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Praying Together

Making time to pray together on the

first Wednesday of the month

Wednesday 6th March

Wednesday 3rd April

at 7pm

A time of Silent Prayer

followed by the short service of Compline

in the Sacrament Chapel, St. Mary’s Church

Led by  Rev. Frany Long

The Beacon - Page 1

Beacon magazine cover page A Burning Candle

Page 1

In Loving Memory

Edna Downham

Praying Together

Prayer Breakfast

Page 2

Renewal of Electoral Roll

Children’s Society Boxes

Guild of Friends

Church Members: interview

Page 3

From the Registers

Lent Course

Talk and Teas

Munch with Music

Page 4

Live at St. Lawrence’s

COAT Concert

East Surrey Walkers

North Downs Consort concert

Prayer Breakfast

Where? 56 Roffes Lane, Chaldon;

park in Heathway.

When? Saturday March  2nd.

and every first Saturday of the month  thereafter, at 8.15am, for no more than an hour.

What is it? An opportunity to meet for prayer and fellowship together.

We begin with coffee and croissants and then share a time of prayer together.  Prayers are offered for any matters that are concerning those who gather.  

Hope to see you there.    

Revd. Frany

Cup and Croissant

In Loving Memory

In January we celebrated the lives of two members of the congregation. Edna Downham and Mike Homewood had both been active members of St Mary’s for many years.  It is sadly too often the case that we only learn about peoples’ lives at a funeral or thanksgiving service.  Edna’s funeral took place in church on January 23rd. Her grandson had made her coffin and her granddaughter had inscribed a beautiful plaque on the top. It was a lovely service and although it might sound strange, the family all said that the only person missing was Edna; she would have loved to have been there.  

Below is the address given by Revd Frany Long

(The chosen reading was: John 14 v1-7)

Jesus’s words offer us a very real sense of comfort and peace today as we gather to say farewell to dear Edna, the love of Ron’s life, a dear mum to Steff, Gaby and Debby, nan, great nan not to mention a dear friend to those of us gathered here and so many more who can’t be here.

‘Do not let your hearts be troubled,’ Jesus says, ‘believe in God, believe also in me.’ I’m sure, that these words would have brought Edna comfort too throughout her life. Her relationship with God was unique as is the way for each one of us , but in good times and in the times of struggle and change, God always played a significant part in her life and of course she lived out her faith through her constant caring and strong principles; always willing and offering to help however she could.  And so we come also to thank God for her life, so selflessly lived.

When I first came to St Mary’s back in early nineties Edna ran the Toddler Group, she was also a regular at the Tuesday lunchtime service but inevitably she would have to rush off to collect or drop off one of you, she was a very proud Nan and was forever telling us stories about your various antics. Her kindness and her gentleness of manner, although she was no walk over, touched and changed many lives.

Before the service the bells were rung in recognition of her involvement with the installation of one of the bells. Frances, the bell tower captain, has a great photo of her, rolling up her sleeves, mixing cement to take up the tower.  I had forgotten that she went on to learn to become a ringer. She was indeed a woman of hidden talents.

In this passage from John’s gospel Jesus offers reassurance to his dearest friends, his disciples, ‘In my Father’s house,’ he tells them, ‘there are many dwelling place.’ His words conjure up a wonderful image of some large sprawling family home, somewhat chaotic and full of laughter and joy, where all are welcome and after listening to Steff talking about his mum it seems rather apt for today...not that I’m suggesting that Edna and Ron ever owned a large rambling mansion but I would imagine that no. 12 Burntwood Close was a place where all were welcome and  amongst the love and the chaos; a house where a place could easily be set at table and whatever she had cooked Edna would make go round. She might not have been the best of cooks but what she didn’t have in culinary skills she more than made up for in the welcome she gave and her desire to help and provide where she could.

Edna was always a bit of a free spirit, she didn’t worry about conforming, she was unique in her approach as well as her dress sense but she loved life and wanted others to as well.  And even though as a youngster she seems to have been a bit of a tearaway causing havoc once with her sister Linda, on the back of a Lambretta in Gosport, the Edna that I knew, although very much still her own person, was a faithful and committed member of the community and respected by those who knew her.

There’s no doubt that one of the most difficult things about being blessed with the gift of a loving relationship is the letting go.  And even though it is something that we all experience many times on so many different levels, it’s never easy.

Jesus knows that the time is coming when he will soon have to leave his friends, he understands their apprehension and sorrow and offers them words of comfort and hope. His words remind us that death is not a final separation, for Jesus overcame the darkness of the tomb and rose to new life to be alongside the Father and In faith we believe that this day he will come and take Edna to be with him, in joy united with Ron and Debby.

For those of us who remain, we may not always understand or grasp that which is unseen but Jesus assures us that ‘He is the way, the truth and the life’ and that  in following his example we too will receive the promise of eternal life.’

I don’t believe that Edna would have wanted your hearts to be troubled but rather that together you will celebrate and remember the happy times, love one another, care for one another and laugh together.


Edna Downham

by her Son

It's a sad time, it's never easy to lose a parent, however old you are. But, l've also been looking back at my mum's life and thinking wow, that was a good life.

Mum not only survived, but thrived. She loved school, classroom and playing field and was a head girl. And at the end of school, well, there weren't a lot of career choices for a working class woman, but she made the excellent decision to go into medicine. She trained as a state registered nurse and midwife. working in hospitals and in the community. doing what she did best - caring for people.  She loved the “Call the Midwife” series!

And it was through her work that she met and fell in love with our dad Ron. She was a career girl in her 30's, with a ticket already booked to go to Canada for work. Dad loved her so much, he didn't want to stand in her way. So, she took the boat across the Atlantic, was sea sick the whole journey and had lost a stone in weight by the time she arrived. Both sea sick and love sick, she and Ron missed each other so much it was only a few months later she made the return trip.

And so, came the next big chapter in her life. A home in Caterham and me and my brother Stef and sister Debbie. She was in her element as a mother, we were so loved, safe and warm, cocooned in a loving relationship.  

I remember a childhood of beach holidays, long walks and lazy Sunday lunches. lt's only since having my own children that I realise how tolerant she was, particularly of the terrible teens!  She always supported us and believed in us and taught us the importance of caring for each other, family friends and strangers.

Sadly Mum was only the same sort of age as I am now when Ron was diagnosed with cancer. lt was a terrible blow to her to lose him soon after.  Part of her recovery then and later was her involvement in her grand-children's lives. She was like a second mother to my eldest Nicky. She played a massive role in the lives of all her grandchildren and I know all of you. Nicky, Adam, Jed, Imi, Alex, Queenie and Helen have fond memories of your Nan.

My big-hearted mum was always at her best when she was caring for others. Coupled with her nursing experience this meant she was involved and working in the care of others well into her 70s.  Her energy was amazing. I wonder if her ability to keep going, keep giving were fuelled by her ability to power nap! As a child I remember her on the go constantly, but if she ever did sit down with us to watch TV, she was asleep in no time! She told me there were times on night duty as a nurse when she's had forty winks standing up leant on the wall!

For someone so defined by what she could do for others, Mum did not take kindly to the reduced mobility of age. She stubbornly kept going, but as the number of falls increased, so the need for full-time care became apparent.

We were so fortunate to find a place for mum at Whitgift House, still close to her friends in Caterham, and near family. Whitgift have provided a loving home for mum for 3 and a half years, and we are so grateful to them.

Although Mum's last years were quieter and less active she was still able to enjoy visits from friends and family, including a lovely afternoon with her great-grand-daughter Chloe just 2 days before she passed.  

Mum was ready to move on, to be reunited with her darling Ron and daughter Debbie.  So, although this is a sad time, l'm happy for her too. Free now from her ageing body and leaving behind her a legacy of love which we carry with us.

It was a good life.

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