Group Keeping in Touch

Keeping in Touch for July 2021 


Dear Friends,

Welcome to the first of the “new-style” keeping in touch letters! It may be that you barely
notice a difference, it may be that you need to give it a couple of months to see what works
and what doesn’t. Communication is a two way thing so if you have an idea or something to share why not be in touch?
I have been thinking lately of how we communicate with those in the wider community. Our buildings speak volumes. Tatty notices and unkempt buildings say little of God’s love but conversely a well kept building that says you are welcome says a huge amount before we have even spoken with someone. Equally this website is visited by around three hundred people each week.

What is it saying about us? Notice something needs updating or there is some good news we should be sharing then mention it! Richard is the lead for UE, Mary for Rusthall and Derek for Hawkenbury – but they rely on others sharing information. So if you have a good photograph or are arranging something don’t forget to tell them. We need to keep the site fresh and up to date to be welcoming. How we communicate without speaking is a fascinating subject and one we will no doubt come back to. In the meantime stay safe and remember So reach out and welcome one  another to God’s glory. Jesus did it; now you do it! Romans 15:7

 Rev. Helen Warmington


Now I know how Helen felt trying to think of something new to put in her Keeping In Touch newsletter each month – and this is only my first month at the task! Those of you who have felt able to return to services at the church should be pretty well up to date with what’s been going on, but of course,

sadly, some of you still haven’t been able to summon up the courage to join us, which is understandable. We wish you all well.

So, what has been going on? Firstly, in case you weren’t aware, we resumed regular Sunday services at the beginning of May, such services being held in accordance with Government restrictions – so, no singing, wearing face coverings, keeping well apart (not always possible to manage 2 metres, it must be said!), and no standing round chatting with friends. This last has perhaps been the most difficult to comply with, as naturally we all want to say hello and catch up with what others have been doing, how they are coping, whether they’ve had their jabs yet, and so on. The best place to do that, though, is outside – especially when the weather is dry and sunny, as it has been lately!

I’m pleased to say our weekly attendance is getting back towards what it was before the first lockdown, and we are averaging about 25 or so each week now. Hopefully other folk will feel able to come along to join our worship soon – we still have some spare capacity! The church has, unfortunately, suffered a very significant drop in income since early last year. The people and organisations that have regularly hired our halls have not been able to do so, and neither have people just wanting a “one-off” hire, for a children’s party or the like. Although one or two of our regulars have indicated they will wish to return fairly soon – say by the autumn – the halls continue to sit there vacant for almost all the week at present, which means no money coming in! So we were very glad for the fact that the large hall was used, as usual, for the elections in May. As well as no rental income, freewill offerings dried up as, naturally, if folk were not coming to church, they weren’t (on the whole) able to make their usual offerings. Thankfully this source of income has started to pick up again as people return to our services. Thank you to all who are giving.

Derek Fickling, Church Secretary

Preachers at Hawkenbury for July:

4th Rev Helen Warmington 11th Paul Cuthbert

18th Colin Owen 25th Richard Blackwell


Although not completely back to normal, it is good to meet every Sunday for morning worship. Jan finds some good hymns so we listen to great choirs and soloists and still follow the words on the screen. We hope that we will soon be able to sing. There is room for more so please come along to join us. We would be very pleased to see you.

Fair Trade Cafe:

Consultations are being held with regard to the Fair Trade coffee mornings which is hoped will start again in September.

Pins and Needles

Pins and Needles resumed in May, meeting on Tuesday afternoons. Due to Covid restrictions the large group has to be split into two, so each group meets on alternate Tuesdays. Currently both groups are at maximum capacity.

Pastoral News

We were delighted to hear that Marion had had a successful operation in June. We pray that she will have a speedy recovery and be able to join us in church soon. We also remember in our thoughts and prayers those members of our church family who cannot be with us for whatever reason.

Worship leaders for July

4th July Jacqui Ferdinando 18th July Jacqui Ferdinando (C)

11th July Hazel Brown 25th July Hazel Brown

Linda Sydenham


Plant and Cake Sale

One of our fundraising activities for Project 21 was a Plant and Cake Sale, held in the church hall after the service on 23rd May. There were a variety of plants available to buy including cuttings, as well as sunflower seeds donated by Morrisons. We raised well over £100 on plants, and Heather’s delicious cakes raised a similar amount too, so it was very worthwhile. Thanks to all those who brought along plants to sell, and made donations for plants to take back home. Thank you Barbara and Heather for an enjoyable event which made us feel more back to normal—in spite of the masks—and no coffee allowed.

Tea Towels

Our current fund raiser for Project 21 is the sale of specially designed Project 21 Tea Towels, £7.50 each. There are 100 tea towels, and nearly half of them have been sold already, so do get your orders in to Anne Stobo or Richard Cannam if you would like one or more. Anne or Richard is happy to deliver.

Book group

This week we resumed our book group meetings, which stopped in March 2020 when the first lockdown was imposed. When we started the book group, some 10 years ago at least, we focused on reading books about faith. That remit has broadened somewhat over the years, and now we frequently include novels from various genres. We agree which book(s) we want to read, then read the same book at the same time, and arrange a date to meet up to discuss what we thought of it, what we liked about it, or didn’t like as the case may be.

Over the next year we intend to read Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell, Morning in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa, Still Alice by Lisa Genova, The Alchemist by Paul Coelho, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwardes and Things in Jars by Jesse Kidd.

Our group is already fully subscribed, however you may like to read one or more of these books. If you would like more information please speak to Barbara Crosswell.

Preaching Plan for July click HERE

Jenny Evans


It is such a relief for us all to get out and start to do all the things we like to Everything seems to be bigger and brighter than we remember. We look back to those dreary days when we had nothing exciting to do. I wonder what you found in the back of your toy box….Lego, a ball of grubby plasticine, toys you had forgotten about or a jig saw. Even the Television reminded us about jig saws in one particular advertisement, as the last piece was placed carefully in the last hole. It reminded me of jig saws built in the past, and the last piece I hid so that I could put it in. That advertisement reminded me that it had to be that particular piece, for no other one would fit, and it was only completed when all the pieces were fitted in to their own special place. We are all like that. We are all different, but we all have our particular part to play, and we are all necessary.

In The Bible story Jesus says…‘Let the little children come to me and do not hinder Them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these’. Can you make up 10 different words from the word…….JIGSAW ?

Jean Johnstone

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