The Vicar Writes

Revd Liz Richardson

Revd Liz Richardson

Below you will find my monthly newsletter which also appears in the Capel & Beare Green Magazine. If you wish to receive this newsletter by email, please subscribe here.

Sorrow turns to Joy. Hallelujah!

So with March, the daffodils are blooming with many other blossoms to cheer us on our way to the first day of Spring falling this month. How wonderful it is to look forward to the earth warming up in our gardens and a return to the outdoors for many of us. This month at church we are in the throes of the season of Lent, enjoying our soup lunches in church at Capel and of course with Mothering Sunday also falling this month Capel Church Teas begin once again. Lent is another season in church life which is one of waiting in hope for God to meet us and sustain us through the storms and trials life brings. We are encouraged to draw close to our Lord and to each other as we journey through Lent, towards the Passion of Jesus, through to his glorious resurrection on Easter Sunday. We must not lose hope in these difficult times in the world. There is much strength to be gained through faith in Christ and I urge you to find time to reflect on the things that are most important to you and to have conversation with the God who promises he… Read More

Candlemas Bells

Well I hope this letter finds you well?! January was a really nasty winter month for those pesky winter germs, coughs, and all sorts, as well as the cold weather. As we come into February I am sure we will be encouraged by the growth of the early flowering spring bulbs and blossoms. February for us at church looks to be quite a busy month. The season of Lent is early this year beginning with Ash Wednesday on the 14th of this month and of course it is also Valentine’s Day! This year we are invited for a special service of Holy Communion with what is called the Imposition of Ashes (you get a lovely black mark on your forehead!) at St Peter’s Church Newdigate. Then we will be running a Lent Course this year called ‘Be Still’. The course is about prayer and explains how we don’t necessarily have to be physically still in order for our hearts to be still and how even in the midst of a full, busy life, we can all spend quiet time with God. I am really looking forward to doing this course! Each of the five sessions takes about an hour and… Read More


In our churches as the year drew to an end and we begin the new year there have been some small booklets published by the Church of England called ‘Follow the Star – Join the Song – 12 Days of Reflections for Christmas and the New Year. The booklet invites you to hear and respond to the angels’ invitation to gather in the presence of the newborn Jesus. Well as you read this you may well be thinking about or have already put away the Christmas decs for another year but of course the Christmas story goes on leading us through Jesus’ childhood with the story of Simeon and Anna – people who recognised him in the Jerusalem Temple when he was brought by his parents to be presented to God as was the Jewish custom. The Christmas child grew up and began his ministry at the age of thirty. A ministry that lasted only three years before the authorities found a way to silence him or so they thought! Our church year soon turns from Jesus’ birth to adulthood and his experience in the wilderness, led by God’s Holy Spirit. Lent begins in earnest as we follow Jesus to… Read More

Christmas lead up

Last month’s Remembrance Sunday services were I felt very special services as they always are but even more poignant this year. The service in the afternoon at Capel is the most attended service each year and it was wonderful to welcome our wonderful Scouts, Cubs and Beavers along with the British Legion and distinguished service people. I was also struck in the morning service at St Margaret’s at Ockley at how wonderful it was that we continue to remember our war dead and how important this is, over 100 years later, that if it wasn’t for the sacrifices made on our behalf we wouldn’t necessarily have the freedom we enjoy today. Both wonderful services in our villages and thank you to Stuart Cole who gave an excellent address at Capel in the afternoon. Remembrance last month has given room now to begin the Christmas countdown which comes around faster each year doesn’t it?! Not for the children I know – amazing how time is so much slower when you are a child! Many of you will have visited the now annual Capel Christmas Fair which was another wonderful occasion (yesterday as I am writing). A huge thank you to Suzanne… Read More

Memories then and now

Everything seems to pale into significance doesn’t it when we consider the terrible events that have unfolded in Israel and Gaza in recent weeks. War is always a terrible thing but there has been a particularly horrible brutality which threatens to destabilise the whole region aside from the suffering of those innocent victims, ordinary Israelis and Palestinians, caught up in this escalating crisis. As I write humanitarian aid has been allowed to come through from Egypt and I pray that by the time you read this letter, more will have been able to have been achieved. We continue to pray for peace and for humanitarian solutions to be found knowing that all our hearts and minds go out to all those affected by violence and war. I think our traditional services of remembrance will be especially poignant this year as we come together to remember all those who have died as a result of war, whether as service men and women or the many civilians who lost their lives. Please see the church calendar for further details of our Remembrance Sunday services. Last month we celebrated our Harvest Festival and collected much needed produce for Dorking Foodbank and Leatherhead START.… Read More

Autumn colours and textures

This month begins with final week of our season of Creationtide. Five weeks where we have explored our role as human beings in the story of creation, our relationship to the earth, and the earth’s relationship with the Creator God. It has been a fascinating time of discovery and one which as a parish we hope to continue as well as aiming to cut our carbon footprint in our church buildings and churchyards. We shall be celebrating and giving thanks for God’s creation at our Harvest Festivals, and Capel’s Harvest Festival is the very first day of this lovely month of October. We will be welcoming your donations of food that is suitable to take to Dorking Foodbank for their distribution as well as LeatherHEAD START who provide emergency housing for homeless people in the local area. As well as donations of foodstuff we will be collecting monetary donations and offering our Harvest collections from both churches (St Margaret’s Ockley and St John’s Capel) to the charity ShelterBox. This charity based in Cornwall exists to ensure no one is without shelter after disaster. Providing tents, shelter kits, and other essential equipment ShelterBox works to support thousands of people affected by… Read More

Let Justice and Peace Flow

September and Autumn beckons once more. I always say this is a favourite time of year for me. Apart from the beautiful Autumn colours, I enjoy the changing of the seasons but I like that September is very much a season of new beginnings too. A new academic term begins and children and young people everywhere will be starting new schools, new classes or college for the first time. Our eldest granddaughter is starting secondary school this year which seems unbelievable! So lots of new things begin in the Autumn don’t they and I am sure there is a lot going on in our community groups and organisations to encourage us all to do something new perhaps? Talking of which… we are doing something new this Autumn in our churches. We are recognising properly for the first time ever, the season known as Creationtide. The season begins on September 1st, World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, to October 4th, the feast of St Francis of Assisi. In order to assist our celebration of this season we are using resources from an annual ecumenical global movement to pray and act to protect our world. This global movement has… Read More

Coronation Celebration

We are at church enjoying what is known as the Great Fifty Days of Eastertide during which the tone of joy created on Easter Day is sustained through to the Feast of Pentecost at the end of this month. So May is very much a month of celebration which is very appropriate for the Coronation of King Charles III. We will be holding special Services of Commemoration at both Ockley and Capel, on Sunday the day after Coronation Day. In Ockley the service will take place outside in the Coronation Marquee on Ockley Green at 9.30am preceded by coffee and croissants from 9am! Later that day the village will celebrate with various fun events and Ocklympics on the Green. Then it will be a quick dash for me to Capel for our Service of Commemoration in church, where we will be joined by Brigadier (Ret’d) Roger Hood, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Surrey. Brig. Roger is looking forward to being with us on this occasion and we are especially keen for children and their families to join us too as we would love them to take part in a special ‘royal parade’ within the service. Please do encourage any young, and… Read More

Travelling on - following the star!

Dear all Happy New Year! As I write this early on a very dark December morning – or is it still night(?)! it feels hard to believe that yes, another year is about to finish and we begin again and enter 2020. In one sense we begin again at the start of the year, with our usual round, the familiarity of routine, the predictability or not of the seasons as our weather patterns seem to change. Perhaps new years’ resolutions are made; ways to make our lives work better for us, for others, as our lives return to normal after the riches of the Christmas season. Yet in another sense we don’t begin again because we are travelling on into the future, into the unknown, with a whole wealth of experience to take our bearings from as we negotiate the way ahead. For most of us our lives begun a long time ago now! For some the new year will bring or has already brought about great changes. These may be exciting new things in which to engage ourselves with all sorts of new opportunities and we rejoice with you and wish you God speed! For others change will be… Read More

A True Sabbath

Dear all There is a much loved hymn which has often been claimed to be one of the country’s favourite which is called ‘Dear Lord and Father of Mankind’ … ‘forgive our foolish ways’. It is a beautiful hymn with lovely words which are very gentle and calming. One of the lines I really like begins ‘O Sabbath rest by Galilee, O calm of hills above’ to me sounds perfect! I will be taking some time off the first part of this month of August and am looking forward at some point to some rest and relaxation. I say at some point, because the first part of the holiday involves going to Eurodisney with our grandchildren! Well they say a change is as good as a rest don’t they, despite the fact that the temperatures are once again set to soar here and in France. I am hoping Disney have installed some innovative ways of keeping their visitors cool whilst standing and waiting in the heat for the next ride. Or even perhaps there will be a welcome water spray. I like the idea of Sabbath time though and this is meant to be taken on a regular basis, not… Read More

Team Work

Dear all When you read this our annual vicarage fete will have taken place and hopefully we will have raised lots of funds for our local schools. The day itself it rather like a whirlwind when everyone arrives to set up their stalls and attractions; our lovely visitors arrive, our children dance and entertain us, yummy refreshments are prepared and eaten and if the weather is good much ice cream will be sold! Three hours later and the garden is back to normal just like magic. It’s amazing! How does this happen so quickly and so effectively? Its team work! It all begins with a wonderful team who start planning the fete earlier in the year so that on the day everything falls easily into place. Then there are teams who come the day before and set up all the gazebos etc. Then on the morning a team pick up all the tables and chairs they can lay their hands on and deliver them to the Vicarage. The same team gather them up at the end of the day and return them to hall and church! Team work is so vital isn’t it and it struck me that our villages… Read More

A joyous June!

Dear all It’s getting to that time of the year when some people’s thoughts are turning to holidays and with that in mind I would like to draw your attention to a very special sort of holiday that our parish is planning for Autumn 2020. It is some years since there was a pilgrimage to any of the Holy sites in Israel or the Mediterranean and so we have invited someone who has been leading tour groups to the Holy Land or as he puts it ‘The land of the Holy one’ for over 30 years. His name is Haydon Wilcox and he is an ordained priest in the Church of England. The pilgrimage will be 12 days in all visiting Jerusalem, Bethlehem, the Judean Desert and the region of the Dead Sea, Samaria, The Galilee and Northern Israel. The trip will be very much focussed on listening to the many different voices in The Holy Land and experiencing the diverse culture in Jerusalem. We will be experiencing contrasts between the different districts in the city, Hasidic, Arab and secular plus meeting with the Palestinian community. We shall celebrate Shabbat and learn about the issues of the Palestinian Christian Church… Read More

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