Welcome to our website for Holy Cross Church with St Saviours in Uckfield together with St Michael’s at Little Horsted and St Margaret’s at Isfield.
Our Churches were formally linked in the 1970’s and work together in faith and fellowship. Having visited our site we hope that you will be encouraged and inspired by what you see here and that you too will want to be part of the Mission of Christ’s Church.
I’m writing this letter on a balmy, hot July morning with the sun shining down through the leaves of the trees surrounding the garden; I’m sitting in the shade as it’s hitting the upper 20s. From the first floor rooms of the Rectory, you can see South across the fields and woods to the line of the Downs, hazy and pastel in the distance against the deep blue of a cloudless sky.The chances are, though, that when you read this in early August, it’ll be pouring with rain: snow and frost will be on the cards and in short the summer will have gone down the plug hole.
Whatever siren (or just weasely?) predictions we are given of long hot summers of South African proportions, we know from experience that the chances of them coming true are pretty slim: things change, won’t last, won’t stay in place. The world is a very fleeting and unstable place, and we can’t put our faith in it: we can hope yearningly for a long, hot summer complete with Pimm’s, BBQ’s and trips to the seaside, but we can’t rely on any of it happening.
All we can rely on, with absolute certainty, is the presence and absolute love of God. He is there for each and every one of us, whatever good or bad, joyful or disastrous things happen in our lives. A lovely prayer we say at the end of Compline, the last service that is sung each day in a monastery, puts all this much better than I ever could:
So here we are, my final Curate’s Corner at the end of my Curacy in Uckfield. It feels very strange, but also right, to be writing my last one. Ever since arriving in Uckfield just over three years ago, I knew I would be here for only a few years. By the time you read this, all the goodbyes will have been said, and I and my family will be safely ensconced in Heathfield, God willing.
As I’ve been saying my various goodbyes over the last few weeks to the various churches, schools and organisations of which I have been a part, I have been reflecting on my time here in Uckfield and what it’s been like. As I’ve been doing so, the image of a bridge has come to mind. Let me explain…
When I was first asked to consider serving my Curacy in Uckfield, I had a very strong sense of calling that it was the right thing to do. I couldn’t at that time, however, have told you why. It just felt that it was the right thing to do, and that God was calling me to serve the parishes of Uckfield during my training.
No one, of course, knew what lay ahead, and due to the tragic circumstances with which you will all be very familiar, I was plunged into leading the Plurality on my own just ten days before being ordained priest. Consequently, I became a much closer part of the community than might otherwise have been the case for a curate, and despite the steepest of learning curves, I came through the other side along with all of you, a little bruised and battered, but with a strong sense that the original sense of calling had been sound.
August Nature Notes
The woodlands of the British Isles have had a strange and interesting history. The Younger Dryas ice age lasted for about 1300 years during the late Pleistocene from about 12,800 to 11,500 years ago. During this ice age, a vast ice sheet covered Britain down as far as about the Thames Valley. South of that, it was still too cold to support the lush forests we see now. The habitat was probably tundra as experienced now on places like Svalbard where just a few dwarf willows grow in the summer when the ice melts. By about 10,000 years ago, Britain was experiencing temperatures slightly warmer than now.
As ice retreated, the forests of Europe spread into the land we now call Britain. This process took hundreds of years and was probably begun by various willows, Hairy and Pendulous Birches, Juniper and Scots Pines. Our two native oaks were probably introduced by the Eurasian Jay. Often also called the Oak Jay, this bird obsessively collects acorns in the autumn and carries them to open areas and buries them in the ground. Many of these acorns are forgotten about by the birds and they germinate to form new oak trees. It is thought that by doing this, oak trees spread through northern Europe at a rate of about one kilometre per year. Once everything had moved in, the English Channel formed.
Woodlands develop by a process called succession. From bare ground the first plants to grow may be mosses and grasses, then broad leaved herbs such as daisies, dandelions and thistles. Then small shrubs arrive, like hawthorn, Hazel and field maple followed by birches, willows if it is damp and then high forest trees such as Scots Pines, Pedunculate and Sessile