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The Guild of Friends of St. Lawrence Church

The Guild of Friends of St. Lawrence's was formed in 1962. The main objects of the Guild are to assist in the preservation and maintenance of the church and churchyard so that it will remain a centre of spiritual activity for future generations.

The Guild runs several Guided Tours of the church during the spring/summer. Tours start at 3pm, and cost £3 (children free) and all proceeds go to the upkeep of the church. The Guided Tours in 2017 will be on the following dates.

Sunday 23 April  :  Sunday 30 April  :  Bank Holiday Monday 1 May  :  Sunday 14 May  :  Bank Holiday Monday 29 May

Guild Membership is open to people of all denominations on payment of an annual minimum subscription of £2. If you would like to become a "Friend", simply fill in an enrolment form which can be found on the table near the entrance to the Church. Send it with your subscription to:

          The Guild of Friends of St. Lawrence Church,  c/o St. Paul's Centre (for address, see contacts page).

The Guild of Friends celebrated their 50 years anniversary in July 2012

"The inaugural meeting of the Guild of Friends of St. Lawrence's Church was held at 49. Whyteleaf (sic) Rd. on 14th. July 1962." So reads the opening sentence of the Chairman's (the Rector, Revd. Kenneth Budd) Report dated 30th November 1963.

It has been interesting reading the Report to see that what we are doing today reflects what happened 50 years ago. One thing that has changed though is that in 1962 members were asked to subscribe 2s.6d (12½p) a year rather than the minimum of £2 we ask today. We continue to celebrate the Feast of St. Lawrence every August and other ecumenical services during the year, for the Guild is for people of all denominations.

Fifty years ago the inter-denominational group of the Guild of Health used the church and recently it was used by the Romanian Orthodox Church. To emphasise the spirit of unity Guild member Harold Barrett from St. John's Church, Caterham Valley, suggested to Revd. Budd that ".... St. Lawrence's should have a chapel of Unity as in Coventry Cathedral. The north aisle is now used as a Chapel of Unity & the new altar has a carving of clasped hands to symbolize unity". The People's Warden, Major Edwards, made the altar and did the carving.

The Ancient Church has been given many items over the years. When the Guild started "Mrs. Ball gave and made the blue, the gold & the red sets of riddle curtains & altar frontals. Also the white altar cloth & coloured covers". To mark the occasion of the Guild's 50th Anniversary, Guild members Heidi and Michele Dennis have made a lovely set of curtain hangings for each of the church seasons plus a new white altar cloth.

John Gilbert is continuing the work started in 1962/3 on the garden: now, as then, roses and bulbs have been planted and the churchyard and garden are kept in good order. The annual fundraising Coffee Morning still takes place and sometimes even the weather seems to be in tune with the past. The Rector reported "In July we had a coffee morning in the garden of St. Lawrence's but unfortunately just as we were about to start the skies opened and it poured with rain". No change there then.

We held 50th Anniversary celebrations over the week-end of 14th/15th July 2012, which replaced the Coffee Morning and St. Lawrencetide Service. The highlight was the beautiful Carpet of Flowers designed and made by Guild member Paul King. Fr. Duncan conducted a special Sunday evening service to celebrate the Guild's Half Century, mirroring the special evensong held in November 1962 to mark the formation of the Guild.  

An early Friends of St. Lawrence Church card states,:

"Our purpose is to cherish the old Church and to foster people's interest".

I feel this has been successfully done over the past 50 or so years and we will endeavour to continue the good work.

Elaine Williams (Hon. Sec.)

St. Lawrence's Church from the car park Carpet of Flowers