St Thomas the Apostle, Parish Church of Groombridge, East Sussex, United Kingdom Diosese of Chichester


July/August 2016 Newsletter 
from Revd Sharon Francis

Revd Sharon Francis






Dear Friends

Fund-raising can be fun!

The first Sunday, 3 July, is the Feast Day of our Patron Saint, Thomas theApostle.
We often try to do something extra over this weekend, and this year is no exception. We are again hosting a car event. I’d love to discover that StThomas is not only the Patron Saint of Architects but also the Patron Saint of Land Rovers. Sadly, there seems to be no link other than that some of our chaps at church are petrol-heads, and this is a good opportunity to invite everyone along to share their passion. (click on our Future Events page for more information).

Last September 2015 I wrote about the need for us to do something about our 1843 under-powered church organ, and fund-raising is well under way. About 90 of us enjoyed a wonderful Family Barn Dance last Saturday which raised over £1,000 for the organ fund. This was an amazing result and special thanks are due to Sue and David Homewood, who kindly let us use their beautiful garden and the Probus marquee for the event. The fact that it was raining meant that we couldn’t wander off and have our own little parties, but had to stay put and dance!
The Royal Borough Band with David Hankey as Caller did us proud, and we all managed a do-si-do or two. Our thanks also go to Matthew and Sarah Castle, Judith and David Belcher and their team who produced and served such amazing food for us. Huge thanks to those who pulled it all together, and many thanks to all of you who attended and supported this event.

Friday 15 July – Picnic and Music at Leyswood End 

Our next big fund-raiser for the Organ Project is our ‘Glyndebourne-style’ picnic evening at the kind invitation of Gwyneth and Iain Davies in their garden at Leyswood End. (click on our Future Events page for more details)

It’s a chance to dust off your DJ if you wish, and bring your friends along. We need plenty of local, talented musicians to provide some live background music for us; please get in touch with me if you can help!

The late Rev Claud Michael Henley

We announced the death of Fr Michael in last month’s magazine. He was a much loved priest and pastor here for 21 years and is fondly remembered. We have now learned that he has left St Thomas’ Church a legacy of £20,000. As someone who loved church music, and always attended choir practice, the church has agreed that this should go towards the Organ Project.

We still need to raise a further £20K Organs are usually the single most expensive asset inside a church and it is time for us to act. We are exploring the possibility of replacing our existing organ with a smaller digital electronic or bespoke pipe organ. Both options would provide us with more space for choir vestry behind the existing organ. Whichever option we go for, we still need to raise at least a further £20K for this project. Fuller information about the process is available on our website. If you would like to make a donation, please collect the form from the back of the church, or get in touch with me. We will keep you all updated as the months unfold.

Street Pastors

On Saturday 23 July it’s the turn of St Thomas’ Church to host the Community Café. Profits from this will go to the charity Street Pastors which operates in Crowborough and Tunbridge Wells. Street Pastors patrol the streets late on Friday and Saturday evenings, helping any young person who is in need, vulnerable or upset. This charity has a very firm Christian basis but, despite the name, their work and concern is not to proselytise but to simply look after our young people on the streets of our towns and cities at night. So, please come and have coffee and cake with us on 23 rd July. 

We all need to support charities more than ever as government cuts mean that many essential services are being propped up by charities (regardless of how the Referendum vote went). 

Phew, what a busy July, but then it’s August and holiday time! If you are going away, I hope you have a lovely break and return refreshed. If you are staying put, I’ll see you around, and by then the sun may have come out.

Every blessing,



Revd Sharon Francis MA BTh - The Vicarage, 4 The Close, Corseley Road, Groombridge TN3 9SE
Telephone 01892 864265
©2013 Parish Church of St Thomas the Apostle, Groombridge