We have a lot of family chat around our house that regularly comes back to the question of my seemingly unerring faith in God. One discussion started thus: “So, Granny, I think all those Greek gods were much more interesting – what’s wrong with them and how can you just believe in ‘God’?”
I didn’t have an instant answer, of course, probably replying ‘I just do’. But now I’ve thought about it a bit more, so here’s my answer. The stories of the Greek gods were spread by word and they were indeed fantastic. According to ancient philosophy the first appearance of a single God was not in Jewish scripture but in the writings of the Greek philosopher Plato who wrote in the early 4th century BC, who took his ideas from Thales. Plato proposed that nature can be explained by reference to a single unitary principle that pervades everything.
To cut a long story short, along came St Paul and convinced the Greeks into a monotheistic, one god above all religion. How did he do that? Well, there are many great and learned essays that can help us understand. But I go for the simplest, and always return to my garden for the answer. We know from observing our gardens that nature is indeed regular but we are also aware of mutations in that regularity some for the good and some for the worse. St Paul taught that faith extols everything and has the ability to overturn regularity.
As Jesus told Doubting Thomas “Blessed are those who believe without seeing”. So I return to my original answer: I just do (believe, that is).
Holy Trinity, Markbeech
A big THANK YOU to everyone who baked, helped set up, tidied up, shopped, sponsored and came to support our Christmas Fair at Hever Castle & Gardens! Once again we managed to raise over £5,000 for our local church and school and we are really pleased with the result! Thank you, thank you all!!!!
On Saturday 14th May the lovely gardens of the residence of the Bishop of Rochester will be open to the public in support of Christian Aid.
Bishopscourt Open Garden for Christian Aid at Bishopscourt, 24 St Margaret’s Street, Rochester, ME1 1TS
Saturday 14th May, 11.00 am to 3.00 pm. Entry £2.00
Plant sale, teas with homemade cakes, Christian Aid stand.
Come and relax in this lovely garden, children and dogs welcome.Enquiries to Bridget Langstaff 07816 828439
For those who don’t know, Kondoa is a diocese in Tanzania, with whom we have formed a friendship. Bishop Given the Bishop of Kondoa visited us last year.
We regularly get news from Kondoa via Sue Chalkley who liaises with them.
She has just sent us this, forwarding a report from from Kondoa.
” We have received a report and photos from Kondoa (photos attached) about the distribution of food to the villages and also some information about ‘the essence of cultivation season” (attached for your information).
The following criteria were used in the distribution of food:
- The critically drought affected families with no food stock at the time of distribution, 85% of their fields had been totally wilted by the past drought.
- Households with no livestock mostly headed by single and aged women
- Vulnerable households and group of people eating less than one meal per day.
I have been asked to pass on many greetings from the people of Kondoa and Bishop:
Thank you so much for this very great food assistance, God bless you so much “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come ye blessed of my Father inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the World. For I was an hungered, and ye gave me food………….” Matthew 25:34-35
To date, £18,400 has been sent to Kondoa. In total £21,264 was donated, so there is still some money to transfer and also the gift aid where this is applicable. The Bishop intends to use this for a project that will help people save food and money in years of good harvest. I will pass on further information about this as and when we know more.
In the meantime, and separately, there is a consultant paediatrician who has been working in an Arusha hospital for the past few years. Her sister happens to live in Paddock Wood, so when she has leave and visits her sister, she comes to St Andrew’s and over time we have become friends. When she was here last year I told her about the drought but she was not seeing any particular signs of it in the hospital – last year about 2 children out of every 20 were malnourished.
She is here again now and, when she saw a six month old baby in church on Easter Sunday, she commented that our baby weighed about the same as a two or three year old child that she would see in hospital. Now, more than 10 of every 20 children presenting are malnourished – clearly the effects of hunger take time to work through. She says parents bring their children to hospital with, say, pneumonia and then when the staff peel off the many layers of clothes, they see the condition of the child underneath.
She showed me some photos which I found quite distressing. Despite this, I attach two of them for your information – but please only open the attachment if you are prepared to see very thin children. I have decided to attach the photos because they underline that the situation was very severe and possibly more severe than most of us had understood. God knew though and the wonderfully generous response no doubt saved lives as well as showing the love of Jesus to many people.
with my love and thanks
PS Please do keep an eye on the Kondoa Diocese website which is kept up to date with the latest news: http://kondoa.anglican.org/”
Going through some old files on my computer, I happened on this pic from nearly 13 years ago.
So many familiar faces – the children are now all adults – but everone else looks remarkably unchanged!
The story of Easter, told very beautifully by the children of Christ Church Tunbridge Wells.
Anyone is welcome to show this film publicly but not change it in any way, publish/broadcast it, nor make money out of it. ©ProspectArts
The Three Spires Way – a 15 mile circular walk – has been created specially for the Benefice of Four Elms, Hever and Markbeech by indefatigable walker and writer Peter Titchmarsh of Roodlands Lane.
His third book of local walks, “10 Walks in Hever Country”, guides walkers round the circuit but also ingeniously splits it into nine varied and shorter walks of between two and eight miles. They all have lovely houses, bridges, views and of course churches to look at along the way – and there are also quite a few pubs involved!
This invaluable guide for walkers costs £4 and is available from Peter (01732 700342), St Peter’s Hever and the Castle. All proceeds go to the three churches.
We are urgently looking for a new choir leader to revivify the choir for Hever and Four Elms churches. These two beautiful churches have equally beautiful choir stalls that should be filled with choristers regularly and until recently we achieved this. If you have experience, enthusiasm and vision and understand what it takes to motivate singers in a rural community please get in touch to discuss further.