Welcome to the Church of the Holy Cross
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.
March in the Year of Our Lord Jesus Christ 2015
The March Pastoral Letter from the Rectory
“And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased. And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness.” (Mark 1:11-12)
In the haunting oil painting of “Christ in the Wilderness” by Russian artist, Ivan Kramskoy,
Jesus sits alone looking weighed down and exhausted. His hands are clasped tightly together and his eyes look down at the stony ground in front of him, unfocussed and troubled. His feet are bare, his hair matted and uncared for. His shoulders slump, his expression is grim and somehow the painting suggests he’s been sitting like that for a long time and will continue to do so for …. who can tell how long?
What a contrast this painting offers to the word picture painted in the Gospels about Jesus Baptism in the Jordan. It’s perhaps hard to equate the man of sorrows alone in the wilderness with the man upon whom the Spirit of God descends like a dove, the man whom God calls “my Son, the Beloved”, the man in whom God delights and whose calling and ministry is affirmed and blessed.
Yet Jesus does indeed experience these stark contrasts, with one following immediately after the other. He is driven from the light and love of baptism to the darkness and aloneness of the wilderness and a time of struggle and testing.
Each year in our lectionary of readings we will hear both the story of the baptism of Christ and the revelation of his true identity as God’s beloved Son, and as we begin our journey towards Jerusalem and Christ’s passion and death on the cross in Lent we focus on the wilderness experience of Jesus.
These two experiences in the life of Jesus, baptism and affirmation followed by wilderness and struggle, are inextricably linked. They are two sides of the same coin and it’s only after he has lived through both these experiences that Jesus is prepared and ready to begin the work and ministry to which he is called: to proclaim the good news that “the time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God has come near”.
It’s from Matthew and Luke that we hear about the nature of the temptations that Jesus faced. They’re all linked to the way in which Jesus could choose to use his unique relationship with God (revealed at his baptism) in order to achieve his own ends. And it’s from Matthew and Luke that we hear how Jesus responds to those temptations, each time insisting that being true to God’s kingdom must come first in his life.
But Mark is characteristically economical with words when he writes about Jesus in the wilderness: “He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.” It’s almost as if he can’t wait to tell us about Jesus’s public life and ministry of healing and teaching. And perhaps this gives us some time and space to reflect more deeply on our own experiences of struggle and testing.
Nature Notes - March 2015
It is early February as I write this. The first signs of spring are just beginning to show. The evenings are getting significantly lighter; at least I leave work in the light now, even if it is dark on arrival at home. Snowdrops are showing well, and I saw crocuses in bud this evening while walking to my car. I have heard the following birds singing on territory: blue tit, dunnock, song thrush, blackbird, great tit, nuthatch, great-spotted woodpecker, robin, coal tit. I was working in Lake Wood on Saturday, and I was amazed to see and hear a raven fly through the wood kronk kronking as it went. On Sunday I did a bat hibernation survey in Lake Wood and found three Natterer’s bats hibernating in the rocks. In April we will start checking the dormice nest boxes. The dormice are also in hibernation at present, asleep in the leaf litter on the ground in a nice little tennis ball sized nest made of tightly bound honeysuckle bark. Honeysuckle is also called woodbine.
Festival of Christmas Trees 2014
2014 - Festival of Christmas Trees - December 5th, 6th 7th
Incredibly over five thousand people visited the Seventh Festival of Christmas Trees to be staged at Holy Cross Church. This Festival retains the traditional methods of tree decorating, but the Sponsors are encouraged to be creative and innovative, and this year was no exception. A study of this year’s Festival photographs in the website’s photo gallery shows the preparations for this Year’s Festival together with the varieties of decorating achieved. The trees had been sponsored by a cross section of people, businesses, and associations from within the local community. There were representations from five local primary schools, the community college, local businesses, voluntary organisations, community support groups, and youth organisations, and individual families.
This year the Festival was featured on Friday’s BBC South East today, and the Church was fortunate that Natalie Graham interviewed the Rector and Church Warden, and carried out a live link during the late night news.
Chaplaincy and the Air Training Corps
Curate’s Corner October 2014
Immediately prior to ordination, those of us being ordained were encouraged by the Bishop to continue to engage in hobbies and other activities of personal interest alongside our duties as curates. This included possible areas of ministry that might be of particular interest, as well as non-church-related activities.
Last year, when I was studying at Theological College, I was fortunate enough to spend a week with the chaplaincy team at RAF Marham in Norfolk, home to the frontline squadrons of the RAF’s Tornado GR4 Force. During the course of the week I was given the opportunity to meet many service men and women who serve their country and respective communities so willingly, and to experience something of the lives that they lead. I was very struck by their sense of duty, their professionalism and their sense of focus on the importance of their particular task.