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).

Trinity Sunday

Dear Friends

I am writing this on Trinity Sunday, the Festival when we celebrate how God reveals himself to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  We sang a lot of hymns which tried to explain how God is Three and God is One.  But, as Adam found to his peril, if you think you’ve got God sussed, you’re probably in trouble. God remains a holy mystery, beyond our fathoming.

We had a beautiful reading this morning describing how Wisdom was with God the Creator at the very beginning.  This Wisdom figure is considered to be Christ, the Son, the Word, calling creation into being with the Father.  I love the joyful imagery of this passage, and especially the words of Wisdom at the end of this passage:

‘… then I was beside [the Creator] like a master worker;
and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, 
rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the human race.

Proverbs 8 (verses 1-4 and 22-31)

We are called to join this eternal dance of the Trinity in our relationships with others and with God.  We are the ones called to rejoice in this inhabited world and to delight in one another, and in the whole human race.  But our earth-bound lives are not always as jolly, or as simple, as this text suggests.

Apart from being Trinity Sunday, today also marks the start of Refugee Week (16-23 June).  John and I have taken up the ‘my ration challenge’ campaign and will be living on the day rations of a Syrian refugee in a camp in Jordan.  We hope to raise some funds for Concern Worldwide (UK).  I’ve just had my Sunday lunch of boiled rice flavoured with a little cumin.  Hardly yummy.  We have six more days to go on meagre rations of rice, flour, lentils, beans, chickpeas, cooking oil and a tin of sardines each! 

These special campaigns are good in raising awareness of situations that exist for the inhabited world and for our human race.  We are now one global family and we have a social responsibility towards one another both near and far.  Let us work and pray for ‘fairer shares’ of the earth’s resources, so that we can all rejoice in our inhabited world and delight in our shared humanity.

In this new church season of the Trinity, may you know

the presence of the God, who dwells within your days,

the mystery of the Christ,  who drenches you in love,

the blessing of the Spirit, who bears you into life anew.   Amen. Sharon

NEIGHBOURS DRIVERS Volunteers required please

If you can spare a little of your time to take people to doctor’s or hospital appointments, we would love to hear from you.  We have offered this valuable service for many years and now – when it is needed more than ever before– we think we will have to cease the service in September, unless we can attract more drivers.  This voluntary role is subject to a DBS disclosure and Safeguarding training.  Those using the service should cover cost of fuel and parking.

Please contact Ann Saunders (860586).


We have been given two wheel chairs to pass on to anyone who may find them helpful. One of the chairs is a light weight one and easy to transport in a car.  Both appear to be in excellent condition.    

Rev Sharon (864265)

Family Support Work (FSW) raises over one thousand pounds

Thank you to everyone who supported Shirley’s coffee morning, the concert by the Ashdown Singers in April, the cake stall on Easter Sunday and the walkers and sponsors for the Easter Monday walk.

We have raised £1177.72 – a helpful sum which will enable FSW to support East Sussex families in crisis.  

If you would like to know more about this diocesan charity there are leaflets available in the porch of the church and Martin Auton-Lloyd, the chief executive will be coming to talk at the 9.30 am service on Sunday 23 June.

Mary Symes, Chair

FSW Rotherfield Deanery Committee

New Website!

We are celebrating the launch of our new website 🙂

If you have any ideas on what you would like to see on the website, any new features or simply have some feedback on the design or content then we would love to hear from you, so please Get in Touch.

The website includes a number of new features:

  • All new website – designed to work equally well on mobiles and tablets
  • Simplified navigation – making it easier to find the information you need
  • We have Upcoming Events which you can view as a list or a month-by-month calendar. Don’t want to miss an event? You can add each event to your own personal calendar (on either your phone, tablet or PC)
  • The News and Announcements page is the place to keep up to date on everything about the Church and it’s members.

The Dedication of the New Organ

Our new organ was dedicated by the Bishop of Chichester, the Right Revd Dr Martin Warner, at a special service held in church on 17th March 2019.

The picture below shows our Vicar (Revd Sharon Francis) with the Bishop, together with Chris Hartland (Director of Music), Colleen Thirkell (who engraved the lettering), Alistair Curtis (Organ Builder and Organist) and John Francis (Project Manager and Organ Builder’s mate!).

Our thanks are due to all of the above and also to everyone in the village who contributed financially, or in any other way, to ensure the success of the project.

Gaudate Omnes Gentes

Sing Praises, all you peoples!

New Rural Dean of Rotherfield announced

The Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner has appointed The Revd Sharon Francis as Rural Dean of Rotherfield to serve for the next five years.

The Revd Sharon Francis

“I do appreciate Sharon’s willingness to serve the Deanery in this role, alongside her ministry in the parish of St Thomas the Apostle, Groombridge. Please support her with your prayers and commitment to the Chapter and life of the Deanery.”

“We have been well served by The Revd James Packman as Rural Dean and wish him well in his new ministry in Bath and Wells.”

Dr. Martin Warner – The Bishop of Chichester

The Revd Sharon Francis took up the new Rural Dean post on 16th April.

She will be commissioned by the Archdeacon of Hastings, Edward Dowler, on 30 April 2018.