Organ Appeal reaches a fantastic £30,000!
We have now just reached the £30,000 mark in the Appeal. Very many thanks to all those who have supported us so far in whatever way - every pound raised goes directly into the fund (-there are no admin fees on this Appeal!). We are edging closer to re-engaging the Diocese to gain formal approval for works, and the organ builders to draw-up contracts, both of which we hope to undertake later this year as the first step in actually getting the rebuild started. Any and all contributions are gratefully received. Many thanks once again and let's get that final amount raised!
The Junior Choir has been built and led over the last few years by Helen, assisted at various points by Brenda, Tina and Lizzie. At first, the enthusiasm of the Junior Choir was somewhat restrained when it came to services, but now they are full of confidence and provide a fantastic lead week in, week out. Whilst this has been a gradual process, particular note should be made of the solo work done by "The 3 E's" - Ellie, Eloise and Emily - as part of this year's Good Friday oratorio, Maunder's "Olivet to Calvary". The Junior Choir is very much valued, for their great singing and for their liveliness and enthusiasm. All this, of course is down to the brilliant training and leadership of Helen who this year reaches a massive 45 years of service to this church - 28 of them working with me (which is a challenge in itself). I for one am very grateful for Helen's professionalism and skill, both as a trainer and a musician, and I know just how much work goes on behind the scenes to produce the fine Junior Choir we have today, from recruitment around the schools, to training using the Royal School of Church Music's scheme and courses.
As ever, we are looking to recruit new members across the entire choir, so why not join our successful - and we like to think fun - group, whatever age you are?
The market has continued to welcome new customers and achieved some pleasing results in recent weeks. It was good to open all weekend at the end of April in conjunction with the Cobdown Art Club which was once again very mutually beneficial.
As the Summer months approach we hope even more local people and passing visitors will drop in to see us on Saturday mornings. It is worth remembering we do have some real bargains in, for example good quality bric-a-brac, books, new items, toys, greetings cards and homemade cakes. You will be most welcome and pleasantly surprised at what bargains you might find.
Valerie and Roy
Wickham Lodge National Garden Scheme open date
We are delighted to report that the garden has started to grow and there is hope for "The Day". As if sorting things out at this stage (and in these conditions) is not enough, we have received a visit from an I.T.V. television crew and Alan Titchmarsh filming for the new series of "Love your Garden". They having decided that how we have coped with this sloping garden is of interest to others.
However, by far the greatest interest around the Garden Open Day is the budding of "Aylesford Village Voices", seemingly looking forward to their first performances. They already have a 'following' (mainly related to them!). Of course there is conjecture as to what they will sing. "Englis Country Garden" and "Down by the Riverside" are both probably on the cards!
To reassure our regular visitors, refreshments will be as usual - morning coffee/tea, Ploughman's lunches and cream teas - all provided by the Catering team of Aylesford Church.
Cherith and Richard
Learn to be a Bell Ringer Aylesford Church has a happy band of bell ringers who practise every Tuesday evening in the church tower and who ring for church services on Sundays, for Weddings and for special occasions like the Queen's Jubilee. Ages range all the way from children to people in their 80's. They are happy to welcome new members and to train them, anyone from 10 years old and upwards. Primary aged children might like to be accompanied by a parent or even a whole family might like to take it up.
Bell ringing can be as simple or as complicated as you wish. You don't go up in the air, though!
Saturday 16 March was our 11th Day of Prayer for Africa, and I found it uplifting and inspiring. From 10am until 4pm we heard about many, many small-scale projects being run all over Africa by people in this country. Being small projects, they are closely supervised by the wonderful individuals who have started them, so money and goods sent out are carefully monitored, and administration costs cut to a minimum.
Many of the projects bring schooling to children who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford school fees and uniforms. I was amazed at two young people from a church in London who help run a project in Kenya. Through their visits they had discovered that many children were disabled by a disease called jiggers - apparently, fleas which burrow into the feet and fingers, and lay eggs, which hatch into very harmful larvae under the skin. A group who went out from the UK were trusted to bathe the children's feet and hands and then to dig out all the eggs with needles. The photos they showed us marked an enormous change from listless, apathetic children who couldn't run about to lively, smiling youngsters running around on perfect feet! All of this accompanied by Christian Love.
We rightly have questions about whether money raised in this country reaches people who need it. These small projects answered my questions, and it was wonderful to hear about them and to pray for them.
Thanks you SO much to Claire, Iris and Frances for the vast amount of organisation and for the delicious, homemade lunch.
Our Church's Priorities 2013
1) Find ways to encourage each member of the Church to grow in their faith
Emphasis particularly on prayer, home groups and study groups. Also, people to be called to be Readers, Pastoral Assistants, Evangelists and ordained ministers.
2.) Find more ways for the Church to be active as part of the community
We want to build on the success of events like Back to Church Sunday, the Jubilee Street Party, carol singing in the square and school mentoring.
3.) Support and promote work amongst children and young people in the Church
This includes supporting the Sunday Club, Holiday Clubs and Junior Choir and perhaps new initiatives.
4.) Try to get the Organ Restoration project fully funded
This involves fund-raising initiatives in addition to the funds that come from Social and Fund-Raising Committee and "Friends" activities.
5.) Explore opportunities to enrich our forms of worship
On Special Occasions as well as within our present service pattern, broadening our range. As examples, this might include some more contemplative worship, more use of drama and liturgical action, different ways of using music, more involvement of young people and more marking of festivals and seasons.
Friends of Aylesford Church Champagne Tea at Anchor Oast
On 27th January we held our Champagne Tea event at Anchor Oast. We were very concerned about the weather beforehand but on the day the sun shone and parking cars presented no problems.
The two sessions were well attended and all the guests were looked after extremely well by our team of waiters all in Dress Suits. The 'backroom' staff were kept busy ensuring everything ran smoothly and judging by the constant chattering all our guests had a good time.
Our next event is the Quiz evening on 9th March (7 for 7.30pm at the Brassey Centre. Why not get up a team and come and join us for £4 per person - or you could join others and form a team on the night. Please bring your own nibbles and drink to help the evening go with a swing!
If you'd like to come, contact:
Brenda on 01622 882395
Organ Appeal is over half way to £50,000 target!
We are now well over 50% of the way to our target of £50,000, towards essential works on the Organ. Thank you to everyone who has done so much so far. In the last few months, Brenda's Parachute jump and the Community Concert (organised by Tina and Sally) have helped push our current total to £28,365.12, including an estimate of recoverable tax. We are getting close to formalising this project - obtaining the necessary approvals from the Diocese and drawing up contracts with the organ builders. The target is to be in a sound financial position to do this during 2013, so every donation really counts at this critical time. Many thanks once again!
To view our Organ page and find out more about our Organ Appeal click here
Pastoral Thoughts . . . .
Just a reminder about the new feature on the website. The ‘Pastoral Thoughts’ section
contains regular ‘thoughts’ prayers, reflections, stories and poems, from the Pastoral Team. Most of the items will be original and we hope the variety will be of interest and help to us all wherever we are on our journey in faith. The features can be
downloaded so they are easy to access and print if required. Hopefully these ‘Pastoral
Thoughts’ will become a regular and developing feature that will grow into a varied,
useful, interesting and permanently accessible resource. If you have any ideas for
inclusion on this website page, we would like to hear from you. Please contact one of
the Pastoral Team. Visit the page and see it develop.
On Saturday 10th November 2012, the church hosted a community concert. Not a fundraiser but rather an excuse to look at some of the major events of 2012. A mixture of readings from the works of local author Charles Dickens were mixed with a variety of musical items which in the main were written since 1952. All of the musical items had some relevance to the Dickens works that had been selected.
Given that it was the London Olympic and Paralympic year we had our own opening ceremony with all of the adult choristers being led to their seats by a junior singer. Each junior carried a lantern which was then placed at the altar. There were also 5 candles surrounded by tea lights which were lit, this was representing the olympic rings. Each candle being one of the olympic colours! We also had memories of the year read out by Aileen Ongley. We also delved into Oliver Twist, with the words being brought to life by Brenda Sladen, Lin Lloyd, Jenny Baker, Matt Baker and Shawn Collings. Helen and Michael coaxed the choir into being raucous Londoners to sing some of the well known ditties from Oliver!
As I caid, not a fundraiser, although £175 was raised for the Organ Fund, but a bit of fun. Thanks to all who came and supported us, as well as to those who took part, or who lent items for our display.
It is easy to come along and support these events but they do take some organising. If you have some ideas for a future event, why not have a chat with me. All you need is determination and faith that all will be well on the night!
The Saturday Market Christmas Fayre was a most pleasant, vibrant and colourful affair. We were well supported, including many new visitors and took over £1,038. Thanks go to all our supporters and helpers on the day which made for a good result.
We would especially like to thank the following businesses that donated items for our main raffle: Hever Castle; The Bush, Aylesford; The Village Hotel; Gossip Hairdressing; Beauty Bank, Aylesford; "Reflections" Hairdressing; Bentley's; V&L Car Valet; Richards Solicitors; Harley Davidson; The Village Shop, Aylesford; Bluebell Estate Agents; The Chequers, Aylesford. Also thanks to Dirk Wickenden for providing some special seasonal music on the saxophone.
Best wishes for a Happy Christmas and a good New Year to all.
Roy and Valerie
'Care for Creation' Services
Aylesford Church Environmental Group prepared two morning services on November 18th on the theme of our responsibility as Christians to care for God's Creation. At the 8am service, four members of the group each said a few words (download 8am talk), and at the 10am service we had an interesting talk (illustrated with a quilt!) from Helen Longley, a Reader from St. Peter & St. Paul's Church in Tonbridge (download 10am talk). She referred to the Pilgrim Fathers weathering hard winters when they arrived in North America. She used the quilt as an example of how, by recycling just scraps that might otherwise have been thrown away, and by all joining together, something big was achieved and the children protected. In a similar way we need to work together to protect Creation, and in particular our future generations. Click here to read the Creation sermons >>
Several members of the congregation contributed photographs or other pictures of the beauty of the natural world, which were displayed at the back of church.
Although the problems are huge, we can all do our bit to help, and everyone was given a slip of paper to take away, with a Fact (about energy use, waste, loss of biodiversity etc) to think and pray about, and a related Challenge.
Gurkha Soldier speaks at the Remembrance Sunday Service
About 300 people, including many children and teenagers from the uniformed groups, packed the church for Remembrance Sunday and Act of Remembrance.
We were thrilled to have a young Gurkha soldier, LCpl Jit, stationed in Maidstone. A very young man endeared himself to us by telling us that this was the first time he had been interviewed in front of so many people, so he felt nervous. However, he was a marvellous interviewee, telling us about Nepal (pronounced "Neparl") and his recruitment. He told us about the special Gurkha weapon, the kukri, and then showed one to us, a vicious looking flashing silver knife. Interestingly, that lived in his belt behind his back! I asked him who he felt he was fighting for as a member of the British Army, and he replied, "Britain", which won him warm applause; and at the end of the interview the congregation rose in spontaneous standing ovation, as a tribute to this engaging young soldier and to all his comrades.
At 11am in the Act of Remembrance round the War Memorial, we remembered fallen soldiers and civilians. I thought of the two men from a Gurkha regiment killed last week, and it was moving to see the distinctive khaki hat of LCpl Jit amongst us all.
Chris van Straaten
To mark Back to Church Sunday there were special services at 8.00am and 10.00am with a breakfast provided between the services. The Church was full at the 10.00am service. Pupils from two year groups at Aylesford Primary School took part in the service, sharing through stories, drama and song, some of the activities they had been involved in, at school, at the beginning of term. The choir sang a short anthem and the hand bell ringers played a fanfare at the end of the service, while walking around the whole church.
It was good to welcome so many people to church and a great opportunity to talk over tea, coffee and cakes after the service. Thank you to everyone involved in making the service so enjoyable and meaningful.
Our Church website, twelve months on . . .
St. Peter and St Paul's Church website celebrated its first anniversary at the end of September. It is now one year old, being launched on Back to Church Sunday in September 2011.
Amazingly the website has already had over 6,000 'hits'. People visit the website for all sorts of reasons. Maybe they are interested in visiting our lovely, historical church and want to find out something about it first. Maybe they want up-to-date details about up and coming events or of news items. Maybe they want to download and read a recent sermon or to start planning for a future wedding or baptism.
Back in April, the website by then being six months old, we noted that the website had become truly international. Since then the number of countries recording 'hits' on the website has increased and already it has some interesting stories to tell.
The website is regularly updated. It contains information on all aspects of church life including details of the procedure for booking a wedding, baptism or funeral, church worship (and service details) and community events. A new 'thought from the pastoral team' feature is being introduced where team members share, on a regular basis, their original thoughts or use prayers/reflections, from others, that have impacted on them or inspired them. Further planned developments include a church video to celebrate our community and a virtual tour of our beautiful church. So keep 'hitting our website'! Encourage others, near and far, to do the same! Any information for news and events, send to Revd. Chris van Straaten at email@example.com. There are many ways we can help ensure the website increasingly becomes a key part of our church's mission.
Brenda's Parachute jump brings Organ Appeal funds to half way
The appeal to raise £50,000 for essential works on the organ has now passed the halfway point, with a steady stream of donations boosted by sponsorship in excess of £1,000 of a parachute jump undertaken by Brenda Sladen, one of our churchwardens:
"The weather was perfect and lots of people came to support. About 14 of us crammed into the plane, sitting on the floor. At 4,000 feet, the first person left to make his solo jump. The rest of us continued to 12,000 feet and took it in turn to jump having been very strongly secured to our tandem partner. The free fall was about one and a half miles and then the parachute was opened and we gradually floated to the ground - we turned to go through a cloud, which was a great experience. We finally reached terra firm about 15 minutes after leaving the plane - according to the spectators. The views of the countryside were spectacular - the English Channel and Essex coast all clearly visible."
Like all the rest of the country who had events booked on the 25th August, we all watched the weather and prayed. We got half our prayers answered!!! It was very wet until 1pm, my heart was in my boots, as stalwart people in true British style got gazebos up, tables out and games/stalls ready to do business. People started to come into the fayre and it was up and running.
A lot of stalls didn't turn up but those that did, raised our spirits and a good atmosphere helped us enjoy the day. We raised £836.09 which gave us a profit of £686.09 after expenses, never the less its not a bad amount. Thank you to all who stuck it out on the day and the people who have been working for months behind the scenes. Also a big thank you to the Community Centre and Football Club, their support was fantastic.
Our theme for this event was the Olympics and being like athletes in our Christian faith.
The children and the helpers all seemed to enjoy themselves but the helpers seemed slightly more tired at the end of the day than the children!
We started with prayers and a chat from Chris, followed by some games to get rid of the surplus energy (in the children). The children often split into groups for various artistic/craft activities.
After lunch more games inside and out and finishing with quiet thoughts and prayers. It seemed to me to be a very joyful and jolly day. A BIG thank you to everyone involved.
The events we organised for this special occasion were really successful.
Sunday - Chris included an Olympic theme to our Family Service.
Wednesday - we enjoyed an excellent dinner in the Brassey Centre, thanks to the hard work of our ladies and another first rate talk from Peter Smith. A sincere thanks go to all involved.
Thursday - there was an "away day" at the home of Mr & Mrs Nigel Cooke in West Malling. We are very grateful to them for their generous hospitality. It included a delicious spread of food and a stimulating talk by Marilyn Lewis.
Saturday - the week finished with a Children's Party and BBQ, which was well attended and very much enjoyed.
On arriving at Victoria station I was immediately aware of people in bright pink jackets welcoming travellers and directing them to the correct train, tube or bus for each event. They all had a smile and time for a quick chat, wishing us a great day! The excitement of the Olympics was catching and it was really great to be part of such a special occasion.
Friends of Aylesford Church
We held our 4th AGM on 15th July. We learned that we have had another successful year both financially and actively. The Aveley and Newham Brass band returned for a concert in the church which was well attended and much appreciated by those that came. We are putting together our programme of activities for the next year. We will be donating a further £1,000 to the church organ appeal fund. Our next event is a concert by the returning Blue Archadians Jazz band on 29th September at 7pm in Aylesford Church at a cost of £9.00 which includes a glass of wine or fruit juice.
More details from Brenda Sladen 01622 882395.
Submit entries to our Summer Fayre Craft Competition!
We are holding a craft competition in Aylesford Community Centre at our Summer Fayre with all the entries on show. This competition is open to everyone - so do have a go! For a list of the craft competition categories ranging from painting to photography to cake baking click here. To download our entry form click here. All entries must be completed and returned by 11th August 2012.
Organ Appeal reaches £24,000!
After rapid progress at the end of 2011, the Organ Appeal has grown steadily in the first half of 2012. We have had major contributions (including £1,000 from the Family Funeral Service and further donations relating to the Organathon back in December 2011. We are now totalling £24,000! What a credible achievement!
Jubilee Church Garden Party
The Aylesford "Friends" decided to join in the Royal celebrations by holding a garden party on Sunday 10th June. Read more
Wild Flower Churchyard Garden
Our "Wildflower Area" has had a wonderful show of flowers over the main part of the churchyard, including cowslips and blue speedwells. A wildflower mat has been laid to the South side of the church containing a variety of wildflower seeds. Watch this space to see which ones flourish!
A big thank you to everyone who helped with Christian Aid week this year - delivering and collecting envelopes. The total raised was £3,120.04. The Church in Eccles also raised nearly £220 from their evening events, totalling £3,350 to Christian Aid! Read more
June was a busy, yet rewarding month. Our Jubilee Market was a colourful, pleasant day and fortunately dry. Then the following weekend we opened both days with the Cobdown Art Club. This is great contact with our local community and passing visitors. Read more
Aylesford Village Street Party
Aylesford had a huge street party in the High Street. It was tremendous fun! People shared laughter, games and food with their neighbours. Parish Counsellors joined in, along with members from our Church congregation and residents of Aylesford. Read more
Wickham Lodge National Garden Scheme Open Day
The National Garden Scheme has resulted in £22 million being donated for nursing, caring and gardening charities. Our local garden in the scheme is Cherith and Richard Bourne's attractive riverside garden in Aylesford Village. Read more
Aylesford Church supports the charity Christian Aid every year, demonstrating to our communities that we care about poverty and justice. 38 volunteers will be collecting house to house in Aylesford and Eccles. Read more
Church website six months on!
Our church website is becoming a major asset to our church in strengthening and expanding our community links. We have had visitors from 43 different countries across the world! Many people have left good feedback through the website. Read more
Many of you may have heard of this excellent course which looks at the basics of the Christian faith. We will be holding a course again this year if there is demand, and we will start in the early Summer for 10 evenings. If you would like to come along and give it a go, contact Chris the Vicar on 01622 717434
Our 10th Day of Prayer for Africa was held on 3rd March. Many issues were discussed and prayed for including debt, exploitation, effect of land grabs and overcoming malaria. Read more >>
Holiday Club theme of 'LOVE'
Twenty five children heard the Good News of Jesus and His love at our recent Holiday Club organised by Jenny. A mixture of fun and games, crafts, a puppet show and a bible story were enjoyed. Read more >>
We are back each Saturday and pleased to see regular and new visitors supporting us again. Also, it is great to welcome some new helpers to our team. Do drop in any Saturday to browse our stock, enjoy a tea, coffee, cake and a friendly chat. Read more >>
Our Church Cleaners 'bring and share', dinner in February was a delightful evening of shared warmth, food and friendship! A selection of main courses and desserts were enjoyed, followed by tea, coffee and evening entertainment. Read more >>
Organ Appeal reaches £20,000!
A huge thank you to everyone who is helping us achieve our target towards £50,000. A stream of donations have been supplemented by contributions from a recent Organathon and Sponsored Hymn Sing. Read more >>
Sparkling Christmas Tree Festival!
Our church sparkled with 65 fabulous Christmas trees for two weeks in December. Trees came from local businesses, schools, clubs and individuals. Read more >>
A festive Christmas Fayre
Our fayre was a great start to the Christmas season. It was a successful social event with £1,450 raised for the church including £350 for the Organ Appeal. Read more >>
A detailed schedule of Christmas Services held in and around Aylesford Church for the lead up to Christmas 2011. Read more >>
Bread making, fun and games at the Children's Holiday Club!
In October half-term 2011 our Church held a great one day Holiday Club for primary school children. It lasts from 10am-3pm. Our next day is on Monday 13th February. Read more >>
Children's Church Wedding
100 excited school children from Aylesford Primary School arrived to Church on a Monday morning for a pretend wedding. The children all dressed up for the occasion. Read more >>
Fun-filled Back to Church Sunday!
Children from St Mark's Primary School Eccles, helped Aylesford Church celebrate Back to Church Sunday in September. All visitors were welcomed to our lively service. Read more >>
Brand new Church website launched!
Our new website was launched on 25th September 2011 at Back to Church Sunday. Many people celebrated the launch in style. Read more >>
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