Invitation to remember

A photo of the candle tributes at the Memorial Service 2012On Friday 7 November, our churches play host to our annual All Saints’ Memorial Service in which people gather to remember loved ones who have died.

All Saints’ is a time in the Church year in which we remember those who have gone before us and celebrate the Saints and so it’s a really good time to hold such a memorial service.

At the service, we will give thanks for the lives of those who have passed away. We will honour their memory during the service and seek God’s comfort in prayer. After the service, there will be some refreshments available if you would like to stay behind and chat.

The centrepiece of the service is a respectful reading out of the names of all those who have died in the last year along with any other names of people that families wish to remember. As names are read, family members light candles and place them on a nave altar (see photo).

Although the service focuses on those who have lost a loved one in the last year, the service is open to all and each year, there are usually people who gather to remember those who have died in the more distant past. Time is no healer and it’s always good to continue to mark that person’s memory and offer to God our feelings as we continue to miss them.

If you would like to come to the service, please phone our church office on 01732 842245 and leave a message or email us via this website to let us know. It would be very useful if you could tell us how many family members you expect to bring with you so that we can ensure we can accommodate everyone.

Offham remembers 1914

A photo of the after service drinks at Offham Village Service 2014Offham’s 10th Annual Village Service was held on Sunday, 22nd June and took for its theme: “Offham at War!” to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.

The fine, sunny weather filled the church once again with a wide representation from the village.

After a welcome by Rev David Green the opening hymn was Eternal Father, strong to save with its nautical theme. Mike Rowe then reminded us of some of the names from the War Memorial and of the origin of the lines from Laurence Binyon’s famous Ode of Remembrance with its poignant concluding line “We will remember them”.

The children from years 4 and 5 at Offham Primary School then sang a medley of songs from the First World War including Pack up your troubles and It’s a long way to Tipperary.

On a more sombre note Stephen and Stewart Betts read moving accounts of the experiences of Frederick Pierce (Stephen’s grandfather) and Laurence Betts (Stewart’s father), both of whom were decorated for bravery on active service during the Great War.

Clare Innes then read a poem by Dame Rose Macaulay, “Many Sisters to Many Brothers” about the women who didn’t go to war, but kept the home fires burning. It ends:-

In a trench you are sitting, while I am knitting
A hopeless sock that never gets done. Well, here’s luck, my dear; ― and
you’ve got it, no fear;
But for me . . . a war is poor fun.

A photo of the after service drinks at Offham Village Service 2014Afterward, there followed the hymn I vow to thee my country and then Cllr Matthew Balfour read an “Offham World War Timeline” written by David Godfrey using extracts from Offham Parish Council minutes of the period and illustrating how the village supported the war effort.

Abide with Me was followed by our guest of honour, Deputy Lieutenant Mrs Marion Regan MBE DL, who gave a Bible reading from the book of Joshua 4.1-9.

This Scriptural theme was picked up by David Green in his sermon where he said that the war memorials are like the Children of Israel’s memorial stones placed in the River Jordan. The water of present day life continues to flow around them, but the course of the river is ever affected by their presence.

In a time of prayer, lead by Gabriela Szomoru from Church Farm, all the names on the war memorial were read out by members of the congregation in turn, after which all joined in with the Lord’s Prayer.

On a lighter note, and an interesting comparison with present day concerns. Martyn Begbey read from the Offham Parish Council minutes of 12th October 1915 which recorded a dispute over damage to the local roads attributed to the “traction engines hauling stone from the quarries situated in the village .. having doubled in the last twelve months … as many as eleven engines with trucks .. in and out of the quarries in one day”, rather than the local motor bus from Offham to Malling, which was highly valued.

The Parish Council wrote to the Rural District Council saying “the bus is a great convenience to the people living in the village.”

After the closing hymn, All my hope on God is founded, we gathered together in the churchyard for drinks while the sun set on a perfect summer’s evening, accompanied by swooping swifts, feeding their fledglings nesting in the church’s south porch roof.

Mike Rowe

Annual Village Service in Offham remembers 1914

Offham at War!

Stories and tales from the Great War years

Offham’s Village Service 2014
Sunday 22nd June – 6.00pm
St Michael’s Church, Offham

Come along to this year’s Village Service which remembers a village, county and community in the Great War Years (1914-1918) in music and readings.

We are particularly delighted to welcome Deputy Lieutenant of Kent, Mrs Marion Regan MBE DL, as our guest of honour.

If you’ve not been before, you don’t know what you’ve missed. The Offham Village Service lasts around an hour and is followed by a relaxed glass of Pimms and refreshments in the Churchyard with neighbours as the sun slowly sets… what better way to end a Summer Sunday!

Everyone is invited – we hope to see you there

For further information, please call: 07824 784121

How to find us

The Big Promise comes to West Malling

An image of the Big Promise logoIf you are wondering how to mark Valentines Day this year, why not give your other half an early present by bringing them along to St Mary’s Church, West Malling on Saturday 8 February at 5.15 p.m. to take part in a special service called The Big Promise.

To mark the start of Marriage Week in the UK, churches up and down the country are hosting such services to enable married couples to renew their marriage vows.

Whether you’ve been married for six months, six years or sixty years, and whether you got married in church originally or in a civil ceremony, everyone is welcome to come and renew their commitment to their spouse and celebrate their relationship.

The centrepiece of the service is a Church of England liturgy called the Renewal of Vows. Couples get the chance to say the famous old words ‘to have and to hold, from this day forward’ and all the rest of the marriage vows together at the same time, and make a public declaration of their continuing love and commitment.

The service will last around 45 to 50 minutes, so why not book in with one of the restaurants and pubs on the High Street in West Malling and make an evening of it! Come on your own as a couple, or why not invite your family and friends to support you? If they’re married, they could renew their vows too!

Invitation to remember

A photo of the candle tributes at the Memorial Service 2012On Thursday 7 November, our churches play host to our annual All Saints’ Memorial Service in which people gather to remember loved ones who have died.

All Saints’ is a time in the Church year in which we remember those who have gone before us and celebrate the Saints and so it’s a really good time to hold such a memorial service.

At the service, we will give thanks for the lives of those who have passed away. We will honour their memory during the service and seek God’s comfort in prayer. After the service, there will be some refreshments available if you would like to stay behind and chat.

The centrepiece of the service is a respectful reading out of the names of all those who have died in the last year along with any other names of people that families wish to remember. As names are read, family members light candles and place them on a nave altar (see photo).

Although the service focuses on those who have lost a loved one in the last year, the service is open to all and each year, there are usually people who gather to remember those who have died in the more distant past. Time is no healer and it’s always good to continue to mark that person’s memory and offer to God our feelings as we continue to miss them.

If you would like to come to the service, please phone our church office on 01732 842245 and leave a message or email us via this website to let us know. It would be very useful if you could tell us how many family members you expect to bring with you so that we can ensure we can accommodate everyone.

Harvest 2013

A photo of produce from Harvest Festival 2012 at St Mary's, West MallingThis coming Sunday is the Harvest Festival services for West Malling, Offham and Kings Hill. Family services will be taking place at West Malling and Offham with a Communion service at Kings Hill as we celebrate all of God’s goodness to us in the food we eat and all that the earth provides. This page provides some brief details for those interested in joining us for the Harvest celebrations.

Services

  • Offham Harvest Family Service, St Michael’s Church
    Sunday 22 September, 9.15 a.m. till 10.15 a.m.
  • Kings Hill Harvest Holy Communion, Discovery School
    Sunday 22 September, 9.30 a.m. till 10.45 a.m.
  • West Malling Harvest Family Service, St Mary’s Church
    Sunday 22 September, 11.00 a.m. till Noon.

Offerings

As usual, everyone is very welcome to bring a donation of food as part of their act of thanksgiving. This year, the donations will be passed on in equal shares to Pilsdon at Malling, the Kenward Trust in Yalding and the West Malling Churches’ Foodbank who do all fantastic work amongst those in need of extra help.

Non-perishable items are best as donations since they will help these worthy causes to make our gifts last longer.

 

 

Coronation celebrations in West Malling

Union Jack British flagOn Sunday 2 June, St Mary’s West Malling will be joining in the celebrations for the Diamond Jubilee of the Queen’s Coronation. Sixty years ago HM The Queen was crowned in Westminster Abbey and we’ll be participating in the celebrations taking place in West Malling.

Family service, 11.00 a.m.

Our main Sunday service this week is a Family Service so the children will be involved throughout with readings, songs and prayers that they can take part in. The service will have a Jubilee theme with special prayers for the Queen and the closing hymn I vow to thee my country.

Tower Tours, 2.00 p.m. till 4.00 p.m.

As part of the Malling Day celebrations, St Mary’s will be opening the Church Tower from 2pm till 4pm and allowing guests to climb to the top and sample the view. Please note that, because of safety issues, there are a number of conditions that all guests must abide by in climbing the tower and all guests will be asked to familiarise themselves with the rules before they attempt to climb to the top. Although this is not an exhaustive list, it is worth noting that children under eight years old cannot climb the tower at all, those over eight must be accompanied by an adult, pregnant women and those with walking difficulties or heart conditions cannot be allowed to climb and sensible shoes must be worn. Please note also that tours can only go ahead in good weather.

Coronation Celebration concert, 7.00 p.m.

To finish the day, the Eynsford Concert Band in conjunction with More Park RC Primary School Choir and West Malling Community Choir will be hosting an evening of music to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of the Coronation. The concert will have a patriotic British feel with Jerusalem, Pomp & Circumstance, Land of Hope and Glory, I vow to Thee my country and the Merry Wives of Windsor all to be performed. There will be a mixture of old and new with everything from Wagner, Handel and Holst to Paul Simon, Ralf McTell and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Tickets are £5 for adults, children are free (tickets on the door) and all money raised goes towards St Mary’s Church fundraising for new toilet and refreshment facilities for the church building.

Offham pays tribute to outstanding service

A photo of Stewart Betts with Rev David GreenThe Church of England don’t hand out bus passes but St Michael’s, Offham tried to find an equivalent last Sunday when they honoured a man who was stepping down after 64 years of service to the Parochial Church Council.

Stewart Betts, of Teston Road Offham, was first elected to the PCC on 9 May 1949 and has been on the Council ever since. Holding a variety of roles in that time, including being a Churchwarden for 20 years, and running the Sunday School with his late wife Margaret for 40 years, Stewart finally decided to call time on the PCC in April and enjoy a well- earned retirement!

In a special Pentecost Sunday service, St Michael’s paid tribute to Stewart and two long- serving fellow members. Mike Rowe retired from being a Churchwarden after 20 years and James Graham is finishing as Treasurer after 15 years. All three men were honoured with special gifts, cards and speeches.

In honour of his long-service, Stewart received a specially engraved antique gas lamp that had, at one time, been used to light the church. He was also presented with a letter from Rt Rev James Langstaff, the Bishop of Rochester, who wrote personally to Stewart to thank him. Finally, the congregation had made a card and taken a collection on his behalf.

The current minister of St Michael’s, Rev David Green said:

‘It was a lovely way to celebrate a truly outstanding period of service. I don’t think I have heard of anyone serving on a PCC for so long without a break. I’m his fifth Vicar in that time and it’s very clear that Stewart has been an incredibly positive influence on the community in Offham for a very long time. He absolutely deserves our respect and thanks.’

Easter events and services 2013

A photo of a chalkboard that reads 'Resurrection is making a comeback'We thought you might like to take note of the Holy Week and Easter events and services taking place in Offham, Kings Hill and West Malling.

Mon 25 March, 7.30 pm
A Service of Wholeness and Healing (including Holy Communion)
St Michael’s, Offham

Tue 26 March, 7.30 pm
Stations of the Cross
Cluster service taking place at St Lawrence’s, Mereworth

Wed 27 March, 7.30 pm
Service of Holy Communion with the Ministry of Reconciliation (Confession)
Cluster service taking place at St Dunstan’s, West Peckham

Thu 28 March, 8.00 pm
Maundy Thursday Holy Communion (with washing of feet and stripping the altar)
Pilsdon Barn Chapel, West Malling

Good Friday, 29 March, 9.15 am
Morning Prayer
St Michael’s, Offham

Good Friday, 29 March, 9.30 am
Morning Prayer
St Gabriel’s, Kings Hill (Discovery School main hall)

Good Friday, 29 March, 11.00 am
Churches Together Good Friday Walk of Witness
Begins at St Thomas More RC Church, Lucks Hill, West Malling

Good Friday, 29 March, 2.00 pm
Quiet Hour
St Mary’s, West Malling

Good Friday, 29 March, 3.30 pm
X-plore Easter – Children’s Easter craft activities
St Mary’s Church Centre, West Malling

Holy Saturday, 30 March, 10.30 am
X-plore Easter – Children’s Easter craft activities
St Gabriel’s, Kings Hill (Discovery School)

Holy Saturday, 30 March, 8.00 pm
Easter Vigil and Service of Light
Pilsdon Barn Chapel, West Malling

Sun 31 Mar, 6.30 am
Easter Dawn Service
St Michael’s, Offham

Sun 31 Mar, 8.00 am
Book of Common Prayer Holy Communion
St Mary’s, West Malling

Sun 31 Mar, 9.15 am
Easter Sunday Holy Communion
St Michael’s, Offham

Sun 31 Mar, 9.30 am
Easter Sunday Family Holy Communion
St Gabriel’s, Kings Hill (Discovery School)

Sun 31 Mar, 11.00 am
Easter Sunday Family Holy Communion
St Mary’s, West Malling

Baptism Evening

A child clapping after his baptism at St Mary's

If you are interested in seeking a baptism for yourself or for one of your children, we host regular Baptism Evenings at the church in West Malling. (find us).

Whether you live in Kings Hill, Offham or West Malling and whether you wish to have the baptism performed at St Gabriel’s, St Michael’s or St Mary’s, please do come along to find out more about baptism and what option you would like to pursue.

Our Priest-in-Charge, David Green will be on hand to explain what baptism (and its alternative Thanksgiving) are all about, answer your questions and then help individuals and couples to fill out the necessary forms and seek to set a date.

David is willing to set dates there and then but please be patient at the end of the session if a number of couples are also looking to arrange services. It may take a little while to handle everyone’s wishes.

If you intend to come to the Baptism Evening, please do let us know (if you can) for catering arrangements. Tea, coffee and light refreshments will be provided.

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