And so that was our 50 days…

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We do hope you’ve enjoyed this blog and that it has given you a flavour of what is going on in our church.  Do come and join in at church – all are welcome!

And a special, big thanks to Henrietta and her team!  Together, they organised so many wonderful celebrations during our 50-day celebratory period, which has been the subject matter for this blog.

Here’s to another 50/150/1,500 etc. years of worshipping God in this place!

 

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Henrietta

Blessings to you all!

Cally

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Pentecost Party in Pictures

3 generations of All Saints Vicars (flanked by Crucifer Emily and Curate Pippa):
Revd Barbara Messham
Revd Beverly Watson and
Revd Tom New.

(Tom was Vicar when the present Church was built.)

 

Pentecost Picnic

Lots of music and dancing, including lovely singing from the Tenovus choir,  which regularly meets in our church on Monday nights.

 

Words of Revd Tom New to Beverly: “Thank you so much for a memorable weekend.  It was such a joy to be back, but even more to find the parish in such fine form and still such a happy place.   I hope and pray that you will be able to stay there for a good time.”

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Prayer Space – Thy Kingdom Come

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Written on Sunday, June 4th

Rosemary and I had the privilege of leading our final week in the Prayer Space.  It has been a wonderful 7 weeks, in which we have witnessed some real growth in our prayer life.  It was great that different people ran the prayer space each week, opening us all up to the many varied ways in which we pray.  We learned a good deal from seeing things from other people’s perspectives.  This was something we reflected on at the beginning of our prayer service this week, as we recalled the highlights of each of the past weekly prayer services.

Our focus for this week was on being open to the work of the Holy Spirit through us, in creating God’s Kingdom on Earth.

We started by focussing on ourselves and our relationships with other people.  We tried an Examen: a prayer exercise from the tradition of St. Ignatius of Loyola.  This ancient form of spiritual exercise/prayer enables you to reflect on recent past events to detect where God was present and discern what his will for us is. (See http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-examen if you would like to find out more.  There is also an excellent app available for download, which gives a wide choice of daily exercises.)

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We then mulled over a large copy of our parish map, reflecting on our immediate neighbours, especially those who might be in need of prayer at the moment.  We also looked at those parts of our parish we seldom reach and prayerfully discussed ideas for approaching these areas.  At the time of writing, there are still some paper “footprints” left out for people to write down any bright ideas…

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The focus then shifted outwards towards prayer for the UK: reflecting on the apalling suffering as a result of the recent Manchester bomb and on the forthcoming election – asking that the Holy Spirit will provide comfort and guidance, respectively.

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Remembering the 22 people who lost their lives in the Manchester bombing, and all who were injured – and all their friends and family.  Our hearts also go out to those caught up in the more recent London Bridge attack.

Finally, we turned our attention to the world as a whole, praying for those areas of the world which we felt were in need of God’s love and healing and then imagining what our world might look like if it was right now restored to how it should be, free of sin and evil: “Thy kingdom come…”

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We had a quick debrief on what the Prayer Space has taught us (by throwing around a Earth globe beachball!) and the broad consensus was that things have really “opened up”.  Those of us who have taken part in the prayer services and engaged with the Prayer Space feel tremendously encouraged in our prayer life and uplifted.  As one person put it:

“The best thing I learnt was that there were so any of us who really believe in prayer and hope to do more of it!”

Ideas are now flowing for even more ways we could pray – a prayer walk perhaps?

There is a sense of excited anticipation as to how we might now use the chapel more… a comfortable space for our Prayer Listeners to engage in their ministry?  A meeting place for more groups of two or three people to pray for each other?  Rediscovery of a quiet, comfortable corner for individuals to sit and pray?

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Cally

Men’s Lunch Group

 


Written on Friday 26th May

Today the Group was due to have its second lunch meeting of the year. However, our external caterer requires there to be at least 15 “lunchers” and, sadly, we could not reach that minimum this time. So we missed out on Steak & Mushroom Pie and Jam Roly Poly but, given the weather, this was probably for the best.

All was not lost as a few of us still met for a “bring your own sandwiches” and enjoy a glass of wine meal. Seven of us ate al fresco and had a wide ranging chat over lunch. No photos were taken but the “magnificent seven” were David, Tony, Robin, Peter H, Bernard, Richard P and Mike W. I suppose men seated round a table enjoying bread and wine does have a theological ring to it.
One question that arose in our discussion was what happened to the church field from the time of erecting the old church to the building of the current church. Was it used by the church or just disused land – anybody know?I had planned to have a quiz based on events in April/May/June 1967. Not only because of our 50 years celebrations but as the older you get you appear to be able to recall things from a long time ago but not what you had for breakfast! However, as we were so engaged I did not need to use it. So I am setting it out below so everybody can have a go. It is split up into sections.

PEOPLE

1. Which famous European statesman died on 19 April?
2. Who was stripped of his world title on 28 April?
3. Who was Prime Minister in 1967 and who was Leader of the Opposition?
4. Who was Archbishop of Canterbury?
5. Which former dictator’s daughter defected to the USA on 21 April?
6. On 10 May which top pop group had 3 of its members arrested on drug charges?
7. Who returned to the UK on 28 May after sailing around the world?
8. Which future pope was made a cardinal on 29 May?
9. Who opened their Apple Store in 1967?
 
SPORT
 
10. On 15 April which world cup winning team lost its unbeaten record, to whom and by what score?
11. Which football team won the Division 1 title and who was runner up?
12. Which 2 team were relegated from Division 1?
13. Which team won the FA cup and who did they beat by what score?
14. Which county won the cricket county championship and who was runner up?
15. Which county won cricket’s Gillette Cup?
16. Who were the men’s and ladies singles tennis champions at Wimbledon? 
17. Which country won rugby’s 5 Nations championship?
18. Which Scottish Football club achieved success in a European final and which one did not?
 
ENTERTAINMENT
 
19. On 10 April which film won best picture oscar?
20. 2 British citizens won oscars for best actor and actress- who were they?
21. Which film was best picture at the BAFTAS and who won best actor in it and what relation was he to the oscar best actress?
22. Which comedy star won best TV actor BAFTA?
23. Which winning Eurovision song went to nurmber one, sung by whom?
24. Which soundtrack album was top of the charts?
25. What were the top TV programmes – think of Bruce Forsyth, Raymond Francis, Pat Phoenix, Michael Miles and Stratford Johns.
26. Who wrote these popular books – Where Eagles Dare, Rosemary’s Baby, Death of a President ? 
 
WORLD AFFAIRS
 
27. Which country suffered a military takeover on 21 April?
28. On 11 May which 3 countries applied to join the EEC?
29. Where in England was there an air disaster on 4 June in which all 72 passengers and crew were killed?

30. Which war began on 5 June?

Try answering it without going online!

Richard P

Ascension Day

 

With a wave of her shepherdly crook
Bishop Jo taught us truth from Luke’s book
God’s call got a mention
On the day of Ascension
“Is it I, Lord?”- Jo gave us a look

They heard stories of Bethlehem’s stable
But now know it’s more than a fable
Children loving Lord Jesus
(To serve Him, not please us)
Were baptised and received at God’s table

To the Dark Lord’s extreme consternation
Eight youngsters enjoyed confirmation
And so taking their parts
They opened their hearts
For a spiritual life-transformation


Paddy

(Writing about our very, very full service on Thursday evening!
Congratulations to:
– Carter on being baptised and receiving his first communion,
– Christopher, Edward, Alexander, Teagan and Ollie on their first communion,
– Nathan, Boo, Amber, Lucy, Charlie, Isaac, Isabelle and Ellie on being confirmed, and
– Zach on being received into the Church of England.)

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Visit to the Hindu Temple in Crawley

Four of us accepted the invitation of Andrew Wingate, who some may remember came to All Saints’ over a year ago and talked to us on Inter-faith matters, to go to the Apple Tree Centre in Crawley last Tuesday, where the Hindu Temple and Community Centre is situated. We were warmly welcomed on a lovely early summer’s evening by one of the Temple “ambassadors”, a retired chemical engineer called Ashwin Soni. We also met with Andrew and the rest of the party about ten or a dozen in number. We knew about the Namesta greeting “I bow to the divine in you”, but also learnt from Ashwin that the hug is also often used, as the action of holding someone means that you each share your heart with the other. On farewell later, Ashwin hugged each one of us.

First impression of the outside of the Temple is a sense of wonderment at the carved façade and entrance. Ashwin told us that it had all been carved in very hard pink sandstone in India, and carefully shipped to Crawley and assembled. Ashwin himself had been closely involved in the project to build the Temple, which had only been completed in 2010. There are about 1,200 Hindu families in the Crawley area, but they would not have been able to undertake the project on their own. First, they had to acquire a suitable site, despite local opposition. They were able to acquire the land for £1million, but the cost of the buildings would be another £4million. Somehow they raised the money for the land, through a rally of Hindus nationwide, at which a “pope-like figure” attended, and then they borrowed from a bank. They still owe over a million pounds, but the whole operation is now in full swing, including a Committee Room and huge Gym/Games area. Later we there witnessed classic Indian dancing…such grace and movement!

Ashwin talked to us in the Committee Room, giving us an introduction to what Hinduism is all about. What struck me most was the inclusive nature of the faith. Religion is not imposed; all religious paths are tolerated and accepted. But it does claim to be the oldest religion, with current practice being based from “the collective experience” which first formed the Vedic civilisation from which emerged the Hindu religion. We were given a most useful summary of the basic beliefs, with scriptures being the foundation, an omnipresent god, in whom one is free to believe or not. The universe goes on for ever in cycles of creation, preservation and dissolution, and you create your own destiny (KERMA) by your deeds. And there is much more besides. Andrew asked about the caste system, but Ashwin asserted that this had not played any part in his life, and was not a major influence generally.

Then, we were admitted to the worship area, having removed our shoes, and we saw an unforgettable sight of brilliant white marble, strongly lit, at the far end of the area. There were, in line, a number of pagodas in which stood images of the deities Krishna and Radha, Shiva and Parvati, and others. At the side were placed Ganesh, the elephant god and Hanuman, the monkey god. We were told that the statues, all gorgeously arrayed in many coloured garments and decorations, were not idols, but more like icons in which the divinity rested. After a short time, we were asked to leave while a curtain was drawn across, so that food could be offered to all the gods.

After further instruction from Ashwin on the Hindu way of life, mentioning respect for parents, teachers and elders, daily prayer and washing, celebration of festivals and vegetarian food, complex language and general bodily and spiritual wellbeing, we were invited to witness the evening service in the Temple. The priest, who had addressed us earlier, now went through an elaborate ritual before each of the deities, accompanied by bells and clapping from the congregation, a number of young families having joined the priest. After about 15 minutes, we left and re-assembled for photographs and a meal in Crawley, where we had further opportunities for discussion.

We drove home witnessing a beautiful sunset, and so grateful for the welcome and good feelings we had received. We would like to ask Andrew back soon to talk to us more on his work.

Richard

 

Hindu Temple

The kingdom, the power and the glory are yours…

This week, Jeanette and Martyn set up the Prayer Space, based on the theme of God’s Kingdom.

In our Prayer Service on Tuesday morning, Martyn talked about the mustard seed, which in the well-known parable, grows into a huge tree, becoming a home for all the birds and wildlife for miles around.  In reality, Martyn explains, the mustard plant is more like a shrub than a tree and is highly invasive, emitting chemicals to eradicate all the indigenous plants in the local habitat.  We are called to be a bit like that mustard plant, spreading the message of the Kingdom, emitting chemicals as an antidote to some of the more negative influences that have grown up in our habitats…!

More appealingly, perhaps, Jeanette talked us through the action of yeast, and how that can be an allegory for the Kingdom of Heaven: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.” (Matthew 13: 33)  Jeanette took us through the various stages of bread making:

  • the unpromising-looking little flecks of yeast, which is actually a living organism;
  • adding water (c.f. the “living water” Jesus speaks of);
  • as well as putting in flour, you add salt (c.f. our calling to be “salt” and “light” in the world);
  • as far a light is concerned, her bread had sat outside in the God-given sunshine, which provided the heat to make the dough rise;
  • then the dough had to be “knocked back” or “proven” to half its size before being put int a loaf tin (c.f. how we are tested or “proven” by God)
  • Finally, having been left to rise again somewhere warm, the bread is baked.
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Jeanette’s instructions on bread-making

We then turned our focus towards the prayer stations Jeanette and Martyn had prepared:

1. God’s Kingdom now…. as shown by how I live my life

God’s Kingdom is established whenever people submit to his reign as King and carry out His will in their lives.

Paul in his letter to the Galatian church encourages them to live their lives demonstrating the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Galatians 5: 22–23)

If you would like to experience more of one of the fruits of the Spirit in your life, take the card that talks of that fruit, consider the question and then pray for Holy Spirit to work in your life.

Then take one of the fruit beads as a reminder to pray for this.

“Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” (Galatians 5: 25)

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Love  This word for love doesn’t refer to warm feelings but to a deliberate attitude of good will and devotion to others. Love gives freely without looking at whether the other person deserves it, and it gives without expecting anything back.

Question: Am I motivated to do for others as Christ has done for me, or am I giving to receive something in return? 

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Joy  Joy isn’t like happiness which is based upon happenings or whether things are going well or not. No, joy remains even amidst the suffering. Joy is not happiness. Joy is an emotion that’s acquired by the anticipation, acquisition or even the expectation of something great or wonderful.

Question: Am I experiencing a joy of life on a regular basis, or is my happiness dependent on things going smoothly in my day?

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Peace  It’s not the absence of turmoil, but the presence of tranquility even while in a place of chaos. It is a sense of wholeness and completeness that is content knowing that God controls the events of the day.

Question: Do I find myself frazzled by the crashing waves of turmoil in my life, or am I experiencing “the peace that passes all comprehension” (Philippians 4:6-7)?

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Patience Other words that describe this fruit are lenience, long-suffering, forbearance, perseverance, and steadfastness.

Question Do I react badly when things go wrong or people irritate me, or am I able to keep a godly perspective in the face of life’s irritations and if things are not going my way?

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Kindness  When kindness is at work in a person’s life, he or she looks for ways to adapt to meet the needs of others. It is moral goodness that overflows. It’s also the absence of malice. 

Question: Is it my goal to serve others with kindness, or am I too focused on my own needs, desires, or problems to let the goodness of God overflow to others?

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Goodness  The deliberate choice of doing right rather than wrong. The firm and persistent resistance of all moral evil and the choosing and following of all moral good.

Question: Does my life reflect these standards?

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Faithfulness Faithfulness is the concept of remaining consistently loyal to someone or something, regardless of extenuating circumstances.

Question:  Is my life characterised by faith in Christ and faithfulness to those around me?

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Gentleness  Gentleness, also translated as meekness, is not weakness. Gentleness is not without power, it just chooses to defer to others. It forgives others, corrects with kindness, demonstrates humility and lives in tranquility.

Question: Do I come across to others as brash and headstrong, or am I allowing the grace of God to flow through me to others?

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Self-control Our natural desires are sometimes at odds with God’s Spirit and want to be in charge. Self-control is literally releasing our grip and choosing instead to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. It is power focused in the right way.

Question: Are my natural desires controlling my life, or am I allowing the Spirit to direct me to the things that please God and serve others?

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2. God’s Kingdom now… in the Borough of Guildford

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3. God’s Kingdom now … in the United Kingdom

We prayed for Manchester, and for all the individuals and families caught up in that dreadful atrocity.

Then we prayed for the forthcoming General Election:

On 6th May the Archbishops wrote to the parishes of the Church of England and in a long letter concerning the General Election on 8th said, among other things:

“This election is being contested against the background of deep and profound questions of identity. Opportunities to renew and re-imagine our shared values as a country and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland only come around every few generations. We are in such a time.

“Our Christian heritage, our current choices and our obligations to future generations and to God’s world will all play a shaping role. If our shared British values are to carry the weight of where we now stand and the challenges ahead of us, they must have at their core, cohesion, courage and stability.

“Cohesion is what holds us together. The United Kingdom, when at its best, has been represented by a sense not only of living for ourselves, but by a deeper concern for the weak, poor and marginalised, and for the common good. At home that includes education for all, the need for urgent and serious solutions to our housing challenges, the importance of creating communities as well as buildings, and a confident and flourishing health service that gives support to all – especially the vulnerable – not least at the beginning and end of life. Abroad it is seen in many ways, including 0.7% aid commitment, properly applied in imaginative ways, standing up for those suffering persecution on grounds of faith, and our current leading on campaigns against slavery, trafficking and sexual violence in conflict.”

Read the letter to consider what else they said about the need for courage and stability in our society made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Take one of the subject cards and pray for a just and appropriate outcome to the election, leading to a fair society for all:

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Education; a radical approach to education so that the historic failures of technical training and over-emphasis on purely academic subjects are addressed and rebalanced

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The need for urgent and serious solutions to our housing challenges

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The importance of creating communities as well as buildings

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A confident and flourishing health service that gives support to all – especially the vulnerable – not least at the beginning and end of life.

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0.7% aid commitment, properly applied in imaginative ways, standing up for those suffering persecution on grounds of faith, and our current leading on campaigns against slavery, trafficking and sexual violence in conflict

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A fair and just society for all

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A just economy and just finance

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A re-evaluation of the importance of religious belief in society

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Stable communities that are skilled in reconciliation, resilient in setbacks, diligent in sustainability, particularly with regard to the environment

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Stability in marriage, the family and the household as foundational communities

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An outward looking and generous country

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4. God’s Kingdom now … in the world

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A reminder of the Coronation Oath – and how rulers should submit to the power of God…

Our morning of prayer finished with a sublime piece of music by John Rutter.

Thank you to Jeanette and Martyn for producing a very thought-provoking and helpful prayer service and prayer space this week.

Cally

Perspective – mental rambling through PCC

PCC Meetings (Voices)PCC Meetings (Thoughts)

I don’t know about you but my mind tends to wander quite a lot. However interesting what I’m doing, watching or listening to, I’ll be concentrating away and then…pop… I’ll be off, mentally butterflying on to something else. It may be a gender thing – Alison would say so, but she just doesn’t appreciate that it’s not a case of my not listening, it’s just that a husband’s head is already so full of very important stuff…

I wasn’t therefore surprised when, five minutes into Monday’s PCC meeting, my mind glided subconsciously from the beautifully crafted timed agenda (© Trish).

Two thoughts came into my head – not simultaneously but sequentially. First came the thought – I promised to write a blog about this meeting! Why did I promise to write a blog about this meeting!?! Could I not have agreed to blog about a something/anything else!?!?! What on earth can I write about?!?!?!

Then, gradually forming, came a rather more useful thought. That there was nothing in anyway unusual or out of the ordinary about the meeting – usual people, usual place, usual agenda items. BUT…but therein lay its importance.

Here were people of different ages, genders, backgrounds, experiences, characters, temperaments, views and political beliefs in the same place at the same time. Each of us holding different opinions on the way things should be done and the relative priority of the issues before us but coming together in fellowship. United in purpose, no one hogging the floor, open to the proposals of others, with everyone free to express their view without fear of dissent or dismissal.

From one perspective that is entirely usual – luckily for us that’s pretty much how we go about things in our church. However, despite these values being fundamental for communities and society to flourish – they can’t just be taken for granted. I wondered how many other places there are in our pressurised and sometimes fragmented lives, where such a disparate range of people join together? How often are all points of view encouraged, listened to and taken into account, rather than just ignored or shouted down?

When times are busy or hard simple things can get inadvertently forgotten. Simple values like, empathy, tolerance inclusivity, listening and flexibility and are not only vital, they are also fragile – they have the potential to wither if not actively remembered, practiced, appreciated and celebrated.

Sometimes it’s good for me (and maybe for us all?) to step back, let my mind wander past the agenda, past the usual faces, past the moment and remember to notice the wood for the trees.

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Simon M

Note: Irreverent cartoons by Cally – not Simon, so don’t blame him…

One Today!


Written on Sunday 20th May

Today we had a very special Messy Church – our first birthday! A year ago we started holding a monthly Messy Church, tentatively wondering how many people might come. We’re now a year on and are confident of getting 50 to 60 people through the doors.

For our birthday, we thought a social event would be a treat for everyone and so we had a BBQ and a play on the field. Goodness, how we were blessed by the weather! After the rain yesterday, today was blue skies and warm sunshine. The children played football, hockey and climbed on frames! The adults might’ve done some of that too, but seemed to prefer chatting on the blankets and having a glass of Pimm’s. Many times I heard “Oooh, my first Pimm’s of the year”  – it was mine too!

Before our food, Cally led us in giving thanks, not only for the food, but for the friendships and good times that Messy Church has given us – and for the fabulous weather too.

As we’re back round to summer months, the Dads are wielding the BBQ tongs and we’re very grateful to Rob for his expert burger flipping. Eve did fried onions that Annie would be proud of! For our dessert we were treated with Lorna’s 1st Birthday cupcakes, Ellie’s lemon cake and Cally’s fantastic Messy Church birthday cake.

Cally has been the driving force behind our year of Messy Church, backed by a team of capable and willing helpers. It was very apt that Pippa specifically thanked Cally and presented her with some flowers. I can’t name all our helpers, but we are certainly blessed to have a team with such a rich mix of skills. We have those whose ‘craftiness’ knows no bounds, those who can run scientific experiments, those who can build mansions from boxes, those who can cook and those who can lead fun and inspiring worship. And of course we all do it with a huge dose of messiness! Here’s to another exciting year of Messy Church and our 2nd birthday. You never know …. there may be more Pimm’s….

Trish