We hope that you are keeping well. A year has passed since the first lockdown and gradually, with the aid of the vaccines, cases are slowly falling although there remains a long way to go with constant concerns over a new wave. At the recent Church Council a decision was taken to re-open the Church for morning worship on Easter Sunday, 4th April. The service will be led by Dermot and will include Communion. This was not a unanimous decision, and although ‘allowed’ under current Covid-19 regulations we must continue to bear in mind the risks involved. No one must feel under any pressure to attend, just because the Church is open once more. The old restrictions remain in place, masks are to be worn, you should sanitise your hands on entry and exit, keep a safe distance, and there will be no singing. We will continue with zooming the service and for those without access to the internet, hard copies of the full service will be made available.
Congratulations to John Toalster who celebrated his 80th Birthday last week.
We are pleased that Allan Ruddle is once more at home following a prolonged stay in hospital at Pembury following tests relating to his heart problems.
Mary Wells is currently isolating at home having finally been given a date for admission to hospital. Subject to a negative Covid test on 22nd March she will be admitted on 25th March. If all goes well she should be home a couple of days later. Our thoughts and prayers are with her at this worrying time, as they are with all those who are currently unwell or recovering.
The funeral of Pat Summers will take place on Tuesday 23rd March at 10.45am at Kent & Sussex Crematorium. Under current Covid-19 restrictions numbers are limited but we understand there are a few spaces should you wish to go. However, it is essential that you contact Pat’s stepson Tim on 07768 454717 to confirm a place. Please do not just ‘turn up’. The service, led by Dermot is being broadcast and access details are as follows:-
OBITUS. Website https://www.obitus.com/
User Name keji4488 Password 655222
A copy of the order of service is attached at the end of this newsletter.
It has been customary to have an Easter Offering on behalf of World Mission on Easter Sunday. As we are unable to do this in the usual way you are invited to send donations to John or make a payment directly to the church bank account. HSBC Sort code 40-40-32 account number 41027174. Please make sure you make reference to Easter Offering, Thankyou.
Lent Bible Study
A reminder that this initiative began on Ash Wednesday 17th February, led by Dermot and will continue on a daily basis through to Easter Sunday. You have received details of the Bible passages being covered and the notes to support the discussion are being sent out weekly. If you have not yet taken part it is not too late to join in the Zoom meeting at 7pm Monday to Saturday. Each session, led by different people each day, lasts for no more than 30 minutes and it is certainly not necessary to take part every day.
Letters of appreciation have been received from Deptford Mission following our financial donation in lieu of the usual Toy Service gifts and also from the Sevenoaks Foodbank ‘Loaves and Fishes’ who received a financial contribution to their work alongside the produce collected for Trinity School last month.
Discussion Group – Questions of Life
Dermot let the second session on 2nd March when the discussion was ’Why is the Bible so violent?’. Again this was well received and Ken Brown has now been able to put together a full programme through until July. The next session is on 6th April at 4pm when the host will be Rev Gerald Gardiner. His topic is ‘What do Christians mean by ‘being born again?’. The Source book is ‘Heart of Christianity’ by Marcus Borg. We encourage you to join in. Further log–in details will be sent in due course. Do not feel that you must contribute, you can just listen!
‘Our’ sponsored students recently received the results of the Grade 12 exams they sat at Christmas, after a year of disrupted schooling. Bertha, Grace, Chinyama, Frisha and Frederick were all awarded the School Certificate, with some impressive results between them. The others achieved G.C.E. We think of them all as they look to the future.
Work has now started on the new block which is needed to provide education on site for grades 10 – 12 (rather than sending a handful of students for sponsorship to other schools). Fundraising continues to plug the projected £30k shortfall, and details of events and opportunities will appear in the next FPZ newsletter at Easter.
The annual sponsored walk is scheduled for June 19 in Woolacombe, with some fine tuning to meet Covid restrictions. Rod and I will once again take part, and aim to walk 20 miles.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex
I am sure you cannot fail to be aware of the controversy surrounding Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, whether or not you have taken an in-depth interest in the content. One of the claims was of the racist behaviour by a member of The Royal Family. I was directed to an excellent article which subsequently appeared in The Telegraph, written by our own Linden Kemkaran-Davies, and whatever your views may be, I thought you would like to read her thoughts on the matter. This is an abridged version of the full article which Linden wrote especially for this newsletter:————
What was your reaction to the recent sit down ‘chat’ (I refuse to use the word interview) between Meghan, Harry and Oprah Winfrey? Did you feel sympathy, antipathy or perhaps irritation? It is possible that like me, you experienced a mixture of all three.
I felt huge sympathy for the Duchess of Sussex suffering such poor mental health during her first pregnancy and feeling that no one was there to support her. What an awful position to be in, especially as an expectant mum. But when she said that an (unnamed) royal had questioned ‘how dark Archie’s skin might be’, and implied that this was evidence of racism, something jarred and I was moved to write about it in the Telegraph a few days later.
My article talked about how a pregnant woman gets asked a lot of odd questions and how even as a ‘commoner’, you become public property; people want to touch your bump and comment on what you’re eating or drinking, or the height of your heels. Quite frankly, alongside the effort of actually growing a human inside you, excessive scrutiny can add to the exhaustion and hormonal overload!
There’s an added dimension when, like myself and Meghan, you’re a mixed-race woman married to a Caucasian man. People are inevitably going to be curious as to what or who the baby might look like. What colour will its eyes be? Will there be a random genetic throwback to an earlier generation? Let’s be honest, as an expectant mother you’re equally curious, too – it would be weird if you weren’t.
During my own pregnancies, family, friends and colleagues all wanted to know if I thought the baby might have my colouring – brown skin, eyes and hair – or my husband’s – white skin, blue eyes and blond hair. Would the dominant genes triumph or would the recessive blue-eyed gene break through? None of this offended me or struck me as being racist.
My own mum faced discrimination: a white woman married to a black man in the late Sixties, when heavily pregnant with me, she was frequently stopped on the street and asked how she could contemplate bringing ‘coffee-coloured’ children or ‘little half-caste babes’ into this world, and had she properly thought it through?
In the 1970s and 80s, racial prejudice was sadly commonplace and I dealt with daily, sometimes hourly, racism and physical bullying directed at me – the only brown kid in school – so I do know what it’s like to be on the receiving end. It’s hateful and dehumanising and has given me the experience to call out racism when I see it. Thankfully now it doesn’t happen nearly as often as it used to.
Where I do sometimes get a bit tired with being ‘other’, is when the sun finally comes out in April and I pop to the shops in T-shirt and shorts. It’s only a matter of time before the person at the checkout asks if I’ve just come back from holiday. No. Then they ask if I went away over Christmas. No. Then they’ll say something along the lines of ‘but how come you’re so brown?’ and I’ll explain with a smile that being mixed-race, I’m blessed with a year-round suntan.
Is this racism or curiosity? I would never in a million years want to make anyone feel bad by accusing them of being racist for simply commenting on my skin colour – but then I don’t go around looking for things to be offended about. I’d rather just put someone right with a smile.
Meghan is absolutely entitled to her views and if she feels offended by something, then that is her right – but it doesn’t necessarily make her right. Accusing people of racism nowadays is like dropping a bomb: you’d better have the right target in your crosshairs and you should try to limit any collateral damage.
As the couple chose not to name the person who’d raised the colour of their unborn baby’s skin, there is no context in which to place this remark and no way of hearing the other side of the story. It would be like me describing my supermarket checkout experience as ‘suffering daily comments about how brown my skin is’ while omitting all the other factors. Meghan and Harry have used a rather blunt instrument to make their point that leaves many members of the royal family under a cloud of suspicion, and will have widespread repercussions as to how they are viewed around the world.
Food for Thought
We have previously written about ‘Food for Thought’, a series of ecumenical meetings for discussion of current issues. It was pioneered by Rev. Mark Griffin, then Vicar of St. Luke’s, and is now run by Peter Ashwell, also of St. Luke’s. This year the meetings have been held by Zoom and on 5 March we participated in the last of the present season. Over 25 people from several churches participated.
The topic, ‘Liberation or Revolution Theology’, was introduced by Rev. Garth Hewitt. At the age of 17 he had been inspired by hearing Rev. Martin Luther King speak in St. Paul’s Cathedral and by the foundation of the Amos Trust. The Trust was so named from the words in the book of Amos: ‘Let justice flow on like a river and righteousness like a never-failing torrent’.
During his ministry, Garth had travelled widely and met many who were fighting injustice. They included Mother Theresa, nursing the sick and dying in the slums of Calcutta; Cory Aquino, opposing political dictatorship in Indonesia; Rev. Jacob Devadson, supporting the outcasts In India; and Desmond Tutu, fighting racial discrimination in South Africa. He quoted the later murdered Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador: “When I give food to the poor they call me a saint: when I ask why people are poor they call me a Communist”. In its earlier days there was some criticism that liberation theology was a Marxist philosophy – a suspicion shared by Pope John Paul II after his struggle against the Communism in Poland. The present Pope Francis is more sympathetic.
During the evening we learnt that liberation theology was a grass-roots movement originating among the poor of South America. They studied the Bible, discussed the issues and sought to remedy the injustice of poverty. As the impact of liberation theology spread, it became associated with all forms of opposition to injustice.
After Garth’s talk we were allocated to ‘breakout rooms’ to devise questions we wanted to put to him. It was an interesting and stimulating evening. We look forward to the next series in the autumn.
Elaine & Bob Coupe
Over the last year we have all become much more aware of and able to use Zoom for communicating with each other for all sorts of reasons, services, meetings, discussions, coffee chats, and keeping in touch with those whom we are unable to see face to face. Below is a poem from one of our members which reflects this new way of communication.
Thoughts on Zooming
What joy to see faces and greet with a smile!
The Covid restrictions are really a trial.
So into the homes of our friends we all go,
but one has far places that she likes to show.
Some sit in armchairs and some at a desk.
We plug in our ‘ears’ but we don’t wear a mask.
Family photos and books are in view,
interesting pictures are often there too.
The close-up of zooming means much can be seen.
Some clean their glasses in front of the screen.
Is my collar quite straight? Any fluff on my nose?
We really should check as nowt unnoticed goes.
We love all the earrings that some like to wear,
and beautiful scarves that are twisted with care.
Some dress quite casually – not very spry –
but one will look smart in a jacket and tie.
A pet comes in sometimes, takes a look round,
then goes off elsewhere without any sound.
Thanks to the people who make our Zoom work,
and make sure we’re muted when we mustn’t talk.
Our wrinkles and spots and our untidy hair
are right there for all to see – and we don’t care,
for it’s great to see everyone greet with a smile.
Let’s pray well meet properly in a short while.
We hope that you will continue to stay safe and keep well.
Our prayers and best wishes to you all.
John and Grace Archer
Senior Stewards 18th March 2021
A Service of Thanksgiving for The Life of
27th October 1926 ~ 28th January 2021
Kent & Sussex Crematorium
Tuesday 23rd March 2021 10.45 am
Service conducted by the Reverend Dermot Thornberry
Order of Service
MUSIC ON ARRIVAL
Nimrod ~ Elgar
Some moments of quiet reflection, followed by a prayer of thanksgiving
Guide me, O Thou great Redeemer, Pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, but thou art mighty; Hold me with thy powerful hand. Bread of heaven, Bread of Heaven, feed me now and evermore, feed me now and evermore.
Open now the crystal fountain whence the healing stream doth flow; Let the fire and cloudy pillar
Lead me all my journey through: Strong deliverer, Strong deliverer,
Be thou still my strength and shield, Be though still my strength and shield.
When I tread the verge of Jordan, Bid my anxious fears subside;
Death of deaths, and hell’s destruction, Land me safe on Canaan’s side. Songs of praises, songs of praises,
I will ever give to thee, I will ever give to thee.
A READING FROM SCRIPTURE
Romans 8: 28-39
THE ADDRESS THE PRAYERS
Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name,
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil,
For Thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory,
For ever and ever.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let us sow love; Where there is injury, let there be pardon;
Where there is discord, union;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy;
For your mercy and your truth’s sake. Amen
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, evermore. Amen
THE COMMITTAL PSALM 23
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,
Fof you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Amen
THE COMMITTAL FINAL PRAYER
Grant us, Lord,
the wisdom and the grace to use aright
the time that is left to us here on hearth.
Lead us to repent of our sins,
the evil we have done,
and the good we have not done;
And strengthen us to follow in the steps of your Son in the way that leads to the fullness
The Blessing Exit Music
Memories ~ Elaine Paige
Donations can be made in memory of Pat to Parkinson’s UK by cheque payable to the charity and sent to
Welham Jones Funeral Directors
156 London Road, Sevenoaks, Kent TN13 1DJ
or online at www.welhamjones.co.uk/obituaries
Hymns reproduced under Welham Jones CCL Licence No: 10093503