I’m writing this in the lull before the storm! We have just had all the fun and games of the Big Day Out & the Sunday Funday, and we are getting ready for the Children’s Holiday Club “Space Academy” for which we have some 80 children booked. In all this activity, it is hard to hold on to Psalm 46 v 10 “Be still & know”.
We are halfway through the Diocese’ 2018 “Year of Prayer” which has followed on from the 2016 “Year of Mercy” and 2017 “Year of the Bible”. In this year we are being called to re-explore our Spiritual lives, to look at new ways of reaching out to God and of God reaching out to us. Cay Towner led a really lovely course on Ignatian Spirituality at Holy Cross; St. Saviour’s is carrying on with the gentle prayer group “Living Stones” and Canon Hugh’s Bible study is going well. In worship, we are continuing to explore different styles of prayerfulness, with a Celtic Evensong for Harvest in Little Horsted on 7th October, not to mention the Pet Service on 16th September where we celebrate God’s loving creation! There will also be the Episcopal Area’s Pilgrimage to Chichester with Bishop Richard on September 15th which will be a powerful symbol of our journey together as a Pilgrim People.
But in all this, we must remember our own personal prayer lives: in the (theoretically!!) quieter time of August maybe we can give ourselves a bit of space just to touch base with God: maybe just sit in the garden for a few minutes, centre yourself and just listen to the sounds around. When we give God space in our lives to move in the depths of the soul, wonderful things can truly happen!
Have a gentle August, before the onslaught of Carnival and a new school year begin…..
P.S. On 18th August, the choir of my old church St. George’s in Newbury are coming for a fund raising concert for us: the theme will be Joy. Holy Cross choir are joining in too – please come and support it!!
I shall focus on swifts today. These small almost black birds of the air should be familiar to all of us because they scream as they fly through and above the buildings of Uckfield and other European towns. They often breed in the roof of Holy Cross church and other tall buildings.
Swifts can live for more than 20 years, most of which is spent flying. Swifts are fast flyers and hold the record for maintained flight, often not landing at all for more than 10 months! They feed, drink, sleep and mate all while flying. When they want to sleep at night, they fly up to over 1000 metres above sea level and drift in the semi darkness sleeping as they fly, sleeping for short periods at a time. Then, when dawn breaks, they descend to the insect zone, where they snap up all the insects they encounter as they fly. Swifts are 100% dependant on insects and other invertebrates such as ballooning spiders for food.
The latter statement deserves explanation; ballooning spiders are small spiders which make gliders from the gossamer threads they use for webs. They then launch themselves into the wind and travel vast distances, but some are also snapped up by swifts and other birds.
Swifts arrive in Europe from the end of April to mid-May, find their nesting cavity, usually in a building and lay 2 or 3 white eggs in just one brood per year. Each egg requires about 19 days of incubation, this duty is shared by the male and female. Both parents collect invertebrates on the wing for their youngsters that take about 6 weeks to grow and mature before they are able to take their maiden flight, and are then independent, finding their own food on the wing as they fly with their parents in screaming flocks around the towns that they inhabit. They also fly off into the countryside searching out good places to catch flying insects and spiders. Most swifts will have left Europe by the end of August. They are among the last migrants to arrive on their breeding grounds and the first to leave.
Swifts spend the winter south of the Sahara Desert, flying around Africa finding food and water on the wing as they move to almost anywhere that insects can be found.
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.