And so the year turns. I’ve only just about got used to writing “2018” and here we are in 2019: where did it all go!!
So much to celebrate from last year – the Holiday Club at Holy Cross, Fr. Mike’s coming to us, all the Messy churches in the Belmont Centre and Isfield Village Hall, Taizé’s, Celtic Evensongs, concerts and Choir workshops, the Festival of Cribs & the amazing success of the Festival of Christmas Trees: so much to look back on and give thanks for.
But as Christians we are always called to look forward to the future with confidence and with hope, looking to where Jesus will lead us in the days, weeks and months ahead. There are shoots of growth and change in all three of our Church communities, which is both exciting and a challenge. Change is always somewhat scary, but putting our trust in God’s love for us, we know that we can journey through this coming year as a pilgrim people, accompanied on our way by Jesus, our comforter, our challenger, our brother and our guide.
In the Diocese this year has been designated “the Year of Vocations”, as a time for us to explore how God is calling us, not just as individuals but as communities. Yes, it means people being called into Ordained Ministry as Priests and Deacons, but it is a call for all of us to see how we can respond to God’s call, looking to open up Lay Vocations not just as Licensed Lay Readers, but, following the Church of England’s initiative “Setting God’s People Free”, in other ministries of preaching, bereavement, prayer – all celebrated in and integrated into our daily lives.
At a time when some trees and bushes are producing berries I think it is worth thinking about why this happens during Autumn and Winter. We celebrate the holly, ivy and mistletoe at Christmas, but these berries are not appearing now by accident.
Winter is a difficult time for birds, and a time when mortality is high, and the individuals that are best adapted to survival will get through to Spring and attempt to reproduce.
However, the berries are there at this time, not specifically out of altruism to provide food for these birds, rather they are enrolling the birds as seed dispersers and winged conveyers of the plant’s offspring. A bit like the proverbial stork delivering babies.
The three plant species mentioned could not look more different. Holly is our only evergreen broad-leaved tree (if you do not count box which is really a shrub). In fact, all three are evergreen. Also, Holly like the other two is dioecious – has male and female plants and only females have berries of course. Ivy is an evergreen liana climber and mistletoe is a parasitic plant that taps into a host tree’s vascular system. All three produce berries during the autumn and winter.
All the bells were purchased from the Whitechapel foundry of William Mears and bear the company’s name, the date 1779, and inscriptions.
Church Clock Restored – 10th November 2011.
|4th Jul 2011||
Five months after the Clock was removed (on the 4th July 2011) for cleaning and overhauling, the mechanism was reinstated, and together with the repainted, and re-gilded, clock faces the town has its landmark timepiece back in action.
|12th Nov 2011|
The clock was made in 1883 and although on the clock’s ‘setting dial’ it bears the name of a local man and the word Uckfield, it was, in fact, made by Thwaites and Reed of Clerkenwell in London. It is typical of their design at that time and very similar to their clock in the Knightsbridge Barracks in London. The clock features dials that are unusually placed, being on the out-built mountings on the four sides of the spire. Likewise the clock itself is also unusually mounted because it is above the bell-frame in the belfry and on a level with the base of the spire.