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 the family-orientated Café Church. 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.
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A Music Night on Sunday 3rd December when you will have the opportunity to sing your favourite Christmas songs and carols. Mince pies and drinks. Free! but donations would be most welcome to help us keep this beautiful church open at the heart of our village.
We look forward to welcoming you.
‘The Light Fantastic’
David and I have just had a ‘holiday’ - WOW thought this would not be happening again? Everything seems such a treat, such a gift! Perhaps there is going to be light at the end of the tunnel?
From the liberating breadth of the Lake district skies to the star-studded darkness of Suffolk nights, the quality of light around the UK continues to inspire.
We visited my dear school friend Sally in the Lakes who lost her husband last June at the age of 61; what darkness, what trauma and what pain. And, as we enjoyed a hug, flowing conversations and a lovely Sunday Roast eaten in front of a beautiful roaring fire; the inn was already decorated for Christmas with just so many lights, it made us feel so warm comforted –‘the light fantastic.’
We then walked up the hill beside a twinkling stream and waterfall. We were reminded how beautiful creation and this world can be breath takingly beautiful and warm in the sun –‘the light fantastic.’
It was healing and gave us hope and Sally shared with me, very generously, that I had been her light throughout the last year and she could not have done it with out me –‘the light fantastic.’
She was just moving into her new home, close to her family with a new job in a boutique, with new friends and views to the glorious hills-‘the light fantastic.’ It seems there is light at the end of the tunnel.
After a recent funeral of a young man, I had taken, one of his friends asked me:
‘I have seen you before and just do not know how you do it?’
I replied: ‘By the grace of God it is only by grace that we stand’-‘the light fantastic.’
Thanks be to God for God’s indescribable gift ( 2 Cor 9:15)
God gives all through the gift of Jesus; born as a vulnerable baby a refugee, born into our world that we might know the ‘Love of God’ and through Jesus’s death and resurrection we may find this grace that saves all-‘the light fantastic.’
And, may our communities reflect this gift as there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Happy Christmas and Happy New Year to us all!
Services for DECEMBER
5th 8am Holy Communion BCP 5pm Christmas Sing-a-Long after lights switch-on
12th No service
19th 9.30am Morning Prayer
24th 5pm Crib Service 11pm Midnight Eucharist
25th 9.30am Christmas Day Eucharist
(26th 10am Benefice Eucharist (short service) at St Mary & St Ethelburga, Lyminge)
Services for JANUARY
(2nd 10am Benefice Eucharist at St Mary & St Radegund, Postling)
9th 9.30am Eucharist (CW1)
16th 9.30am Service of the Word
23rd 9.30am Eucharist (CW1)
30th 10am Benefice Eucharist at St Mary the Virgin, Elham
Every Wednesday 8am – Morning Prayer by Zoom – For details see: www.elhamvalleygroupofchurches.co.uk
Methodist Church – Contact the Circuit Office at email@example.com
St Mary’s – the church remains open daily from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm for private prayer and meditation.
This year’s Benefice Advent events will be on Zoom (link below) on
1st, 8th, 15th & 22nd December at 6pm.
We will be looking at the film series, The Chosen. This will eventually
comprise seven series of films studying the life of Jesus through the eyes of those
around him. It is being independently produced, and crowd funded to protect the
biblical integrity of the content. The first two series are currently available to
watch for free via Facebook or the production company’s own website (https://watch.angelstudios.com/thechosen), with the third currently being filmed. Whilst some content is necessarily fictional in terms of characters’ backstories, much care has been taken to ensure both cultural and historical authenticity.
People are asked to view the relevant episodes for the week as close to the online worship and discussion as possible, and to note anything of interest they want to discuss with others. This is a departure from our usual events, as the episodes will not necessarily cover traditional Advent themes.
Our next music night will be on Sunday 3rd December in St Mary's when you will have the opportunity to sing your favourite Christmas songs and carols. Mince pies and drinks will be served. There is no charge for this event, but donations would be most welcome to help us keep this beautiful church open at the heart of our village.
Churches Together in Elham
is once again hosting a prayer meeting in the Methodist Hall, open to all persons of any denomination or none. Bi-monthly, on a Saturday morning, at 8 am, half an hour of prayer followed by breakfast at 8.30 (please let David Whitethread know if you are coming – 840650 or 07961053335).
The next Prayer Breakfast is 4th December. All welcome, come and join us.
Acrise Church Christmas Fayre
Will be held in
Elham Village Hall
Saturday 4th December 10am – 2pm
There will be Father Christmas, festive refreshments, cards, crafts, cakes, books, gifts, tombola, raffle and much more!
Assistance during the Pandemic - Alison Dale (firstname.lastname@example.org 07985025381) has a list of contacts who can help or provide a service to everyone in the Elham Valley Group of Churches, from walking a dog to supplying take-away meals. Please get in touch if you would like to find out more, or wish to make an offer of assistance to others.
Though the project has taken three years from concept to completion, and involved overcoming many challenges associated with building in an 800 year-old building, the New Facilities at St.Mary’s are now complete. The improvements include an addition to the South Porch to house accessible toilet facilities (including a baby changing station, and a sink for flower arranging); greatly improved access for wheelchairs by the installation of new ramps from outside into the heart of the Church; new main doors to the South Porch; new central heating boilers concealed in an enclosure in the South Porch; and inside the Church, a large servery with storage, and even a dishwasher!
None of this would have been possible without the generous financial support of parishioners and the whole community of Elham through donations and various fund-raising events, and also the generosity of outside funding agencies.
We are pleased to report that the entire project cost has been covered by these donations, coupled with fabric funds available from Church reserves for the cost of the replacement boilers.
By the time you read this, a celebration will have taken place in the Church to mark the commissioning of the facilities. A lucky raffle ticket holder will have had the honour of completing the first official flush! It is hoped that many of you will be attending events in a more user-friendly environment in the future. The servery area inside the Church can be viewed any time during weekdays when the Church is open (9.00am to 5.00pm), and the whole project viewed when the South Porch is open for services every Sunday.
The Parochial Church Council of St.Mary’s would like to extend sincere thanks to the design and construction professionals, and to all who contributed time and financial resources to the New Facilities project.
Peter Swain and Graham Ernest-Jones - Church Wardens