Parish of Leatherhead in 2009

This page shows first a chronology of some notable events in the life of the church family in 2009.





















9 Dec News of the death of Ron Presley OBE early this morning. A former Chairman of the Friends of Leatherhead Parish Church and past President of the Lawn Tennis Association. His cremation will take place privately (21 Dec) and a Service of Thanksgiving will be arranged in the New Year - see more via People pages > Remembrance
19-21 Nov
Murder in the Cathedral: Leatherhead Parish Church 19&20 Nov, Epsom Methodist Church 21 Nov
18 Nov
Institution, Induction & Installation of The Revd Graham Osborne
25 Oct News of the deaths of
Ann Brixey (funeral 11.45, 10 Nov ), Geoffrey Harvey (funeral 1pm, 6 Nov at Leatherhead Parish Church) and Dr Elizabeth Hallifax (funeral 28 Oct)
4 Oct The offering of the Wine at Communion services in this Parish is resumed.
24 Aug Eric Fison who served our church in many capacities over the years has died aged 89. His funeral took place at the Parish Church on 1 Sep - see more via
People pages > Remembrance
Rev Graham Osborne is named as the next Incumbent: his Induction will be on Wed 18 November
23 July Swine Flu: advice from the Archbishops on the sharing of Communion -
link - the Churchwardens and Curates have decided that the Wine will not be offered in any form at Communion services in this Parish.
14 July Au Revoir to Helena Hill - see below
28 Jun Bishop Ian Brackley announces at Family Communion that the panel selecting the new Incumbent was favourably impressed with the quality of the four candidates; an offer made to one of them has been accepted verbally. An announcement will be made once the due formalities have been completed.
May: On 3 May
Jameson Jonathan Bates was baptised here. On 10 May Natasha, his mum, was baptised at the Deanery Confirmation service at St Nicolas Bookham, along with David Durrant. They were also confirmed, as were Linda Durrant and Jackie Chitty.
17 Apr We are in touch with Alan Smith & Pauline Smith, in Charlton Kings - see more via
People pages and the Music & Bellringing pages
23 Mar Mary Johnson's page is added to our Remembrance pages - see more via
People pages > Remembrance
15 Mar Scrapbook page begun with photos from a 1960 Parish Stewardship publication - see via
Miscellany pages
12 Mar Mary Johnson has died: her funeral is on Thursday 19th March, 3.30pm at the parish church.
8 Mar The Garden of Remembrance names listing is updated - see
via History pages > Grave names > section C
1 Mar At services today we said our
goodbyes to David and Ginnny Eaton. We now enter a period called an Interregnum during which a new Incumbent will be selected (see below) and the life of the parish continues in the hands of the curates, the Rural Dean and the churchwardens.
26 Feb A Service of Thanksgiving for the Life of Sandy Morris took place here at noon - - see more via
People pages > Remembrance
17 Feb David Oliver's page added - this provides Debra's words on David, the Tribute given by his friend Dex and the Address by David Eaton - - see more via
People pages > Remembrance
15 Feb Canon Sandy Morris, Vicar of this parish 1971-89 died on 14 February. A Service of Thanksgiving for his Life will be here on Thursday 26 February at noon.
For memories of Sandy see
Old Staff Friends
5 Feb Funeral at the Parish Church of David Oliver, our Musical Director, at 12.30. David died on 13 Jan 2009 aged 51.
4 Feb Electoral Roll form made available for those who wish to be added to our parish electoral roll
3 Feb 15,000th visit to this website.
2-3 Feb period of heavy snow in Leatherhead - see via
Miscellany pages > Through the Lens
15 Jan Funeral of Virginia Gillett - see more via
People pages > Remembrance

David Oliver Memorial Concert - from the December 2009 magazine

What a wealth of talent! Both from the Pro Corda Baroque Ensemble and from Graham Thorp, organist. They were the performers at the David Oliver Memorial Concert in the church on Saturday 17 October. The Pro Corda group consisted of a small ensemble of only six players, all music students, led by Rhiannon Randle, aged 16 years. They were absolutely first rate, without having to make any allowance for their youth. The programme featured works by Purcell and Handel, both of whom have anniversaries this year, and a very short work by Rhiannon herself which, again, was superbly played.

Meanwhile, what of Graham Thorp? Before playing on the Thomas Parker organ of 1766, he spoke about it with such enthusiasm and affection that it was a delight to have a soloist who thoroughly appreciated what a fine instrument it is. He also explained about the sounds and effects of some of the stops he would be using – trumpet, bass horn, etc. Both his solos and the two Handel concertos were a joy to hear, and this was in no small part because he had taken the time and trouble to put in a lot of practice on the instrument to become really familiar with it. Our thanks go to him and to the talented Pro Corda ensemble for a most enjoyable concert which was very well attended.

The concert raised £1,070, which will go to the Queenscourt Hospice in Southport, Lancashire, where David spent his last few weeks. This money willgo to the Queenscourt "Music for Patients iPod Fund" to buy iPods with suitable equipment for the patients so that they can each listen to as much music as they like. What a fitting memorial to David.
Linda Heath

from the December 2009 magazine
Over the Bridge This book is published by the Leatherhead & District Local History Society and written by Brian Hennegan.

The bridge is the one which carries Kingston Road over the railway between the Plough Roundabout and the Kingston Road Recreation Ground. The author spent seventeen of his formative years, from the early war period up until 1956, over the bridge on Leatherhead Common, or North Leatherhead as it is now known.

He is a member of the Local History Society and has an interest in transport of all kinds, including aviation. He is currently a volunteer member of a team at Brooklands Museum engaged in restoring a Hawker Hurricane aircraft. He can still walk from his home to the centre of the bridge in three and a half minutes.
The bridge was and is the defining barrier between those who live in the North and South of the area. Some say that it is akin to the Great Wall of China, but this is a slight exaggeration. However, the bridge does take on a persona of its own. If you walk over it you might be heard to say "it was hot, wet, or windy over the bridge today". If you drive over it you might be held up in a queue of traffic.

The book takes the reader on a journey through the areas on both sides of thebridge, including a trip into the distant hinterland of Fetcham.

The period in question is not that far removed from the present but it was a very different world then. Although the author was just a little chap during the war, he has many vivid recollections of the period, especially spending a small part of his formal education in the air raid shelters at Fetcham School. You will have to read the book to find out how he came to be at Fetcham School.

The book costs £6.50 and is on sale at Barton's Bookshop in North Street, and, during opening hours, at the Leatherhead Museum or by post to the Sales Secretary, Hampton Cottage, Church Street, Leatherhead, KT22 8DP. Post free to the general public; cheques should be made payable to L&DLHS.

from the November 2009 magazine
Lift Up your heart, Lift up your voice
The Churchwardens, on the David Eaton - Graham Osborne interregnum

The dictionary defines an 'interreg-num' as an interval when the normal government is suspended especially between successive reigns or regimes.

Since the Reformation our ancestors at St Mary & St Nicholas would undoubtedly have witnessed certain interregnums with a feeling of uncertainty, foreboding, disillusionment, joy and downright fear. To have a Vicar dismissed as was Simon Tysse in 1561 for 'a lapse of presentation' is bad enough but ten years later John Vaughan was relieved of his post for 'typling and guzzling'. What were the Wardens and those in spiritual authority doing to allow such behaviour?

The sorry tale continued in the latter half of the eighteenth century with seventeen interregnums following Samuel Markham's 'gross neglect of his duties'. However, greater wisdom seems to have prevailed in the next 200 years and certainly within living memory.

We are coming to the end of our current interregnum, a relatively short one compared to some elsewhere. We have fond memories of the incumbencies of Canons Sandy Morris and David Eaton and look forward to the leadership of Revd Graham Osborne. The advice was clear from the outset, to sustain the momentum established by David maintaining the status quo wherever possible. Not an easy task for the views and opinions of parishioners must be heard; notably concerns about the future, the structure of the Church, financial matters, consideration of children and the elderly and contrasting forms of worship.

The publication of a 'Parish Profile' was a statutory requirement together with a 'Statement of Needs' for prospective candidates. Undaunted, Navin and his team set about the task and senior diocesan clergy praised the results. The question is, did the document ever appear in Lambeth Palace as an example of good practice?

A theologian or historian could judge whether the last few months have been successful. What is important is that church attendance has remained constant, our pattern of worship has been sustained, and opinions expressed at meetings of the PCC with necessary adaptations have been adopted. The choir still sing in harmony, the music group performs with vigour, the church continues to be beautifully decorated pastoral work continues unabated and the pulpit resonates with spiritual diversity.

Despite concerns over 'swine flu' parishioners continue to greet each other with a notable sign of peace and communion is taken in a traditional manner. The children continue to come from Sunday Club with smiling faces, young and old alike continue to fill the pews at Family Services.

In leading and sustaining our services we are indebted to Mike Stewart and Mary Cruddas. There are challenging times ahead and they can help Graham Osborne set a positive course and we must support them in everything they do. Our interregnum has been positive and we can rejoice on November 18th.
Peter Leith and Navin Mehta

Leatherhead Parish Prayer Group - from the November 2009 magazine

During his ministry in Leatherhead David Eaton felt the need of a small prayer group, made up of members of the congregation, to pray for parochial matters for which he was concerned. Recent examples include the setting up of the new Trinity School, and church life during the interregnum. Anthony and Helena Hill set up the group, which met at their home until recently when Helena moved away to Suffolk.

The prayers at each meeting are led by one of the members, who are all lay people with no formal training; they speak from the heart. Before each meeting it was the custom to contact the Vicar to find out what matters he would like the group to include in their prayers. This information formed the core of the prayers, to which were added matters the members were aware of, particularly the names of members of the congregation who were sick or otherwise in need of our prayers.

In the light of the growth of activities in the church it is felt that the time has come to expand our source of information about people and matters that may be helped by prayer. The members also think they need to know more about growing church activities. With this in mind the group invites leaders of all organisations well established, like the choir, or new ventures, such as the Sunday lunches, to tell us of concerns they have which they may wish the group to include in their prayers.

The group meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 2.30pm at York Cottage, Church Road, by courtesy of Sheila and Martin Cole. Meetings last about two hours including a cup of tea and a biscuit. We currently have eight members: more would be welcome. Should this be of interest to you please contact M Canning (372796) or S Cole (373330).

from the November 2009 magazine
Prayer Group at Home This is a service for parishioners who are unable to attend Church on Sunday even if transport is available. Some years ago a parishioner who I visited, had been unable to attend Church for many years because of ill health. She told me how she had once had prayer groups and bible study groups in her home and how much she missed this Church contact. After discussion with the Vicar and the parishioner I compiled a Prayer Group at Home Service. At a recent Pastoral Meeting I was asked to put this service in place again. The service is 10.30- 10.45am; the order of service is a Prayer Guide for each Sunday of the month similar to the intercessions plus each member's own special prayers. The order of service says that the readings can be found in the Calendar section of the Parish Magazine. At the back of the order of service are the telephone numbers of each of the Group with the message: If at any time you wish the Group or an individual member to join you in a special prayer please telephone them.

There are four reasons for a Prayer Group at Home: the Group are praying at the same time as the parishioners in Church; it makes them feel they are still part of the Church Family; prayers are said for them in the intercessions; and in the last Group friendships grew through the telephone. I hope this will continue.
At present there are seven parishioners in the Prayer Group including two who were in the previous Group. If anyone wishes to join the Prayer Group at Home if he or she is indisposed for a short or a long time please telephone me on 375781. E Wright

Thomas Parker organ recital - from the November 2009 magazine

On Saturday 3rd October a group from the British Institute of Organ Studies held a most interesting day-course in the church.
This finished at 4pm with a recital on the Thomas Parker organ by the distinguished organist, Robert Woolley from the Royal College of Music. This was open to anyone to attend and those who did so had a real treat.

I have now heard various organists play this instrument, but I have not heard anyone else who produced such a range and variety of tonal effects. Nor have I heard anyone else play so softly on it, obtaining a real pianissimo. Unlike the piano, this is not achieved by playing more gently - volume on the organ is not affected by altering the touch, but by the choice of "stops". These are the "knobs" alongside the keyboard which produce the different levels and range of sounds such as flute, trumpet or whatever.

The programme included works by Purcell and Handel, both of whom have anniversaries this year, and gave a wide variety of music. I think my favourite was A Flight of Angels by Handel - a very short and delicate piece using very high notes - one could imagine the angels flying round the big wooden cross high up above the chancel arch. Altogether, it was an excellent recital and a joy to hear the Parker organ so skilfully played.
Linda Heath

from the November 2009 magazine
Inside Out Big Band Concert There cannot have been too many rafters left unshaken on Saturday 10 October when the Big Band sound of Inside Out gave the first of Concerts In Church's presentations as part of this year's Mole Valley Arts Alive Festival in the Parish Church. The concert started off with Glen Miller's American Patrol and it never looked back, working its way through many big band hits of the 60s, 70s and 80s.

Unusually there is no brass in this group, but Liz Trueman, its musical arranger and director, is able to blend the sound of wind instruments, drums and a keyboard into the authentic sound of the bands of the past. Daphne Lander added to the programme with some fine singing from Alexander's Ragtime Band to an Edith Piaf number, and Sue Waddell, who has only recently joined the band, contributed her own special harmonies.

The whole programme was skilfully introduced by Dennis Wickham and he also sang some of the numbers which added to the variety. There were not many toes not tapping through every number, and everyone left with a smile on his or her face. Frances Presley

Parish Hall improvements - from the November 2009 magazine

When I was young I was told that painting the Forth Bridge was a never-ending job. After the bridge opened in 1890, the story went, a team of men set out from one end to paint the structure. When they reached the other end, several years later, they immediately crossed back and started again. And so ad infinitum and possibly ad nauseam - but at least it was a job for life.

The Parish Hall is smaller and newer than the Forth Bridge, but the maintenance problems for a heavily used building are similarly unremitting and never-ending. The work is organised by the Parish Hall Committee on behalf of the PCC, and our aim is to provide a safe, attractive environment for many different activities.
Many of these are directly related to the church, in which case no charge is made for using the facilities, but the main hall, the Reeves Room, and the small committee room are also available for hire and the income from this provides the money needed to run, maintain, and where possible improve the Parish Hall, and also helps to support the church finances.

Some tasks, including gas and electrical servicing and safety checks, and the refurbishment of the hall floor, have to be carried out annually. Redecoration, inside and out, is a rolling programme planned on a five-year cycle. We also take on larger improvement projects when there is sufficient money. In recent years the toilets have been refurbished, and Oa toilet for the disable and baby changing facilities, have been provided.

The latest project, completed during the summer at a cost of some £7,000, has been the complete refurbishment of the Reeves Room, involving the provision of new carpets, curtains and blinds, as well as repainting. The room can now be blacked out to facilitate slide or film shows, and we have tried to provide a comfortable, neutral room, which is suitable for many different purposes. It looks attractive at present but we depend on users, whether they have paid to use it or not, to keep it looking so for as long as possible.

What of the future? Routine maintenance obviously has to continue, and when the unexpected happens it must be dealt with. Roofs may leak-, windows get broken; and new legislation demands compliance. The committee has no plans for any more large projects at present, partly because it is aware that some church members would like to make major changes to the existing structure and layout. Until a decision is taken we will continue to maintain and where possible improve the excellent facility we currently have. Kevin Taylor, Chairman, Parish Hall Committee

Church cleaning - from the September 2009 magazine

Cleaning our beautiful church is one of the many activities undertaken behind the scenes by a dedicated group of volunteers. I have taken over the rota for this from Helena Hill, yet another of the many tasks she performed, and I should like to take the opportunity to thank her and all the other people, past and present, who have helped with cleaning each month.

A special "thank you" goes to Lesley Knox, who has had to give up recently, and a warm welcome to Juliet Campbell who has joined us.

Throughout the month we work on a rota of five teams, each with a team leader, and as circumstances constantly change we are always on the lookout for new helpers. There are vacancies for the second and fifth Saturdays and if anyone feels able to join in this vital work please contact me to discuss possibilities.
S Roberts

Goodbye and Thank You from Helena Hill - from the September 2009 magazine

I am very sorry that there are so many people to whom I was not able to say a personal goodbye and my thanks for all the friendships I have shared in Leatherhead. Forty-five years is a long time to put down roots and it is difficult to accept that I must now put down new ones in Halesworth, Suffolk!

I am so grateful to have belonged to the Church family, sharing in the work and worship of the parish and enjoying the friendship, fun and support over so many years. I was very touched to receive the gift from the PCC of a lovely silver bookmark and for this to be presented by Bishop David. Thank you all,- I will treasure it.

If you happen to be passing do give me a ring (Leatherhead Parish Office has my address and tel no) and call in to visit me, I shall be delighted to see you. With my love to you all and best wishes for the new era to come.
Helena Hill

from the Aug 2009 magazine
Helena Hill
Looking back, one can see that Helena's working life, first as a hospital almoner and then in Social Services, helped to hone her natural abilities and skills for the benefit of us all. Her marriage to Anthony widened her understanding of the faith, as of her knowledge of the administrative needs of the Church. This stood her in good stead when she became Churchwarden for four years, the last 18 months of which she carried on alone.

We have been grateful for her creative skills in the very successful annual craft stall and in her beautiful flower arrangements and her ability to plan with the many brides over the years.

Bishop of Dorking, Helena and Mike Stewart after 10.30 service on 28 June 2009

Her work for the Church has needed much organisation and the finding of volunteers required to replace resignations was quite an art. She was responsible for wedding flowers, church cleaners, prayer rotas, readers rotas, recording and delivering tapes of the parish magazine to blind people. She has also led and given hospitality to the monthly prayer group, which was instigated by Anthony at the request of the Vicar, specifically to pray for the needs of the parish. Finally she has devoted herself to finding the right person for each job, so that she has left all those years of dedicated work in safe hands. Many thanks, Helena, for all you have done. May God go with you. Mollie Canning

from the January 2012 magazine
I have received the following from Helena Hill and if anybody would like her address or phone number, please do call me.
Linda Hauxwell

Helena’s news this year is definitely of recovery and widening horizons. Since the spring she has been able to go out much more and has enjoyed plenty of visits from family and friends from near and far.

Most weeks include a drive out at the weekend and a local walk in the wheelchair. Helena is always keen to stretch her legs a bit, pushing the wheelchair for support. In the summer she bought a new lighter wheelchair which is easier to transport. Southwold is particularly wheelchair friendly and a walk along the front or out onto the pier makes us all think of Broadstairs! There are also tempting cafes for coffee, lunch or tea – portions though are always “far too large”!

Helena tries valiantly to keep up with the names of her increasing number of great great nephews so a great great niece was a welcome arrival last December – Iris Helena Bowen is easy to remember and is a popular visitor. Recently Helena joined the rest of the family for photos in the garden at the wedding of Iris’s parents on a beautiful sunny September afternoon.

Janet Stone, Helena’s main carer, is a great friend to her. She is with her for three weeks out of every four. She brings joy and fun into the weekly routine, bakes and cooks and generally keeps us all sane. Week four is a bit pot luck but usually works out fine in the end.

Do keep in touch – phone calls and letters are so welcome. Helena does apologise that she can’t write back but loves to get your news.
She sends her best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.

from the January 2012 magazine
I have received the following from Helena Hill and if anybody would like her address or phone number, please do call me.
Linda Hauxwell

Helena’s news this year is definitely of recovery and widening horizons. Since the spring she has been able to go out much more and has enjoyed plenty of visits from family and friends from near and far.

Most weeks include a drive out at the weekend and a local walk in the wheelchair. Helena is always keen to stretch her legs a bit, pushing the wheelchair for support. In the summer she bought a new lighter wheelchair which is easier to transport. Southwold is particularly wheelchair friendly and a walk along the front or out onto the pier makes us all think of Broadstairs! There are also tempting cafes for coffee, lunch or tea – portions though are always “far too large”!

Helena tries valiantly to keep up with the names of her increasing number of great great nephews so a great great niece was a welcome arrival last December – Iris Helena Bowen is easy to remember and is a popular visitor. Recently Helena joined the rest of the family for photos in the garden at the wedding of Iris’s parents on a beautiful sunny September afternoon.

Janet Stone, Helena’s main carer, is a great friend to her. She is with her for three weeks out of every four. She brings joy and fun into the weekly routine, bakes and cooks and generally keeps us all sane. Week four is a bit pot luck but usually works out fine in the end.

Do keep in touch – phone calls and letters are so welcome. Helena does apologise that she can’t write back but loves to get your news. She sends her best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.

Prayer Board from the Aug 2009 magazine

A board has been placed by the North Door as you enter our Church. If you know of someone who is sick or in need of our prayers, please complete and date the card provided, and that name will be included in our Sunday prayers for the following two weeks.
Martin Cole

Our website's twelfth birthday from the July 2009 magazine

Since it was launched in July 1997 our parish website has had nearly 17,000 visits: the Mickleham parish website, launched in 2002, has had nearly 6,450 visits.

The website provides a detailed calendar of events and services in the United Benefice, the month's music in church for Leatherhead, and highlights from the magazine. It is also an archive with a Remembrance section for parishioners who have died - for example, there are in-depth pages on George Dench, Sandy Morris, David Oliver, Horace Wright, Tim Hauxwell and Rene Vokes, to name but a few. The restoration of the Thomas Parker organ is fully covered, as are events such as the Millennium and David Eaton's retirement.

The website is evidently appreciated by those who are contemplating moving here, those who have moved away, and those interested in family history and local history - there is a listing of the war graves and all the names in our churchyard. There is a comprehensive set of useful links.

However, the time has come for renewal. I am asking via this article all the groups and individuals who work in our church community to let me have a short writeup on what they do plus a few excellent photos to illustrate the text. This is so that we can do more to project what we do as a living church in our community.
Frank Haslam L379341

The Holy Land - from the July 2009 magazine

Mike has given a very full and illuminating account of our recent visit to Israel, and he is absolutely right in saying that we all will have our own special memories and highlights. For me, when we first came back, I was really in a state of wonderment, surprise, fascination - something that I could not put my finger on. It was not until I saw the pictures on the television of the Pope visiting Jerusalem that I suddenly said to myself "I was there", with the emphasis on the "I".

Of course, there were no crowds lining the street to see us and we had no Popemobil, but there were people of all colours and creeds everywhere, in the Arab quarter where our hotel was situated the traffic was even worse than Paris, and we had a coach to take us wherever we were going. But instead of being surrounded by bishops and other high-ranking clergy, our Palestinian Christian guide, Tony, who was also an archaeologist, gave us the most absorbing and intriguing insight into his country and its people.

from the July 2009 magazine
Mike had planned out a programme,which gave us a remarkable and perceptive understanding of the places we visited putting into 3D their relationship to events in the Bible.

Apart from the myriad photos that were taken, one of my lasting memories is the Eucharist which Mike celebrated on the shore at the head of Lake Galilee; another is the evening that a party of Italian nuns joined in with our singing after dinner whilst Hedley was playing. The scary thought is that because of the heat and the actions of man there may not be a Sea of Galilee, a River Jordan or a Dead Sea in years to come for pilgrims to visit.

I could go on at great length, but won't. I have been lucky enough to visit many places round the world, but this is one trip that I will never forget, not only for the place itself and its -history spanning centuries which touches almost everywhere in the world, and its problems – will they ever be solved – but also for the twenty three of us who spent ten days together in friendship.

Amongst other things we celebrated communion in chapels and under awnings, we helped each other up the uneven pathways, we floated in the Dead Sea, and we stood at the Western Wall. And we all laughed together. Frances Presley

Uniting Churches Awayday - from the July 2009 magazine

On Saturday 30 May 2009 nearly 50 of us from the Leatherhead Uniting Churches gathered at St John the Baptist Church in Okewood Hill and at The Ark church rooms to discuss The Christ We Share. The weather was perfect: warm and sunny, and the rural setting was idyllic.

Revd Ian Howarth and Sarah Middleton, the Methodist Church Training Officer for the South East District, led the day. Mary Cruddas and Dean Tapley also helped lead. After a short talk and PowerPoint presentation on the modern art collection of the Methodist Church, we moved to The Ark to discuss six questions on an Indian painting, The Dalit Madonna.

We were asked to sit with people we did not know – a difficult task as the majority of us seemed to know nearly everybody already! After a while, it became apparent that the questions were designed to tease out our observations on the picture and enable us to discuss the universality of Christ and the Christian message to all peoples of the Earth. Other pictures were available on the tables to aid our deliberations.

After a pleasant picnic lunch in the open air, we returned to the church to reveal our findings from studying the selected picture. We then looked at other pictures of Jesus, including one of him sitting on a Tube train with surrounding passengers apparently doing their best to ignore the figure in First Century dress. This provoked a lively discussion before the day concluded with a short act of worship.

Hopefully, this will be the first of many Awaydays to enable us to grow together as a worshipping community of The Uniting Churches. Roger Lynch

Bells for Pentecost - from the July 2009 magazine

Seeking the Promised Land - from the June 2009 magazine

As some of you will know, a group of us have recently returned from the Holy Land. We were twenty-three in all, mostly, but not all, from the Parish. Twenty-three was a good number: not so large that we kept losing people; though we did mislay one of our sheep, temporarily, on the top of Masada in the Judean Desert next to the Dead Sea.

The Pilgrimage, for it was not meant to be a picnic, despite occasional pleas for tea breaks while we trekked round the various sites, started out rather ominously. We had to arrive at Heathrow three hours early (a security requirement imposed by our carrier, El Al). On arrival, however, we were told that the plane had been delayed on an earlier flight by at least another four hours. Having survived the rigours of the El Al security system, we then had to cool our heels for seven hours before we could even get off the ground. This meant that our arrival at the hotel in Jerusalem, scheduled for about 11pm that evening, was delayed until about 3am in the morning. After a hasty cold meal we retreated to our rooms for a few hours of sleep. As the Tour Leader, I felt suitably compassionate and therefore gave everyone an extra hour in bed: so the alarm calls were made at about 7.30am instead of the more usual 6.30am. I did say it was not meant to be a picnic!

McCabe, the Tour organisers, were brilliant in that they had been working overnight to reschedule our first day in Jerusalem, planned to be a packed day anyway. By a judicious reshuffling of the itinerary we managed to see just about everything we had intended to.

Our Pilgrimage lasted ten days, nine nights: six in Jerusalem and three in Galilee. We packed a lot into those days. I hope not too much; I had allowed for a gentler pace for the last three days in Galilee. There is just so much to see and to experience. Luckily we had the services of an excellent Palestinian Christian Tour Guide called Tony. He lives in Jerusalem and he provided us with a perspective of the Arab-Israeli conflict strikingly different from the one usually presented by Western politicians and the media.

In the space of this short article it is impossible for me even to begin to give you an account of the richness of the experiences we had. I'm sure each of the group could nominate one or more highlights, but each of those highlights might well be different for each person. For me, one highlight was the experience of that first morning, when we drove up to the top of the Mount of Olives to view the whole of the city of Jerusalem set before us. This was the view that Jesus would have had on Palm Sunday as he made the journey from Bethphage and Bethany over the top of the Mount of the Olives and descended towards the Golden Gate of the Temple Mounted on a donkey, passing the Garden of Gethsemane on the way. Of course, the buildings have changed: the huge Jewish Temple was destroyed by the Romans some 40 years after Jesus stood there, and a Muslim Shrine, the Dome of the Rock, stands there now. But, strangely, that doesn't seem to change the impact the view makes on you.

Some of the sites we visited are more historically and archaeologically probable than others, many sites being based more on tradition than on hard evidence. It would therefore be easy to be sceptical, even cynical, about some of the sites. As you may know, I'm not one for leaving my rational faculties at the door of the church. But the curious and impressive thing about the Holy Land is its cumulative impact.

Even if Jesus wasn't born precisely on this spot, didn't actually stand here, or preach there, or wasn't crucified here, or buried there, somehow the overall impact is greater than the sum of the parts: Jesus walked and talked all around the places we visited. Somehow, it all became very real to us. So now, when I read about places and people in the Bible, and this goes for the Old Testament too, I feel an extra dimension has been added: I can picture the site, the geography, the terrain, the climate, even the sounds and smells of the place.

Our merry little band went out "in search of the Promised Land" and in each of our own ways I hope that we found it. The Promised Land is not, however, just a place, a geographical site. No, in seeking the Promised Land we were seeking the Kingdom, the Kingdom which Jesus Christ inaugurated and which we must strive to realise through our Christian faith and witness in the world.

"Your Kingdom come": this was the theme of the Diocesan Triennial Conference, which Mary and I attended last month in Swanwick. Each time we say the prayer which Jesus himself taught us we are reminded of this: "Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name; your Kingdom come..."
Revd Mike Stewart, Assistant Curate

Planned Giving - from the June 2009 magazine

The Parochial Church Council is always appreciative of the financial assistance that members of the congregation regularly give for the work of the Parish. Indeed without such assistance it would be difficult to see how the Parish could operate.
There are differing ways in which it is possible to give:

  • By a standing order from your bank to the PCC bank account. This can be done weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually and usually at no cost to either the donor or the PCC.

  • By putting cash (or cheque) in a supplied pre-numbered set of weekly envelopes.

  • By placing cash in the offering plate. If you are a UK tax payer, it is very beneficial for the PCC if cash gifts are placed in the Yellow Gift Aid Envelope after completing the essential information, which allows the PCC to recover 25 pence for every one pound given.

  • By sending a cheque made payable to the Parochial Church Council of Leatherhead, to the Church Treasurer at the Parish Office. Or it may be placed in the offering plate or in the "Blue Box" located by the North Door of the church.

The number of congregation members using the weekly envelope scheme has rapidly reduced, moving over to the more efficient and administratively easier Bank Standing Order system. Part of the reason is the change in church attendance whereby many members do not attend every week. Thus many of the envelopes are, in effect, wasted. Using standing orders reduces the amount of cash to be counted and transported to the bank each week.

A Standing Order is controlled entirely by the church member and may be amended by a simple instruction to your bank, or increasingly by members using an online banking system.

If you do presently contribute by weekly envelope or regular Gift Aid envelopes, please consider if it would be possible to change to a Standing Order. For those regularly giving using the Gift Aid envelopes, it would save having to supply personal details every time a gift is made. If you require assistance or advice on any of the above please do not hesitate to contact the Planned Giving Secretary, Bernard Salsbury. All financial help is appreciated, whatever the method of giving. Thus if your present method is right for you, then please continue. Bernard Salsbury

Concerts in Church - from the May 2009 magazine

We are going to try a new venture this summer. Instead of an open-air concert in the gardens we have arranged three lunchtime concerts in the Parish Church between 12.30pm-1.30pm:
Friday 8 May: The Ewell Ladies Choir will sing light-hearted songs and ballads of yesteryear.
Friday 12 June: Rev Mike Stewart, Curate at the Parish Church, will give a piano recital, Years of Pilgrimage, to include some pieces from Liszt's Années de Pèlerinage".
Friday 10 July: The Acstede String Quartet will play a varied programme of music from Mozart to My Fair Lady, from Bach to Bernstein. [Acstede is the old name for Oxted]
All are welcome, so bring your lunch, forget the office or the washing-up for a short while and sit, relax and enjoy listening to songs, the piano and/or a string quartet. Entry is free and there is pre-pay parking behind the Parish Hall.

Parish website - from the April 2009 magazine

Those of you with access to the internet at home or via family or friends or the library are reminded that the parish website remembers old friends like the Eatons and those who have died, like Sandy Morris and David Oliver. Please look at the Remembrance page to see if you have a photo or a recollection we can add. Terry Millward, whose mother Joyce was receptionist at the Williams surgery very many years ago, has provided photos from an illustrated 1960 Stewardship brochure showing some Parish Church and All Saints faces. Where are they now?
Frank Haslam 379341

Your churchyard needs YOU! - from the April 2009 magazine

Not "down under". it's a long way to Australia! Seriously though, congratulations to the contractors who are maintaining our churchyard. The very small Friends' team that works in the churchyard for a few hours, usually on the first Saturday of the month, really appreciates the difference the contractors are making on the big jobs.

But we STILL need your help for the key work that we do to ensure that as many as possible of the headstones are accessible and cleared of growth and that the paths are clear. So if you can bring your secateurs and spare us an hour now and then this will be very much appreciated. It might even bring our average age down. Frank Haslam 379341

Award for young people - from the April 2009 magazine

At the recent Mole Valley Youth Showcase Awards, young people from the BFree Youth Cafe were awarded the prestigious Community Spirit Award for their service to the community. They are currently undertaking a joint initiative with Age Concern and the Surrey Constabulary to tidy up the gardens of some of Leatherhead's more aged population. This saves the older people from having unkempt gardens that are an invitation to thieves and conmen. A number of gardens in Leatherhead and Mickleham have received such a makeover.

The award was presented in an Oscars-style ceremony at the Dorking Halls. Youth workers at the BFree Youth Cafe were delighted with the recognition given to the young people for their service to the local community. Nigel Gillott

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last updated 5 Feb 15