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FAREWELL AND THANK YOU From Sharon & John

This very brief note from John and myself is to say thank you for a magnificent send-off. Of course not everybody was able to come to this morning’s service, but we are every bit as grateful to the absentees who have been with us at any time over the last nine years.  We both found this morning very emotional, but also very stirring. We shall be thinking of you as we begin yet another new life. Thank you also for your generous gifts.

The other reason for writing today is to send the link that we promised to the slide show that we put on in place of the sermon. For the benefit of those who did not catch it in church, it was largely a series of pictures that we’ve taken from 2012 to the present, with many memories of parish life – including, inevitably, a number of shots of people who are no longer with us.

Just CLICK HERE the show. You need a quarter of an hour and a cup of tea, or perhaps a glass of something.
    Will this wind be so mighty …
Some church members – especially those who are younger than we are – may not be familiar with the 1961 ‘Beyond the Fringe’ sketch about the end of the world, in which case it might not be at all obvious why reading a particular Old Testament passage caused John such great difficulty. The original sketch is not difficult to track down, and there’s rather a good recreation of it led by Peter Cook and Rowan Atkinson in 1979
NOT QUITE THE END OF THE WORLD

Sharon and John

Trevor Harrison’s Ordination 27th June

On Sunday, 27 June, Trevor Harrison was ordained Priest in Worth Parish Church, when Bishop Ruth laid her hands on him and three other deacons.  Trevor will continue to be licensed as Curate in this parish, with a wider remit to help in other parishes in the Rotherfield Deanery.  Once Trevor is priested he will be able to conduct Baptisms, Weddings, and celebrate Holy Communion, as well as continuing to take Funerals.  We pray that God will richly bless Trevor’s ministry here.

To quash any village whispers – Trevor would like me to add that he is not my replacement either temporarily or permanently! – RevSharon

For our information :

Please note that during the vacancy, the two Churchwardens take charge of the parish.  Please do not hesitate to get in touch with them, or the Parish Administrator, if you have any queries.

Vicar’s Letter July & August

Dear Friends

And now faith, hope and love abide, these three:

and the greatest of these is LOVE       I Corinthians 13 v13

 I continue with the thumbnail sketch of my life journey in faith and hope and love.  In my first week here, in March 2012, I had an empty In-Tray and Inbox; that doesn’t happen nowadays!  And so I decided to walk around the village in my dog-collar, hoping people would say ‘hello’.  And you did!  I believe that first week set me up for my years of ministry among you.  I felt the warmth of your welcome from the start, and that has never diminished.  Thank you for that love shown to me at the very start of my ministry.

At my Licensing service, the Bishop said these solemn words:

Receive this cure of souls which is both yours and mine.

In other words, the work of a parish priest is not just to the people who attend church, but to carry the ‘care of everyone’ in their hearts.  It has been a great joy and privilege to be alongside some of you in those rites of passage – baptism, weddings, funerals, and also to listen to your stories in the street, in your homes, or in the quietness of my study.  Thank you for the love you have shown to me in these moments of trusting yourself to my care.

John and I have had some great fun with you along the way.  Thank you for those happy memories.

Faith, hope and love are known as the three ‘theological virtues’ because they are gifts from God to us.  They are the channel by which we humans can relate to God, and how God relates to us.  In the Son/Father relationship Jesus had with God, he exemplifies how these qualities deepen that relationship with God, and with one another: in his faith in God the Father even on the cross, in his hope of an eternal life with God, and in his many teachings of love which ask that our love for one another should reflect God’s love for us. Jesus summarised the ten commandments of the Old Testament into just two:  Love God and Love your neighbour as yourself.

And so I leave this parish into the care of others during this vacancy, but I have faith that God is already raising up the next person to receive the cure of souls in this parish; in the hope that the church and community groups will come back to life as the well-springs of post-lockdown Groombridge; and in love – for Groombridge will always have a very special place in my heart, and in John’s;  thank you for making our nine years here so very special. With every blessing, and much love,  Sharon 

Tiny Fishes is Back

Tiny Fishes’ toddler group will be swimming into the Club Room of the Village Hall, Groombridge from 9.30am -11.00am on Mondays. 

Under 4s and their parents and carers are warmly welcomed to join us for chat, play, crafts and singing, together with juice and snacks for the little people and tea and biscuits for the grown ups.  Come along for an initial free taster (especially of cake!) on 16th August. 

For further information and to express an interest please call Jane on 07977 221526 or the St Thomas’ Church office on 01892 864265

CHURCH SERVICES NEW NORMAL

Church Services will resume, masks will not be mandatory but please do wear them if you would like to, we will have seating available for those who would prefer to be socially distance seated. Please contact safeguarding@stthomasgroombridge.org.uk for any seating requirements.

Monthly Letter Revd Sharon Francis

Dear Friends,

 This is the season of ‘mists and mellow fruitfulness’, to quote from John Keats’ poem.  On Sunday, 4 October we will have our Harvest Thanksgiving Service.  This year, due to the risks of Covid-19, the Church and School will not be sending out the usual parcels of harvest gifts to people in the village.   We are so sorry about this because I know how much some of you enjoy see the children at your door, and Year 6 love it too!

 This year we will divide all harvest gifts between Family Support Work, which helps struggling families across Sussex and in our own locality, and St Augustine’s Roman Catholic Church foodbank in Tunbridge Wells.  We will take any non-perishable foods, but the charities ask particularly asking for ·Tinned soups, tuna,  (corned beef, hams, meat balls, stew and minced beef) ·Tinned vegetables, spaghetti, macaroni cheese, ravioli ·Tinned fruit, rice pudding and custard ·Rice, Coffee, Sugar, squashes, jams, Nutella, breakfast cereals, biscuits ·Longlife milk

There is a fuller list coming out from school, and available on the church website.  As Rev Douglas Wren writes in his letter this month, we have deprivation on our doorstep, so let’s do what we can to help our neighbours put food on the table for their families.

 Further afield, our financial Harvest Offering this year will go the Bombay Teen Challenge which lifts vulnerable children off the streets of Mumbai, offering them a safe home environment, education, and a new start in life.  If you wish to make a donation, please pop it through the Vicarage door and I’ll ensure it’s included with our church collection.

Another harvest — any manual trade, DIY or needlecraft tools can be given a new lease of life by a charity called Tools with a Mission, helping people abroad earn their own income.  For further information, please contact Sheila Jones (864117).

All good gifts around us are sent from heaven above,

Then thank the Lord, or thank the Lord, for all his love.

Wishing you a Harvest of Blessings,

Sharon

Trevor Harrison Ordination

Trevor Harrison is being ordained Deacon tonight by Bishop Will Hazlewood.  The pandemic restrictions means that only a limited number of people are able to attend, by invitation only, but the good news is that we will be live streaming the service.

The service starts at 19.00 (which is 7 pm in old money) and we aim to turn on the stream at around ‘five to’. Click Here to view the live streaming

Last we week we filmed an interview between Trevor and myself.  A lot more people are becoming deacons at about this time, and they all made similar interview films which you can find on the Diocese of Chichester’s website. If you’d like to watch that interview (it’s not live, so you can just go there at any time), CLICK HERE

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