the same, we will not always agree, but for all our sakes living justly together has become a mgjor objective for people everywhere. That's why infant school children learn not only about Christianity but also other world faiths.
Unless we can build bridges of understanding, our estrangement from one another will increase, and the possibility of dreadful violence and destruction continue to seem acceptable to some. Terrorists have an interest in keeping people apart. We know how almost impossible it seems to be to bring people together, in Palestine, in Northern Ireland and elsewhere.
Those who believe in a common humanity, one world and one God of all, must continue to do everything possible to promote peace and defeat conflict.
"Surely you saw this coming": August 2001 magazine
All the clergy of the Church of England had one of those question and answer papers the other day, from our Pensions Board. The opening questions give you a flavour: What has happened? Why has this happened? Surely you saw this coming? These are the kind of questions which bring on an uncertain feeling in the stomach. This is my pension you are talking about!
It appears it is the clergy's fault, at least in part "people are living longer and clergy live longer than most people", I read. I might have known it. Is this going to be an invitation to make the ultimate sacrifice, I wonder, to give up my pension? What appears to have happened is this. The calculations of how much the Pensions Board need to invest were off target. Not enough money is going into our Pension Fund and so more will be needed.
It is tempting to think that this might be a C of E miscalculation alone. However, comparing notes with others I discover that many Pension Funds are looking a bit wobbly at the moment, and for the same reasons: low inflation, longevity, flat stock market, all make for a smaller return distributed over a longer period.
The upshot for the Church is that about a further £12 million a year is needed to pay into the Church pensions scheme, to ensure it will be able to pay out satisfactorily when needed. Since the Church is now funded largely by the parishes this money is going to be asked for from the grassroots. In percentage terms it is a relatively small increase on the overall church budget, but nonetheless not an insignificant amount.
I don't mention this as some kind of fund raising plea, although the Pensions Board Paper encourages me to do so. Apparently the gospel readings 'from August through November will 'give (me) opportunities for connecting with this them'. So if pensions come up in a sermon this month you'll know where I'm coming from.
No, my point is more general than that, and connects to other reports about finance that have appeared in the church press. Truro Diocese is to reduce its number of stipendiary clergy over the next ten years by one third. This will be achieved by natural wastage and bring down stipendiary clergy numbers from 123 to 83. "Wakefield Diocese is to cut 25 posts both clergy and lay in order to find almost £700,000 immediately to meet extra costs" the Church Times recently reported.
Living with reality
The extra demands from pensions, and diocesan cuts, are evidence that the Church is finding it increasingly difficult to pay its way. There are several things which follow. The Church, like every other organisation, has to live within the realities of its financial situation. We must each go on seeking to be generous and stress the importance of giving as the essential way of funding the church. That requires of each church member the best and most they can give.
But it also means not spending more than we have and cutting our budgets to suit. Because the largest cost on the church is its paid clergy it is not surprising that some dioceses are having to reduce clergy numbers. It will mean that there will be a new approach to ministry. Increasingly, and this has clearly already started to happen, ministry will be carried out in the name of the church by lay volunteers and non-stipendiary clergy. A return in many ways to a church of earlier days is taking place.
It is only comparatively recently that the church has had a professional ministry in strength. This has been beneficial, but it has often de-skilled other church members. What we see emerging is a church where all members must play a lead part in ministry and mission.
To be avoided, however, is the often hidden emotional cost of ministry. A consequence of fewer stipendiary clergy is the amalgamation of parishes. One priest now may have the care of five or seven or ten parishes, each with their own church and council. A union of benefices between two parishes like Leatherhead and Mickleham is manageable. But the impact on a priest of being responsible for a multiple number of parishes, all of whom may not want much to do with each other, is great. A good friend of mine has had to withdraw from ministry, for the time being, because he has found it too big a burden to carry. This makes it doubly important that ministry becomes something shared by many people, not shouldered by a few.
A new departure
One of the reasons for this financial dilemma is that church membership remains at best static and probably in decline. It is difficult to go on increasing income when membership is reducing. It is to everyone's credit that this has been the case in recent years, but it looks as though some kind of ceiling may have been reached.
But we should not as a church give up on our primary tasks of worship, caring for people and sharing the gospel. We need to find new and imaginative ways of doing so. It may in the longer term serve the church well to have those tasks shifted off a relatively small group of church members - the clergy - and accepted by a relatively large group - the church as a whole. If we all accept these tasks, and many already do, there is potentially a more effective organisation in being. As always change means challenge but also progress.
Malcolm Clark OBE takes on editorship of the Parish Magazine - July 2001
Congratulations to Malcolm Clark on being made on OBE in the recent Queen's Birthday Honours List. Malcolm is a regular member of our evening congregation and also of the Church Council. He has recently retired as Director of the Queen Elizabeth's Foundation. It is in recognition of his services to disabled people that this award has been made.
Malcolm has kindly agreed to take over as Editor of the Parish Magazine following Alison Wright's appointment as Churchwarden. I am most grateful to Malcolm, who will be assisted by Keith Evans.
Thank you Alison Alison Wright has been editor for seven years. She has made a great contribution to the shape and content of the magazine in a way that makes it both informative, and a good and attractive read. Sincere thanks go to her and her team for all they have given by way of time and inspiration.
April 2001 Congratulations to Hospital Chaplaincy Department
The Chaplaincy Department at Epsom and Leatherhead Hospitals is the first such team in the country to be given a Charter Mark, awarded for the excellence of their Chaplaincy team.
The team, which is lead by the Rev. Chris Vallens, consists mainly of part -time volunteers, of whom our own Celia Hamilton is among the most experienced. She trained for this work in the Diocese of Wakefield, Yorkshire and qualified just before moving to Leatherhead in 1971. Celia worked with Dorking Hospital until it was closed down in 1985. When the Epsom NHS Trust was set up she began working at Leatherhead Hospital. Our thanks to Chris Vallens, Celia and all the team.
Visitation 2000 - from the March 2001 magazine
Feb 2001 Shared Ministry
David Eaton writes: Looking around in church at Sunday services it is always striking how many people present play an active part in church life. This is true of those involved in leading worship, whether in word or music.
But is also true of many people in the congregation. Church life is rightly cooperative. We recognise and honour the gifts and strengths of all the people of God.
This same picture is present when it comes to ministry. Clergy have an expected role in leading worship. In this parish, so too do:
- Maureen Henderson as Solitary, whose preaching many have come to appreciate
- Carol Coslett as Reader
- Carol Smith as Ordinand, recently come to us from Christ Church Epsom
Their ministries are recognised by the Bishop and this enables them to share in leading worship. I am delighted that the Church Council have also agreed to four other people having a role as Lay Worship Leaders. These are:
- Roger Lynch and Ginny Eaton, especially in leading Taizť Worship (with the musical support of Hedley Kay and Chris Slater)
- Chris Stagg and Katherine Taylor, especially in Family Worship
Maureen Henderson, Carol Coslett, Carol Smith and Ginny Eaton are authorised to assist at Communions in support of the presiding priest. Our new prayer book, Common Worship, says "when appropriate, the president may delegate leadership of all or parts of the Gathering and the Liturgy of the Word to (an) authorised lay person." This direction is equally expressed by lay people leading the Intercessions and reading the Lessons. I believe that our worship is enriched by this greater level of lay involvement.
Molly Lewis, Lorraine Willmott and Jane Andrews have recently begun as Chalice Assistants, and Eric Weetman and Caroline Dodds will soon do so. Charlotte Parrott and Carol Smith will also act as Servers.
I am grateful to Juliette for undertaking the necessary training involved with those concerned, and for the Church Council's support in these appointments.
What has been missed?
last updated 5 Feb 15