Category Archives: Parish News

Articles which have appeared in the parish news

December News

The Herstmonceux Free Church Breakfast club is held at 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.

The Joy of the Lord

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.

The Sixth Day

The start book in the Bible is Genesis. It says that on the sixth day God made the creatures that move along the ground and the wild animals. And God saw that it was good. Then God said “Let us make human beings in our image, in our likeness”. Male and female He created them, and it was so.

God saw all that He had made and it was very good. Busy day! So on the seventh day He rested from all the work of creating that He had done.

This contrasts with the recent scientific announcement for confirmation of detection of gravitational waves, as predicted by Einstein, which confirmed the Big Bang Theory. Unfortunately, it now appears there is no evidence for the detection of gravitational waves as the data is consistent with dust – Galactic dust interference!

The link with the account of God creating Man by breathing the breath of life into his nostrils is that God made this Man from the dust of the ground.

In a week where we have learned of a woman stoned to death, the appalling news of the two girls in India and the Christian woman giving birth in chains, it is difficult to see the good in the world. However, in the same week, we heard of the sad passing of teenage cancer fundraiser, Stephen Sutton, who at 19, raised more than four million pounds. He used the ‘thumbs up’ sign as part of his campaign. Now all that he achieved was ‘very good’, and I think that God would say so too.


June Squeeze saw us finishing preparations to our contribution for the ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ festival to take place at All Saints’ Church, Herstmonceux on 27th – 29th June. If you are reading this before that weekend please make time to visit there, much activity has taken place in many local organisations to bring this festival together and it should be a real treat. The July Squeeze, on Sunday 6th July at 10.00 – 12.00 noon, will see us making memory boxes under the skilled guidance of Jenny Crouch, so do join us at the village hall if you can. As always, a warm welcome and free breakfast await you.

Me and My Shadow

Have you noticed as you walk along in bright sunshine that if the sun is behind you, your shadow is in front? If, however the sun is in your eyes then look behind and there is your shadow following you. This is reflected in the old song “Me and My Shadow Walking Down the Avenue.”
So is Easter about seeing the shadows of Easter bunnies running across meadows full of chocolate Easter eggs? How can the true meaning of Easter be overshadowed by this commercial wrapping?
Jesus, as the Son of God, is the Light that has come into the world. That light comes at Easter with a shadow that has penetrated history ever since.
The Shadow of the Cross. The cross erected on a hill called Calvary at Jerusalem at the time we mark as Eastertime. When the shining sun goes so our shadow disappears.
The Son of God shines now in His risen resurrection life so that whoever lives by the truths of Easter comes into “the Light”.
The Shadow of the Cross, across the Shepherd fields, maybe the young Judean bunnies saw that too?


Sorry that we did not contribute in last month’s Parish News. The above talk was from April Squeeze, which was Easter themed. Our May Squeeze saw us making busy preparations to our contribution for the ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ festival to take place at All Saints’ Church, Herstmonceux at the end of June. We send our best wishes to all the groups who are participating in this creative festival and hope that you all enjoy producing your displays as much as we are. If you would like to preview the ‘Day’ we are representing then join us at June Squeeze, in the village hall, on Sunday 1st June between 10.00am and 12.00 noon when we will be putting the finishing touches to our display. As always, a warm welcome and free breakfast await you.

The Desert Will Blossom

In Egypt recently I was in a shop to buy some Bedouin Tea (delicious!). and I noticed a large glass jar with something sprouting inside. “What is it?” I asked, and the shopkeeper replied “It’s one of these,” and gave me a dried up branch of dead-looking twigs and shrivelled branches. It was an Anastica – a Rose of Jericho.

Now these plants, which are totally dehydrated, come back to life over 2-3 hours when immersed in water with growth and leaves with colour. This is as the prophet Isaiah said: “The desert and parched land will be glad. The wilderness will rejoice and blossom.”

We too can feel like a deserted and desert place. Despite everything good around us we are dry. Our thirst is not truly quenched by whatever we try. It’s like we have a dry hole inside us that’s never filled. The blossoming of true gladness never occurs.

We feed our minds and exercise our bodies, but our spirit remains untended and deserted. A God-shaped hole within us. Please allow this Spring the love and life-giving ‘water’ from God to reach you through Jesus. How? Well, it’s good to start by talking to people who know Jesus. They will be the channel of the peace you seek. The channel for the life-giving water. As Jesus mysteriously said, “the water I give you will mean you will never be thirsty again!”

He plants the regenerating plant in your heart. Try and see.