From the March magazine
The Licensed Lay Minister writes ...
I often read articles that talk about people becoming "news-hardened" - a creeping, growing insensitivity to some of the brutal, tragic and heart wrenching stories that fill the news these days. To be honest, I sometimes feel that I too suffer from this to a certain degree, possibly a reaction to what often feels like an unrelenting tidal wave of news. Headlines often seem barely to convey to us the full awfulness of the underlying stories.
I was recently privileged to spend time with people who live throughout the Middle East and to hear at first-hand how life really is in Baghdad in Iraq, Aden in Yemen and in many other places in the region. It is those stories that have made me realise that I have become "news-hardened" as well as supporting my view that stories in the news do not always convey the full picture. It is not just in the case of the Middle East.
Here in the UK we become hardened to stories of economic woe, of inefficient health services and of violence on inner city streets. Unless we are able to envisage ourselves in those places or in those situations, or unless we are somehow directly involved, then we regularly see only the headlines and miss the story.
On a similar theme, Arthur Winnington-Ingram, Bishop of London from 1901 to 1939, warned against Christians becoming "gospel- hardened" by which he meant "utterly untouched by the most moving facts" of the Gospel of Jesus Christ by virtue of hearing them so often.
He obviously saw that as a danger back in time but it remains a danger now too.
Maybe it is the use of short hand titles and religious words that can cause us to become "gospel-hardened" to the wonder of what God has done, and what He continues to do, in Christ. When we hear words like annunciation, incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, ascension and Pentecost what do we think? Do these words just pass over us or do we see behind it to the gospel that it embodies? Arthur Winnington-Ingram warned us never to become "gospel-hardened" but rather to become "gospel-filled".
It is in difficult circumstances that the Good News can most movingly be proclaimed and most truthfully lived. That is where the Gospel can come to life. Right here in Leatherhead we can encounter risk, fragility, threat, wounds, passion and death, but since all these things Jesus also encountered we find other constants from the Gospel: grace, intimacy, compassion, trust, hope dawning and the empowerment of the Spirit.
God is never "news-hardened". He invites us to be with him, through Christ.Sally Milner
Church Matters for March 2015
The most significant matter this month is that we have a new Bishop. The Inauguration of the Rt. Revd. Andrew Watson as tenth Bishop of Guildford took place in Guildford Cathedral on Saturday 28th February, 2015. We all welcome him, and perhaps we can look forward to meeting him at some future time.
Easter is early this year - Easter Sunday is on 5th April - so March is a month of busy preparation. The Lent Groups are in full swing, having started on 23rd February, and plans are underway for our ecumenical events in Holy Week.
Churches Together in Leatherhead arrange and lead our joint participation and this year they have decided on a change from previous years. It was felt that the Good Friday Walk of Witness involved quite a lot of walking, but very little witnessing, in that there was hardly any contact with the general public, and there are too few people in Leatherhead on Good Friday. This year the plan is to make a much greater impact by holding an event in the morning of the Saturday before Palm Sunday and to create a new, lively, vibrant, colourful, and inclusive declaration of our faith. Do come and join in: details will be published shortly. In the meantime, a date for your diary - Saturday 28th March - 11am - Leatherhead Town Centre.
As Graham announced in Church on Sunday February 1st the candidate chosen from the recent interviews to be our Children and Families Worker has found she is unable to take up the post, so we continue in faith to search for the right person. The next interviews will probably be in May and this is something we all need to engage with and pray for.
Ongoing, also, are the plans for the reordering of the church building. At this stage there are many ends to tie and avenues to explore. As with the swan, the emblem of our town, all seems to be drifting slowly and aimlessly, but I assure you, there is determined activity below the surface!
Two points concerning our wider church family. Once a month we join with the Methodist and United Reformed Churches in an evening service at the Methodist Church. It is an uplifting and friendly service, with prayer, music and songs, followed by refreshments and a chance to talk with each other, and perhaps discover a different and valid form of worship. Everyone is most welcome.
Finally, let us all join in wishing B@titude a very Happy Anniversary; they have been going from strength to strength for 10 years now, and we all send them our very best wishes for their ongoing successSue Roberts
- John R Aronson
- Ann L Steed
- Anne M Anthony
- Brenda Parr
- K Roger Tompsett
- Michael J Todd
- J Richard Anthony
- Nicholas J Parr
- Richard M Trueman
- P Quentin Armitage (C)
Rung in affectionate memory of Anne Parr, originally a ringer from Kent, and a dedicated ringer at this tower for more than 50 years, and to mark what would have been her 80th birthday.Mike Todd
More Belfry Notes
On Sunday 1st of February a quarter peal of Grandsire Doubles was rung in affectionate memory of Anne Parr and also to mark the anniversary of the execution of King Charles I, by the following:
- Molly Lewis *
- Rosemary Henderson
- Ann Steed
- Peter Ford
- Mike Todd
- Sheila Cole **
Conducted by Ann Steed
* First Quarter in Doubles
** First Quarter on the "Tenor"Peter Ford
4th March will be our AGM when our Rector Graham will be presiding and has kindly offered to give a short Service of Communion. All are welcome to attend even if not an MU member.
1st April will be an open meeting with Readings, Prayers and Poems for Easter. We will also be holding a raffle.
Looking forward to seeing you.Jane Summerfield
Annual Parochial Church Meeting - 29 April 2015
Put this date in your diaries, if you haven't done so already. The meeting will be at 8pm in the Parish Church Hall and is the occasion on which elections are held for churchwardens, assistant churchwardens, and members of the Parochial Church Council. There will also be the opportunity to examine the accounts for last year and to hold the members of the PCC to account for what they have done as trustees of the parish. In order to vote at the meeting your name must be on the church electoral roll.
Leaders of groups which normally contribute reports for inclusion in the booklet of parish life will be invited to submit their reports to reach the Parish Administrator, Jane Andrews, firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday 9 March at the latest.Anne Thomson PCC Secretary
Hooray! It's "BIG CLEAN" time again!
Last year we established the tradition of having a huge Spring Clean in church. (Traditions have to start somewhere!) I would like to invite all the kind people who took part last year to join us again on Saturday 14th March at 9.30am and bring a friend!
ANYONE who can flick a duster, wield a brush, or simply make tea or coffee for the rest of us, will be hugely welcome.
With so many taking part, it is not arduous, and last year it was quite good fun. We work in teams, in designated areas, so that we do not repeat what someone else has done and the actual regular Cleaning Teams will lead the way. All cleaning equipment will be provided, unless you have a special aid you want to use - yes, that could even be an unsuspecting spouse.
There will be refreshments, chat, laughter, hard work, dust and smugness when everyone else sees what we have achieved. We will finish by 11.30am, but if you can only spare an hour or half an hour, that will be fine. We look forward to seeing you.Sue Roberts
Church Watch Coffee Morning
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 either between 11am and 12.30pm or between 12.30 and 2.00pm 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.C Neeser
Fairtrade Fortnight 23.02.15 to 8.03.15
Fairtrade Fortnight begins on Sunday 23 February and ends on Sunday 8 March. There will be a Fairtrade stall in church on 22 February and 8 March. There will also be a Fairtrade stall after the Women's World Day of Prayer on Friday 6 March, which this year is being held at Christ Church URC.
The slogan for 2015 is "Choose products which change lives" - so, please, during these two weeks buy any product - in a supermarket, in a cafe, even on one of our stalls - which bears the Fairtrade mark: to support farmers and workers all over the world and help them improve their lives and their communities throughout the year.Margaret Jones
Leatherhead Community Association Spring Walks
We are already now in March and looking forward to warmer and longer days. Peter Humphreys at the LCA has been arranging "short" walks, "longer" walks and "strolls" for several years now and always welcomes new faces. Non-members are welcome. The walks are free-of-charge and easy paced. The "short" morning walks of 3-4 miles are usually on the first Wednesday of the month and last about 2 hours with time for a snack at the end. The "longer" walks cover 4-6 miles on the second Wednesday of the month with a lunch or picnic break. The "strolls" usually take place on the third Wednesday of each month, are easy and flattish, and cover less than 2 miles in about 1-1.5 hours.
Over the next 3 months the "short" walks are on 4 March at Chilworth, 1 April in Bushy Park, and 6 May in Teazle Wood. The "longer" walks are on 11 March on Reigate Heath, 8 April at Rusper, and 13 May around Albury and Blackheath. The "strolls" take place on 18 March at Claremont Gardens, Esher, 22 April at White Down, Effingham, and 20 May in the Rhododendron Dell at Leith Hill. All the walks start at 10.30am from a specified meeting point and each one has a designated Walk Leader. Lifts can usually be arranged, if desired. If you are interested in any of them, long or short, Peter would be very pleased to give you full information so that you could join in. Please ring him on 01372 378347.
You can find full details about each walk in our latest LCA newsletter. Please call into the Letherhead Institute, on the left at the top of Leatherhead High Street, and pick one up. This also gives information of the many activities and events which are arranged throughout the year by the LCA. Or please ring Sarah, the LCA Administrator, on 01372 360508, and she will be able to answer (most of) any questions that you might have. LCA membership only costs £5 per year and our website is www.leatherheadca.org.uk where you can find all the information to become a member of the LCA.Frances Presley