Parish of Leatherhead in 2002

This page shows some notable events in the life of the church family in 2002.





















Challenging and Changing the Church - Briony Martin, Deacon: Dec 2002

A decade ago this month the General Synod of the Church of England voted by the required two-thirds majority to ordain women to the priesthood.

The Church will celebrate the tenth anniversary of that historic day with services and celebrations in London and around the country. Prior to the vote, women had been ordained deacons but were still unable to celebrate communion, take weddings or pronounce the blessing in church. But there are now well over 2000 women priests in England, including four archdeacons. Many are in charge of parishes, and there are more women in training for the ministry than men.

Whilst the majority of parishes around the country have embraced the joint ministry of women and men together, there is still diversity of opinion on the issue within the Church and special measures have been put in place to care for those clergy and parishes which do not feel able to affirm women's ministry. Meanwhile, the campaign to allow women to become bishops - rightly or wrongly this did not follow automatically from the first vote - is gathering pace and the General Synod is currently undertaking a theological review of the issues involved.

By ordaining women as priests, the church allowed itself to be challenged and changed by the insights of feminism and by society's growing concern for equality of opportunity. This was important not only in maintaining credibility within society but also in affirming the voice of God within these movements. The ordination of women has also given us a more balanced vision of God, as masculine and feminine gifts have together been applied to leading and serving the church.

But what does any of this really matter to the world at large? In answering this question it's important to state that women were not ordained simply to satisfy political correctness. And they were not ordained just to become "one of the boys" and enjoy a new degree of status and privilege through the special robes and influential roles.

Instead, ordaining women spoke powerfully about the value and validity of women's experiences and women's voices, affirming that they were capable (of course!) of teaching, preaching and blessing. It demonstrated the liberating presence of God in the world - the "good news" of the Christian community - which is continually reaching out to those onto are marginalised or without a voice in society. Now that women have been given a stronger voice in the Church it is up to us to hear other silent or ignored groups - perhaps immigrants or the gay community - and ask ourselves what God may be saying to us through them.

Why, after all, should the world care about the internal politics of the Church or whether or not women become bishops unless it sees that we are not simply concerned for our own "rights"? As women have had the door to ordination flung open to them, so the Church is called to batter down any doors that keep people from knowing the liberating and accepting love of God.

Songs of Praise & Worship at The Theatre Sunday 21st July 2002 - David Oliver

I would like to thank everyone who joined in or supported our ecumenical Songs of Praise & Worship at The Theatre on Sunday 21st July. There was little time for us to organise the event but everyone pulled together with each of the local churches contributing, including our very own Music Group representing the Parish Church.

All denominations contributed to the choice of material, and we picked songs that were recently played in our church - Give Thanks to the Lord Forever, our own version of Amazing Grace, and Lord You have my Heart as our performance piece with the singing led by Hedley Kay.

Along with the singers from our music group, the 30 strong choir was largely made up of the talented Pilgrim Players who also performed pieces drawn from their recent successful concert in the Methodist Church.

It was exhausting but very good fun for me to conduct the evening. There was a six-piece band together with an eight-piece orchestra to accompany the choir, and we were very fortunate to be joined on stage in the second half by the famous Christian singer/songwriter Noel Richards who performed some of his own songs. Although the afternoon's technical rehearsal seemed to go on forever, the actual event went very smoothly and for me was all over too quickly. It was quite a challenge to bring together in one evening all the diverse musical styles associated with Christian music in Leatherhead, but with a little patience and willingness it worked very well.

My special thanks to Liz Cole of Pioneer People who initiated the event and was my "partner in crime"' for making it happen; to Hedley and our music group and singers who just go from strength to strength; Lizzie Barrat and Lara Acott for brilliant flute playing, and Anne Warren for helping us out on violin at the last minute.

It was delightful to realise just how 'ecumenical' we already are here in Leatherhead, and I look forward to doing it all again sometime soon.

courtesy Leatherhead Advertiser

September 2002 - The Parish Church Clock

Many of you will have noticed the absence of the Church tower clock during June and July. It has now been put safely back in place by steeplejacks Peter Harknett and Adam "Stumpy" Geddes and looks resplendent with its newly painted and re-gilded face. We are very grateful to the Friends of Leatherhead Parish Church for initiating this work and especially to two of the Friends who have made major donations towards the costs involved - Alice Davies and Joan Ralph, in memory of their late husbands Barnaby and Leslie.

Both Barnaby and Leslie were former members of the Friends' committee. It is good that they should be commemorated in this way as it is just the sort of project they would have enjoyed and supported.

Helena Hill (Churchwarden)

Golden Jubilee Concert: Leatherhead Parish Church 3rd June 2002

Some 200 people came for this Golden Jubilee Concert on Monday June 3rd, which, together with the specially formed Jubilee Choir of 50 singers and the Slater Symphony Orchestra filled the Church to capacity. The programme of music was drawn from five Coronations, from George II to Elizabeth II, and included the rousing anthems I was glad, by Parry, and Zadok the Priest by Handel, the Coronation Marches of Walton and Elgar and the seldom performed Cello Concerto by Arthur Sullivan, beautifully played by Alice Neary. The evening ended with the audience, choir and orchestra singing Jerusalem, which was encored!
During the interval, David Eaton proposed the Royal Toast and, as people left the Church to view the fine firework display, the common theme was "what a marvellous evening of music and celebration".

Condensed and edited from a report for The Leatherhead Advertiser by Nick Whitley

and from the June magazine ...

There are a number of special services and events to note during June. To mark the Queen's Golden Jubilee our June 2nd Family Service will be given over to a Royal Celebration, followed by a Bring Your Own Picnic in the Park Gardens. All are welcome to both these events. There will be no evening service at the Parish Church on June 2nd, but instead a United Benefice Evening Service to mark the Jubilee at St. Michael's, Mickleham. A minibus will leave the Parish Church at 6.10pm for anyone who would like a lift.

On June 3rd, Carnival Day, a Walking Procession will leave the Swan Centre Service Deck at 1pm to go to the Leisure Centre Field, where the Carnival is being held. Churches Together in Leatherhead want to be part of this procession, so, if you are not walking with another group and don't mind being seen in public with the Vicar and other ministers please come and join us. As the theme is "The Last 50 Years" you may dress appropriately, although this is optional.

In the evening of Monday June 3rd a splendid Coronation Music Concert will be given by the Slater Symphony Orchestra at the Parish Church.

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March 2002 How Are Archbishops Chosen?

Before Dr George Carey retires later this year someone has the unenviable task of selecting his successor the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury. The job has changed since Pope Gregory appointed Augustine the first Archbishop. Augustine was Prior of the Monastery of St Andrew in Rome when the Pope chose him to lead about 40 other monks in June 596 on a mission to largely pagan England. Having reached Southern France, Augustine returned to Rome when he and his followers were warned of the difficulties that might lie ahead. After the Pope had reassured him, Augustine set off again at the end of July 596, arriving on the Isle of Thanet in the spring of 597.

They were well received by Ethelbert, King of that part of England, who gave them land at Canterbury and permission to preach. Not only the King but also many of his people soon became Christians and Augustine was consecrated Bishop of the English in the autumn of 597. Gregory, pleased with Augustine's work, sent more help and urged him to consecrate suffragan bishops to aid him in evangelising England; thus the primacy of the Archbishop of Canterbury was established.

The Pope continued to appoint Archbishops of Canterbury until the Reformation, when King Henry VIII became head of the Church of England and Archbishop Thornas Cranmer accepted his authority. Thereafter the Sovereign has appointed Archbishops, latterly with the assistance of the Prime Minister. So ­ how is it now done?

The Prime Minister, after consultation, appoints a communicant lay member of the Church of England to chair the Crown Appointments Commission (CAC), which will oversee the selection of two candidates. A committee of the Diocese of Canterbury meets to choose four members of the CAC and to write a person specification or, in their parlance, a Statement of Needs. Unlike Augustine whose job was to convert the fewer than one million people who then lived in England, the present Archbishop is the spiritual leader of 70 million Anglicans worldwide.

Augustine tried unsuccessfully to unite the British (Celtic) church with the infant English Church. Although today the Archbishop of Canterbury is seen as the senior bishop in the Anglican Communion no one person is head of all the churches it comprises. The Crown Appointments Commission is formed consisting of the Chair (but you can bet it will be a Chairman!) the four Canterbury Diocese members, the Archbishop of York, a bishop, three clergy and three lay members. Names of possible candidates are suggested to members of the CAC by almost anyone who cares to do so. The members individually decide which of those names to put for­ward for consideration by the CAC.

There follows an extensive consultation process after which the CAC meets for two or three days to consider the candidates in the light of all of the back­ground material that has been gathered. Two names are chosen, both of whom must command a two-thirds majority of the Commission, for submission to the Prime Minister. If he is content with both names the PM commends one to the Queen.

Another name or names can be requested from the Commission by the PM if he is unhappy with the first two. When the Queen has assented and the one chosen has agreed to serve, the name of the Archbishop designate is announced from 10 Downing Street.
Anews conference is arranged at which the Archbishop designate is presented, then the Dean and Chapter of the Diocese of Canterbury elect the new Archbishop. This election must be confirmed in a legal ceremony before the new Archbishop takes office. The final stage is the enthronement in Canterbury Cathedral, where 1400 years ago Augustine founded the Church of England.

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John Sutherland's 25 years as Churchwarden at All Saints'

When I was asked by Rev Bob Harvey to be Churchwarden at All Saints' in 1977 never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would still be at it 25 years later - doesn't time fly when you are having fun! Well no, it is not quite like that Churches always need something doing to them and I am sure Alison and Helena will confirm that. I did lose track of time, though, I knew I had been around for a long while as this is the 20th anniversary of the refurbishment of All Saints', in which I was involved.

Even so, it was quite a surprise when, at the Annual Church Meeting, David announced it and presented me with a book on my favourite subject. Railway listory, which was much appreciated along with all the support and friendship I have received from the Parish over the years.
Thank you and God bless you all.
John Sutherland

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February 2002 - 90% say NO to chairs

Market researchers would be thrilled with the level of response to the Doors 'n Pews Questionnaire sent out before Christmas.
126 of you (25% of the total sent out) took the trouble to let the working party know your views - and in no uncertain terms!

90% of respondents were against replacing the pews with chairs
73% were against a glass door, though some thought a small glass panel in the wooden door might be a good idea.
74% thought some form of cushioning would be a good idea, and would brighten the church up as well!

Comments varied from "We think it is a terrible idea and can see no advantage whatsoever" to "Having moveable chairs at the front would mean the space could be used in a more flexible way."
"It is people who make the church welcoming, not pews or glass doors."
"Modern chairs would be out of keeping in an ancient building."
"The cost would be prohibitive; chairs are more difficult to clean, you can accommodate more people in pews, and they are more convenient for families"
"You can cuddle up in a pew - for comfort at a funeral, to control a child, or to get more people in"
"We should spend the money on something more worthwhile"
"Chairs would permit rearrangement to suit different functions, and the church could be put to greater use for secular events if necessary"

The Working Party appreciated the many useful suggestions which were made. One of these was to create a worship area centred on the chancel for Taizé worship and small prayer meetings. It recommended that the PCC pursue this in due course, and that inquiries should be made about suitable cushioning.

Many thanks to all who responded. Mike Lewis, Chairman of Working Party

January 2002 - The Queen knows all about us

In November Leatherhead got a mention at the Privy Council when the Queen in Council approved the creation of the new ecclesiastical benefice of Leatherhead and Mickleham. As regular visitors to this website will know, this has been under consideration for some time. It was recommended by the Bishop of the Diocese, supported and approved by church councils in both Leatherhead and Mickleham, and has now been through the formal procedural mechanism to enable a new benefice to come into being*.

A benefice is the office of the incumbent. Guildford Diocese needs to decrease the number of incumbencies to fall in line with national quotas. These are decreasing, largely because of a shortfall in finance. The outcome is that I am now the incumbent of the parishes of Leatherhead and Mickleham, each of which continues in its own right. The Rev Barbara Steadman-Allen will continue as the Priest responsible for Mickleham. Each parish will continue to have its own church council responsible for overseeing the work of the church in each place.

To inaugurate this new arrangement two special services have been planned. On January 20th there will be no mid-morning 10.30am service at the Parish Church in Leatherhead. Instead there will be a united service at Mickleham at 10 o'clock, when the Archdeacon of Dorking will preach.

On January 27th there will be no morning service at Mickleham; instead, a united service will be held at Leatherhead at 10.30am when the Rural Dean of Leatherhead will be the preacher. After both services there will be refreshments so both congregations can meet together. Please give these services your fullest support as we inaugurate a new phase in the life of the parishes, If you would like a lift to Mickleham on 20th, or could offer a lift, please contact us.

This is a new phase in church life and we have yet to realise fully what that might mean. I hope there will be some joint working, as well as a continuing of our separate identities. Whilst responsibilities have been rearranged, the overall strength of the stipendiary clergy team will remain the same. Barbara will continue at Mickleham as half-time priest to that community. We shall receive in the parish of Leatherhead a new deacon next June and I continue to be incumbent.

Clearly, the future pattern of ministry in the Church of England is going to mean a three-way partnership of stipendiary clergy, non-stipendiary clergy and lay workers. This pattern has been emerging for some time. With a decline in the number of stipendiary clergy the partnership with non-stipendiary and lay workers is of crucial importance. It recognises gifts and abilities across a wider spectrum, creating a rich and diverse team approach to ministry.

This is rightly a far cry from the days when the Vicar did everything! I think the creation of a united benefice bodes well for the development of ministry in both parishes.

In this context, please continue to support Carol Smith with your prayers as she trains locally for non-stipendiary ministry, and for Carol Coslett, training for the stipendiary ministry at Oxford. Both are ordinands of this parish and deserve our support.

We welcome Liz Eden, as a trainee Reader, for three months between January and Easter. Liz is training with the Guildford Diocese Ministry Course and each trainee Reader has a placement of this kind. She will share in leading worship while taking a look at us as a church community and parish as part of her training. Liz, 37, is with the Parishes of Brockham and Leigh in Southwark Diocese. Originally from Storrington in Sussex, she has lived in the Dorking area for 10 years. She works part time as an environmental consultant in the aviation industry and lives in Kingsfold with her husband Paul and children Jonathan, six, and Rebecca, four.

While there is no assistant priest in Leatherhead I am grateful for the help of others from outside the parish. This month we welcome Gail Partridge, Reader, as well as the Rev Roger Walker and Rev Fred Harte who have kindly agreed to lead services.

In another context we welcome Beverley Knuckey as the newly appointed Acting Head at All Saints Church School until a permanent appointment is made later on this year. The Rev Peter Malins has kindly been taking services, especially on Thursdays, but has not been well recently. We wish Peter a speedy recovery.

May I wish all our readers a very happy New Year.

David Eaton, Vicar

* Following Her Majesty The Queen's assent, the pastoral scheme affecting the benefices of Mickleham and Leatherhead was confirmed by the Privy Council on 14th November, and came into effect on 1st December 2001.

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last updated 5 Feb 15