This year’s event will take place on Saturday 21st May, with a wide range of stalls in both the Church Hall and Garden. The church will be looking its best, with exhibitions by local societies and the church organ providing musical accompaniment.
The Top Field will once again host a live band and the steam miniature railway. Last year it was too wet for a Bouncy Castle, but if fine we hope to have one this year. Last but not least, the Harvey’s Beer Tent and barbecue will be in full swing throughout.
The daytime event is from 12.00 until 6.00, and after a bit of a clear up we will proceed to Round Two! This is a dusk display of fireworks generously provided and supervised by our local business sponsors Festive Illuminations.
Most of last year’s stallholders have re-booked, but there may be a couple of outside pitches still available. If you are interested, drop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. The pitch fee is £20, and you will need to provide a table. Also wise to have a pop up gazebo or similar in case of wet weather.
The perfect family day out, on your doorstep!
Like so many people, the Rector and Churchwardens have been monitoring the daily developments on Covid and taken (and been given) a number of opinions from around the parish on what is (and is not) appropriate for the churches to be doing with Covid. We appreciate that there is a wide range of views and we cannot please all the people all the time ….
However, our priority has been – and will remain – the protection of those who come to church, and hence we will naturally err on the side of caution. To that end we have agreed the following arrangements “for the moment” :
- We are asking all the key personnel at services; minister, choir, wardens, etc. to take a lateral flow test before the service and, if there are any concerns, not attend. While this is not a requirement, we would encourage all parishioners to consider testing before attending services.
- The latest guidance has mandated that masks should be worn in places of worship, and we ask that you comply with this. If you forget your mask, we should have a supply in each church. We know that some people are exempt from wearing masks, and we will respect this, but you may wish to be particularly aware of distancing from others.
- We ask that – in our churches – you social distance as much as you can. Please respect that other people’s view of an acceptable social distance may be a greater gap than yours. If you want to chat after the service, please can you do this outside.
- Whilst we do not expect that any of our services will reach the levels of attendance in “pre-pandemic” times, please accept that we might have to refuse entry if numbers are deemed, by the rector and / or duty wardens, to be too high.
- You should also use hand sanitiser on arrival, either your own or from a supply that will be at the entrance.
- Whilst we heat our churches (to a lesser or greater extent) we will be trying to ensure that ventilation is still present (apart from any natural draughts that come with old buildings). You may want to ensure that you wear a coat, although we don’t want to waste the heating.
- The guidance allows singing and we know that for many people singing with masks on is inconvenient (and can lead to difficulties). Some people find the basic disposable mask is slightly easier to sing through, than the full linen ones, but you may have your own preference for protection. If you are at all concerned, then please sit either at the rear of our churches, or at the side.
Service of 9 lessons and carols
Because of the need to restrict numbers in attendance, this service is – we are sorry – only for those who have already booked, either using the listings in the three churches or by contacting the churchwardens / Rector.
For those attending, you can use the hotel’s garden car park (first on the left after St Margaret’s), in addition to parking at the church. Please do avoid parking on the verges if this might make the driveway too narrow for those heading for the hotel.
Crib Services – CANCELLED
Given the high occurrence of Covid amongst school children in both the village schools, and around, as well as quite natural fears of infection so close to Christmas, we have decided that we are unable to hold crib services this year. We did look at a range of options, from multiple ticketed services to outdoor events, but there was a reluctance to commit. Our thanks to those who tried to help.
First Eucharist of Christmas
This service will start at 11:00 pm on Christmas Eve, so that we end on Christmas Day. We are keeping this service open to all who wish to attend, but will monitor numbers.
As with the Service of 9 Lessons and Carols, parking is available at the hotel as well as around the church.
Christmas Day services
The services on Christmas Day are :
9:00 St Mark’s Family Communion
10:00 St Margaret’s Family Worship
10:30 St Mary’s Christmas Mass
As with all our services, we will monitor numbers as they arrive, but attendance in recent years suggests that numbers should be manageable.
We try to keep our churches open during daylight hours, for personal prayer and reflection. If you are unable or unwilling to attend a formal service, why not drop into one of our churches and spend a bit of time reflecting on the true meaning of Christmas?
Each church will have a crib in it.
We will probably close our churches after the services on Christmas Day (to allow the duty wardens to relax), but on all the other days they should be open.
First and foremost, all good wishes for a happy and prosperous 2022 from us here at St Mary’s. We enter the new year with some essential restoration to the fabric now complete, and a regular pattern of worship with Fr Pete Molloy and Fr David Milnes sharing the role of celebrant. We have welcomed some new members of the congregation in 2021, but also sadly miss some long standing members who have passed on.
Like all churches, we have notices and information on display. We like to keep this to a minimum at St Mary’s, as too many leaflets are likely to overwhelm and be ignored. One set of leaflets that we keep permanently is the ‘Why?’ series produced by the Church Union. Wikipedia describes the Church Union as ‘an Anglo-Catholic advocacy organisation within the Church of England’. It dates back to the 19th century and has offices in Tufton Street in Westminster. So these are titled the ‘Tufton Leaflets’. There are six in all, dealing with aspects of worship which are associated with the Anglo-Catholic tradition.
We are often asked about the tradition and meaning of using incense as part of worship, and Leaflet No1 puts it far better than I can-
We try to offer the best of ourselves to God in worship. Worship involves all our senses. Light, colour, movement and music are important parts of our offering. Our ears hear the Word of God. Our mouths sing His praises. Our eyes see the colours of the Christian Year (purple, white, red and green) often set within a glorious church or cathedral. Through these scented clouds, our prayers and praises slowly rise to heaven, enfolded in perfume.
The leaflet goes on to list a number of references to incense in the Bible. Here are two of them-
Frankincense (incense) was one of the gifts given to the infant Jesus by the Three Wise Men (Matthew 23.11). It was a rare and precious gift for the new born King.
Incense is used to describe the worship of Heaven in picture language. The living creatures and the Elders fall before the Lamb of God ‘each holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the Saints’ (Revelation 5.8).
I shall be taking a look at two more of the leaflets next month, and you can find all six in the Walsingham Chapel lobby on the rotating leaflet stand. The church is open all day during daylight hours.
As we begin December, and the Christmas season approaches, what are your first reactions to and thoughts about its arrival? Do you tingle with excitement at the prospect of the return of work parties and drinks with the neighbours, of stocking your pantry with Christmas eats and searching the shops for an abundance of gifts? Or is it somewhat different for you: forced jollity; a lot of expense for a lot of grief; difficult family get togethers; maybe the saddest of memories and loneliness.
There are a myriad of responses to our modern Christmas. And we may feel some of all of these, however contradictory, throughout the period.
So, before hurtling into this season (or cowering away from it all) let’s reset our perspective and change the lens through which we see what approaches.
In the church, there is a wonderful preparatory period leading up to Christmas each year which we call Advent. This time throughout December encourages us to stop, reflect and listen as we anticipate the gift of the birth of Jesus, God with us. This is an opportunity to do a number of things, any and all of which can give us an entirely fresh look at Christmas.
- Reflect on what is going on in your life, what is good and sustains you and what is a hindrance and would be better thrown off. God wants you to live life to the full. Ask God for peace and stillness amongst all the seasonal distractions to have clarity of mind and thought and to allow God to speak to your heart.
- Go the extra mile with goodness for others. Not just to those you know, although that is always needed, but also to the stranger and those whose lives we rarely see because they are marginalised and forgotten. In Advent more than any time, share and care in the most practical of ways. Jesus birth in a stable reminds us that there is none too low, too untouchable or too unreachable for his love.
- Create every day an attitude of expectation and thanks. Expectation for the good things to come in the season and ultimately God becoming one of us in Jesus. And thanks for the little things as well as the grand. To instil a mindset of gratitude can overturn the most bleak of days. Not to be Pollyanna about everything (there are many hard things to endure) but to count blessings too and acknowledge what is good. It changes lives.
- Focus on what really matters and don’t become overwrought by the doing and the lists. Take time for one another, take time for yourself and take time for God.
Christmas doesn’t have to be a mad rush: Jesus came silent to the world. Christmas doesn’t have to be about the best gifts and over-indulgence: Jesus born in a stable was attended by shepherds and livestock. But Christmas can be all about celebration and love, of each other and in thanks to God. Give yourself that, the very best of gifts.
How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
Merry Christmas from us all at St Mary’s. Look out for the Christmas services and join us. You’ll be made very welcome.
NEWS FROM S. MARY’S
November is a busy month in the Church’s calendar. We remember the departed, those who were known to us, and those who have died as a result of war. At the end of the month we celebrate Christ the King, and that is swiftly followed by the beginning of Advent.
All Saints – all of us hope to go to heaven. There are times when we worry that our lives are going to be found wanting and that heaven may be far from our reach. All Saints, however, is the one day of the year when the Church invites us to broaden our view and see heaven as that great place which one day we will call our home. This is the day when we celebrate all the many great men and women who are already there and whose prayers are being offered for us. Parish Mass 31st October 11:15 a.m.
All Souls – in the commemoration of All Souls, we acknowledge the reality of the human condition – that sinfulness and weakness are a part of every human life. We resist the temptation to canonise our loved ones simply because they have died – I’m sure you’ve heard the “oh they never did anyone any harm”. Though we love them dearly, we avoid any false romantic memories of those who have died. We remember them not because they were perfect, but because they were human. To admit this is not to be disloyal to their memory, but it is to face the truth about God and humanity: Christ died for us while we were still sinners. It is precisely this truth – as S. Paul tells us – which proves that God loves us. Today we surround our loved ones with prayer. Requiem Mass 2nd November 10:30 a.m.
Remembrance – a memorial day (also called Armistice Day, to recall the end of hostilities of the First World War, and the subsequent signing of the armistice). We observe two minutes silence at 11:00 a.m. on this day, to remember all those who have died in the line of duty as a result of the two world wars and other conflicts. Remembrance conveniently falls in the liturgical period of ‘Allsaintstide’. Parish Mass & Act of Remembrance 14th November 11:00 a.m.
Christ The King – the last Sunday of the liturgical year. We celebrate this solemnity giving special recognition to the dominion Christ has over all aspects of our lives and creation. Parish Mass 21st November 11:15 a.m.
Advent – when we not only prepare for the Nativity of the Lord, but awaken in our hearts the expectation of he ‘who is and who was and who is to come’. Revelation 1:8.
With a Canadian Rector at the helm of our Parish and the anticipation of the Harvest Supper on 1 October and the Harvest Lunch on 3 October (get your tickets soon!) it would be easy to start referring to this season as “Fall”. But here, in dearest old East Sussex, I think we’ll stick to Autumn, not least because I don’t want to venture into the Christian teachings about the Fall (of Man)!
Some folks don’t like the change of the Season into Autumn and the loss of the sunshine, warmth and airy breezes of summertime (not so much in fact in 2021!). But there is much to cherish in Autumn-time here in Buxted: the bright colours of the changing leaves and leaf fall as we walk the woods; the opportunities to light fires and stoves and be cozy; the deliciousness of seasonal fruits and foods. And there is much to reflect upon of value in our Christian lives at this time of year.
The bible only once mentions Autumn. In Jude 1:12, false teachers are compared to “autumn trees without fruit,” implying that Autumn should be a fruitful season, the most abundant of the year. So, how can we consider Autumn in our lives?
To kick off, changing seasons remind us that God is unchangeable. Goodness but have we had a challenging time this past 18 months. In so many different ways for so many people. And yet through it all we know that God has remained close by our side, a constant companion and guide; the Holy Spirit our comforter. As we are told of Jesus in Hebrews 13:8, “the same yesterday and today and forever.” It’s driven home by this verse from the popular hymn, Abide with Me:
“Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.”
And Autumn also reminds us that things do come to an end, as the animals hibernate, the trees are bare and the plants die back to just their underground corms. So it can be useful to reflect on the things in our lives which we should let go, which often we carry and can burden us and which, with God’s good grace we can lay down and walk on from. Such things can take time to part from and for us to heal from our sense of loss and the weight which they have placed upon us but, thinking of the seasons’ metaphor: in Autumn, we know that Winter lies ahead, but when Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?
God bless from us all at St Mary’s, where you are always sure to receive a very warm welcome.