From the December magazine
The Curate writes...
Advent is one of my favourite seasons of the Church's year and I regret that it is so often completely overshadowed by the premature keeping of Christmas.
So what is Advent for? The word appears in "adventure", which is something exciting coming into our lives. Advent is from the Latin meaning to come, and what is to come, as far as Advent is concerned, is not Christmas but judgement!
Death, judgement, heaven and hell are the traditional "four last things" which the Church brings before us during Advent - perhaps that is why we celebrate Christmas so early, because we do not like the thought of spending time meditating on those "morbid" subjects!
Yet Advent is exciting because it is clear-sighted. It rips away the sentimental, cloying mawkishness of the over-eating, over-drinking, overspending "Xmas" of the world, and reminds us that there is waiting for us something much more exciting than Christmas. Look at the wonderful Advent hymns:
- Hark, a herald voice is calling
- Lo, he comes with clouds descending
- The Lord will come and not be slow
- O come,O come Emmanuel
- Hark the glad sound! The Saviour comes
And the readings are equally exciting:
Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything
So just as the world goes mad in an orgy of spending, decorating, wrapping, sending, the Church goes into purple and does not sing the Gloria - all to remind us of the seriousness of the vocation to which we are called. Just as Nero was supposed to have fiddled while Rome burnt, so many of us settle down to enjoying ourselves while the Church reminds us of our eternal destiny.
Perhaps it is the wrong time to keep Advent. Perhaps as a season it should be moved away from Christmas. Perhaps we should keep it in September, before the annual shopathon begins, because it is important that Christians should celebrate Christmas. It was the beginning of our salvation. It was the birthday of the Prince of Peace, God made man.
So Christians need to be out there celebrating, sharing a meal, having a drink, being sociable, trying to spread peace on earth and good will towards all. When Christmas comes Christians need to celebrate it with gusto (not just for forty-eight hours, but for twelve days!).
So during December we need to have a foot in two camps. On the one hand we need to listen to the Advent message; to hear the word about judgement, and death, and heaven and hell; to be reminded as the season progresses that there is something after Christmas and something after next Christmas and that is eternal life, salvation, heaven - assuming we have put our faith in Him who was born to die.
On the other hand we need to be seen to celebrate, to be enjoying ourselves as the birthday of our Lord approaches.
There may well be an opportunity as we do this to invite someone to come to church with us at some stage during Advent and at Christmas -it really is the time of the year when many people who would never dream of going to church normally are actually in the mood to say yes to an invitation.
So please enjoy Advent and Christmas, and see whether you can persuade one person to come with you!
May I take this opportunity to wish you a blessed Christmas and a happy and peaceful New Year.Kuhan
As most people will be aware our Church Warden Donald Yeates has been ill and in Hospital. The good news is that he is improving, but progress is slow and at the time of writing he is still in hospital. He has asked me to say how much he has appreciated the cards, letters, good wishes, and prayers of everyone, and that the kindness shown by so many is helping in his recovery. He and Jan remain constantly in the thoughts and prayers of us, his Church family, and we hope he will soon be well enough to return home.
We have continued to have difficulties with the heating in Church. The engineer has called and one of the two boilers is functioning, but there remains a problem with the second. Hopefully by the time this is read we shall have a warmer church building once again.
In the absence of Donald, who did so much behind the scenes towards the Quinquennial Repairs, Sheila Sutherland met with John Bailey and representatives of Pierra on 23rd October. Work was planned to commence on site on Monday 10th November and should take about eight weeks. A provisional completion date will be 16th January 2015. The work should not cause any disruption to the normal life of the church, but there will be a certain amount of scaffolding required to facilitate the work.
Churches Together in Leatherhead (CTiL) are planning a series of events in the Town Centre during the month of December. The main focus will be on a Tree of Hope for which people can donate presents to three local Leatherhead Charities. Do come along and support this cause, which is being run in tandem with the Swan Centre Management.
The engagement of a Family and Children's Worker continues to be an ongoing process and we pray that the right person will be found for this vital position.Sue Roberts
News from the Belfry
On Armistice Day 11th November a quarter peal of Grandsire Triples containing 1260 changes was rung with the bells half muffled in affectionate memory of Anne Parr, a dedicated ringer in this church for over 50 years, and our good friend.
The ringers were:
- Jenny Gordon
- Ann Steed
- John Aronson
- Roger Thompsett
- Peter Ford
- Rex Woodland
- Mike Todd
- Julian Steed
Conducted by Ann Steed.
At our meeting in November we began with a short Remembrance Service. Sue Hill then demonstrated cake decoration on the plain fairy cakes she had brought along with her: quite amazing, from pigs to snails. We then enjoyed one with our tea. Everyone was so impressed that we have booked her for next November, when she will decorate small Christmas cakes.
On 3rd December we will be holding our Christmas tea. Please bring along a plate of something, or crisps, in fact anything you like. If you would like to take part in giving and receiving a small gift, then please bring something to the value of Â£3. Those playing the hand bells will get us into the Christmas Spirit. All are welcome to our meetings which begin at 2.30pm.
Have a good Peaceful Christmas and a healthy New Year.Jane
Leatherhead Morning W.I.
At our October meeting we welcomed our President, Mrs Hazel Richmond-Coggan, back to the fold following her recent exciting holiday. She has promised to give us details of this at a future date.
A brief resume of the minutes of the last meeting were read.
Several trips are being planned for the coming year, including one to the Kennet and Avon Canal, and a visit to the Wilton Shopping Centre in April.
Our speaker this month was Maggie Stoker, from the Epsom branch of the Cats Protection League. She was accompanied by a very engaging cat, called Alfie. Alfie was undoubtedly the star of the show, and is well used to showbiz life. He was representing the many cats that are helped by Cats Protection, and is a therapy cat, visiting homes, etc. Pretty good, as he was a rescued cat himself!
Maggie gave us a very interesting talk about the organisation, which started in 1927, and helps a staggering total of around 500 cats a day. There are now 31 centres in the UK. People wishing to help are encouraged to adopt these cats, and also to foster them in the interim period. Cats taken in by Cats Protection are micro-chipped and neutered, so prospective new owners have a good start. Alfie was extremely well behaved during the meeting, and watched over the laptop being used, even changing the programme now and again.
After the Christmas festivities it's back to normal times in the New Year, and our first meeting of 2015 will be on the fourth Thursday in January (23rd).
Our meetings are held in Leatherhead Parish Hall at 10.15pm. For any further information please ring L374570.Hazel Brown
We wish to thank Gina and all the choir for performing David Oliver's anthem, which we commissioned from him in 2008. It set the seal on a wonderful day (26th October), when we celebrated our Ruby Wedding Anniversary in Church, surrounded by family and friends. The day was made extra special with Kuhan's marriage blessing at the end of the service. We also wish to say thank you for the anniversary cards we received and the delicious cakes made for the occasion by Alex Hurley.Roger and Janette Lynch
Thank you to all the Stewards who kindly gave of their time to keep the Parish Church open each weekday for a few hours. Church watch will start again next year on 30th March.
We shall be holding a coffee morning in February (date to be confirmed) for Church Watch Stewards and would love to see some new faces wishing to join us. If you are able to help with keeping the church open for visitors next year please contact L812598.
Leatherhead Community Market news
2014 has been a year of gradual change for the market with the retirement and loss of several of the long-term cooks, bakers, stall holders and coffee team. In April Pat Weetman retired as Market Controller and I took on this role. The market was struggling as the number of producers and helpers was declining with no light at the end of the tunnel. None of the existing marketeers felt able to take on the role of reviving the market.
With many years of recruiting volunteers for various organizations and events and of co-ordinating several successful activities such as the Children's Church, Parent and Toddler Group, the Autumn Fayre, and the Sewing Shop there was scope for finding new people to come on board and using new ideas to take this forward. The independent Community Market is traditionally run along the lines of the former WI Country Markets so is somewhat resistant to change. However change is vital if this market is to be viable in the future. It is a facility much appreciated by the customers who like to buy home-made produce, those who enjoy company over a cup of coffee, and as a service to the community. As a producer it can make you some "pocket-money" and help you lose weight - while using your Bake Off skills - as you don't have to eat all the cakes you bake!
So what have we achieved in the last six months?
There are around 30 new members, some who bake weekly, some monthly, lots of new helpers on the stalls yet mainly faces familiar to the market. You will not notice much change on the Meat and Egg stalls. The Garden stall has benefited from having new producers of fruit, vegetables and plants. The Cake stall can still supply the popular Victoria sandwich together with new lines like Rocky road traybakes. The Pastry stall can still supply quiches, cottage pies, and pasta bakes, and has some delicious new scones in fancy flavours such as Stilton and watercress. But this stall could do with some new producers of savoury ready-meals and puddings. The Craft stall has cards to suit every taste (even made-to-order for a special occasion) and a new line in decorated candles. Christmas is a good time to visit this stall. The Preserves counter has marmalade, jams, and chutneys, but new producers are needed too. The Haberdashery stall can still supply all the regular sewing requirements and some fancy items too for all you Sewing Bee enthusiasts, with as much free advice as you need.
So what help do we need to take this forward in to 2015?
The meat stall is popular but for financial reasons we do need to sell out. Any surplus can't realistically go back to Conisbees so please support this stall.
From January we need a new person to set out the 20 tables and chairs in the hall - before we arrive (it is currently done at 7.15am on Friday morning) - the remuneration is Â£4 per week - if you could volunteer I'd love to hear from you.
Most of all - do come along as a customer and please tell your friends.
On a practical note we do need to sell our produce to pay for the hall and the insurance.
We are here to serve the community so we'd love to hear your suggestions. What items would you like to buy if we could provide them and, quite importantly, what are your favourite biscuits to have with your coffee?
Please get in touchwith the Market Controller on L374914 or staggcjpj AT aol.com
Pitstop - Forever Home Appeal
After many months without a permanent home, local charity Pitstop, a day centre providing support to the homeless, unemployed and socially isolated, have launched an urgent appeal to acquire, refit and refurbish a property in Leatherhead. They need to raise Â£70,000 in six weeks. Please see relaunched website at www.thepitstop.ora.uk call 01372 363003 or email email@example.com for more details or to make a donation.
Allsaints Social Enterprise
After ten months hard work, we are delighted to announce that Allsaints opened its doors to the public on October 25th. Allsaints is a Speciality Coffee Shop and Sandwich Company that serves the very best coffee, the very best sandwiches and offers the very best support and training for local young people. As a social enterprise, Allsaints provides employment and accredited training to local young people through the government apprenticeship scheme. Allsaints is based in Leatherhead North, run from the BFree Youth Cafe in All Saints Church. It is open to members of the public from 8am-3pm six days a week and continues to be open to young people after school and in the evenings.
LYP has been running successful youth projects in Leatherhead North, one of the most disadvantaged communities in Surrey, for the last 10 years. Two out of three young people who live in Leatherhead North leave secondary school without 5 GCSEs including Maths and English. Leatherhead also has one of the largest business communities in Surrey with companies such as Exxon Mobile, Unilever, CGI, KBR and Menzies. Allsaints will continue to harness this relationship between business and community by offering young people the chance to succeed in the business and work environment.
Please pop down to support Allsaints and the young people, and sample the coffee and the tasty cakes!
A Visit to Berlin in March 1990
During the years that Ron and I were involved with tennis we were lucky enough to go to many historical places at some of the most historical times. With the 25th anniversary of the destruction of the Berlin Wall just past I was reminded of a meeting that was arranged for Tennis Europe, of which Ron was one of the founder members, in Berlin. It was arranged for March 1990 in East Berlin - where the hotels were cheaper than in West Berlin.
As we usually did we went a few days earlier to make our own tour, and walked through Check Point Charlie which was still standing but had doors off and broken windows, a sorry sight. On both sides of the Brandenburg Gate there were plenty of "entrepreneurs" selling all manner of badges, uniforms, pieces of wall, and other mementos of the end of the Wall. We also came across Cliff Michelmore making a programme for the BBC.
I was astonished to find that a Benetton outlet had already been set up in one of the old red brick blocks just metres from the remaining remnants of the wall - free enterprise moves fast.
We went to the Berlin Opera House where, in front of Hitler, Wilhelm Furtwangler had refused to give the whole Nazi salute but disguised it in some way by waving his baton. With Ron at meetings I was taken to the Kurfurstendamm, at that time the only real shopping area in Berlin, and when I took the train back to the hotel I could not understand why it was absolutely packed with people laden with parcels. I then realised that the East Berliners had been over to the West and had been buying the kitchen items that had just become available to them - kettles, irons, mixers, you name it; a washing machine was even being pulled on a trolley.
However, my one lasting memory of the old East Berlin is the service we went to on the Sunday in a church that had just been re-opened. A choir of children from all over the city, East and West, sang songs and hymns of thanksgiving. That was unforgettable.
We went to Bucharest three months after the fall of Nicolae Ceausescu -but that is another story.Frances Presley
On behalf of Derrick and myself many thanks for the wonderful support we received during Poppy time. For those who braved the cold and rain collecting on the Saturday the Town collection was Â£888.04 I hope some of you were able to get to the Tower to see the Poppy River.
Remembrance Sunday was just so special. The Services at Church and the War Memorial were very moving, and it was a joy to see so many people at both Services. The weather - well it was more like Spring than Autumn: just perfect.Jane Summerfield