Parish of Leatherhead - Key Events & News 2016
updated 27 Nov 2016
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The Rector writes ...A year of such tragedy - hundreds of refugees drowned, whole towns and villages razed to the ground, whole families murdered in the name of freedom. Hurricanes, earthquakes, storms, floods and droughts.
It is December once again. The end of another full, busy, wonderful, terrifying, roller-coaster of a year.
A year of uncertainty and surprise - the lead up to, and the result of, our UK referendum on the European Union. The lead up to, and the result of, the American presidential election. Politicians resigning, much loved personalities dying. Scarcely a month went by without some momentous world event.
But now, here we are again, at the most earth-shattering time of the year. The time when we celebrate the Son of God coming to live amongst us. Us - ordinary people: unworthy, ungrateful, greedy, selfish, unkind, self-centred, thoughtless - every one of us is all of those things from time to time ... and yet, He came to show us how we could and should be. Loving, kind, gentle, unselfish, thoughtful, mindful of our families, neighbours and friends.
As we prepare through Advent for the joyful arrival of Christ our Lord, let us all in this place, at this time, make a conscious effort to rejoice with the shepherds and angels, and share our good news with everyone we meet and with whom come into contact; not just with our gifts but with loving hearts and generosity of spirit.
Pray, not just on Sundays, but every day, for a better world, for wise and discerning leaders and for the strength to do the right thing in every situation, however hard or scary it may seem.
Be bold, be strong, for the Lord your God is with you.
And Nicky and I, and Ian, Beverley and Kirk, wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a Peaceful, Joyful New Year.
Church Notes - December 2016
Extracts from the Great War Parish Magazines - from the December 1916 magazineChurch Matters article in the December 2016 magazine
Notes from the Belfry December 2016
For the latest news from the Friends of Leatherhead Parish Church please click on The Friends
Thank you all so much for the goods and clothing for our Refuge, these were taken to our Forum Meeting on the 15th November.
7th December - Hedley Kay will serenade us with Christmas carols. We will also enjoy a light tea, so please do join us. If you would like to take part in the Christmas gift giving, please bring a wrapped parcel to the value of £3 and you will then receive one back.
4th January - this will be a members and friends afternoon with poems and readings, and to spend time chatting to each other.
From the Mothers' Union we wish everybody a very Happy Christmas and Healthy New Year.
With the assistance of his family, a page for Ken can now be seen via People > Remembrance section of the History pages of the parish website, or go to
Autumn Fayre Thanks
A big thank you to everyone involved with this year's marvellous Autumn Fayre. With the support of all the helping hands we raised a profit of over £5,000, which will be a welcome boost to the Parish funds. Thank you too to all of our happy customers on the day who came along to spend their money and enjoy the Fayre with us.
Annual Price of Magazine
For 2017 the price of the Parish Magazine will be maintained at 50p, with the annual price, for those who have it delivered and are not able to come regularly to church, will continue to be £5.50.
We have been able to hold this price for at least the past twelve years -so please keep on buying it so that we can continue to do so. Thank you!
Help the Church Urban Fund tackle homelessness this Advent
Last Advent, churches and communities across England responded to a call to help the homeless by taking the Advent Sleepout Challenge. Sleeping out in churches, cathedrals, halls, and even a home-made stable, these courageous fundraisers of Advent Sleepout Challenge 2015 raised a massive £93,450.
Advent for 2016 has just arrived, and it is time to take the challenge again. Could you brave a night sleeping out? Church Urban Fund is urging as many people as possible to get together with friends and take a stand against homelessness this advent. The need is very great: last year as many as 3,569 people were sleeping rough on any given night in England. This number is a 30% increase on 2014 and double the figure for 2010.
But the Church Urban Fund says: "Together we can make a change. Since 2014 we have been able to invest £156,000 in projects to support the homeless and marginalised."
Night shelters supported by the Fund are set to increase their provision to nearly 4,000 bed spaces this winter in response to a growing problem of homelessness. For more details go to: www.sleepoutchallenge.org.uk/
Tim Burton-Tones, Church Urban Fund
2015 Attendance Statistics published by C of E
New Church of England statistics for 2015, just published, show that about one million people attend services each week. The survey, carried out over four weeks in October 2015, found 960,000 people attending church each week, with 820,000 adults and 140,000 children. Schools services added a further 160,000 attenders.
The total worshipping community of churches across the Church of England, the report says, was 1,142,000 people, of whom 20% were aged under 18, 50% were aged 18-69 and 30% were aged 70 or over. Figures also show that 2.5 million attended a Church of England Church at Christmas in 2015 and 1.3 million people attended a service at Easter. Additionally, 2.3 million people attended special Advent services for the congregation and local community, whilst 2.7 million attended special Advent services for civic organisations and schools.
In 2015, the Church carried out about 1,000 weddings, 2,000 baptisms, and almost 3,000 funerals every week of the year. Attendances at these services are not recorded but conservative estimates of 50 at each of those 6,000 services would add up to 300,000 attendances each week or more than 15 million each year. Some 11% of births during 2015 were marked by a Church of England infant baptism or thanksgiving service whilst 30% of deaths were marked by a Church of England funeral. As a whole the figures represent a continuing trend that has shown an 11% decrease in attendance over the past decade with an average decline of just over 1% a year.
A one-off question for 2015 asked churches about the facilities they provide. The responses suggest that nearly half now have kitchen facilities and more than 60% have toilets.
William Nye, Secretary General of the Archbishops' Council, said: "The Church of England is setting out on a journey of Renewal & Reform, aiming to reverse our numerical decline in attendance so that we become a growing church in every region and for every generation. The Church of England is open to and for everyone in England, building up the Body of Christ and working for the common good. For some of those who support our work, weekly attendance at services is part of their discipleship. There will be many others, as we know from the Census, who identify with us but who worship on a less regular basis. We are confident in a hopeful future where our love of God and service of neighbour will form the basis for future growth. "Statistics for Mission provides an invaluable foundation for this and demonstrates that the Church, fully aware of where we are yet confident of the future, still has a strong base to work from."
From The Parish Pump
Joy to the world
Christmas is a time for sharing, having fun and being caring, so special wishes are sent your way, for a wonderful Christmas Day.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to each and every one of you from:
Margaret Beams, Christine Bryant, Juliet Campbell, Mollie Canning, Martin and Sheila Cole, Rosalind Corteen, Alan and Fran Fleming, Jonny, Dani and Eddy Follett, Peter and Sheila Ford, John, Di, Ben and Sam Gale, Arnie and Ann Gabbott, Frank and Jane Haslam, Rosemary Henderson, John, Patricia and Tim Hodgkinson, Lesley Knox, Mike and Molly Lewis, Roger and Janette Lynch, Navin and Beverley Mehta, Sheila Moss, Frances Presley, Julian, Katie, Freddie and Ellie Rickard, Angela Rive, Jill Rosser, Judith Sandoe, Chris and Janine Stagg, Derrick and Jane Summerfield, John and Sheila Sutherland, Anne Thomson, Matt Toerien, Doug and Caroline Waters, James, Helen and Joshua, Matthew and Claire, Eric and Pat Weetman
From Derrick and myself many thanks to all the helpers who turned up on Saturday morning dressed for the Antarctic.
Sunday was such a lovely day with the Church full to capacity, with Poppy petals on the floor, the music, and just about everything on that day was very special. Many thanks to all those who made this possible.
By the time you read this all monies would have been banked.
Derrick and Jane Summerfield
Four Things You May Not Know about Fairtrade coffee
Taken from an article from the Fairtrade Foundation. Most people are familiar with Fairtrade, so why do the same misconceptions about what it is and how it actually works keep cropping up?
The Fairtrade Foundation's Digital Team have often seen the same misconceptions and inaccurate generalisations about Fairtrade crop up online. Here's a rundown of some of the most common they encounter:
Myth 1: "Fairtrade products are more expensive"
Are they though? The range of Fairtrade products is now huge, with over 5,000 Fairtrade certified products for sale in the UK, many of them supermarket own-label or inexpensive mainstream brands. All major supermarkets now have Fairtrade own-label tea and coffee ranges. Three of the UK's top five favourite chocolates - Cadbury Dairy Milk, Mars, and Maltesers are Fairtrade. And 100% of bananas in Sainsbury's, Co-op and Waitrose. All the tea and coffee at high street giants Greggs is Fairtrade, and they are currently trialling Fairtrade bananas in 350 outlets. Those looking for a bargain will also note that discounters Lidl are selling Fairtrade roses. With more supermarkets and mainstream brands than ever selling Fairtrade, can you really keep saying it’s more expensive?
Myth 2: "Anyone can stick the Fairtrade badge on their product and claim it's ethical"
The idea that companies just slap the FAIRTRADE Mark on their products willy-nilly when they want to claim ethical credentials just doesn't hold up. The Mark is a registered certification label for products sourced from producers in developing countries. Products that display it must meet Fairtrade Standards, set by Fairtrade International.
These Standards apply to both producers (the farmers and workers) and traders (the shop you buy from) and are agreed through research and consultation with Fairtrade stakeholders, including farmers and workers themselves, traders, independent experts and national Fairtrade organisations such as the Fairtrade Foundation in the UK. If a company wants to get one of their products certified (and hence have the FAIRTRADE Mark displayed on their packaging) they have to first ensure that it meets all of these standards. Any company putting the Fairtrade badge on their product without meeting the standards for that product would be investigated and could even open themselves up to legal action.
Myth 3: "Fairtrade locks farmers into a fixed price"
You may have read about the "Fairtrade Minimum Price", this is indeed a real thing. But it's a safety net, calculated to cover farmers' costs of production, and only coming into play in a worst case scenario. It is not something that locks farmers into a fixed price. For example Maria (a farmer for a Fairtrade coffee co-operative in Colombia): if the market price of coffee falls below the Minimum Price set in the Fairtrade Standards, then under Fairtrade, Maria's co-operative would receive this guaranteed Fairtrade Minimum Price. This means Maria and other farmers in her co-op can cover their production costs.
However, if the market price of the coffee is above the Minimum Price, then the market price is the basis for negotiations between Maria's co-op and their buyers and of course they can also negotiate higher prices on the basis of quality and other factors.
It is also worth remembering that in addition to receiving the Minimum Price or market price, Fairtrade producers receive a bonus-type payment called the "Fairtrade Premium". This is an extra sum of money that they decide democratically how best to spend. Some might spend it on improved training and farming techniques, others on building schools and medical clinics. Fairtrade doesn't dictate what it's spent on, it's entirely up to the producers, but in the interests of transparency Premium spending is audited.
Myth 4: "Fairtrade doesn't encourage farmers to improve quality"
This myth is occasionally levelled at Fairtrade coffee farmers. The argument goes that there is little or no incentive for farmers to improve the quality of their crop. In addition to the price they receive for their coffee, Fairtrade farmers also earn a Fairtrade Premium to invest in projects that will benefit their business or community. Coffee farmers must invest 25% of this back into initiatives to improve quality and productivity, which are fundamental ways of increasing farmers' incomes. Many Fairtrade coffee producers have won awards for the quality and taste of their coffee, and Fairtrade coffees have won over 28 Great Taste Awards in the last three years.
and from earlier in 2016 ...
Extracts from the Great War Parish Magazines - from the November 1916 magazineChurch Matters article in the November 2016 magazine
Notes from the Belfry November 2016
For the latest news from the Friends of Leatherhead Parish Church please click on The Friends
A Good Time to Make A Will - from the November 2016 Magazine
Are you one of the 6 out of ten people who have not made a Will? Making a Will, or revisiting an outdated Will, is an important part of Christian Stewardship and this November St Mary and St Nicholas Church is supporting the Will Aid scheme.
Will Aid is your chance to protect your loved ones and help charity at the same time, and last years' campaign raised over £2,000,000 in donations for charities. Every November, local participating solicitors waive their fee for writing a basic Will and instead they invite their clients to make a donation to Will Aid charities (including Christian Aid). The suggested donation for a single Will is £90 and for a mirror Will for a couple is £135. The solicitor will require a larger donation (or additional fee) for more complex Wills. All donations can be Gift Aided by taxpayers, adding an extra 25% for the charities.
There are two participating solicitors in this area: Cuff and Gough, Banstead (01737 851827) and Sherwood & Wheatley, Kingston-on-Thames (0208 5460144), but don't delay as they soon get booked up!
We are very fortunate that the New Future fund has benefited from a bequest of over £2,000 from the estate of the late Sister Maureen Henderson who I am sure you will all remember with admiration and affection. We also give grateful thanks for a very generous legacy to our church of £48,000, and this figure will fund the next stage of the building project. What an amazing answer to prayer!
Jill Rosser, Legacy Officer
- from the November 2016 Magazine
The Rector writes: For those who were unable to join us for the Harvest Supper, I would like to summarise what was said.
The diocese has set out this exciting initiative like this:
Transforming Church, Transforming Lives is the vision and mission strategy of the Diocese of Guildford. It envisages individuals and church communities open to the transforming work of God's Spirit in their own lives, and so becoming agents of Christ's transformation to the world around them.
No strategy, however well intentioned, will achieve anything of any lasting value without God at the heart of it: 'Unless the Lord builds the house, we labour in vain...' (Psalm 127:1). Prayer is therefore foundational to all that is envisaged - planting, watering, weeding and pruning, but always looking to God to give the growth.
Transforming Church, Transforming Lives is not about asking people to work harder, but to work sharper - becoming more intentional and focussed in how we pray and what we are seeking to do. At its heart lies the vision of a growing, vibrant and generous Christian movement, empowered by the Spirit and rooted in word and sacrament, which confidently proclaims and lives out the Good News of Jesus Christ across the region and beyond.
Transforming Church, Transforming Lives is a framework not a blueprint, encouraging a thousand local initiatives to work towards our broader shared goals. It is primarily a strategy for the local church, though many of its principles can be extended to groups of churches, network congregations, chaplaincies and church schools. Its ethos is:
- To encourage local mission initiatives through permission-giving, training, support and finance.
- To develop a deeper sense of partnership and shared accountability between churches and across the diocese, as parishes increasingly look to resource one another, and the diocesan hub to resource the whole.
- To grow a culture of honesty, mutual learning, persistent prayer, deepening discipleship and confident faith sharing.
[For more information see see the Transforming Church, Transforming Lives page on our Diocesan website.]
In response, we have been reviewing our parish Vision and Mission to see how best we can respond to this diocesan initiative. Five years ago, we set out our aspirations to become a missional church, growing as disciples ourselves and, in turn, growing new disciples. Two years ago, we re-stated those in picture form with our 'hand' that holds our five focus areas with our Vision and Values at its heart. This 'hand' is the core agenda of every PCC meeting
Transforming Church, Transforming Lives comprises the twelve goals that are on the big orange banner at the back of the church, and each parish has been encouraged to sign up to two or three. We have found that our five goals map very closely to four of the diocesan goals, so we have signed up to these four:
• Making disciples
• Growing youth and children's ministry
• Cultivating community partnerships
• Improving church buildings
We plan to be well on the way by 2020, so we have called our response to Transforming Church, Transforming Lives VISION2020 and I look forward to us working together to grow into the vibrant, missional church that God is building here.
Extracts from the Great War Parish Magazines - from the October 1916 magazineChurch Matters article in the October 2016 magazine
Notes from the Belfry October 2016
HEARING CHAMPIONS at Martha’s Market - from the October 2016 magazine
On the THIRD FRIDAY OF THE MONTH, to be held as part of Martha’s Market in the Parish Hall between 10.130 and 11.30am. FREE
Cleaning, re-tubing, and battery replacement for NHS Hearing Aids.
Come and see us there (please remember to bring along your brown NHS Battery Book which includes your settings and requirements) with your hearing aid.
More info from L83357.
This is a Guildford Diocese initiative, in partnership with the NHS and St Mary & St Nicholas, Leatherhead
Heritage Weekend - 8th to 11th September 2016 LIVES, LANDSCAPES AND BELLS - from the October 2016 magazine
Every year in September we show our lovely Parish Church to a wider public: this year over ninety visitors came to admire our ancient building. This was in addition to our parishioners, who always like to pop in and see the displays.
The Flower Ladies produced some absolutely wonderful displays, which drew many appreciative comments and much clicking of cameras each day. The flowers really enhanced the whole building and were a wonderful interpretation of the theme of Landscapes. The parishioners of our Church are the "Lives" in our landscape, and there were photographs of people, past and present, who were and are its life-blood, and of some of the many activities in its life.
On the Sunday the Bell-Ringers gave a wonderful display of their art in the afternoon, demonstrating their skills to the eager visitors who climbed up to the Ringing Chamber. It's quite a climb, but well worth the effort.
Refreshments were served throughout the four days - thank you to the many volunteers who acted as Stewards, and who were also invaluable as Guides, being able to add local knowledge, and a wealth of anecdote to people's visits. Everyone worked so cheerfully to make the four days so successful: florists, ringers, stewards, visitors, or "clearer-uppers". It was a real team event.
Extracts from the Great War Parish Magazines - from the September 1916 magazineChurch Matters article in the September 2016 magazine
Notes from the Belfry September 2016
Mothers' Union - from the September 2016 magazine
As this is our 140 celebration year we have been to several branches to share with them. Ashtead and Bookham also had services and we thank Sheila Cole for carrying our Banner at the Bookham Service.
I have managed to gather up a few keepsakes to send to our link in Australia, and I wonder what they have been doing for their celebrations.
7th September we will be entertained by Hedley Kay, and hopefully be able to join in with him.
5th October we are privileged to have our new Deanery President Antonia Wilson to come along and give us a talk.
Members of our Church are always welcome to our meetings so if you would like to come along, we meet in the Parish Hall at 2.30pm on the first .Wednesday of each month.
If anyone would like a lift please contact on L8114322.
Leatherhead Community Association - from the September 2016 magazine
Come and enjoy the many activities, based at the Letherhead Institute, organized by the Leatherhead Community Association. On 28 September Jessica Saraga gives the first of two lectures: "Lost, Stolen and Strayed - the Dispersal of Art at the English Reformation". And there will be four further Art/History lectures before Christmas.
The monthly Tea and Talks afternoons start on 14 October, and on 11 November the Phoenix Entertainment Group (Bookham U3A) returns.
Visits are arranged each month up to and including December, and the recorded music afternoons continue as usual on every third Wednesday. Don't forget that there is Scrabble every other Friday, Social Bridge twice a month, and Table Tennis and Snooker every Monday afternoon.
Peter Humphreys' Autumn walks start on 7 September with a short walk on Holmwood Common. The other short walks are on the first Wednesdays of October, November, and December, and the first long walk is on 14 September, along the Wey canal at Ripley. There will be two other long walks in October and November. Peter usually makes sure that there is a pub stop for lunch, and he is very happy for you to ring him (01372 378347) for full information of all the walks.
There are several rooms available for hire at the Institute: there is limited parking but the Swan Centre multi-storey is close by.
Membership is only £5 a year and you are very welcome to visit. The library is open every morning, and you can borrow books or DVDs, and there is usually coffee or tea available. Please contact Sarah (01372 360508/email firstname.lastname@example.orgI: she is in the office every morning from 9.30 - 12.30 and can tell you about joining a walk ora visit, hiring a room, or more about the Institute.
Children's Church is taking a break ... - from the September 2016 magazine
We love it when lots of you tell us how much you enjoyed seeing and hearing from the children just after Communion. You will have noticed that the number of families in Church has declined - even though there are loads of baptisms. We have a small but faithful team of adults and children but with the pressures of modern life sometimes you need to just sit back, reflect and see what God is saying. Sometimes we can't hear God for all the hustle and bustle going on around us. Sometimes we need to simply be.
So we won't be holding kids' groups this Autumn, though you may find us in the Tower from time to time.
We will still keep in touch but we are freeing up space for the adults and the children to catch up on life, to see Grandma, to cook Sunday lunch, and to look for God and see where they may find him.
If you have any queries do contact L374914
CAKES. EGGS. CARDS. CRAFTS, HABERDASHERY, PLANTS Friday mornings 10.30 to 11.30 - from the September 2016 magazine
Sit and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea while you're here !
Parish Church Hall, Church Rd, Leatherhead
Contact: L374914 New stall ideas always welcome - regular or occasional!
Extracts from the Great War Parish Magazines - from the August 1916 magazineThere was no Church Matters article in the August 2016 magazine
Notes from the Belfry August 2016
AUTUMN FAYRE 15 Oct at noon
For news from the Friends of Leatherhead Parish Church please click on The Friends
Triel Comes to Leatherhead 2016 - from the August 2016 magazine
On Friday 13th May a group of local residents was gathered in the far reaches of the Leisure Centre car park to await the coach bringing our French visitors for their visit to Leatherhead. As many people know, Leatherhead is twinned with Triel-sur-Seine and every other year we visit each other: this year it was the turn of Triel to come to Leatherhead.
Many of us were looking forward to being with old friends again, and a few who were welcoming guests for the first time were wondering what the weekend would bring. We all knew that from the moment the visitors stepped off the coach our feet would not touch the ground nor our tongues stop wagging in French, Franglais or English until the following Monday morning.
After their journey from the North West of Paris, and with a stop-off at Leeds Castle on the way, the visitors spent the evening with their hosts over a welcoming supper, catching up with all the news from a year ago when Leatherhead had gone to France. However the whole party had to be back at the car park before 9am the next day as their coach was taking them to Greenwich for a full day's visit, seeing everything from the Painted Hall and the rest of the Naval College, up to the Observatory and the Meridian Line, and maybe a visit to the Cutty Sark thrown in.
On their return many of the hosts had joined forces and entertained several groups together in their homes. Now I am sure that you understand what I meant by tongues wagging!
On Sunday morning we had to be up early again as there was a reception given by Mole Valley in the Mansion when Cllr Margaret Cooksey, Chairman of MVDC, welcomed the visitors on behalf of Leatherhead, to which the Mayor of Triel replied, and gifts were exchanged. Sunday afternoon was left free for the Leatherhead hosts to entertain their guests as they wished, and as it was a fine day visits were made to Richmond Park, Wisley, and Polesden Lacey to name but a few. Some took the opportunity to have a quiet snooze before meeting at Tyrrells Wood Golf Club in the evening for the traditional Dinner/Dance. A delicious dinner was enjoyed by everyone and afterwards there was much dancing to the lively and motivating music of Atlantis, our local group. After a fine rendering of Auld Lang Syne we left promptly as there was another early call on the Monday morning.
The coach was leaving at 9am to return to France and, as it always takes over half an hour for all the goodbyes to be made, we needed to be early. There were also a few tears. But what a fantastic, if exhausting, weekend it had been, many friendships were renewed and many new ones were made. But these things do not just happen and a great deal of planning was done in the months beforehand by the Friends of Triel, to whom a great big thank you must be given. Now we have a year to recover before Leatherhead returns to Triel next year.
A Million Gifts to Celebrate the Queen's Birthday - from the August 2016 magazine
Churches throughout the country who celebrated the Queen's 90th birthday in June by giving away copies of "The Servant Queen and the King She Serves" have made it Britain's most popular book this year. Nearly one million copies were ordered in the space of five months.
The 64-page gift book, with a foreword by Her Majesty, was published by HOPE, Bible Society, and the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity, and uses the Queen's own words to draw out the central role of her trust in Jesus Christ.
As Roy Crowne, HOPE'S executive director, explains: "The Servant Queen has opened up lots of conversations about the Queen, her service to nation and Commonwealth, and the example of Jesus Christ which motivates Christians worldwide to serve people in their villages, towns and cities."
In our churchyard - from the August 2016 magazine
This memorial stone may be found North East of the church, by some yew trees:
SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF ANN GATES, FOR MANY YEARS AN INHABITANT OF THIS PARISH, WHO DIED ON THE 1st JUNE 1848 AGED 101 YEARS, HAVING SURVIVED HER HUSBAND ABOUT 9 YEARS.
ALSO OF HER MOTHER ANN WATSON, WHO DIED IN THIS PARISH AGED 105 YEARS. ANN GATES LEFT THREE GREAT GREAT GRANDCHILDREN AND ALSO SAW IN HER IMMEDIATE LINE AT LEAST SIX GENERATIONS. SHE RETAINED UNTIL A SHORT PERIOD OF HER DEATH WONDERFUL BODILY VIGOUR AND HER POWERS OF MIND WERE ALMOST UNIMPAIRED TO THE LAST.
READER, HOPE NOT TO LIVE SO LONG. NOT ONE IN 100,000 ATTAINS HER AGE. DESIRE NOT TO LIVE SO LONG.
SHE FOUND HER LATTER YEARS FULL OF LABOUR AND SORROW.
RATHER DESIRE AND STRIVE THAT YOU DIE EARLY YOU MAY NOT DIE UNPREPARED, AND THAT, IF YOU LIVE TO OLD AGE, YOUR GREY HAIRS MAY BE FOUND IN THE WAY OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.
The churchyard is well worth exploring!
Extracts from the Great War Parish Magazines - from the July 1916 magazineChurch Matters July 2016
Notes from the Belfry July 2016
London Moonwalk 2016 - Saturday 14 May - from the July 2016 magazine
It all started with an email from a friend last autumn: "I've signed up to do the Full Moonwalk Marathon next year, girls, and so far it's just me in the team - anyone want to join me?" The "girls" had met at antenatal class over 20 years ago and one of the group was now undergoing treatment for breast cancer. What was there to think about? Within a few days, we had all signed up, as the "Flower Power", team to walk the full 26.2 miles through London at night and raise as much as possible for "Walk the Walk" breast cancer charity.
January arrived and the scale of the challenge suddenly dawned - could I really walk farther than from Leatherhead to Guildford? Somewhat daunted, I nevertheless started walking regularly at least twice a week, soon found my fitness, pace, and confidence improving and by 14 May I was as ready as I'd ever be! On the big night, along with almost 17,000 other participants (women and men alike all sporting fabulously decorated bras, the trademark "dress code" for the night), our team set off from Clapham Common shortly before midnight.
Encouraged and cheered on by the general public (London is, we discovered, a city that never sleeps, even at 4am) and the event support volunteers we walked steadily through the night, through parks, along the Thames as far as Tower Bridge, past all the great landmarks, crossing the river several times and watched a clear dawn break over the city. It was a long, but magical night - discovering a city at night is an experience not to be missed - and the hours flew by. You are told there will be a point at which you will have to "dig deep", and while miles 21-24 seemed to me at least twice as long as any others, the training had stood me in good stead and the companionship, good humour, and fun of being with such a great crowd of people spurred me on. Finally, almost nine and a half hours after setting off, under blue sunny skies we crossed the finish line arm in arm, tired but elated and not just a little emotional at having seen it through together, in the company of so many other wonderful people. We had done it and had the medals to prove it!
Being part of such a memorable event, especially in its 20th anniversary year, was an inspiring and moving experience and taking up this challenge is one of the best things I have ever done. As a team we are delighted to have raised almost £6,000 for such a worthy cause, so thank you to everyone who kindly donated to my efforts, it is much appreciated. And if anyone fancies "a bit of a walk" next year - full or half marathon - you may like to know that you can already book your place for the 2017 Moonwalk! www.walkthewalk.org
Revd Carol Coslett - from the July 2016 magazine
Carol Coslett, who was both a Reader and Music Co-ordinator at St Mary & St Nicholas before training for ordination, and is Rector of the United Benefice of Betchworth and Buckland, has in recognition of her work in the Diocese of Southwark been appointed by Bishop Christopher as one of six Honorary Canons for Southwark Cathedral. She will be installed during Choral Evensong at 3pm on Sunday 18 September.
News from Leatherhead Youth Project - from the July 2016 magazine
Buckingham Palace Garden Party
Leatherhead Youth Project were really proud to be invited to the Queen's Garden Party at Buckingham Palace on 24th May. The garden party takes place three times in May each year, and recognises the service of charities, councillors, health workers, military personnel, and others in the community. We were fortunate to be nominated by The Lord Lieutenant for Surrey, Mr Michael More-Molyneux.
Joe and Jude Crome had a great afternoon, and luckily managed to be in the front row as the Queen and Royal Family walked past. A very memorable day!
A New Youth Worker
LYP is hiring a new youth worker. The role will involve engaging local young people aged 11-19 from Leatherhead in innovative projects and activities which build their confidence and respond to local needs. The core work will include being a vital part of the BFree Youth Cafe team, in addition to supporting and leading other projects and events at LYP, including provision of Christian faith-based activities in partnership with local Churches. The new worker will be asked to get to know the needs of local young people and start new groups and activities which will make a positive difference to their lives.
Connect Plus Raise £16,000
LYP were delighted to be one of the charities who benefitted from the Connect Plus fundraising cycle in May. Connect Plus, who maintain and repair the M25 on behalf of Highways England, cycled 300 miles over three days to raise money for Cancer Research and LYP. Thanks for your hard work guys!
Extracts from the Great War Parish Magazines - from the June 1916 magazineChurch Matters June 2016
Notes from the Belfry June 2016
Extracts from the Great War Parish Magazines - from the May 1916 magazineChurch Matters did not appear in the May 2016 magazine
Notes from the Belfry May 2016
The Parish Funding Programme 2016 GENEROUS GIVING - a way of living - from the May 2016 magazine
There has been no formal review of parish giving since 2011, but during last year a trial of the new diocesan Parish Giving Scheme was carried out by eleven parishioners. It has now been decided to extend the use of this new programme to as many people as possible. Everyone who gives regularly via a standing order or with a special envelope will be encouraged to change to the new scheme. Additionally, parishioners who, at the moment, are not in a planned giving scheme at all will be asked to think about joining the new Parish Giving Scheme.
There will be more information in the magazine, in special leaflets given out in church, and in the weekly notice papers. There is a leading article in this month's magazine about giving (page 3).
Additionally, we shall have visitors and members of the congregation speaking about the Parish Giving Scheme during morning services when scheme leaflets will be distributed. If you'd like more information but can't get to church in the next few weeks, telephone the Parish Office on 01372 362544 and a member of the PCC will bring leaflets to you.
Planned giving is really important to the health of our church. Please do review your giving and change to the new scheme if you possibly can.
Ken Bryant - from the May 2016 magazine
Heartfelt thanks to so many who have sent us such heart-warming letters and cards with sympathy and appreciation of dear Ken, what he was and what he did. We do miss him, but are really encouraged by all the friendship and support we have received. And we trust in the promise of new life for him in the presence of our Lord whom he served.
Christine Bryant and family
NHS Hearing Aid Care - from the May 2016 magazine
We are moving our hearing session from the third Sunday to the third Friday of the month, starting in May, and we will hold the sessions as part of Martha's Market, in the Parish Church Hall from 10.30 to 11.30 am. Come and see us there.
News from Leatherhead Youth Project - April 2016 - from the May 2016 magazine
Two weeks ago we had the privilege of taking 36 young people away for four days of fun at Freestyle Youth Camp. Freestyle Camp began in 2006 and this was a celebration of the tenth anniversary of the project, which takes place at Reeds School in Cobham. Freestyle is a fantastic experience for young people, with loads of activities on offer, including swimming, sports, games, workshops which teach new skills, and the end-of-camp talent show. The young people had a great time, with their overall enjoyment score being 9.18 out of 10 (all young people were surveyed at the end of the camp).
What did the young people say? "It was AMAZING!!" "Freestyle is my favourite thing to do all year!" "I really loved it!" "It was the best four days ever."
Surrey Hills Outdoor Learning
In March we ran a new project in partnership with the Surrey Hills AONB and Therfield School, which aimed to provide young people who may not normally access the Surrey Hills with two days of outdoor learning and. adventure. The first day was an excellent lesson in outdoor survival with Jay Bristow (Woodland Forest School). Jay led the young people
through basic survival skills such as shelter building, making a fire, and cooking in the great outdoors. The second day was action packed with BIKE, who took our young people through a varied course of mountain bike trails and challenges
Outdoor learning is something we really believe in and we hope to provide more events like this in the future with our local partners. A huge thank you to the Surrey Hills Fund for sponsoring the activities.
Surrey Hills Community Radio DJ - from the May 2016 magazine
I have recently started as a regular DJ with Surrey Hills Community Radio. I broadcast twice a month on the first and third Fridays from 3:00 - 5:00pm. I have the pseudonym of "Jules The Rambler". My signature tune is "I Love To A Rambling Along....". So far I have produced two shows, so still at novice level but learning fast. I absolutely love it and the two hours pass so swiftly, as they are apt to do when you are having fun! My themes so far have included songs with walk and walking and trees in the title. My chat between the music is part background history and partly my thoughts and ponderances. If you would like to catch my show and are not able to listen to it live then you can always listen to it on cloud catchup. You just Google Surrey Hills Community Radio and do a search. I am planning to have friends/guests on the show and also play requests. I truly believe in community and am passionate about this.
Juliet Campbell aka DJ "Jules The Rambler"
Extracts from the Great War Parish Magazines - from the magazine for April 1916Church Matters for April 2016
Martha's Market - from the April 2016 magazine
There has been a Friday market in Leatherhead Parish Church Hall for almost fifty years, first run by the W.I. Now it is to be run by the Parish Church, with the name "Martha's Market" (Remember Martha and Mary?)
The new market will appeal to a wider group of both buyers and sellers. As well as produce and crafts there will be other stalls of anything anyone wants to sell! Bric-a-brac, books, haberdashery, crafts, Fair Trade, and so on.
If you have anything to sell, come and sell it! Every week, once a month, or once in a blue moon! You run your own stall, and pay a percentage of the money you make to the market, to cover the overheads. Strict standards of hygiene are still maintained, and insurance is provided by the church insurers.
The first new-look market was on Friday February 29th. Many old faces were there selling cakes, savoury food, and plants. Eggs were still sold, and, as ever, Norma presided over the kitchen.
Do please support this venture, and apply for further details to Janine Stagg, at the market (haberdashery!) or on L374914.
National Society Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools (SIAMS) Report: Leatherhead Trinity - from the April 2016 Magazine
In January 2016 Leatherhead Trinity School was inspected by SIAMS. Their report is worth publicising to a wider audience.
Leatherhead Trinity, in Kingston Road, is a larger than average primary school, with 408 pupils. It is an ecumenical school representing three Christian denominations: Anglican, Methodist, and United Reformed. It has two sites, one of which is a large Children's Centre. The number of children with learning difficulties and/or disabilities is above the average. The number of pupils with English as an additional language is rising. However, attendance has improved and is now close to the national average.
The school's distinctiveness and effectiveness as a Church School are good: pupils discuss matters of faith and belief openly and with confidence; the high level of pastoral care ensures that all pupils are nurtured academically and emotionally; and the strong commitment of senior leaders ensures that there is continued improvement as a Church School.
A particular strength of the school's aims is the extent to which an explicit Christian ethos makes a difference to the lives of pupils and their families in the school community. In consequence the pupils' attitude and approaches to learning is improving. A core set of five values has been explored and are increasingly becoming integral to teaching and learning. These are: respect, truth, love, forgiveness, and commitment. Pupils have a good awareness of these, and articulate how respect encompasses the other four. They explain how these values together help them in their relationships with each other and with adults.
A central spiritual area is highly regarded by pupils, who say that it gives them space to be still and quiet. The impact of collective worship on the school community is good. They say that learning about Jesus helps them to become "better people".
The headteacher, fully supported by governors and staff, has ensured that the school has made good progress since the previous inspection in developing a Christian ethos which has the welfare of the children at its heart. The ecumenical foundation of the school is an asset because representatives of the three Christian denominations bring a range of perspectives, giving a broad vision of Christianity.
Links with the Churches are valued by parents and children alike. Parents say that the focus on respect helps their children to appreciate a range of different faiths and cultures, and that the school helps them make up their own minds about belief.
To read the full report: https://www.churchofengland.org/pdf/schoolreports/2015_2016/Guildford_Leatherhead%20Trinity_25.01.16_135009.pdf
No Abiding City - from the March 2016 magazine
On 24th January the Bishop of Cyprus and the Gulf addressed a large audience in Leatherhead Theatre on how the recent history of the Middle East has contributed to the desperate situation that exists there today. Bishop Michael gave us a hard hitting account in a very charming and disarming manner. What could be described as an "iron fist in a velvet glove".
He began by emphasising how Christianity had been establish throughout the region long before it reached Europe; and described the many different churches and denominations which have existed for millennia, but which are now under great threat.
He emphasised how many of the current problems can be laid directly at the door of the West, and particularly American and British foreign policy. Beginning of course with the ill-judged and disastrous invasion of Iraq, and continued with our intervention in Egypt and Syria. How "we" pick and choose which of the "baddies" we should remove, seldom with any post-invasion plan, while leaving in power those to whom we sell arms.
Bishop Michael then took questions from the audience which he answered from a great depth of knowledge and wisdom.
The huge and disparate ancient denominations may have virtually gone, but the Christian disciples in the Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf continue to exert a positive presence in the area. They need all the prayerful support we can give.
Gail Partridge, Sue Roberts
The Queen - A Message from the Church Buildings Council - from the March 2016 magazine
With the approval and agreement of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, the Church Buildings Council is encouraging every parish church in England to organise a festival on the weekend of 10-12 June 2016 to celebrate the Queen's 90th birthday and her role as head of the Church of England. This will coincide with official celebrations taking place in London.
The variety of potential forms for the celebrations is huge, from flower festivals to organ, bell-ringing or choir festivals, food or even beer festivals! - and it is hoped that, wherever possible, every church will take part.
In addition, to coincide with the Queen's birthday the Church Buildings Council hope that every church will be able to organise an exhibition of the life of its parish over the previous 90 years. Such exhibitions should, by charting the changes in the lives of our communities since 1926, highlight the ways in which parish churches have been and remain the focus of those communities, and be a celebration both of our churches and of the people that they serve. They hope that most parishes will be able to find photographs, artworks and oral history connected with their church and the local area.
Though the onus will be on parishes to arrange their events, the Church Buildings Council will act as a hub for ideas and as a central coordination point. They will soon be sending out guidance on the organisation of these events, and all relevant guidance will be available on the ChurchCare.co.uk website. Details of events will appear on ChurchDays.co.uk.
Burns' Night in Leatherhead - A Very Scottish Affair - from the March 2016 magazine
As Bums' Nights go, I think this was one of the best! The parish church hall shook to the sound of the haggis being addressed, and the floor is probably still suffering from the stamping of feet which some of the dances demanded.
We were greeted by a wee dram of whisky - the kind to which the adding of water would be sacrilege! Everything was planned to the last detail. Former Churchwarden Peter Leith addressed the haggis with a passion not seen since Culloden - it made one relieved that we are now on the same side. Heaven help the cook who produced inferior haggis - "auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware", he warned in rich Aberdonian tones. He then attacked the poor creature with his dirk in a manner which belied his praises. The cooks need not have worried. The haggis, neeps and tatties were admirably cooked, and we were even offered a choice between gravy with or without whisky - the former was lovely, but what a waste of good liquor.
Before the dancing, to aid digestion, Church Treasurer Alan Fleming, from Paisley, entertained us with his rendering of "Just a wee dioch an doris" and "I belong tae Glasgow" - Harry Lauder would have been proud. Alan was ably accompanied by Beverley Mehta (from Sutton, but that couldn't be helped), who led the singing of "Loch Lomond" and "The Skye Boat Song". Arguments grew as to the best way to kill your haggis: maybe creeping up as it slept? My favourite centres round the fact that since the haggis always runs clockwise round its mountain, its right legs are shorter than the left. It is therefore totally unbalanced when the hunter leaps out from behind a rock, making it turn round. It then rolls down the hill, to be bopped on the head by another hunter below.
In his sermon the following day, the Rector described the evening as the best kind of family get-together - spot on.
for photos of the evening http://leatherheadparish.com/burns-night/
Ken Bryant - 1921-2016 - from the March 2016 magazine
Ken Bryant was a very good servant to the church, and to Leatherhead. His welcoming smile, his kindness and gentle humour will be much missed.
He was churchwarden twice, also a Samaritan, and then a member of the Victim Support team.
Ken was an only child, born in Bristol in 1921. His parents' background was not academic, but Ken won two scholarships, first to Bristol Grammar School, then to St. John's College College, Oxford, where he gained a First Class Honours degree in Chemistry.
As a science student, Ken was not called up for military service in the Second World War, and only graduated in 1943. He then spent a year in Trinidad analysing the component parts of different petrols.
On his return to the UK, he joined Monsanto Chemicals and stayed with them for the rest of his career. He enjoyed developing new petroleum-based plastic products, such as Clingfilm.
He and his wife Hilda met in Watford in 1948, when she was headmistress of a school and ran a Youth Group. Ken became involved in running the "Boys' Night", and shocked a visiting Education Officer by allowing the boys to address him as Ken. He worked in many different places, finishing in London in the 1960s. He and Hilda and their three children moved to Leatherhead, where they both joined the church and the Samaritans, and started a Drama Group. They called their new house "Quintus" - it was the fifth home!
Hilda died in 1983, and in 1986 Ken and Christine were married. They were both very active in church life, and both had a mother in her nineties. They spent a happy thirty years in Bookham and Leatherhead, always closely connected to Leatherhead church. After two stints as churchwarden under Sandy Morris, Ken chaired the Parish Survey for David Eaton, and produced its report on the state of the parish.
Latterly, he has delighted his carers and everyone he met with his humour, and enjoyed reciting rhymes and limericks to them!
Leatherhead Community Market > Martha's Market - from the March 2016 magazine
Many local people, including members of the Parish Church, were sad to hear of the closure of Leatherhead Community Market. The Market has performed a valuable role in the life of the Leatherhead community -both practically and as a social event in our week.
Bearing this in mind, a new look event is to be created which will be open to the public every Friday (almost) from 10.30 to 11.30am, in the Parish Church Hall. It will launch on the first Friday of March - the 4th -when you will again be able to shop and chat over a cup of coffee. And it will be called "Martha's Market" - we promise you, it will catch on!
Dates for March are: 4th, 11th, 18th, (not 25th as it is Good Friday), and then April 1st, 8th' and so on.
Please come along - and bring a friend!
If you are interested in helping or would like to have your own regular or occasional stall, or if you have ideas about the new format and what it could do, please speak to me at The Sewing Shop, or phone L374914.
Flowers - from the March 2016 magazine
... Alison Draper will be taking over the Church flower rota from me after Easter.
Thank you to the flower team for your help and support over the last 12 years.
Extracts from the Great War Parish Magazines - from the February magazineChurch Matters for February 2016
14.2.16: Ken Bryant, former Churchwarden, died on 5th February. His funeral will be in Church at 1.45pm on Wednesday 9th March. Please remember Christine and their family in your prayers.
Fostering - A Very Special Way of Loving - from the February 2016 magazine
Three or four times a year the Sisters Together group has a speaker at its monthly breakfast meeting. On Saturday 9th January it was well worth getting up early to hear Ruth, a foster mother who has also adopted one of the family's foster children.
Ruth and her husband got into fostering almost by accident: all five children of a local family needed to be fostered, and Ruth and her husband offered to have one of the children to stay. In the event they weren't needed after all, but the seeds had been sown. Was fostering something they could do? They already had two boys of their own, aged 8 and 3. Was it fair on them? Could they cope? Would their marriage stand the inevitable strain? Was it something to which God was calling them?
That was five years ago, and their fears turned out to be groundless.
Yes, it can be tough, especially when the time comes for the children they have grown to love move on, either back to their birth parents, or to adoptive families for life. Their two boys are now 13 and 8, and have grown into the task, which is a way of life for all of them. They have now adopted a six-year-old who came as a foster child: a boy of mixed race, and with learning difficulties. Adoptive parents were hard to find.
As well as their support from Kingston Social Services Ruth and her family also have close support and encouragement from the charity Home for Good, whose vision is to find families for the 4,000 children waiting for adoption, and to provide the 8,600 foster families who are desperately needed. They believe that the Church has an important role to play in raising awareness of the need, encouraging families to provide loving homes, and welcoming and supporting them into their communities.
Ruth spoke of the ways in which our congregations can help fosterers, by praying for both parents and children, by offering practical help such as a cooked meal, especially in the first few days after a new arrival comes, and by being sensitive to the feelings of all. Might there be anyone we know who could take on the job of fostering? A testing job if ever there was one, but immensely rewarding.
The collect on Sunday seemed very relevant: "Grant to us, who are born again by water and the Spirit, that we may be faithful to our calling as your adopted children..."
Hearing? - from the March 2016 magazine
Alison Draper and I have been trained by the Diocese and the NHS to help maintain NHS hearing aids - what this means is we can clean, retube, change batteries, etc.
On Sunday 21 February after Church and at Coffeetime we will try to help you with your hearing aids. Non-church goers welcome. Look out for us in the South Aisle.
We propose to offer this service initially on a monthly basis (third Sundays).
Sheila Cole (L205720) and Alison Draper
Help Needed - from the March 2016 magazine
If you have a car, enjoy meeting people, and want to make yourself useful, have you thought of joining the Leatherhead and District Voluntary Car Service.
We take patients to surgery and hospital appointments. We pick them up at their homes, take them to their appointment, and take them back home afterwards. If they want company or an arm to lean on, we can give that too (don't worry, all members are insured!).
It's not onerous, but it's an invaluable help for those who no longer drive. A taxi is a poor alternative, as it may be prohibitively expensive.
You would probably be called upon about once a week, at a time to suit you, and expenses are covered.
If you think you could help, please ring S Hill on L372165. Or you can talk to members of the congregation who already do it: Frances Presley, Sue Roberts, or Alison Wright.
Luke's Account of Christ's Baptism - Chris Stagg's sermon 10.01.2016 - from the March 2016 magazine
It is very encouraging and not a little humbling when people come up after a sermon to mention how it has impacted them. As a number have requested a copy of my sermon based on Luke's account of Christ's Baptism, delivered at the 10.30am on January 10th, I am pleased to provide it here. But please do feel free to discuss it further with me!
Theme: What it meant to Him, what it should mean to us.
I know the recent floods in some parts of the country are not to laugh about. But I've seen a picture of a car going too fast through a big puddle, which caused it to cascade water over some pedestrians standing on the pavement. And the caption read: "Drive by Baptisms!"
When Jesus stepped into the River Jordan, He was stepping into the fullness of God's purpose for His life. What difference did it make to Him? His ministry started: Matthew 11 v5 (healed the sick, lame walk etc.) It's crucial to realise that the verses leading up to today's Gospel reading about the baptism of Jesus make it clear that if and when we are baptised into His family, then we are not to take God for granted. Read it for yourself, but John the Baptist makes it clear that God is expecting more - He's wanting, as we often pray, "His Kingdom to come, on earth as it is in Heaven". So what difference does our baptism make to us?
If you offer this £10 note in payment, a shop is legally obliged to accept. Although they might ask if you have anything smaller if buying something for 20p and offer a £10 note. But then isn't it kind of rude - and thus contrary to His Kingdom - to offer a £10 note for a 20 pence item?! It wouldn't matter in Sainsbury's. But it would in a small independent shop. A £10 note? Pound Sterling.
Or the Great British Pound. Abbreviated as GBP. As solid as the Bank of England. Who, as the note says: "promise to pay.." But by joining this family - through our own baptism - we have a different GBP in our lives, something even more solid. More reliable. More dependable. Yes, even compared to the Great British Pound!
GRACE. BLESSING. PEACE. GBP.
Grace: Could read many books, or talk for hours, about "grace".
But, that defeats the point.
Grace is freely offered, to be freely received. And freely lived out. Simple.
A lyric from a song, titled: Grace
What once was hurt What once was friction What left a mark No longer stings Because Grace makes beauty Out of ugly things Grace finds beauty in everything.
And to add to that, Grace finds beauty in EVERYONE!
Today's Old Testament reading, from Isaiah 43, said, to them, then, but also relevant to us, now: "you are precious and honoured in my sight". So, surely that's the point. Amazing grace: a free gift, getting something good when we don't deserve it. Unmerited. That shows that - as it said in Isaiah - we are all equal in God’s sight.
"Religion" says that to find god, you must do this, must do that. Christianity, however, says that God finds you! Only thing you need to then do is, as Revelation 3 v20 says, "open the door and invite Him in".
And having got it, then what? Keep it to yourself? No! Hide yourself away? No! The bible tells us: Love God, and love your neighbour as you love yourself.
As the sign outside a church says: "love your enemies, it will drive them crazy!" The comedian - and Christian - Milton Jones said: "words are not enough." Yes, Grace is something you receive.
Then something you DO. Something you pass on to others.
The next part of GBP....
Blessing: we are blessed to be a blessing, to others. And by the act of blessing others we are blessed even more! Try it, it works! But it's not about living beyond our capabilities. It's about using the time, talents and treasure that His grace has given us, where we are at any particular point in our lives. We all have something, of ourselves, to offer others.
On Christmas Day morning here Graham was inviting those gathered to communion. He said words to the effect of "if not to receive communion, then to come up for a blessing". Two young children sitting in the middle of the church, here with their mother, (I'd not seen them before) rushed straight up to the front to the rail. They didn't know the protocol of waiting for the sides-men to say it was their turn. But does that matter? The point is they were so very keen to get their "blessing"! They didn't sit there and think it through intellectually. They simply wanted the blessing that was on offer. And rushed to get it.
It has been said that, and I quote: "We know that intellectualism is a big fraud. And some of the biggest deceivers of mankind are intellectuals." (Then a quote from a Derek Nimmo book, Jesus asking an intellectual who he thinks Jesus is and receiving an overly-complicated response, missing the point completely!)
I particularly like an advert on TV at the moment. Two young guys sitting on the sofa playing computer games. They realise they need some ice for the party they're planning for that evening. One goes out. Snow is on the ground. Pavement is very icy and slippery. On his way to the shop he sees an elderly gentleman tentatively looking outside his front door, wanting to go shopping himself. But he takes one look at the icy, slippery pavement and aborts his trip and goes back inside. The camera then moves to the shop and sees the young guy picking his ice packet out of the freezer cabinet. On his way to the checkout he stops and then picks up some other groceries. Going back to his house you see him drop a carrier bag off at the elderly gentleman's house, ring his doorbell and wander on. The last thing we see is the gentleman opening his door, seeing the carrier bag full of groceries, and realising it's been left for him. Blessed to be a blessing. To others.
I'm sure like me you may well have listened to the Queen's Christmas Message: Amongst other bits, she said: "Despite being displaced and persecuted throughout His short life, Christ's unchanging message was not one of revenge or violence but simply that we should love one another.
Although it is not an easy message to follow we shouldn't be discouraged: rather, it inspires us to try harder; to be thankful for the people who bring love and happiness into our own lives; and to look for ways of spreading that love to others, whenever and wherever we can.
She also said a phrase I particularly liked, to emphasise the need to count our blessings rather than dwell on negativity; or to be negative. To not be a person who always moans or who has a complaining nature. She said: "There's an old saying that 'it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness'." I like that!
So, G and B. Now P:
Peace: just like the certainty of knowing that your £10 note is good, solid, reliable, dependable. And going to be accepted in payment. The certainty of knowing that He is there. He is with us. Always. Jesus' promise as relayed in Matthew 28 v 20: "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
But this "peace" comes with practise. It's there, you have it as part of the gift given to you. But you need to stay plugged into the source to keep yourself reassured that He is there, with you, always, to the very end of the age! A bit like the log removed from the fire. Any fire within it will soon then fade away and die.
I’ve said before, here, about the benefit of using daily bible reading notes to help you to keep plugged into His Peace. It’s "funny" how the reading, the thought, for a particular day can fit your circumstances so well.
Over the past year I've had some issues impacting my own life. But the reading on a recent, particularly bad day, told me, and I quote: "Get your eyes off the rear-view mirror and on to the road ahead. God has great things in store for you; that's what the battle in your life is about."
A bit like the refiner's fire story: the silversmith keeping a close eye on the silver he's refining until he knows that the silver has reached perfection when he can see his own reflection in it.
That helps to give me Peace. The peace, the certainty, of being reassured that: "Wow! God is with me, always".
And as another church sign says:
NO Jesus, NO peace.
KNOW Jesus, KNOW peace.
Are our circumstances bigger than God? No! He is the first, the last, the beginning and the end. Keeper of creation, Creator of the universe, Manager of all time. He always was, always is, always will be. The world can't understand Him; its armies can't defeat Him; its schools can't explain Him; its leaders can't ignore Him. Herod couldn't kill Him. The Pharisees couldn't confuse Him (they're sad-u-cee!). Nero couldn't crush Him. Hitler couldn't silence Him. He's the power of the powerful, the Ancient of Days, the Ruler of rulers, the Leader of leaders. He is holy, mighty and true. His ways are right, His Word eternal and His will unchanging. He is Redeemer, Saviour, Lord and Guide. When I fail, He forgives. When I am weak, He is strong. When I am lost, He's the way. When I'm afraid, He is my courage. When I stumble, He steadies me. When I'm broken, He mends me. When I face loss, He provides for me. When I face death, He carries me home. He said it, that settles it. He is on my side. It is well with my soul!
As a baptised member of this church family have you got this GBP in your life? Not the £10 note. But: His Grace. His Blessing. His Peace.
I'll end with a statement seen at another, local, church's Christmas tree festival in December, I know some of you went to see it: "Our vision is where God's love is shown through loving, respectful, and flowering relationships."
So as the wartime poster of Winston Churchill said: "Let us go forward together ". In the sure and certain knowledge of His G B P - His grace, blessing and His peace - for each and every one of us. Happy New Year!
Extracts from the Great War Parish Magazines - from the January magazineChurch Matters for January 2016
A Letter from our Children and Families Worker - from the January 2016 magazine
Hello, I'm Ester van Dijk, I come from Rotterdam, Holland. I was born and raised there. I studied Teaching in my hometown, but when I completed half of the course I received a true calling in my life. Although I was brought up in the Christian faith, I became a disciple of Christ when I was 19 years old. I left my college in Rotterdam and started studying for a Bachelor of Theology degree in the middle part of Holland.
After that I became a youth worker in a local Church in the north of my country, a job for a start, because it was temporary. I've been a youth or pastoral worker in several Churches, and for seven years at a district centre, as a Church adviser. During all that I started to study part time for my Master's degree in Theology. And when I finished my Bachelor studies, I was a part time teacher in primary schools, teaching Religion to Non Church children. I've learned a lot from that.
Now I'm your Children and Families Worker. I'm very happy with this job because it is a combination of all my experience. I looked for a job in the U.K. because jobs like this aren't available in Holland and I wanted to work in a different context. I enjoy this wonderful place very much and I hope together with you all to achieve targets and be very fruitful in every way.
Ester van Dijk
Poppy Appeal - from the January magazine
In the November magazine I mentioned that I would give a final up-date for the Poppy Appeal. The total to-date is £20,000. One of the cadets raised £400 on his own, a great achievement.
Once again, many thanks to all those who helped, we could not raise this kind of money without you.
Derrick & Jane Summerfield
Church Watch - Thank You! - from the January magazine
As most readers of the magazine will know, since September the church has been open for visitors. Therefore Church Watch has been disbanded with immediate effect. A BIG "Thank you" to all the volunteer stewards who so faithfully kept the church open for visitors for so many years.
Legacy Meeting - Guildford 2015 Diocesan Meeting in Guildford Regarding Wills and Legacies - from the January magazine
I attended the above meeting last month for a briefing on the coming launch of Legacy Giving awareness, which is to be presented to all PCCs in the Diocese. The Diocese is conscious that today there are many organisations and charities seeking legacies and that the awareness of giving to one's Parish Church has, in a way, been left behind by our not reminding each other. In our changing world and the increasing financial pressures placed on our resources we should all seize the opportunity in our Will to thank God for our lives by leaving a gift to the PCC of the Parish Church.
The Diocese is reviewing the information provided to solicitors when assisting clients with their Will, and issuing publicity which will be on display in our church along with our own pamphlet, beautifully drawn up by one of our congregation. The PCC will be shown a short video on the subject and we will be talking to you over the coming months.
If anyone wishes to have a word with me on the making of a thank you gift to our church when preparing their Will, I will be delighted to help where I can.
Once or twice a year you can expect a member of the PCC to talk on this subject by way of a reminder.
Jill Rosser Legacy Officer
An Update on Church Cleaning - from the January magazine
We are a band of willing, hard-working, ageing, cheerful volunteers, working in teams to help keep the church clean and tidy. It's a big church. We're a small band.
We work in teams, one team for one hour, at 9.30 am on a Saturday. Ideally we have 4/5 members on each team, but in reality it is nearer 2/3. We vacuum the Nave, Aisles, Chancel, Vestries, Chapel, and Tower We dust pews, doors, rails, sundry furnishings, window sills, monuments, plaques, nooks and crannies. We empty bins, and sweep/wash/dust the Porch. Not everything can be done in only one hour every week, but as volunteers we are unable to spend more time.
In Spring we have an open house all-hands-to-the-pump-Spring-Clean with refreshments. Sounds good? Come and join us!! "US" comprises:
Saturday before 1st Sunday of the month: Team 1: Roger Lynch, Peter Ford, 2 vacancies
Saturday before 2nd Sunday of the month: Team 2: Ruth Buss, Angela Rive, Rosemary Henderson, 1 vacancy
Saturday before 3rd Sunday of the month: Team 3: Peter Sang, Sue Roberts, Juliet Campbell, 1vacancy
Saturday before 4th Sunday of the month: Team 4 Sue Roberts, Jan Yeates Frances Nuttall, Margaret Ludford
On four occasions there is a fifth Sunday therefore a 5th team cleans on the day before: Team 5 Frank Haslam, Sue Roberts, 2 vacancies
If you feel inspires to join any of these teams we shall be delighted to see you. Please call Sue Roberts L376771