21st Dec Carols by Candlelight 4pm
25th Dec Christmas Day 10:45am for 45 mins
4th Jan Breakfast Club 10am-12noon Herstmonceux Village Hall
The parish churches of Herstmonceux and Wartling are running an advent course which is open to everyone in the local area. The course is described as a chance to learn more about the Christian faith, examine your own beliefs and tackle the bigger questions facing humanity, in an informal atmosphere.
Wednesday 26th November: Scolfe’s of Boreham Street
Wednesday 3rd December: Court Lodge Farm, Wartling
Thursday 11th December: Stonehurst, Church Road
Wednesday 17th December: Lime End Farm, Herstmonceux
All evenings start at 7.30pm and finish by 9pm
The Herstmonceux Free Church Breakfast club is held at 10.am at the village hall on the first Sunday of the month. The breakfast club is open to everyone, not just members of Herstmonceux Free Church. A continental style breakfast is provided, and there are various craft activities for children and adults to take part in if they want to. But mainly it’s a chance to meet people over breakfast.
This months theme was remembrance. One of the activities was making Christmas boxes for the Mustard Seed Charity. The Christmas boxes will be filled with gifts and delivered to children in orphanages in the Ukraine and Moldova.
A visit to Scotney Castle inspired the main craft activity. Poppies were made in red, pink and white. The red poppies were then stuck on to a large piece of card in the shape of a cross, and the pink and white poppies were used for the background.
There was also a remembrance table with a gas mask, poppies, peace doves and a Sam Browne Belt. The belt was used by army officers during the first world war and consists of a strap that goes over one shoulder and around the waist. It has a clip on waist belt to which a sword or pistol would have been attached.
At the end of the breakfast club the children had a game of Hunt the Hedgerow Animals. Toy animals were hidden around the hall and the children had to find them and draw each animal they found.
Pastor Jim Beveridge gave a short talk. This is what he said:
“Tradition has it that the Isle of Man, in the middle of the Irish Sea, was saved from many invaders by a cloak in the form of a thick fog called Manannan that comes up like a cloak and hides the land from seeking eyes. Many people today carry on through life but their eyes are cloaked or hidden from truths. They live in a spiritual fog unable to connect with the reality of the love of God, and the mantle and protection of Jesus.
Many know there is something missing in their lives but the busyness of life cloaks them from finding what really matters and is important to them. They search rather like the children’s game of Blind Man’s Bluff, bumping into life’s difficulties, obstacles and ailments. They cloak all the pain of this with false comforts that do not last. Yet the revelation that is sought is so close. To choose the Light Of The World is to unmask the Cloak of Unknowing; it is to find that Jesus is the answer to the unanswered questions. He can fill the God shaped hole in people with the true answer that lasts, not only throughout this life, but on into the eternal life Jesus won for us.
The curtain or cloak, that separated people from Holy of Holies, was torn from top to bottom (not bottom to top) at the moment Jesus died on the cross. The cloak was torn as the grave-clothes were torn aside as Jesus rose from the dead. Why? So that you could see the Way, the Truth and the Life.
What does joy actually mean? I guess most of us think joy is almost synonymous with happiness. But I think joy is far more than being happy. Happiness is dependent on our circumstances. We feel happy when everything’s going well for us. Joy, I believe, is much deeper. Joy’s not dependant on our circumstance and can be experienced in the middle of immense suffering and pain.
On 9th September 2008 our eldest son David was found dead in an alley way in Eastbourne. He’d fallen, hit his head and died. He was only 25 years old. This was devastating; no parent expects to bury their child.
As a Christian, it led me to a time when I questioned so many things about my faith. I was angry with God, and yet at the same time I knew he loved me and my son. The following years have been a time of testing, pain and sorrow, and yet beneath it has been a sense of the joy of the Lord. It’s not an emotion, and it’s certainly not the same as happiness. It’s more the sense of knowing that although I’ve suffered tremendous loss, my heavenly Father’s still in control. His loving arms are underneath me and supporting me.
There have been times when I’ve shouted at God and times when I’ve come close to doubting His existence. He’s heard my pain and anguish; he’s seen me at my worse. Yet despite all of this, deep beneath has been a sense of His presence and love. You see, we have a God who’s not frightened by our grief, anger and sin.
I believe the joy of the lord has its root in the knowledge that God loves us completely and utterly. No matter how chaotic and bad things are, he’s still in control. This I believe is the basis of the joy of the Lord.