All Saints Church Staplehurst Kent
The Church on the HillChurch of England - Diocese of Canterbury
The Church Office - Telephone / Fax - (01580) 891258
Email: All Saints Church Office
Registered Charity No. 1132851
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STAPLEHURST PARISH MAGAZINE is far more than just a Church Magazine; it contains a lot of information about a wide range of organisations, activities and events of general interest in the village. It also carries advertisements for many of the local tradesmen and businesses.
All this for just £1.00 per month (or £11.00 per year).
In a village appraisal the Magazine was voted the best source of information available in the village, which is probably why around half the households in the village already subscribe.
For a complimentary copy of Staplehurst Parish Magazine, totally without obligation, contact Sue de St Jorre on (01580) 893922 or Email: Sue de St Jorre
We are confident that you will be impressed!
Sue de St Jorre (Distribution)The Magazine Committee
Just over a month ago I finished my training at Ripon College Cuddesdon, a theological college in the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside, and I said my "goodbyes" to many good friends there that I made during my two years of study; many of us were sent out to serve the Church in various parishes scattered throughout the country whilst others remained at college. My "endings" gave way to my "new beginnings" as I moved to Staplehurst, and following ordination as a Deacon at the end of June in Canterbury Cathedral, I began my curacy at All Saints' under the care and guidance of Silke.
It has been a month of transitions. A new area, a new home, a new role, new routines and new people to meet and to get to know, and names to remember! Despite having a career in the National Health Service for 25 years, and living in many places during my life from industrial Sheffield to parts of Essex and Kent, I have always found transitions both testing but also full of excitement and opportunity. I have enjoyed my "new beginnings" here in Staplehurst and I have met so many kind, friendly and supportive people. The village has real warmth to it and I have felt welcomed here. My first day at All Saints' was a joy and I was greeted with so much friendliness and generous hospitality. And Staplehurst and the Parish Church are also so full of talent; I was blessed to be here for the Alternative Flower Festival, with its many awe-inspiring and spectacular displays, and the concert on Saturday evening and the Songs of Praise service on Sunday were both memorable and uplifting events.
I give thanks for both my "endings" and for my new opportunities here. I hope that I can serve the people of Staplehurst and All Saints' to the best of my ability as part of the team at the Parish Church. Although I have not been in the parish that long I am keen to get to know as many people as possible in the Church and in the village and so please feel free to contact me via e-mail or telephone or just say “hello” if you spot me walking to the Church or out and about in the village!
All the very best,
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Since I was first asked to become a Churchwarden by The Rector, my life has been bit a of a whirlwind. However, a couple of months on, I'm now settling in quite nicely. Everyone warned me that it would be full-on, and they weren't wrong. My thanks go to everyone who has been so incredibly supportive and especially to the two previous Churchwardens who spent several weeks “showing me the ropes”. I know I have a huge task ahead of me, but I'm confident that I will be able to make a difference and hopefully drive All Saints' Church forward. Most of my working career has been in advertising and publishing as well as event management. With the help of a newly formed sub-committee, we will be launching new social media feeds for our Church as well as having many exciting plans for the forthcoming months.
By the way of a thank you, The Rector and I would like to invite EVERY volunteer who gives up any of their time in helping All Saints' Church, to an afternoon tea party at The New Rectory from 3.00pm until 6.00pm, on Saturday 19th July 2014. If you are a Sidesperson, Brass Cleaner, Flower Arranger, Intercessor, Server, Reader, member of the Choir, Bellringer, Grasscutter, member of the PCC and all sub-committees and member of the magazine team, you are invited (if I've left anyone out – you are welcome too!). I will be laying on an afternoon of cream teas and it will be a really great opportunity for us to all get together in a relaxed environment as well as getting to know each other a bit better. Any contributions of cake and drink will be gratefully appreciated.
I know I've only been in the post for a short period of time, but I'm trying to get to meet as many people who are involved with the Church as possible. All your ideas and comments would be most welcome - whether good or bad, so please do feel free to contact me via email, telephone (01580) 893776 or mobile 07720 595938
I look forward to meeting as many people as possible on 19th July.
Patrick Vinson Gerrish
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How much do you know about your family's experiences during the First World War which began 100 years ago this year? And in the Second World War, did any of your family take part in the D-day landings seventy years ago this month?
As we remember and honour those involved, whether they served at home or abroad, many of us regret that we do not know more. So it was fascinating and inspiring at the District Scout St George's Day Service to learn from the Scouts themselves the fruits of their own research. The Scouts from Staplehurst, along with other Scout Troops, took turns in reporting the very varied parts Scouts played throughout World War One, both in our local areas and on a wider scale. It was amazing to learn, for instance, about a Scout who joined the Navy at 15. He was posthumously awarded the V.C. at 16 for his outstanding bravery and steadfastness during the Battle of Jutland in the North Sea.
Other organisations, such as the Royal British Legion, are also engaged in research. The Legion is encouraging its branches to find out and record as much as possible about the people whose names are inscribed on their local war memorials. As in so many towns and villages elsewhere, together with the Parish Council, this is ongoing in Staplehurst.
And though it is right and proper to remember and honour those in the armed forces who died, what about all those in supporting roles, including doctors and nurses? It is also easy to forget the many women who did tough but vital work in both wars - and those who lost their chance to get married and have families because so many men had died.
Although there is hardly anyone still alive who remembers the First World War, we still have the chance to talk to people who were alive in the Second one - and to those who can recall what they have learned from earlier generations.
After our wonderful springtime in the Weald, which, this year seemed especially ablaze with blossom, it may be too much to hope for an equally sunny and flower-starred June. But would it not be good to take whatever opportunities we can this month, whether indoors or out, to learn from each other across the generations and particularly about these two traumatic times in our history? For, if we are to have any hope of building permanent peace, should we not begin by understanding as much as we can about the past?
One such opportunity may come at our village carnival at the end of the month in the Churches Together tent. There the Christian denominations will be working together to provide welcome, hospitality - and homemade cakes - to people of all ages.
And it is not just in wartime or when we are young that we can work for peace or that bravery is needed. Challenges can come at any time of life. Some of the bravest people I have known have been elderly carers who, despite being far from well themselves, have struggled cheerfully to look after someone else.
It is sometimes said of those who demonstrate bravery that “they knew no fear”. Yet, are not those who, like most of us, are sometimes frightened stiff, yet manage to overcome their fears and act courageously, perhaps even braver? There have been people throughout history who have been very brave, despite initial fears. For instance, the Bible shows that Joshua was clearly terrified by the tasks God was giving him. For it reports that God had to tell him three times to “Be strong and courageous”, adding: “do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
So, whatever challenges confront us, let us try to be strong and courageous, and remember that if we follow God's teaching and trust in him, he will be with each one of us too, wherever we go.
The Revd Jean Mayhew
All Saints, Staplehurst
Telephone number (01580) 211820
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This month has several events in the Church's calendar.
The month of May is when the Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus is especially remembered. Some people find it helpful to ask Mary to add her prayers to theirs' when they are praying to God. As Jesus' mother she has a special place in the hearts and minds of the Christian community.
Saint Augustine, Dunstan and Langfranc, all Archbishops of Canterbury, and The Venerable Bede are commemorated during May. We give thanks for all they did in their lives for Christianity.
May 25th is Ascension Day when we remember Jesus ascending to heaven following his resurrection on Easter Day. He is united for evermore as God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit - our God, our Father to whom we say the prayer beginning "Our Father who art in Heaven ..."
May 29th is Rogation Day. We live in a village surrounded by farm land. Having celebrated earlier at the start of the farming year, the blessing of the plough and our farmers, we now bless the fields and crops. During this outdoor service, Silke, the Rector, turns in each direction and blesses the fields and crops, and we pray for a good harvest.
Also May 12th is the beginning of Christian Aid Week. A village collection is made to pay for work in third world countries so the people there may have food, fresh water and education. We have so many advantages, please give generously. Most people have their own particular charities they support, but if you could also support this, these people would have such an improved life.
This month let us look around us at our homes, surroundings, families and friends and everything else for which we need to thank God - and give thanks to Him.
May we all receive God's blessing.
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WHAT IS SPIRITUALITY?
Spirituality is regarded as a basic characteristic of all people, which is vital to health and well-being. It is a universal search for meaning and purpose, which is an essential part of being human. Spirituality is also a shelter for people in distress and helps to give a sense of peace. The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keeps your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God. This sense of peace enables us to live lives more fully despite the sorrows we are faced with in life and it also encourages us to celebrate the things in life that bring us happiness.
If spirituality is the search for meaning and purpose in life, religion and religious observance may be one very significant way of conducting the search. All observances in the Christian tradition are a journey alongside Jesus. Lent is the time when Jesus prays in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights and so do his followers today by observing a special time of prayer. God’s peace is so much more than just the absence of noise.
Thus says the Lord:
The Labyrinth is such an ancient path.
It is a path that is known to have existed for over 4000 years. It is a path that has resonated with people in various countries, cultures, faiths and beliefs throughout the world. It is a beautiful path that, in various ways, supports the reflective seeker on life’s path. This ancient spiritual pathway is known to have been embraced by Christians since the fourth century as a support for prayer and contemplation.
There is something in the twists and turns of the labyrinth path that touches the twists and turns in our lives. Its winding path seems to help us unwind, slow down and be mindful of our thoughts and promptings of our hearts. No wonder then, that in our time of speed and fast living, the labyrinth has once again resurfaced as a path to inspire, console, calm and awaken us. Labyrinths today can be found in cathedrals, churches, schools, universities, hospices, retreat centres, prisons, playgrounds, gardens and coastlines. Portable labyrinths are often laid out on floors and temporary labyrinths are regularly made with rope, stones or marked out on a beach. Wherever they are offered people come and walk - grateful for the “quiet time” and opportunity to just “be”. Following the labyrinth path offers the restless mind an opportunity to be inwardly observant, to pay attention to feelings, to explore challenges and to be open to new thoughts and ideas.
During Holy Week there will be a Labyrinth in All Saints Church for people to walk and pray. We will have prayer guidance cards to lead you along the ancient paths and times of guided prayer. There will also be prayer stations, stations of the cross around the church. Each day in Holy Week the church will be open all day and evening. On Thursday evening the Maundy Eucharist will re-enact the Last Supper as a Passover meal. I invite Children and Adults to come and take part. All are welcome. For the exact events and times, please look at our Easter Programme.
During this Lent I wish you a renewed discovery of peace.
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LETTER FROM THE READER
The actress, Dawn French, is a lady who just exudes confidence. But it was not always so. In a newspaper article I read a while ago, when she was 14 and teased mercilessly at school, Dawn's father took her aside and told her she was uncommonly beautiful, the most precious thing in his life and that he prized her above everything and was so proud to be her father!
Those words deeply affected the way Dawn thought about herself for the rest of her life. She no longer saw herself as a short, fat girl who couldn't get a boyfriend. Instead she was secure in the knowledge that she was loved for who she was, not for what she thought she looked like. Those words, backed up by actions, of course, gave her the feeling of being loved and supported which equipped her for the trials of life.
Mothering Sunday is on the 30th March. It is a time to thank our mothers, especially, for their love and care which has had such an influence in making us the people we are today. As a parent myself, it is also a reminder of the importance of that role.
Parenting is much in the news. Everyone agrees how important it is for children to grow up in a happy, secure and loving home environment. Our words can have such an influence - a power to crush or to build up. In today's busy world, it is quite easy to get into the habit of being negative and critical, especially if we are feeling stressed and inadequate ourselves. Prof. John Gottmann tells us that for every critical comment from their parents, children need at least five positive comments!
Mothering Sunday is a reminder of how much we owe to our parents, especially for their love. And love is often expressed in words, and words have a power, for good or bad. What we say to our children, and indeed partners and friends, is likely to stick in their memory and affect the way they see themselves, as it did for Dawn French. This should be a source of reassurance and comfort, because they feel loved.
God is the “ultimate parent” who shows us the way, affirming His Son Jesus, (and through Him us, His children!) with those famous words:
“You are my beloved child, with you I am well pleased!”
What a difference a few words of appreciation can make!
SonjaBack to Top
On February 2nd, which is Candlemas, we close the Christmas season. The crib will be removed from the Church and, this year, there is a period of just over four weeks before the season of Lent begins.
Candlemas is also known as the Presentation in the Temple of Jesus by his parents. This was to give thanks for His safe birth and to offer Him to do God's work.
Many parents now-a-days bring their children to Church to present them to God and ask His blessing on their lives. Our service is called Baptism, or Christening. The child is anointed with oil which has been blessed, has holy water poured gently on their head and is given their Christian name. A candle is lit to symbolise Jesus as the Light of the World ---- a light to follow in His Way throughout the life of the child. Of course, without the positive help and guidance of their parents, Godparents, relations, schools and everyone else with whom they come into contact, life could be very difficult. Let Jesus be our guide, our leader, our strength and comfort as we welcome and guide these children in all that is right.
A poem by a five year old:-
“Look what I have found, snowdrops in the ground.
May we all receive God's blessing.
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PLOUGH THE GROUNDS OF YOUR HEART
Happy New Year Everybody.
One of my most joyful Christmas presents was when a young boy at school said that he enjoyed the quiet time (prayer time) during my assemblies. Children do like quiet time!! I think we all like quiet time or better time to reflect. To reflect helps us to make the right decisions. No doubt this New Year will ask us again to make many decisions.
One familiar story we often hear this time of the year is the Parable of ‘The sower and the seed’. If you would like to read the story you can find it in the New Testament in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 13 verses 1-23. In this story Jesus explains to his farming friends in farming terms what is necessary to harvest the kingdom of God. He spoke of a farmer who sowed seed.
He said to them:
People had to persist in asking Jesus for the meaning and then meditated on his stories to gain understanding. Like the people of old, like the children at Staplehurst Primary school, so can we enjoy quiet time to reflect and pray to ask Jesus to help us to understand the meaning of life by reflecting on his stories. When we meditate on them and allow the meaning to grow up as a seed in our hearts, we will be able to harvest the fruit of the Spirits, which are Joy, peace and love.
This year provides wonderful opportunities and one is at our special Plough Sunday Service on Sunday, 12th January 2014, 10.00am at All Saints Church.
For the New Year I wish joy, peace and love
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CHRISTMAS MESSAGE FROM THE READER
As I write this letter, I can hardly believe that we are heading for the season of Advent, and Christmas will soon be round the corner. Christmas is a time when we often sit around with family and friends telling stories and remembering times past. Many of us have Christmas family traditions such as making the cake or the puddings together. We enjoy telling stories of how things used to be. It is good to share memories and recollections, to make people smile and to maintain some of the family traditions.
However I wonder how many of us feel as compelled to share the story of the true meaning of Christmas with our family and friends. That amazing story of how God came to live among us in human form through the birth of a baby to parents who enjoyed none of life's advantages, who lived a basic life in a remote town, and whose very existence relied on the support and love of their relatives and community. In many ways it is a very simple story and yet it has had a profound effect on the world over two millennia. It is a story that generates deep faith in some, hostile rejection in others; it is a story that initiates complicated and intense theological debate, yet brings peace and comfort to many who are unable to even read or write. It is a story though that can actually be quite hard to tell, so what are we to do?
Well sometimes stories don't always need to be told in words. This Christmas why not think about how you can share the message of the Christmas story through actions. The cards you send - will they contain a brief message pertaining to the story of Jesus' birth? The presents you give - perhaps you might consider ethical gifts, gifts bought from a charity that works with communities overseas to bring peace or with individuals at home to bring sustenance and independent living? Could you invite a neighbour or a lonely person to share your Christmas dinner or offer a cup of tea and some cake and a listening ear for an hour or two over the Christmas period? Christmas is the opening chapter of a story about a loving and gracious God who gave everything he could to understand us, to empathise with us and to show us how much he cares. The greatest way in which we can share that story is by living it and not just retelling it.
May you, and all those whom you love and care for, have a very happy and meaningful Christmas, and a peaceful New Year.
SonjaBack to Top
If you would like to look at previous Clergy Letters see below:
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