Newsletter - December 2011 to February 2012


From the Manse extension in Texas

November 2011

Dear All,

As I write this I am enjoying another beautiful day of what my cousin calls cool weather (21c) and preparing for Thanksgiving Day – a kind of National Harvest Celebration.

I think of it as a unique, complex and deeply sad celebration.  For those unsure what it is all about, it commemorates the survival of the Pilgrim Fathers (religious dissenters who escaped persecution in England so they could in turn persecute everyone they came across in the new place).  The Pilgrims only survived their first winter because the Native Americans showed them what crops to plant and how to survive.  In gratitude, when they celebrated their first harvest they did so with a party to which they invited the Indians. Thereafter it became an annual ritual for families and friends to gather together and thank God for all the good things that have happened in the year – and of course for survival.

Many Native Americans paint their faces red and mourn the biggest mistake ever made.  And it has made me think yet again about how we respond to God’s love and care.

The Pilgrims started out alright, thanking God and including the Indians, but then they went on to kill those who had helped them, and destroy land and wildlife, and enslave themselves with their particular religious rules. All the folly of the Old Testament recreated.

As you in England read this we will have begun (with Advent Sunday) a new Christian lectionary year.  In Advent we are once again reminded to be aware of the state of our world and culture, to be aware of the need of the light of Christ-like thinking in the darkness of our sin orientated humanity.  It is a time of preparation enabling us to better appreciate the amazing gift of the Christ Child at Christmas, and to respond appropriately, sincerely, and with humility in our January Covenant Service, as we move towards the self-examination of Lent, beginning in February.

As we begin again the cycle of stories of God’s amazing love and care, I pray that our response will not be like the ungrateful servant in Matthew 23:23-35 or that of the pilgrim fathers in America, but will be Christ-like and life giving to ourselves, our community and our world.

We have much to celebrate as a faith community – our new building and some special birthdays for starters – but we are also aware that other churches in our circuit face a very uncertain future.  As we give thanks for our new facilities and the survival of our faith community in Horsley we pray that it may always be a community of humility, worship and praise, and of welcome and care for all.

May our minds and hearts be filled with the light and love of God, that we may walk in His path always.


Yours in Christ,



Advent Hope

Hope is strength

Hope sheds light into despairing hearts,

It inspires the will to live; it revives ideals and renews dreams

As long as there is hope, no situation is impossible.

Advent calls us to wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ – He is our hope.


Family News

November 13th was a very special day for our chapel.  We had a thoughtful and moving Remembrance Day service which Darlene skilfully and fittingly linked with the Dedication of the new Wesley Room.  She reminded us of the debt we owe to those who have gone before us and the responsibility we have to those who will come after us.  It was especially good to have with us on this occasion our builders, Paul and Tony Waterer and their wives.  We are so grateful to them for their excellent workmanship.  We also thank all those who have given so generously of their time and talents during the whole of the building process.

Congratulations to Margaret on becoming a great aunt and to Wendy and David Faulkner on the birth of their daughter Sienna Grace who was born on 4th November, weighing in at 6lb 6oz.  We hope to meet Sienna at our Carol Service.

Our thoughts and prayers are constantly with Di Bamber during a difficult time. Di has spent time in the Royal Surrey and subsequently at St George’s and she is currently at home awaiting a return to St George’s for a knee replacement operation.  We wish her well and hope for a good recovery.

We were most touched and delighted when we learnt that Molly Denew had left us a very generous legacy.  We want to use this unexpected windfall for something special in memory of Molly who was such an important part of the chapel’s history.  We have decided to invest in an Audio system and also to buy copies of the new Methodist Hymn book, “Singing the Faith”, which still retains most of our old favourites but will also introduce us to a wide selection of fresh hymns.

Finally, “Out of the mouth of Babes....“.

Bob and Heather brought Tom (6) and Ella (7) to a service recently, their first attendance.  They played happily at the back of the church for the whole service.  Towards the end, there were prayers of Intercession and Bob bowed his head appropriately. After a minute or so a small voice was heard to say “Granddad’s fallen asleep again“ !

Ruth Isaac at 80

Amazing as it may seem, Ruth is now an octogenarian!  She passed this milestone on 1st Nov this year and we were delighted to welcome her family, John, Angela, Tim and Molly from Reigate and David, Anne, Fred and Jack from Finchley to our service on 6th November and over celebration cakes and coffee afterwards.

Ruth first came to our chapel in the fifties when Jim’s mother lived at Manor Farm and returned “full-time” in the sixties when Wallace White appealed for people to help re-start our Sunday School.  Since then she has had a leading role in all aspects of the life of our chapel and we are grateful to her for all that she has done and, hope, that she will continue to do.


Wesley Room rebuild

We are all delighted with the bright, but cosy, atmosphere created in our new Wesley Room.  The teams have done a brilliant job in the overall design and with the colour schemes.  The room looks a lot bigger (we must be careful not to fill the space with clutter!) and much more attractive.  A big thank you to Bob for his persistence in masterminding the project – he was “on-site” almost every day to ensure that any issues were resolved straight away and worked well with the builder’s team.  Lots of other people have contributed their talents and gifts in one way or another – you know who you are and we are grateful to you all.

On the financial side, we have just about broken even, thanks to all the donations, large and small, from so many people and to the grants that we have obtained.  I will be able to give a full account to the Church Council meeting in February.

On Saturday, 4th February, we are planning to hold an “Open House” day so that all our friends and neighbours can come and see what we have achieved.

Dedication of Wesley Room Sunday 8th November    

Circuit News

Mike Deacon, from the Woking and Walton Circuit, is acting as our Circuit Superintendent for the rest of this Connexional year as Alan Thorpe is concentrating on Merrow and Stoughton.  Alan and Marie Greenwood are both moving in August and are currently going through the stationing process – please remember them in your prayers, as this is a stressful time for them until their futures are settled.  We will have two new ministers starting in September – Revd Asif Das, from Wigan, will be looking after Merrow and Stoughton and Revd Paul Hulme, from Orpington, will have responsibility for Godalming.

Fusion Meetings are held on Wednesdays, 7.30/8.00 – 9.15 at Guildford Church.  Meet for fellowship with a varied programme of interest for all:

Dates for 2012 are 18 Jan, 1, 15 and 29 Feb and 14 and 28 March

Sunday Evening Services – on 8th January there will be a meeting for prayer at Guildford at 6.30 and a Circuit Service here at West Horsley at 6.30 on 5th February. 

The Annual Service for Christian Unity will be held at St Martin’s, East Horsley on Sunday 22nd January at 6.30.

The Lent Lunch will take place on Saturday 25th Feb in East Horsley Village Hall from 12.15 – 2.15.  There will be a collection for “Mary’s Meals”, an international movement to set up school feeding projects in communities where poverty and hunger prevent children from gaining an education.

The 2012 Lent course is entitled “HANDING ON THE TORCH - Sacred words for a secular world”.  This will explore some of the reasons why Christianity in the West struggles to grow, and even to survive, while in Asia it continues to grow at an immense pace.  The sessions are entitled: A Christian Country? A Secular Society?.A Beleaguered Church? Competing Creeds? And Handing on the Torch.

Please consider joining a group to follow this course – lists will be available in the New Year.

The Women’s World Day of Prayer Service has been prepared by women from Malaysia.  The service will be led by our friends from St Alphage and celebrated in St Martin’s church, East Horsley at 2.00 on Friday 2 March.

Noise reduction

Have you noticed that in recent weeks the services have not been disturbed by the roar of motorbikes emerging from Silkmore Lane and proceeding up The Street towards Sheepleas.  Well the reason is that Surrey County Council have repaired the BOAT (Byway Open To All Traffic) from the end of Silkmore Lane through to Ripley Lane. The net result that it is no longer fun for the trail bikers to drive along it.  Three cheers for Surrey CC!

Protecting our Environment

How was it that a member of West Horsley Methodist Church found mention in the Times, Guardian, Telegraph, Mail – and the Washington Post, the Australian and even the Taiwan Times recently ?

No nothing dreadful!  I grew up in the village of Port Navas in Cornwall on the Helford River.  Like many, I went to our local Wesleyan Methodist Church (now sadly about to close) and local primary and grammar school.  Sundays were a time for quiet contemplation and the thought of going to the cinema would be considered outrageous – as was alcohol, at any time.

We own my childhood creek side home in Port Navas and I am a keen environmentalist – but not of the sandal/muesli variety. I merely wish to preserve bits of England I love, for future generations.  Whether that is in Cornwall or Surrey or anywhere else I feel strongly about.  There has to be a balance between economic development and environmental protection.  Sadly ‘Developers’ often are quite happy to trash parts of England for profit.

So how did I come to clash with the Duchy of Cornwall - set up 700 years ago to provide an income for the heir to the throne.  Currently that income is £17,000,000+ per annum which goes to the Duke of Cornwall to do with as he wishes.

Over three years ago I became very concerned about damage to our local grade II listed Quay which was used as our village green in effect and by potential damage to the Helford River by an oyster factory owned by the Duchy of Cornwall.  The Helford River is an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) – as are the Surrey Hills. The river has a large Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) within it.  It is also a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) which is of National Park status and as such is protected by the cornerstone of environmental legislation – the Habitats Regulations.  For all the twists and turns, see:

Simple you would think – the Duchy of Cornwall (aka Prince of Wales) owns the Helford River as he does all of Cornwall’s rivers along with the Scilly Isles, much of Dartmoor, and vast estates near Bath, in Herefordshire and properties in inner London.  He has ‘green credentials’ so protecting an area I love should be easy ?

And so I asked a few questions of the Duchy of Cornwall along the lines:  ‘What are you doing in the Helford River?’  Unlike on land, one cannot readily see what is happening on a river bed.  There is freedom of information type legislation that obliges public authorities to admit what they are up to.  In short the Duchy told me to go away as they were not a public authority but a private estate.  I asked the Information Commissioner to adjudicate and he upheld the Duchy’s viewpoint.  Rather like the journalist who exposed the scandal of MPs’ expenses I then applied to the next level up – to the Information Tribunal.  There was a two day hearing in London in September 2011 and on November 3rd 2011 the Information Tribunal confirmed that we had won – that the Duchy of Cornwall is a public authority for the purposes of environmental legislation and must answer my questions.

So after 700 years the ‘veil of secrecy’ by the Duchy of Cornwall should be lifted.  So how does a monarchist like me feel after three years of barristers and solicitors – having asked merely that the Duchy of Cornwall should practise what the Duke of Cornwall preaches?  The Duke of Cornwall’s spokesperson confirmed that the Duke is aware of the decision by the Tribunal. If the Duchy of Cornwall appeals against the recent decision, where does that leave the Duke of Cornwall’s green credentials?  I would have thought he would have wanted to be open about what the Duchy, as the largest UK landowner, does on environmental issues and in his name ?

I regard responsible environmental protection as totally in keeping with my Methodist values and beliefs. We Methodists must strive to leave a World fit for future generations – a World which is not trashed with resources exhausted. I just hope that the Duchy of Cornwall will concede that simple point and protect our environment in Cornwall and elsewhere.  But time will tell.


Dates for your Diary


Saturday 17th                         Epworth Choir Carol Concert at the Cathedral

Monday 12th               2.00    Bible Study in the Vestry

Wednesday 14th        7.30    Circuit Meeting at Merrow

Thursday 22nd            7.00    Housegroup

Sunday 18th               10.30  Carol Service

Sunday 25th               10.30  Christmas Day Service



Wednesday 5th             7.30    Fusion at Guildford Methodist Church

Sunday 8th                  6.30    Circuit Prayer Service at Guildford

Monday 9th                 2.00    Bible Study in the Vestry

Wednesday 18th        7.30    Fusion at Guildford Methodist Church

Sunday 22nd                6.30    Service for Christian Unity at St Martin’s

Monday 23rd                2.00    Bible Study in the Vestry

Thursday 26th            7.00    Housegroup



Wednesday 1st         7.30    Fusion at Guildford Methodist Church

Saturday 4th                10.00 - 15.00    “Open House” to view the new Wesley Room

Sunday 5th                  6.30    Circuit Service here at West Horsley

Monday 6th                 2.00    Bible Study in the Vestry

Tuesday 7th                2.30    Church Council

Wednesday 15th        7.30    Fusion at Guildford Methodist Church

Monday 20th                2.00    Bible Study in the Vestry

Saturday 25th             12.15 – 2.15 Lent Lunch in East Horsley Village Hall

Wednesday 29th        7.30    Fusion at Guildford Methodist Church

Thursday 24th            7.00    Housegroup



Friday 2nd                   2.00   Women’s World Day of Prayer Service at St   Martin’s church, East Horsley.

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