Category: Church

March 30th, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

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March 28th, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

ST Swithun’s celebrated Easter, the most important date in the Christian calendar, with an Easter Garden celebrating the Resurrection of Christ, decorated with Spring flowers.

Photo Caroline Metcalfe

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March 23rd, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

THERE will be a car boot/table top sale at St Mary’s on Saturday 2 April from 8.30am until 12.30pm. The venue is the church hall on Windmill Lane, East Grinstead, RH19 2DS.

Refreshments will be served. Pitches are just £10. To reserve a pitch, call Karen West on 01342 302083.

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March 20th, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

ON Palm Sunday, which marks the beginning of Holy Week, St Mary’s in Windmill Lane is decorated with the traditional palms, which, the Bible says, were waved to welcome Christ into Jerusalem, while the statuary (below left) is draped in purple clothes.

Photos Steve Pond

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March 19th, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

THE High Street will be closed for two hours from 10.30am for a Good Friday service held by Churches Together in East Grinstead.

Photo top Roy Henderson: below Good Friday 2015


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March 13th, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

story and photos by Caroline Metcalfe

THE Gospel reading for today, Sunday, 13 March is St John 12, 1-8. This passage refers to the raising of Lazarus from the dead, and tells the story of a woman taking a pint of perfume of nard, pouring it onto the feet of Jesus, and wiping it away with her hair.

Judas, we are told, was annoyed and said that the perfume could have been sold and the money  raised then given to the poor – but he had a vested interest in offerings to the poor.

Two windows and one carved wooden panel in St Swithun’s church are connected with this reading. On the north wall, the window nearest the altar in the Chapel of the Nativity depicts the raising of Lazarus in the lower section.

Lazarus is emerging (see top), still wrapped in bandages, from the cave of his tomb. Over the head of the figure of Jesus are the words Lazarus come forth.

This window was the work of Clayton and Bell in 1883, and was given in memory of Richard Buckley, a son and brother, who died aged 17½.

The choice of this story for a window given in memory of a son who died young is very poignant. The panes above depict the Transfiguration.

The window just outside the Chapel on the north wall was the work of Kempe in 1900. The lower section depicts the Anointing of the Feet of Our Lord. The scene is like a painting of the Last Supper, and the face of Jesus is strikingly beautiful.

This window is a memorial to Peter Moir who died in 1895, and to his wife, Margaret Moir, who died in 1899, and it was given by their three daughters.

In the Gospels of Matthew and Mark it is ‘a woman’, unnamed, who anoints the head, rather than the feet of Jesus, and this takes place at the house of Simon the former leper, rather than at the house of Mary, Martha and Lazarus.

In St Luke’s Gospel, mention of Mary Magdalene in the next chapter could suggest that she was the woman who anointed Jesus. In St John’s Gospel, we are told that it was Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus who did this. Perhaps two stories have become combined. Perhaps it is not important now who the woman really was.

Mary, the sister of Lazarus is illustrated, with her sister Martha, on the right hand carved wooden panel in the Chapel of the Nativity, with the words from St Luke’s Gospel Mary has chosen the good part and it will not be taken away from her.

The two windows in our church provide beautiful illustrations of two powerful stories.

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March 12th, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline
IT will be 460 years this summer since Anne Tree, Thomas Dungate and John Foreman were burned to death in East Grinstead High Street for their belief in Protestantism on the orders of Catholic monarch  “Bloody” Queen Mary 1.
But although more than four-and-a half-centuries have passed since they died at the stake for their faith, East Grinstead has never forgotten them, and today fresh flowers had been laid on their memorial stones outside St Swithun’s.

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March 12th, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

THE Rev Les Isaac, who founded the Street Pastor movement, visited Trinity Methodist church yesterday to meet members of the East Grinstead Street Pastors team and Police Sgt Graeme Prentice.

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March 12th, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

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March 3rd, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

IF you shop at Sainsbury’s and collect Active Kids vouchers, the town’s Guides and Brownies would be very grateful for any donations as they can be exchanged for sports and cooking gear. If you have any to spare drop them into the collecting box in St Swithun’s church hall.

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Mozart C minor Mass March 16 A4 poster
February 27th, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

EAST Grinstead Choral Society will present Mozart’s inspiring and much loved Great C Minor Mass together with Symphony No 40, Ave Verum Corpus and Laudate Dominum at St Mary’s at 7pm on Saturday 12 March.

Accompanied on period instruments by the Meridian Symphony Orchestra, leader George Clifford, with sopranos Lesley-Jane Rogers and Kirsty McLean, tenor Jon English and bass Robert Clarke. Musical director Richard Jenkinson.

Tickets: Adult £14, Student £7 from Bullfrog Music, online via EGCS website or on the door (subject to availability).

Further info:


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February 21st, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

7b7718d6-3514-456f-b437-827010779bd0TRINITY Methodist church played host to the Emmanu’-el Apostolic Gospel Academy choir from de Montfort University last night.

One of the top choirs in the 2015 BBC Gospel Choirs competition, the choir brought two hours of roof-raising, foot-stomping joy to a packed church where they quickly had their audience on their feet and dancing along to the irresistible beat of Africa.  

To see if you can party like a Methodist, take a look at the video below:

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February 18th, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

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7-St Swithuns 09-Jan-16 11-05-30 AM
February 7th, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

by Caroline Metcalfe

THIS Sunday, 7 February, the reading from St Luke’s Gospel tells the story of the Transfiguration.

Jesus went up a mountain to pray, with Peter, James and John, and as he did so ‘the appearance of his countenance was altered and his raiment became dazzling white’, andMoses and Elijah appeared in glory, talking with him.

Peter wanted to build booths to mark where Jesus, Moses and Elijah had been.

A cloud appeared, enveloped the disciples, and a voice was heard saying This is my Son, my chosen: listen to Him.

Then the cloud lifted and Jesus was alone. The disciples told no one about what they had seen, at that time.

This story is depicted twice in St Swithun’s church, in the clerestory windows on the north side, and in a window on the north wall.

1-St Swithuns 30-Jan-16 12-48-13 PM

High up on the left hand side as you face the altar, there are five round windows. The middle one is called The Transfiguration. Jesus is the central figure with  Moses on the left, with the tablets, and Elijah on the right.

Both figures have coloured haloes. The panes surrounding the central picture have beautiful decoration and bright colours. These five windows were presented in the late nineteenth century.

The window on the north wall, inside the side chapel, represents the Transfiguration in the upper part. The radiant figure of Jesus is in the central panel, with two higher figures and three lower figures. The higher figures represent Moses and Elijah, the lower three St Peter, St James and St John. This window is often harder to see because this side of the church is darker. It is worth having a good look however, as there are some exquisite flowers within the glass pictures.

This window, made by Messrs Clayton and Bell in 1883, was given In memory of a beloved son and brother, Richard Theodore Buckley, who died August 17th 1882, aged 17½ years.

One of the painted organ pipes has his face and name on it (see top), painted by the Rev Douglas Blakiston, who was Vicar here from 1871 until 1908.

Clearly the window on the north wall was given in memory of a son who died far too young.

The generosity of parishioners of the past has given these wonderful illustrations of the Transfiguration to St Swithun’s.


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EAGA A4 v6
February 1st, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

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January 24th, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

IMG_5833Above: The Rev Neale with his family at Sackville College. Right: his grave at St Swithun’s

THE Rev John Mason Neale, the composer of Good King Wenceslas, was born in London on 24 January, 1818.

His father, Cornelius Neale, was also a clergyman, and he was educated at Sherborne School, Dorset, and Trinity College, Cambridge where  – despite being the best classical scholar in his year –  his lack of ability in mathematics prevented him taking an honours degree.

Neale was named after the Puritan cleric and hymn writer John Mason (1645–94), of whom his mother, Susanna, was a descendant.

Neale was ordained in 1841 and became the Vicar of Crawley the following year, but was forced to resign five years later thanks to disagreements with the diocesan bishop and his congregation.

He then became Warden of Sackville College, a position he held until his death.

In 1854 Neale co-founded the Society of Saint Margaret, an order of women in the Church of England dedicated to nursing the sick, but many Anglicans were suspicious of anything they suspected of Roman Catholicism.

Neale was accused of being an agent of the Vatican who had been assigned to Anglicanism by subverting it from within, and on one occasion was attacked and mauled at a funeral of one of the Sisters.

From time to time unruly crowds threatened to stone him or to burn his house, and he received no honour or preferment in England – his doctorate was bestowed by Trinity College, Connecticut.

However, his basic goodness eventually won the confidence of many who had fiercely opposed him, and the Sisterhood of St Margaret survived and prospered.

Neale translated the Eastern liturgies into English, and wrote a mystical and devotional commentary on the Psalms, however he is best known as a hymn writer and, especially, translator, having enriched English hymnody with many ancient and mediaeval hymns translated from Latin and Greek. 

But his most famous hymn, written in 1853,  remains Good King Wenceslas which was first [published in the same year in Carols for Christmas-Tide.

Neale’s lyrics were set to the melody of a 13th-century spring carol Tempus adest floridum (The time is near for flowering) first published in the 1582 Finnish song collection Piae Cantiones.

Neale died in August 1866, and this year will mark the 150th anniversary of his death.

courtesy of Wikipedia

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January 17th, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

3-DSCF3408by Caroline Metcalfe

THE reading from the Gospel according to St John for the second Sunday of Epiphany, tells the story of Jesus turning water into wine at the marriage at Cana in Galilee.

Jesus, his Mother and some of the disciples were there when the supply of wine ‘failed’ and Jesus was told by His Mother ‘They have no wine’.

He protested that His time had not yet come, but instructed the servants –  told by Mary to do exactly as Jesus said – to fill six stone water pots, each of which held between two and three firkins, with water.

When the servants drew some of this water, now turned into wine, and took it to the steward or ‘governor’ of the feast to test, he praised the bridegroom for saving ‘the best until last’.

This story is represented in a window in St Swithun’s, in bright colours, with the story partly told in the scrolls of words underneath. You can find all this in the upper part of the window just outside the Memorial Chapel, on the south side, or right side as you face the altar.

The window was given in memory of George Clark and is the work of Hardman, dated 1879. Members of the Clark family also gave the East window and another at the back of the church on the south side.

The skill of the craftsmen who created this detailed scene, and the generosity of the patrons towards St Swithun’s church are, as ever, very impressive.

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January 10th, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

by Caroline Metcalfe

TODAY in the liturgical year, the Church celebrates the Baptism of Jesus.

Jesus was baptized as an adult, by his cousin or kinsman, John the Baptist, according to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke.

He was baptized in the river Jordan, when the Holy Spirit appeared like a dove and the voice of God was heard saying This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.

The event, which is referred to more obliquely in the Gospel of John, is seen as the start of the Ministry of Jesus.

There are two images of Jesus’ Baptism in St Swithun’s Church.

One is in the Chapel of the Nativity, to the left of the main altar. On the right hand side of the East window in this Chapel there is an image of the Baptism in a roundel within the beautiful blue glass.

It is believed that this window was rescued from a mansion destroyed in Ballina, County Mayo, in the 18th or 19th century, and eventually brought to St Swithun’s in the 1930s, when the old organ was removed from this part of the church.

The other image can be found high up in the clerestory window nearest the back of the church, on the left hand side as you face the altar, next to the organ pipes.

The five clerestory windows on the north side were installed in the late nineteenth century andhave central scenes portraying the Baptism of Jesus, the Call of the Apostles, the Transfiguration, the Agony, and Bearing the Cross.

There is some decoration in the surrounding panels, but I do not see any animals in the panes on the north side, whereas the heads of three dogs, a cat, and flying Guinea pig can be found in the clerestory windows on the south side.

Thousands of Baptisms must have taken place in St Swithun’s church during the last thousand years: the church has had the image of the Baptism of Jesus in the clerestory window for over a hundred years and the image in the Chapel of the Nativity for about 80 years.image





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January 6th, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

TODAY’S Feast of the Epiphany celebrates the arrival of the Three Kings at the stable in Bethlehem and traditionally marks the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas.

But any attempt to put the royal visitors into some sort of historical context very quickly begs two rather fundamental questions – were the star-led travellers actually kings, and were there, in fact, three of them?

Burne-Jones, Sir Edward Coley-457228

Of the four gospels, it is only Matthew’s which mentions the Magi, their mission to find the Messiah and their subsequent escape from Herod.

And he refers to them not as kings at all, but simply as “three wise men from the east”.

John and Mark however both start their gospels with the public life of Jesus, and Luke, who does write of the Annunciation and Nativity, is silent on the subject of the “royal” trio.

But English translations of the bible have often used the word “Magi” to describe them, a term which referred to the priestly class of ancient Persia who were familiar with the stars and their courses across the heavens.

The religion of the Magi was basically Zoroastrian which forbade sorcery, so the Holy Child’s “wise” visitors were very probably astrologers who had predicted the birth of a Messiah through their study of the stars.

East of Palestine only ancient Media, Persia, Assyria and Babylonia had a Magian priesthood, so their likely route would have taken them through the Syrian Desert to Aleppo or Palmyra, then on to Damascus, travelling further south on what is now the route to Mecca.

The Sea of Galilee and the Jordan would have remained to their west until they crossed the ford near Jericho, a journey in all of between 1,000 and 1200 miles.

But wherever the “east” they came from, and by whichever route they made the journey, the arrival of the Magi at Bethlehem fulfilled prophecies made about the Divine Birth in the Old Testament.

Balaam predicted the coming of a Saviour whose birth would be marked by a star with the words: “A star shall advance from Jacob and a staff shall rise from Israel…”

While Psalm 72 speaks of the Gentiles who will come to worship the new Messiah: All kings shall pay Him homage, all nations shall serve Him.

And Isaiah prophesied the gifts they would bring with them: Caravans of camels shall fill you, dromedaries from Midian and Ephah; all from Sheba shall come bearing gold and frankincense, and proclaiming the praises of the Lord.

CaminadeAdoration of the Magiv2.jpg.CROP.rtstoryvar-largeMatthew’s gospel also fails to mention exactly how many priestly visitors made the long journey to Bethlehem, and the traditional attribution of the figure three to their number is probably on the basis of the trio of gifts they famously brought in homage to the infant Jesus – gold, the gift for a king, frankincense for a priest, and myrrh, a burial ointment for one who would die.

Mark tells us that at Golgotha, as He was crucified, Jesus was offered “wine mingled with myrrh to drink, but He did not take it.” The drink was believed to lessen the pains of crucifixion.

Myrrh was also used in the burial practices of the Jews, and John tells us how Nicodemus supplied a mixture of myrrh and aloes to wrap Christ’s body in before it was placed in the tomb.

But despite the number of their gifts, Oriental tradition has always counted the Magi as 12, and Christian art fails to give any consistent clue at all.

An early painting found in the cemetery of Ss Peter and Marcellinus shows two wise men, and one in the cemetery of St Domitilla, four.

An author writing no earlier than the sixth century, and later quoted by St Chrysostom, tells how St Thomas sought out the Magi who were baptised by him, and how they subsequently worked to spread faith in Christ.

And by the seventh century, tradition had not only settled on “three” as their likely number but had also given them names – Gaspar or Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar.

Balthasar was often represented as a king of Arabia, Melchior as king of Persia and Gaspar as king of India.

And in Excerpta et Collectanea, a work attributed to St Bede who died in 735, the author actually described the priestly visitors.

“The Magi were the ones who gave gifts to the Lord. The first is said to have been Melchior, an old man with white hair and a long beard, who offered gold as to a king. The second, Gaspar or Caspar by name, young, beardless and ruddy complexioned, honoured Him as God by his gift of incense. The third, black-skinned and heavily bearded, named Balthasar, by his gift of myrrh testified to the Son of Man who was to die.”

While a Mediaeval Calendar of the Saints published in Cologne some centuries later continues the story the Magi after they had escaped Herod by “departing into their own country by another way…”

“Having undergone many trials and fatigues for the Gospel, the three wise men met in Armenia in AD 54 to celebrate the feast of Christmas.

“Thereupon, after the celebration of Mass, they died: St Melchior on 1 January, aged 116; St Balthasar on 6 January, aged 112 and St Gaspar or Caspar on 11 January, aged 109.”

The Roman Martyrology also lists these dates as the Magi’s respective feast days.

Relics claimed to be those of the saintly wise men were discovered in Persia and brought to Constantinople by St Helena in the fifth century, and these, or perhaps other relics, eventually surfaced in Milan where they were kept at the Basilica of St Eustorgius.

But in 1162, Frederick Barbarossa, the Emperor of Germany plundered the remains and took them back with him to Cologne where they are still kept in the cathedral.

The Feast Day of the Three Kings of Cologne, the patron saints of travellers, is July 23.

Photo top: Stained glass at St Swithun’s by Caroline Metcalfe


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Gospel Choir
January 6th, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

ONE of the top Gospel choirs in the 2015 BBC Gospel Choirs competition will be performing at Trinity Methodist church next month.

The Emmanu’el Apostolic Gospel Academy from de Montfort University in Leicester will be providing an evening of uplifting praise and worship at Trinity Methodist on Saturday 20 February. Doors open at 7 pm for a 7.30pm start.

Tickets, on sale from 10 January,  £10 for adults and £5 for under-16s.

Refreshments available for sale during interval.

To book call Mabel Cunningham on 07801 853815

or email:


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January 6th, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

TRINITY Methodist church has a beautiful Thanksgiving wall-hanging to celebrate its new building on the corner of London and Lingfield Roads.

Norma Browning, who helped organise the colourful patchwork quilt said it had come about after a friend had suggested getting the whole church involved in a project at a time when the building was still going up.

The rainbow colour theme was taken from a photograph of a rainbow over the old church building which was taken after the last service had been held there on Christmas Day 2013.

“Three church members pooled their patchwork and quilting materials, sorting out all the rainbow coloured cottons and purchasing extra materials which we needed,” said Norma.

“Squares of fabric were then cut out and people invited to choose their colour and think of something they wanted to say ‘thank you’ to God for, and to think about how they wanted to illustrate that through writing, drawing, painting or sewing on their square.”

Workshops were held where people came to work together and share their know how, and one housebound parishioner donated a number of finished cross-stitch designs which have also been incorporated into the wall-hanging.

Once the completed squares were returned, the team set about arranging them into the finished design, and they were then stitched together and turned into a quilt.

In all, more than 200 fabric squares were designed by church members aged from five to more than 90, to make a  patchwork “which is a testament to the amazing creativity of the family which is Trinity Methodist church,” said Norma.

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January 3rd, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

TRADITIONALLY the Christmas period ends on Twelfth Night with Epiphany on 6 January commemorating the visit of the Three Kings – the first outside the Jewish community – to the Christ Child.

At St Swithun’s the feast is marked today and the Three Kings are indeed now all present in the crib and with their gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh.

Below: the Shepherds with their lowlier gifts were the first to visit the stable in Bethlehem – photos Caroline Metcalfe


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January 3rd, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

1-DSCF3378by Caroline Metcalfe

TODAY, 3 January, the Church celebrates Epiphany, before Twelfth Night on 6 January.

The importance of the Feast of Epiphany is the manifestation of the Christ Child to the Magi, who understood something of His significance – unlike Herod, who tried to kill the Baby Jesus.

Then, too, there is the idea of gifts, which has become such a large part of Christmas today.

Many traditions, and several Christmas carols, have evolved about the visit of the Magi, but we are left with many questions – were they Wise Men, or Kings? Were they called Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, and were they three, or many.

And what was the significance of their costly gifts of myrrh, frankincense and gold?

At St Swithun’s church, stained glass windows give us some interpretations of Epiphany to ponder.

In the Memorial Chapel, to the right of the main altar, the window on the right depicts the three Magi bringing gifts to the Virgin and Child, in the top right hand panel.

In the Chapel of the Nativity, to the left of the main altar, there is a beautiful picture of a chalice being offered to the Christ Child, who sits upon his Mother’s knee.

This stained glass, with its striking blue background, is thought to have come from a mansion in Ballina, County Mayo. The mansion was apparently destroyed in either the eighteenth or nineteenth century, but the stained glass was eventually acquired for this Chapel. The Chapel was created when the new organ was moved up into the Gallery, in the 1930s.

Look up to the Clerestory windows on the South side of the church (on the right as you face the altar). The fourth window down from the altar is called Epiphany and shows three Kings or Magi figures presenting gifts to the Baby Jesus and his Mother.

In the clear panes on the right hand side, there is the head of a dog, probably a pet belonging to the donor at the time when the window was given, in the 1980s.



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January 2nd, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

ST Swithun’s is offering a new Christianity Explored course starting in January

The free eight week course will be held at 7.45pm on Thursday evenings in the church hall.

To hear more about the course click on the link, and then go along for an informal meal and a chat on Thursday 14 January at 7.45pm.

To accept the invitation contact Deborah on 01342 314147 or email

Photo Steve Pond

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