Christ Church


The Parish News for Abinger and Coldharbour, which is published 10 times a year and is delivered to every house in the Parish, includes a report on Coldharbour life. Here we focus on news directly relating to Christ Church.Gorse Flowers 2019

Sunday 11 August - Cancer Research Teas
£205 was raised for Cancer Research over teas in the Church, which were followed by said Evensong.

Sunday 28 April - The Annual Parochial Church Meeting
Prior to the Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM) there was a brief Vestry Meeting when Anthony Simpson and Mary Hustings were confirmed as our Churchwardens.

The APCM heard that that following renewal of the Electoral Roll we have 42 on it, with a number of others yet to complete their registration forms. 

With our income exceeding expenditure for the year, the 2018 Accounts show that the recent Stewardship  campaign to secure a committed income through regular giving has been successful, leading to a £8,500 surplus for the year, However, with the adoption of a new formula to determine how much each Parish is required to pay the Diocese - the ‘Diocesan Quota’ – which include our share of the costs of having a Vicar, our allocation is due to increase in real terms over the next three years.

Over the next few months we also face the five yearly – quinquennial – review of the Church’s fabric   While we think Christ Church is in good condition, the review can always identify a need to undertake work.

Thus, maintaining ‘balanced’ books over the next few years might be challenging.

Since its launch at the 2018 APCM our website has attracted an average of 15 visits and 30 page views a day.  The Welcome, Services and Coldharbour and Leith Hill are the  most visited pages, with each getting an average of 5 views a day.

Tony Berry thanked all those who contribute to the work of the Church in Coldharbour, with particular thanks to Margaret Yule who has stood down from the PCC after very many years service.

The 2020 APCM will be on Sunday26 April at 6.00pm in the John Venus Hall.

Sunday 31 March - Mothering Sunday
We celebrated Mothering Sunday jointly with Abinger with a full 'in the round' Holy Communion service, supported by a combined Abinger and Coldharbour choir and an Abinger childrens choir. All the mothers were presented with a lovely posy of spring flowers.

During our Mothering Sunday service, Hilary Swift (the Benefice’s lay reader) spoke about the Compassion Different Path Appeal, explaining that in Togo, out of every 1,000 babies born, 52 will die before their first birthday, compared to just 4 in 1,000 in the UK. A situation Compassion Different Path is seeking to change by raising funds for their Child Survival project 

Delivered by the local church, this life-saving programme protects women during their pregnancy and ensures that their babies have a healthy start in life. Compassion comes alongside women to provide them with access to medical support, health screening, hygiene supplies, nutritional supplements and education.

You can help save the lives of vulnerable mothers and babies in Togo by supporting Compassion UK's Different Path Appeal.

Give before 24 June 2019 and your donation will be doubled by the UK government. There is further info on how to give on or you can contact Hilary at 

Friday 22 March - Quiz Evening
A highly successful quiz evening, which included a team plasticine model building contest, was greatly enjoyed by all the participants and raised £600 towards our winter heating costs.  Many thanks to Helen Potter who organised it and to all those who contributed to it.

Christmas at Christ Church
Our Christmas activities started with the Village Band playing their Christmas Concert to a full church on Saturday 8 December.  The Band was joined by young players for some of the numbers.  Mulled wine and mince pies during the interval helped create a very Christmas atmosphere.

On Saturday 15 December the younger members of the Parish (with some assistance from their parents) helped get Christ Church ready for Christmas - decorating the tree and making and putting up chains of decorations. 

Christingle 2018The church was full again for our Carol Service on Sunday 23 December, with some very special performances by our choir, followed by more mulled wine and mince pies.

On Christmas Eve we had our ever popular Christingle Service, and we celebrated Christmas Day with a well attended family Communion.

Sunday 11 November - The 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day 1918 
This very special centenary was marked by our annual Service of Remembrance around the War Memorial on the Memorial Ground and a bell ringing at the Church in the evening.

For the Service of Remembrance, the War Memorial had been decorated with 18 lighted candles decorated with red ribbon around the foot of the Memorial in memory of the fifteen men from Coldharbour who died in WW1 and the three who died in WW2.

After some heavy rain, as we got ready for the service the sun burst through the clouds and the Memorial Ground was bathed in the glorious golds, greens and browns of Autumn.

Led by Hilary Swift and attended by about 100 of all ages, the service opened with the hymn The Lord’s My Shepherd., accompanied by a brass quartet from the Village Band. After a reading of the names of all those from the village who had died in the two world wars, as well as those of the air crews of an RAF and a USAF plane which both crashed on the Hill, a wreath was laid on the Memorial and Bronny Roberts played the Last Post to mark the beginning of the two minutes silence and the Reveille to mark the end.

In her address, Hilary reflected on the importance of love and the ability of every one of us to make a difference and to create a better world through our words, actions and neighbourliness.

100 years ago, ‘the monstrous anger of the guns’ (as Wilfred Owen described it) was silenced and peace was declared. Many millions had died in one of the deadliest conflicts in human history.

We remember today that they laid down their lives for the ideal of a better world.

We remember, too, in our reading today, that Jesus laid down His life for us, for the world. And in this passage He commands us to abide in His love, that we might have joy - and that we might bear fruit, fruit that will last – a legacy for those who come after us.

What do we want that legacy to be?

Later in this service, we will make an Act of Commitment – pledging to serve God and one another ‘in the cause of peace and to work for the relief of want and suffering’.

Will they be empty words or will we try to do something to make the world a better place – to leave some mark, some legacy for future generations.

What will inspire this next generation?

Those young men, many of them still only teenagers, who responded to Lord Kitchener’s call – Your Country Needs You - were inspired to give their lives by the example of others – they wanted to fight for a better world, to give their lives for the sake of others. What example do we give young people today? Do we inspire them to serve, to change the world for the better? It’s up to us to inspire the next generation to be the future we want for the world, what God wants for His world.

What would we choose to be remembered for?

We can’t all lead countries, change laws, or preach like Martin Luther King.

But we can be a kind neighbour, be generous to those in need, or a faithful campaigner for a better, more just world? These things we can do.

Verse 16 of our reading today says that Jesus chose us to bear fruit – fruit that comes from caring for one another and the world - and that fruit will abide – will last, will be our legacy.

The only way we can bear this fruit of love and peace and justice is to abide in Him, that is, to get to know Him, to be in constant contact with Him: praying, reading His Word, listening for His wisdom. 

Jesus says ‘You are my friends.’ We keep in contact with friends, ask their advice, rely on them in difficult times and share happy times with them.

The God of Creation invites us to be His friends, to be His partners in His work in the world, to love one another as He has loved us. 

The legacy of all those millions who died in World War 1 should send a message of hope for a better world, a more peaceful world - one where that sacrifice should not have to be repeated.

We don’t need to die on a battlefield to change the world; we can give our lives each day to serve each other in love. 

We can inspire the next generation to join us in the battle to make the world what God created it to be – a good place, a kind place, a beautiful place. 

We can take care of ecology, support just systems of government, speak out against injustice, give generously to those in need – show love for one another.

May we honour the legacy of those who gave their lives for our freedom by offering our legacy of love, the gift that Jesus offers us – to bear the fruit that will last down the generations, changing the world for the better.

That is how we, too, can lay down our lives for the world, for our friends – and begin to silence those ‘angry guns’ for good.

We ended our service singing Abide with Me followed by the National Anthem.

Families of five of the villagers who died in the First World War came to the service. Brothers Private Horace John Longhurst and Company Quartermaster Sergeant William Sidney Longhurst both died in 1916.; Private Arthur Lipscomb also died in 1916;  Private Frederick James Martin died in August 1918.  Gunner Richard Ede died in October 1918.  More information on these who gave their lives is here.

Following the service many went to the John Venus Hall for  refreshments.

In the evening, Bronny Roberts played the Last Post in the Church to mark the beginning of a bell ringing event in which churches across the nation were participating. At the due time, 7.05pm, some of those present starting ringing our two bells.  While the ringing continued, a great display of World War 1 pictures was projected on the outside south wall of the Chancel.

We are grateful to all who came to one or both occasions, and to the many, too numerous to name, 
who helped make these very special and moving village occasions

Armistice Slide 2Armistice Slide 3

19 October - 170th Anniversary of Consecration
On Friday 18 October, we will be celebrating the 170th anniversary of the consecration f Christ Church by Charles Sumner, Bishop of Winchester.

14 October - Harvest Festival
This year's harvest was celebrated with a very well attended - by young  and older parishioners - joint Abinger and Coldharbour  Harvest Festival service in Christ Church.  Following the service, harvest gifts were sold by auction, raising £545 for Farm Africa.

12 October - Redecorating the Church
Dave Skerrit, ably assisted by Dave Sack. has completed redecorating the inside walls of our Church.  During their work they found a section of painted dado, thought to have been painted in 1885, before the major works of 1904.  Having been carefully cleaned by Dave Skerrit, it is being left uncovered for all to see.

22 September - Angels in Christ Church
Amanda Wilson 22Sept18On Saturday 22 September, Christ Church was full of little angels, wearing wings distributed by author Amanda Wilson who read from her book Tubular Swirls – The Call to Angels to a good gathering of the young and the somewhat older.  Amanda was introduced by Tony Berry, who spoke about angels and the Bible after those present had enjoyed the range of tasty cakes kindly provided by parishioners to help raise funds to contribute to the cost of redecorating the Church - £161 was raised.

19 August - Afternoon Tea
£266 was raised for Cancer Research UK when a good  number of villagers and friends joined us on Sunday afternoon for tea in the Church, sharing delicious home baked cakes and buying some home grown produce . Tea was followed by a celebration of Evensong.

Brenda Ward - 18 July 1938 – 14 July 2018
On Thursday 26 July many villagers together with the family and other friends of Brenda gathered in Christ Church for a service of thanksgiving for her life.

Brenda and Dick were married in April 1959 in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, but built a house in Bramley where they were joined over the years by Sally, Andrew and Toby.  Active in village life, they became founding members of the Birtley Tennis Club, of which Brenda remained an active member throughout her life.

Brenda and Dick also loved walking in these our hills and it was on a visit to Coldharbour that they saw Forge Cottage was on the market, and decided that it was where they wanted to live.  The family moved into Brenda’s and Dick’s dream home in December 1982.  

In response to a remark from Andrew that Coldharbour was beautiful, Brenda said ‘its not beautiful, its heaven’.

They both quickly got involved in village life and Brenda helped to keep Christ Church clean and decorated with flowers.  She was also a key player in the revival of the village stoolball club. Toby became deeply involved in the village bonfire (he is now one of the lead organisers) and Brenda and Dick were always up early the following morning tidying up, gathering sackfulls of litter.

Sadly, Dick died in May 2003.  He is commemorated by a bench above the footpath over the boardwalk from Forge Cottage to the Memorial Ground . Their daughter Sally died in 2016, following a time of ill-health.

After Dick’s death, Brenda enjoyed walking with a group of villagers while maintaining her strong interest in tennis – playing regularly as well as watching Wimbledon, if not there then on her TV. She was also a great opera lover and Peter, a life long friend of Dick’s, regularly took her to Glyndebourne, as well as out for meals. She was also devoted to her family including her three grand daughters.

A very stylish lady, Brenda enjoyed shopping with Sophie and Kate, her two older grand daughters, at French Connection or Zara, often buying something for herself.  While her grand daughters nicknamed her ‘trendy brendy’, her sense of style was ageless – whatever she was doing, going to Glyndebourne or walking on the Hill in the rain, Brenda was always elegantly dressed.

Forge Cottage, with its white walls, blue door and windows and immaculate garden - never a blade of grass out of place – is at the heart of the village which Brenda and Dick so loved, and felt so lucky to live in. 

But, as one of Brenda’s neighbours, Rob Drybrough-Smith, said in a tribute during the Thanksgiving Service it was the village that ‘was very lucky to have Brenda’. Rob ended his tribute explaining ‘we’re so sad that she’s gone, but will always be grateful that we had such an amazing person as our neighbour, and our friend, for so long’.

Speaking for Brenda’s family and friends, her grand daughters, Sophie and Kate, ended their tribute saying ‘we will all miss you so much and are very privileged to have had you as our mother, granny, mother-in-law and friend, we hope you’re with Grandpa and Sally now ..’

27 May - Celebrating Jonathan Mansfield
Jonathan came to live in Coldharbour when his wife, Lizzie Sells, joined the Leith Hill Practice as one of our local GPs, and he set about converting what had been the village shop into a family home.

A St Pauls chorister, Jonathan quickly became active in Christ Church, helping to strengthen our music.  But it was as ideas for improving the Church started developing when Jonathan’s skill as an architect made a really important, and lasting, mark on our Church and how we use it. He created the idea of transforming the rather dreary west end, and prepared and oversaw the implementation of designs for the Annabel Room and balcony.  He also had the idea of freeing up all the pews and stripping the dark varnish to give us today’s polished pine pews which can be moved around to meet a range of different needs. With the pews removed, Jonathan realised that we could replace our old and inefficient radiators with under floor heating.  He also oversaw the renewal of the lighting in the nave, designing the Arts and Crafts Style fittings that illuminate the fine roof and provide the congregation with the light they need.

Jonathan was also responsible for the design of the Leith Hill Practice’s new Old Forge surgery in Capel.

After Lizzie retired from the Practice, they moved to Cornwall where Jonathan remained active until deteriorating health started taking its toll, and he died last year.

On Sunday 27 May we took the opportunity to celebrate Jonathan’s life with Lizzie, Henry and Kathryn, two of their children who had grown up in Coldharbour, as part of our occasional Iona services, a very appropriate service as we move the pews, freed up by Jonathan, to form a square ‘U’ with a simple table serving as the altar. 

Tony Berry spoke about Possibilities, Order and Structure, relating each to Jonathan, including his vision about the possibilities for transforming the west end of the Church and, the order and structure in his approach, and Virginia McKenna read a poem chosen by Jonathan:

As a young architect, Jonathan had visited the USA on a Harkness scholarship.  While sailing there on the Queen Elizabeth he met and became a close friend of Peter Maxwell Davies (who became Sir Peter), who had also been awarded a Harkness scholarship. Recognising their friendship, we finished our celebration of Jonathan’s life with Bronwen (trumpet) and John (piano) playing Maxwell Davies’ ‘Farewell to Stromness’.

As well as being a first class musician and creative architect, Jonathan was a talented artist and while in Coldharbour had painted many local scenes. Many of those who had his paintings brought them to the service where they were on display while we enjoyed coffee, biscuits and a chat.  One of his paintings is that of the Christ Church porch with the open door which features on the Welcome page of our new website, and is symbolic of the Christ Church community.

Any parishioner who has not yet been to one of our Iona services should do their best to join us. They are very special services for which we use a simple communion liturgy.  The next one is on Sunday 23 September at 10.00am.

19 May - The 2018 'Royal Edition' Village Fete
Coinciding with the Royal Wedding, this year 's Fete was  a  'Royal Edition''.  

Fete 2018Held on a real summer's day, Jonathan Cann's Punch and Judy and Magic Show were both enjoyed by young and old. During the rest of the afternoon, there were the stalls to visit, teas to be taken, a dog show and junior and senior tugs of war to watch (or participate in), a tiara competition to be judged and the tense announcement of winners of  the photographic competition and the 17 raffle prizes (hope its me next!).  In between all these activities families enjoyed just sitting (or lying) on the grass listening to the music of Al  Stewart and the Village Band while eating the very special Fete beefburgers and drinking Pymms or The Plough's beers.

Preliminary results are that this great afternoon will have have contributed about £7,000 to the £40,000 we need every year to maintain Christ Church.

Village Band May2018We are very grateful to all those who gave their time preparing for the Fete, helping out on the afternoon and clearing everything away after all the visitors had made their way home.  We are particularly grateful to Becky Hopper who planned it and found all the volunteers needed for the afternoon and to Mark Donnison who made sure we had all the gear we needed on the ground and that all was cleared and put away.

We are also grateful to Hart Scales & Hodges, Dorking lawyers, and Jackson Stops and Staff, Dorking estate agents, for their sponsorship, as well as to all those who donated raffle prizes and helped by  supporting the Fete in other ways.

29 April - The Annual Parochial Church Meeting
The APCM was held on Sunday 29 April in the John Venus Hall.  After several years of very committed service to our Church, John Roberts stood down as a Church Warden, but we will continue to benefit from his support as he remains a member of the Parochial Church Council, PCC.  Anthony Simpson was elected as our new Church Warden, to serve alongside Mary Hustings.  Helen Simkins stood down from the PCC  and Helen Potter was selected to replace her as our Electoral Roll Officer.   Sue Jeffries and Martin Richards, who had been co-opted to the PCC during the year, were duly elected members.

The annual accounts show that while we generated a surplus of £3,900 over the year, this is due in part to a substantial ‘catch up’ donation from the previous year. Excluding the costs - £26.600 - of the new toilet, which were largely funded by gifts from charities as well as ear-marked fund-raising events and gifts from parishioners, our expenditure was £39,000.  These costs are only slightly ahead of the total value of our year end reserves of £43,400.  Unfortunately, our allocation of Diocesan costs (which include our share of the costs of having a Vicar) are expected to rise by 8% plus inflation over the next three years.  This scheduled increase in our Diocesan quota is causing concern about how we can make sure we continue to generate sufficient income to meet all our costs.

The meeting was also the ‘launch’ event for this, Christ Church’s own website.

14 April - Christ Church Open Day
Well over 100 people, from the very young to the elderly, joined us on Saturday 14 April for our Church Open Day.  As well as enjoying delicious cakes and tea,  the Spring sun in the churchyard and Ed Sutton's music on the piano and organ, Mary Hustings led us round some of the graves of interesting people and Virginia McKenna held young and old spellbound while she read an abridged version of Michael Morpugo's 'The Butterfly Lion’.

7 April - Ed Sutton Plays St Pauls' Cathedral Organ for Evensong with St Martin's Choir
Ed Sutton, our organist and choirmaster, played the St Paul's  Cathedral organ for choral evensong on Saturday 7 April.  Ed was accompanying the St Martin's Dorking choir, which was reunited for the occasion with Martin Ellis, St Martin's  former Director of Music.

Easter at Christ Church
Our Easter celebrations started with our Palm Sunday service, with a donkey leading us from the John Venus Hall to the Church, and on Maundy Thursday we had  an evening service in the balcony - marking the Last Supper in the Upper Room.  We marked Good Friday with an All Ages service and we had a full Church for our Holy Communion service on Easter Sunday.