Newsletter December 2014 to February 2015

Newsletter December 2014 – February 2015


Message from our Minister

Dear all,

Thank you for welcoming me so warmly into your fellowship.  I was so pleased to be able to formally effect the transfer of Bridget and Roger Carter into membership of the church family at a recent service – how lovely to start on such a positive note and with such committed and friendly people, all of you! 

I have enjoyed your hospitality at the church lunch and coffee morning and am very impressed by the care and compassion that you show to all in the community through these regular church events.  It was good to get to know some of you a little better through the discussion of favourite books at the housegroup.  What a variety of books we brought along, and the different novels and Christian books gave us all fresh inspiration.

I write this in November, the season of remembrance, which has been especially poignant this year due to the centenary of the outbreak of World War 1.  The symbol of the poppy has caught the imagination of young and old alike in a new way with the striking field of ceramic poppies at the Tower of London bringing a strong visual representation of loss, a poppy to represent each one who died in action.  Sadly the world is still in the grip of violent conflict as we are constantly hearing in the news. Iraq, Syria, Libya and Lebanon, Israel and Palestine the land where Jesus walked – all these areas and other places in the world have seen communities displaced, people killed and brutalised, children orphaned and injured.  Other disasters such as the Ebola outbreak in West Africa alarm and depress us and at times it seems as though there is no light at all in the darkness of this world. But as Christians we know that there is light and that light is Jesus Christ.  Now we are entering a new phase in the church year, the season of Advent and Christmas, when we wait with renewed hope and expectation for the coming of Christ.  When the angels announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds in the field they told them not to be afraid but to open their eyes and look for the good things God was doing for them and all the world.  Jesus came to bring us joy and hope and love – all that seems so often to be missing from the news we hear these days.  Perhaps we can do something to bring that light and joy of Christ to others this Christmas by reaching out to our family, friends and community with the love of Christ.

Why not invite your neighbour to share the joy of singing carols at the Carol Praise evening on December 6th?  Or perhaps they would like to come to the Christmas coffee morning on 18th December or to our Carol or Christmas Day services.  Let’s share the joy of Jesus and spread a little light and love in the world!

Peace, joy and all good blessings be with you and yours this Advent and Christmas.



Church Charity: At our recent Church Council, we agreed that we would support Kids Company as our church charity from now into next year.  Jean Bruton has written an article describing their work.  Contributions can be made through the 20p Smartie Tubes and other events.  We raised nearly £400 for Guildford Street Angels, up to now.

Newsletter covers: Thank you to Celia for providing such interesting covers for our Newsletters.  The current one is a photo of the Nativity scene from the Knitted Bible exhibition displayed recently at St Martin’s church.

Occasional Lunches Thanks to Celia for the excellent lunch in November.  The dates for the next lunches will be after the coffee mornings on Thursdays 15th January and 19th March.  The coffee morning on 18th December will have a Christmas theme

Alpha course in Horsley: One of the couples in a St Mary's house group is arranging an Alpha course, to run for 11 weeks from 7th January, as a 'Cafe Alpha' (at The Quaich, Station Parade) This will be held in the evenings and will include a meal.  If anyone is interested or would like further information, please speak to Bob.


Family News

Elsie has decided to remain at Dene Place “to save her boys worry”. We all wish her well in her new home and hope to see her in church very soon.

We have been very pleased to welcome Sue and Jeff Warren-Smith to our services in November.  They came here from Morgan Bay in the East Cape of South Africa, to be with their daughter Sarah for the birth of Siena Morgan Gabriella Varney.  We had an opportunity to meet Sarah and Siena, only 3 weeks old, when they joined us for coffee on Sunday.

It has also been a pleasure to welcome back Millie (Mildred) Lewis after 40 years absence.  Mildred attended our church and her children, Derek and Jenny, came to our Sunday School.  She moved away to Godalming, Africa and Cyprus before coming back to live at Merrow.  Thanks to Keith, Millie now comes regularly to our Thursday coffee mornings.

After the flurry of activity reported in the last newsletter, this seems to have been a quiet time for family news.  Please let Di know of any news of which she may not be aware.


Kids Company- our chosen charity for the smartie tube collection

Kids Company was founded by Camila Batmanghelidj in 1996.  It offers practical, emotional and educational support to some 36,000 children in London, Bristol and Liverpool.  Many of these children are extremely deprived and have been abused.  Their parents may be unable to care for them and the children often face threats within their neighbourhoods.  Some are made to work as drug couriers or prostitutes.  

Camila Batmanghelidj is a psychotherapist with a profound understanding of the needs of children who have been gravely damaged by their early experiences.  She believes that with skilled care

and a practical “hands on” approach the children can be helped and the cycle of neglect ended. The Kids Company has eight centres and two therapy houses in London and Bristol. It has its own schools for children who cannot flourish in the state sector and also offers support to children within over 40 state schools.  They aim first to meet the young person’s practical needs –food, clothing and housing, education and employment and then to help with emotional and behavioural difficulties.  This unique multidisciplinary approach uses a team of professionals seeking to address all issues strengthening or substituting for the child’s parenting experience.  Once the young person has developed some stability and calm, they help them to identify talents and interests, to become involved in the arts, sports and community work and to form plans for the future.

To give just one example of their work – each Christmas they hold a party in London for some 4,000 children and young people who would otherwise face a Christmas without a hot meal, warm clothes or a single present to open.  At the party thee children enjoy games, stories, Santa’s grotto, presents and a Christmas dinner.  A further 12,000 in the community are helped with food and gift parcels.

The Company has survived for 18 years largely dependent on charitable funding. Camila has twice remortgaged her own flat to see the Company through financial difficulties. In 2008 and 2013 they received government grants but they need to raise a further £24 million pa to maintain existing provision. The government grant ends in March 2015 so the future is uncertain.

The Kids Company has already made a huge difference to the lives of thousands of children and young people. They need continued financial support so that they can give these children access to healthcare, education, therapy, welfare support, emergency housing and the opportunity to gain employment. We can be confident that any money we are able to give to this charity will be well used.


Jean Bruton


House Group

September's Housegroup decamped to Ruth's house to continue the very lively discussion on whether the UK is still a Christian country.  No definitive conclusion was arrived at but it was very informative and entertaining to hear all the arguments for and against.

In October we invited Claire to lead our group and she asked us all to bring along a favourite novel and a Christian book that we would recommend.  Again we discovered much about each other, particularly our different reading habits and what constituted a "good read".

Some of you may receive this newsletter in time to join us on THURSDAY 29th NOVEMBER when Ruth and Di will talk about the poetry of WW1 from the Christian perspective and also the role of the chaplains at that horrendous time.  Most of you will have heard of Woodbine Willie who distributed cigarettes along with bibles on the troop trains going to the Front.  Come along and learn more.

In December (date to be confirmed) we're hoping to have a more light hearted evening at Di's.  Bring along a favourite reading or poem or sketch, for those dramatically inclined, on a Christmassy theme.  All are welcome.  Refreshments will be served of course.

January's discussion will be centred round a Times article about how the clergy believe in God.  “Is He only in our heads?”  This will be at Di's house on JANUARY 22nd.


Bible Study

The Bible study group will start again on Monday 8th Dec when will be studying Advent, using Beryl Adamsbaum’s book “The Light of the World”.  Anyone who would like to join this group is very welcome and should contact Heather on 283343.


We are invited to a Christmas coffee morning at Mike and Jean Bruton’s home on 3rd December when there will also be a chance to see some of the Church Archives.


A most interesting time in Japan

We started our holiday with a week's sightseeing in Tokyo and Kyoto before just over 2 weeks staying with our son, David , and family on Rokko Island, Kobe.  It was a wonderful time for us, being together, having a taste of their life in Japan, but we also tried to experience as much as we could about the country while we were there.

Everything is very organised, with customs and rules to be adhered to. One must only cross city roads by pedestrian crossings, but these are very wide to accommodate everyone, and there are even diagonal crossings at busy intersections.  One must wait for one's train only at the designated spot as shown by a number and symbol on the indicator board; but you will then find that the train door opens right in front of you.  Do not eat or use your mobile phone on the train! Never blow your nose anywhere near anyone else, but it is acceptable to sniff and snort as loudly as you like, though you should always wear a paper mask if you are feeling off colour.

The food was interesting: sometimes delicious, sometimes challenging. The raw fish of sushi and sushimi was one thing, but we never quite got used to the raw egg over spinach or the deep fried battered delicacies put to float in watery soup.

The cities were densely built up, but, as all we saw were on coastal plains or reclaimed land, there always seemed to be the green of mountains beyond. In rural areas any patch of land between houses, however small, was planted with rice.

We visited many Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines and our Japanese lady tour guides used each journey to give us a wealth of information.  Shintoism is the ancient religion of Japan recognising some naturally beautiful places as spiritual places.  At first these were marked only by a simple red wooden Torri Gate at the entrance to the area.  Walking through the 2 uprights and under the crossbar above was thought to cleanse a person's spirit, and then a nearby natural water source would be used to symbolically cleanse the body by pouring water over the hands. Shinto shrine buildings only began to be

built many years later after Buddhists arrived from China and started erecting their temple buildings.

We were interested to learn that most Japanese people follow both religions.  They like to have Shinto ceremonies for new life and the beginnings of things such as wedding ceremonies and blessings for babies and new jobs, new houses, and we even saw new cars waiting to be blessed!

Buddhism on the other hand focuses on the afterlife and most Japanese people will have a Buddhist funeral, with quite a large sum of money having been paid to receive a new name, that it is their belief, they will need to enter the afterlife.  Walking through a Buddhist cemetery one weekend we were touched to see several people polishing and cleaning their relatives grave stones.

About 1% of Japanese people are Christian (following intense persecution and slaughter in the C17), and we did see just a few churches in the cities.  When our guide was talking about people following two religions she added that there is now a trend for young people "to be Christian for a day".  We thought it would perhaps have been more accurate to say "to be Western, or American, for a day", as she went on to say that this was "for the big white dress".

Throughout our stay we found the Japanese people most courteous and helpful, with people on more than one occasion stopping to help us as we studied a map.  We were very pleased to have had a reason to visit this most interesting country (seeing much more than we can describe here) and yes, we did follow a tour guide with a dish mop held high---- but we were not in the group with the matching hats!

Heather and Bob

Congratulations to Celia who is the new chairman of Churches Together.  The Unity Service will be on Sunday 18. Jan 6.30 St Mary’s, West Horsley and the Lent Lunch on Saturday 14 March from 12.15-1.45, in the Millenium Room, East Horsley Village Hall.  Details of Lent Groups nearer the time.

Women's World Day of Prayer will be on March 6th at St Martin's, East Horsley 2.00.


Unwrapping the Presence of Advent

A series of Advent Reflections will be held on Thursdays at 12.30 at St Mary’s, Quarry Street, Guildford, followed by a bread and soup lunch:

27th November            Rob May

4th December              Claire Potter

11th December            Rutton Viccajee

18th December            Carols with Jane Vlach and Frank Scammell


Winter Fuel Payments

Rod Boreham, the Guildford Town Centre Chaplain, has reminded us that there are people in Guildford who are suffering from fuel poverty.  If anyone feels able to donate some or all of their winter fuel payment to help, please contact Rod either by email on or by phone on 07500 834658.  Last year they were able to help 20 families as a result of donations received.


Make an extraordinary difference this Christmas

Extraordinary gifts from All We Can are practical presents that will help people in some of the world’s poorest communities to become all that they can.  All of the gifts – whether a water pump, carpentry training, a goat or a fruit tree – directly support All We Can’s talented local partners to create positive, long-term change in poor communities. You can see a catalogue on the noticeboard.


Dates for your Diary


Wednesday 3rd            Coffee Morning at Hadlands, High Park Avenue

Thursday 4th   12.30    Advent Reflection at St Mary’s, Quarry Street

Friday 5th           8.00   Christian Aid Carols at St Mary’s, Quarry Street

Saturday 6th      7.00   Carol Praise

Monday 8th       2.00   Bible Study in the Vestry

Thursday 11th  12.30   Advent Reflection at St Mary’s, Quarry Street

Thursday 18th  10.30   Coffee Morning with a Christmas Theme

Thursday 18th  12.30   Advent Reflection at St Mary’s Quarry Street

Sunday 21st     10.30   Carol Service, Collection for Whitechapel Mission

Monday 22nd    2.00    Bible Study in the Wesley Room

Wed 24th         11.00   Beynon Sisters concert in the Chapel

Thursday 25th 10.30    Christmas Day service, Collection for No 5 Project



Monday 5th       2.00   Bible Study in the Wesley Room

Sunday 11th    10.30    Covenant Service

Thursday 15th 12.15    Occasional Lunch

Sunday 18th      6.30    Churches Together Unity Service at St Mary’s

Monday 19th    2.00    Bible Study in the Wesley Room

Thursday 22nd  7.00    House Group at Di’s

Friday 23rd                  Stewards’ Meeting in the Wesley Room



Monday 2nd      2.00    Bible Study in the Wesley Room

Friday 6th        10.30    Church Council Meeting in the Wesley Room

Monday 16th    2.00    Bible Study in the Wesley Room

Thursday 26th  7.00     House Group



Friday 6th         2.00     Women’s World Day of Prayer Service at St Martin's



A joyful start to Christmas

Carol Praise


Saturday Dec 6th 7.00 - 8.30 pm

Come and sing your favourite carols.

With a break for refreshments and mince pies, etc.


Christmas Eve

Take time out from preparations to enjoy a special treat


Minstrels and Mincepies

when the Beynon sisters will play their harp and flute



Donations for No 5 Project 

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