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.
“Hell”, says the wonderful Archbishop Desmond Tutu, “is the greatest compliment God has paid us.” This may sound an odd thing to say, but it’s true. What he means is that God loves us so much and trusts us so much that he gives us free will to choose to follow him and his will for us, or reject him and go our own wilful way to the bad - to hell - even though he passionately doesn’t want us to. Tragically – and it’s a cosmic tragedy – generations of people have chosen the worse rather than the better, and we only have to look at our papers or TV screens to see the mess that our world has become. As the devil says to Faust in Marlowe’s play “Dr. Faustus”, “Why, this is Hell nor are we out of it.”
Lent is a good time to take stock of what we contribute to the community around us. Do we make our own little bit of the world better – a little bit more like the Kingdom of God – or do we make it worse – a bit more “hellish”, as it were? In our own lives, do we follow God’s will or sidle away from it?
A few weeks ago at a funeral I read the wonderful - and probably the most famous and quoted - passage by St Paul, 1 Corinthians 13, about Faith, Hope and Love. In it are the lines:
Before starting to train as a priest in 1986, I worked for a few months at St. George’s cathedral in Jerusalem. It was an amazing time. I went to Bethlehem, Caesarea, Emmaus and all over the Holy Land and, with bishops and archbishops coming out of our ears, it was like a great big Anglican circus.
But the thing that has stayed with me ever since is the experience of Holy Week and Easter.
Maundy Thursday night in the rain above the Garden of Gethsemane: watching ‘til midnight in a thicket of olive branches in the Garden of Repose; Good Friday doing the Stations of the Cross, picking our way through the crooked streets of the Old Town; but above all, going to the empty tomb in the great church of Holy Sepulchre on Easter Day itself.
One of things a curate is expected to do during their training is to lead a Lent Group. Don’t tell anyone at the Diocese, but this year I decided not to lead the Diocesan Lent Course but instead to try something a little bit different! (Don’t worry, we did also run the Diocesan Course too!)
The course I led was all about the idea of embracing the Sabbath as a daily discipline. We were encouraged to explore ideas of Sabbath as something more than simply a twenty-four hour period at the beginning of a new week. To help us do this, the course suggested a number of weird and wonderful activities like engaging with our five main senses and making a list of your favourite sound, view, taste, smell and physical sensation such as walking barefoot on wet sand or stroking a dog.
The penultimate session was all about re-connecting with our inner child! We explored ways of approaching life in a childlike manner, attempting to see our lives through the prism of child’s sense of awe and wonder. We even spent time playing games like pick up sticks, cards, dominoes, snakes and ladders and ‘Ker-Plunk’ – a gravity defying game using sticks and marbles! All this to the accompaniment of Queen’s ‘Don’t stop me now!’
I am in France as I write this edition of NN in early March. Spring is well on the way here with many singing birds. In the garden birds include a pair of Stonechats, a Robin and a pair of Black Redstarts, all busily doing the things birds do in the spring. Yesterday evening I saw a Black-Winged Kite, a bird normally confined to Spain. I had heard talk of this bird in the region, but had never seen this species before. This morning I was delighted to see a female Hen Harrier flying over the fields and a Hoopoe fly from a tree in the garden, and two days ago I heard a Golden Oriole singing in the Poplar woods nearby. Also this morning I also encountered a flock of Siskins, these are winter visitors from Scandinavia and Russia. They were probably moving north to get back to their breeding zone for when the snows have all melted later this month. I also heard a Chiffchaff singing, the first spring migrant usually heard at this time. Ten days ago, I was really excited to see chevrons consisting of hundreds of European Common Cranes flying over the house in the evening, calling to each other as they flew. These huge migrant birds over-winter in North Africa and Spain, then fly north-east to Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and Russia to breed. Indeed, a few pairs of Common Cranes breed in Britain.
Holy Cross Church was overflowing with visitors when the Bonfire Societies held their annual Carol Service. Uckfield Performance Ensemble together with Heathfield Silver Band played and accompanied many of the carols. This was the first year that The Rector, Revd. John Wall, had led the service. The Rector and the Curate, Revd. Mitch, reappeared part the way through the Service dressed as the comedy duo Laurel and Harvey, and much to the amusement of all those present.
Photographs by Ron Hill Photographic