Welcome to All Saints Church, Witley

All Saints Church, Witley, Surrey

October: time to celebrate harvest

For once the English summer didn't let us down. Until the last few days we've enjoyed weeks of fine, warm weather. Now traditionally August is harvest-time. In The Tempest, Shakespeare writes of the "sunburnt sickle men, of August weary", and tells them to "Make holiday! Your rye-straw hats put on". Francis Bacon, in Of Gardens, writes "In August come plums of all sorts in fruit, pears, apricots, barberries, filberts, musk-melons, monkhoods of all colours."

You can tell Bacon rather enjoyed eating all the juicy produce ripening in the English Autumn. And yes I know its October, but it's the first weekend in October when in church, and the family here at All Saints, celebrates Harvest Festival; which gave everyone who worked on the land time to finish all the necessary financial transactions and to take a deep breath before coming together to offer thanks for another year's bounty.

Last year in this column, Ann quite rightly reminded us to be grateful and give thanks for all the gifts we receive. Having spent seven years in Africa, where at my last post half the congregation did not know where their next meal was coming from, even in this time of anxiety and uncertainty one should count their blessings in the UK. We do not face starvation and can joyfully give thanks to God for abundant harvests. Though this rightful gratitude does raise a very interesting question, as my seven-year niece asked me this week, that if we thank God for good harvests, is God therefore to blame when harvests are poor? If so, is our God not a despot who decides who will prosper and who will suffer?

The same issue is of course raised in our prayers for the sick. If we thank God when someone is healed, must we not also regard him as the author of illness. It's a problem for sure but one we can make a beginning to answer. The God we know is the source of all created things. Nothing exists in our universe except by his will. And we can say that good is willed positively by God whilst evil and suffering exist by his permissive will. Gosh, why? Because they are the necessary corollary, the other side of the coin, of our being endowed with freedom of choice. We are not controlled robots, but loved persons each free to act. Evil is the shadow side of the gift of freedom. We cannot be free to choose the good if we are not also free to reject it. Hand in hand with freedom comes our responsibility. Today it is clear we need a radical transformation to redeem the world with a spiritual vision of our responsibility for the earth and all its people. Given that we have food and the means of transportation to feed the hungry of the whole planet and do not, that must mean there is a lack of will at the root of our inaction.

Let's reflect at this time on our priorities and whether they should change in order to truly celebrate a harvest that would respect the earth's resources and the needs of all the hungry.

James McKeran

Here at All Saints Witley, we take the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults very seriously. We have adopted the national Church of England's robust procedures and guidelines. Details about the national polices and procedures can be found HERE.
If you have any concerns at all, contact either our Safeguarding Officer (new appointment pending) or our Vicar, Rev. James McKeran on 01428 681867. If you have reason to think that a child or vulnerable adult is in immediate danger, you should contact the police straight away.

Please click HERE to read the Parish Profile for All Saints Church, Witley.

Please click HERE to view our DATA PRIVACY NOTICE.


All Saints Church has a huge wooden door, which, while being very old and attractive in its own way can be a physical barrier to those who have never entered All Saints before - don't let it be like that. Turn the handle, push the door and come in, all are welcome. Inside you will find a building that is filled with the prayers of 1000 years, a wall painting that is 900 years old, a 700-year-old Lady Chapel with medieval stained glass, signs of the conflict in the 16th and 17th century with an unfinished memorial tablet in the sanctuary and several other family memorials. The 18th century put in a gallery which was removed by the Victorians who added so much more, including a whole aisle on the North Side. The Victorians with three generations of Chandler Vicars built the organ, the bell tower and the vestry. They refurbished the chancel ceiling, floor and altar and put up memorials to the eminent people of the day as they passed on. The beginning of the 20th century completed the collection of stained glass windows and introduced the pews we have now, instead of the previous box pews. All Saints is full of history reflecting the needs of the generations who have worshipped here before us. There have been many changes in the past few years which help us now to use the church on a daily basis for many different groups. There is a children's trail available with many interesting things to find out and see.

Please do come inside and explore and have time for yourself, the church is open in daylight hours. Or come and meet with others to worship or chat everyone is welcome.

If anyone would like to speak to James or Ann, please ring or email and we will endeavour to meet you as soon as we can.

The All Saints Parish Office, is in the grounds of Witley Infant School, opposite the Church.

Wishing you every blessing

James McKeran         Ann Fraser
                       James McKeran                                     Ann Fraser

The parish of Witley is made up of the villages of Witley, Brook, Wormley and Sandhills. The Parish Church of All Saints dates from about 1040 and is situated just off the main Petworth Road (A283) in Church Lane, opposite the White Hart public house. Witley CofE Infant School is opposite the church and has close links with it.

Apart from a regular pattern of worship on Sundays and Holy Days, the church serves the whole parish and after recent refurbishment is available every day for a variety of uses. The door is open in daylight hours for anyone who may wish to spend a quiet few moments or longer in the peace and quiet of this ancient building.

The mission of the church in Witley is to bring the love of God to all who live and work there. The church is open to all people, and here to serve the entire parish. Everyone is welcome at all services and other events and anyone is welcome to use the space in church for their own charitable or social events where appropriate. Click here for more information on using the church for your event.

If you are new to the area you are very welcome! There are a wide range of activities going on around the church that may interest you.

A team of Pastoral Assistants visit the housebound, take Communion to those who can't get to church for whatever reason, and generally help the clergy keep an eye on pastoral needs.

James or Ann would be pleased to talk with and welcome you. Enjoy the web-site!

Please feel free to click on the links above or on the right to find out more about us.

Be sure to visit our Parish News section which is updated weekly.

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