So much is being written about the startling altered climate around the globe and rightly so. Reports of heatwaves leaving forests tinder dry and soon alight; rising sea levels from melting polar ice caps flooding low lying regions of the world; raging monsoons and heavy rains making so many destitute, homeless and hopeless.
This beautiful earth and all its wonders. God given to us to share and nurture in all its beauty with one another, the fish in the sea, the beasts of the field and the birds of the air. How God must weep at creation in torment.
One of the great metaphysical poets, a priest of profound faith and connection with nature, Gerard Manley Hopkins, captured man’s impact on the world as long ago as 1877 and wrote (ending with hope):
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
As ordinary folk of faith, we are reminded by Archbishop Justin Welby of our responsibilities to act and not to be passive observers in these challenging times:
“Reducing the causes of climate change is essential to the life of faith. It is a way to love our neighbour and to steward the gift of creation”.
Our Church of England is bringing sharp focus to our prayers, our understanding and our actions to the climate agenda ahead of COP26 hosted in Glasgow this year through its Climate Sunday on 5 September.
But these things often seem so much greater and beyond our control than our individual actions, voices and prayers can influence. Yet we know this not to be true. Our knowledge and understanding of God through prayer in action can deliver profound change.
And our faith compels us to recognise that because climate change disproportionately affects the poor and vulnerable, those already most at risk in our world, and because of our custodianship of God’s creation, caring about and acting on our climate is a way to live out our calling to love others as we’ve been loved ourselves by God.
At the time of writing we are putting the finishing touches to the Open Day & Craft Fair. The event is on Saturday 12th July from 12.00 until 6.00.
We will once again have exhibits and rides from Tinker’s Park, including Wally the Steam Engine and his beautifully restored wooden living van. The fairground organ will bid a tuneful welcome, and Margaret the miniature railway engine will be giving rides in the Top Field behind the church. The Top Field will also accommodate the Bouncy Jungle, the BBQ and the Beer & Wine Tent. We are joined this year by a folk group from Chailey, playing alongside the Beer Tent from 2.00 pm.
At the front of the church we will have David Skinner’s forge and Pete Holland from Heathfield with his potter’s wheel. The Church Hall, Hall Garden and the rear of the church will house a total of 22 stalls, selling a variety of craft related items. Tea, coffee and cake will be available in the Hall. Look out for cars of yesteryear, including two marvellous Morris Minors.
The church will be looking its best, and David Bailey will be playing our magnificent organ between 2.00 and 3.00. There are informative displays featuring the history of the church and the Community Garden Project, now completed and celebrated with the Open Day. Two local organisations, the Buxted Art Club and the Horticultural Society will also have displays in the church, with a firm message of ‘we are still here’.
Business sponsorship this year has been absolutely inspiring, including Crusader Vans, Weald Packaging, Rose Gas, the Buxted Inn and the Pig & Butcher. Bishop’s of Uckfield are sponsoring the BBQ, so you are guaranteed a top quality burger or sausage! Big names such as Waitrose have also stepped in.
Special thanks must go to the Trustees and volunteers at Tinker’s Park, who help us with the loan of equipment, event management expertise and hands-on help setting up the event and restoring the site afterwards.
With all of the site given over to stalls and exhibits, there will be no on-site parking. However, you will see signs pointing 50yds down Church Road to the Oast House field, where there will be free parking and a marshal to guide you.
The Rector, PCC and everyone in the Parish look forward to seeing you all for a great family afternoon out, on your doorstep!
In my contribution to the Messenger in April, with lockdown just beginning to ease and the celebration of Easter, these things seemed like a merciful release from the dark days of winter, quite literally, when we were dealing with the awful impacts of the third wave of Covid in our communities and country.
Now in June, we are approaching, through the government’s roadmap out of lockdown, potentially the removal of many of the restrictions that up to now have kept us as safe as we can be. So many have been vaccinated, some fully, for which we are truly grateful. But with the clamour to get back to normal, many of us are feeling uncertain, a little anxious, about how to be and what to do. We aren’t even sure what normal feels like any more.
Be assured that since the return to public worship at St Mary’s and across the Parish, we are strenuously complying with up to date government and Diocesan guidelines.
But the impacts on our mental well being of the last year and more should not be shuffled under the carpet, ignored or disregarded. In our church and Parish we look to make time to speak to one another; if you reach out someone will listen, in confidence, to your cares and concerns. And this is an active listening, one which means that it can result in doing things for each other, so that our care and concern is demonstrated by action as much as by word. And we can pray for one another, again being open to what God leads us to do, to be the means by which he works in this world to alleviate the concerns and suffering of one another.
God often speaks to calm our anxieties in the bible. In John 14, Jesus spoke to his disciples of the time when he would no longer be with them in person. He reassured them and us all that we are not left alone. And in so doing he said (v27): Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. Jesus wasn’t saying that as his people life for us would be easy or free from trouble or anxiety. But the love and grace of Jesus and the comfort of the Holy Spirit, equip us to face up to the things we most fear and to know the deep peace which he offers to us all.
Deep peace of the running wave to you
Deep peace of the flowing air to you
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you
Deep peace of the shining stars to you
Deep peace of the gentle night to you
Moon and stars pour their healing light on you
Deep peace of Christ the light of the world to you
Deep peace of Christ to you
Welcome to Mary’s month of May. The month when everything in the countryside, and of course our gardens, bursts into colour. Life in the hedgerows is beginning to awaken from the long winter months, and the birds are returning from their winter break in Africa – my swallows arrived on 4th April (Easter Day) and flew straight into the nest they made four years ago. The trees are in bud and gradually turning green, and this spring the flowers are looking splendid.
For over 700 years, the month of May has been dedicated to Mary, and we join with her in celebration of the glorious Resurrection of Christ. Traditionally, Mary is honoured as the ‘Queen of May’, and throughout the western world parishes have often crowned an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary with flowers (often Hawthorn also called May Blossom or Spring Rose). This ceremonial crowning is to signify her as ‘Queen of Heaven’ and the ‘Mother of God Incarnate’. Although this practice lapsed in the 1970’s, it is now making a comeback. We look forward to its return here at S. Mary’s. Between Easter and Pentecost we sing the Regina Caeli (Queen of Heaven):
(sung to the tune of ‘Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia)
Joy to thee, O Queen of Heaven, Alleluia!
He whom thou wast meet to bear, Alleluia!
As he promised hath arisen, Alleluia!
Pour for us to God thy prayer, Alleluia!
There are many celebrations throughout May, one of the most important is the great Feast of Pentecost – 23rd May (the birthday of the Church). Pentecost means the fiftieth day, which represents the fifty days of Easter. In the Acts of the Apostles 2: 1-11 the disciples were huddled in the upper room, afraid of the Jews and terrified of the unknown. At the Last Supper Jesus told the apostles that he was leaving them. He said, “It is for your own good that I go away, because unless I go, the Spirit will not come to you, but if I go I will send him to you.” Jesus had to go – it was important that he left his apostles to carry on without him. Only when the Holy Spirit came upon them are they transformed from ordinary people into fearless missionaries.
A prayer for Pentecost: Breathe in me, Holy Spirit, that I may think what is holy. Move me, Holy Spirit, that I may do what is holy. Attract me, Holy Spirit, that I may love what is holy. Strengthen me, Holy Spirit, that I may guard what is holy. Guard me, Holy Spirit, that I may keep what is holy.
(S. Augustine of Hippo – 354 – 430 AD)
Following the announcement of the death of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, our three churches will be open for public prayer and lighting of candles during daylight hours.
As a result of Covid restrictions no books of condolences will be kept, but an on-line book of condolence is on the Church of England website (Remembering His Royal Highness Prince Philip | The Church of England).
The Rector, Churchwardens and PCC have been looking closely at government guidance with particular reference to our event, which is a mixture of indoor and outdoor activities. On balance, it was felt best not to go ahead with our traditional May event this year, but to proceed in full on a date after all event restrictions are lifted on 21st June.
The new date is set for Saturday 10th July, from 12.00 until 6.00
All of our volunteers, exhibitors and sponsors are still very much ‘on board’ despite the 2020 event having to be cancelled. There will be a very wide range of stalls and exhibits both inside and outside the Church Hall, with a theme of crafts and hobbies.
The church itself will be looking its best, with an organ recital planned for the afternoon
The Claude Jessett Trust will once again be our partners, with Wally the Steam Engine coming down from Tinker’s Park, together with the steam miniature railway and a fairground organ.
At the front of the church we will have a working forge and a potter’s wheel, and up in the Top Field the Harvey’s Beer Tent will be assembled, together with a BBQ. Tea, coffee and cake will as usual be provided in the Church Hall. Our generous local sponsors have provided a range of prizes to be won in the raffle, which will be drawn at 5pm.
As all of the space on site will be taken up with stalls and exhibits, there will be no visitor parking available, but look out for directions to ample free parking further down Church Road.