The Vicar Writes

Revd Liz Richardson

Revd Liz Richardson

Below you will find my monthly newsletter which also appears in the Capel & Beare Green Magazine. If you wish to receive this newsletter by email, please subscribe here.

Strange preparations

Dear all On putting pen to paper so to speak, as I write, the weather has turned very cold! What a shock to the system after our beautiful autumn and the generally mild temperatures we have enjoyed. The central heating is definitely being turned up a bit! I wonder what this next month of December will bring? It is such a busy time of the year, although I think it’s busy in Capel and Ockley all year round with the amazing range of activities, events and groups that offer such a wide and varied programme. However, as we approach Christmas it always seems there is virtually no time in December before the 25th and so this month we I hope will enjoy the various Christmassy events on offer. The churches in Capel and Ockley will be hosting and supporting much of these so do study the December services and events list in this magazine to find the detail. Everything is also on our Capel and Ockley website too. If you haven’t visited it yet here is the address www.capelandockleychurch.org.uk So if your Christmas has to include donkeys, carols, Christmas trees, excited children, nativities, cribs, Father Christmas, mulled wine and mince… Read More

Seven year review!

Dear all This month I will have been your vicar here for seven years which I can hardly believe. Where has all the time gone?! It certainly doesn’t seem like seven years; the time has literally flown by, yet these seven years have shaped our parish of Capel from one where I was appointed as a self-supporting minister under an arrangement of ‘House for Duty’ to a new united Parish and a full time Stipendiary role. (A Stipend is the ecclesiastical word for regular payment to clergy). Basically it means I am now paid! I was extremely happy to come here under House for Duty arrangements as I had other family commitments to honour as well as serving the church and community here. Those of you who know me and the work of clergy also know that ministry is rarely part time, so it was with great thankfulness that a couple of years ago Capel PCC agreed that they could fund a half stipend for the ministry I do. Now with the opportunity to join with St Margaret’s at Ockley, all agreed that this should be a full time stipendiary position which is wonderful. It is good for me of… Read More

Autumn beginnings

Dear all September is here again and autumn approaches along with new beginnings for many with school, colleges, and further education. I always think it is an exciting time of year – a time to begin something new perhaps. Do you remember when it used to be called ‘evening classes’ or ‘night school’?! Well there is much on offer in our village of course with plenty of events and activities to choose from but here is a taster of some of the things we are offering that are kind of church based. Well, I’m not very good at science and maths and definitely should go back to school for those subjects but despite that one of the things I am looking forward to attending is a talk by our own Revd Dr Martin Gilpin from St Peter’s Newdigate who is going to give a talk on science and faith entitled ‘Belief in God: Is it rational?’. The talk is free and is to be held in Newdigate Village Hall on Friday 7th September at 7.30 and Martin who is a scientist by profession is going to discuss amongst other things: – the origin of the universe, the origin of life… Read More

School's out and so are the scarecrows!

Dear all I am really enjoying spotting and generally being surprised by the different scarecrows which keep appearing in the village. How fun are they and how ingenious you scarecrow makers are! From the long green nose of what I presume is an upside down watering can to appearances between gaps in hedges to daring positions precariously scaling houses I am loving them! Scarecrows you see, throughout the village were before my time in Capel. So I have googled how to make a scarecrow and hopefully by the time you read this we will have one outside the vicarage as well. We also have a new addition to our vicarage in the shape of a new Labrador puppy called Ruby. Some of you will already know that Doug and I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary recently – hence the puppy’s name – and this is our present to one another. We were very spoiled at both churches too with beautiful flowers, champagne at our PCC meeting and a fabulous card with our wedding photo on it (!) with a lovely Susie West print of the Isle of Wight where we spent our anniversary with our children and grandchildren which was… Read More

Ordinary Time?

Dear all So once again we are fortunate to have fine weather for our vicarage fete tomorrow. As I write there is a wonderful array of gazeboes kindly lent and installed by many kind and very helpful people adorning our back garden. Lovely that we need them this year to keep the heat off us instead of the rain! I would like to thank everyone who has involved themselves with the fete, the organising team, the helpers who man the various stalls – a record number this year; those who prepare and serve the delicious teas and of course a huge thank you to those who have donated very generous raffle prizes. Hopefully we will raise lots of money for our schools. It is amazing how everyone together each playing their part creates something wonderful. I have also very much enjoyed playing a very small part in the Ockley Dramatic Society’s 70th birthday celebrations this last month. Something I’ve never done before I have to say! I was persuaded to as they say in theatrical circles I believe; tread the boards, in what was fairly obviously a comic play. I was given a ‘cameo’ role (more theatrical speak) as one… Read More

Eco versus Techno?

Dear all, I am able to compose this letter on my iPad as I have been enjoying a few days off this week on the Isle of Wight! As usual I am right up against the magazine deadline but thankfully because of modern technology it can be met! These few days prearranged have coincided with several pastoral and ministry issues which have needed my attention by email and again modern technology has allowed me to still take time out and not have to cancel holiday time. Sometimes circumstances dictate I have to be available to certain things. Fortunately this situation doesn’t happen all the time in case you’re wondering whether I really ever do get proper time away! So I was enjoying Radio 4s Thought for the Day earlier and the subject was all about time. The broadcaster was Bishop Phillip North who incidentally will be a speaker at our Clergy Conference this year but more of that another time…. He introduced his thought by telling of an example of a little girl who when asked what she would like to disappear from her life answered ‘my mothers mobile phone’. The mum was spending so much time texting and speaking on… Read More

To be a pilgrim

Dear all Some of you may remember the Diocesan newspaper which was a free distribution newspaper. It was called ‘The Wey’. It ceased publication some months ago now and in its place we have a brand new quarterly magazine for the Guildford Diocese called ‘Living Church’. I can recommend it! The first issue is here and you can pick up your own copy in both Capel and Ockley churches. There are several very interesting articles and one which caught my eye was one on the ancient practice of pilgrimage. It seems that increasing numbers are choosing to go on a pilgrimage and numbers are increasing. In the last decade 30 pilgrimage routes have been created or rediscovered in this country alone. In Europe the number of visitors to Santiago de Compostela has grown so much that more than 300,000 people or should we say pilgrims (!) walked the Camino in 2017. You may have caught a documentary on television before Easter which filmed a lovely but disparate group of people who tackled parts of it. It certainly looked gruelling! However, these days you can travel by coach and walk parts of it; I think that would be easier, but I’m… Read More

Easter thoughts

Dear All, As I write this with the snow on the ground it hardly seems like Easter is nearly here and Spring has almost begun! However, Easter is approaching fast and when we do get the odd lovely warm day, it is a wonderful thing. By the time you read this we may even have celebrated the most important time of the Christian calendar. A time when we travel with the Lord Jesus to Jerusalem, continue with him through the Last Supper and accompanied him to the cross on Good Friday. And then the quietness and stillness of Easter Saturday as we await the joy of Easter morning when his disciples find the empty tomb and find him resurrected in a body which appears to show the marks of his wounding but nevertheless can appear and disappear at will. There are many ways of looking at Holy Week and the season of Easter and each year I find there is more and more to discover about the Easter events. Each event of Holy Week is a part of the Easter story and Easter will mean far more if you consider each one as they build up to the end of… Read More

Last year and this...

Dear all We have had another very full month in church as we held a Special Parochial Church Meeting (SPCM) a couple of weeks ago to review our activities in 2017 and then another SPCM straight after with our friends from St Margaret’s Ockley to appoint our new joint PCC and Churchwardens. This was followed by a celebratory Bring and Share lunch which we enjoyed as two parishes united and looking very much forward to the future. Capel’s SPCM took the place of our Annual Meeting which we normally hold in April and the full report for the past year and our end of year accounts are available in church. However, I thought I would give you a shortened update of what we have all been up to with a few advertisements for this year too. So here goes! My Chair’s report began with last Easter highlighting a new event on Palm Sunday which was a procession led by two donkeys along the street towards church, re-enacting Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. We are doing it again this year so please join us, at Bennetts Green, just past Capel News where we will congregate. Holy Week and Easter continued with… Read More

United at last!

Dear all This month, I am delighted to be able to tell you formally that we are now according to the new pastoral scheme for the parishes of Ewhurst, Forest Green, Okewood, Ockley and Capel, a united parish with St Margaret’s Ockley under the auspices of the Surrey Weald Team of churches. From now on we are to be known as the parish of Capel and Ockley. The Church Commissioners received no objections to the scheme so were able to ‘make it’ on the 27th December 2017 and it came into effect on the 1st January 2018! This is great news. So what happens now you may ask? Well, you will see in our calendar of services and events that we are now obliged to bring forward what would have been the APCM in this parish in April so that it becomes a Special Parochial Church Meeting. That meeting will be first of two to be held in church on Sunday 11th February at 11.45am in which the main business is to as usual review the past year in church activities and those of the PCC plus an opportunity to review the annual accounts for the parish. That meeting will… Read More

January - only the beginning...

Dear all Happy New Year! As I write this just before Christmas I find myself as usual panicking about last minute Christmas presents, cards and food, as well as anticipating the joy and anticipation of the season to come. I mean how many pairs of socks does someone really need?! It’s the same every year – however organised I try to be I cannot seem to escape the pressure of this combination of joyful celebration and frenetic preparation!! I share this not in any way to complain but simply to acknowledge the beauty, joy and the complexity of the season. One of the things that is helping me navigate my way through the richness and complexity of these days before Christmas at the moment is the photograph we have on our mantelpiece of a little three year Ethiopian girl that our family is sponsoring through Compassion UK but more of that later on…. Recently in church we began the gospel of Mark with his opening words which simply state ‘The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God’. And that is what Christmas and for that matter New Year is all about – it is the… Read More

Mutual belonging

Dear all Last month I wrote about our mutual belonging both as members of this wonderful community and that of the wider community and family as God’s church in this place. This month we once again look forward and celebrate the coming of God into our world through the birth of his son Jesus all those years ago into a small town to an ordinary young couple who were to become extraordinary in God’s plan for humankind. Named as ‘Emmanuel’ in Matthew’s gospel, through earlier prophecy, this means ‘God is with us’. This is truly the ultimate in mutual belonging isn’t it? Well this month there is much to help us prepare for Christmas and beyond. As you read this the Christmas trees will be lighting the way up to church once again this year and I hope many of you will come and join us at one of our many Christmas services. You will see the lighted Christmas trees illustrating our Christmas card which you should receive early this month outlining all the details. Please do also study the calendar of church services and events in this magazine though too! We are hoping to deliver some Christmas hampers to… Read More

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