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By Editor, Aug 6 2018 05:39PM

I’m very happy to say that as I write this month the sun is not shining, it’s wonderful. Perhaps it will actually rain later on too. As a very small child my nightly prayers would end with the plea for it to rain ‘only at night’. As you may imagine I no longer ask for this and rain at any time would be most welcome!


Janet was most welcome when she scurried into church a couple of Sundays past, carrying a large container of her well beloved rock buns. Sadly, they were not destined for our refreshments but as a contribution to Linda’s afternoon tea party. Seriously, Janet is so kind, and very busy, and we all knew that her rock buns would be very much appreciated by both Linda and her guests.


Linda says that her tea parties at St. Martin’s are becoming firmly established now and she intends to hold them as a monthly event. She is a lovely hostess and you would always be made most welcome if you wish to join her. Linda is also an incredibly generous hostess so you would enjoy a delicious tea as well as delightful company, all for a small donation.


Funnily enough, ‘delicious’ and ‘delightful’ were the two words I was intending to use to describe yet another tea party – this one hosted by some of the children at the Vale School, in aid of one of their favourite charities. I believe Pat acted as the original coordinator between the school and their guests when these tea parties first took place, and she still does.


This tea party with entertainment has become something of an annual event now, looked forward to eagerly by members of both St. Stephen’s and the WI. Hazel says that the ladies listened to some delightful singing from the children, mostly girls with the addition of three brave boys! They were then served a delicious tea by the children, I believe strawberries were mentioned. The comments from everyone about the children, the singing and the tea were all most complimentary.


Children of course grow up and one of our own, from both our old Sunday Club and the Village, Becky married Paul at St. Stephen’s last weekend. A lovely child has turned into a lovely young woman to whom, together with Paul we send love and congratulations. Judith says it was a lovely, happy ceremony and saved me a gorgeous programme of events, in the form of - I’m not quite sure how to describe it – a mini hand held noticeboard, lovingly and beautifully produced.


So, even though this weather is pretty enervating, I have to end now by saying that we are all glad the sun shone for Becky and Paul and all their families and friends on their wedding day, and hope it shines for them throughout their coming lives together too. Sadly, I do think Becky Betts is a gorgeous name to relinquish and rather regret its passing!


Another happy note on which to end, it was a pleasure to share last Sunday’s service with both David and Nancy, and we all look forward to more such services. As always too, with thanks to all those who have ‘ministered’ to us over the past month. We do appreciate that we are always cared for.

And the very, very last note on which to end - we send our love to Adrian and Jean.


On behalf of everyone here at St. Stephen’s Janie Grinstead




By Editor, Jul 17 2018 08:37PM

On the Sunday morning of Christian Aid Week, May 13th, about a dozen people turned up between 9 and 11 am at the Impey household to settle down to breakfast. This was a social event with the ulterior motive of raising money for Christian Aid. Since St Martin’s no longer collects door- to-door, inviting residents of the road to breakfast seemed to be an alternative way of raising donations. Fortunately, not all the 30 guests invited could come, so there were enough seats for all, and the delay before appetites could be adequately satisfied was not too great. Altogether a pleasant social occasion raised £155.


Six weeks later, on 24th June, another beautiful Sunday morning, punters arrived at St Martin’s Infants School to consume a beautifully prepared brunch, thereby helping to raise money for the Duchenne muscular dystrophy charity, Harrisons Fund. The proceeds will contribute towards the cost of the trial of a new drug which could make a real difference to the lives of three boys currently at the school. St Martin’s was there in force, selling a mouth-watering range of cakes and biscuits freshly baked and donated by many ladies in the congregation. The total of £160 raised by our stall was a welcome addition to the proceeds of the brunch itself. You can’t beat the lure of freshly prepared food, it seems, to raise money for good causes.


By Editor, Jul 1 2018 06:13PM

Services

Sunday 24 June, 1 July, 15 July: 9.30am Service with Holy Communion

Sunday 8 July, 22 July: 9.30am Service with Morning Prayer


To begin with – last month’s Street Party. While I know that this was not a St. Stephen’s enterprise, my goodness there was an awful lot of friendly ‘overlap’. Pauline, Frances and their families and friends were once more key members of the whole enterprise.


The vocals for the music came from Bob, ably abetted by Guy and later the children took a turn, Frances’ second granddaughter has a lovely voice. I understand Bob is a member of the Epsom Bowling Club, along with Frances and Pauline, and that he also provides the music at our Christmas Tea Party. Guy of course is the son of David and his late wife, Mary.


Frances’ eldest granddaughter, Phoebe is a brilliant little baker, still at primary school, and presented and manned a delightful stall stocked with the most gorgeous goodies – all her own work. Unaided, Phoebe raised over £100 for her chosen cancer charity. Her cheese straws are absolutely delicious!

It was a very well organised event and everyone seemed to have a good time, including Christopher and Brian and many of our other friends from St. Anthony’s. So, well done and thank you.

Thank you too to all our visiting ministers in recent weeks, we have had some lovely and unusual services, sort of par for the course at St. Stephen’s, and all of them satisfying on many different levels.


There was the Pentecostal Service with Howard, followed by the opulent chocolate gateau and alcoholic and non- alcoholic fizz, when we all sang Happy Birthday to the church, Andris’ service with all the lovely old reminiscent hymns and last Sunday’s service when Mary was unavoidably detained en-route so that we were without music. John just took it all in his stride and we chose some beautiful well known hymns to sing unaccompanied. Mind you, Janet led us in the singing or we should have floundered a bit!


The intercessionary prayers have also given immense satisfaction. We are very fortunate that within such a small family there are those willing and able to give this service. In all honesty they seem to have grown into this role and gone from strength to strength. So many heartfelt thanks to Judith, Pat, Janet and Linda.

And thank you, Olive and Marlene for those beautiful flowers in memory of Jane. Everyone was so pleased to learn that Olive and her sister were able to view the arrangement.


So it just remains to say that, while we are very grateful to the clergy team for catering so well for our needs, we still miss you Adrian and send both you and Jean, Olive, Margaret and all our absent friends our love and good wishes for better health and sunnier days.


On behalf of everyone here at St. Stephen’s Janie Grinstead


By Editor, May 29 2018 11:05AM

Services

Every Sunday morning:

9.30am Service with Holy Communion


First of all this month our thanks to Judith for agreeing to be our sole pro warden. We appreciate that Judith will have a very willing support group but nonetheless the main burden of the role will fall on her, so the thanks are in anticipation!


Secondly, the lily of the valley flowers are in full bloom, so it must be Christian Aid Week once again. And once again, St. Stephens’ chose the option of holding a fundraising Coffee and Plants Morning in place of a door to door collection. The coffee morning took place last Saturday - to avoid coinciding with the wedding!


It was a very pleasant session, well, Hazel said that there was a ‘pleasant atmosphere’ throughout the morning and people were also very generous, with both time and donations. Frances ‘manned’ her always popular plant stall, and Martine her beautifully displayed Bric a Brac table. Judith looked after the cakes, Hazel the coffees, Linda was like a roving social ambassador and Janet was everywhere, at one point even seen sweeping the front path!


Seriously, our thanks to everyone, it was a pleasure to share the morning with you. Judith reported that, because of you, this year St. Stephens’ was able to contribute £365.60 to Christian Aid, one of our favourite charities.

Next, Marlene and I were discussing how amazing it was that her Easter flower display had survived for so long, while still looking beautiful. Marlene commented that we were approaching the time when she arranges one of her favourite displays of the year. I hope Olive will not mind me mentioning that at the end of each May our flowers are given in loving remembrance of her daughter, Jane.


I do know that from now on our lily of the valley flowers will forever be associated with not only Christian Aid and Olive but also with Jane. I look forward too to sharing in the joy of Marlene’s flower arrangement.


And to finish, I did mention that we held the coffee morning to avoid the wedding and overnight our road has been generously endowed with bunting. The street party takes place this afternoon. I think Pauline and Frances and all their family are heavily implicated!


Wishing you all sunny days to enjoy with your loved ones.


On behalf of everyone here at St. Stephen’s Janie Grinstead


By Editor, Apr 18 2018 07:12PM

This Christian Aid Week, we are inviting people to come together to support the thousands of people in Haiti, who regularly experience some of the worst natural disasters on earth.


Today, more than 40 million people across the globe are forced from their homes, and yet remain within their own country.  They outnumber refugees two to one.


In countries like Haiti, where repeated natural disasters have resulted in thousands of people being forced to flee their homes, they are often not able to return for years.


People like Vilia, who was left homeless by the earthquake in 2010. Following the disaster, she no longer recognised her home or neighbourhood, among the crumbling houses. Devastatingly, she never found her mother.


Bereaved and homeless, Vilia, her husband and seven children, found life a struggle. They didn’t even have a safe place to sleep.


Even now, eight years after the devastating earthquake that hit the capital, Port-au-Prince, an estimated 38,000 people are still displaced.


Hurricane Matthew, in November 2016, wrought further havoc across the south of the country, destroying up to 90% of some areas.  Each time a crisis hits, people lose their dwellings and livelihoods, making it increasingly hard for them to rebuild.


Our local partner, KORAL, helps local people prepare for disasters. In the aftermath of the earthquake, they reached out to Vilia and built her family and many others a new home, safe, stable and strong enough to withstand natural disasters.


Ahead of Hurricane Matthew, KORAL warned local communities, helping evacuate around 5,000 families and saving many lives. In the immediate aftermath Christian Aid and KORAL distributed urgently-needed shelter kits, hygiene kits, food seeds and cash transfers.


£25 could buy a hygiene kit to prevent disease after a disaster; £5 could buy a jar of seeds for growing beans to feed a family; and £210 could pay to train a local builder in Haiti to build a safe, secure home for families.


This Christian Aid Week, you can help to change the lives of people forced to lose or leave their homes due to disasters and conflict, by donating online at www.caweek.org calling 08080 006 006, or texting ‘GIVE’ to 70040 to give £5, or preferably returning a Christian Aid envelope which you will receive in church.

(Don’t forget to Gift Aid it if you can!)


And you can watch a video of Vilia’s story by going to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KuCEPMnxkM



By Editor, Apr 16 2018 07:46PM

Services for April

Every Sunday morning: 9.30am Service with Holy Communion


It’s hard to believe that Easter Day is already past, that we have to wait another year before sharing such a joyful celebration, and it was a joyful celebration, presided over by Adrian. Marlene’s gorgeous flower display was just a lovely bonus for everyone too.


I understand that the select little group that held the Vigil Service also shared satisfaction, albeit of a different nature. This year I believe the fire behaved beautifully, but only with a little help that was introduced at the very outset!


So now we move on to new times. Janet has announced her intention to stand down from her shared role with Judith, as our pro warden. Janet has held this post so many times, either jointly or independently, that I feel a great sense of déjà vu in writing about it.


For as long as I can remember Janet has been associated with all that underpins the life of St. Stephen’s, either officially or unofficially. I’m not sure Janet recognizes the difference, but I am sure she is still going to be very busy and very visible in all her ‘support’ roles, for the foreseeable future. As has been mentioned before, Janet is our ‘Duracell Bunny’ who continues to run and run, and we are all immensely grateful that she continues to contribute so selflessly to the life of our church family. So, thank you, Janet, yet again.


Next, being able to walk around the garden between the showers, it’s noticeable that the lily of the valley plants are just beginning to peep through. That always reminds me of another long serving member of our family, Olive, and all her efforts on behalf of Christian Aid. Always our lily of the valley flowers bloom during Christian Aid Week.


Sadly, Olive is not well enough to be with us this year but we shall once again be celebrating Christian Aid Week with a Coffee and Cakes Morning on Saturday 12th May, from 10.00 – 12.00, with the added bonus of Frances’ popular plant stall. It’s usually a very relaxed session, lots of chat and some delicious cakes to both eat with your coffee or to take home and enjoy. Do join us if you have a few minutes to spare, with all proceeds going to Christian Aid this is a win/win situation!


Linda’s next Tea Party takes place at St. Martin’s just a day later, 13th May at 4.00pm. This is also an opportunity to enjoy sharing a delicious tea with friends both old and new.


Now it just remains to say - thank you Judith for sharing the pro wardenship role with Janet during the past year. Judith, you are much appreciated for your dedication and hard work, your willingness to attend yet one more meeting, to participate in yet one more ‘work shop’. We have all benefitted enormously from the new formats of our service booklets and so much else that you have helped to achieve on our behalf during the past year. Thank you so much.


On behalf of everyone here at St. Stephen’s Janie Grinstead



By Editor, Mar 19 2018 08:00AM

Services for March 2018

Sun. 4th 9.30am Holy Communion

Sun. 11th 9.30am Holy Communion

Sun. 18th 9.30am Holy Communion

Wed. 21st 8.00pm Evening Prayer and Study

Sun. 25th 9.30am Palm Sunday - Holy Communion

Fri. 30th 2.00 to 3.00pm Good Friday. The Journey of the Cross

Sat. 31st 8.00pm Holy Saturday. Easter Vigil Service

Sun. 1st 9.30am Easter Day. Holy Communion


As I write this morning it is a glorious spring day, totally unlike the week in which Women’s World Day of Prayer took place at St. Martin’s. Janet has spoken about how lovely the service was and of Margaret Marsh’s contribution. She also praised Ruth for the enormous amount of work and dedication given by her to enable the success of the morning. Janet gave further praise and thanks to Linda for all her help with Janet’s ‘paperwork’.


I too could pay tribute to Margaret’s powers of persuasion. Once, recounting the story of Martha and Mary during a children’s service, wearing an apron and wielding a broom, Margaret convinced my little granddaughter, Sian to whisper that - ‘Jesus is talking in that little room next door, Nana.’ I wish! It was a moment still to treasure, though Sian is now seventeen.


Children were also on the menu at Pat’s first Lenten lunch when boxes were gathered in and all contributions were gratefully received on behalf of the Children’s Society. Sadly the weather has impinged a little on numbers this year but everyone has chosen to concentrate on two old favourites to receive their donations – the Children’s Society and Send a Cow. These two subjects are dear to the hearts of most people in both St. Stephen’s and the Village. Pat’s original Send a Cow campaign really captured the imagination of Villagers, is still remembered today, and regarded as a very worthwhile and realistic cause to support.


Apologies, Pat, I have to mention your name once again. Pat also made a very large simnel cake for our Mothering Sunday service, which was delicious and much appreciated! This was a very joyful service, led by Adrian and attended by a lovely family grouping of children he had baptized. Frances and her family were mainly responsible for this group, a brilliant supporting cast of sister, brother, children, five gorgeous grandchildren and extended family members. They nearly filled St. Stephen’s on their own and Phoebe and her little sister were lovely at distributing the Mothering Sunday posies.


Meanwhile, little Ivy Irene Rainbow Marlene, another of Adrian’s babies, was very much in evidence too. Ivy has been a regular member of our family and participated in almost every service from the age of three weeks. Ivy celebrates her first birthday on Saturday so we send our love and wish her, Lauren, Irene and all their family a very happy day.


And finally, we now look forward to both the quiet contemplation and the joyful days of our Easter celebration. The dates and timings of all events have been widely circulated and everyone is most warmly welcomed to join us for any, or every, occasion.


So, wherever you may be this Eastertide, may we wish you all a joyous and peaceful celebration.


On behalf of everyone here at St. Stephen’s Janie Grinstead



By Editor, Feb 18 2018 08:00AM

Services for February 2018

Sun. 4th 9.30am Holy Communion

Sun. 11th 9.30am Holy Communion

Sun. 18th 9.30am Family Worship

Sun. 25th 9.30am Holy Communion


As I write today the sun is shining and I’ve just been rereading Judith’s notes from our St. Stephen’s meeting on the 4th February so, despite the horrible ‘bug’ that is causing such misery, it seems a very optimistic time of year. It is both amazing and reassuring how much of our year has already been mapped out.


Early on in our meeting the offering of the intercessionary prayers was raised. To date it has been both a privilege and a comfort to share the contributions of Janet, Judith, Linda and Pat, in addition to those of our clergy team. Despite Judith’s request/invitation for more contributors we all seemed happy, and thankful, to accept the present situation!


Likewise, Pat’s Lenten Lunches have become a fixture and a very popular one, able to attract participants from the wider Village community. Pat’s formula of simple but delicious lunches comprised of homemade soups, bread and cheeses, incorporating discussions as to which charity should receive the day’s donations, have proved steadfastly satisfying – for both tummy and mind. This year the lunches take place on Tuesday 20th February, Tuesday 6th March and Tuesday 20th March, at 15, Grosvenor Road.


Meanwhile, Linda’s next lovely afternoon tea sessions are due to take place on 18th March and 13th May, down at St. Martin’s. In addition I understand from Linda that last year Adrian’s Lenten lunches, well Linda’s lunches and Adrian’s following discussions, were also very satisfying and popular and are due to be reprised this year. These also take place at St. Martin’s, with details in the weekly newsletter.


With food very much on the agenda, it was next agreed that our Palm Sunday breakfasts have reached the end of their era, so Linda and I can now look forward with great pleasure to being part of our Palm Sunday Service. Pat then offered to make a simnel cake for Mothering Sunday – now that’s the last of our food talk!


There was of course much discussion surrounding our Easter celebrations – of Prayer, Music and Meditation, of the evening vigil, and much else. On a lighter note, I think Adrian assumed responsibility for the fire, or at least the lighting of it. As always, these events will also be listed in the weekly newsletter.


Speaking of fire, or more specifically, candles, our Candlemas Service was an especial joy this year. I’ve always loved the stories of Anna and Simeon and the presentation at the temple, and our service with the lighted candles and our ‘almost’ procession went some way towards compensating for the packing away of the nativity characters at home. Thank you Adrian and everyone.


And finally, as always, we have received many satisfying, comforting, uplifting services in recent weeks and have also been aware of the efforts made on our behalf to introduce several new service booklets. We appreciate that these may not yet be the definitive article but somehow it focuses the mind to have familiar themes presented in a slightly different format, and makes one think anew. So our grateful thanks to all those involved in the preparation of the booklets.


On behalf of everyone here at St. Stephen’s Janie Grinstead



 

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