By Editor, Jan 29 2020 03:09PM

It seems almost impossible that we are already into the second week of the New Year and that everything except our Nativity set has been packed away. But Christmas was lovely while it lasted.

First things first, we held our Advent Party, and following this our thanks go to Ruth for leading our Nativity. Frances, as always answered our pleas, so Finn was a glorious Joseph, running away with the donkey, while Emma was a sweet Mary. Although ‘under the weather’, Phoebe and Lottie were both excellent narrators. Our thanks to them all.

On the day, Ruth also introduced St. Stephen’s beautiful new Nativity figurines, gifted by Pat. I believe they are carved from olive wood. Fittingly, they began the year’s Posada journey following the Nativity.

In the evening Janet hosted our very pleasant and successful Carols and Readings Evening, when it was a pleasure to welcome both old and new friends both from St. Martin’s and the Village. As usual, Janet and Pat had ensured that the mulled wine and nibbles were delicious and plentiful.

Once again we thank you for the pleasure of your company, always remembering to thank Mary, for her musical efforts on all of these occasions. We thank Judith too, not just at Christmas time but for being our pro Warden throughout the year.

Next appeared Fred’s wonderful Christmas contribution of the annual tree in all its glory, so much gorgeous opulence, balanced by the equally beautiful, but almost stark in its simplicity, display of Marlene’s flower arrangement. I love St. Stephen’s with all its contrasts that somehow add up to a satisfying ‘whole’.

Meanwhile, Ruth braved the Christingle celebrations with yet more gorgeousness in the form of Linda’s Christingle oranges. Everyone seems to have survived that experience intact and there were definitely more animals available for the crib scene this year.

So the scene was set for John to preside over our 11 o’ clock service, the most beautiful one of the year for that precise moment when the clock ticks over into the new birth and the new day.

As always, our Christmas celebrations ended with St. Stephen’s Patronal Service. It seems such a fitting way to bring the season’s celebratory services to an end and also, as always, to share that service with our friends from St. Martin’s – and for good measure, they bring lots of extra male voices for Good King Wenceslas!

Well, a slight feeling of deflation lingers here. I’m so glad that we can all still enjoy our Nativity scenes until Candlemas, and I like that celebration too. I must admit that I like the time to enjoy our scene once all the ‘noise’ of Christmas has passed and when all the tiny figurines are eventually packed away, in my hard to reach cupboard for another year, that is when Christmas really ends for me.

But now, here at St. Stephen’s, as everywhere, a feeling of optimism for what comes next begins to creep in. May we begin this New Year and end the last by thanking all those who have joined us at St. Stephen’s and shared our life in any way throughout the last year.

We wish each and every one of you, and all of those whom you love, a joyous, peaceful and healthy New Year.

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

By Editor, Dec 13 2019 12:08PM

As I write this month, it really is a misty, moisty November day, just as it seems to have been for the whole month. However, we have had some memorable services to make up for this, the one on Remembrance Sunday being foremost.

Although we have a comparatively short list of names on our memorial plaque, there are still far too many. Henry read out each of their names. This year Judith had collected together research on the background of each named individual (mainly carried out by the volunteers at Bourne Hall Local and Family History Centre but combined with some research of her own), and presented the results in a simple, stark and poignant manner.

Many of us viewed the research on the Saturday preceding the service and it is surprising how much more meaning the background detail gave to the service, presided over by John. The tiny candles were once again lit, one for each named individual and the flowers Janet asked Marlene to arrange were also very much in keeping with the day.

Fortunately, Judith had collated the research so that, following the display, all the information was still available in her folder. It would have taken far too long to absorb all the details in one sitting and rather selfish to monopolize the folder on the Saturday. Thank you, Judith.

And now it’s amazing, and a little bit off putting, to realize that the next two items of note relate to Christmas. At last Sunday’s service Janet thanked Martine and Frances for both providing a bountiful Christmas Stall at Linda’s November Beacon Tea and for all their equally bountiful efforts on behalf of the St. Stephen’s stall at St. Martin’s Christmas Fair. Mind you, I think Janet puts quite a lot of effort into the work behind the St. Stephen’s stall too!

So now we look forward to Christmas. It’s a pleasure to know that Ruth will be sharing our Nativity with us on the 15th December – our very simple, unrehearsed, Nativity. As always we will simply recount the Christmas story and everyone is welcome to participate, to improvise or to observe. In the evening Janet hosts our Carols and Readings, beginning at 6.30pm. Always a very pleasant and relaxed evening, with mulled wine and nibbles to reward you for your participation!

I understand Ruth is to be masterminding our Christingle celebrations on Christmas Eve at

3pm too. O brave Ruth, she has asked for all my percussion instruments, so you have been warned. I think my idea of making a ‘joyful noise unto the Lord’ springs to mind. It will be lovely!! Seriously, I think it will be and the children will have such a lot of fun, as will Ruth. John, meanwhile is giving us the pleasure of presiding over our 11pm service, that evening. Such a special service, with much meaning for us all.

Two such different services but each so important, in so many ways. In anticipation, we thank each of you for sharing the joy of Christmas with us and wish you, and all those you love, a very happy and peaceful Christmas.

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

By Editor, Nov 23 2019 06:25PM

I’m afraid this newsletter runs into November deliberately. I couldn’t resist waiting in order to include the baptism of Frances and Graham’s latest grandchild, little Eliza Jean.

But before that we remember our Harvest Supper and the following Harvest Service. The supper was a lovely relaxed evening, very low key, very enjoyable thanks to all the preparation, and provision of delicious food and diabolical quizzes (well, one of them was) but mostly due to the charming people who attended. So our thanks to Linda, Janet, Pat and all of those lovely people. Our thanks too for all the generous contributions Judith took to the LeatherHead Start project on the following Sunday.

Meanwhile, I gave myself a bonus by wandering into St. Stephen’s several times during the afternoon. It was an absolute delight to watch Vicky create a stunning floral display, from the base upwards, and the following morning it was still a glorious ‘surprise’ to see it gracing our Harvest Service. Once again, our grateful thanks to Vicky.

Our Harvest Service, presided over by John, was also different and delightful, with Frances and many of her family in attendance, lots of little ones! To be honest, Frances and her family feature largely in this letter but it is such a joy to welcome her whole family on so many occasions.

The joy was inevitably tinged with sadness when the family congregated for the celebration of the life of their much loved brother Bernard, with Adrian presiding, but that love shone through. Little Eliza attended in the arms of her parents. And just a few days later Adrian again presided, this time over the baptism of that little girl. St. Stephen’s was packed with family and friends and many of the ‘babies’ Adrian had baptized in the past. They were such good children! Phoebe read the lesson and Eliza was absolutely angelic, dressed for the part in her (many times) great grandmother’s gorgeous hand - made Christening gown. A family heirloom. It was a real pleasure to share in such a fantastic service and we send our love to Eliza and her whole family for a truly blessed future while also remembering Bernard, and all those who loved him.

Thinking of loved ones, during the baptism service there was a table displaying many little lighted candles of remembrance for loved ones, Judith explaining that David’s Remembrance Service on the previous evening had been much appreciated.

It just remains to say that, with the sale of the Children’s Society Christmas cards at a recent service, Christmas is obviously almost upon us. I must begin to badger Frances about Christmas angels and grandchildren!

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

By Editor, Aug 30 2019 08:32AM

Nick wrote in a recent newsletter that ‘the end of July is the real beginning of the summer break for many’ and how true that is proving to be. The tempo certainly seems to be slowing down.

However, as we know, for Sophie and Sam July brought the celebration of their wedding at St. Martin’s which was, according to Janet, ‘fabulous’. Janet was delighted to describe the joyful service she shared along with a ‘full to overflowing church’, the happy atmosphere, the beautiful flowers, and of course the beautiful bride.

At St. Stephen’s we shared in a little overflow of this celebration by way of a beautiful flower display on the following Sunday. I understand that the flowers needed to be re-sited due to the pending alterations at St. Martin’s and Vicky kindly thought of us.

Meanwhile in July Frances was given the gift of another beautiful grandchild, a little girl named Eliza Joy. Frances assures us that little Eliza Joy will, like all her grandchildren, soon be welcomed through baptism into the church family, at St. Stephen’s.

Both Frances and her sister Pauline were present at Pat’s Tea Party in aid of ‘Send a Cow’, each with a little toddler grandson in tow and now I learn that Pat has more great grandchildren than I have grandchildren. Have I mentioned before that I am envious?! Pat provided such a sumptuous spread at this Tea Party, all so beautifully displayed that it was almost too good to eat. Almost! And it was lovely to see so many people in attendance, both old and new faces. It was particularly special to meet up with Helen and to see Stan, now fully recovered. Helen and I would definitely have washed those dishes if Pat hadn’t had a dishwasher. Just saying – we may need those Brownie points one day! Pat was later able to disclose that ‘Send a Cow’ were delighted to receive the £155 donated on the day. It is good to know that this charity, a favourite of many, still means so much to so many people.

Next, Hazel and Janet were happy to talk about another successful tea party, the outing that Linda organised for members of her Beacon Afternoon Tea group. About two dozen members enjoyed an afternoon of sunshine and a delicious tea, at Denbies.

Linda takes such pleasure in thinking up new ways to expand the experiences of this group. It is great fun to listen to her voicing some of these thoughts on a Sunday morning only for them to come to fruition, perhaps weeks or even months, later. I listen very carefully nowadays as sometimes even fanciful thoughts become happy reality!

And now to end with another happy occurrence – sharing with David as he presided over his first service at St. Stephen’s following his ordination, a compensation for those of us who missed his inaugural service at St. Martin’s. It was a privilege.

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

By Editor, Jul 16 2019 06:04PM

I think it must be old age as events in June already seem to be so long ago! However from the viewpoint of a lazy member of St. Stephen’s family the month was both pleasurable and satisfying. I equate much that occurs in St. Stephen’s with all the behind the scenes work that Judith and the rest of her team seem to manage so effortlessly – knowing full well that the end results really all take an awful lot of both time and effort. To me, Judith and Linda personify this image, accomplishing much with grace and seeming ease.

Now back to June and a birthday celebration – Pentecost. Happy Club always celebrated with a party, cakes and candles, not to mention hats, so it was a real treat after our service to be regaled by Howard with most of the aforementioned, except for the hats, but with added liquid refreshments instead! We did sing Happy Birthday too, so smiles were guaranteed. Thank you, Howard.

I think now may be an appropriate time too to thank all of our clergy staff both for the services we receive and their fantastic ability to cope spontaneously with any and every little mishap that might arise. They are always amazing!

Next back to the afternoon of our Pentecost Service when Linda was down at St. Martin’s for the latest of her, highly successful, Beacon Teas. Not satisfied with branching out into her Beacon Christmas Lunch, Linda has been busy planning the possibility of a summer outing for her group, which seems to be nearing completion. I believe the planned outing is to Denbies and includes the provision of tea – so none of Linda’s delicious homemade cakes then!

The last weekend in June was a joyous time for all in our parish. On the Saturday, several members of our congregation travelled to Guildford Cathedral, along with a coachload from St Martin’s, to support David as he was ordained priest. The next day Linda, Judith, Hazel, Vicky, Mary and Frances attended St Martin’s, as David presided over his first communion as priest. From all accounts, this was a wonderful celebration. For those remaining behind at St Stephen’s, our thanks go to Pat, who gave an interesting and enlightening talk on Petertide, and Janet, who led the intercessionary prayers and the singing.

So we came to the end of June in an entirely satisfying manner. Now it just remains to wish you all sunny, but not too hot, days ahead and send our very best wishes to David for happiness and fulfilment in the future and our thanks for all his caring ministry.

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

PS For those of you in the Village who remember Margaret Hughes, at one time Head of the old Village school, Margaret recently died, just five days short of her 90th birthday. R.I.P. With love.

By Editor, Jun 12 2019 06:14PM

As I write this month Easter seems a long time ago but Pauline’s remembrance of our service on this particular day was still filled with happiness as she recounted it. Not only was it the most joyful service of the year with Adrian presiding, but it was enhanced by the welcoming through baptism of Pauline’s first grandchild, little Georgiana, into our church family.

According to Pauline, everything about the day was perfect and it all began with that service on Easter Sunday morning. We hope that perfect beginning to little Georgiana’s life within our church family continues and send her and all her family our love and best wishes for the future.

Coincidentally, a few Sundays later we ‘lost’ Adrian to another service, which included three baptisms, ‘down at St. Martin’s’. Although disappointed on our own behalf, how could we possibly begrudge others the joy such services bring? Fortunately, Judith and Pat shared the presentation of our own service between them, to the satisfaction of everyone present – we are very lucky!

And we were very lucky at our Christian Aid Coffee Morning too, where contributions from all the different sources resulted in a total of almost £400. This was due to both the usual lovely people giving unstintingly of time and effort and all the lovely people who came and shared the morning with us.

Frances’ plant stall was, as always, quickly sold out, due to all her healthy looking plants, so beautifully presented. Martine’s Bric a Brac stall was not quite cleared of items but was even more beautifully presented, and they were both surrounded throughout the morning by lots of, more or less, helpful grandchildren! A lovely family event it seems and Martine also baked some superb cakes for the cake stall. One can admit to feeling a little bit envious of Martine’s skills especially as her cakes sold before one (meaning me) could buy them.

So another Christian Aid Week comes and goes and together with the lily of the valley in our gardens it brings to mind Olive, whom we remembered at our St. Stephen’s meeting last Sunday. At this time of year Olive in turn always remembered her daughter Jane on the anniversary of her birthday. Marlene was always commissioned by Olive to provide one of her gorgeous flower arrangements in Jane’s memory.

This year Marlene arranged her beautiful flower displays in memory of both Olive and Jane, with our love. And Olive would have been very pleased with our efforts and results on behalf of Christian Aid!

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

P.S Congratulations to Linnet and family on the recent birth of her baby daughter, Grace Georgina Evans. For many years Linnet was a very supportive, and happy, member of Happy Club!

By Editor, Apr 6 2019 01:16PM

March seems to be a quiet month here at St. Stephen’s, but I think that’s a false perception. For Judith and Linda especially, this is a time of much active preparation, in addition to the quiet contemplation the rest of us enjoy in this period leading up towards Easter.

We began on the Sunday following Liz’s celebration service, with its beautiful flowers. Friends were invited to share in the distribution of those beautiful flowers, in remembrance of Liz. I think Liz would have loved that gesture, and so St. Stephen’s was left in its beautiful, stark simplicity, ready for the Lenten season.

Thinking of Liz, this seems an appropriate time to remember too Lidia, a kind and gentle lady, courteous and caring. So we send our thoughts to Stefano and to all those who loved Lidia.

Next I include a contribution from Judith that was a pleasure to receive – you would not believe the number of fruitless requests that have been sent out over the years!

Judith writes:

‘Perhaps you could mention the success of the Churches Together ‘Taste and See’ Cake Stall in Epsom last Saturday and thank those who helped by making cakes, especially Frances, Martine and Phoebe. It was wonderful that so many people came to help with the Stall from all the different churches and we had so many wonderful colourful cakes to give to people who passed by. We had great fun on the stall meeting new people, and for those who missed it this time they can pop along on Saturday 15th June when we’ll be outside the Metro Bank from 11am for two hours.’

I would just like to add that Phoebe is the eleven year old grand-daughter of Frances. She is an accomplished little cook and bakes the most delicious cheese straws.

Speaking of food, now seems an appropriate time to mention your invitation to Pat’s Lenten Lunch, held on behalf of The Children’s Society, at 12.30 on Tuesday 2nd April at 15, Grosvenor Road. Regular attendees will know that Pat always provides a simple but delicious lunch of home-made soups, bread and cheeses, accompanied by lots of interesting facts about the chosen charity and friendly discussion.

Pat will also be providing her home-baked Simnel Cake for our Mothering Sunday service. I gather from Judith that those preparations are already underway. So, worthwhile making the effort to join us for the service, even if we will all be missing an hour’s sleep because the clocks are ‘changing’!

As we move on to services in April, Judith has asked me to remind you of Epsom’s Passion Play which takes place on Good Friday, starting at 9.50am. The procession begins in the car park opposite the Fire Station and proceeds to the Market Square, with the drama unfolding en- route. It concludes in the Square at approximately 11am.

Following the conclusion of the Passion Play, hot cross buns will be distributed, both in the Square and at Epsom Methodist Church. Linda has attended the Play in the past and highly recommends going along to witness what she has described as a surprisingly moving event.

Then in the afternoon St. Stephen’s Good Friday continues at 2.00pm, when Ruth Foxcroft will be joining us to lead an hour of reflection and prayer.

There is, of course, a published programme of Lenten Services and events available from both St. Stephen’s and St. Martin’s.

So we end by looking forward to the most joyful service of the year, Easter Day on Sunday April 21st, this year enhanced for us at St. Stephen’s by the baptism of little Georgiana, Pauline’s grand-daughter. Do join us for this or any of our other services, you will be most welcome.

Happy Easter, on behalf of everyone here at St. Stephen’s

Janie Grinstead

By Editor, Mar 8 2019 11:53AM

As I write this morning the sky is blue and the sun shining, already the promise of another glorious day. Sadly, this month’s newsletter has become the victim of neglect and opportunism, the days having been most brilliantly taken advantage of. That is terrible grammar, but it’s very true!

And it was a most glorious day for the thanksgiving service, celebrating the ‘circle of the life’ of Liz Bird, held most appositely on her birthday. St. Stephen’s was filled to overflowing with both family and friends for this service of celebration and remembrance, led by David. Liz spanned many areas of life in the Village, a kind, generous, thoughtful friend and a very brave and feisty lady. Our thoughts and prayers go now to John, Caroline and Terence, and all those who loved Liz.

It was so lovely to have Mary providing the music for Liz, and Marlene’s flower arrangements were beautiful too. At one of our recent services Mary was unable to be with us so Lynn led both our service and the singing, ably abetted by Graham and backed up by Janet, sitting behind me. All went well until the final hymn which Janet, inexplicably, did not know. Mary’s music was much appreciated the following week, as was Janet’s singing!

I would like to mention here Jeannette Norrington. We really were just ‘passing acquaintances’, meeting most weeks as we went about our shopping in the Ashley Centre, mainly in Waitrose. David and I miss the few pleasantries we always exchanged with such a lovely lady, and feel a surprising sense of loss. We both appreciated, very much, the few words written about St. Martin’s floral tribute to Jeannette, and would like to thank whoever penned them - they were just so right.

Such a short month and quite a short newsletter too. It just remains for me to thank all the clergy team, and of course Judith, for some very rewarding services. To my great regret I missed our Candlemas service with Adrian. There was snow on the ground and my family forbids me to leave the house under such circumstances, due to my ‘history’ of falls and their consequences. Judith said it was a lovely service too.

With hopes for more beautiful Spring days to come for all of us -

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

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


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