NOTICES - December 2017
From the Vicar's Desk:
Christmas is coming once again, don’t say I didn’t warn you! It’s not as if you’ve not had plenty of notice. I’m still recovering from the shock of seeing the Christmas puddings and cakes on display in the supermarket back in September. I shan’t repeat what I said on that occasion.
Christmas comes and goes year after year with an ever-increasing build-up that makes it very difficult to appreciate the true meaning of the season itself. Anyone with teenagers knows what it’s like when Christmas is effectively over before the Queen’s Speech and disappointment and disillusionment is already making itself felt. Our modern celebration is awfully top-heavy with expectations and pressure to make it all perfect, to live up to this idea of what Christmas ought to be or how we imagine it should. But for many Christmas is a difficult time, not only for those who have lost a loved one through bereavement or are separated by long distance, but also because Christmas itself is evocative of the past, of all the other Christmases before. The here and now may all too often be lonely and bleak compared to happier times of Christmas Past.
The key to making the most out of Christmas is never losing sight that beneath the mountains of wrapping paper and glittering decorations, noisy toys, and endless food is the simple truth that God has come into the world in a new and exciting way that no one ever imagined possible, in order that we might, each one of us, come to see just how much he loves us. For God to come into the world, entrusted to a young homeless couple, fleeing for safety far from home, a helpless babe in a cold stable; speak volumes about the lengths he will go to connect with us. That connection made all the harder by the challenges of keeping the season as we sometimes feel we ought, distracted by the glitter and the expectations of the past.
Let us enjoy ourselves by every means, but let us make a bit of room in our busyness for some reflective quiet time with the newborn king. Christmas comes but once a year, and they grow up so fast. We won’t have the baby very long, make the most of it while you can.
Next PCC meeting is 17th January. If you have any issues or concerns then please don’t hesitate to speak to Michael or the Churchwardens.
Pastoral Visit: If you would like a pastoral visit, or know of anyone living in the parish who would appreciate a pastoral visit, please either contact Father Michael or the church office.
Sunday 17th December 4.00pm Carols around piano
Sunday 24th December: 5.30pm Crib Service
9.00pm Bethlehem Mass
Monday 25th December: 10.15am Christmas Eucharist
with a theatrical contribution
from our Sunday School.
Bible Study: No Bible Study in December but it will resume on Wednesday 3rd January at 8pm.
Church website: We have a new website on the existing web address:stbarnabas-epsom.org.uk
You will find prayers, the monthly notices and information about upcoming events.The website is still evolving so if there is anything you would like to see added, please speak to Father Michael or Janice Pond.
Feedback from the PCC meeting on 15 November: (by Helen Dyke)
1) Finances: PJ’s estimates suggest that we will have a surplus this year for the first time in several years. This is very good news, particularly because we have not received all the agreed payments from the Brazilian Church for their use of the building. They are now under new management and have already asked for details of their outstanding payments. Michael and the churchwardens are meeting them next week to discuss this and other matters.
This improvement in our financial situation is excellent news and we are very grateful to everyone who gives to St Barnabas. It is a big step towards showing we can be financially sustainable. However we will have to pay for our quinquennial inspection early next year and our parish share is likely to increase in 2019 so we need to continue to increase our income as much as possible. Thank you for all your prayers about this.
Michael met with the Archdeacon on 20th November to be told what the new parish arrangements will be. An update is expected soon. We know that it is going up by only 1% in 2018 but the way parish share is calculated is changing in 2019 and our share is likely to increase.
2) Church life: Over 1000 people came to St Barnabas to attend events during Epsom Mental Health Week. This is the largest attendance yet. The Sunnybank Trust now have new offices at the Town Hall but have maintained their use of our space.
St Barnabas youth hangout, by Nick Truman, currently takes place on Sunday afternoons. However, it is likely to be changing to a new time soon to increase attendance. Nick will come and talk to us about this part of our Mission Action Plan during a Sunday service in the near future. Please do all pray for him and for our outreach to children and young people.
The St Barnabas Christmas Tree Festival will be taking place from 7th-10th December. There is an evening event on Friday 8th December – more details from Janice and Kathy later. The Epsom Primary School Children’s Centre will be having their Christmas party at the festival, including a visit from Father Christmas. This is the first time they have had an event at the church and hopefully will bring new families into the building. Further Christmas events include Community Carols around the piano at 4pm on 17th December and the crib service on 24th December at 5.30.
As the Midnight Mass has had very low attendance in recent years, we will be trialling a new evening service at 9.00pm on Christmas Eve. It is hoped the earlier time will lead to increased attendance and work well for regular worshippers and occasional visitors alike.
We decided on the recipients of our planned giving this year. We give £500 to 5 charities, 3 overseas and 2 at home. This year they will be Rev Michael Lapsley’s Institute for the Healing of Memories; Vision People in Mission in Nairobi and Trina Simpson, long-time friend of St Barnabas who continues to need our support. On the home front – Epsom and Ewell PHAB, a charity that supports children and young people with physical disabilities and Epsom and Ewell Age Concern.
Janet Roberts will be starting the occasional preachers’ course in January 2018.
3) The building: This month saw the first meeting of the newly reformed building and maintenance committee. The search for an architect to do our Quinquennial inspection is underway in earnest and we are getting quotes for sorting out the lighting inside and outside the church. We are fortunate to have a donor who has kindly offered to pay for some of this work and we are hoping to be able to get it done very soon.
We are looking into the cost of having window-boxes / planters on the low windowsills at the front of the building. This is to reduce the opportunity for people to sit and smoke there.
Events this month:
Thursday 7th: 12.30pm Christmas Tree Festival Official Opening by Deputy Mayor followed by
Epsom Male Voice Choir.
Friday 8th: 11-4pm Christmas Tree Fair
with visit from Santa at 1.30-3.00pm.
7.30pm Dinner & Cabaret.
Saturday 9th: 11-4pm Community Charity Fair.
Sunday 10th: 4pm St Lucia Christingle Children’s Service in aid of
The Children’s Society.
Wednesday 13,20,27: 7.30pm Holy Communion.
Thursday 14th: 11am Coffee Morning at the Vicarage.
Friday:15th 2pm Knit and Natter.
Stars of our church! We are a small congregation but we have many stars, such as:
Betty Forbes: Betty married David at St Barnabas and has lived in Temple Road all her married life. She has been involved in many things during her time at St B’s and most recently has been the leader of the flower arranging team. Throughout the year, she ensures there are floral arrangements for special occasions; makes many lovely arrangements herself, tends the flowers during the week to ensure they last as long as possible; orders supplies and generally gets on with whatever is needed without any complaints.
Thank you, Betty for all that you do at St Barnabas with such good heart.
Singers needed to join in carol singing at the Meadows (on the former West Park site) on Wednesday 20th December at 6.30pm. Please contact Sue if you need any further information.
Sick List: Jim Middleton who is still missing, Doreen, and Charles.
Suggestions: If you have any suggestions or ideas for our monthly parish news then please speak to Michael, Hilary or Ruth.