September 2012 – The Messenger

Minister’s Letter

Dear Friends,

I’m writing this the day after the Olympic Games ended, and like many people in the country I’m sure I’ll go through some withdrawal symptoms. Every day throughout the games we watched and cheered on the athletes as they gave their all to win a medal. Our own competitors did us proud ending up with 29 gold medals alone far beyond their expectations. The whole event was planned and delivered brilliantly and we as a nation should be very proud of everyone who took part. A special mention should go to the hundreds of volunteers who gave their time and energy to make sure the games were a success.

As I watched the closing ceremony, my mind went to the words of Paul the evangelist who said in 1 Corinthians 9:24 -27, ‘Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last for ever.’

Over the last two months we at Christ Church have been in training. I have preached a series of sermons on discipleship and we have thought about being called, trained and sent out by Jesus to run the race for him. We have looked at the life of Peter the disciple and thought about Paul and Silas as they brought the gospel over to Europe for the first time and being imprisoned for their trouble. But with God’s help they were released to continue running the race for Jesus and their prison guard and his whole family were saved and baptised.

The Olympics may be over but the race to bring people to know Christ goes on. We must continue our mission to be disciples and to make disciples. We must stop trying to do things in our own strength and as a church fellowship we must bow to his will.

When I walked into Christ Church in 2009, God showed me a vision of a church with all the barriers removed both physical and spiritual. It was clear that was going to mean change and controversy and for some that was going to be a step too far. But if we as a fellowship desire nothing more than to do the will of God and to be true disciples of his Son Jesus Christ, we must put aside what we would like and seek and then do the will of our Lord and Saviour.

We must run and complete the race that has been given to us and the fellowship of Christ Church must unite together in Jesus name to accomplish the task.

With love in his precious name,



from Diana and Henry Daley

Dear friends at Christ Church,

Thank you so much for the beautiful chrysanthemums and other pretty flowers delivered to us by Usebia. It was a real treat and did cheer us up.

Thanking you all,

Every blessing

from Diana and Henry Daley


From Peter Thornthwaite.

Dear Friends at Christ Church,

Thank you very much for the lovely flowers given to me on the occasion of my 60th birthday in July. These were much appreciated and brightened my living room.

Best wishes,

From Peter Thornthwaite.


From Sally Johnson

“To my church family”

Thank you so much for everything, for all your prayers and love and being at my baptism and for all the lovely cards, presents and flowers.

Love Sally


LifeSprings Phase 2 – Building Project update

Over the last year, we have been considering how to improve the kitchen used for LifeSprings and tea and coffee (and often cakes) on Sundays. The new church frontage opens up the church to the High Street, and the doors are often open on Saturdays with Café Tables outside so more people can experience the friendly, Christian conversation and service that is key to our mission and vision. At the July church meeting, the plans for the next stage of the project were approved and the project is scheduled to start in early January.

As “the church on the High Street”, we want to make ourselves even more accessible and open to the people of Tonbridge, to be able to serve more of them and to provide a Kitchen that is a better place to serve them from. The new layout, will also mean that volunteers working in the kitchen will be able to see people in the café, and the other members of the team who are serving them. There will be enough space to work and to prepare and cook food. The fixed glass partition between “church” and foyer will be replaced by opening glazed doors to make our whole church even more open.

If you haven’t seen the photo’s and plans in the Foyer, please do have a look.

(Keith Robinson & Steve Tringham)


Carers FIRST – First Choice for carers

We are a local voluntary organisation who offer support to carers.

Do you look after a friend or relative? Would you like some guidance and support? Whatever your age we are here to help.

Whatever the difficulty your relative/friend is facing – disability, illness, mental health or substance misuse issues we are here to help you, as their carer.  There are many ways we can assist you. Do you ………

  • Need guidance with claiming attendance allowance/disability living allowance/carers allowance?
  • Need a break? Find out about our respite service.
  • Would you like to meet others in the same situation? Come on our outings and training days.
  • Do you want to know what services are available locally that might be useful to you?
  • Do you have to go into hospital and are worried about how you will cope with your caring role?

Are you a young carer (8 -16)? Would you like to have some ‘time out’ from your caring role to do things you enjoy with other young carers?

Caring for someone over a long period of time can affect your health and so many carers we come across say they wish they had known about us ages ago so ….. Don’t hesitate – ring us on 01732 357555 – to have a chat to see if we can be of assistance!

Carers FIRST also run a befriending scheme for the over 60’s. If you or someone you know could benefit from this please let us know.

–  If you can offer an hour or so a fortnight to be a volunteer befriender, ring us on the above number and ask for Stephanie Reynolds.

News from Steve and Debbie Fisher

What happens to ministers when they move on from one church to another? I at any rate don’t find it easy to keep in contact as both church and minister move on in their spiritual journey. Faces remain frozen in time and it’s a real shock when someone remembered as a 10 year old is married and with children of their own! But we do read church magazines, which help to keep us informed as well as websites.

Debbie and I have been in Buckingham for nearly 5 years. As an LEP (Methodist/Baptist/URC) it is a five year appointment. It is a busy church with 3 services on a Sunday (and little overlap between congregations) and I have had 3 rural Methodist chapels to oversee as well. Some of the highlights have included a town-wide inter-church schools team which goes twice a week into local Primary school assemblies, running a weekly after-school ‘Heroes’ club for 30 – 40 children in Key Stage 1 & 2; growth in the rural chapels through lunch clubs and children’s work (and a great lay pastoral worker alongside); monthly prayer evenings exploring new ways to pray and a 24 hour prayer day with the local Anglicans!

Debbie has been working as a community nurse in a nearby town, which has been enjoyable but often stressful (as NHS workers will know). Meanwhile we have three grandchildren, Reuben (4), Sophie (3) and Theo (1) (Ant and Claire were married in 2007) and spend a fair bit of time on ‘grandparent duty’ one way or another.

But now we are moving on again. It was one of the hardest decisions to make to decide to move on after only 5 years, but there were a number of positive and negative reasons why the time is right. I had thought that not many churches would be interested in an ‘old codger’ -I’m 60 this summer – but God had other ideas (doesn’t he always have!) We will shortly be moving to minister to two small churches in rural Derbyshire in October, Buxton and Tideswell.

The latter is a Methodist/URC LEP and they have been working together for just 2 years (about 40 members) and Buxton has a membership of around 30, so this will be very different from Buckingham! But both churches have big opportunities for outreach and service of the local community, however. Before that I am currently taking a sabbatical, reading, doing some watercolour painting and improving my computer skills (allegedly) among other things.

We continue to pray for you and remember our time among you with joy and receive the Messenger magazine gladly, and catching up in various ways with your news. If you want a holiday in the peak district of Derbyshire, we will be glad to host you….

Wishing you continued blessings in your work for God’s Kingdom,

Steve and Debbie

Prayer Corner

Thank you to those visitors to the café who have signed the visitor’s book. Also to those who have put prayer requests in the Prayer book. These are read out every Sunday in the service.

•             As the Autumn term begins we pray for those going back to school, to college or starting university. We think especially of those who teach, and pray that staff with a Christian faith will have opportunities to show Jesus through their words and actions.

•             We give thanks for the courage and commitment of all the London 2012 Olympic athletes and focus on the coming Paralympics. We continue to pray for the safety of all those taking part, as well as those attending.  May God bless the athletes, their support staff, and all the wonderful, enthusiastic volunteers.

•             Finally we pray for local GP surgeries, and all healthcare professionals serving in our community, especially the staff at the new hospital where so many of us, or our family and friends, have been treated.

Christ Church URC has a prayer team available after morning services.


Tax Justice Bus visits Tonbridge

On Saturday 15th Sept. the Christian Aid Tax Justice bus will be visiting Tonbridge Methodist Church.  You are warmly invited to join them for tea and cake and Tax Justice! There will be an opportunity to have a look around the interactive exhibition and hear from one of Christian Aid’s international partners who will be sharing first hand stories about the negative effect that tax dodging has on the poor in countries in which they work.

Pastures New – News from Diane Farquhar

My prayer ever since I began following Jesus has been, “Lord, send me wherever you want me to go, so I can do what you want me to do.” God has taken me at my word and led me to places I never knew existed! – Such as Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge, Birmingham’s Asian community, and now St Helens – Merseyside cum Lancashire for those who are as ignorant as myself!

After finishing my mission placement with WEC International in Birmingham, things moved very fast and at the beginning of June, Peasley Cross URC – a small church in St Helens with a big heart for outreach to its deprived community – invited me to be Interim Minister for six months. So I packed up my things and moved north at the end of June.

This year in particular, I have identified with Jesus’ saying: “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” (Luke 9:58) I even became a rather aged ‘boomerang kid’, returning to live with my parents for a few weeks. But God is faithful to his promises and two that are a comfort to me are Isaiah 42:16 – “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known…” and Matthew 6:33 – “(Don’t worry) But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness…”

I haven’t a clue what God’s longer term plan is, or where my income will come from, but I’m learning to trust him in the present and not worry about the future. You will have different faith challenges, I guess, but I pray that you too will know the joy and peace of trusting in our heavenly Father.

It was a great joy and privilege to serve you as Community Minister in 2007-09, and to be part of the Christ Church fellowship since then. You will always have a special place in my heart and I would love to hear from you, and even welcome some of you to visit – I’m living in a 4 bedroom manse! Please see the printed edition of the Messenger for my contact details, or use the contact the contact page on this web site asking the church to forward a message on.

May God bless you abundantly!  Diane.

URC General Assembly 2012

Breaking News…Civil Partnerships

URC General Assembly enables civil partnerships to be registered in local churches.  Assembly had agreed a resolution allowing churches to decide on whether to allow civil partnerships to be registered in their buildings. In taking this decision, the URC has become the first mainstream Christian denomination to allow same-sex partners to register their civil partnership in church.  The resolution takes effect immediately and enables local URC churches in England and Wales to consider whether they wish to allow civil partnerships to be registered on their premises (i.e. to conclude legal formalities, as well as, the religious ceremony to take place in the church). Once a church decides to take this step, it will need to ask its trustees to apply to the superintendent registrar of the relevant local authority to become registered as an approved venue.

 As recession bites Mission Council asks for cuts in expenditure.

Following the projected 2012 deficit budget Mission Council recommended the need to make £600,000 in cuts to the 2013 budgets. Treasurer John Ellis warned committees they also need to look at longer term plans to keep down expenditure.

What do you think? Let Jim, Elders or Synod reps know.

Should churches be cutting down on the services it provides to the community, at the same time as governments are doing the same? Are we prepared to give more time, or money, to help those currently in more need than ourselves?


Mrs Val Morrison will hand over the job of lay moderator next Summer to Mr John Ellis.

The GA celebrated various birthdays:  Commitment for Life 20th , TLS 25th, URC 40th & Pilots 75th    –    HAPPY  BIRTHDAY !


Weekly Average Offering –   July 2012 £827.66 (July 2011 – £822.72)

Thank you to everyone who gives money – weekly or monthly – as this keeps the building running to serve the purpose of God. 10%  of our income goes to overseas or local Christian organisations. (Nigel Munns)

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY –September 2012

Saturday 1

9am       Elders’ prayer meeting

Men’s & women’s prayer meeting

Sunday 2

10am     Morning Worship (Preacher: Rev Jim Thorneycroft)

3pm       West Kent and East Sussex Synod Area Meeting

Monday 3

8pm       Munns’ Cell Group

8pm        Laird’s Cell Group

Saturday 7

9 am      Men’s prayer meeting

9 am       Women’s prayer meeting

Sunday 9

10 am    Holy Communion   (Preacher: Adam Cumming)


Monday 10

8pm       Munns’ Cell Group

8pm      Laird’s Cell Group


Wednesday 12  10 am    Sunbeam Club

Thursday 13        10am     It’s Thursday! restarts


9am       Men’s prayer meeting

9am       Women’s prayer meeting


Sunday 16

10am     Morning Worship (Preacher: Angela Henderson)


Monday 17

8 pm       Munns’ Cell Group

8pm         Laird’s Cell Group


Wednesday  19

10 am    Sunbeam Club

12.45pm Lunchtime Services restarts


Thursday 20        10am     It’s Thursday

Saturday 22

9am       Men’s Prayer meeting

9am        Women’s prayer meeting


Sunday 23

10am   Morning Worship (Preacher: Rev Jim Thorneycroft)


Monday 24         8pm       Church Meeting


Wednesday 26

10am     Sunbeam Club

12.45     Lunchtime Service


Thursday 27        10am     It’s Thursday!

Saturday 29

9 am      Men’s Prayer meeting

9am       Women’s prayer meeting


Sunday 30

10am     Morning Worship (Cafe-style church led by our small groups)

3pm  URC Celebration Service


It’s Thursday – Autumn programme restarts

Don’t forget – It’s Thursday restarts on Thursday 13th at 10am


Back to Church Sunday: Nationally every year one Sunday is designated as ‘Back to Church Sunday’, but this year instead Christ Church URC would like to invite you to come and join us for two very special events, Café Church on 30th September and Harvest on 7th October

Sunday 30th September – Café Church – 9.30 – 11.30

The café will be open, so if you don’t want to venture any further you are welcome to stay in the Café area and just watch what else is going on.

Instead of the usual hymn, prayer, sermon format we will be exploring a biblical idea, or a verse, in very different ways. For example there might be craft activities, song writing and performing, cookery or drama, as well as more usual and expected prayer, bible study or quiet times. Each activity takes place in a different room in the church building rather than just in the ‘church’ area.

Think of it as a ‘taster’ day. If you haven’t been to church before, are thinking of coming, or new to the area and looking for a church, then this is an ideal opportunity to pop in and see us.      Want something more traditional…….

Harvest: Sunday 7th October 10am- Harvest Service for the Homeless.

Come and join us, the Brownies and Guides, and other hirers from Christ Church Centre to give something to others. As part of the service you can donate the following items (new/clean 2nd hand) to be distributed by the Tunbridge Wells Homeless Project, as needed or at the December Carol Service.  Come and make a difference.

The Messenger

From this month, The Messenger is being edited by the Laird’s cell group. We wanted to work together to produce this important part of church life. While keeping news of the immediate church family, we also want to provide more news from many of the organisations who work with and use our building and to add content that might be of interest to our LifeSprings customers and church visitors – if you have ideas or contributions please let us know.

Early Morning DANCERCISE – Tues 6th September 2012

Dancercise Company classes are a great way for adults of all ages to get fit and stay fit & flexible. More than just an exercise class, learning and remembering dance routines stimulates the mind, too.  All of the routines are built up from easy to learn dance moves, which are designed for a complete body workout.  Music ranges from Pop to Bhangra, Latin, Jazz, Bollywood, Lyrical, Tap, Flamenco and World – all bursting with rhythm and energy.

Dancercise Company Classes are friendly and welcoming.  Whether you’re 16, over 70 or somewhere in between you can work at a level suitable for you – even if you’ve never danced before.

Move & flow with the rhythm of the music.  Go home with a smile in your heart, feeling fitter, refreshed, re-energised & deliciously stretched!  Come along – release the dancer in you.

For more information, and to book your space in the class go to or call Lynn 01732 771352
or email

New Class – TUES   9.30am or existing class WEDS 7.30pm



Calling all Men and Boys,

Take the 100² Challenge on October 14th 2012 and help raise £10,000 for Prostate Cancer UK. See:



Over 40,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in the UK every year, making it the most common cancer found in men. One man dies every hour from the disease. More info: .





 Ride & Stride Sunday 8th September 2012, 10am-6pm

 It’s not too late to support the Friends of Kent Churches Annual Fundraiser.  You can:

1)       Join a Team (cycling or walking) from Christ Church URC Tonbridge & fundraise for us.

2)       Come to the café for a special cream tea.

3)       Sponsor the Christ Church URC team*

*50% of sponsorship money raised goes towards the new cafe with the other 50% going to the Friends to support heritage churches.

The Ride and Stride is open to everyone……The more people take part, the more money is raised. Last year 745 churches and chapels in Kent were visited raising £135,000 (including gift aid). The ride started in Suffolk in 1982, and now 36 counties are taking part. Altogether over £29 million has been raised nationally.

On the Day…..‘Clock in’ at your first church from 10am onwards. Take a look around, and then off to the next church or chapel.  Many churches will have welcome teams, or drinks, or perhaps a café.  The last church must be visited by 6pm.  Some churches have 50 visitors.

Christ Church URC Tonbridge Café will be open all day 10-5pm so that visitors can have a cream tea and see round the church.

WANTED – volunteers to man Christ Church URC café AND volunteers to show people around the church.  This will give them a chance to have a drink, rest or chat. This is a great opportunity to open up our church and support those taking part, whether they are visiting Tonbridge churches only, or riding all over Kent.

It also gives us a chance to do some fundraising for the new café and toilet area. So please think about helping, or consider taking part.  You can get more details about Ride and Stride from John Wynne on 850544 or at these two links:


God has the last Word

As I turned to depart after dropping my parents back to their apartment Dad turned and said to me “Hey David, I can remember that sermon, God gets the last word”.

What my father was referring to was the sermon we had all just listened to in the car coming home from a trip out for coffee and cakes at Coolings garden centre near Fort Halstead, and very nice it was, I can thoroughly recommend it

What he had actually been listening to was a sermon from Bangor West Church near Belfast in which the minister had been sharing a paraphrase of scripture from towards the end of 1 Peter, a letter set against hard times and suffering. In it we are reminded to keep a firm grip on the faith, Peter instructs us to trust in God in the hard times and then he reminds us to hold onto our ultimate victory in Christ. God has the last word, Yes he does!

In the sermon the Reverend Charles McMullen gave several examples of time moving on. He talked about seeing his daughter of from Dublin airport on a trip to Vancouver Island on the day before she turned eighteen and then, whilst driving home discovering the empty nest syndrome, as he thought about that pram he pushed eighteen summers ago. The emotional roller coaster continued as he met up with an old university friend and then only a few days later having to drive over to county Fermanagh to do a wedding for an old school friend with many old family friends attending.

Charles  reminded us that God speak to us from his word, and as we go through the experiences  of life together  and find ourselves surrounded by life’s shifting sands. To quote Tolkien “ We can handle the incompletion of this world when we understand what is coming to us in the next”.

Thank God, that he meets us at our point of need as we put into practice the outworking of our faith. Thank God for the gifts he has given us, as we care and support one another, and share the good news of Jesus with our relatives and friends. Thank God for modern technology that helps us to spread the Gospel message to a much wider audience and enables us to listen to the word as it is shared all around the world. Thank God for miracles, because Dad who wears two hearing aids and  is quite deaf was able to hear every word of the sermon!

No trip to Coolings now is complete without the weekly word from Bangor West on the way back!

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen

God does indeed have the last word, Yes he does!.   David Laird


Recipe of the month – Rene’s Pavlova

(from Jayne Laird) – I was given this recipe by the late Mrs, Rene Munns.  Nigel’s Mum.


3 Large Eggs                                       6oz of Caster Sugar

1 teaspoon of vinegar                         1 teaspoon of corn flour


Pre-heat oven to 200oC  to 250oC, Gas oven –  8-9

  1. Separate the eggs,
  2. Take the egg whites and beat them until stiff and they form a peak.  (I do this in an electric mixer.  On a high speed.  I leave them to beat for 15 to 20 minutes.)  You cannot over beat egg whites.
  3.  Lower the speed to 1 when beaten and  add the caster sugar, corn flour and vinegar.
  4. Spoon out the mixture onto a baking sheet. (Roughly an 8” circle)
  5. Place on the lower shelf and put the temperature down to 110 (gas mark 1) and cook for 1hr.(It is important to pre- heat oven up as high as you can).
  6. Let it cool down.
  7.  Whip the double cream  and spread the mixture over the pavlova and top it with various summer fruits.

Do you have a favourite or special recipe to share next month – let us know?

Overseas update – August 2012

For all of you who missed the Peru photos I showed in church, here is the latest news. Using the £1,000 raised or donated towards the bread oven, Daniel, Rocio’s brother managed to get a loan from the bank. They have now purchased a new bread oven and intend to pay the loan off as soon as possible. An engineer came from Lima and it took 2 days to fit. Daniel has converted a big part of his house to making the bakery.

As you can see the oven would not fit through the door so they made a bigger hole.  The oven was fitted and working by midnight and a batch of dough was cooked.

Imagine. Rocio was out and about at 1am selling freshly baked rolls to passers-by. Since that first successful trial the bakery has been fitted out with a tiled floor and newly painted walls.

At the last minute, on the day of the official opening, Rocio realised they didn’t have any shelves or baskets to display the bread and borrowed tables from all the neighbours.  Daniel prepares and bakes rolls each day and keeps the shop open until they are sold. Sometimes this is 8pm.  Rocio is looking for a display fridge to sell cakes – a good way to make money. I also suggested setting up a filled roll or sandwich business. But there are still a lot of basic things to be done first. At the moment there is no shelving or storage for the bread and rolls, or a counter to serve the customers – all the neighbours needed to have their tables back!  Recently Christ Church URC has sent £1800 to Peru and Rocio will let us know what the money has been spent on as soon as possible.

Thank you to everyone who supports the overseas projects – whether as part of our church tithe, through fundraising, by donation or in buying things from the A.G.A.P.E catalogue.


Money has also been sent to Chegutu Church, Zimbabwe, and Kabushi Church, Zambia. Pastor Lloyd of Kabushi Church says the new Welfare committee will send updated details for the sponsors of orphaned children as soon as possible. Watch this space!

(Sharon Tringham)


Book Review – Do  yourself a favour…..FORGIVE

by Joyce Meyers

Unforgiveness is rooted in anger which is a destructive emotion this can lead to broken relationships, friendships, and even destroy family’s.

But why should we forgive?

In this book Joyce explains that forgiveness is the key to our freedom, from the anger that eats away at us each time someone does us wrong. We live with hurts from our past as did Joyce who for years as a child was sexually abused by her Father and a mother who refused to believe her or who chose not to. She explains that it’s OK to be angry, upset and sometimes this can go on for years However she explains that it’s not healthy for us ,we can lose ourselves to it and don’t do ourselves any favours.

Joyce explains “We can forgive and need to do it for ourselves and receive the joy that is released, and with Gods help we will. We must remember Jesus came into this world so that our sins may be forgiven, a gift given to us freely.  He then expects us to give freely. We must let go and trust God to be our vindicator and only he will bring justice into our lives.”

This book has been a real eye opener for me and I have loved reading and sharing it with friends. I do hope you give it a read especially chapter 12.

PSALMS 133:1

(Linda Robinson)


Forthcoming Events….

URC 40th Birthday – 30th September 3.00pm Christ Church

The United Reformed Church will be 40 years old on 5 October 2012. To mark the occasion the West Kent and East Sussex Synod Area will be holding a celebration service followed by afternoon tea.

Date: 30th September 2012 at 3.00 pm

Place:  Christ Church URC, Tonbridge

Preacher: Rev Nicola Furley-Smith, Moderator of the Southern Synod

Members and adherents from all the WKESSA churches are welcome to attend but please let Lesley Cumming know if you plan to attend.

Helpers required from all WKESSA churches: stewards, musicians, catering team.

Please let Lesley know if you want to help.

Harvest celebration – 10am Sunday 7th October

Come and join us, the Brownies and Guides, and other hirers from Christ Church Centre to give something to others.  Come and make a difference. See the short article above.

Christmas Craft Fair Saturday -17th November 10.00-2.00

Please let Jayne Laird or Linda Robinson know if you are interested in a table.

TBC – ‘Let’s Talk About Sex’ – for parents of teens

Tonbridge Baptist Church will be hosting an event run by the Romance Academy called ‘Let’s Talk About Sex’ on October 23rd to encourage parents  to talk about sex and relationships with their children & teens. We envisage it will run from roughly 7.30 – 10pm with a break for coffee and cake. We will be suggesting a donation of £2 per person in order to cover the costs of hosting the event.

Romance Academy is a national organisation founded by Rachel Gardner after the hit BBC documentary ‘No sex please, we’re teenagers’ in 2005. They work all over the UK to train youth leaders, schools and parents to help teenagers deal with issues surrounding relationships.


The United Reformed Church in Tonbridge, Kent