From the February magazine
The Rector writes ...
Most seasons in the church year are characterised by particular, very familiar, images - cards, decorations, crosses, poppies, robins, angels, shepherds, daffodils, bunnies, doves - all sorts of visual clues that let us know the season that is upon us.
Lent is different. I suppose it could be characterised by Ash. Ash Wednesday marks the start of the Lenten season, often symbolically marked by the imposition of Ashes during a service of Holy Communion, the ash being the result of burning last year's Palm crosses.
Lent is traditionally 40 days long, echoing the 40 days that Jesus spent in the wilderness after his baptism. The Gospel accounts tell us that, as soon as he had been baptised, with God's words ringing in his ears "This is my son, in whom I am well pleased", Jesus felt compelled to go out into the wilderness to try and work out just how he should exercise his earthly ministry.
The idea is that Lent is a penitential season in which we examine ourselves to identify those areas where we fall short of the standard Jesus has set by his example. The Lenten convention is that one observes Lent by fasting from something, be that food or drink, television or the Internet. It can also be characterised by picking something up - reading a Lent book, attending a Lent course, being part of a Lent group.
Lent gives us a chance to "mend our ways", to purify ourselves, in preparation for Easter. If you look at a calendar, it is easy to spot that Lent is actually 46 days long - traditionally, the Sundays of Lent are "rest days" - with the fourth Sunday of Lent being known as Refreshment Sunday or Mothering Sunday.
The last two weeks are known as Passiontide, heralded in by Passion Sunday, the 5th Sunday of Lent, then Palm Sunday a week later, which marks the start of Holy Week in which, as far as possible, we remember and re-live the events of the last week of Jesus' earthly life.
The desolation of Good Friday, and the emptiness of Holy Saturday, are gloriously dispelled by the Striking of the New Fire early on Easter Day that signifies the resurrection of Jesus and ushers in the 50 day celebration of Jesus's post-resurrection appearances as we lead up to the church's birthday at Pentecost.
May I wish you a holy, blessed and fruitful Lent.
I wonder what the title of this monthly column means to you, the reader? It was the brainchild of our Churchwarden, Donald Yeates, as a way of communicating events, ideas, and issues within the church, so that everyone could feel included in the everyday matters which ultimately affect us all; but it also has the dual meaning in that our Church really matters to us all.
At the moment, Donald is unable to carry out this role, but he continues to make steady progress. We hugely miss his knowledge, expertise, humour, and the sheer hard work with which he carried out so many tasks behind the scenes, and we miss seeing him and Jan in church. We also greatly miss Lorraine Willmott, our Sacristan. Lorraine is also progressing well and we hope it won't be too long before we see her smiling face back in church.
However, we are indeed a Family and in their absence there has been wonderful support for the Wardens and Sacristans: Sheila and John Sutherland, Bill Peetz, and Martin Farrell have taken on many extra duties and are a huge help. We are also delighted that Frances Presley and Peter Leith are going to help with Churchwarden duties. Thank you so much, everyone.
Christmas 2014 saw a slight change in that we had three smaller Christmas trees, replacing the one large tree: one in the Chancel, one in the South aisle, and one in the Tower. Each tree was to be decorated by a different group from within the church and this year they were beautifully decorated by the Choir, the Sidespeople teams, and Children's Church. Hopefully this will become a feature of our Christmas decorations, and already other groups are expressing an interest. Only nine months to go! We are also grateful to the people who donated a total of £42 towards the £288 cost of the extra candles used at Christmas. Candles are of course purchased all the year round, for liturgical use, but at Christmas we use extra for decorative purposes and they are always greatly admired.
As we move into the month of February we celebrate Candlemas - the Presentation of Christ in the Temple. This was when Mary and Joseph took the infant Jesus to the Temple, and for this reason the Crib tableau remains at the Nave Altar. It is then removed and the church calendar turns towards Lent.
At the time of writing, the Quinquennial work on the outside of the building is drawing to a close. There is a possibility that the scaffolding may remain in place after completion, because the builders and the scaffolding firm are separate businesses. The diocesan architect has to inspect the work before finalisation and then will report to the PCC.
On Sunday 11th January a quarter peal of Grandsire Triples with 1260 changes was rung with respect for the people killed recently in France.
The ringers were:
- Christine Collins
- Ann Steed
- Rosemary Henderson
- Mike Todd
- Peter Ford
- John Verity
- Rex Woodland
- Clyde Whittaker
Conducted by Ann Steed
February 4th will see us celebrating our 126th birthday. If you would like to join us please do come along at 2.30pm in the Parish Church Hall when Members from other branches will also be with us. We will be holding a raffle in aid of "Away from it All", a holiday scheme for those not fortunate enough to have a holiday.
March 4th will be our Annual General Meeting.
Mothers' Union Retreat will be held at Ladywell Convent, Godaiming, from 10th to 12th March. Leader: The Revd Lady (Denise) Brown; Subject United in Prayer. If you would like to attend please contact Julia Watts on L456615.
A big "thank you" to the flower ladies who have completed yet another year providing fresh flowers in church every Sunday, with special arrangements for Easter, Harvest, Christmas, weddings, funerals, concerts, and festivals. We are a friendly team who gladly give our time to this enjoyable task.The team members are:
Ann Albrow, Molly Lewis, Carolyn Trollope, Christine Gilbert, Mollie Canning, Gillian Manners, Sheila Warner, Audrey Hood, Alison Draper, Beverley Mehta, Edith Wright, Jill Goodchild, and Liz Meikle.
If you would like to join us please contact me on L373511.
Friends of Leatherhead Parish Church
It is renewal time for membership of the Friends of Leatherhead Parish Church. We raise funds exclusively to maintain the fabric and grounds of the church and to ensure this beautiful building is preserved for future generations. Our annual subscription is £5 per person, with any additional donations gratefully received. We warmly welcome new members. Membership forms are available in the church or please contact me on L375957.
Fran Fleming - Membership Secretary
Church Watch will start again on Monday 30th March but before that we shall be having a coffee morning for all Church Watch Stewards and prospective Stewards on Thursday 5th March in the Parish Hall between 10am and 11.30 am.
If you think you might be interested in becoming a Church Watch Steward, please do come along and meet us and find out more about it. Being a Steward is very easy and only involves sitting in the church in order to keep it open for visitors between either 11am and 12.30pm or between 12.30 and 2pm once a fortnight, with a companion.
We are in need of several Stewards to make up our numbers and to enable us to keep the church open for visitors so please do come along on 5th March or call me on L812598.
Parish Electoral Roll 2015
To be able to vote at our Annual Parochial Church Meeting in a few months' time you need to be on our Parish Electoral Roll. It also helps in the administration of the Parish. If you are unsure whether you are on our Parish Electoral Roll please contact me. There is a copy in the Parish Office, from where an application form can be collected if required or click on Application Form to join the Parish Electoral Roll.
Frank Haslam, Electoral Roll Officer (379341)
Friends of Leatherhead Parish Church - it's Quiz Time Again - 7th March
A Key Date for Your Diary! QUIZ TIME AGAIN
Quizmaster: Frank Haslam. Book now! - Booking form
Leatherhead Parish Church Hall Saturday 7 March 2015 - 7 pm for a prompt start at 7.30 pm - Teams of 6-8: form your own, or join with others.
All proceeds to the Friends of Leatherhead Parish Church, a non-denominational charity dedicated to raising funds exclusively to maintain the fabric and grounds of the Church to ensure this beautiful mediaeval building and its surroundings are preserved for future generations.
And also from the Friends ...
You and your friends are invited to a concert at St Pauls Covent Garden on Sunday, 22 March at 4 pm. It will be approximately 2 hours, including an interval. Tickets for the concert are £18 (unreserved), with independent travel. Details of the concert are in the booking form (see below).
If you plan to travel to London earlier in the day, St Paul's is a short walk along the Strand from Two Temple Place, where you might like to visit the new exhibition Cotton to Gold: Extraordinary Collections of the Industrial North West. The magnificent mansion will be transformed into a casket for the exquisite treasures of an extraordinary group of Lancashire magnates. As the cotton mills boomed, bringing development and deprivation hand in hand, this group of prominent industrialists privately, and sometimes secretively, poured their wealth into some of the finest and most astonishing collections in the country.
Exceedingly rare Roman coins, priceless mediaeval manuscripts, Turner watercolours, Tiffany glass, Japanese prints, Byzantine icons, ivory sculptures and even preserved beetles and a Peruvian mummy. (Open on Sundays from 11 am to 4.30 pm with free entry.)
We hope you will join us. The Friends of Leatherhead Parish Church will benefit from a share of the proceeds. Booking form
Leatherhead Foodbank: A Volunteer's Perspective
It is now well over a year since the Leatherhead Foodbank opened for the first time at the North Leatherhead Community Centre. All those who were there on that first morning had received training and were assisted by Jonathan Lees (Foodbank Manager, and founder of the Epsom & Ewell Foodbank) and several others who were established volunteers with the Epsom & Ewell Foodbank. It took a while to sort out a routine that worked for the new venue but we were soon up and running!
I first heard about the opening of the Leatherhead Foodbank from my husband who had attended a Men's Breakfast at which the guest speaker was Jonathan. He came home buzzing with the enthusiasm that Jonathan had projected and with lots of information about the new Leatherhead venue. I had become increasingly interested in the almost exponential rise of Foodbanks throughout the country but was unsure about how they operated. The Food Bank was being opened in Leatherhead as many of those visiting the Epsom & Ewell Foodbank were from Leatherhead and the surrounding area. After doing some research and attending the training evening I understood and was comfortable with the way in which the Trussell Trust Foodbanks operate.
Let me explain how it works. In order to receive three days' worth of emergency food supplies clients have to present themselves at a Foodbank Centre with a voucher. The vouchers are only issued through selected organisations which are carefully chosen from within the local area and which are able to identify people in crisis. I personally felt much happier with this than in some cases of Foodbanks where people can just turn up. The idea is to help people in a crisis and to assist them in moving forward. A Citizens Advice Bureau representative regularly attends to assist clients and volunteers, and is also able to identify and arrange further assistance for those who need it.Some people have raised concerns about persons who make regular visits to Food Banks but it is my experience that the vast majority of people I have seen at the Foodbank have only visited once or maybe twice. Sadly, there are those who try to cheat the system. Indeed I was taken in by someone but he/she was later caught out by the checks in place and will not be doing that again.
For many of the clients the opportunity to sit over a cup of tea or coffee and chat or be listened to is enormously beneficial. Many clients are lonely, worried, and feeling vulnerable, and the aim is to offer them a warm welcome, friendly faces, and a safe environment. As a Christian based organisation we offer to pray for our clients. This is raised in a sensitive manner unless it is obvious that to do so would be inappropriate. I have never had a client say no, and across Trussell Trust Foodbanks the percentage of clients who welcome this is very high indeed. A highlight for me was one Saturday when a previous client came in with a friend who was in need. Whilst her friend was being assisted she came over to me and said she was so glad to see me as last time I had prayed for her and it had helped - could I please pray with her again? I was only too happy to do so.
All the food that is given out is donated and we are lucky that we are supported by some of the big supermarkets. Collecting at local supermarkets provides a great opportunity to talk to local people about the work of the Foodbank. Many people are happy to donate but there are many misconceptions about what we do and it is good to make use of these occasions to address these directly.
There are many ways in which people can help out: at the Centres after attending a training session, with collection at supermarkets, or behind the scenes with fundraising. There is lots of information on the Foodbank website www.epsomewell.foodbank.org.uk or if you would like to know more I am happy to chat about it. There is a collection box in Church for donations. Please do think about helping out in some way or another.
There is much debate about Foodbanks, a rising phenomenon in other Western Countries as well as the UK. Whichever side of the debate you are on there can be no question about the rising need to feed hungry people. Foodbanks are addressing this need and are really making a difference in the lives of those who are often in very distressing and seemingly hopeless situations.
Poppy Appeal Up-Date
The Church collection raised a magnificent £310.50. Leatherhead's total today stands at £19,500.00. Well done and thanks to everyone for your support.
Derrick and Jane Summerfield
Residents concerned by the closure of Leach Ward at Leatherhead Hospital are invited to the open meeting of the Leatherhead Residents Association on Monday 2nd February, in the Abraham Dixon Hall at the Letherhead Institute. The meeting starts at 7.30 p.m. and at 8 p.m. there will be members of Staff from the Surrey Downs Clinical Commissioning Group (SDCCG) to advise us on how the CCG works and intends to communicate with members of the public. The meeting will be chaired by our SCC councillor Tim Hall and those attending will be invited to submit their concerns to appropriate members from Central Surrey Health, the SDCCG, and the League of Friends of Leatherhead Hospital who will also be present. For further information telephone: 01372 376247 or write to LRA, c/o Letherhead Institute, High Street, Leatherhead KT22 8AH.
Hilary Porter, Secretary, Leatherhead Residents Association
Prayer 24 2015
Prayer 24 2015 will take place on June 27th/28th Please put these dates in your diary NOW. Please PRAY about this weekend.
Please get INVOLVED.
MOTIVATE any group/organisation YOU belong to PRAY and get INVOLVED.
Start thinking what you could do .... pray for a time in the Church .... try a different type of prayer .... Celtic .... Meditation .... etc .... play CDs or an instrument as worship.
I am sure you have lots of your own idea. Come on your own .... or a group .... start thinking now so that we can be prepared and organised!!!!!
Speak to me if you have any suggestions.
BUT most of all PRAY
Lent is the period before Easter when we prepare to remember the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Lent has always been a time to put special emphasis on our personal and spiritual development. Christians often choose this time to take special actions such as fasting, reading, additional giving, or following a course of study.
During Lent we shall again have Ecumenical groups throughout the Parish following a York Course called Praise Him - Songs of Praise in the New Testament.
We are used to singing hymns of praise when we go to church but often we miss the hymns and poems that are there in the New Testament. This course will explore five different Songs of Praise from the New Testament, looking at what they tell us about God and Jesus but also reflecting on what they tell us about us and our faith. The course has five sessions:
- Gratitude (Ephesians 1.3-14)
- Image of God (Colossians 1.15-20)
- Humility (Philippians 2.5-11)
- New birth (1 Peter 1.3-12)
- Word made flesh (John 1.1-14)
Lent groups will be held throughout the Parish hosted and led by members of the various churches. There will be both daytime and evening groups starting during week commencing 23 February and ending during week commencing 23 March. I would encourage everyone to participate in these small groups - a time to learn more about the Christian faith, to look at the biggest questions facing humanity and to consider your own beliefs in fellowship with others.
You will be able to sign up for a group on the list in your church between 18 January and 8 February or contact L Hauxwell 370308. Over 100 people normally participate in Lent groups, why not give it a try this year: there are always new things to learn, wherever you are on your journey of faith.
Leatherhead Community Association
The LCA has started 2015 with a new programme of events covering a wide-ranging number of topics. "Tea and Talks" have an afternoon about the fabulous Faberge Eggs on 13 February; on 13 March there is a talk on Lavender Fields, not a subject often covered; and on 10 April there is to be a guided tour of one of Surrey's prettiest villages - Shere. There is no charge for any of these visits. Table Tennis and Snooker are available every Monday afternoon, and Scrabble can be played on each second and fourth Wednesday of the month.
All these events are open to non-members, but the Members programme is even more interesting. Visits take place monthly throughout the year, and to mention just a few: there is a visit to the Bank of England, a tour of the Houses of Parliament, a visit to Bletchley Park, and even a day at the races. Members may also take advantage of the many plays and operas that are shown at the Leatherhead Theatre, and they may also join one of the many and varied walks, both long and short, that are arranged every month.
Why not consider becoming a member of the LCA, it is only £5 a year and it will offer you a very wide range of events covering numerous different interests. If you join now your membership will be valid until 31st March 2016. For full information please phone Sarah on L360508, visit our website www.leatherheadca.org.uk or call into the Letherhead Institute, on the left at the top of the High Street and pick up a newsletter which has all this information and more. On Tuesdays to Fridays you could also have a cup of coffee in the newly decorated library.
Women's World Day of Prayer 2.30pm on Friday 6th March at Christchurch (URC)
The service this year has been prepared by women in the Bahamas and is entitled "Jesus said to them: 'Do you know what I have done to you?"'. Bring your friends.
Notices/Leaflets will be available shortly.