Parish of Leatherhead in 2005

This page shows first a chronology of some notable events in the life of the church family in 2005.





















12 Nov 05 - photo report on the highly successful Friends Coffee Morning featuring Dorothy Stapleton, internationally renowned quilter.
22 Oct Start of Churches Together visit to northern France -
Frances Presley remembers
Sat 1st Oct to Sun 9th Oct Leatherhead Festival of Faith
Aug - death and funeral of
Bob Brixey
14 Aug Service to commemorate the ending of hostilities in WW2
Mary Cruddas, Ordinand in Training, to join us in September
Jun death of
Vera Lankester, aged 101
Jun visit the
LEATHERHEAD Tomorrow website and give your views of the town
Jun - congratulations to Rev Arthur Siddall and Sue - the Bishop's letter announcing Arthur's appointment as Archdeacon of Italy and Malta was read in the churches he will now be responsible for on Sunday 5 June. He will be officially installed at a service in
Malta in September
May death of
Joan Burnett, funeral in June
9 Apr All Saints' Church - Opening of BFree, the Youth Café
13 Mar
MVDC Civic Service
7 Mar death of
Anne Day, sidesman
5 Mar The
Bridgend Male Choir concert at the Parish Church was a great success were also in good voice at the Supper afterwards in the church hall. Well done the choir, Frances Presley and the home team.
31 Jan Sad news of the deaths of Mary Brown, Sidney Brown and Jack Stuttard see
Remembrance pages
21 Jan - link added to Police Neighbourhood Specialist Officer for Leatherhead - see Miscellany > Useful links
11 Jan Highly successful Entertainment Evening on 5th Jan in aid of the Youth Cafe
5 Jan David Ireland’s official installation as Priest in Mickleham
some photos
2 Jan 2005 The names of those commemorated in our church and churchyard are now on-line and searchable, thanks to a project in collaboration with the Leatherhead & District Local History Society -
go to History pages > Grave names

Our Thanks and Good Wishes: from the August 2005 Parish Magazine

Sister Maureen Henderson writes: When I first came to Leatherhead to explore my vocation as a Solitary, Bishop Ian, Bishop of Dorking, asked me to write a rule of life (rule for life is more appropriate). I was unsure as to the right balance of prayer and active involvement, but I wrote that I saw myself as dedicated primarily to a life of prayer. Through that prayer I would learn to listen to the circumstances of my life and so discover the ministry to which God was calling me.

Those words have stood me well over the last two years as my circumstances have changed radically. Through pain and disability I have come to see a dear call to a more contemplative life. A Solitary may not appear in church often but he/she is still very much part of the Christian community discovering more deeply the meaning of the communion of saints.

My absence from public ministry does not mean that I am less involved in the life of the parish, rather the reverse, as my involvement is one of hidden prayer. This does not mean that you will not see me around, as I still need friends and human relationships to keep a healthy balance in my life. I hope you will pray for me as I continue to pray for you.

Elisabeth Burke writes: A very big Thank you to everyone, you all made my placement such a happy and fulfilling time. I was never left standing alone or wondering what to do next and was invited to participate in several of your social and pastoral activities. The months passed very quickly and I was very sorry to leave you all. The placement is rightly planned so that the greatest Christian festival is experienced in a different parish; I was very moved by the services of Holy Week. It was an honour to share in leading of some of them and it both encouraged me and emphasised the enormous responsibility that I am taking on.
There are many things that I will take back with me to strengthen me as I move towards my Ordination at 10.30am on July 3rd at Guildford Cathedral. I am sure I will see some of you when I am in Leatherhead and look forward to keeping in touch. My thanks, love, and prayers. Elisabeth

From David Eaton: Good wishes to Elisabeth who is being ordained deacon and also to Carol Smith who was ordained Priest at St John the Baptist, Epping on Sunday 26 June. Our thanks to Maureen for all that she has brought to Parish life and our continued support and good wishes as her role changes and her valuable ministry continues in a different way.

Communion Before Confirmation - July magazine 2005

A Consultation Meeting for parishes, Admitting Children to Communion before Confirmation, was held at The Education Centre on 24 May. In the Guildford Diocese, 37 parishes, out of 165, have adopted this policy. It began in Manchester and Southwark in the 1980s where there are now 100 and 133 parishes respectively admitting children.

This meeting was held to brief the new Bishop on where we are at in this Diocese. A mixture of parishes was represented, ranging from those who have recently admitted their first four children to those who have admitted many children over several years. In Leatherhead, we have admitted 19 children over five years.

The principal issue is seen as one of inclusion - Communion is a meal that we share together - and research among children reveals that they feel left out by being excluded and therefore included by being admitted to Communion.

The level of instruction/preparation varies in parishes, from a whole Saturday morning session to a comprehensive series. Various resources were on display but the overriding requirement is felt to be the enthusiasm of the Course Leader and their ability to adapt the teaching material to the ages and abilities of the children.

Concern was expressed that the minimum age of 10 years, adopted by many parishes, is too high, as a younger child could more easily be ready for the preparation than an older child; the Bishop's guideline is seven years. Also, if the theology is correct, then a person becomes a member of the Church at Baptism, which precludes any age limit being imposed. The original guideline of seven years old was introduced merely as a means of bringing in the change gradually to gain wider acceptance. Those churches which adopt Infant Dedication (followed by adult immersion Baptism), as opposed to Infant Christening/Baptism, have yet to resolve this difference and how this impacts on children and Communion.

Involvement of the parents is considered of importance, with non-church parents perhaps attending a Baptism prepara tion course to encourage commitment and development. One parish has sought "sponsors" from the congregation to support an individual child and their family by praying for and encouraging them. Post-admission, it is felt that children should be given responsible roles within the life of the church, e.g. prayer team, welcome group etc as the closing sentence of the Communion service is "to love and serve the Lord".

Whilst this inclusive involvement may go some way to retaining children, the importance of parishes being willing to provide services in a style, and with appropriate content, suitable for their needs was considered paramount. It was confirmed that a child admitted in one parish is thereby entitled to receive Communion in any other parish.

The presentation of a suitable certificate to this effect is being considered, although parishes are welcome to create their own. If you have any questions relating to this subject, I will be pleased to help.
Chris Stagg, Sunday Club

Women Bishops? June mag 2005

In February the General Synod of the Church of England debated the Rochester report Women Bishops in the Church of England? and voted to take note of it. Another debate is scheduled for July, when the General Synod will decide whether it wishes to set in train the process for removing the legal obstacles to the ordination of women to the episcopate and, if it does, to decide what the next steps should be.

Even if the Church wants women bishops it is Parliament and the Queen who finally decide. The process of debate in the various Church Committees is likely to take at least four years and who knows how long after that for Parliament? Meanwhile, the Working Party that produced the report expressed the hope that individuals and groups in dioceses, deaneries and parishes would engage in the careful study of the question as commended by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York in the preface.

Not only must the question 'should there be women bishops?' be considered but also the whole range of issues that must also be involved, such as if there are to be women bishops, how is it to be done; and how best to accommodate those who are conscientiously opposed whichever way the vote goes?

A study programme to help parishes, deaneries and dioceses engage with the Rochester report has been published on the Church of England website. The study programme is intended to be part of the process of discussion about women in the episcopate and the material at aims to draw attention to the range of issues involved in the debate.

Churches in Communion from April 2005 mag

The Archbishops of the Anglican Communion, representing the churches and 38 Provinces of the Communion scattered around the world, met at Newry in Northern Ireland at the end of February [2005]. They talked about many things but the main issue they discussed was the Windsor Report.

This report seeks to lay down guidance about how the Anglican Churches can settle difficult issues between them when there is disagreement. The Report suggests ways to do this induding a new Covenant between Churches of the Communion, which would allow for "autonomy in Communion"; an enhanced role for the Archbishop of Canterbury and a Council of Advice to help him find his way through the issues of any dispute.

The meeting of Primates in Newry welcomed the Windsor Report. They also acted on it in the sense that it sought to address the current disagreement over the consecration of Gene Robinson as Bishop in the USA, and, the willingness of the Canadian Anglican Church to conduct services of blessing for same-sex couples. The outcome at Newry was to request the American and Canadian Churches to withdraw voluntarily from meetings of the Anglican Consultative Council, one of the four main expressions of Anglican Churches being in Communion with each other.

What lies behind this dispute is difference within the Anglican Communion at two levels. There is, firstly, a cultural difference between the Provinces, or some of them, that make up the Communion. In England there are two Provinces: Canterbury and York, but the 36 other Provinces are around the globe. In some Provinces, homosexual practice is illegal. This is how things used to be in the UK until the reforms of the 1960s, when Roy Jenkins was Home Secretary. By contrast in the UK now, it is illegal to discriminate against people because of their gender or sexual orientation. These are two very different worlds and cultures of understanding and it is not surprising that a dispute should arise.

The second difference is religious in that within many Provinces, including Canterbury and York, different Christians take a different attitude to Biblical interpretation. Broadly, this can be described as seeing the Bible as either prescriptive or as process. In other words, does the Bible set down how we should behave, for all of time, or is there a process going on of which the Bible world is part? So that in our day the process continues and new insights bring new understandings. God met with the people of Bible times and he meets with us now. Just as we know more about the nature of the world from a scientific and medical point of view, and it has led to new responses, so as we know more about people, and their needs, our responses change.

There is room for both prescription and process. The difficulty lies in determining when and what. It is a matter, as always, of interpretation and judgement. What is to be regretted, following Newry, is that however it is dressed up, the censure on the Anglican Churches in America and Canada looks like some kind of disapproval and non-acceptance of gay people. A subsequent letter to The Times by six Church of England diocesan Bishops rightly seeks to address that issue: "We assure lesbian and gay Christians of our commitment to the principle ... that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ".

It is also to be regretted that the principle of "autonomy in Communion" did not allow the Primates to trust each other enough to allow each Province to make its own determination on this issue. This would permit divergence of practice and allow for difference based on culture. This isn't the biggest issue in the world. We already have difference of practice over the ordination of women and the remarriage of divorced people in Church. Our unity is expressed by our being in Communion, and by the creeds we have in common. It seems out of proportion that we should need to enforce so rigorously one point of view that is not shared between the Provinces.
Canon David Eaton

Did Jesus Really Rise?

March 2005 parish magazine: Did Jesus Rise?

Must we be held to the literal resurrection of Jesus Christ? Is it not enough to describe the Easter event as a wonderful metaphor? Certainly there are books written that put forward such theories. With only 10 minutes thought we realise that we are in dreamland if we think like that. Just think!

Here are 12 men whose world has ended. One of them is already dead. Another has publicly denied that he had ever met Jesus. Yet another takes the mother of the crucified leader home to look after her. It looks like an obvious end-of-story. One of the group had forecast disaster all along (John 11:16).

It only takes the confusion of a night arrest to cause the 12 to disintegrate completely (Matthew 26:56). What caused them to come together again so that their enemies would describe them as "these men who have turned the world upside down" (Acts 17:6)? A metaphor? Beautiful picture language? As well as the empty tomb, there are the changed disciples that have to be explained.

We hear from time to time of someone who has come back from a near-death experience, even after being nailed down in a coffin! But how long does the excitement last? I can remember such an event. A man had "died", and then made the comeback. It just squeezed into the BBC World at One news programme. ! never saw it in any paper. And the man's name? I soon forgot it.

If Jesus Christ had not clearly - and unequivocally - been raised bodily as the permanent conqueror of death on behalf of the human race, we would never have heard of him. The demoralised movement would have fizzled out. For a while, memories of a carpenter-healer would have persisted around Galilee; then "The Jesus Event" would have ended up like The Theudas Event (Acts 5.36), washed over like a child's sandcastle on the beach by the tides of history.

Look at 1 Corinthians 15:3-5, where, in a single unbroken sentence, Christ is the subject of four verbs: He died, was buried, was raised, and appeared. What was raised was what was buried? Do the metaphor theorists think Jesus actually died? Yes. Was buried? Sure. Was raised on the third day. No - that's metaphorical. Appeared? No, that's metaphorical too. So within a single sentence, Paul switches from factual language to metaphorical language?

From The Top 100 Questions - biblical answers to popular questions by Richard Bewes (Christian Focus)

Did Jesus Really Rise?

I wonder what other readers, particularly townsfolk, thought about Did Jesus Rise? (by Richard Bewes) in the March issue of [the Leatherhead Parish Magazine].

Like Alice in Through the Looking Glass, I'm afraid I just can't believe "six impossible things before breakfast". Yet, I am strangely drawn to the figure of Jesus - the man who taught his followers to love others (even enemies) as themselves - and who paid the ultimate price for that love.

I truly believe that Jesus showed us how to "have life, and have it to the full" (John 10:10). As for impossible things, I do indeed take those as metaphor - and poetry!

For many years I kept my scepticism to myself though, happily, I have now found others of like disposition - including many ministers and one or two bishops. They can be found through networks such as Sea of Faith and the Progressive Christian Network. Thanks to these new friends, I have learned that "the truth that sets you free" lies not in believing in Jesus as "fact" but in responding to Jesus with love (John 8:31-32). For me, Jesus is simply a kind of metaphor for love - the ultimate exemplar of "love in action" or the "personification of love"'.

There are even one or two churches, which generously welcome people like me. One such church in Norfolk bravely appointed an openly "sceptical" vicar some years ago - and it has grown! That church welcomes all with a Notice declaring: "This is an Open and Affirming Church" and giving the following assurances (amongst others):
- You are welcome whatever your beliefs, even if you find organised religion irrelevant.
- You are welcome as an equal partner, and we look forward to the ideas and experiences that you can bring.
- We think that the way we treat one another is more important than the doctrines we hold.
- We think that religion must be concemed with injustice and suffering, and see ourselves as a community helping to build a better world, bringing hope to those Jesus called the least of his sisters and brothers.

So how do members of St Mary and St Nicholas want townsfolk to see their Parish Church? As a club for people who seem to believe impossible things ? Or as "An Open and Affirming Church" - rooted in love ?

Oh, did Jesus really rise? Of course He did! That's the very point of the story - love conquers all. Our "faith" is simply "belief in love". Only a story? Yes. The greatest ever told. The story of life eternal. Our story!
Paul Hamilton

Please send any contribution you would like to make to this discussion to the Parish Magazine Editor for publication, anonymously if you prefer.

from the May 2005 magazine: Did Jesus Really Rise?

I found Paul Hamilton s article about "Did Jesus really rise?" very interesting and also comforting to feel that others have real doubts about certain miraculous occurrences. I am sure he is right in thinking that far and away the most important thing for all Christians is to respond to Jesus with love and to try to live our lives on that basis, whatever our doubts or convictions may be.

I am sure that all members of our church want others to see us as an "open and affirming church" (whatever that implies!) rather than a club for people to believe impossible things. Faith is surely a journey and we are all at different stages on the journey. We should welcome anyone at any stage on the journey - even if they have not yet actually set out!
Linda Heath

from the May 2005 magazine: Faith, Hope and Love

In answer to Paul Hamilton's question in the April Magazine, who would not agree that we want our Church to be "rooted in love"? St Paul tells us that "Love is the greatest", but if we read his description of love in I Corinthians 13 we find that this is not as simple as it sounds: while some of the things we may think of as love are not mentioned, his summing up, "Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things; love never ends", is more than daunting.

Some of us find that we cannot even start unless we believe that Jesus showed God's love for us, and that he says, "As I have loved you, so you must love one another". It may be hard to believe that God loves us when we see how wayward and horrible the human race can be, but when we are faced by the horrors that are still being perpetrated in the world, or tragedy in our own lives, we need the hope and the trust that only He can give us. Metaphors and poetry can help, but they are not enough.

If we can even begin to learn to love as Jesus loves us we shall indeed become open and affirming, for, as St. Paul says, "love is not arrogant or rude". How much we all need this grace.
Christine Bryant

from the May 2005 magazine: Did Jesus Really Rise?

In the March magazine, Richard Bewes claimed real physical resurrection for Jesus, with which Paul Hamilton disagreed in the April issue. I go along with what Paul Hamilton says except in one respect; I am prepared to allow that the apparently impossible may have happened. I cannot believe because someone says I should, but neither can I reject something because it does not seem possible.

If I had lived 200 years ago I would not have believed in the existence of electricity or the possibility of cars, radio, television, computers or aeroplanes. Who knows what present impossibility will be seen as normal 200 years hence?

We are surrounded by mystery, enigma and the apparently impossible. Humankind is not omniscient, there are many things we do not know or cannot explain. Life itself looks to be impossible; it sprang, no one knows how, from inanimate matter millions of years ago. Darwin explained how life developed but not how it started; that is still a mystery. We do not even fully understand how our own bodies work. Thousands of chemical, physical and electrical processes occur in our bodies daily, more or less without mishap, for many years, sometimes for more than 100 years. Although that would appear to be beyond possibility we know it does happen, our existence proves it. The apparently impossible does happen.

The universe in which we exist is said to be expanding, but into what, or into where, is it expanding? It all started, scientists say, with a "big bang". School science tells us that energy is neither created nor destroyed; that being so, from where did all the energy come for that unimaginably gigantic bang? Scientists say the motion of the stars and galaxies can only be accounted for by the existence of "dark matter" - stuff that has mass but cannot be seen in the way that ordinary matter can be seen. As much as 90% of the universe consists of "dark matter"; no one knows what it is, its presence is only inferred by observation of the way stars move.

The resurrection might be like that. Almost everyone accepts that Jesus did exist and was crucified because there is, we are told, enough independent evidence of it. The Gospels relate how bewildered and afraid the disciples were following Jesus crucifixion, meeting behind locked doors. Peter and a few others returned to their fishing (John 21 v 3).

Something changed twelve ordinary disciples into eleven extraordinary Apostles. And Judas was suddenly so overcome with remorse that he hanged himself. Gamaliel (Acts 5 v 38, 39) cautioned the Council and the Senate of the Jews that if the infant Church was only the idea of a few men it would soon fizzle out as others had done.

However, if God had inspired the Church it would flourish. It did flourish and is doing so yet in the world as a whole, even if not in England at the moment. We can infer that something amazing must have happened to those frightened Apostles to enable them to establish the Church.

What happened is a mystery about which the Gospels are not clear. Mary mistook the risen Jesus for the gardener; those on the road to Emmaus failed to recognise Him; He was able to pass through locked doors etc. I do not know what happened but it has to have been more real than metaphor. I am content to call it resurrection, although I do not know what I mean, exactly, in saying that.
Editor, Malcolm Clark

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last updated 5 Feb 15