Newsletter - October

This month's newletter from Maxine Heath

 

Just as I was about to go home after our Sunday morning service a couple of weeks ago, a car came down the church drive, parked and three people stepped out – an elderly gentleman and a younger couple. They had arrived with some flowers, so I assumed that they had come to visit one of the graves in the churchyard. Whilst chatting to them, I discovered that the elderly gentleman was aged 92 and the couple with him were his daughter and her husband. They had lived for many years in one of the large properties on the North Cray Road when it was just a country lane and had driven up from Hastings in search of the gravestone belonging to the gentleman’s parents. He recalled that it was near the church door, the stone was light in colour, and that the inscription was in gold.

After searching amongst the stones set in the grass, none of which bore the names of his parents, we finally found one that was heavily covered in moss, the carving totally illegible. After scraping off the moss, the daughter produced a small bottle of water and a cloth and began cleaning the stone. Slowly the names of a husband and wife began to appear, the ones we were looking for, and with a final sprinkling of water the inscription finally appeared, in glorious gold, just as the elderly gentleman had remembered. What a joyous moment it was for the family.

I am always amazed at just how much happiness our beautiful church brings to people who step inside, whether it is at a wedding, a baptism, when hearing a favourite hymn, or enjoying the friendship of our church family.

St James has brought me much joy over the past 30 years – my baptism and confirmation, my marriage to Trevor, and later the baptism of our daughter, Eleanor, now 18 years old. If it hadn’t been for my wonderful school friend, Candy, wife of the then Rector of St James, The Reverend Patrick Rolton, inviting me to join the newly formed choral group, I might never have found this special place that has given me so much.

This year, I decided that it was time to give something back, so in April I stood for Churchwarden. I’m still getting acquainted with my new role alongside Suzy, our other Churchwarden, and there is much to learn, including ringing the bells after our recent weddings! It was actually a lot of fun for me but, more importantly, it brought joy to someone else.

And that’s the beauty of this little church of ours, it just keeps on giving…

 

Maxine Heath, Churchwarden


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