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St Martin of Tours

Epsom

Christmas Services & Events

By Editor, Oct 2 2017 11:55AM

As I write this month I feel a little guilty. August was a month dominated by GCSE and A level exam results in our household, even at one stage removed. Fortunately, everything went well – all my own work, you understand – and university and the sixth form beckon for Josh and Sian respectively. Meanwhile, Christopher, Judith, Janet and Linda, with others, have been working their socks off to bring St. Stephen's to the Village and the Village to St. Stephen's, with pleasantly noticeable results.


One of the most notable early events was the Pets’ Service, held on the green at the rear of the church. Hazel says it was both unusual and enjoyable, with participants including dogs, a hamster, a gerbil and, my favourite, a chicken. Until the grandchildren began keeping them I was unaware just what diverse and interesting characters chickens possess.




As you are no doubt aware - Judith and Linda are both very good at publicising everything - there are many new events taking place. One of these was the first ‘Walk, to Sunday Lunch’, this one to the King’s Head in Epsom. It was very gratifying to realize that actually no one was excluded from participating due to their inability to walk the route, Judith, and several others all volunteered to ferry those in need. Linda reported it as a very pleasant and enjoyable occasion. Another one I missed!




Now we look forward to this weekend’s ‘Open Days’, incorporating the annual Ride and Stride event and the history of both St. Stephen's and the Village. Over the years Janet has been brilliant at compiling and collating all the news and views of St. Stephen's and, of course, this involves much Village history too.


Several years ago, Hazel and Angela Clifford compiled an enormously successful book of Village history, a family heirloom for us, and hopefully a copy of this book will also form part of the display. I know Angela and Judith have been sorting and selecting additional material and, together with Janet’s wonderful St. Stephen’s History Books, it should be a truly interesting display, well worth a visit.


It just remains to say how very welcome all the new faces have been at recent services, it has been such a pleasure to share St. Stephen’s with others. The amount of effort and commitment that has been expended by Christopher and the team to achieve such a lovely outcome is much appreciated - I am trying to think of different ways to say – thank you!


Next, please note, I have given up looking ahead for sunny days, but we do have our Harvest Supper and Service to look forward to instead, on the 7th and 8th October, respectively. Last year was one of our most successful Supper evenings to date, mainly due to the wonderful choir, courtesy of Janet’s contacts, but also thanks to Linda’s delicious catering and, of course, your company! Janet will have all the details and will hopefully be our quizmaster too. Another event, together with our Harvest Service, not to be missed.

On behalf of us all here at St. Stephen's

Janie Grinstead





By Editor, Oct 2 2017 11:47AM

St. Stephen's visits St. Anthony's


Last Sunday, after morning service, we dispensed with refreshments at St. Stephens and instead all accepted the invitation of Christopher and Brian to coffee, cakes and a viewing of the garden they have been working on at St. Anthony’s.


It was a beautiful morning and just a short walk so off we all went, including Adrian and Chris, following Brian and Christopher to St. Anthony’s at the bottom of Rosebery Road. We were warmly greeted by Marie and several members of her staff, and also by Lidia who was visiting her son Stefano. The garden really is beautiful. Marie explained that Andrew from Chessington Garden Centre had designed it, with several lovely small paved areas, a gorgeous pond, and delightful extra touches such as re- cycled tyres used as frames for colourful plant displays. There is even an aviary with some interesting birds.

There are also several stands of elegant bamboo plants and the backdrop is the stunning, tall green wall that is the Downs. All in all the garden was well worth the visit on its own. However, we were ‘hosted’ so beautifully that we were probably in danger of outstaying our welcome!


Marie explained that although Andrew had designed the garden, the residents, with staff support, had implemented all the ideas, from choosing the plants to making the plant boxes. She said that Brian and Christopher are now in charge of the garden maintenance. Not only that, but they also dispensed delicious biscuits, cakes and coffee and Brian organised everyone for photoshoots!




During coffee time, Lidia spoke at length in praise of St. Anthony’s. She had much to say about the caring dedication of Marie and her team, one of whom has worked there for over seven years. Lidia spoke of the lovely atmosphere, lovely accommodation, and the range of activities offered through numerous clubs, and even the lovely food! It was obviously a very heartfelt and genuine opinion from a gentle, caring mother and one which the whole visit seemed to reinforce.


Marie told us that St. Anthony’s is thinking of holding an ‘Open garden’ event in the future, to raise money for The Kite Club. If this transpires, do take advantage and go to see for yourselves. St. Anthony’s is well worth a visit for lots of different reasons, and the garden is certainly one of them.


Thank you, Brian and Christopher, and Marie and all the residents and staff, for a very pleasant coffee morning.


On behalf of everyone here at St. Stephen's


Janie Grinstead






By Editor, Oct 2 2017 11:43AM

192 - what does it make you think of when you hear this number?


Probably 192.com, the old phone book, Directory of People Businesses and Places in the UK but for us in church of St Martin of Tours it is the number of years passed since the new Epsom Parish church was opened.


Historians tell us that the old mediaeval church had become ruinous, and though a surveyor did point out to the vestry it could all be repaired for a reasonable sum, the decision was taken to replace it and down it came, except for our unique tower, the oldest structure in Epsom.


On Sunday 11th September 1825 the new enlarged church, in other words most of the present nave, was opened and the first services held.


The national Heritage Open Days fell on the weekend on 9th and 10th September this year and we hoped many visitors would come and explore. A new pamphlet was prepared as a guide to the church with a brief history and a separate leaflet on the Stained Glass.


Jean Wright and Nancy Bluett created a wealth of splendid flower arrangements and the Events Committee organised cream teas and a display of kneelers. The famous Vinegar Bible was on display. Adrian Esdaile took several groups on tours of the windows and the tower was open on Sunday for those who wanted to try their hand at Bell ringing. Handbells were in the church who thought this might be easier but it turns out to be a very tricky business getting them to strike just as you want them to.


Numbers were a bit disappointing, but all who came were highly appreciative. Perhaps we can do better in promoting ourselves next year.


As we celebrate the achievement of those who built the new enlarged church in 1824, the even larger east end of 1908 and of course all that preceded the building we must be thankful for all that has been passed down to us. The Visitors Book shows how much the church is appreciated as an oasis of peace in this busy world. Being off the beaten track is a bit of a mixed blessing. Inspired by the achievements of previous generous we should be encouraged to see our church continue to grow and develop as a place where people can find peace and hope, fellowship and direction for their lives.



By Editor, Oct 2 2017 11:39AM

We’ve said farewell to Paul Johnson-Hyde as our Director of Music, who left us this summer after 5 years in the post. The whole choir are sorry to see him go. During the selection process, this self-confessed ‘Essex Boy’ stood out as the candidate of choice. Fresh from the Birmingham Conservatoire, Paul very quickly showed skills as a choir trainer that were beyond his years and formed a strong working relationship with organist Iain MacFarlane. Having settled in well here, he went on to do teacher training and after a year at a school in Windsor began teaching at Epsom College. His promotion to Acting Head of Music from this September, after only one year, has led to his reluctant resignation from St Martin’s, owing to the demands of his new job.


We very soon discovered that Paul came with an additional bonus in the form of his fiancée Natalie. A fellow music graduate from the Birmingham Conservatoire and a wonderful soprano, she went on to do a post-grad singing studies course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and it was a delight to support her final recital for the course which took the form of a Good Friday Concert. Paul and Natalie were married at St Martin’s in the summer of 2013, and the ceremony was an excuse for a musical extravaganza which involved not just one but two choirs. It’s been a delight to see their family grow with the arrival first of Adam and then Ezra.


Friday choir practices with Paul were always fun. There was plenty of plenty of banter with Paul occasionally revealing too much information about his student days. He always worked us hard and we successfully tackled music that would be expected to be sung by cathedral rather than parish choirs; Dove’s ‘Missa Brevis’, Lauridsen’s ‘O Magnum Mysterium’ and Walton’s ‘Jubilate Deo’ are just a few examples of the challenging repertoire he guided us through. He took training the young voices of the trebles very seriously, with extra practice sessions dedicated to them. Following the RSCM’s training scheme, many successfully gained their RSCM medals, including the top St Cecilia and St Nicholas awards.


Paul’s role as Director of Music extended beyond the choir. Together with Natalie he established the series of Saturday afternoon recitals, making good use of their contacts in the music world. We’ve been treated to performances by some of the best young musicians around and we’re delighted that these recitals will be continuing. In the summers of 2014 and 2015 they staged the St Martin’s Music Festivals, highlights of which included the opportunity to hear regular visitors Opera Holloway giving a rare performance of Vaughan Williams’ Riders to the Sea. Paul himself conducted a full orchestra in a Mozart programme in 2014 and a string orchestra in the ‘20th Century Masterworks’ concert the following year.




Paul and Natalie have promised that their association with St Martin’s is not over: they will both be regular congregation members and will continue to organise the recital series. So while in one sense this is goodbye, we definitely haven’t seen the last of them…


Sarah Lutton




By Editor, Sep 13 2017 05:00PM

A question that is occasionally asked of me is "how can the congregation find out

about the issues the Parochial Church Council (PCC), are considering?"

It is important that you, the congregation of our Parish are involved in the decisions

that the PCC is making in your name. The decision making process of the Church

must be open and transparent, and the only way that this can happen is if everyone

can find out what is being discussed and then have an opportunity of speaking to a

member of the PCC, so that individual views can be taken into account when

decisions are made.


The PCC meets about 4 times a year, and between now and April, will meet on the

24 th October and the 8 th February 2018.


The Agenda of each meeting is published about a week before each meeting of the

PCC, (i.e. from the 17 th October and the 1 st February) and can be found on the Notice

board at the back of Church, and on the Parish website. To find them on the website,

click on the drop down tab “Church Life” and then scroll down to Parochial Church

Council.


CLICK HERE FOR THE PCC PAGE


Likewise the agreed minutes of each meeting of the PCC are posted onto the

Noticeboard at the west end of Church, after the subsequent meeting of the PCC.

For example the minutes of the May meeting were agreed by the PCC at the July

meeting, and are now on the Noticeboard and also on the Parish website.


To further improve the flow of information from the PCC to our congregations, a

summary of each meeting is also posted on the website, immediately after each

meeting. Whilst these notes cannot be taken as the agreed minutes, they do offer a

flavour of the issues that were under discussion.


I would urge you to visit the website and explore the information that is set out there

for you. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to talk to me.

 

David Eggett,

Churchwarden


By Editor, Sep 2 2017 08:00AM

The Prayer walk was a combined venture between the churches together in Epsom and led by Rev. Adrian Esdaile.


We met at Dullshot Green at 3pm with an initial group of 17, increasing to 18 and a toddler as we went on our way.


This was the first Prayer Walk that Adrian Esdaile had led and so he began by explaining how it would work and that we would follow the route on the leaflet but would be discussing each area, rather than reading from the sheet.


We moved on to the Town Hall and then round to the town and station, followed by the shops and park and finally on to the churches.


At each stop Adrian discussed the area and talked about the people and places and who we could be praying for.


The whole walk took about an hour and ended with tea at the Baptist Church.


This was a very thought provoking time and if there is any criticism it is due to the noise of the traffic as we stopped, sometimes making quiet contemplation a little difficult. However, that is a feature of Epsom, as much as the people and buildings.


Thank you to Adrian for his time and thoughts on this first Prayer walk of Epsom.


Report with thanks to both Elaine Bellinger and photographs below by Meryl Smith


More details and photographs can be found here


By Editor, Sep 1 2017 08:00AM

Could you be, or do you know somebody who would be interested in a new opportunity at St Martin's?


We are looking to employ a Children & Families Leader to join the team at St Martin's. We are looking to hear from anybody who is interested as we are happy to create a flexible role that could be full or part time depending on the candidate.


More information can be found here


Please share this post and spread the word!




By Editor, Aug 30 2017 08:00AM

SAVE THE DATE - 24TH SEPTEMBER, AT 11.15AM!


SPECIAL MEETING IN ST MARTINS CHURCH TO FILL A CASUAL VACANCY FOR CHURCHWARDEN


As most people are aware, Alyson stood down as Churchwarden at the end of July and we therefore need to hold a Special Vestry Meeting to elect a successor.


The following people may vote at this meeting:

• People whose names are on the church electoral roll, whether or not they are resident in the church parish).

• People who are resident in the parish and who are also on the register of local government electors.


As the meeting is very short and is literally comprised of one item, we have decided to convene it at 11.15am on Sunday 24th September, immediately at the conclusion of the 10.00am Parish Communion service at St Martins. The usual after service refreshments will follow the meeting with the Parish Bring and Share lunch following on at 12.00noon at the Vicarage.


If you wish to nominate a candidate for election, please use the Nomination forms that will be available at the back of both Churches and submit this to the Parish Office prior to the start of the meeting. The form must be fully completed and include a statement from the candidate confirming that he or she is willing to accept the nomination and stand.


David Eggett, Churchwarden.



By Editor, Aug 18 2017 05:00PM

‘Come with me to a quiet place and get some rest’ Mark 6.31

The open gate welcomes and beckons

A straight, messy track leads the way beyond

In the stiff breeze and leaves rustling

The distant bleat of lambs cries

Over the closed gate beyond brow of hill within field

Pointed ears apart, legs stumbling among tufts of grass

Inquisitive yet wary little eyes questioning

Scamper back for mother comfort.


The track becomes path and splits two ways

One way to the woods another across fields

Nestling amongst dark trunks, Bluebells await trumpeting Spring

That dash of intense blue filling sweet air with hope and peace

The retreat has begun.


‘Make your home in me, as I make mine in you’ John 15.5

A boiler house transformed is where I stay

Just suits two of us

Kitchen awaits yet fridge switched off

Alongside a beautiful bathroom, in modern European style

A restful lounge overlooking garden

And view at the back where I listen

All is still, just bird song, no creaky floor or hub bub to distract

This is the place to be refreshed and renewed.



Back to the meeting point for all the residents once more

A common room for seat and coffee

Also a squash court transformed to a chapel outside

Chairs separate, purposefully placed

Ahead on altar wall

A favourite focus of mine

Christ the Worker meets us face to face

Artistic creation by Jon Hayward

What a vision, so inspiring

This picture stays with me as reminder

Christ supreme king, high priest, servant worker.


My eyes draw to the creases upon the apron cloth

The angles strident in form

Hands and feet stiffly placed

Tarnished with wounds of crucifixion prominent

Yet hands are gathering

Inclusive, comforting and welcoming

Stance of feet defies gravity, ascending, weightless


Scripture verse fills the conscious mind

Repeated and confirmed once more

Come with me and I will give you rest’

Always remember never forget

Nothing can be challenged Godless

Christ the divine, Halo adorned

Thick neck strong, straight faced, eyes focused

Commanding repentance, letting go of self-desire

You come to me and live

I promise you a place in heaven Love one another as I have loved you

As compline closes silence rules

I hear the door slam, departing feet striding out with the

Shuffle of bags, paper folded, chairs left bare

The candles snuffed, bird song ceases, darkness envelopes

Time for mind, soul and body to rest as one

Sleep surrounds.

The day done


Day 2.

‘I have called you by name and you are mine…created for my glory’ Isaiah 43.1,7

The dawn chorus welcomes, alarm switched off

We meet in the chapel for Morning Prayer.

Breakfast is accompanied by Bach’s violin concerto and Beethoven’s Moonlight

Ethereal sounds that blissfully masks the mundane clatter of spoons,

The chomping of jaws and the smacking of lips.

In the silence sign language communicates

To pass the plate of heated bread rolls, butter pat, marmalade, or honey

The tea pot and milk to fill empty cups

Along the length of tables formally placed.


Back in the cottage lounge overlooking the view

Mist is clearing on the distant horizon

Sun light warms the shade of green.

It’s still cold and breeze remaining

The sky covered in cloud, a promise of sun later

Alongside a solitary resident reading

I notice a wagtail landing on the dew soaked grass

Shrivelled daffodil heads lay limp in the dank air

Broken twigs stick up from grassy knell beneath tree

Looking stark, bare and lifeless

The sun appears again, gently bathing land with warmth

The young leaves grow fresh from living twigs, dance in the breeze

In the near distance an empty washing line

An upturned solitary peg left dangling

Hope for washing to dry from its hold, a purpose to fulfil?


Behold the glory of God is within the sun’s ray

We are the upturned peg, the broken twig, and the shrivelled daffodil head

We all yearn for the sun’s warmth and presence

We present our tiredness, to God to be, fed nurtured and restored

We are part of God’s Glory

We are called by name- identified just as we are

Created in his image


Abide in me and I in you we say

Life giver stems brimming with minerals, and sap to all who seek it

Flower petals resplendent in glory

For our pleasure, adornment and fragrance

The exodus of seeds transported to spread and restore new life

Restore me Lord; I come to you for rest


As I return to the cottage from the chapel once more

The friendly wagtail greets me at the door

The wagtail reminds one that this is where to belong

The open gate, the gap in the hedge, the beckoning path, the

Sun’s rays, the upturned peg to be transformed, cleansed, restored.

As the resurrection community, we belong

‘Here I am I stand at the door and knock’ Revelation 3.20


After lunch the sun’s intensity increases.

The first cuckoo song enchants

It’s time to celebrate all creation, breathe in sweet air

Two sheep huddle at the base of nearby tree

In opposite field black sheep wander

The road side enhanced by blue and white mix of wild flowers

Bluebell alongside a delicate white stitchwort adding vibrant fragrance


A left turn passes familiar sites even the church of South Park Estate.

The door, rickety, old and rather stiff pushed open

Reveals an inviting, historic interior with stories to tell

Old Icons, crucifixes, a beautiful nativity scene

Berries and hawthorn blossom adorned the wooden beams above

A Mayday Garland perhaps?

Yet in a dark corner a written traditional prayer of a 17th Century Nun


‘Come and share your master’s delight’ Matthew (5.21,23)

Two other residents join me as we walk towards a lovely mansion

On the perimeter wall an invitation for all passers by

Come in. So we look and espy a beautifully manicured garden

We leave as we entered and continue south, past woods, lakes,

Streams and the occasional hare in distant pasture

Suddenly a grunt from behind startles us

As rider on horseback pass, the horse bows politely.

A chat to each other was opening doors

Allowing others into our lives sharing thoughts worries joys

By default God had put us there together and he comes in

We opened the door and let him enter.

Time to retrace our steps for dinner, to the bell for the grace and silent thought.

After dinner the final guided silence

Reveals Christ’s delight when we do!


The light is fading, the mist returning the door is closes

What a great day.

For now I rest and think of the cuckoo call in the wood

A welcome to Spring


Day 3

‘I have come that you may have life abundantly’ John 10.10

After egg for breakfast I walk again

Witnessing a nip in the air but at least it is dry.

I turn right on the road not left

It is a change to concentrate on the flora and fauna of the hedgerows

Not to pass houses but an old public footpath sign leading nowhere,

An entrance to a field blocked by an old antiquated wardrobe

Flat on its back filled with ivy, bracken and twigs

Is it meant to house something?

Suddenly the peace is disturbed

By the babble and clomping soles of joggers

Everybody friendly meeting a like-minded person in search of exercise

‘Good day for it!’ is their cry


I retrace my steps eyeing on route a possible bridleway to explore next

At the retreat centre I put my coat in the car

However, the walk is not over yet

I noticed two pregnant ewes awkwardly flat on their sides motionless,

The chef is alerted who kindly opens the gate and walks up to them close

As he looks they get up and walk on nose held high aloft.


The final words ‘I have come that you may have life and have it abundantly’,

The main emphasis of John’s Gospel

Receiving communion itself concluded all.

The taste of wine and wafer consumed

Shed for us so that we have life.

The spirit within makes me sing

‘O come to my heart Lord Jesus there is room in my heart for thee’.


After the mornings service and heavy bleating during prayers

The ewes have been moved nearer the farm

Sheep with tiny lambs replace them

The week old lambs springing about

The ones we observed at the start with

Flapping tails, fluffy bodies and spiky ears apart.

Who scamper back for mother comfort?

Yes what joy to know God’s love?

‘I will put my spirit in you and you will live. Ezekiel 37.14


Ruth Foxcroft



 

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