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By Editor, Feb 16 2018 10:00AM

Within our congregation we have a hardworking team of flower arrangers, Vicky Holmes is also active in the Epsom Garden Society, and the extract below tells us of her recent success - Congratulations!


From the Epsom Garden Society:

Vicky Holmes finishing her 2017 year of the flower arrangement section winning all three cumulative points cups, namely The Madge Mansley Cup, The Barbara Meineck Trophy plus The Phyllis Dumbar Novice Award. Also In addition she jointly won the Kathleen Finch Trophy for the most points in the shows. Also add to her collection is the Len Humphreys Floral Art Cup and a Judges Choice Floral Art Certificate.




By Editor, Feb 16 2018 10:00AM

As Lent begins today, St Martin's congregation are invited to collect and fill a lent dontation box to support the work of one of our chosen Charities. Boxes can be found at the back of church and we ask you to make your choice and add your name to the appropriate list. For more details about the work of the mission committee and the charities that we are supporting this year please click the attached link.


Jill Chapman, on behalf of the Mission Committee

By Editor, Feb 13 2018 09:00PM

Dear Editor,


Good News!


Spring is on the way! Winter is half over.


February 2nd is a very important date. For Christian folk - a feast day this one remembering the Presentation of Christ in the Temple. There Simeon recognised that he held in his arms the light to lighten the gentiles, the baby who was also the Glory of God’s people Israel. It is the last of the celebrations associated with Jesus coming in to the world. Now all our Christmas decorations, our cribs which have remained through the Epiphany season, must come down.


Lighter evenings are already a feature of life as Spring approaches, for this feast day falls half way between the Winter solstice and the Spring equinox. Winter is half over, March 20 is officially the First Day of Spring.


Somewhere in history the celebration was associated with the blessing of new candles, new lights for the still dark, though shorter, evenings. Hence the alternative title the day of the Candle mass, and another reason for the theme of light in the liturgy .


It is as well to remember that 40 days from the birth of Jesus Mary was visiting the Temple for ritual purification, hence the other title of this day Purification of the blessed Virgin Mary. Mary was undoubtedly a faithful Jew and so according to the Law (Leviticus 12) having taken Jesus to be circumcised after the seven days of her uncleanness were passed she submits to this ceremony thirty three more days later. If we remember this too then hopefully we will be resolved to be as faithful as she was. And maybe we will ask ourselves why it is that Christianity adopted the Judaic idea that all things associated with sexuality were dirty when it ditched so much else that was incompatible with our new life in Christ.


Were we all really “shapen in wickedness? and in sin did our mothers conceive us?”


For some of us surely our generation was an act of love.


Yours provocatively


Howard



*Pss 51 and 139 seem to be a bit at odds over this point



By Editor, Jan 15 2018 08:00AM

Services for January 2018

Sun. 7th 9.30am Holy Communion

Sun. 14th 9.30am Holy Communion

Sun. 21th 9.30am Morning Worship

Sun. 28th 9.30am Holy Communion


As always we begin our January newsletter by looking back over the previous year, a busy and in many ways changeable year for St. Stephens. A year in which many, including Christopher, Judith, Janet, Linda, and the clergy team, with enormous effort and faith, effected several positive changes that altered our perceptions and the way in which we view the future for St. Stephens.


However, our Christmas celebrations remained very much unchanged. On the Saturday prior to Christmas Rhys the young electrician was once again busy positioning all the lights, with Janet in attendance. The following morning our Nativity was made special by baby Ivy’s angelic performance as the Christ child, and her mother Lauren’s role as a beautiful Mary. In addition, Frances’ three gorgeous granddaughters were equally delightful as angels.


In the evening our Carols and Songs session was well attended, with lots of pleasurable and individual contributions. I rather liked the Three Kings, and Mary’s granddaughter still has a beautiful voice but my goodness she is growing up, also beautifully! As always the mulled wine, prepared by Pat and Janet, was delicious and very welcome.


Christingle this year was also very successful, with a full church, about half of whom were children. Linda and her team of willing helpers produced all the gorgeous and delicious oranges and this year Henry was our generous sponsor. So, many thanks to you all.


Next I must admit that, although I was sorry to miss our Christingle Service, I was actually sad to miss Adrian’s Midnight Eucharist. Linda tells me it was a lovely service. Our family meets for Christmas on alternate years only, so every moment is treasured. However, it does make the midnight Eucharist even more special on those alternate years, bereft of family.


The following Sunday it was a real treat to enter St. Stephens – Fred’s magnificent tree was illuminated, balanced by Marlene’s beautiful flower arrangement, the candles on the altar and the Crib scene. It was both very welcoming and comforting, in equal measure. It was then an added pleasure to share the service, presided over by Adrian, with Nick and so many very welcome friends from St. Martins.


So, our thanks go to everyone for both another Happy Christmas and another happy year at St. Stephens. Especial thanks must go to Judith and Janet, Linda and Pat, and to Mary for all our music, at all our events - the solemn and joyful tunes – and sometimes the little happy bouncy ones. Our thanks go too to Fred for his unfailingly service and to Hazel for all the coffee times.


In fact there is a list of names within the St. Stephens family that should be mentioned but it would look a little silly, so please consider yourselves very much thanked and very much appreciated for all your efforts and kindness throughout the year.


One last thank you to the clergy team for all their support and to say we now look forward to – and wish you all – a very peaceful, happy and healthy New Year.


On behalf of everyone here at St. Stephens Janie Grinstead



By Editor, Dec 20 2017 08:00AM

The Church Times recently had a cartoon depicting people arguing about the colours of the candles in the Advent wreath. In St Martin’s ours are purple, symbolising our need for penitence, except for the fourth one which is pink, and symbolises a lightening of the mood in the now nearer anticipation of Jesus’ birth.


Another pattern is to have a purple candle this first week indicating the arrival of this solemn season of preparation as we anticipate both the birth of Jesus and His second coming as Judge of the world. We hear the solemn warning of the patriarchs and prophets as well as their note of hope.


In the second week the candle is red, because for many centuries the second Sunday in Advent has been Bible Sunday. Its emphasis has been on the Scriptures because the Collect and Epistle for this Sunday, from 1662 and long before, have made us focus on them as a special gift from God who caused all Holy Scripture to be written for our learning. We express our grateful recognition of this in many ways and especially in Ps 119 “Thy word is a lantern unto my path”. The red candle reminds us of the flame of that lantern.


The third Sunday in Advent is anciently known as Gaudete Sunday. Its message is that we should Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, Rejoice. (Gaudete is the Latin word for Rejoice) Those who know the Book of Common Prayer well will know that after the Reformation the Church of England used this reading from Philippians 4 the next week, week 4! But halfway through the season in the older liturgy the mood is lightened and a pink candle is appropriate.


On the fourth Sunday of Advent the birth of Jesus is very near, and the focus is on Mary bearing God within her and soon to give birth. The candle this week is blue, traditionally Mary’s colour. In the seven days before Christmas the antiphons preceding the Magnificat all begin with “O”. The capital or great O can also reminds us of Mary at this time. Being “great with child” is how we usually referred to someone well on in their pregnancy, especially when nearing the time of their delivery. The antiphons from December 17th are referred to as the great O antiphons and we heard some of them at the Advent Carol Service on Sunday. The whole collection is O Wisdom, O Adonai, O Root of Jesse, O Key of David, O Rising Sun, O King of the nations, and on December 23rd O Emmanuel. Readers will recognise them too from the great Advent hymn “O come, O come, Emmanuel”.


However you observe and celebrate this season may it bring you closer to our Saviour.



By Editor, Dec 19 2017 08:00AM

Nancy and Howard Bluett go to the USA quite often to see their children and grandchildren and Nancy’s American family. Their base is at their daughter’s house in Cumming Georgia some 25 miles north east of Atlanta. They join a thriving Episcopal congregation at the Church of the Holy Spirit, where they have always been made most welcome.


What a surprise Howard had when researching our more recent history and finding in the 1997 magazine of St Martins, that 20 years ago the then Rector of Holy Spirit Cumming, Revd. Dwight Ogier, changed places with St Martin’s Vicar Revd David Smethwick from May to June.


The Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit, Cumming, Georgia, started in 1974 as a holy “coincidence,” when a young woman, Jeanie Lipscomb, had a conversation with Dr. James F. Hopewell, a theology professor at Atlanta’s Candler School of Theology, part of Emory University. Jeanie said she would really like to have an Episcopal church in the Cumming area and Dr. Hopewell, an Episcopal priest, said he would be glad to help her start one. On Pentecost Day 1975, the church was established as a mission of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. The name “Holy Spirit” was chosen to emphasize the empowerment of ministry through the Spirit. Dr. Hopewell served as the founding vicar for five years and the Lipscomb family is still active in this parish.


The church is situated outside of the town with a wonderful view of the foothills of the North Georgia mountains through the clear east window. It seated 200 people at the time and had integral meeting rooms and an office etc. Now that church is the church hall. A new nave and sanctuary and more Sunday School and weekday pre-school rooms were added before we went there and that new nave and sanctuary held 500. Like most churches it is only full on major occasions but the regular congregation is over 100 and very welcoming. There are a few expatriates and one had a sister who worshipped in our old church the former Tewkesbury Abbey church. More co-incidence.


In the time we have been there the whole building has been further enlarged, almost doubled in size. Starting in January 2015 their “Building to Serve” campaign took off with the aim of creating this larger, more up-to-date space to accommodate the growing parish and expand the reach of their ministries in the surrounding community. The new building was dedicated in August last year.


In 1997 the clergy learned a lot from each other’s parishes and had the opportunity for sightseeing in the very different locations. One difference David noted was that in Cumming Anglicans are a small minority among many large Baptist and other congregations. That does give Sundays a different feel when most of your neighbours and many friends are going to a different church.


Revd. Dwight Ogier wrote from home in the July magazine expressing the hope that their visit might be the first step in other exchanges of ministry and program. Servers and lay Readers? Parish leaders and interested laity?


Well 20 years on chance produced a regular link through two interested laity. It’s a small world.


Howard Bluett.



By Editor, Dec 19 2017 08:00AM

Every year as a church we support a number of charities through our weekly giving as well as other fundraising activities. Here are a few letter's from some of the charities thanking you for your donations.











By Editor, Dec 2 2017 12:36PM

The new guide to our parish church wonders why the various saints depicted on our Reredos were chosen. So far no explanation has come forward. This month however we celebrate two of them. On 17 November we have the feast of St Hugh of Lincoln, and on 22 November St. Cecilia. St Hugh, with Little St Hugh and King David in is the last compartment on the right and St Cecilia on the first.


It will surprise many people that at the time of the Reformation St Hugh was the second best known saint after Thomas Beckett, slain in Canterbury cathedral. He was actually a Frenchman, from Avallon, and entered a Benedictine monastery aged fifteen. Later he became a Carthusian monk. He rose to high office in that Order and Henry II brought him to England to found the first Charterhouse, as Carthusian monasteries are known, at Witham in Somerset. Establishing this was part of Henry’s penance for the murder of Thomas Beckett.




Hugh was an exemplary bishop, refusing to be browbeaten by the king over appointments, a good administrator and outstanding in his pastoral care. Jews were not popular in these times and when a Christian boy was murdered in Lincoln Jews were blamed and many of the community were killed. The story of the boy’s murder is doubted but the Roman Catholic church made him a saint, Little St Hugh, which is why he is depicted with the martyrs’ palm as he kneels beside his bishop. The swan is the swan of Stow who attached himself to St Hugh and was his constant companion for many years.


St Cecilia has no certain history but has been venerated since the fourth century as a Christian martyr. Supposedly married against her will to a Roman nobleman, Valerian, she persuaded him not to consummate the marriage and convert to Christianity, which he did and was himself martyred for his faith. It was said that during the marriage ceremony she sat apart and while the musicians played was singing in her heart to God. She soon became the patron saint of musicians and many works have been composed about her or in her honour. Art works usually show her with an organ, as does ours, where she is also holding her martyr’s palm, or a viola. Since 1570 music festivals have been held around the world in her honour and she is regarded as symbolizing the central role of music in the liturgy.









 

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