The Curate writes …
There are some things about Jesus that we will never be able to understand on this side of heaven.
We will never understand the real misery and sadness that Jesus experienced on the cross. We do everything we can to prolong life and postpone death. Most people fear the pain of death. My experience as a priest and previously as a psychologist is that many people, including Christians, fear death and feel uncertainty of life beyond.
The New Testament tells us that Jesus died for every sin that has ever been and ever will be committed. He has taken all that sin on himself. Jesus conquered death and evil through allowing himself to be sacrificed.
We will never understand what went on in that spiritual battle in heaven when Jesus died on the cross. Every time we read the words “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” we read a mystery. How could God forsake Himself? How can God who is spiritual and immortal become human and die?
I do not know. Nor do you. We will never understand what it is to be completely forgiven and cleansed from our sins. We will never understand our redemption. For these are spiritual mysteries.
I believe that one day, beyond death, all of these mysteries will be made clear. For now, through the revelation of God in Scripture, we can know that there is only one Sacrifice for the sins of all. We can know there is a way of coming close to God and this involves his forgiveness through Jesus. We can know there is a plan of salvation for all and it is only made possible through Jesus Christ who died for us, who said “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”
This is what matters. You can have the sure knowledge if not the complete understanding. These promises are for you. Jesus calls you to respond to him with your faith, your repentance and your willingness to obey him. At your baptism you were promised the forgiveness of sins and the gift of God’s Holy Spirit to empower you to live a Christian life. He promised never to forsake you. He has not and he will not.
Many, many more people beyond the Christian faith do not begin to understand. But with your help they could know. This Easter rejoice in your knowledge of the saving love of Jesus – and share it!
CHURCH MATTERS for April
The next step in the process to complete all of the repairs identified by the Quinquennial inspection will be the appointment by the PCC of a Construction Design and Management Co-ordinator so that we conform to the appropriate legislation for the works to be done, and ensure that the work is carried out to the appropriate quality, and uses safe working practices. Our Inspecting Architect has recommended an appropriate contractor to do this work. We should also soon have a costed schedule of the work to be done. Unfortunately, as each week goes by our aged building shows its age and, since the Quinquennial inspection, we’ve had rain coming into the choir vestry and a part of the tiled chancel floor has begun to sink. We hope that tenors, baritones and basses will be able to hang on to their stalls and keep their heads – and voices – where we can see and hear them.
To help in the identification of possible candidates to be our new Bishop the Statement of Needs was on display on the churchwarden’s notice board for several weeks and parishioners could make observations about the kind of Bishop they think we need in writing, verbally to me as Deanery Lay Chair, or at advertised consultation meetings. This Statement of Needs has interesting information about our diocese. How many of these questions can you answer?
What are the six other dioceses that enclose the diocese of Guildford, and how many deaneries and parishes does it have? The diocese has a population of just over one million, but the density of population – the number of people per square mile – at 1,879 is four times the national average of 411.
The diocese has an annual budget of around £11 million and aims to break even each year. About 70% of this budget is spent on ministry provision and training. The budget is almost entirely funded by parish share receipts. All parishes pay equally for their direct ministry costs, and then “shared” costs are calculated on the basis of adult Sunday attendance and a “prosperity” factor based on council tax banding of houses. Although the diocese can be seen as an affluent one, financial giving is “only average”. I wonder what a similar calculation would show for our parish.
Finally on this topic, what kind of bishop are we seeking? Phrases used in the statement include “a Godly and courageous leader”, “a creative leader who will seek to inspire and enable rather than direct”, “able to connect with young people” and in favour of women’s ministry. In the diocese now about one third of all licensed clergy are women.
Are you on the Electoral Roll? Our current electoral roll has about 50 fewer people on it than the last one. Did you forget to register? Being on the roll means that you can vote at the Annual Parochial Church meeting, stand for election to the PCC, and be a sidesman. Enrol now by completing a form from Jane Andrews or Frank Haslam or from the table in church near the north door.
..................and our six neighbouring dioceses are London, Southwark, Chichester, Portsmouth, Winchester, and Oxford. There are twelve deaneries and 163 parishes.
Thanks to Kuhan for attending our AGM on the 5th March and leading us in Prayers with the Imposition of Ashes. I know it was very much appreciated. On the 2nd April we have the privilege of welcoming Janet Mathews, Chief Guide for Guildford Cathedral. We will be holding a raffle. All are welcome. Jane Summerfield Leatherhead Royal British Legion On 27th April we are jointly holding with the Women’s Section a Celebration to mark the occasion of the RBL 80th Anniversary and our Women’s Section 60th Anniversary. This will be held in the Chapel at St. John’s School, commencing at 3pm. All are welcome, but if possible please let me know if you are able to attend so that I can give St John’s an idea for catering.
Derrick Summerfield (811422)
Leatherhead Morning W.I.
Our February meeting was well attended, and we were pleased to welcome back two of our members, who we haven’t seen for a while.
Our President gave a report on subjects raised at our previous meeting, and a reminder of the trip to the Chilterns in April.
Also in April, the Leatherhead W.I. celebrate their 29th birthday, and the event will take place at 2pm that day, in the usual venue.
Our guest speaker was Sheila Ford, who is the Verger at the Parish Church. She gave an interesting and entertaining talk last year, about her working life, teaching in South Africa and Australia, and her many adventures along the way.
This was a continuation of her story, and the various events in her career. As before, it was very enjoyable, and an insight into a fascinating life.
Our programme for this year is a full and varied one, and, if you would like details, please phone Betty on 01372 374570.
Our meetings are held on the fourth Thursday in the month at Leatherhead Parish Hall (opposite the church) at 10.15am and visitors are always welcome.
Belfry Notes - Yet Another 1/4 Peal!
On Sunday 9th March a 1/4 peal of Grandsire Doubles consisting of 1260 changes was successfully rung by the following:
1 Anne Parr
2 Jenny Gordon
3 Rosemary Henderson
4 Peter Ford
5 Mike Todd
6 Stuart Butler
Conducted by Mike Todd Rung to mark the 1st Sunday in Lent.
Friends of Leatherhead Church
On 2 March we had a very enjoyable day in London for the Brandenburg Choral Festival. Our coach dropped us by St Clement Danes Church and most of us walked down to Two Temple Place to view the exhibition from the Museums of Cambridge. The afternoon’s superb concert in the Church was by the City of Oxford Choir, conducted by Duncan Aspden, a former organ scholar of Canterbury Cathedral and Jesus College Cambridge. As we left the Church at 6 pm the bells rang out their “Oranges and Lemons” chimes, which really rounded off the day. The Brandenburg very generously donated half of the ticket price to the Friends of the Church plus the proceeds of the retiring collection and we were able to add about £400 to the funds. The following weekend’s Quiz, created and delivered by Frank and Jane Haslam, was another resounding success, and the food from Café Rialto in Leatherhead High Street was highly praised. Many thanks also to Jackie Hampton and Jenny Macfarlane for co-ordinating the catering – and for completing all the washing-up. The event raised about £1,000 and the Chairman, Chris Evans, was able to hand over a cheque for this amount to the Rector to contribute towards the maintenance of the Churchyard.
The next date for your diary is Friday 16 May for the Annual General Meeting in the Parish Church Hall. Coffee and biscuits will be available from 7 pm with the AGM at 7.30 pm. At 8 pm, following the formal business, Richard Hughes, the former Head of History at St John’s School, will give a talk on the “WW1 Battlefields of Northern France”.
June Richardson Outward Giving The Church has been able to give a donation to Cherry Trees, which is a respite centre for disabled children, based in West Clandon. They have said that if anyone would like to visit them and see what they do we would be more than welcome. If you would like to go would you be kind enough to telephone me and I can make the arrangements
Jane Summerfield (811422)
On Being Flooded at Christmas
I was invited to lead the prayers at the Church’s Prayer Group in February. I started with a brief description of the effect being flooded had had on my faith. Having heard my story it was suggested by the Group that it should be included in the magazine. Sometimes it helps to hear of other peoples’ experiences, so here is an extract from my notes.
I should like to share with you for a few minutes my faith and my flooding. I am a typical member of the Anglican Church and am probably like most Christians of other denominations. I speak to you as an ordinary person, with no special attributes, telling it as it is for me. I liken my faith to a bowl of hot embers. Mostly the embers just glow dimly, masked by ashes. Then something happens and my faith gets an uplift and the embers really glow. I believe, I accept that God is beyond human ken, and that his Son, Jesus Christ, is with us always, whether we acknowledge it or not, and that the Holy Spirit guides us if we will only listen. One of my morning prayers is “I arise in the morning to the mystery of the Trinity, God’s might to hold me, Christ’s love to enfold me, and the Spirit’s grace to guide me.”
On Christmas Eve 2013, the eve of the celebration of Christ’s birth, the River Mole rose and my home was flooded just sufficiently to require me to evacuate my home. The water seeped under the garden gate as I looked and within an hour and a half of receiving the Flood Warning it was up to my knees as I went down my front steps. So what did I do? Physical action came before spiritual action and I forgot about Christ’s birthday and of asking Him for help. To be fair I also forgot about my own birthday a week later, but that is not in the same league. Fortunately God did not forget me. While I was still in a state of bewilderment He was already at work. It was one of the two Saints Teresa who said “We are the hands and feet of God”. My younger granddaughter, Alex, came to see if she could help grandpa. Before she had done she not only helped me but also an elderly single lady neighbour who was desperate for help. Alex finished up wading in water up to her bottom. Her dad came round to help as well, changing into shorts when the water began to rise. Meanwhile my elder granddaughter, Katy Liz, drove over from Merstham to help, having heard the news on the radio. On the way she asked on
Facebook for information about impassable roads between Merstham and Fetcham. She not only received replies but also offers of practical help. Then came the master stroke. Fiona, my younger daughter, was fortuitously in Fetcham, having brought Alex down. She saw how quickly the river was rising and “commandeered” a 4 x 4 Landrover. The driver was a stranger who didn’t live in the area, but he instantly came to the rescue and drove me to dry land. As a matter of interest he was employed on the administrative side of the NHS and his boss was not pleased that he was not at work. Thereafter my family took over and did what was necessary to contact the insurance company, and salvage and remove that which was necessary. The point of telling you this saga is to show that though I forgot about the Good Lord he did not forget me. Now I know that it is easy to say “Oh well, your family would rally round anyway, wouldn’t they.” But my belief tells me that they were God’s hands and feet at work. I am bold enough to believe that they acted out of love, and God is love. QED as we used to say. Or perhaps, “Here ends the lesson!”
Having prepared the above, I read later that St Francis and St Christopher both discovered the Divine Presence in fellow beings: “When you do something for others you do it for Me.”
Are You on Our Parish Electoral Roll?
If you wish to be able to vote at Parochial Church meetings you need to be on our Parish Electoral Roll (this is NOT the same as the Parish Directory). Last year our Roll was completely renewed – if you don't recall applying then, or are new to the parish, or your details have changed you may obtain an application form from the Parish Office, or in Church, or from the Parish website. Our Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM) is on 30 April 2014 and Electoral Roll applications close on 15th April. No additions are then permitted until after the APCM. Please call me if you need assistance.
Frank Haslam, Parish Electoral Roll Officer L379341
Christian Aid Week 2014 Your Opportunity to Share the Load
Christian Aid Week this year is 10th to 16th May. We urgently need reinforcements for our team. We collect at the Station early on Tuesday 13 May, in the Town on Thursday 15th May, and are envelope dropping and collecting door to door during the week. It would be good to see some under 65s volunteering – many of our small team have been helping since the days when they had young families! More hands will make lighter work.
Frank Haslam Christian Aid Organiser for Leatherhead, L379341
Are You Interested in the Arts?
Enjoy Meeting New People? The Leatherhead Society of NADFAS (National Association of Decorative & Fine Arts Societies) meets on the second Wednesday evening of each month in the Parish Church Hall. Members gather for coffee or tea and biscuits to chat before a one-hour's illustrated talk on a broad range of arts-related topics. These include: paintings, ceramics, furniture design, sculpture, textiles, jewellery, silver, architecture, music, and contemporary art – a very broad spectrum. With over 300 accredited NADFAS lecturers delivering high-quality entertaining and informative presentations there is always something of interest, and it's amazing what you learn. There's also a full programme of days out to historic houses, galleries, and other places of interest, as well as cultural breaks in the UK and overseas. Why don't you give me a ring on 01372 373083 and book a place to come and see for yourself – your first visit will be free. On Wednesday 9 April we'll be hearing about "The City of Kyoto and the Cult of Beauty”; we hope to see you then or at a later date if that doesn’t suit.
John Andrews 01372 373083
Leatherhead Bowling Club
This thriving club situated in the Fortyfoot Road Recreation Ground was founded in 1908. We have recently qualified for Clubmark, the national standard of excellence for sports clubs, and we have one of the best greens in Surrey. We have about 100 members, both playing and social, but are always looking for new members, particularly ladies, youngsters and the young at heart. Our season runs from April to September, and we are holding FREE Open Days as follows: Saturday 10 May 10am to 1pm Sunday 18 May 10am to 1pm Monday 9 June 6pm to 8pm Saturday 21 June 10am to 1pm For further information ring David Lokkerbol (01372 375756) or Terry Dickenson (01372 210960) or visit our website www.leatherheadbowling.co.uk
Sisters get Together - Saturday 26 April 2014
Sisters get Together is a new group for women that has been set up as an initiative of Churches Together in Leatherhead. The first meeting will be on Saturday 26 April, and the plan is then to meet quarterly thereafter. The meetings will be held at the BFree Café, All Saints Leatherhead. Doors will open at 8.30am with the main part of the meeting starting at 9am.
Refreshments will be available and the meeting will finish promptly by 10am. Donations will be requested to cover the cost of refreshments.
The aim of the group is to provide the opportunity for the women of Leatherhead to come together, to get to know each other in order to support each other and all areas of the community. The meetings will be a mixture of informal social gatherings and more formal talks.
Please come and support us and bring a friend with you.
For further information contact: Sally Milner 07703539872 or Nicky Osborne 01372 372313
On Saturday 19th April from 9.30 onwards we shall be filling the church with spring flowers. Why not join us and try your hand at flower arranging. Contributions of greenery, flowers, and donations towards the lilies would be most welcome. Coffee and Easter biscuits provided.
With a view to buying a pleasant country cottage a young married couple went to see the Vicar of a small country parish in Somerset and asked if a cottage was available. The Vicar showed them round one and asked if they would let him know their decision. Later, however, they remembered that they had not noticed a WC in the cottage, so the young man wrote to the Vicar and enquired where this might be. The Vicar however was not familiar with the term WC and wrote them the following letter, assuming that the term meant Wesleyan Chapel.
I was pleased to receive your letter but regret to inform you that the nearest WC in your area is 50 miles away, which is most unfortunate if you are in the habit of going regularly. This one is a lovely little place situated in a beautiful valley among pine trees. It may interest you to know that many people make a day of it, setting off early in the morning and taking meals with them. Some travel by car or bus, others walk and arrive there just in time. A bell rings 20 minutes before the WC opens and there is plenty of standing room for those who arrive late. Inside everything is most appropriate with 80 plush seats and carvings on the walls. Children sit and sing during the procedure. Hymn sheets are found hanging behind the door. I hope this information has been useful to you and that you will make it your business to attend often. I myself have not been for 5 months and as you can imagine, this pains me very much.
The Women’s World Day of Prayer 2014
The service, written by Christian women, is held on the first Friday of March each year, and all are welcome to attend – men, women, and children. The selected country and its people becomes the focus of the world’s prayers on the day itself.
The first service of the day takes place on the Island of Samoa as dawn breaks. The world is then circled in prayer for 36 hours and the service is celebrated in over 170 countries until the last one of this special day takes place on America Samoa.
This year the Egyptian committee wrote the service at a time of great hope, just after the Arab Spring. The theme was “Streams in the Desert” and the service revolved around water: rivers, wells, and springs.
Our speaker was Gillie Nicholls, a Lay Franciscan from Godalming who in 2007 founded a Charity in Burkina Faso, West Africa, to support suffering women. She spoke movingly of women and of the part water plays in their lives.
Our final hymn was “The day though gavest, Lord, is ended”. The third verse is particularly apposite to this annual Day of Prayer as it travels around the world from East to West:
“As o’er each continent and island
The dawn leads on another day,
The voice of prayer is never silent,
Nor dies the strain of praise away.”
Spectacle Harvest Update
By December this local initiative, aligned with Harvest Festival, had collected at least 1,013 pairs. Those still collecting are the two opticians - Donner's in Leatherhead and Bookham, and Patricia Morgan in Bridge Street. In addition Be@titude, Oxfam in Leatherhead, and Symphony World Travel in Fetcham are also still collecting. The 1,013 have all been sent to Vision Aid Overseas. Thank you to all who contributed to this magnificent collection, but the need continues, and we plan to check with the various collection points to make up another bundle. So watch this space for more information.
During my recent stay in Melbourne I was invited by a Christian friend to a service at a Messianic Church, that is a church where mostly Jews who have come to believe that Yshua (Jesus) was and is the Messiah worship. There are many of these churches spreading across the world and also here in the UK, and this is in line with Biblical prophecy. The greeting as we met others in the congregation was "Shabbat Shalom" – Sabbath Peace. The service began with prayer and then the children were called to the front steps and seated, and pieces of Jewish bread were handed to each one. Then four worshippers held the four corners of a "prayer shawl" over them whilst a prayer and a blessing were given, and the children went to their own area.
There was an excellent worship group similar to our own, as were some of the worship songs which were familiar to me. During some songs ladies slowly left their seats and went to the front and began a rather slow and gentle dance as they worshipped – which was quite beautiful and moving.
After the service which had the usual Bible readings, prayers, and a sermon by quite a young rabbi, those who wished to stayed for tea in the hall. This consisted of Jewish pastries and tea and chat, and there was a bookstall with tapes, literature, etc.
The building had been a “redundant” Christian church in a not too prosperous area but plans are underway to improve and allow for the growing congregation (due to much local visiting and testimony and generous provision for the underprivileged, of which there are many). The building will then house a conference hall and many other modern facilities, car park, etc.
As these lovely people come from many parts of the world where persecution has occurred they have an increased opportunity to witness their faith worldwide, which also seems prophetic. I left feeling very refreshed and hopeful that the next time I am able to go to Melbourne I will see the fruition of their plans, as I am sure they are being greatly blessed by God through Yshua.