The benefice of St Margarets churches.-The Churches of St Margaret's Benefice

Reaching out...

This Benefice supports:



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St Margaret's Players put on a fabulous production of Aladdin - ("Oh no they didn't!", "Oh yes they did!")  The Saturday Service families and supporters, along with children from the Syrian families we supprt, had a wonderful afternoon, entertained royally by a terrific production.  The costumes and scenery were fabulous and the comedy and music were a real treat.  Their next production will be Oliver towards the end of June, and I highly recommend getting tickets and supporting our local band of board-treaders!

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Our Saturday Service families and supporters made their annual Epiphany visit to the ladies of the Amy Temple Cottages - We were thankfully blessed with fine weather this year as our merry group sang and wished each lady a Happy Epiphany and a Happy New Year. Our youngsters presented a small gift that they had made before hand in the church, and then returned to cut the Galet des Rois and see who would find the ceramic 'bean' and be King for the Day - this year it was Evie!


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What a busy weekend for St Margaret's! - Saturday saw the switching on of the Village Christmas tree lights, with a fantastic spread put on by the Village Shop and The Smugglers.  We were fed and watered amply as families gathered round the centre of the village, waiting for the visit from Father Christmas and the count down for the lights.  Traffic was safely controlled by Brenda, our Chair of the Parish Council, and Jacqui our new PCSO, to keep everyone safe.  We were all delighted to see our elegant tree come to life with sparkling white lights .
Sunday was a bumper day at the church - the Christingle service and Nativity play, followed by (a very chilly!) tieing on of red and gold ribbons to the village tree.  We were so proud of the youngsters as they enacted the Nativity story, being so brave to come up to the front of the church and take their places.  We were delighted to welcome Monty as our real-life baby Jesus, now a tradition after an accidental forgetting of a doll to play the part a number of years ago now!  Who will it be next year?



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West Langdon was the host of the October 4 Churches Service - This took the form of a Songs of Praise Service with the theme of "Bread of Life & Fruit of the Vine", particularly fitting for such a rural church.  It was lovely having a full church for our annual Benefice service, and it looked beautiful.


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Not even Storm Brian could keep people away from St Margaret's Church Coffee Morning! - our resiliant parishoners came along for a lovely sociable morning despite the wind and the downpours.  Many thanks go to all those who donated the most beautiful (and delicious) cakes and breads - Wendy Morris' chocolate cake was snapped up very early on! - to all those who volunteered to help on stalls, and the every magnificent kitchen crew.

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St Augustine's at East Langdon was beautifully decorated for their Harvest celebrations - our small rural churches really pull out all the stops to bring the season to life.

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Please excuse the recent radio silence on this page of late - hidden technical difficulties that took a lot of tracking down, have now been resolved, and normal service should be resumed as I type!
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Westcliffe held their Gift Day and Harvest Festival last Sunday (25th September) , and, as always, their displays were simply gorgeous.  What amazing effort and skill has been put in to decorating this lovely little church to celebrate the rural setting it finds itself in.  Huge credit to Brenda Lester and her team for making the church look so wonderful.



What a bright, creative display!
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Children from St Margaret's Primary School came to see our CWGC war graves recently - 
On a beautiful day in May, I joined Mrs Norley and Class 5 for their school visit to see the Commonwealth War Graves in St Margaret’s church yard.  This was a joint project initiated by our PCC, with St Margaret’s Primary School, and Christine Waterman, Heather Berwick and Alan Poole of the St Margaret’s History Society.  If you remember, Alan Poole has researched and placed the fascinating personal history of the seven men buried in the CWGC graves in our Parish Magazine.
The session at school was ably introduced by Heather Berwick with a power point presentation.  Mr Poole brought a fascinating map of the area showing the site of the bomb and shell hits.  He also brought a really heavy section of a shell casing which had been found in the area.  The shell casing was about 5 cm or 2” thick.  I learnt that bombs are dropped from planes, and shells are fired from guns.  We saw pictures of the shells being delivered by railway to the gun sites, where they were taken off by crane and loaded on to the guns.
We all walked to the church yard where Mr Poole took over focusing on two graves in particular, those of WW1 Geoffrey Hobbs and WW2 Norman Pettit.   Having visited several more graves we went in to church to look at the War Memorial.  We learnt for the most part, the CWGC graves are of people from elsewhere who died in the locality.  For practicality people were buried near where they died. The War Memorial shows the names of local people who died from this locality but were buried elsewhere.  Christine Waterman spoke about the experience of couple of these, showing their photograph this really made their story come alive.  Christine showed us the list to the right, which gave the names of local men who fought in the war but survived.
The children were able to tell us the difference between Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday.   I told of how we remember the fallen in our church annually on Remembrance Sunday.   After the reading of the names, a representative from all the Village Organisations lays a wreath to commemorate the fallen.  The two minute silence is preceded by the bugle playing the “Last Post”, followed by “wake up”.  We closed with the poignant epitaph attributed to John Maxwell Edmonds:-“For their tomorrow, we gave our today.” The visit really fired class 5’s imagination, and Mrs Norley was still being asked questions later in the week!  There was a real buzz in school following the trip.
Special thanks to Alan Poole, Christine Waterman, Heather Berwick, Mrs Norley and the pupils of Class 5, and the Class Attendants, without whom this special day would not have taken place.     What well behaved children!  A fascinating time was had by all.           Margaret Scott


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We have had a wonderful duo of Saturday Services for May and June at St Margaret's -  We have looked at Ascension and Pentecost, both difficult concepts at the best of times, but it is always wonderful to see these ideas through the eyes of the children, as they translate them into things they can understand.  Sometimes, it would do us all good to see the world, and our faith, though the eyes of children - strip away the unnecessary layers we add either on purpose or by accident of life experience.


We had birthday cake to celebrate the
church's birthday!
Our Ascension and Pentecost collages.

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Palm Sunday was glorious at St Margaret's -  We were joined once again, courtesy of Stephen and friends, by Arthur and Smithy, the delightful Shetland ponies, who led our procession from the kissing gate into the church.  We were also delighted that Rapunzel (Mae!) was present to head up the parade, resplendent in purple.  Arthur and Smithy behaved impeccably throughout, and set the tone for a joyful start to Holy Week.


Arthur & Smithy prepare for their starring roles, as Rapunzel leads the way, followed by the choir and congregation.

Maundy Thursday saw another opportunity for our youngsters to get together and make flat breads to share in our own Last Supper, courtesy of our own Great British Bake-Off (camping stove!).  Afterwards, we set up our Last Supper tableau to help bring the events of Holy Week alive.
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St Margaret's has been a busy church this last week -  Saturday 26th March saw our Mothering Sunday Craft Morning, when we welcomed the youngsters (and a surprising number of dads!) to make some lovely gifts for their mums, grans and other special people in their lives.  The church was full of industrious activity and good conversation as cards, pictures, flowers and other items were glued and stuck with abandon.  We then had a wonderful Mothering Sunday service, when the posies made by Alison and her team the day before were distributed.  This Saturday (April 1st) was the Easter Craft Morning.  It was the first time we put to use our newly acquired children's-height tables - we now have 7 small tables which makes craft activities easily accessible for the children, and also saves having to borrow and transport tables to and from the Village Hall for each event we put on.  Many thanks go to the Village Hall and Toddler Group for allowing us to borrow tables for many years now, and also to the village Fire Station (RIP) from whom we previously borrowed tables. Without being able to use these tables we would not have been able to stage our regular craft events, which ar enow such a fixture in our church calendar.  With the purchase of our new tables, the horrible job of getting them from the Village Hall to the church has now come to an end (hurrah!) - it is a surprisingly long path from the car park to the church's front door!

We next look forward to Palm Sunday (9th April), where we hope you will join us as we process along said path in to church with our palms aloft!

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St Augustine's parishioners joined with Annie Tjoonk and her family on Sunday 12 March 2017 to plant a magnolia tree in memory of her late husband, Jan.  A beautiful spring day in the churchyard with daffodils in full bloom and birds singing.

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Our March Saturday Service has soon come round - this month we were thinking about Lent.  We talked about the difference between fasting and starvation, about testing ourselves through choice, setting ourselves challenges, and how the defined period of Lent can provide the framework to facilitate this challenge.  We talked about the people in the world who face these challenges not through choice, but through circumstance; those that drop through the net.  To help us think about what this means, we created a display to illustrate how easy it is to fall through the net, but how God is there to catch us.

SS_March_2017    SS_March_2017_pic3SS_March_2017_pic2

Our next get together is the Mothering Sunday Craft Morning on Saturday 25th March from 10am, and our April Saturday Service will be the Easter Craft Morning on Saturday 1st April.  Busy, busy, busy...!!!

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If you want advice on how to throw a good party, ask the Saturday Service families! - Sunday 26th March saw them all gather together for our (slightly later than usual) New Year get together, and we were delighted to welcome 17 children and their parents, aunties, uncles and grandparents to the Channel Room at St Margaret's Village Hall.  We had a wonderful afternoon of play, craft, food and chat, enjoying the sight of all the children happily playing together and the grown-ups catching up with what was happening in their lives.  Sometimes standing at the school and nursery gate just doesn't give the opportunity to hold proper conversations.  It is extremely heart-warming to see how much our Saturday Service has managed to reach out, welcome new families as the years pass and feel the support and community that it manages to generate.  Thank you to everyone who supports this simple endeavour.

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Our February Saturday Service was one for the truly hardy and well-wellied, as the weather was appalling! - a select few gathered to talk about the celebration of Candlemas, the festival that marks the end of the Christmas and Epiphany celebrations, the presentation of the 40 day old baby Jesus at the temple by his mother and father, and also the tradition of blessing all the candles due to be used within the church for the coming year.  We read the bible passage telling of Jesus being presented to Simeon and Anna, and their recognition that he was their Savior.  We loved the contrast between Simeon happy to die with the knowledge that God had shown him his Savior, but Anna went out and told everyone else - ladies do like to spread a bit of good news!  We made a collage of candle flames in front of a mirror, each a representation of us, so that we can be the ones to reflect the Light of the Lord out into the world.

Our next Saturday Service will be on Saturday 4th March, and then we will have our Mothering Sunday Craft Morning on Saturday 25th March from 10am to 12noon.  We are also currently planning our Easter events, so keep an eye out for more details in our News section on the Homepage, and in the Parish News.
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The Saturday Service families made their 5th annual visit to the ladies of Amy Temple Cottages for their Epiphany celebrations - as usual, we didn't avoid the rain, but we are a doughty lot and I think there is very little that would stop us making this lovely trip each January.  We are always so warmly welcomed by the ladies, familiar faces to all the children now, and the children do so enjoy handing over their little gifts they have made that morning in church before they set off.  This year we presented each lady with a little set of three crowns on a purple base, to represent the three kings.



Thank you to all the ladies for making us feel so welcome and giving true meaning to our visits each year.  We really do feel like kings on a special journey.
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Looking for a practical present for someone?  Want something that will contribute to the benefice?  Then look no further than our new St Margaret of Antioch tea towels and cloth bags.  At just £2.00 for the bags, £2.50 for the tea towels, special rate of £4.00 for one of each, they are sure to delight and perhaps be a lovely reminder to those no longer living in the area.  They are available after most 10.00am services at St Margaret's, or call Sandy on 852265

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St Margaret's-at-Cliffe Parochial Church Council is a charity and is entered onto the Register of Charities with the Registered Charity Number 1166921.

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