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Care of St Thomas’ Churchyard (beyond the Tanyard)

At this time of year when some will be visiting the Churchyard to place a  Poppy cross or wreath for remembrance, I thought it may be helpful to share the Diocesan Chancellor’s regulations which govern how we tend and care for our Churchyards.

  It is unlawful for a monument, surround or human earthly remains to be introduced into this churchyard without the Vicar’s permission.  Funeral directors will usually advise on this.

 For the tending of graves: ·bulbs and small annual plants may be placed in the soil of any grave; ·plants or cut flowers may be placed in removable sunken containers

in the soil of any grave; ·wreaths, cut flowers and plants and flowers may be removed, when withered, by those authorised to do so by the Vicar; ·we regret that it is necessary to bring your own water; ·please take your rubbish home with you or place in the dustbin provided; do not throw it over the fencing or down by the stream.

 We regret that the following are not permitted: ·kerbs, railings, fencing or chippings ·memorials in the shape of vases, hearts, open books, or even crosses ·memorials incorporating photographs or portraits ·mementoes, windmills, toys or little animals (although we recognise that such additions may be helpful to grieving families in the short term, but the PCC reserves the right to remove should they become unsightly, or untended). ·the use of ‘pet names’ on headstones ·artificial flowers, except for Remembrance Sunday poppies and wreaths.

Burial of Ashes  The system of a smaller plot with a smaller headstone is, sadly, no longer compliant with Chancellor’s Regulations and we will be moving towards a Garden of Remembrance area.  Nothing happens in a hurry in the church(!), but I will be giving you regular updates as we make progress on this. 

Full details of care of St Thomas’ Churchyard can be found on our website at; and full Chancellors’ regs can be found at

Thank you for your cooperation.  Revd Sharon (01892 864265)

November Letter

Dear Friends

I have no idea as I write this letter as to whether – by the time you read it – we will still be part of Europe – love it, or loathe it.  What I do know is that on the 10th of this month at 10.15 am we will gather as a community in St Thomas’ Church to remember those who have died in war.  Some in our parish remember family members and friends lost in those conflicts more than half a century ago. Some remember loved ones lost in more recent conflicts, or on a peace keeping and humanitarian missions.  We meet on the 10th to remember them.

Last year we commemorated 100 years since Armistice Day which ended the first World War.  The world did not learn from that war, and it is estimated that 70–85 million people perished in World War 2, 3% of the total world population.   Although we continue to honour those who died in WW1, it is no longer with living memories, and I think that will change the nature of future Remembrance Day services. 

I want to share a story with you.  It’s called ‘Tusk Tusk’ by David McKee.

Once upon a time, long long ago, all the elephants in the world were black or white. They loved all creatures … but they loathed each other, and each kept to their own side of the jungle.

One day the black elephants decided to kill all the white elephants.  And the white ones decided to kill the black. The peace-loving elephants from each side went to live deep in the darkest jungle.  They were never seen again.

A battle began.  It went on and on and on, until there were no elephants left.  For years no elephants were seen.  Then one day the grandchildren of the peace-loving elephants came out of the jungle.   They were grey.  Since then the elephants have lived in peace.  But some of the grey elephants noticed that they had different shaped ears to some of the others.   The End.

On 10th November, we will remember with pride those who have died in war, to bring peace to our nation, and other nations.  As always we hope and pray for peace in our world.  That is why I shall be wearing a white poppy alongside the red on Remembrance Sunday.

Every blessing,


Sunday Cafe’ Eucharist Gospel Reading

A reading from the Gospel according to Luke (Luke 17:11-19)

Jesus cleanses ten lepers but only one gives thanks

On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ When he saw them, he said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were made clean. 

Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, ‘Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’ Then he said to him, ‘Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.’

Kenward Trust Talks Update

John Shanley from the Kenward Trust joined us yesterday evening for another informative talk to Parents, Grandparents and Adults of our community, raising awareness on Drugs and Alcohol abuse. An additional talk was also given in the School Hall for 14+ Teenagers by Andy Watson which was also inspirational and engaging.

Sunday’s Gospel Reading

Sundays’ Gospel:  Matthew 25:37-40 

Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” And the Lord will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”

Stewardship – A way of life

Dear Friends

While some of you have been basking on beaches and relaxing by pools with a cocktail, some of us have stayed put, enjoying the gentler way of life that Groombridge enjoys in August.  For me, it’s a time to catch up with the bulging ‘Pending’ tray on my desk, and an opportunity to indulge in a little forward planning for the months ahead, including budgets.  Apart from praying, almost everything we do or offer as a church costs money. 

Contrary to a popular misconception, this money does not grow on a tree in middle of the Garden of Paradise; neither does it come from Chichester Diocese.  Everything we do – the maintenance, the outreach and the ministry of this Church – is funded by the people who attend our church.  Costs rise year on year and we need to ensure that our income covers our expenditure so that we can continue our work in this parish.

Nothing stays the same, and nor should it.  The running of a church is now rather different from how it was a generation ago, and churches must expect to pay for some key aspects of their work – choir leader, parish administrator, youth worker, outsourcing production of parish magazine – as we now do.  Serving is at the heart of community and church life, and we are fortunate in Groombridge still to have so many willing volunteers across all our village organisations. 

In September we will be launching our Stewardship campaign which promotes four areas of church growth, one of which is to grow our regular giving.  Many people who live in Groombridge value the part the Church plays in the life of this community. Ways in which you may contribute financially to the church are given overleaf.

Stewardship, as our logo suggests, should be a journey in discipleship and commitment:  We attend, we grow, we serve, and we give.  I hope some of you will want to make it your way of life too.  During September we hope to stage a display in church showing where we are now financially, and where we hope our Stewardship campaign will take us.

God bless you in your new beginnings this term, 


Stewardship – A Way of Life

Giving to St Thomas’ Church

There are three ways you can contribute to the church financially:

  • Join the Parish Giving Scheme to give regularly
  • Gift Aid regular or occasional donations if you are a UK tax payer
  • Cash given regularly in Sunday collections

Contactless payments are being considered by many churches and cathedrals now, as our younger people no longer carry cash with them.  We are considering it as an option, but we are not there yet!

Or, speak in confidence to Colin Moore, our Church Treasurer (details at the inner cover of the magazine).

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