From Lay Minister Gail …
A Harvest of Love
We all have times like this, I know, but since coming back from Croatia I haven’t found a spare moment even to pick the fruit with which my fruit trees are groaning; and indeed some of the branches of the eating apples and plums have broken with the weight of the harvest.
I’m not complaining; most of the things which have packed my days and evenings have been pure pleasure. But it was at the Golden Wedding party of great friends of ours that I confided, to the acquaintance I was sitting next to, that I needed to get the ‘copy’ for this article in to the editor by the next day, and I hadn’t even thought about what I would write. Panic! ‘Write about this’ he said, ‘This wonderful celebration of such a happy marriage of two very dear people, surrounded by so many friends, their three happily married children and six grandchildren, and before we tucked in to the fantastic spread they had arranged, how we said Grace.’
So there it is, happiness and love are always shared, you can’t keep either of them to yourself; they are infectious, and in spite of the dismal weather on that Saturday everyone left with a smile on their face and a skip in their step. The world was simply a happier and more loving place that wonderful afternoon because of the very evident love of the happy couple for one another and all their family and friends, and of our love of them.
And it made me think about what I had been up to, and the people I had met over the summer. June, July and August 2013 are going to be remembered for the fantastic weather we have enjoyed; but I believe the enjoyment comes less from the sunny days than from those with whom we share them.
The coastline of Croatia was certainly very lovely and the ancient walled towns well worth a visit, but we enjoyed the holiday above all because of the people we shared it with, and all the chats and the laughter. We have been to many concerts (and Roger has sung in some), plus two “mini operas”. I served teas at Bookham Village Day, we have shared meals with friends, and some have come to stay, but always the most enjoyable part has not been the food or the entertainment, however excellent that has been, but the conversation I/we have had with people. It is the reason I like travelling by bus; I always make new friends on these trips, and shopping is no chore when you share a joke with the person behind you in the queue at Lidl.
I have just answered an email from Juliet who asked me what I most enjoyed about Greenbelt this year. We were not ‘happy campers’ there, but took the comfy option and stayed with long-standing friends in Cheltenham, so had lots of happy times catching up on our families and all the news. I saw several old friends at the Conference and had conversations, and shared opinions, with people on our stand, plus many more when I visited other stands. But perhaps my best experiences were meeting and talking to those I met over “coffee and chocolate brownies” in the catering area.
All this is where we meet Christ, sharing, caring, laughing, weeping together throughout all the good and bad times, the celebrations and the sorrow; with our loved ones and our best friends, but also with the stranger on the bus, or in the super market queue; the casual meeting as much as the long planned luncheon party.
Thank you Lord for this wonderful summer, thank you for all the fruit in my garden and the harvest safely gathered in, thank you above all for my daily encounters with your Son in the face of friend and stranger; and thank you too for our great friends whose 50 wonderful years of marriage has contributed so lavishly to the sum total of love in the world. Amen.
A big thank you to Jill Rosser who has taken on the role of Legacy Officer for the parish. This is an important role in the overall finances of our church and she will be available to help wherever possible in advising and encouraging all who wish to remember the work of the church in their wills. And we all wish Jill well in her new home in Ashcroft Place.
Church Matters - 14
Firstly, thank you to the parishioner who gave Church Matters the following “ten commandments for Churchwardens”.
1. Thou shalt not be perfect – nor even try.
2. Thou canst not be all things to all people.
3. Thou shalt have some time off each week. The Sabbath principle is a good one!
4. Thou shalt make time to worship as part of the congregation when not on duty.
5. Thou shalt learn to say “no”.
6. Thou shalt schedule time for thyself and thine own family and friends.
7. Thou shalt find some time to switch off and do nothing.
8. Thou shalt not be the doormat or the dustbin for the rest of the church.
9. Thou art not responsible for everything – so don’t feel so guilty.
10. Thou shalt not be thine own worst enemy – other people do this job.
I’m sure that they’ll all be taken to heart!
More thanks, this time to Frank Haslam for taking on the role of Parish Archivist. Helped by Brian Hennegan, work is going ahead to collect together the materials left by Linda; some will go to the local history society and some will come into the parish records. The first step is to check that we do actually have what Linda said we had, and Brian will be working in the parish office checking the records in the fire proof cabinet. Meanwhile Frank will be exploring the Surrey History Library in Woking to discover what they have.
Congratulations to the Rector on the award of his MPhil postgraduate degree. It’s been a hard slog since 2009 when he began the research but after writing 57,000 words and a subsequent grilling by assorted professors he has “successfully defended his theses” as the formal language states. Completing this research and putting the results to use as part of a spiritual direction practice was one of the three goals set Graham by Bishop Christopher when he became our Rector. It is expected that the work will make a valuable contribution to the psychological health of those clergy working in parishes where the demands of the job are overwhelming. For those of an academic inclination, an MPhil is a postgraduate qualification beyond the normal postgraduate masters, and can lead to a doctoral qualification.
Do you have a copy of the Leatherhead Advertiser for Thursday June 19th 1986 – price then only 18 pence? It was a souvenir edition to mark the 900th anniversary of our parish church since it was first mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 when Leatherhead was a manor called Leret. The entry – now translated – was “The church of Leatherhead is attached to this manor with 40 acres of land. Value 20 shillings. Osbern de Eu holds it.” (Eu was a port in the present region of Seine Maritime.)
There’s a photograph of assorted clergy and parishioners including the Bishop of Guildford and the Dean of Rochester being led along the church path by our present verger, Sheila Ford. Had you visited the church during Heritage time you’d have seen all this for yourself thanks to a copy of the paper provided by Anne Thomson.
Our Quinquennial Survey report has now been delivered and considered by the PCC. Defects fall into one of eight categories including “urgent work requiring immediate attention” and “works to be carried out in the next 12 months”. The jobs in category one have now been completed and were relatively minor in character. Category two jobs are more significant involving repairs to stonework, roof, and floor. The stonework alone has 21 defects listed.
We are also facing the task of appointing a new Inspecting Architect to replace David Jewel who retired at the end of August. Work has begun on this appointment as a matter of some urgency as we can’t really prepare a schedule of work for the category two jobs until a new architect has been appointed.
Finally on a more light-hearted note, the use of “thee” and “thine” in the “ten commandments for churchwardens” brings to mind advice given by an old Yorkshire grandfather to his cheeky grandson. He said “don’t thou thee thou me, thee thou them as thee thous thissen.” It’s an interesting world.
Our link with Australia will be members of St. Andrews MU in the suburb of Rosanna, Melbourne (early days).
On 2nd October we have the pleasure of Dr. Meynen coming along to give an up-date on Leatherhead Hospital.
At the 10.30 Service on 6th October Graham will warmly welcome two new Members into the Mothers' Union.
On 6th November Celia will be telling the story in her time in the WRAF. We will also have appropriate Prayers and Readings for Remembrance with our Poppy wreath being present.
All welcome. If you would like a lift please ring L373999.
Belated News from the Belfry – A First for Margaret!!!!
On Sunday 19th May another quarter was achieved in our tower by some of our own band (only 6 members involved). The ringers were:
Treble Anne Parr
2 John Aronson
3 Mike Todd
4 Rex Woodland
5 Ann Steed (conductor)
6 Margaret Beams
The method was Grandsire Doubles 1260 changes. Many congratulations to Margaret Beams, who rang tenor, on achieving her first quarter peal.
Celebration of Peter Ford's 50 Years Ringing at Leatherhead Parish Church
On Sunday 1st September Peter Ford made an appeal at the end of the 10.30am service for anyone interested in learning to ring to give it a try. He was greatly surprised by the Rector not only thanking him for his 50 years of loyal service, but presenting him with a bell inscribed with his name and this achievement.
In the evening a Quarter Peal of Grandsire Triples was rung in his honour by Anne Parr, Ann Steed who very ably conducted it, Rosemary Henderson, Roger Tompsett, Peter Ford, Mike Todd, Rex Woodland, and Clyde Whittaker.
The Role of a Parish Visitor
I am a Parish Visitor. I was commissioned as a Parish Visitor in 1994 by David Eaton, our previous Priest. Before this I had been a Churchwarden, and I had worked as a Health Visitor. As a Health Visitor, except for an hour in the morning and evening when people phoned us for help or advice, we would be visiting: we visited from birth to the grave. Visiting was the most important part of my job, especially if it was to a mother with a new baby and family. I enjoyed every minute of my work, and I have so enjoyed serving God in being a Parish Visitor.
In my Job Description as a Parish Visitor the objective was to be the Lord's Ambassador; I also felt I was the Vicar's Ambassador and now I feel I am the Rector's Ambassador. Two years on from being commissioned the Curate was moving on which meant that for a while the Vicar would be the only priest, and the Curate said that he would train Sheila Reynolds, who is a Pastoral Assistant, and me to take Holy Communion to the sick. (Pastoral Assistants and Parish Visitors work closely together.)
Through the Vicar the Lord called me to have this wonderful role in the Church, and my Spiritual Faith has so blossomed.
The Pastoral Assistants and I try each Sunday to notice if a parishioner who regularly attends is not in Church: if you notice that someone has not been in Church we would appreciate if you would mention it to us.
Finally, I do recommend the Prayer Group: I am a fairly new member, and I am a great believer in Prayer. You can speak to the Dear Lord any time of the day or night – he is always there to listen to you. The Prayer Group is personal and it is prayers for the Church Family which brings us closer together.
Edith Wright, Parish Visitor
Bible Sunday – October 27th
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path”
Want to read the Bible? Don’t know how to start? Why not try Bible reading notes?
Several members of our congregation use Bible Reading Notes published by the Bible Reading Fellowship (BRF). These have a daily Bible passage to read and some helpful thoughts on that passage. Some notes are available in a large print edition.
On Sunday 27th October, Bible Sunday, I will have a selection of Bible reading notes in church for you to look at and take away to try. If you are interested please talk to me then, or at any time in Church, and I will try to supply you with some of the notes to look at.
Not there on 27th October? Still interested? Please ring on L383357. I will be pleased to hear from you and to arrange for you to have a trial of the notes. I will also be happy to order the notes for you on a more regular basis if you wish.
Going to Church at the Risk of Your Life
This is what is happening in many parts of the world, even in countries where there have been Christians since the first century AD. They are often in a minority and where there is unrest they are an easy target.
Sunday is a good day for attacking and burning churches in Northern Nigeria, and then going on to destroy the homes and livelihood of the congregation, and killing a few of them. This is also happening in many other places not only in Africa but in the Middle East, especially Syria, in Pakistan and in India, in Iran, in China, in Indonesia and the Philippines, and the attacks are not only from Jihadists but also from some Hindus, Buddhists, Communists, and others. Christians can be put in prison on trumped up charges such as blasphemy, and face all kinds of discrimination.
This is not new, but it is happening more often and in more countries than ever before, and it is not often mentioned in the media. In our comfortable Churches we are all too often unaware of the dangers and hardships and actual martyrdoms suffered by our fellow Christians.
Some years ago a group of Societies involved in relief and support for persecuted Christians nominated the last week of October as THE WEEK OF PRAYER FOR THE SUFFERING CHURCH. Please remember and pray for those who are persecuted, and for those who are engaged in helping and encouraging them.
Memories of Linda Heath
Many memories and photos of Linda can now be seen on our website via the History > Remembrance > Linda Heath path. Further recollections and good photos are still welcome.
Frank Haslam L379341
RSCM International Summer School, York, 2013
I wanted to share with fellow church members some of the gems encountered during the International Summer School which took place in York from 12 – 18 August 2013.
St Augustine: “The one who sings prays twice”
John Wesley’s Directions for Congregational Singing
“That this part of Divine Worship may be the more acceptable to God, as well as the more profitable to yourself and others, be careful to observe the following directions."
Learn these Tunes before you learn any others; afterwards learn as many as you please.
Sing them exactly as they are printed here, without altering or mending them at all; and if you have learned to sing them otherwise, unlearn it as soon as you can.
Sing All. See that you join with the congregation as frequently as you can. Let not a slight degree of weakness or weariness hinder you. If it is a cross to you, take it up and you will find a blessing.
Sing lustily and with good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half dead, or half asleep; but lift up your voice with strength. Be no more afraid of your voice now, nor more ashamed of its being heard, than when you sang the songs of Satan.
Sing modestly. Do not bawl, so as to be heard above or distinct from the rest of the congregation, that you may not destroy the harmony; but strive to unite your voices together, so as to make one clear melodious sound.
Sing in Time: whatever time is sung, be sure to keep with it. Do not run before nor stay behind it; but attend closely to the leading voices, and move therewith as exactly as you can. And take care you sing not too slow. This drawling way naturally steals on all who are lazy; and it is high time to drive it out from among us, and sing all our tunes just as quick as we did at first.
Above all sing spiritually. Have an eye to God in every word you sing. Aim at pleasing him more than yourself, or any other creature. In order to this attend strictly to the sense of what you sing, and see that your Heart is not carried away with the sound, but offered to God continually; so shall your singing be such as the Lord will approve of here, and reward when he cometh in the clouds of heaven.
Our Wedding Day 24th August 2013
I now have the pleasure of stating that I write this on behalf of myself and my wife Tahra following our marriage on Saturday 24th August 2013 at St Marys and St Nicholas Parish Church.
For me it was wonderful that Tahra (my wife!) chose this Church in which to marry. This Church has featured in and has been so much part of my family life since my family first moved to Leatherhead on 6th March 1973 when I was seven.
The Church featured a great deal in my early childhood not only because of the connection with Poplar Road School but also through cubs and scouts at the 8th Leatherhead (Parish Church) Scout Group through which I attended many Church Parades. It was also the church of my confirmation.
We have to confess we never realised the planning and organisation required for the preparation of a wedding ceremony. Despite the rain the Church looked magnificent and was truly an inspirational place to marry. The flowers were absolutely beautiful and we extend our personal thanks to those involved in making the arrangements.
When my two best men and I walked into the church we were met by Sheila Ford. Sheila was one of our early teachers at the Forty Foot Road annex to the school. Sheila, Simon and I were reminiscing about those days 38 years ago whilst I was supposed to be checking that the register had been completed correctly. I hope that there were no mistakes!!
The music was uplifting. We like to think that we selected some great hymns and music (which we did) but in reality we think the sound produced resulted from the choir and organist – thank you all. We also like to thank Edita for her beautiful singing whilst we were signing the register. We know from talking to people afterwards that it was greatly appreciated. Finally thank you to the bell ringers for ringing us out of the church.
I am hoping to research the history of the site that is now the Windfield estate. If you have memories or photos of what it was like before the estate was built, or of events that took place there, please contact me.
Frank Haslam L379341
Remembrance - Local War Memorials 18th October talk
In the Letherhead Institute on 18th October at 7.30 for 8pm, there will be a talk on Local War Memorials by Frank Haslam, Janice Steele of Fetcham U3A, and Ian Whitlock, a local military historian. The talk will be about the work being done to research the names on our local war memorials and to make available the stories behind the names. Where did they live? What was their life? What happened to them? There will be much about our parish church.
Admission £2 including coffee & biscuits.
Frank Haslam L379341