Parish of Leatherhead in earlier years/in construction

This page shows first a chronology of some notable events in the life of the church family in the earlier years of this website.





















November 1999 - Parish Church improvements

During November details will be displayed in both our churches about improvements to the vestries in the Parish Church. This is part of the procedure needed to obtain a Faculty for the work to be undertaken from The Chancellor of the Diocese, the senior ecclesiastical lawyer. What is proposed has already received the support of the Church Council and the Diocesan Advisory Committee on the Care of Churches.

What is planned is the creation of a new vestry in what was the organ loft housing the wind-blown 19th century organ before it was dismantled, and improvements to the existing ground floor vestry, both in the North Transept. The old organ loft has a temporary balustrade, this will be replaced by a screen designed to fit in with existing woodwork and partly glazed: a new internal staircase will be introduced; there will be improved cupboards; a better arrangement and sink for flower arrangers and some other improvements.

The first floor vestry will be designated a Clergy vestry and the ground floor one a Churchwardens' vestry.

Why are these changes and improvements necessary?

These arrangements amount to only achieving the kind of provision that would be normal in a present day secular working environment.

Because it has been hoped for some time to make these improvements, bequests received in recent years have been earmarked for these purposes. We will not be sure what the final costing will be until we go out to tender but I expect it to be around 30,000. With the Bequest Fund and Parish Church Fabric Fund part of this money is already in place.

However, the repairs to the North Transept Roof have proved more expensive than originally envisaged, up from 5,000 to 15,000. This has depleted present funds despite generous grants from The Friends of the Parish Church and Mole Valley District Council. Some fund raising is therefore likely but this can follow once formal approval and final pricing has been achieved.

I hope you will find these improvements pleasing and practical and I commend them to you. They complete the programme of refurbishment which began with the re-ordering in the Nave, and mean that the Parish Church will be well suited for the worship and service requirements of a New Millennium.


October 1999 Getting Together with Mickleham

Towards the end of August my wife and I travelled on the Tarka Line out of Exeter Station northwards, to Barnstaple. (So called because of an association with Tarka the Otter). We passed through some beautiful Devon countryside and the small hamlets and villages that nestle there.

We were on our way to visit some old friends who have moved into a Vicarage in one of the villages. Our friend, Arthur, has just become responsible for eleven parishes in that part of the country. He is not single-handed but he is Incumbent of all the parishes through the uniting of the benefices.

This is a device in Ecclesiastical Law where one priest becomes Vicar (or Rector) for more than one parish. The parishes are not united. Each retains its own church, church council and parish boundary. There has been surprisingly little uniting of benefices in the Guildford Diocese although local examples would be Effingham with Little Bookham and St. Martin's Dorking with Ranmore.

These have been brought about by a decline in the number of ordained clergy in full time service and, to some extent, the cash needed to pay them. Small parishes that once had their own Incumbent are now joined to others by uniting the office of the Incumbent in each case, known as the benefice, so that one person can hold the responsibility for more than one parish.

I am writing all this because the Bishop, through our Archdeacon Mark Wilson, has asked the parishes of Leatherhead and Mickleham with Westhumble to consider such an arrangement. This has been discussed at Church Council level, in both parishes, and some informal meeting betveen the clergy and PCCs concerned has taken place.

We have agreed to set up a joint working party consisting of Incumbents and Churchwardens to draw up a scheme to see if the two parishes could come together. There are a number of practical implications involved, e.g. staffing, housing, finance and services.

If a scheme were to go ahead the Vicar of Leatherhead would also become Rector of Mickleham in due course. Nothing has yet been formally agreed and in any case before it can be it has to go all the way to the Privy Council! However, I want everyone to be in the picture that discussions are taking place to see if we can come to a sensible and practical arrangement.

It is not just a question of finding agreement on paper. What is more important is that good relations are established, and also, that the mission of the church can benefit from a new pastoral understanding.

To help this process along The Revd Barbara Steadman-Allen (Rector of Mickleham) and myself will exchange morning services on October 10th so that we can be seen and meet with the congregations in each other's parishes. From Leatherhead's point of view this will be a combined service to include both All Saints and Parish Church congregations.

Please pray for all concerned. This is a big issue for both parishes and we need to find God's way forward.

David Eaton


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last updated 5 Feb 15