By Editor, Feb 1 2019 10:22AM

January, a month for both looking back at 2018 and looking forward to 2019. At St. Stephen’s in 2018 Judith seamlessly ‘inherited’ our family as sole pro warden. Essentially the family remains the same but aspirations will always change. January also seems an appropriate time to give thanks to all those who make St. Stephen’s special, difficult to do without making it seem a list, but herewith my attempt!

We give thanks to Judith for accepting the pro warden ship and everything that entails, and to quiet Fred our sacristan, whose gloriously joyous tree at Christmas is a gift to us all, not just the children. At Christmas we were especially grateful too to Mary, whose music enhances every service throughout the year, and to Janet whose input is always enormous but this Christmas was increased by Linda’s absence. Christmas also gave us the gift of Pat to preside over our Midnight Eucharist, in addition to all her other roles. Linda’s rest at Christmas was so well deserved as, since taking semi-retirement, she has channelled her vast well of caring kindness into other peoples’ lives. She has very little time to spare for herself. I’m not sure Frances and Martine have much time to spare either but they, and their families, were there at Christmas too, helping out just as Frances and Martine do throughout the year, giving unstintingly at many varied events. One such kindness is Frances helping Hazel, our gentle coffee provider and steadfast chalice assistant. Another quiet contributor is Marlene, who brightens up our church and our days with her beautiful flower arrangements.

There are so many others one should thank, not least our clergy team and all those who share fellowship and friendship with us each week. So please consider yourselves remembered with a big ‘Thank you’ to each and every one of you from each and every one of us at St. Stephen’s.

Now to the ‘forward looking’ of January. At last Sunday’s Church Meeting Judith both chaired and took the minutes. The following day she circulated immaculate minutes of said meeting. Does she realize she now has a job for life?! Seriously the meeting, which I was unable to attend, was full of enthusiasm and hope for the future with much valuable input from everyone, but notably from Simon and Lis. (together with their daughters another big bonus from 2018 for whom we give thanks!).

Many dates and events for the forthcoming year were discussed, possibilities voiced and commitments made. Obviously as events are due to take place details will be made available. I must admit that two dates give me immediate pleasure, one being the baptism of little Georgiana, Pauline’s grandchild on Easter Sunday. Georgiana made her first appearance with us at our Christingle service when just a few days old and was absolutely gorgeous. The second date appeared on our news list- Adrian is to be the presiding minister at our Candlemas service.

So, a Happy New Year indeed.

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

By Editor, Jan 7 2019 07:34PM

Just a very short letter this month to send greetings from St. Stephen’s, while still in the midst of our Christmas preparations.

We’ve had our happy, if slightly unorthodox Nativity, when sadly our designated baby Jesus was unwell. Happily, at the very last moment toddler Henry walked in, with mother, father and 12 week old Erin. Erin was an exemplary ‘Jesus’ and Dad even had a beard! Thank you all so much, you were a lovely Holy Family.

Frances’ grandchildren enhanced the service beautifully with Lottie’s rendition of Away in a Manger, and both Phoebe and Lottie narrated. Meanwhile Emma was a little angel and the boys were angelic too!

And thank you, David for being a lovely, unfazed, ‘anchor man’.

Numbers were a little down for our Carols Evening, but that meant there was much delicious mulled wine and many nibbles to share. As usual the content of the readings varied from amusing to serious. Janet presented Simon, on the night, with a reading of the first Christmas Day during the First World War. Fortunately Simon was unfazed too, as it was a moving extract, beautifully read.

I think Janet will now be embroiled in the preparation of those Christingle oranges and then there is our midnight service to look forward to.

Now it just remains to say, we wish you and all your loved ones a happy and peaceful Christmas, sending our love and thoughts especially to baby Ernie and his family, and all those who are sad or unwell at this time.

For myself, when we are walking home after our midnight service, I shall think of Adrian once again placing the Christ child in his manger, and be thankful.

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

By Editor, Dec 21 2018 07:49PM

Boys running around in knee high socks? Helping old women cross the road? Running around shouting “DYB DYB DYB, DOB DOB DOB”? None of this seems relevant to the party going, brand wearing youth of today, and yet all are associated with scouting. As styles and music tastes have matured over the past 150 years, so has scouting - leaving Baden-Powell’s ‘DYB DYB’ing wolf cubs as relics of the past. There are approximately 391,000 scouts, both male and female, across the UK aged between 6 and 25. They are all flourishing young people who are learning much more than just how to tie a reef knot. 


Scouting’s mission is to ensure that ‘scouting actively engages and supports young people in their personal development, empowering them to make a positive contribution to society’, encouraging them to step out of their comfort zones and introducing them to new activities. Many people who have been exposed to this kind of experience have gone far. Sir David Attenborough, an documentarian of legendary status; Tony Blair, former prime minister; and Sir Richard Branson, world leading entrepreneur are among the advocates. It seems out of the question for the kids of today to not have these kinds of opportunities, yet there are still some people whose view of scouting is stuck in the past. 


Youth shaped scouting is where the youth are put in positions of leadership to teach them organization and leadership skills. The hashtag "#skillsforlife" is used throughout the scouting social media accounts and is made the forefront of many scouting events throughout the movement. Leadership roles are taken on by members throughout the age groups, starting as young as 8, with opportunities constantly renewing. Helping to plan the program or individual evenings or events stimulates independence and organizational skills. Independence granted on camps encourages them to think for themselves. Children as young as 9 learn to do tasks such as washing up, cooking, putting up tents and collecting fire wood which are skills that are rarely taught by parents until their teenage years and help them mature as people. People skills and public speaking, although taught in schools, are developed and nurtured in a less pressured environment and are constantly applicable in later life. 


The scouting values are care, respect, integrity, cooperation and belief, and these values develop the character of the scouts. The movement is multicultural and fully inclusive, exposing children to how others live and challenging prejudice. Those that are handicapped in any way still get to experience the same opportunities as their peers; no mountain is too high or activity too dangerous for anyone. 

International and global opportunities are also available through scouting, allowing young people to interact with other scouts from around the world. These opportunities enable them to experience the cultural differences, even within their common interest, and exchange the values and information that they have drawn from scouting to educate one another. The JOTA (Jamboree On The Airwaves) and JOTI (Jamboree On The Internet) are global events for young people to contact other scouts and chat about any topic without even leaving their own town. The European and World Scout Jamborees, despite being selective events, allow scouts to visit areas all over the world and view them from a different perspective. People often grow new eyes when the glistening hotels and pristine swimming pools are removed. These immersive experiences and various other opportunities are rarely accessible through school and help to make scouts more employable and generally more rounded human beings. 


Why should a young person not become a scout? Scouting may make them a more employable, less biased and more skilled adult; encourage them to become a scout and watch them flourish. 

By Ella Danks — 3rd Epsom (St Martin's) Scout Group

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.


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