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

July 2017 Newsletter from Revd Sharon Francis

Revd Sharon Francis

Dear Friends

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,


Organ Appeal


Donate to our organ fund using this form


A church organ is what everyone wants for those big occasions - baptisms, weddngs, funerals - and for our weekly worship. 
At St Thomas' we want as good a sound as we can get.

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.

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