Monthly Letter


Here is the monthly letter from the Clergy team as it appears in the

August 2017 edition of St Nicolas Cranleigh Parish Church Magazine:


The Rector writes ....

What a strange and unsettling year this has been!  On the national and international scene, we have experienced things like: Brexit, Donald Trump leading the world’s most powerful nation, terrorist attacks in Westminster, Manchester and Southwark, the Grenfell Tower disaster, and then the folly of an election that should never have been held (and I say that with absolutely no political agenda whatsoever)!   All of these ‘events’ will have left us feeling all sorts of emotions: anger, fear, shock, confusion, loss and perhaps even some guilt!


I, for one, am very good at feeling guilty!  On this occasion, guilty, because while my brothers and sisters were being killed and maimed in some of these terrible events, I had been very seriously looking forward to my holiday!   But is that so very wrong?   Because we all, and I know that I am not alone, spend so much of our lives involved in such serious business and such serious decision making, that it is essential that we take time out – even Jesus and his disciples needed to do that – you’ll remember that time when he escaped across the lake, just to get away from the crowds who were demanding so much of his time.  I always feel rather sorry for Jesus and his disciples in that story.  They'd just returned from their very first mission.  They were full of it – they couldn't wait to pour out to Jesus all they'd seen and heard and experienced.  We can read that: "They told him all they'd done and taught."   But they were also exhausted.  They'd put the whole of themselves into this demanding and new work of mission, and they were tired.  And Jesus, always sensitive to people's needs, calls them to rest and recuperate in a quiet place.  So, they all pile into a boat and set off for that place, more than ready for a break and for some time away from the pressures of work.  But unfortunately, the people wouldn't let them go.  And so, when the crowds found them again, they probably felt as I would feel if a whole gang of you folk from Cranleigh suddenly turned up on my little bit of Italian beach and demanded a sermon!


So, don’t get any ideas!  And when Kate and I head off to Italy at the beginning of August (just as you are reading this article) the most serious decision we hope to have to be making will be whether we should open a bottle of red wine, or a bottle of white wine?  Seriously though, the intention is  that  we  spend  time  just  being  together – driving  around, relaxing, swimming, sightseeing, eating nice food – little luxuries which we often don’t find time for during the rest of the busy year.  We are very much looking forward to it, despite all the pressures at home, and we hope to make the most of our time off work.  There comes a time, I think, in any job where you need a break.  Whether you spend your day at home looking after various family members, or in the office, or wherever, sometimes it becomes necessary to step back and find some space for yourself.  Some time to rest.  Some time to refresh your batteries, so that you're ready for another term or another year, or whatever, in your own particular job.


But while I enjoy my time, I won’t forget what is happening back at home, or what has been happening in the worlds.  Wherever I were to be going, I would not be able to forget the horrific scenes which have come to our television screens from the various places I have mentioned!  But I will return, the better equipped to continue, with Ian, Tricia, Peter, Myles, Edna and Judy, and all of you, the tasks which our God has prepared for us this Autumn.


There is a hymn which was written after the 9/11 attacks in America which speaks powerfully into times like this, and so I share it with you now:


O God, our words cannot express the pain we feel this day.
Enraged, uncertain, we confess our need to bow and pray.


We grieve for all who lost their lives and for each injured one.
We pray for children, husbands, wives, whose grief has just begun.


O Lord, we're called to offer prayer for all our leaders, too.
May they, amid such great despair, be wise in all they do.


We trust your mercy and your grace; in you we will not fear!
May peace and justice now embrace!  Be with your people here!


These hymn words, by Carolyn Gilette, were written on September 11, 2001, as she was watching the TV news stories of the World Trade Center Towers collapsing, the Pentagon being attacked, and the plane crashing in western Pennsylvania.  The hymn was shared widely on the Internet and was sung at memorial services for firefighters in New York City.


Rev'd Roy Woodhams


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