Newsletter - March 2019 to May 2019



Dear friends,

In a few days Lent begins, so I would like to share a few thoughts on it.

Lent is a reminder that true and abundant life ultimately includes a cross, and the life and ministry of Jesus speaks loud and clear of this spiritual principle.  Anyone searching for the meaning of true and abundant life soon discovers that sacrifice and surrender to the will of God is at the heart of it.

Lent is a call to repent, a call to re-align to the way of Christ.  After forty days in the wilderness, Jesus emerges with this message.  “Repent of your sins for the Kingdom of Heaven is near” (Matt 4:17b). To repent simply means to change.  But let us not confuse simplicity with ease, for change is a painful process.  The Good News is, when the Holy Spirit guides our steps, change is manageable.

Lent is a reminder of life’s brevity.  Death is inevitable, so we need to live every moment of our life on earth as a gift from God, and paradoxically it is temporary for God will have the final word; in the end, God will make all things new.

Lent strikes at the very root of complacency and the word ‘Lent’ literally means “springtime.”  It is a time for preparation and hopeful expectation.  Lent demands that we wake up and know that God has a purpose for us. God is redeeming all of creation, and he asks us to join the movement. God urges us to stop living only for ourself, and see the bigger picture.

Lent says any attempt to increase begins with decrease.  “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).  No sentence describes John the Baptist more fully.  It is a declaration against more, a rallying cry against excess.  And in a culture whose engine runs on success and progress, this is a message of huge worth.  Lent takes us back to the wilderness where Jesus goes with nothing except his connection with the Father and emerges with a message that transforms the world.

The message of Lent is sobering, humbling and transformative.  No message is more life changing than the Gospel of Jesus. I pray that this Lent and Easter time, we find new hope and inspiration and affect positive change in our own life and the life of our communities.  God is not done with us, he wants to do something new and fresh and bigger in us, through us.  May we prepare accordingly.

Every blessing in Christ,

Asif Das


Joan Church 6th January 1931 - 27th December 2018

It is with great sadness that we record the death of Joan Church who died on 27th December at the Royal Surrey Hospital.  She will be much missed, especially by her friends in the chapel where she has worshipped for countless years until shortly before her final days.  Joan was a very generous-hearted person, meticulous in carrying out the various duties which she undertook, not only in the chapel but also in the village community where she did all she could to help people.  When she was delivering Meals on Wheels, she would go out the day before to make sure that she knew exactly where she had to go.  Among many other good deeds she also worked with the Wheel of Care and for many years she was involved with House to House collections for Action for Children. . All this was done in a modest and self-effacing way, never seeking the limelight.

Joan first came to Horsley when she was evacuated during the Blitz and she never left; she recalled a time when she was out and about and had to dive into a ditch when an enemy plane flew over Horsley.  Subsequently, Joan was married and brought up the family and lived in her lovely home, Foxholes, Lark Rise, for the remainder of her days.

The following tribute is from Katrine Harrison without whom we might never have had the privilege of knowing Joan

“Joan and I had been friends for over fifty years.  We met at a dog training class and I invited her to come to our church-run coffee mornings.  She then attended church services and decided to become a church member.  When she moved to Lark Rise she knew that I was looking for somewhere to keep my pony, so she told me about a field available near where she lived.  Joan was an animal lover and we met regularly for dog walking.  I shall always be grateful to her for the many happy years using the field at Lark Rise.  Joan was a loyal and generous friend and most appreciative of any time that we were able to give her and I miss her very much.”


Church News

The Bible Study Group meets fortnightly at church and is open to all.  They are currently studying The Sermon on the Mount and would be delighted if others join them..

House Group meets at Ruth Isaac’s home at 7.00 on the fourth Tuesday of the month.  The next meetings will be on 25th February, 25th March, 23rd April and 28th May.

Fairtrade Fortnight – 25th February – 10th March.  We will be having a the usual stall of fair-trade goods again this year but the selection may be limited to foodstuffs.

Occasional lunches.  The next Occasional lunch will be on Thursday 4th April.  Meanwhile, the Thursday Coffee mornings continue weekly, so please come and join us for company and a natter, any time from 10.30-12.0. 

Our Chapel Anniversary Songs of Praise will be held at 7.00 pm on Saturday 6th April.  If you would like to choose a hymn in advance, please let Celia Chapman know on 282464.  We are delighted that Rev Paul Hulme has agreed to take our Anniversary Service on the Sunday – the chapel will be 142 years old


World Day of Prayer

Mary Ellen James, the wife of a Presbyterian minister in New York and mother to seven children, was aware of the problems faced by many women around her, particularly new immigrants to America.  She called the women of her church to come together for a day of prayer.  In 1891 two Baptist missionaries, appalled by the deprivation of women in many other parts of the world, called for a day of prayer for overseas missions and, eventually, in 1919 these two separate days were united and Women’s World Day of Prayer came into being.

Now known as World Day of Prayer, this women-led, global ecumenical movement found its way to the British Isles in the 1930s.

Through the World Day of Prayer we are encouraged to become aware of other countries and cultures and pray with them.  Each year the worship service is prepared by women and focuses on the concerns and challenges which they meet in their daily life. 

The service for 2019 has been prepared by the women of Slovenia and at the heart of the service is an invitation for all to come to God’s table.  We hear stories from women that reflect the political and economic situation of Slovenia from the time it was a socialist/communist state to the present day.

The first service of the Day of Prayer is held in Samoa at sunrise and the last as the sun sets in American Samoa, with people praying and sharing in over 120 countries and islands around the world.

This year’s service will take place in our church at 10.00 on Friday 1st March.  We are responsible for organizing this service and for the refreshments.


Joint Lent Groups are taking place this year, using the film “Broken”.  There will be  two locations, Monday afternoons at 2.30 at Jean Malthouse’ home, and the other on Thursday evenings at 7.30 at Sandy Conways’ home,  both starting week beginning 4th March for 6 weeks.

Please contact Jean on 283319 or, or Sandy on 281497, for more information if you would like to use this opportunity to discuss and study with other Christians.


Around the Circuit

Lent Reflections at St Mary’s, Guildford start on Thursday 7h March at 12.15 for 12.30, followed by bread and soup lunch.  This year’s theme is entitled “Were You There?” and is inspired by African American Spirituals.

The District is holding this year’s Service to hear the Probationers’ testimonies at Trinity, Woking on Sunday 19th May at 6.00.  Do come to support them and to take part in this inspiring service.

The Circuit Prayer Diary, compiled by Claire Hargreaves, can be found on

Prayer Training

You are invited to attend a sequel to the training session leading prayers of intercession.

This will be held on Sunday 7th April 2.30 – 4.30 at Merrow church and will consist of three elements –

  • Prayers with small groups (Rev Claire Hargreaves)
  • Prayers with children & young people (Mr Graham Warr)
  • Theology of prayer (Rev Barrie Tabraham)

Contact Lyn McKay ( by 24th March to book a place.


The Circuit Service on Sunday 24th March, at Merrow Methodist Church at 3.00 pm, will be taking Thy Kingdom Come as its theme.  The speaker at this service will be Rev Canon Jean Kerr, one of the founding members of the ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ international prayer initiative.  Jean is one of most inspirational speakers we have heard at Synod for a long time.  This will be followed by afternoon tea.

The Methodist Connexion will be urging all churches to join Thy Kingdom Come’s eleven days of prayer which runs from 30 May (Ascension) until 9 June (Pentecost) 2019.  The Circuit Mission Group is actively trying to source the 2019 material to allow for early distribution, to plan the circuit’s involvement. 


Church Reviews

The calling of the Methodist Church is to respond to the gospel of God’s love in Christ and to live out its discipleship in worship and mission.  It does this through:

  • Worship - The church exists to increase awareness of God’s presence and to celebrate God’s love.
  • Learning and caring - The church exists to help people to grow and learn as Christians, through mutual support and care.
  • Service - The church exists to be a good neighbour to people in need and to challenge injustice.
  • Evangelism - The church exists to make more followers of Jesus Christ.

Taking this as a starting point, the CLT has framed three questions which we hope churches will bear in mind as they proceed with reviews:

  • Listening to God’s calling, what do you hope your church will have become in five years’ time and how would that differ from what it is today? [This is about mission - think in terms of worship, witness, people, relationships, premises]
  • What resources are needed to achieve your goal? [What attributes does your church possess which are particularly valuable on the journey? What might be discarded? What is lacking?]
  • What practical steps do you need to take to make real progress towards your goal? [How could the Circuit assist?]

The Circuit can play a role in assisting individual churches (e.g. through the Appreciating Church model) and in sharing good practice (e.g. through the medium of the Circuit Meeting).  It is proposed to use our Circuit Meeting on Tuesday 16th  July 2019 for a further discussion on these issues and we hope that each of our churches will have had meaningful discussion around these questions, and be able to contribute feedback at this Mission focussed Circuit meeting.

 Circuit Stewards on behalf of the CLT.


Our District Chair, Rev John Hellier, who acted as a superintendent for a while in the former Guildford Circuit, will be retiring in August.  A farewell service for John will be held on Sunday 7th July 2019 at Redhill Methodist Church.  Tea will be served at 4.30 pm followed by the service at 6.30 pm.


Church Charity

Please continue to support our new church charity - the Prisoners Education Trust through the 20p Smartie tube.

This is a charity that aims to put learning at the heart of rehabilitation. Founded in 1989, it gives advice and funding to around 3,000 prisoners a year providing educational opportunities for men and women prisoners to make positive changes to their lives.  It also provides funding for art and hobby materials.

The advice manager regularly visits prisons and young offenders institutions, and the board of trustees has a wide range of experience in prison education, social policy, finance, and charity management.

Many prisoners have poor literacy skills and little past success in exams, but as one who benefitted from this charity said: "Learning in prison brought a different part of my brain alive."

With help, the years in prison need not be wasted. Research has shown that those funded by Prisoners Educational Trust are less likely to reoffend, and 26% more likely to be in employment a year after release.

The final amount that we raised for SANDS came to £847.  Well done, everyone, they were most appreciative.


The Joint Public Issues Team (JPIT) of the Methodist Church challenges us:-

“The call to climate action is getting louder and louder, with research showing that our window of time to change predictions of the future is getting smaller and smaller.  So, this year, over the 40 days of Lent (beginning 6th March) we are inviting you to become part of the 'Living Lent' community, where we will make significant, personal commitments to changing our lifestyles.

Could you take on one of the following challenges:

  • ‣ go meat-free
  • ‣ take up an alternative form of transport
  • ‣ give up single-use plastics
  • ‣ have an ‘electricity free’ hour every day
  • ‣ buy only locally sourced food
  • ‣ commit to buying nothing 'non essential' new.”


Seventeenth Century Nun's Prayer

Lord, thou knowest better than I know myself that I am growing older and will some day be old.  Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion.  Release me from craving to straighten out everybody's affairs.  Make me thoughtful but not moody; helpful but not bossy.  With my vast store of wisdom it seems a pity not to use it all, but Thou knowest Lord, that I want a few friends at the end.

Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point.  Seal my lips on my aches and pains.  They are increasing and love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by.  I dare not ask for grace enough to enjoy the tales of other's pains, but help me to endure them with patience.  I dare not ask for improved memory, but for a growing humility and a lessening cocksureness when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others.  Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken.

Keep me reasonably sweet; I do not want to be a saint, - some of them are so hard to live with, - but a sour old person is one of the crowning works of the Devil.  Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places and talents in unexpected people.  And, give me, O Lord, the grace to tell them so.




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