By Editor, Nov 29 2018 07:50PM

Another month, another lovely baptism, with lots of family, friends and love, this time for little Ernie, Lauren’s son. Ernie was angelic throughout the ceremony – we do hope he replicates that in his next starring role as baby Jesus during our ‘nativity’.

Big sister, Ivy, with a bow as gorgeous as she is, and grandmother Irene, were among the supporting cast and it was a joy to formally welcome Ernie into our church family. As always we send love and good wishes for future happiness to the entire family but, on his day, especially to little Ernie.

Another happy gathering took place recently in the Village Hall, St. Stephen’s Christmas Tea Party. This event, instigated by Frances and her family several years ago, continues to be popular and successful due to all their hard work. Especial thanks are due to Martine - and her fantastic creative skills displayed on the Christmas stall. Frances, all her family, and Linda of course, are incredibly supportive, so it is only fitting that the majority of funds donated on the day, £200, was given to one of Frances’ favourite charities, the Red Cross, and the residue, £40, to church funds.

Of course, November brings one of the more solemn services of our year and this year was even more special being the one hundredth anniversary of Armistice Day. We were without music as Mary is always committed elsewhere on this day and Jane was unable to play. Nevertheless it was lovely that Jane was able to join us for the service and we hope by now her hand is better. David and Judith chose to supplement the service with poems in the place of music, which was fitting, and solemn, in keeping with both the theme and the day.

Now we look forward to a season of joyful services and celebrations throughout the Christmas season. We begin with our Advent Party on Friday 7th December at 8.00pm in St. Stephen’s –‘drinks and nibbles’ provided!

Our Nativity, very simplistic this year, is on the 16th December at 9.30 am, followed that evening at 6.30pm by our Carols and Readings, led by Janet. Our Christingle Service is, as always, on Christmas Eve at 3.00 pm. At 11.00pm we have our service to welcome the Christ Child – still my favourite of the whole year, although the Christingle service is always bubbling with suppressed joy and anticipation too – just of a different kind!

St. Stephen’s welcomes you to each and every service we hold but Christmas is extra special to everyone, so consider yourselves extra specially welcomed to any or all of our Christmas events. To end the season we have the service for our very own St. Stephen – his patronal service is on 30th December at 9.30am.

Just one more service to mention - Olive’s, both solemn and affectionate, with Matthew’s eulogy and the music encapsulating some of the facets of a ‘big’ little lady. Now we look forward to sharing a further farewell to Olive at St. Stephen’s on Monday 3rd December at 12.00.

So we begin this letter by welcoming little Ernie to join us through his baptism and end by bidding Olive farewell – both will be remembered with love as treasured members of our church family.

On behalf of everyone here at St. Stephen’s Janie Grinstead

By Editor, Nov 9 2018 10:23PM

The last few weeks have been interesting ones for us here at St. Stephen’s. First of all, on a lovely Sunday morning, Judith announced both the safe birth of Lauren’s baby son, Ernie and the amazingly good news from Jean and Adrian.

Baby Ernie did suffer a relapse but, much to everyone’s relief, has since recovered, is thriving and has already been introduced to his St. Stephen’s family.

Our Harvest celebrations were quite interesting too, happy and we like to think successful. Numbers were higher than anticipated for our Supper but Linda and Pat’s delicious food was sufficient to feed everyone and the Oasis Singers from Stan’s Baptist Church were a joyful bonus. As always there was much other work behind the scenes to be thankful for, from Frances, Martine, Judith, and of course, Janet.

Janet is in her element on Harvest Supper evening and it is always a pleasure to share in her enjoyment, while Linda takes care of most of the catering so capably – and deliciously! Our thanks to them and of course to all of you who shared the evening with us – it was a pleasure.

A very special thank you too, to Vicky for her stunning Harvest floral display and the beautiful Harvest loaf. The display is the first thing that greets us on Harvest Service morning, a testament to both Vikki’s skill and her kindness and commitment to St. Stephen’s.

Sadly there were not many of us present but David led us in a joyful service of thanksgiving and there were copious donations to be taken later to LeatherHEAD Start.

There were conversely lots of people present for the baptism of little Daisy, the church was full of family and friends. Daisy was absolutely adorable and the service was a delight too. As always we send our love and good wishes for the future to Daisy and all her family.

Another rather special service also occurred recently, for which we give thanks to Simon. Our designated leader was detained, the service was due to begin. As Simon walked through the door Judith quietly explained our dilemma and Simon offered himself.

It was a lovely service, completely heartfelt, complete with sermon. It was difficult not to be a bit overwhelmed by the simplicity with which it all evolved, from Judith’s quiet assessment of the situation to Simon’s quiet acceptance of his role.

So those were all lovely things to be thankful for, and I know I should be thankful too for the life of Olive and that she no longer suffers, but I am also sad that she is no longer with us. When I first met Olive I was a bit wary, but grew to become genuinely fond of her – even her spikey bits, of which she was very aware, having pointed them all out to me!

I remember Olive speaking about her youth, and adventurous times acting as a navigator in rally driving. She was at pains to point out that she, along with many others, had not always been ‘just little old ladies’, had lived and had many different facets to their lives. Olive’s life did indeed have many different facets but through all the years I knew her, the one steadfast thing was her deep faith.

Remembering you always, Olive, with love. I will miss you and all your spikey bits.

On behalf of everyone here at St. Stephen’s Janie Grinstead

By Editor, Oct 31 2018 06:01PM

Not everybody knows this, but the church is here to offer daily prayer and praise to God. This is its (and our) primary task.

In Jesus’ time it was customary to pray seven time a day, to hear some of the Bible and praise God using the psalms. The early church did something similar, calling these services the Divine Offices, the Opus Dei i.e. the Work of God. You may recall their names, Mattins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers and Compline. There was also a daily celebration of Holy Communion and together these times of prayer at 12 Midnight, Dawn 3am, Morning 6am, Mid-morning 9am, Noon, Mid Afternoon 3pm, Evening 6pm and Night 9pm formed the basic pattern of monastic life. The Church of England drew these together into two services Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer when it published its own Book of Common Prayer after the separation from Rome. Ever since it has been the duty of every priest to offer these services to God daily. In older times the Office would be said or sung in church. Before it began the bell would ring and the whole parish, or at least those in earshot, would know their priest was praying for them and for their world. Nowadays our priests still have this obligation but may say the Office privately. Fortunately for us at St. Martin’s Morning and Evening Prayer are said in church every day and all are welcome.

Since the beginning of this month the time has been moved forward to 8.30am Monday to Thursday but is still at 9.15 on Friday and Saturday. Maybe more people will hear the bell on their way to work, taking their children to school, or heading for the shops. But everyday the work is done. Praise goes up from this parish’s church and prayers are said for you. Evening Prayer is at 5pm every day except Sunday.

All who hear the bells and see folk coming and going will know that there is another way to live, as we make a stand against the view that there is no God or no point in believing that there is value in caring for others more than you care for yourself, whilst there is great personal benefit from stepping aside just for a few minutes from the busy-ness of the world. Twice a day the bell sends out that message and calls everyone to join in, wherever they are, or to come and join us in church. Whether we are only two or three we are reminded of what a great thing it is we share in, and can have the comfort of a partner to share your own prayers. Come and Join us.

By Editor, Sep 30 2018 03:21PM

First of all this month, my apologies for not writing last month. My only excuse is that during the horribly hot weather we were having, time somehow ‘slipped’ into our annual family get together in Cornwall, where we enjoyed the lovely cool weather almost as much as meeting up with each other.

Meanwhile Mary was also absent for one of those holiday Sundays, so we both missed David’s debut ‘guitar service’. Hazel said it was much appreciated so we now look forward to a repeat – when Mary and I will be able to appreciate both David’s service and his expertise on the guitar.

Moving on, it’s amazing how just a few days seem to herald the ‘turning of the year’ and we are immediately in the midst of planning for our Harvest Service and Supper while Linda and Helen are projecting even further ahead to their proposed Beacon Christmas/New Year Lunch.

But first we celebrate our Harvest season beginning with our Parish Harvest Supper at 7 o’clock on Saturday 6th October in the Village Hall. Linda always has her menus sorted months ahead of schedule and Janet has already begun dispensing tickets. At £10 per head these are a massive bargain for a delicious three course meal, plus cheese and biscuits and coffee. Of course you are expected to supply your own glasses and liquid refreshments!

The evening will include the usual raffle and quiz, and this year’s entertainment comes from the singers of the Oasis Baptist Church. Do come and join us if you can – last year I had to keep postponing my lift home as no one seemed inclined to leave at the end of the evening.

As mentioned, our Supper takes place in the Village Hall and last weekend we celebrated the 50th anniversary of its opening, celebrating too the inter connectivity of Church and Village. It’s somehow a lovely thought that the Hall stands on church ground for which a peppercorn rent is paid. I love that antiquated terminology!

Debbie and all the other members of the Village Hall Committee, St. Stephen’s, the WI, Playgroup and many others had all combined to provide a lovely afternoon of memories and activities, not forgetting refreshments and pleasant company.

It was a pleasure to walk into the hall and see Janet and Linda ‘manning’ the St. Stephen’s table, sitting next to Hazel and Debbie at the WI book stall. I must add the WI also provided a sumptuous cake stall so it was a very productive visit. We walked home with a delicious cake and another copy of the Village History book, compiled by Hazel and Angela several years ago.

The lemon drizzle cake lived up to expectations and the following morning, after Andris’ most satisfying service, Linda produced a big tin of freshly baked gingerbread. What we used to call ‘food for the body and food for the soul’. Altogether a delicious and satisfying weekend!

So it just remains for me to remind you of our Parish Harvest Service and Supper and to repeat that you are warmly welcomed to share either or both events with us. We look forward to sharing the friendship and fellowship of St. Stephen’s with you.

On behalf of everyone here at St. Stephen’s Janie Grinstead

P.S. I’m very envious of Frances who now, once again, has her brother, sister, daughter and four gorgeous grandchildren, all living in close proximity in the Village, not to mention all the other family members.

By Editor, Sep 25 2018 05:51PM

The Leprosy Mission (TLM) serves a population of 305 million people in around 30 leprosy affected countries. In 2017, 489 patients across Nepal received reconstructive surgery; 238 people in Ethiopia received training and an improved cooking stove; and 1,220 in Mozambique were supported by self care groups.

St Martin's and St Stephen's contribute annually to this Christian charity, but individual members of our congregations also support them in various ways. Box collectors raised £219.44 during the year ending Easter 2018. Some people gave used stamps, and people also bought TLM Christmas and Easter cards. TLM are always very grateful for our support.

Please look at the display board at the rear of St Martin's during October to see more information about their work.

Thank you.

Jean Hamblin.

By Editor, Sep 16 2018 12:44PM

April 2017 - March 2018

3rd Epsom Scout Group has enjoyed another successful year with all sections full and with long waiting lists. The Group has enjoyed growth of nearly 9% again this year with 116 young people in this year’s census return.

The Group consists of single Beaver, Cub and Scout sections, and the affiliated Ashley Explorer Unit. All sections meet on a Thursday evening at our HQ, developing a strong sense of community and regular interaction between the sections. We have a team of leaders in all sections, supporting flexible volunteering, as well as support from parents through rotas.

The Group paraded at Boiderhurst for St George’s Day as part of a family activity day. We took over 100 young people to our Group camp at Hope Hill in Kent last summer, supported by nearly 20 leaders/helpers, which was an amazing achievement. The Group supported District Events, enjoying success at the District swimming gala, winning both the Scout trophy and the Overall trophy, a fantastic effort by our members.

Our Beaver colony has been very active earning a multitude of badges as well as ensuring the Beavers enjoy adventurous activities such as den building, hikes on the Downs and sleepovers in huts and tents. They also enjoyed taking part in the District Party in the Park last summer.

Cubs’ outdoor adventures included tracking, wide games, den building and astronomy, as well as earning our Scientist badges, climbing, caving and canoeing. We took part in #YouShape and visited the mayor at the Town Hall. We enjoyed District Events like the Night hike, Bowling, Quiz & Emergency Aid courses. 13 Cubs earned their CSS awards this year, and we awarded over 200 activity/staged badges, with nights away at Group camp and 6’ers & 2nd’ers camp too.

Now with nearly 50 Scouts, the Troop has been able to spend time on the water, hiked, competed in an inter-patrol ‘Bake Off’, camped, participated in a London Monopoly run, visited an Islamic centre and had a fantastic time at Scoutabout. Scouts worked towards their Chief Scout’s Gold Award as well as other activity badges. The Troop also enjoyed successes in the District cross country and the District challenge hike as well as raising £1,500 for the Rainbow Trust.

The Ashley Explorer Unit has continued to grow and has developed its own identity. The Unit has had an active year involving escaping from panic rooms, camping, hiking, running Cub evenings, mini engineering and a lot of activities involving food! Several Explorers completed their Chief Scout Gold Award and 2 have completed their Platinum Award.

Two of our Explorers have also had success outside the Group, with Seb Jowett selected to join Scout ambassadors, Steve Backshall and Helen Glover for a weekend with 20 others. Ella Danks is representing Epsom and Ewell in the UK contingent to the World Scout Jamboree 2019 in West Virginia as part of the Surrey Stingrays Unit.

By Editor, Aug 6 2018 05:39PM

I’m very happy to say that as I write this month the sun is not shining, it’s wonderful. Perhaps it will actually rain later on too. As a very small child my nightly prayers would end with the plea for it to rain ‘only at night’. As you may imagine I no longer ask for this and rain at any time would be most welcome!

Janet was most welcome when she scurried into church a couple of Sundays past, carrying a large container of her well beloved rock buns. Sadly, they were not destined for our refreshments but as a contribution to Linda’s afternoon tea party. Seriously, Janet is so kind, and very busy, and we all knew that her rock buns would be very much appreciated by both Linda and her guests.

Linda says that her tea parties at St. Martin’s are becoming firmly established now and she intends to hold them as a monthly event. She is a lovely hostess and you would always be made most welcome if you wish to join her. Linda is also an incredibly generous hostess so you would enjoy a delicious tea as well as delightful company, all for a small donation.

Funnily enough, ‘delicious’ and ‘delightful’ were the two words I was intending to use to describe yet another tea party – this one hosted by some of the children at the Vale School, in aid of one of their favourite charities. I believe Pat acted as the original coordinator between the school and their guests when these tea parties first took place, and she still does.

This tea party with entertainment has become something of an annual event now, looked forward to eagerly by members of both St. Stephen’s and the WI. Hazel says that the ladies listened to some delightful singing from the children, mostly girls with the addition of three brave boys! They were then served a delicious tea by the children, I believe strawberries were mentioned. The comments from everyone about the children, the singing and the tea were all most complimentary.

Children of course grow up and one of our own, from both our old Sunday Club and the Village, Becky married Paul at St. Stephen’s last weekend. A lovely child has turned into a lovely young woman to whom, together with Paul we send love and congratulations. Judith says it was a lovely, happy ceremony and saved me a gorgeous programme of events, in the form of - I’m not quite sure how to describe it – a mini hand held noticeboard, lovingly and beautifully produced.

So, even though this weather is pretty enervating, I have to end now by saying that we are all glad the sun shone for Becky and Paul and all their families and friends on their wedding day, and hope it shines for them throughout their coming lives together too. Sadly, I do think Becky Betts is a gorgeous name to relinquish and rather regret its passing!

Another happy note on which to end, it was a pleasure to share last Sunday’s service with both David and Nancy, and we all look forward to more such services. As always too, with thanks to all those who have ‘ministered’ to us over the past month. We do appreciate that we are always cared for.

And the very, very last note on which to end - we send our love to Adrian and Jean.

On behalf of everyone here at St. Stephen’s Janie Grinstead

By Editor, Jul 17 2018 08:37PM

On the Sunday morning of Christian Aid Week, May 13th, about a dozen people turned up between 9 and 11 am at the Impey household to settle down to breakfast. This was a social event with the ulterior motive of raising money for Christian Aid. Since St Martin’s no longer collects door- to-door, inviting residents of the road to breakfast seemed to be an alternative way of raising donations. Fortunately, not all the 30 guests invited could come, so there were enough seats for all, and the delay before appetites could be adequately satisfied was not too great. Altogether a pleasant social occasion raised £155.

Six weeks later, on 24th June, another beautiful Sunday morning, punters arrived at St Martin’s Infants School to consume a beautifully prepared brunch, thereby helping to raise money for the Duchenne muscular dystrophy charity, Harrisons Fund. The proceeds will contribute towards the cost of the trial of a new drug which could make a real difference to the lives of three boys currently at the school. St Martin’s was there in force, selling a mouth-watering range of cakes and biscuits freshly baked and donated by many ladies in the congregation. The total of £160 raised by our stall was a welcome addition to the proceeds of the brunch itself. You can’t beat the lure of freshly prepared food, it seems, to raise money for good causes.

By Editor, Jul 1 2018 06:13PM


Sunday 24 June, 1 July, 15 July: 9.30am Service with Holy Communion

Sunday 8 July, 22 July: 9.30am Service with Morning Prayer

To begin with – last month’s Street Party. While I know that this was not a St. Stephen’s enterprise, my goodness there was an awful lot of friendly ‘overlap’. Pauline, Frances and their families and friends were once more key members of the whole enterprise.

The vocals for the music came from Bob, ably abetted by Guy and later the children took a turn, Frances’ second granddaughter has a lovely voice. I understand Bob is a member of the Epsom Bowling Club, along with Frances and Pauline, and that he also provides the music at our Christmas Tea Party. Guy of course is the son of David and his late wife, Mary.

Frances’ eldest granddaughter, Phoebe is a brilliant little baker, still at primary school, and presented and manned a delightful stall stocked with the most gorgeous goodies – all her own work. Unaided, Phoebe raised over £100 for her chosen cancer charity. Her cheese straws are absolutely delicious!

It was a very well organised event and everyone seemed to have a good time, including Christopher and Brian and many of our other friends from St. Anthony’s. So, well done and thank you.

Thank you too to all our visiting ministers in recent weeks, we have had some lovely and unusual services, sort of par for the course at St. Stephen’s, and all of them satisfying on many different levels.

There was the Pentecostal Service with Howard, followed by the opulent chocolate gateau and alcoholic and non- alcoholic fizz, when we all sang Happy Birthday to the church, Andris’ service with all the lovely old reminiscent hymns and last Sunday’s service when Mary was unavoidably detained en-route so that we were without music. John just took it all in his stride and we chose some beautiful well known hymns to sing unaccompanied. Mind you, Janet led us in the singing or we should have floundered a bit!

The intercessionary prayers have also given immense satisfaction. We are very fortunate that within such a small family there are those willing and able to give this service. In all honesty they seem to have grown into this role and gone from strength to strength. So many heartfelt thanks to Judith, Pat, Janet and Linda.

And thank you, Olive and Marlene for those beautiful flowers in memory of Jane. Everyone was so pleased to learn that Olive and her sister were able to view the arrangement.

So it just remains to say that, while we are very grateful to the clergy team for catering so well for our needs, we still miss you Adrian and send both you and Jean, Olive, Margaret and all our absent friends our love and good wishes for better health and sunnier days.

On behalf of everyone here at St. Stephen’s Janie Grinstead


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