Parish of Leatherhead in 2008

This page shows first a chronology of some notable events in the life of the church family in 2008.





















30 Dec Funeral of Mabyn Ellis
26 Oct Canon David Eaton
announces his intention to retire with effect from 28 Feb 2009.
23, 24, 25 Oct A Rich Inheritance is performed again. This dramatisation of historical events in Leatherhead from 1395-1897, written by Linda Heath, was performed in Leatherhead Parish Church in 1995 and 2000. It was part of the Mole Valley Arts Festival 2008.
24 Jul Funeral of Stephanie Segatta, Assistant Churchwarden
29 Jun
First celebrations: Rev Mike Stewart at 8am Holy Communion and Rev Mary Cruddas at 10.30am Family Communion
27 Jun Ordination of Rev Mary Cruddas and Rev Mike Stewart by the Bishop of Dorking at Guildford Cathedral
8 Mar
Leatherhead United Charities 400th anniversary service


A Rich Inheritance - from the December 2008 magazine

Linda Heath's dramatisation of the history of Leatherhead was written and first performed in 1995 and repeated in 2000. Its third outing, as part of the Mole Valley Arts Alive Festival, has fulfilled its author's dream that the inhabitants of Leatherhead should have a periodic reminder of their heritage.

For the rest of us, it has been like meeting up with an old friend, and a welcome reminder of the richness of our heritage. One of the best parts is seeing friends from all the churches popping up in different roles. This production was ably directed by Christine Watts of Epsom, who approached it with a fresh eye and a calm encouraging professionalism.

The church itself was one of the stars of the production it was quite eerie to watch re-enactments of events which had happened six centuries before in the very same building. It began with a violent scene in 1395 when there was bloodshed in the church and the bishop had to come and lead a service of reconciliation and purification, and finished with

Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897. The lighting and sound effects by David Ames and David Stoves were splendid throughout, particularly when the church spire collapsed in the Great Storm of November 27 1703.

No less than five of today's clergy of all denominations portrayed their predecessors, which added to the authentic atmosphere, although fortunately we were spared the original Latin! Mention must be made of Beverley Mehta's marvellous portrayal of the Princess of Wales, distraught after her carriage overturned in 1806.

The production raised about 1750 for the Leatherhead Youth Project. All in all a most enjoyable experience, long may it continue. Alison Wright

... and finally My thanks to all who supported this production, the cast and offstage team, and all who came to the performances. It seems to have been enjoyed by both cast and audiences, which in itself made it all worthwhile, and after all the expenses have been met it has raised about 1, 750 for the Leatherhead Youth Project, which is also well worthwhile. Thank you. Linda Heath

Christingle - from the November 2008 magazine

Christingle means "Christ Light" and celebrates the light of Jesus coming into the world: but no one knows how it started. There is an ancient Welsh service called a Celenig where Christingles are used, and the Moravian Church has held Christingle services since 1747. This is one story of how the first Christingle might have been made all those years ago.

When children were asked to take gifts to put beside the crib in Church one poor family, unable to afford a gift, were determined to take something. They found an orange, which they hoped would do, but it was going mouldy at the top. However, they thought they could scoop out the bad bits and put a candle in the top and turn it into a lantern.

Thinking that it looked a bit ordinary, one of the girls took a red ribbon from her hair and tied it around the middle, fastening it in place with four small sticks, on the ends of which they put a few raisins. They tooktheir lantern to church, thinking it might look shabby beside the other gifts. However, the kindly priest understanding their worry told the congregation how special their gift was because:

John Pensom of The Children's Society first introduced the Christingle service to the Church of England in 1968 and, 40 years on, 6,000 churches, schools and groups around the country join the celebrations each year from Advent through to Candlemas.

How to make a Christingle

Leatherhead Christingle Celebration The Children's Society's Christingle service is a celebration of the Light of Christ in the world. Parents and children are invited to join us in supporting the Children's Society at this wonderful family service to be held in the Parish Church on Sunday December 7 at 4pm. Betty Borgust

Invite a stranger for Christmas! - from the November 2008 magazine

Visits from strangers at Christmas began with shepherds turning up at a Bethlehem stable, and continued with the arrival of wise men. This year, you could carry on the tradition by inviting an international student to spend Christmas in your home.

HOST is a well-established charity, backed by the Foreign Office and many universities, which links adults studying in the UK with hospitable volunteers throughout Britain.

Guests come from all over the world, including many from China. They speak English and are keen to share their own culture, while longing to know more about our way of life. Welcoming a student who might otherwise spend Christmas on a deserted campus fosters international understanding, and could make your Christmas special. See or call HOST on 020 7254 3039 to be put in touch with your local organiser.

HOST arranges visits throughout the year, so if your "inn" is full this Christmas, you can still offer an invitation at another time.

Services: several things to note: from the September 2008 magazine

1. The Church PCC have slightly revised the overall pattern of services. Now that Mike Stewart and Mary Cruddas have been priested we have more scope, especially over Communion services. It is therefore now possible to reinstate a third Sunday 9am Communion Service at All Saints Church. This will be on the same Sunday that we offer Come and Celebrate more informal communion at the Parish Church.

2. Evening Praise has been re-evaluated. The Council thinks this will go better as a United Praise Service at the Methodist Church. It will continue to mean the Music Group feature prominently but with support from other churches. This has come out of a fruitful liaison with our Covenanting Partners.

3. This means our monthly Evening Reflection service incorporating Taiz style worship will transfer to the third Sunday. The Council felt it important not to run another service against a United Service. I hope this change will not inconvenience those who regularly attend Evening Reflection, whose numbers have increased recently.

4. Mary Cruddas has helpfully devised a new service to run at 4pm on the fourth Sunday of each month. She writes elsewhere in this magazine about this service, Time for Tea, designed to attract under school-age children particularly those who have recently been baptised.

Taste and See - from the September 2008 magazine

Mike Stewart and Mary Cruddas are meeting with a small group over a simple bread and soup lunch each Friday for six weeks to explore the Christian faith. Starting on September 5 at 12:30 we aim to discuss the place of God in our lives, there is still room at the table for one or two more people. If you would value the opportunity to discuss issues of faith in an accepting and supportive environment then this might be for you. As the title indicates this is a taster course for those considering or reconsidering the Christian Faith. Please contact either Mike or Mary (via the Parish Office 362544) for further information or to book your place. We hope participants will prove the Psalmist right when he says "Taste and see that the Lord is good: happy are those who take refuge in him" Ps 34:8

Time for tea - from the September 2008 magazine

What are you doing at 4pm on a Sunday afternoon? It used to be the time the English took afternoon tea. A visit to Wisley, or any other garden for that matter confirms the tradition is still alive. On the fourth Sunday of each month, starting on September 28, we are offering an afternoon tea service for hard pressed parents of preschoolers. The half hour service will include simple prayer, songs, a story and a craft.

We will light candles to remember baptism anniversaries. Then we will tuck into afternoon tea set out in the tower area of the church. Everyone is welcome, especially those under the age of five with their parents or carers. The September theme is God's Wonderful World. Invitations are being sent out to all the families with whomwe have had contact in the last four years. If you would like more information please contact the church office or me, telephone numbers are at the end of the magazine. We hope you will join us.
Mary Cruddas

Audio visual in church - from the August 2008 magazine

This is a summary of the audiovisual demonstration presented in the parish hall on June 4. In the first instance, may we thank Janine Stagg, Doug Waters and Martin West for preparing a comprehensive document recommending the installation of audio-visual equipment on the DM Music model for the Parish Church, and the presentation that followed on June 4.

Following the presentation, a variety of questions were asked reflecting both sides of the argument, and the audience were invited to complete a questionnaire to seek opinion. May we thank everyone who completed this task? In total 74 were completed and returned in addition to 14 letters.

In general terms, 73 per cent agreed that the proposed model should only be used for selected services, but as to enhancement there was concern and doubt that the DM system would not meet the desired effect. If an alternative, perhaps less obtrusive and costly, model was proposed the results might differ.

Opinions varied from hostility to a desire to add a new dimension to the worship within our church, enriching the service. There were valid arguments defending the beauty of the church, and that a screen, however flexible in its design and placement, would nevertheless obscure, even to a small extent, the awe and wonder exhibited within the sanctuary and associated east window. An alternative freestanding screen perhaps could be displayed to the right of the chancel arch.

The PCC decided on June 18 that the way forward is not to dismiss audio-visual material outright, but to visit neighbouring churches that have AV in place and seek further opinion.

Church Recorders - from the August 2008 magazine

Church Recorders are NADFAS volunteers who make records of the contents of churches, thereby promoting the recognition and preservation of the rich artistic heritage to be found in places of worship of all religions. The items are described in detail and their history researched. All the material is then compiled into a book illustrated with photographs and drawings. This is presented to the church and copies are sent to national institutions, including the Council for the Care of Churches and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Church Recorders work as part of a team, choosing a single local church to record and then working in pairs on different sections of the church furnishings: memorials, metalwork, stonework, woodwork, textiles, paintings, library, windows and miscellaneous. Training is given by experienced recorders and help is available from a wide range of experts.

When a Church Record is complete, the benefits are to the church authorities who have a complete furnishing record-, the police who can use the accurate descriptions and photographs to identify retrieved stolen artifacts; insurance companies who use the Records to identify items and researchers who are producing theses and books on allied subjects.

Leatherhead was recently host to a Church Recorders Information Day for East Surrey. Members met in the Parish Church Hall for coffee and an update on Recording projects in the Area. The Leatherhead Society of NADFAS (National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies) has completed and presented a Record of the Parish Church and is currently working on the recording of the Catholic Church of Our Lady and St Peter. Members then moved across to the Church, where Linda Heath gave an informative presentation on the history. The Director of Music, David Oliver, followed this with a demonstration of the Thomas Parker organ and some of the men were delighted and amused to be allowed to use the hand-pump.

The morning concluded with a discussion on the latest NADFAS initiative, Church Trails for the Young Leatherhead DFAS is working on this too and finally there was the opportunity to exchange Church Recording experiences and ideas over lunch.

NADFAS members have asked me to pass on their thanks for the welcome that was shown to them and that their appreciation should be conveyed to those whose dedication and hard work ensures that the Church looks so beautiful and cared for. June Robinson, NADFAS

Open Gardens Event - from the August 2008 magazine

Our England is a garden, and such gardens are not made by singing: "Oh, how beautiful!" and sitting in the shade. Rudyard Kipling's tribute to the Glory of the Garden was very much in the minds of those who were able to visit the Leatherhead Gardens specially opened on Sunday June 22 for the Friends of the Parish Church.

The gardens certainly were beautiful and the wonderful weather meant that they were seen at their best. Nearly 100 parishioners, friends and family members spent the afternoon walking around the six very different gardens, discussing design and planting schemes or just relaxing over the excellent cream teas provided en route! Our thanks of course to the garden owners who worked so hard and made us all so welcome, but also to our many visitors who through ticket sales, teas and buying plants for their own gardens contributed no less than 650 to the Friends funds, which as usual will be spent in pursuit of our commitment to maintaining the Parish Church building and grounds.

The choral evensong combined choir - from the July 2008 magazine

The bells are ringing - from the July 2008 magazine

Swan Handbells - from the July 2008 magazine

Back to Church Sunday goes global - from the July 2008 magazine

Churches Together in Scotland, the Church in Wales, Baptist, Methodist and United Reformed churches nationwide, Elim Pentecostal churches and Anglican churches in New Zealand and Canada will join 38 C of E dioceses for Back to Church Sunday on September 28, and inviting a friend back to church with them.

Back to Church Sunday began in Manchester in 2004 with the message "Missing You", spreading to Wakefield in 2005, to nine Church of England dioceses in 2006 and 20 in 2007, when 20,000 people came back to church. It seems that about 15% of those who "come back" stay as regular members and another 50% stay in touch by attending at Christmas or at a social event.

Parish magazine editorial team - from the July 2008 magazine

Margaret Jones has joined the editorial team of the magazine. She and Andrew have lived in the area since June 2005, after 40 years in Hertfordshire where they brought up their three children. Once the children were adults they settled in Surrey, so Margaret and Andrew have joined their drift south. Margaret was born and brought up in Sheffield, so her drift south has been considerable. They have four grandchildren and therefore manage to keep busy. In their spare time Andrew gardens, and Margaret runs our Fairtrade stall.

New Look for All Saints' - from the June 2008 magazine

On Sunday May 4 there was a thanksgiving service at which David dedicated the newly refurbished All Saints'. We have a new kitchen area, as well as energy saving lighting, a much-needed new carpet and some redecoration. My thanks go to John Hampton and John Sutherland for their help and support in getting this work done. Please do come to one of our services a have a look.
Sheila Sutherland, Assistant Churchwarden

The bells are back in action - June 2008

A time for God's Creation - from the June 2008 magazine

This year sees the start of what is hoped will become a major step for English churches to join in a celebration of the environment. The idea has already been adopted by some English churches as well as churches in Australia, America and Europe, but now the Third European Ecumenical Assembly has endorsed the idea:
"We recommend that the period from the 1st September to the 4th of October be dedicated to prayer for the protection of Creation and the promotion of sustainable lifestyles that reverse our contribution to climate change".

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York are encouraging all parishes in the Church of England to support the initiative. Parishes are encouraged to choose one Sunday between September 1 and the second Sunday in October on which they would put Creation at the centre of their worship and reflection, perhaps linked to Harvest Festival. A special evening service on September 14, featuring the Bishop of London and special guests, will be held at St Paul's Cathedral; it is hoped that other cathedrals will organise similar events.

Mole Valley District Council at the beginning of 2008 launched the "How Green is Your Valley" campaign and website . The aim of the campaign is to encourage as many Mole Valley residents as possible to think about their energy consumption and how they can live more sustainably. The website has an environmental footprint calculator and tips on how an individual can reduce his or her impact on the planet.

We are also seeing food shortages spreading from less developed countries. As I write this, retailers in the USA are reported to have introduced rice rationing. The reasons are complex. These appear to include population growth, placing ever-increasing pressure on world resources, and prosperity pushing up demand while supply is limited. It is one reminder of the fragility of creation whether or not the underlying reason is climate change.

As usual, the suffering is mostly concentrated in countries and with people, least able to cope. This is an injustice that should surely speak to us, both as Christians, and simply as human beings made in God's image. What price human life? The scientists tell us there is around a 90 per cent probability that human action is responsible for global warming. We cannot, therefore, ignore the implications of this question.

Of course, it is very tempting to blame all the world's ills on climate change and everyone else, losing hope and just carrying on as normal. If the problem is just too big for us individually to make a difference, why bother? This is where our Christian hope can give us an advantage. While we know the world is broken we also have hope for the future.

Get to know the Archbishops - from the March 2008 magazine

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York, Dr Rowan Williams and Dr John Sentamu, have launched new websites to help project their beliefs, activities and personalities to a wider audience using the current best in web technology and design. The design themes of each site help complement the public profile of both Archbishops, with the Archbishop of Canterbury's site using shades of contemplative blue and grey, whilst the Archbishop of York features vibrant reds.

Archbishops Rowan Williams and John Sentamu both have personal pages covering their biographies, background on personal interests - such as poetry, and Russian literature for the former and York City FC for the latter!

A Lambeth Palace spokesperson said: "Through our new websites the Archbishops will be able to reach out to fresh audiences through use of video, audio and other facilities." The websites are: and

No such thing as a free lunch! (HLF/Thomas Parker Organ) - from the March 2008 magazine

As I am sure that you all know, we received a most generous grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, which paid for 90% of the cost of rebuilding and installing the Thomas Parker organ. When Mike Lewis made the application he had to indicate how, once it was in place, we would promote it generally both locally and further afield, and this should be done over the next few years.

Indeed, and I quote from Mike: "I would again stress that it was made clear from the start that we would not obtain Heritage Funding unless we made the restored instrument widely available to be seen and heard by members of the national population".

The Concerts in Church committee are co-ordinating anything that might take place involving the organ, and just now we are planning various events to bring both young and old into the Church to hear it, and also to invite organists to come and play. For example, we plan to circulate local schools and music societies, inviting them to make a date to have an illustrated talk about the organ's history.

We are also planning to invite several organists to take a half hour slot to play what they wish one afternoon in November when anyone can drop in and listen. The ideas are endless, and we would be very happy for anyone to make suggestions, or to arrange their own events.

If you would like to organise something involving the organ you are very welcome to do so, but we would ask that you tell us about it first so that we avoid duplications. We will also need to have a copy of the programme or a flyer so that we can let the Heritage Lottery Fund know at the end of each year what we have done to promote the organ. Please speak to any of us with your ideas:
Frances Presley, Sonja Grove, Beverley Mehta, Bernard Salsbury
PS: Put Saturday October 4 in your diary - the Welshmen will be back!

Why aren't the bells ringing? - from the January 2008 magazine

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last updated 5 Feb 15