From the December parish magazine
December 2013: The Curate writes ...
Who would choose the dark winter nights over the light summer ones? If your idea of comfort is to sit in front of a fire sipping a hot drink, then I guess you would go for the winter. If you prefer sitting reading in the garden or being active somewhere outdoors, then you would probably opt for the summer months.
Either way, we can manipulate the environment with artificial light, patio heaters, or air conditioning to suit our lifestyles. Even those keen on winter usually meet the shortest day of the year with reluctance and look back on it in relief. Most would agree and say how welcome is the light!
As the day length shortens during December we have a very good reason to celebrate. For Jesus followers Christmas is the time to celebrate the coming of light in the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Here is how St Johns Gospel puts it: The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world (John 1 verse 9). He brought light to the darkness. The word light is figurative for the knowledge of God. Jesus is the true source of light: that is, He reveals God and makes it possible for us to know Him.
The Bible says that our natural state is to be separated from God due to our sin. This is likened to us being or walking in the dark, so that we are lost, lacking direction and far from God. But God has not left us in the dark. He has made Himself known by sending his Son Jesus into the world He has made. This is staggeringly exciting!
But sadly not everyone at the time Jesus walked the earth was drawn to the light: He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognise him (John 1 verse 11).
Today there is a similar mixed reaction not all accept or recognise that Jesus was God who became flesh, lived and died amongst us, but rose again so that He is alive now. Yet some do still see His glory as they read about Him in the Gospel records and meet Him for themselves they recognise Gods presence and power in Jesus Christ. The coming of Jesus makes it possible for us to know God personally.
Do come and join in our Christmas services as we look again at the good news of great joy for all the world.
May I take this opportunity to wish you a blessed Christmas and a happy and peaceful New Year.
Church Notes - December 2013
Church Matters for December 2013
Im writing this on Remembrance Sunday such is the deadline to hit the December magazine so my head is full of the emotions raised by the service. We had a full church with latecomers having to stand, more than fifty people in uniforms and others wearing medals and an excellent Last Post and then Reveille from bugler Clifford Lennon. So, well done to everyone who contributed to making it such a memorable event.
Did you know that we have two Cathedral Chaplains in our church? Both Kuhan and Gail have this role. It involves occasional days spent at the Cathedral leading prayers every hour and being available to pray privately with individuals or small groups. There is so much that our ministry team does that we may be completely unaware of, and so many ways in which they carry forward the Christian message.
The Standing Committee met early in November and considered the current state of our finances, churchyard storm damage to trees and fences, chancel repair liability and two letters from our new inspecting architect about quinquennial inspection and New Future issues. Recommendations will go forward to the PCC for its meeting on the 27th November. The next Standing Committee has been provisionally scheduled for Friday morning, January 10th.
The PCC had an awayday on Saturday November 9th, but before any reader of this column gets too excited I should say that it was hard work and we didnt go far away! Frances Presley offered her house as the venue and Linda Hauxwell and Gail Partridge organised the lunch. The day was led by Graham and focussed on each of us developing a greater understanding of ourselves no, it wasnt navel gazing, it was about our impact on other people and the way we work together. It was just the first step in the PCC moving towards a more effective way of working, which will benefit the whole parish.
Work has begun on planning for the busy Christmas period when so many services are scheduled.
Firstly in the planning theres the Midnight service on Christmas Eve and two services on Christmas day. Then we know that the Christingle service will be on Sunday 8th December, with a planning meeting on 13th November and the packing of the Christingle bags on Friday December 6th.
The service of Lessons and Carols will be on the 22nd December, and the Crib service on 24th. West Hill School will have their carol service on Tuesday December 17th with a rehearsal most likely to be held the day before. Oh, and theres the preparation of hundreds of candles and the fixing of the candle holders for the two candlelit services.
The chairman of Mole Valley District Council has also asked for the civic Carolfest to be held in our church once again and is already enquiring about the churchs capacity. Roll on the time when we might have flexible seating! Dont worry, the tree hasnt been forgotten; it goes up as if by magic between the end of Advent and the start of Christmas.
Remember the notice outside an urban church in London? Dont let stress get you down, let the church help!!
Friends of Leatherhead Parish Church
Now youve got your 2014 Diaries some dates to save (more details later):
Sunday 2 March 2014: Afternoon visit by Coach to attend the Brandenburg Choral Festival Concert in the Church of St Clement Danes, London.
Saturday 8 March: Our ever popular Annual Quiz evening.
Friday 16 May: Members evening and lecture preceded by our Annual General Meeting
Sunday 8 June: Leatherhead Open Gardens Day
Mole Valley District Council Chairmans Carol Service
The Parish Church of St Mary & St Nicholas on Friday 6th December 2013 at 6.30pm
David Sharland, Chairman of the Council, invites everyone to a service of carols and lessons arranged by St Johns School Leatherhead and supported by children from Trinity School. All are welcome to attend this free event. There will be a retiring collection in aid of the Chairmans Charity for the year: Against Breast Cancer.
Notes from The Belfry
On Sunday 27th October, a 1/4 peal of Grandsire Doubles, consisting of 1260 changes was rung by the following:
Treble Sheila Cole*
2 Ann Steed
3 Peter Ford
4 Roger Thompsett
5 Mike Todd**
Tenor John Aronson
* First 1/4 of Doubles
** First 1/4 as conductor
Congratulations to Sheila and Mike.
The Autumn Fayre 2013
Apologies for not including a summary in last months Magazine but we thought everyone would have heard quite enough of the Fayre by then!! However it appears that many of you were looking for an update so here it is.
It is always nerve wracking taking over the organisation of an already successful event, but this year we thought we would risk a change of date and time and try to add a variety of stalls and sideshows. This resulted in a Fayre which was fundamentally the same format as before, but had a fresher feel to it. Much to the relief of the organisers it generated a magnificent £4,100 profit which even despite the recession was £1,000 more than in 2012. Everyone involved, in this our main yearly fund raiser, should be very pleased!
The overall increase seems to have been due mainly to increases in advertising revenue, sales by the Bake Sale and Promises Stalls, together with the new-look catering by the BBQ and Café.
The money taken from advance Programme sales and door entrance seems to indicate that the number of people attending the event was about the same, though this happened over a shorter period of trading time making it appear busier (and hotter!) in the Hall. We were certainly blessed with the weather!
Everyone excelled themselves from donating goods and cakes to distributing flyers and decorating stalls to selling and buying goods and so much more. This year we had a team of 70 people helping in the Hall!
So thank you all so much for the part you played in making it such a successful event all round.
If there is anything youd like to know that we havent mentioned here please ask.
Nicky and Janine
The Field of Remembrance, Westminster Abbey 2013
The first thing one notices is the sheer scale of the event; row, upon row, upon row of tiny wooden crosses, each bearing its red poppy - echoing those poignant lines of poetry:
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
But as one walks around, the enormity and scale of loss of all these young lives is worsened by the fact that the War to end all Wars spawned yet more terrible conflicts which continue to this day.
The Field of crosses is set out within the precincts of Westminster Abbey covering the grassy lawns to the west of the great church. It is divided into four areas of commemoration: The Royal Navy, The Army, The Royal Air Force, and, added in recent years, Civilians. The Armed Forces sections each have a huge poppy wreath on a stand to guide people to the various locations, and each section is divided into smaller plots, clearly marked with the name and insignia of the various campaigns, regiments, corps, ships, fighter squadrons, and battles.
Running the length of one section between the plots was the red carpet down which earlier in the day The Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Harry had walked to plant crosses on behalf of the Queen and the Country. These were actually planted on a huge horizontal cross made entirely of poppies.
There were thousands of people quietly walking around, after queuing patiently at the gates. Most had come to plant crosses of their own, others just to pay tribute and to pause a while. Many were drawn to the most recent area of conflict Afghanistan. I found this plot particularly difficult, as here each cross bore not only a poppy, but a tiny photograph of a young, smiling man or woman whose life was given in the cause of justice and the hope of peace.
I attended the special service at St. Margarets Church, Westminster, which nestles in the shadow of the great Abbey. It was organized by the Armed Forces Christian Union and the Chaplaincies of the Royal Navy, Army, and Royal Air Force an interdenominational, tri-service fellowship. The choir comprised the Military Wives Choir of Portsmouth, whose beautiful singing added an extra dimension to the service.
The Field of Remembrance is opened every year on the Thursday before Remembrance Sunday. Anyone can attend, after mid-day, when the official ceremonies end. This year, London was full of volunteers collecting for the British Legion Poppy Appeal in an attempt to raise £1,000,000 in a day. Lets hope they succeeded, for how we remember those who paid the ultimate price in the cause of justice and freedom, and how we care for those whose lives are still afflicted, defines us as a people.
Many thanks to all those who helped with the Poppy Appeal again this year even though it was rather damp underfoot you didn't leave your posts. The total collection for Saturday morning in the Town was £894.
Derrick and Jane Summerfield
We shall be decorating the Church for Christmas on Saturday 21 December from 9am. As usual we will welcome gifts of holly (variegated if possible) and other greenery, and also anyone who would like to join us. It is always a happy time, with a break for coffee and mince pies mid morning.
J Goodchild L376659