We hope that you are all keeping well.
We would like to begin this newsletter with a big thankyou to Trevor Harvey. You may have noticed that last Sunday’s Service and this newsletter have not been sent out by Trevor. Long before lockdown, Trevor took on responsibility for circulating by e-mail a copy of Drive News which he did for a very long time. When it came to keeping in touch after lockdown, Trevor kindly offered to circulate all the correspondence being generated and you will see from the heading of this letter we are on to number 67! Not only did he send them out, but he was also responsible for inserting the hymns and bible readings into the orders of service. You may be aware that he has not been well recently and quite understandably said that he wished to pass the responsibility to someone else. We are grateful that Margaret Digweed has agreed to be the despatcher, whilst Valerie Ruddle has taken over the Hymn role and we will insert the bible readings. If you should change your e-mail at any time please do let Margaret know. Trevor has also passed on his Audio Visual responsibilities to Adrian Knight. So thank you once again Trevor and get well soon. We continue to hold Trevor’s granddaughter Hannah, and all the family, in our thoughts and prayers.
When Church re-opened in July, Charlene Thornberry sent a report to The Methodist Recorder as an encouragement to other churches who may have been wondering what to do. This has recently been published and a copy is attached for your information. As Phineas T Barnum, the 19th Century American showman and circus owner once said ‘There’s no such thing as bad publicity’. Thank you Charlene for taking the time to do this.
We have had eight Sunday Services now with our largest turnout on 23rd August when there were 39 present. We were pleased to welcome Peter and Margaret Hills and Val Fitzgerald to that service as well as Ian, Katie, Joseph and Oliver Webb and Richard and Victoria Baxter.
The Church walk planned for 19th August was unfortunately cancelled. I am sure you will all remember the atrocious weather that day! It has however been rearranged for Tuesday 1st September so if you would like to join in then meet on the village green at Leigh for a 10-30am start.
Robert Bright is still recovering at home following his recent operation and we are pleased to hear that he is making progress although still needing to take care. Similarly Phyllis Cruttenden is making progress following her fall whilst she was taking part in one of the Zoom Coffee mornings. We also remember Susan Richardson who is scheduled to go into hospital for a cardiac procedure on 3rd September. We wish her well and our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family at this worrying time.
Although services have resumed, there is currently no weekly offering being taken. A decision was taken not to distribute the usual weekly envelopes and we are grateful to all those who have made alternative arrangements to cover their weekly giving commitment, either by setting up a standing order or sending a cheque. As we come to the end of the financial year however, I would ask you to review your giving if possible. The bills still need to be paid, and with no letting income we have needed to dip into our reserves to contribute to the Circuit Assessment payment due on 1st September.
You will be aware that the last published edition of Drive News was the March issue which was out just before lockdown. There were several ‘standard’ contributions published each month and we have decided that two of these features will be continued through these newsletters. Consequently, I attach an item from Dermot, ‘SAWOBONA’ and also the ‘Pray Without Ceasing’ suggested daily prayer topics prepared by Gerald Gardiner and Kathy Walsh. We thank them all for their contributions.
I repeat again that if you have any news or information you would like to share, please do let us know.
We hope you will continue to stay safe and keep well.
Our prayers and best wishes to you all.
John and Grace Archer
Senior Stewards 27th August 2020
‘It’s so good to be back’ – say The Drive, Sevenoaks Congregation
After extensive planning, after perusing of risk assessment documents, both governmental and Connexional, after gaining feedback from the congregation it was with great enthusiasm that on 12 July, services recommenced at The Drive Methodist Church in Sevenoaks. Yes, it is different but everyone felt that not singing or speaking normally is in fact a small price to pay in order that we can worship together once again. Those attending were welcomed at the church doors by stewards wearing the current PPE equipment. Hand sanitizers were available and the routes in and out of church were well marked for everyone to use.
The actual attendance for the first Sunday was 27 plus one Golden Retriever! It was obvious that the members who were able to attend were delighted to be together again and of course to worship as one body. Rev Thornberry spoke on Mark 4: 35 – 41 where Jesus calms the storms. Putting the familiar story into our current concerns we need to remember that Christ is ever present and that a depth of faith is required to experience that ‘peace which passes all understanding’. Since lockdown the congregation has been receiving sermon notes and newsletters to use at home. The Pastoral team along with the minister have also been active in telephoning every member. Contact, whether it is by telephone, email or letter during these difficult times is always gratefully received. However while we celebrate this small attempt at normality we are only too aware of loss that has occurred since lockdown and grief during lockdown is indeed a cruel emotion.
Plans are also in place to welcome back one of the long standing and very regular groups who use the hall premises. Risk assessments on both sides are being examined and hopefully a way forward will soon be possible. As Covid 19 recedes there is hope that each Sunday will see more of the regular congregation return but as Rev Thornberry has reminded everyone ‘I would rather you remained at home till we are sure that all risks to health have been removed’.
Charlene Thornberry (Mrs)
The Drive Methodist Church, Sevenoaks, Kent.
From left to Right – Mr Michael Richardson, Mrs Helen Richardson, Mr Michael Brignall and Rev Dermot Thornberry (holding onto Bridie his new rescue Golden Retriever!)
The Drive demonstrating social distancing during the service. Rev Thornberry pictured with his new rescue Golden Retriever, Bridie
Pray Without Ceasing – September 2020
Pray for – (some dates left blank for you to fill in with your own ideas)
- Students and the results chaos. Children going back to school
- Daughter Ann, bringing Marjorie Dean Smith’s ashes to be interred locally
- The situation in Bierut, Lebanon – those killed and injured
- Those who have lost loved ones in the pandemic
- Michael Brignall as he prepares for the service tomorrow 10.30
- Scientists working on vaccines
- Our fellow Christians in the Sevenoaks District
- Our Government and MPs making important decisions
- Owners of businesses starting up again
- All who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic
- Our local medical centres – doctors, nurses & admin
- Rev Dermot as he prepares for the service tomorrow 10.30
- Black Lives Matter – what is our response?
- All who flee from oppression, poverty and conflict
- Our friends in the NW Fellowship of Churches
- “All We Can” giving thanks for all the support from Methodism
- Those who use food banks and those who organise them
- Rev Gerald as he prepares for the service tomorrow 10.30
- Our responsibility for God’s creation
- New ways and experiences of prayer we discover
- The development of our church’s “7Acts” theme
- The ongoing Syrian Refugee issue
- The Methodist Church in Hong Kong during troubled times
- Valerie Ruddle as she prepares for the service tomorrow 10.30
- For all who lead us in music and song
- The victims of physical and sexual abuse
- Trevor and John who keep us in touch by email etc.
- Our church looking forward – what will it be like?
Compiled by Gerald Gardiner & Kathy Walsh