[East Hoathly Parish Church masthead]

Activities and groups

“Do this in remembrance of me…” – a window in our chancel

The central activity of our church is of course Divine Service. To give an idea of frequency: at East Hoathly in 2006 there were 121 Sunday and weekday services and acts of worship; six baptisms, one marriage, and five funerals or interments of ashes; and the Rector led 40 assemblies at the village school.

In most respects this was a typical year for our church. As it happens, both weddings and funerals were unusually few that year; 2007 saw five weddings and 17 funerals.

During Lent, the United Benefice holds a Lent course; in 2006 this was a five-session course led by different people on the topic “Speaking Up for Jesus”. In autumn 2006 there was a five-session Bible study course on the Letter to the Colossians.

Alongside religious activities, a social programme is organized by a joint Social Committee for the two parishes. The programme for the twelve months from April 2006 included:

United Benefice picnic in the Rectory garden – 2005, heavy rain failed to stop play

We have various special-purpose groups:

Mothers Union/FLAG

A branch of the Mother’s Union organization was established at our church in 1997, comprising enrolled members from both Chiddingly and East Hoathly churches. Our branch uses the name MU/FLAG (Family Life Assistance Group), to mark the fact that meetings are open to both members and non-members of MU. Meetings are held on the third Monday of each month except July and August, and take place either at East Hoathly or at Chiddingly. The programme is varied, with invited speakers, discussions, and family-related events. We maintain links with both the Lewes & District and Diocesan MU organizations, and endeavour to carry out the aims of the MU in support of Christian family life.

For more information about our friendly branch, please contact our secretary, Mrs Joan Hibbert (01825 840205).

Choir

Our Church has a small choir. Since Easter 2007 we have adopted a common hymn-book and shared choir practices with the larger choir of our sister parish of Chiddingly. Practice alternates between the two churches week by week, currently at 6.30 on Tuesdays.

The East Hoathly choir is particularly proud of its longstanding use of scarlet robes. Our understanding is that this colour is not permitted for newly-formed choirs, perhaps because of its association with royal chapels.

We are eager to expand our numbers. Anyone who would be interested in singing with us is warmly urged to contact Kate Peckham (kate.peckham “at” tesco.net).

“Living crib” at the Crib Service, Christmas 2007

Bacon Butty Club

The Bacon Butty Club is the Junior Church in East Hoathly, for youngsters up to age 11. Each month we get together to have fun making things and learning new skills such as bell ringing (as well as eating bacon and jam sandwiches). We finish by taking whatever we have made or learned back into church to show everyone.

We meet on the first Sunday of each month in the dining hall at East Hoathly School at 11 a.m. Numbers are growing; in late 2007 we have fifteen children coming regularly.

Want to be part of this? Then don’t be shy, come along! Or for more information, contact Beryl on 840270.

Bubbles

for babies, children under 5, and parents and carers: please contact the Rector (01825 840270) while we are finding a new leader

Cast members (various ages and species) arrive for the Crib Service

Summer Fête

Each summer a Fête is held in the Rectory garden. Attractions typically include live music, skittles and other traditional games, BBQ, book stall, cake stall, raffle, teas, and more. There is an exhibition of art by the pupils of the village school.

Summer Fête in the Rectory garden: “ferret” racing

UBENDS

the United Benefice Dramatic Society

The Parish Church is transformed into a theatre for a UBENDS production

When Peter Clark arrived as a previous Rector in 1997, his wife Jacky had the idea of forming a group to perform a musical in the two Churches of the United Benefice. Aims were to bring people from the two villages together, to raise funds for the Churches, and to encourage children to get involved. Joseph was performed for three nights in both Churches in March 1998. Such was the enthusiasm of audiences and participants that many more people were attracted to join in the next production, Godspell.

Further productions were staged under Jacky’s guidance until she and Peter left the Benefice, at which point a committee was formed to assure their continuation. In recent years we have presented Oklahoma!, Crazy for You, and in 2007 42nd Street.

For health and safety reasons among others, the 2007 production was performed in East Hoathly Church only. However, the group will continue to raise funds for both Churches.

Anyone interested in participating should please contact June Laker (01825 840451).

East Hoathly and Halland Carnival procession

Carnival Society

Not a Church group, but meriting coverage here through the Remembrance connexion, is the East Hoathly & Halland Carnival Society, which grew out of village celebrations of Armistice Day in 1918. Nowadays, the Carnival Society functions similarly to the Bonfire Societies of other Sussex towns and villages; but rather than commemorating Guy Fawkes’ Night and the Protestant martyrs, our Carnival honours the dead of the two World Wars.

Carnival is held on the eve of Remembrance Sunday. It involves a spectacular torchlight march, inaugurated by the Last Post and one minute’s silence, followed by a “themed” bonfire (seen here under construction, and in flame – in 2006, themes were St George & the Dragon, and the 70th anniversary of the Spitfire), together with a magnificent firework display. Roads into the village are closed for the evening.

Our Carnival Society is sometimes invited to participate in national events – for instance, it led the Queen’s Land Rover to the bonfire celebrating her Silver Jubilee in Windsor Great Park in 1977, and took part in the Lord Mayor of Westminster’s New Year Parade in 1988. The Society organizes village events (raising funds for local and national charities) at other times of year, such as the Boxing Day Pram Push, and the King’s Head Canter race on August Bank Holiday Monday.

The Boxing Day Pram Push, 2005 – note Rectory Rockers going strongly on the inside, crucifix somewhat askew

In 2001 June Laker published a history of the Carnival Society; information, and the picture below, are taken from this with grateful thanks.

Making Carnival torches in about 1949. Nowadays some 6000 torches are made in the Torch Shed each year, beginning with cutting the green sticks in August; on Dip Night immediately before Carnival they are dipped in paraffin – about 200 gallons are used.

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