Aylesford Organ Restoration

August 4, 2015

Aylesford Organ Restoration


The organ is now 150 years old, and the restoration project is complete! Many thanks are due to all those who have supported this in so many different ways; it has been a real inspiration seeing what can be done as a team!

The opening service took place on 28th June, and the organ is settling down nicely now. We are therefore planning a weekend of organ activity in November, with an opening recital by a visiting organist (to be announced) on the Saturday evening, and activities including "Discover the organ" on the Sunday. The dates to put in your diary are: Saturday & Sunday 14-15 November 2015. Further recitals will follow in 2016 - we already have some of the top UK organists lined-up!

The updated History of the Organ book is currently approaching final draft, and should be on sale (or nearly so) for the organ weekend - it covers much, much more than just the history of Aylesford organ, and at around 100 pages, plus photographs, will cost about £15.00; pre-order your copy now, or even copies for Christmas presents!
 

 

St Peter's Festival Weekend

August 4, 2015
St Peter's Festival Weekend

St Peter's Festival Weekend


At the end of June we marked our church's Patronal Festival as St. Peter and St. Paul's Day falls on 29th June. On the Saturday evening "The Friends of Aylesford Church" organised another concert with The Aveley and Newham Brass Band. This year the band accepted our suggestion of music around the world and we were treated to a marvellous variety of music ranging from jaunty Mexican dance music to a wonderfully atmospheric setting of Respighi's "The Pines of Rome".

On the Sunday morning our guest preacher was Alex Clark, the young, newly appointed Director of The Family Trust, a Christian charity which goes into schools all over the Maidstone, Medway and Swale area. He challenged us to lead lives which are fruitful for God even if exhausting and cluttered. But we also rededicated our organ after it's £50,000 rewiring, clean and renovation. It was over 20 years since its last makeover, and when Michael Keays started playing it, you could feel the pews quiver - as one member of the congregation exclaimed to me delightedly afterwards! Many people had given sacrificially over the last 5 years, so it was thrilling - and quite an emotional experience - to hear the organ played at full throttle and rededicated to God.

In the Sunday afternoon we had a new event: a Family Treasure Hunt round places of interest in Aylesford. This was organised by Archie Mitchell, a secondary school student, and there was a stream of families coming in and then heading off to hunt round the village for the answers. When they came back, most of them chose to enjoy home-made jam with cream, all made by members of the Social and Fund-raising Committee.

It was an excellent weekend!

Chris van Straaten
 

Parish visit to the Organ Builders

April 1, 2015
Parish visit to the Organ Builders

Parish visit to the Organ Builders


22 members of the congregation assembled at F H Browne's for a tour of the works on a bright Friday morning. Much of the work on Aylesford organ is now complete and ready for shipment and reassembly in church over the next few weeks: The console rewiring and general renovation is at an advanced stage, the new mobile plinth for the console is nearing completion, new wind chests have been made and wired, and even the new Great mixture was in the workshops, ready to take its place in the organ to add much-needed brightness. Organ building is one of those very specialist old crafts, and it was good to see it still flourishing in the capable hands of skilled craftsmen in an age when so many things are built to last for just a few years. Modern technology is in evidence though with the new solid state control and capture system, widely used in the organ building world.

We are all eagerly looking forward to the organ being back in service again in a few weeks time!

Michael Keays
 

A Murder Mystery in Church

November 16, 2014
A Murder Mystery in Church

A Murder Mystery in Church


Several of us were busy at the back of the church pottering around putting food on tables when there was a blood-curdling shriek from nearby as someone died a gruesome death! It was a Murder Mystery performed in church in late September. The play had been specially written by a group of professional actors, Balancing Act Theatre, to have its premiere in our church, part of it performed in the chancel and part of it in the chapel. "Murder is Tolled" was set in the 1920's, and many of the guests arrived in spectacular 1920's dress, feathers, cigarette holders and all. Between each act the guests enjoyed a starter, main course and sweet, with coffee at the end while they tried to work out who the killer was. The play was superbly performed - I'm told, as we were too busy with our waiter duties to see much of the play. It was a marvellous evening, and superbly organised, all in aid of "Friends of Aylesford Church".

A HUGE thank you to the actors and to all involved in organising the evening, especially the caterers from the church. Rumour has it that there may be a murder at a wedding next year!!

(You might wonder whether this was an appropriate event to hold in church, but it was totally inoffensive, a harmless piece of fun, and a great evening.)

Chris

 

Kidzpraise group bakes bread!

November 13, 2014
Kidzpraise group bakes bread!

Kidzpraise group bakes bread!


The children and adults had fun baking bread at the Kidzpraise group at the beginning of November. Everyone had great fun.

Our Kidzpraise group is held:

Time: Every Wednesday 1.15pm - 2.45pm
Venue: The Brassey Centre, Station Road, Aylesford, Kent
Hosts: Aylesford Church
Contact: Chris van Straaten 01622 717434
 

Aylesford Choir 'on the Map'!

October 19, 2014

Aylesford Choir 'on the Map!


It was with great pleasure that a number of our choir attended the RSCM Festival Evensong at Rochester Cathedral on Saturday 11th October. The weather did nothing to dampen our spirits, and we became part of the choir of around 150 drawn from across the entire region. The music included John Ireland's wonderful anthem "Greater love hath no man" (words from John's Gospel and other parts of the New Testament), and the setting of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis by Thomas Walmisley. Included in this service was a presentation of certificate to choristers who have undertaken RSCM singing exams at the Cathedral over the last year: Aylesford presentations were made first and last (!), with Ellie Robinson (Bronze with Merit) and Lizzie Cook (Silver with Highly Commended (Distinction in the old syllabus)). Very well done to both Ellie and Lizzie - and with Tina Bastow already having the Gold award we now have Gold, Silver and Bronze in our ranks!

The choir is always looking out for new members - particularly men - so why not join us! Even if you don't fancy any singing exams yourself (-if they are not compulsory!), you will find fantastic opportunities to enjoy singing in a lively group, and support Aylesford church in another very practical way: Just have a chat with me, or anyone from the choir - we look forward to welcoming you!
 

News from Kent Savers

October 18, 2014
News from Kent Savers

News from Kent Savers


Aylesford Parish Church is supporting Kent Savers, our local Credit Union, in response to the Archbishop of Canterbury's call.

Kent Savers have recently introduced new services as part of its drive to serve people from all walks of life in Kent, and to be a real alternative to expensive banks and high interest lenders. More than 400 new members have joined on line, which is quick and easy.

Since September, Kent Savers are working in partnership with credEcard to give you credEcardplus, a current account with a difference. There are no credit checks and no overdraft charges with this account and it is available to anyone, whatever your credit score or financial history. Plus, you get a Visa debit card and cash back rewards as standard.

You can pay bills and shop online with the Visa debit card, and use it anywhere you see a Visa logo. Also, save money on treats and everyday shopping with cash back rewards.

Prepaid cards look like credit/debit cards and can be used in shops and over the internet to buy goods. Members can also use them to withdraw funds from ATMs and gets cash back in shops.  However, the advantage of prepaid cards is that you can't go overdrawn or build up huge debts. You must first "load" money onto the card in advance, and then you can only spend the money that is loaded on the card.

With credEcardplus, we will be able to transfer loans or share withdrawals onto the card. Once members have a card they can contribute to use it for further loans or withdrawals.

CredEcardplus also acts as a budget account designed to help with managing money to pay for essentials. More details can be found on the Kent Savers website.

The card is available to members of Kent Savers. Until the end of October 2014, there is no cost to acquire a card. From November the card will cost £10 to purchase.

For more about membership visit www.kentsavers.co.uk or call 0333 321 9050. By becoming a member as either a saver or a borrower, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you are helping your community.

Gordon Hunt


 

Organ rebuild news

October 18, 2014
Organ rebuild news

Organ rebuild news


The work to restore the organ is now well underway, with work on parts of the organ (including the console) about to start in the organ workshops. Meanwhile, with the organ out of service for a few months, we are using a temporary instrument for services, eagerly looking forward to the main organ to being back again, fully rebuilt and modernised.

In the meantime, the angels which grace the top of the organ case have been removed, cleaned, repaired and repainted: This is the first really visible sign of current works - more will follow as we enter 2015.

Watch this space for further updates and for details of re-opening events in 2015!
 

Visit by Young Dominican Pilgrims

October 6, 2014
Visit by Young Dominican Pilgrims

Visit by Young Dominican Pilgrims


I was contacted some months ago by a young man my son knew at the Math School Rochester. This "boy", Matthew Jarvis, had gone on to Cambridge and then, as he told me, had entered the Roman Catholic Dominican Order. He came to see me, now in a cream habit, to talk about bringing a group of pilgrims through Aylesford. So in mid August they arrived: 20 young men and women, mostly in their twenties and thirties, some in habits but mostly ordinary lay people, from Canada, the US, Ireland, Ukraine, Italy and this country. They were walking from Arundel to Canterbury over a week. Kathy and I got to know them a bit as they came to us for supper and then for breakfast the next day, since they were sleeping overnight in the Brassey Centre. They had enormous appetites; but then they were walking about 30 miles each day! They were great fun: highly intelligent, full of conversation and teasing each other. At the same time, they were evidently committed in their Christian faith.

As a thank you to us, they sang Vespers (Evening Prayer) and Lauds (Morning Prayer) in our church, and after both services they got into lively conversation with members of our church who came along.

I found it really stimulating chatting to young, intelligent men and women really committed in their faith and yet not stuffy. Apparently the Dominicans are one of the Roman Catholic orders that is not shrinking, and one of the Dominican's main emphases is on preaching the gospel. It was wonderful to meet people from completely different backgrounds and an utterly different tradition, and yet have so much in common, and to share with them same desire to tell people about Jesus.

Chris van Straaten
 

Flesh and Blood

August 23, 2014
Flesh and Blood

Flesh and Blood


Every day 7000 units of blood are required to meet hospital demand and 1000 people die each year waiting for an organ transplant.

Freshandblood is a campaign, aimed at churches, to increase the number of blood and organ donors in the UK.

The campaign aims to raise the profile of blood and organ donation within the church and encourage donation as a personal gift. It seeks to equip individuals and churches as advocates for donation helping them engage with family, friends and members of the community. To view their campaign video click here.

It was founded as a partnership between Kore and NHS Blood and Transplant and in association with various churches including the Church of England and The Baptist Union of Britain.


For more information or to find out how you can get involved please visit www.fleshandblood.org