From the September magazine
The Licensed Lay Minister writes...
The Wall Paper: It had rained heavily in the night and the path outside our bedroom resembled a canal. We paddled our way to breakfast before continuing along the Karakorum Highway in north east Pakistan, finally to reach Karimabad. The rain had brought havoc to the people living along the route, shop fronts were flooded, and the dirt roads had turned into muddy streams. There were frequent mini mud and rock slides which our driver had to negotiate. In the late afternoon an old man beside the road waved us down to warn us that further ahead the Karakorum Highway was totally blocked by a massive land slide, and the stationary traffic was miles long in both directions. The warning was just in time, as we were able to turn back and take the only bridge for many miles, a primitive plank suspension bridge across the frightening river Gilgit,.
For me this was brilliant, because we had to wind our way through tiny villages on muddy tracks, observing people working in the fields, herding goats, collecting fire wood, and roasting sweet corn for supper. The poor things were having to deal with the flooding in their homes, which wasn't helped by a steady stream of vehicles who had followed this long detour to avoid the massive traffic jam. All this added a long time to our journey and it had been dark for 3 hours by the time we reached Karimabad in the Hunza Valley. On being shown our hotel room we were delighted to see there was a European type lavatory pan, rather than just a "hole". But unfortunately the pan leaked water constantly, and after three nights the bath mat was afloat. Both the water (cold and dark kahki in colour) and the electricity were intermittent and the plug for the fan kept falling out of the wall; but as our hotel was built high up the mountain, we expected a good view in the morning.
What greeted us was totally breath-taking. We were enraptured by 360 degrees of snow-topped mountains, bright against the sapphire blue sky and rising high above the green valley of the mighty brown Hunza river roaring below. Or as one of the young men with whom we shared the next week of our trip remarked "I like your wall paper!" This is the spot where the Himalaya, Hindu Kush and Karakorum mountain ranges all meet. Around us were over seven peaks in excess of 21,000 feet.
After breakfast we walked along and up the valley, getting quite out of breath due to both the heat and the altitude of 8,000 feet. The apricot trees were in full fruit and loaded, there were also apples and pears, potatoes, sweet corn, mountain wheat, roses, wild flowers, and lots more beside, thanks to the fine local irrigation system that had been in place for centuries. Everyone greeted us with friendly "hellos" and the children were simply adorable, and forever we gazed at the changing beauty of the encircling mountains. Nevertheless we were all delighted when our guide suggested that we call in on his aunt for a cup of tea. The aunt's eldest granddaughter spread a plastic cloth on the floor in front of us and served us first a welcome glass of cold water, then tea and home-made bread. The younger granddaughter squatted beside us with a feather fly whisk which she used most conscientiously.
I have only space here to recount 24 hours of our 14 day trip. The accommodation was often more basic than our hotel in Karimabad, but the "Wall Paper" always different, and always amazing. Even when the high snow mountains were not visible we often saw glaciers hanging in the high valleys of the lower ranges. By our standards the people we saw and met were unimaginably poor, running water and flush loos far beyond their wildest dreams; but everyone smiled (even at the many police check points!) and we were welcomed and taken to their hearts. In many ways they are so much more wealthy than any of us. They worked hard, laughed a lot, and were surrounded by the world's very best "wall paper". Living their simple lives, day by day, these folk seemed to have a greater understanding of what is the eternal, for they were part of a landscape which was beautiful beyond words; and it is in such beauty that we touch the divine.
John Keats wrote "A thing of beauty is a joy for ever: its loveliness increases: it will never pass into nothingness." Beauty is both transient and eternal. It is no wonder that Augustine of Hippo called God "Beauty", not as an adjective, but as noun; for God, like beauty, cannot be grasped, only experienced.
Let us stop for a moment during the clutter and business of our lives to look up and see the "wall paper", the divine beauty which sustains and surrounds us. Thanks be to Beauty, to God.
Church Matters for September 2015
To what extent does Church matter, to you, to me, to all of us? Is it pivotal to our lives, the core of our existence, the very essence of our Christian faith? If it is, then we all need to work together to ensure we can maintain the Church, both as a faithful body of followers of Jesus Christ and as a building in which we can manifest our faith. Our New Future Plans aim to further the former, but our old present dilemma is one that needs facing here and now. The present dilemma is one of "housekeeping". We, as the congregation, simply do not provide sufficient housekeeping to keep this beautiful, ancient, venerated building functioning. The "congregation" includes everyone who uses the church for worship, for Baptism, Weddings, Funerals, social gatherings, special festivals; in short, everyone who expects this building to be here as and when it is needed.
It is perhaps not realised by everyone that the offerings in the collection plate and the planned giving are what pay the bills for the upkeep of the church. This upkeep includes our Parish Share: £73,000 we pay annually to the Diocese; and the bills for heating, lighting, maintenance and repairs; currently around £50,000 annually. Quite eye-watering sums. We are indebted to the Friends of Leatherhead Parish Church for their magnificent support in helping to pay for extra, unexpected expenditure, but it is we, the people of the congregation and the town, who should shoulder the main burden.
A large number of people give regularly, either weekly or monthly and this is of great benefit in planning expenditure. If you already do this, a HUGE thank you! If not, perhaps you might consider it? It is these donations which keep our church functioning and at present we simply do not give enough. We plan to have a renewed "Giving Initiative" at some time in the near future, but this somewhat uncomfortable subject is one that must be addressed sooner, rather than later. We cannot let "later" become "too late".
Notes from the Belfry
On Sunday 16th of August 2015 a quarter peal of Kent Treble Minor containing 1320 changes was rung by the following:
- Peter Ford
- Abi Fairhurst
- Ann Steed *
- Clyde Whittaker **
- Mike Todd **
- Rex Woodland **
Conducted by Ann Steed
* 1st in the method as conductor ** 1st Quarter in the method
To commemorate the 70th anniversary of VJ day, and also to celebrate the birthdays of Rosemary Henderson, Mike Todd, Rex Woodland, Peter Ford, and Julian Steed, falling around this date.
I hope everyone had lovely Summer holidays, let's hope the fine weather continues for a little longer.
2nd September we welcome Michael Beach from NADFAS to give us an insight as to what they do.
7th October I thought I would step into the breach and give you a talk.
Looking ahead - 4th November Sue Hill is coming along to show us how to decorate small Christmas Cakes which will afterwards be available to purchase.Jane Summerfield
For your diary - Saturday 3rd October: Ashes Plaques Morning
The churchyard team need help to tidy up the area at the Church Road end of the churchyard where there are many ashes plaques set in the turf. Please bring rubber soled footwear/wellingtons and clippers/edging tools if you have them. We start at 9am and with sufficient support hope to complete the task in a couple of hours.Dave Jones L373511
Charity Cycle Event - London to Paris
Despite my advancing years, my daughter has persuaded me to attempt a 4 day London to Paris cycle challenge with her at the beginning of September for the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity in memory of my Mum who passed away earlier this year.
I have set up a just giving page and I would be really grateful for any sponsorship towards this great cause. https://www.iustgiving.com/Richard-Price22/
I have already started my training programme, but haven't yet managed anything like the 90 miles in one day that I will need to do on the first day of the challenge to avoid missing the ferry at Dover!
Thanks very much for your support.Richard Price
Second Sunday Lunch
As from September the arrangements have changed for the above:
BOOKINGS must be made by the WEDNESDAY before the Sunday. Also it would be helpful if (having booked) you are unable to come you let me know as soon as possible on L205720.S Cole
Intercessors and Readers
I would like to thank the many people who have been giving the Intercessions and Readings over the past few years - when I ask I always get a generous reply.
We are always in need of Intercessors, and the more there are the less number of times I have to ask for them during the year. At the moment I don't think that anyone gives them more than twice a year. I know that the thought of Intercessions can be quite daunting if you have never given them before, but once you have "had a go" you will find not only does it become easier the next time, but you do feel that you are making a very positive contribution to the Service.
If you would like to give an occasional Reading Jane Andrews very kindly prints the text out for you before the date in question.
Anyone interested please ring me -D882473 - or trip me up one Sunday morning!
Thank you.Frances Presley
Farewell from the Children's Church Leader
Well, just where have the last twenty years or so gone, since I took over the leadership of what was then called Junior Church from the ever-capable Jane Summerfield. Although the name changed to Sunday Club and then Children's Church, I hope that the ethos of introducing children to the wonderful God of the Bible in a fun and informative way remained a constant throughout.
Memories? There are so many. The fact that past members, now in their late teens or twenties, still come up to me in the town and say hello is a wonderful thing.
Any success stories arising from Children's Church are a reflection on the whole team of teachers, helpers and parents (without whom...) over the years.
I wish to express my grateful thanks for the very generous gifts of Amazon vouchers - both from the congregation and the past and present parents and children - and the First World War artefacts book - a passion of mine!
The card with the lovely comments from Children's Church will be treasured forever. (Thanks Carol!) As one parent wrote 'What will I do now to stay young?' The children always kept me young at heart so I will be eternally grateful to each and every one of them.
So what's next for me? I shall still be around as the Parish Church is my 'home' and its members are my extended 'family'. I shall continue afresh in my role as one of our two Licensed Occasional Preachers with my involvement in the monthly All Age Communion service, whether speaking or drumming. Yes, drumming, that will help to keep me young, as will my monthly radio show on Surrey Hills Radio. I often quote a well worn phrase 'You only grow old when you stop enjoying music'. Very true. I hope that Children's Church will thrive with fresh insights and a refreshed focus under the future Children and Families Worker.
Thank you all for your support over the past twenty years!Chris Stagg
Home Prayer Warriors
In the July Parish magazine Graham wrote an article about a new venture, Home Prayer Warriors, and gave my name as the co-ordinator; which has prompted me to write this note. The basic idea is to enable those of us who, for one reason or another, are unable to get to church to join in with the rest of the Parish in prayer. A prayer pamphlet will be available, probably three times a year, and we will be invited to pray, primarily for matters stemming from "Visions and Values" such as children and families and the future building project. This is in support of Graham's vision of growing disciples of Jesus Christ in the Parish.
This is very much, as I said in the beginning, a new venture. I have at present no members and no pamphlets! Graham will be arranging the first and as a result of this article I hope that I shall be joined by others. For those of you who would like to join this Prayer Group, you can contact me on L375012. How, where, and when one wishes to pray is of course a matter of personal preference.
For anyone worried about the title, I am assured that it is one used by the Church in other Dioceses. I don't feel much of a warrior, but I am happy to pray - and in this case I pray that, like Peter, I shall, with the Lord's help, have a good catch.Derek Harding
Maureen Henderson and Edith Wright
Pages on these old friends are now on the People pages of the History & Key Events part of our Parish website:[ http://www.parishchurch.leatherheadweb.org.uk/go_to_people.htm ] (then click on Remembrance on the left of your screen and find them in the listing)
Please let me know if you have additional memories to add.
Please also look at the listing of the others on the Remembrance page and if you have photo for someone who is currently without one, let me know. If you do not have personal access to a computer, ask a friend or go into the Library and seek their help.Frank Haslam, Parish Archivist
New Rural Dean for Leatherhead
This month will see the handover of the role of Rural Dean from the Revd Robert Jenkins, the Rector of Cobham and Stoke D'Abernon, to the Revd Alan Jenkins, Rector of Great Bookham. There will be a small ceremony at the next Deanery Synod on September 16th when the handover will take place.
The synod meeting will also welcome a speaker from the Moot Community who will support us as we consider further aspects of prayer and spirituality on the journey to discipleship and conclude our work on the Diocesan Common Purpose.
You can find out more about Common Purpose from the diocesan web site at www.cofeguildford.org.uk.
The Moot Community is a new-monastic community whose home is the Church of St Mary Aldermary, in the City of London. They seek to show that those who may not relate to traditional ideas of church can find a home in the Christian tradition. Supporters recognise the inspiration of many throughout the centuries, from saints to artists, and seek to offer hospitality and conversation to all and seek to live in a way that is both relevant to modern culture and to God, by finding God in the midst of everyday life.Donald Yeates
Heritage Open Days 10th - 13th September
As part of the countrywide "Heritage Days 2015" our church will be open for four days from Thursday 10th September until Sunday 13th September. The theme this year, chosen by the Mole Valley organisers, is "Words and Music" - with which, of course, our church abounds. The Flower Ladies are once again supporting the theme with their lovely arrangements, and they would be delighted if anyone would like to make a donation towards the cost of the flowers, which they fund themselves.
The church will be open from 10am to 4 pm on Thursday 10th, Friday 11th, and Saturday 12th, and from noon to 4 pm on Sunday 13th. Refreshments will be available.
Do come and support us.Sue Roberts
From September Triumph AM will be run by LYP Youth Worker Martin Fuller, starting on Sunday 13 September at 10.00am. Intended for children in school years 5 to 8 it will held on the second and fourth Sundays during term time in BFree. For more information please contact Martin firstname.lastname@example.org or phone L383345)Joe Crome