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.

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

Remembrance to Christ the King

Dear all November already and definitely a nip in the air! Where has the year gone? This month we have entered the season of All Saints journeying towards Advent stopping to commemorate our faithful departed along the way and those who have died serving our country through war on Remembrance Sunday. All Saints is literally about celebrating all the saints, famous or not, who may have lived long ago or are still serving others in our world today. In fact the month of November is very much about service and serving others. The saints served our world, our armed forces served our nation and defended others; both willing to die for others in the cause of freedom and democracy and the common good. Church wise all of this draws us up to a wonderful Sunday which brings the cycle of the Church’s year to a close and that is the Feast of Christ the King. The year that began with the hope of the coming Messiah ends with the proclamation of his universal sovereignty. Great themes to reflect on which also once again remind us of our dependence and our mutual belonging as church and community together. I rather like… Read More

50 Years of the Capel and Beare Green Magazine

Dear all I feel very honoured to be the present incumbent responsible for writing the regular monthly letter on the 50th anniversary of the Capel and Beare Green Village Magazine. I believe it was one of my predecessors Reverend Trevor McCabe who 50 years ago came up with the idea of developing what was very much monthly ‘church news’ into a magazine which encompassed all the village news as well. A terrific idea which has stood the course of time, providing our village communities with a platform for communication and information which is of interest to us all. Congratulations on this special anniversary and this special anniversary issue! 50 years later our church continues to serve the parish in any way that it can and like the Reverend McCabe we long to see ‘Church in the community: Community in the Church’ which is a bit of a strapline for us. It is wonderful to be able to welcome so many into church for the most meaningful occasions in their lives, whether joyful or sad and to share people’s lives and journeys along the way. It is a credit to our community that we are able to safely leave the church… Read More

Bringing in the harvest

Dear all I write this in the wake of the Capel Show and what a wonderful show it was! The weather was kind, we had record numbers of cars, exhibits and visitors and everyone appeared to be having an old fashioned ‘grand day out’! There was also a very special atmosphere in the early morning as exhibitors, volunteers, stall holders, stewards, to name but a few, busied themselves with their tasks in readiness for the day. Coffee Real as ever was there to provide much needed sustenance in coffee and other delicious beverages it seemed to me there was an air of eager anticipation for a wonderful day ahead. That coupled with the village as ever uniting to try to produce the best show ever made me once again so proud to be part of this great community. Well done everyone and particularly to the show’s organisers for giving us this annual opportunity to come together like this and celebrate all the lovely things created by God and humankind. Thank you too to the Car Show committee who generously donate all their proceeds towards the upkeep of our parish church, through the Friends of Capel Church. This month we look… Read More

Rest and Relaxation

Dear all It’s August and hopefully for some a time to rest. School holidays have begun and for us at church we try not to hold any meetings this month! I am taking some leave myself and have some alternative arrangements in place at the beginning of this month as I am not the only one taking some time off. So we have been invited to share a service of traditional Matins or BCP Morning Prayer, with the congregation of St Margaret’s Church Ockley slightly earlier than some are used to at 9.30am. This will be a lovely opportunity to share with our friends there and I know they are looking forward to welcoming everybody. Consequently the published Café Church from the July calendar has been postponed till the beginning of September when I promise it will take place. For those of you who have never been to this type of service, Café Church is a slightly different experience in that we begin in our Café area with coffee provided by Coffee Real along with croissants and other goodies. We have a ‘menu’ for the day instead of an order of service, which gives our guests a small topic to… Read More

Thoughts in difficult times...

Dear all What a heat wave we have had this last month! Our prayers were certainly answered for fine weather for the vicarage fete – it was a scorcher! Thankfully there was plenty of shade toward the end of the garden and it was lovely to see so many children and parents relaxing and enjoying the barbeque and other delights. It was a very happy day and we made a good amount of money for our local schools who provided us with some wonderful stalls, singing for us and country dancing. A big thank you to you all and our theme of Seaside certainly was appropriate for the day! So June was the driest and hottest month since records began but it must surely have been one of the most difficult months for our nation for a long time as well. Last month I wrote as the Manchester terrorist attack took place and since then we have witnessed more terror in London Bridge and the Borough Market area of London and Finsbury Park. Many innocent people lost their lives and were wounded and scarred after these terrible attacks. Sadly that was not the end as many more would lose their… Read More

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