Could everyone in our three church communities keep us at Holy Cross in your prayers this July? Exciting things are happening!
On the afternoon of July 1st we have our first Children’s Service & tea party: with our hugely successful Messy Church sessions we have to limit the numbers to 40 children because of the space we need for activities – but with this, all are welcome! There will be songs and stories and praise around the theme of “Creation” – followed by delicious cakes in the churchyard (hopefully if the weather plays ball!). We haven’t done this before so support and encouragement will be needed. We are trying to keep up the momentum started by the Crib Service, Messy Epiphany and Messy Easter, so wish us luck!
This leads on to our next event – the “Space Academy” Children’s Holiday Club from 23rd-27th July in church: it is already fully booked with c 80 children & has been for months, which is gratifying if scary! I will be bouncing around with a grey beard and a double-ended light sabre dressed as a Jedi (Obi-won-Pappa-John) – a change from being an Egyptian Pharaoh last year! As I say to all my curates, always remember clerical dignity at all times! Again, please keep all the leaders and helpers in your thoughts and prayers during these weeks of preparation. (2 litre plastic lemonade/water bottles will be v welcome too!)
Now, yes, we are doing all this for the fun of it, and yes, for outreach into our community – but I think this all goes deeper than that.
All three of our Plurality churches will be looking at new ways of “being Church” for the world around us: just expecting people to come to us on a Sunday morning alone won’t really work any more in these present times. For these children (& their parents) Messy Church, Holiday Clubs & afternoon celebrations are their going to church: we need to embrace this, work with it and see (with God’s blessing!) what exciting things can happen in all three of our communities! Watch this space!!
Writing this in June, as we rapidly approach the Summer Solstice (longest day), I am experiencing the huge build-up of biomass that results from the increased input of energy from the sun as the days get longer. It follows that the more energy there is entering the northern hemisphere, the more life is regenerated, first from photosynthesis by green organisms such as plants and algae, and then from the animals that feed on these. For example, the circa 250,000 leaves of a deciduous oak tree can in some years be completely defoliated by hundreds of moth caterpillars, each one eating up to 10 leaves before pupating. However, one blue tit can eat from 70 to 100 caterpillars each day, and there can be as many as 18 young blue tits in one nest, plus 2 parents. That is about 2,000 caterpillars eaten by that one family in one day. There can be as many as 4 blue tit families in one hectare of woodland, so it is possible that up to 8,000 caterpillars could be consumed every day for the 18 to 20 days between hatching and fledging (leaving the nest), that is about 160,000 caterpillars consumed at some time between the spring equinox and the summer solstice sustaining up to 80 blue tits per hectare. And this is not all, sparrowhawks time their breeding season to coincide with the fledging of blue tits which they feed to their young. One family of 6 sparrowhawks could consume as many as 40 blue tits in one day! When all this is over, the oak trees produce a second flush of leaves by 1st August, this is called Lammas growth, because it coincides with the ancient feast of Lammas or Loaf Mass.
Have you ever been involved in hay-making? This is when a farmer will cut the grass that has grown and is ripe for cutting in June. The grass has absorbed all the energy from the sun up to the solstice and produced a huge bulk of grass tissue, tasty and energy giving for the cattle and horses that eat it. As many as 8.4 tons of hay can be harvested from one hectare of a good grassy field. If one cow can eat 24 kilograms of hay in a day, this would sustain that cow for about 42 days. That cow can then sustain quite a few people in the form of milk or beef. In ecological terms, this dynamic system is known as environmental services, none of us could survive without them.
A totally amazing six thousand, three hundred and ninety-nine visitors came to The Church of the Holy Cross to see Tenth year of the Festival of Christmas Trees, and it is doubtful whether anyone left disappointed, because there were an incredible ninety-eight decorated positions to be seen and admired. The Church welcomed visitors from as far afield as Yorkshire and Hampshire and a considerable number from across the country boundary with Kent. This Festival retains the traditional methods of tree decorating, but the Sponsors are very much encouraged to be creative and innovative, and this year they certainly excelled. One very special display was titled “Santa’s Workshop” which had been several months in development while another display was a tree that had been decorated to represent a full length dress. Photographs of the Trees featured in this year’s Festival can be viewed in the Church’s website Photo Gallery, which can be accessed via the main Menu Bar at the top of this page, or see the link below. The ninety-eight displays had been sponsored by a cross section of Uckfield’s community – schools, businesses, voluntary organisations and associations, community support groups as well as individuals and families. During Friday afternoon visitors were entertained by Margaret Watson,harpist,and John Pontefract a singer and guitarist. Children could have their face painted by Pretty Fantastic Faces on both the Friday and Saturday afternoons.
All the bells were purchased from the Whitechapel foundry of William Mears and bear the company’s name, the date 1779, and inscriptions.
Church Clock Restored – 10th November 2011.
|4th Jul 2011||
Five months after the Clock was removed (on the 4th July 2011) for cleaning and overhauling, the mechanism was reinstated, and together with the repainted, and re-gilded, clock faces the town has its landmark timepiece back in action.
|12th Nov 2011|
The clock was made in 1883 and although on the clock’s ‘setting dial’ it bears the name of a local man and the word Uckfield, it was, in fact, made by Thwaites and Reed of Clerkenwell in London. It is typical of their design at that time and very similar to their clock in the Knightsbridge Barracks in London. The clock features dials that are unusually placed, being on the out-built mountings on the four sides of the spire. Likewise the clock itself is also unusually mounted because it is above the bell-frame in the belfry and on a level with the base of the spire.