Holidays and Holy Days
The holiday season is almost upon us!
Many of our holidays, across all the world faiths, are based on religious festivals, so why the long summer holiday? One popular idea is that the school children were needed to work in the fields over the summer. I’m not so sure about this because a brief glance at the farming calendar shows that a holiday that ends at the beginning of September is not going to be much use for bringing in the harvest in the early autumn in days gone by. So, perhaps it was just to be nice to school students and teachers by giving them time off at the sunniest part of the year. If parents were seasonal or travelling farm labourers, they simply had to take the children with them or there would be no income for six weeks.
One Holy Day, which is not a national holiday, is 3rd July, the Feast Day for our patron Saint Thomas the Apostle. Thomas was the disciple known as ‘Doubting’ Thomas, the one who queried whether Jesus Christ could rise again and appear to his disciples. A week later the Risen Christ did indeed appear to Thomas, showed him his wounds, and Thomas responded: “My Lord and my God”. We have a lovely stained glass window depicting this scene. Thomas went on to found the Christian church in Kerala in India, and the church of Mar Thoma continues strong in that corner of Asia. It is a part of the world I would love to visit one day.
Speaking of holidays, and going away, our existing organ has now been sold for 1,000 euros, and we expect it to be removed to its new home this summer. We hoped to keep it in the UK but that has not proved possible. It is going to a 12th-century church which is part of the School of Music at the University of Tours in France. This will be a much more appropriate home for this chamber instrument. That will leave us with a big hole to fill (literally) and we hope and pray that our Gift and Prayer Day on our Patronal Festival weekend will enable us to rebuild a historic instrument (first built in Bedfordshire on 1896) in our parish church of St Thomas.
Whether holidaying or keeping holy days, I wish you every blessing,
It is time to replace our under-powered 1843 drawing room pipe organ (seen here) with either a good digital organ or a new pipe organ to be built by a local organ builder. This will enable us to enlarge the vestry space behind it. We have some money already but need to raise about £20,000 more through the generosity of the people of Groombridge.
If you would like to donate towards this appeal, please pick up a form in church and use the Gift Aid scheme if you can. We welcome gifts both great and small, and thank you for your interest.