Church is open daily 0900-1700
The present Parish Church of Elham, dedicated to St. Mary the Virgin, built of ragstone and flint, dates from 1170 to 1200, when it replaced a Saxon Church on the same sloping site in the valley of the Nailbourne. The view from across the Square reveals an impressive building with a massive tower of fine proportions completed during the 15th century. The real beauty of the place, however, is in the quality of its furnishings and owes much to the careful restoration of the interior carried out in the early part of the 20th century.
Christian people have worshipped God on this site for over 1000 years. Today, the people of Elham gather here every Sunday to worship in many ways, from the traditional Holy Communion, to a Service of the Word. All ages are welcome to our services and we have a children's corner where they can play.
Members of the community join together in the church for events other than worship, such as concerts and markets.
We maintain our church as the living centre of our own Christian life and worship, and we also seek to hand on to succeeding generations not only the building, but also the living faith symbolised by it.
SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOS!
This month we celebrate Mothering Sunday on the 10th, as always, on the 4th Sunday in Lent. Years ago it was also called Midlenting Sunday or Refreshment Sunday. At that time rigorous Lenten fasting and self-denial were the norm, thus it was considered good to have a break, a bit of a feast, or celebration, in mid-Lent. That grew into a custom where people, particularly those in domestic service, or working away in towns, were given the day off to go home and visit their mothers, and maybe indulge in some hearty eating whilst there.
This event today is more often called Mother's Day, and looking at the traditional title it occurred to me that “mothering” is an interesting word. We hardly ever use it except for this occasion, and of course it derives from the verb “to mother”.
The corresponding verb “to father”, or fathering as the male equivalent, tends to mean something a bit different. Fathering children generally refers to the biological process of procreation. To the majority of people it doesn't convey the same nurturing, ongoing participation in child rearing as the feminine word, mothering. Even though we all know fathers may well be equally as involved in childcare. Yet to mother children conjures up images, not of someone being pregnant, or giving birth, but of a woman with her arms wrapped round her baby with protective love. That’s what we usually understand mothering to be.
The gender references can be confusing, and they have a lot to do with historical stereotypes. Yet anyone can fulfil a mothering role. Regardless of gender. Regardless of biological connection. And regardless of age difference. Some children are mothered by family members other than their parents, and some children provide mothering care for their disabled parents. Many of us adults have been called to care for our parents in their old age, in very similar ways to how they looked after us when we were tiny, and many provide care for their partners.
At the foot of the cross the disciple John, and Jesus’ mother Mary, were commended to the care of one another. Jesus told Mary, to now regard His much loved disciple John as her son. That gave
her someone to love and cherish as her own once he had gone. But He also told John to now accept
Mary as his own mother, so in turn he now had a mothering role in looking after her. What a wonderful example of God’s understanding of our human needs. The recognition of the gap they both needed to fill once He had left their earthly lives.
It is right that we celebrate mothers in all their wonderful, wise, generous, and let’s be honest, sometimes madly infuriating manifestations. But let’s not forget, too, that anyone who offers mothering to someone else, in any way, is precious to God for their sacrifice of love for
others. So perhaps it’s time to return to the traditional notion of Mothering Sunday, but with the modern twist of using it to celebrate anyone, regardless of gender, family relationship, age, or formal status, who bestows nurturing care on one whom they love.
The next Prayer Breakfast meeting is 6th April at 8 am (for prayers, breakfast at 8.30). Let David W know if you are coming - 840650
Coffee & Cake morning – every Monday, 1030 to 1200
Next Prayer Meeting – 7th March 7.30pm