Photograph: Sue Austen

March 2000

St. Teresa's Winter 2003

Photograph: Spig

January 2003


Merstham in Bloom 2008
a joint venture by the parish of St Teresa’s and St Katharine’s C of E Church.

 The parishes of St Teresa’s and St Katharine’s joined together and organised an Open Garden scheme based around the gardens of 10 parishioners from both churches.  The event started in the spring when we saw a wonderful garden full of bulbs and has continued through the summer where we have seen some very different but beautiful herbaceous boarders, flower decked patios and decks and flower filled post-wedding gardens. Despite the unreliable weather the parishioners from both church communities have enjoyed tea and cakes on Saturdays and Sundays and drinks and nibbles on a couple of Friday evenings.  It can be good fun seeing how many people you can get in a gazebo and still be able to sip your fruit punch whilst the rain comes down!   The event has enabled people from both churches to meet in a social atmosphere and help to strengthen the already good ecumenical ties that exist in Merstham.  With the sale of season tickets and refreshments as well as donations given on the day we have raised over £1000.00 that will be shared between both churches.

Building on this years success plans are already being made for 2009 when, with luck, we hope we will have even more gardens open. - Bernard Hodge








Remembrance Sunday 2007

Wheat for Flanders Fields, red poppies for remembrance and white poppies for peace, together with our parish memorial book combined to make a special feature of our lectern on Remembrance Sunday.   The bidding prayers included special reference to those soldiers from our village who were killed either on the battlefields, or died subsequently of their injuries, and civilians killed by bombs dropped here.

Fr. Hugh returned on 10th November.  The occasion was sad in that part of the purpose way to offer the vigil Mass for his parents who had died 3 months previously;  the other part was to say thank you to all his friends here who had supported.   We were able to socialise in the Community Room afterwards, and present him with a garden voucher.

Ann Lardeur  
Photo Janet Franklin.



Holy Week 2007

Holy Week started on Palm Sunday and at 10.30 a.m.-  we assembled in the garden with our palms and greenery.   After blessing with Holy Water we processed into Church through the porch decorated with pampas grass and pussy willow.   The Church itself was bare of adornment, statues removed, and the Cross over the altar shrouded in purple.   The account of the Passion according to St. Luke was read this year.  Fr. Charles pointed out that of the four Gospel accounts, Luke tones down on the violence and emphasizes the forgiveness.

On Holy (Maundy) Thursday evening we had the first of a trio of services celebrating the core of our faith.   A number of our sacraments include anointing with holy oils.   These are blessed and consecrated in Arundel Cathedral by the bishop the evening before and are solemnly brought into parishes on Holy Thursday.    “Maundy” comes from the Latin “Mandatum” command because during the Mass the priest follows the instruction and example of Jesus and washes the feet of members of the congregation.

On Good Friday afternoon we had the next stage when we again recalled the Passion, this time through reading St. John’s Gospel where the Crucifixion is not seen as humiliation but as Jesus’ most glorious moment.   Fr. Charles spoke of how we all carry our own particular burdens which we bring to lay before Our Lord who carries all our burdens.  A series of 10 formal prayers are said which cover the needs of all people throughout the world.   Then a cross is processed through the Church and set in the sanctuary for solemn veneration.  At the end all leave in silence to begin the long wait for the Day of Resurrection.

Our Easter Celebration, like Palm Sunday, begins with everyone assembled outside the church, but after dark on Holy Saturday.  First comes the Service of Light, with the blessing of the New Fire, from which the Easter Candle is lit and then blessed.   Our individual candles are lit from the Easter Candle and we all process into the dark church.  The Candle is set in the sanctuary and a unique hymn of exultation tracing the history of salvation is sung by the celebrant.   A series of readings from the Old and New Testament expand on this theme.   All lights go on and the Church is revealed bedecked with flowers.  The sermon concentrated on proclaiming the gospel through all channels available, and explained that photographs had been taken with the purpose of sharing our faith through the internet.   Much of  our publicity had shown the community partying, but Fr. Charles pointed out that we know how to party and celebrate because we know how to support and comfort one another in difficulties and generously contribute financially to appeals for help. We then gathered round the font for the Liturgy of Baptism   It is newly filled with water which is then blessed and the Easter Candle lowered  into it symbolizing death to sin, birth and resurrection through the waters of baptism.   The liturgy of saints is recited and then, with our candles re-lit, we all renewed our baptismal promises.

The fire is blessed Inscribing the candle 
Lighting the candle  The Font is filled 
The Candle is plunged into the Font 

On Easter Sunday morning our celebration high point was the baptism of baby Jennifer Caroline.    All the symbolism of the resurrection were encapsulated in this ceremony.   She is clothed in a white garment, anointed with the Holy Oils, baptismal promises made by her parents, godparents and whole congregation too, and her parents and godparents are presented with her baptismal candle lit from the Easter Candle.


Ann Lardeur

Photographs by Janet Franklin

Mary and Carolyn Rayner

It was with sadness we said farewell to two longstanding stalwart members of our community, Mary and Carolyn Rayner, who have moved to Norfolk.  They contributed to parish life in many ways, but most significantly as Eucharistic Ministers, Readers and with their talent for stunning flower arrangements.   They received a special blessing at the end of their last Mass with us on 10th February, followed by a presentation and party in the Community Room.  

Ann Lardeur

The Blessing of Mary and carol

Mary & Carol cut their cake


Photographs by Janet Franklin

Great Expectations


The conjunction of three stars, focussing on the "Great Expectations" to come, was the highlight of Advent at St. Teresa's.   "Great Expectations", an evening of seasonal music from five centuries was performed by Sally Johnson and our own Fr. Charles together with Robert Munns on the organ.    Included in the varied programme were "Adam lay ybounden" set by Peter Warlock, excerpts from Handel's "Messiah", pieces by Bach, Vaughan Williams and Messiaen.  Sally, whose beautiful soprano voice soared through the Church, and Fr. Charles displaying the strength of his rich baritone, perfectly complimented one another.   Robert Munns, an organist of international renown, having performed in venues spread across the world from Salt Lake City, in the West to Hong Kong in the East, including major churches in England and Europe did wonders with our instrument.   With not a single carol before the first Mass of Christmas, it was an ideal preparation for the Feast of the Nativity.   Over eighty comfortably filled the Church and the Community Room afterwards where we partook of wine, canapés and an Advent Wreath cake.   Whilst not intentionally a fundraiser, donations amounting to over £500 (expenses yet to be deducted) reflected the appreciation of the event

Ann Lardeur

The Final Bow

Sally Johnson, Robert Munns & Fr. Charles

The 'Great Expectations' Cake

Photographs by Janet Franklin


3rd October 2006
Patronal Feast at St. Teresa's

Our patronal feast, on 3rd October, was a special one this year.   We have been given a beautiful new statue of St. Therese of Lisieux by an anonymous benefactor who is not one of our parishioners.   The rite for installing a new statue consists of a prayer of blessing, sprinkling with Holy Water, and censing with incense.   The tradition is that St. Teresa promised that after her death she would send from heaven blessings like a shower of roses, and taking inspiration from this Mary Rayner, who organises the flower team, created an arrangement of roses falling from the Statue.   It was roses all the way ..... the children carried individual roses and the font and side chapels were all adorned with roses too.   We feasted appropriately afterwards in the Community Room  where  the chocolate cake, ceremonially cut by Fr. Charles, was also decorated with a shower of pink iced roses.
St. Teresa, was born Therese Martin in Alencon, France, in 1873.  At a young age became a Carmelite Nun in Lisieux  where she took the name Teresa of The Child Jesus.   She was noted for the simplicity of her approach to, and firm confidence in God.   We are accustomed to 'vanity' autobiographies by young celebrities.   Therese was ordered by her superior to write hers in order to help and teach other young nuns.   She taught what she called 'her little way'.   The depth of this work has led to her being declared a Doctor of the Church, a rare title and a rarer one still for women.   She died at the age of 24.  Our statue shows her dressed in her Carmelite habit with her crucifix, rosary and the roses.   She is also known as The Little Flower.

Ann Lardeur

Fr. Charles sprinkles the statue with Holy Water

Prayer of Blessing


Children's Offerings

Cake Cutting

Photographs by Janet Franklin
Cake  photo Beth Lardeur



 10th September 2006
BBQ Lunch & Fun Afternoon


Wreathes of unholy smoke surrounded the team of cooks when parishioners and friends gathered in the garden at St. Teresa's for a BBQ lunch and fun afternoon on 10th September.   We were fortunate to be blessed with warm sun which added to the enjoyment of the garden, enabling us to relax and chat over the meal, and the chocolate ice cream bars were the perfect 'afters'.  We had a variety of stalls selling everything from books and videos, through bric-a-brac, to garden produce .  There were children's activities too and the afternoon ended with an auction conducted by Fr. Charles.  Fun Day, organised by Frances Ainsworth to whom a huge thanks is due, raised £464 for our funds.

Ann Lardeur

Parishioners queue at the produce stall

Checking out the Bric-a-Bac

Fun Day Wine Raffle

Fr. Charles, assisted by Frances,
conducts the auction

Photographs by Janet Franklin
Bric-a-brac  photo Carolyn Rayner



22nd February 2006
Fr. Charles Howell (B.A. Cantab., B.Th.)
formally becomes the 6th Parish Priest
of St. Teresa's since its foundation.


The moving ceremonies of induction, full of symbolism, were conducted by our local dean, Fr. John Olliver, M.H.M., (parish priest of Oxted) as the representative of Bishop Kieran Conry.   He   presented Fr. Charles with the key of the Church, the centre of sacramental life of the parish, and then the  Book of the Gospels, before leading him to the presidential chair.   The Letter of Appointment was read by parishioner Margaret Albert.   Fr. Charles professed his faith by reciting The Creed before everyone and promised to serve the people of the parish, and in turn the congregation responded by promising to support him and be fellow workers in God's vineyard.   The altar was embellished with shepherd's crooks to complement the scripture readings.

Joining Fr. Charles and Fr. John for the concelebrated Mass were Fr. Lawrence Quin-Morris from Redhill and two priest friends from Brentwood Diocese.   Invited guests included the clergy from the other Churches in Merstham. 

The community room was packed with friends and parishioners for the reception.   Among Fr. Charles' interests are astronomy and music.   They were reflected in the opening hymn of the service "I, the Lord of sea and sky" and the specially designed cake, made by a parishioner, which had both the opening music and the correct constellations reproduced in icing

The Altar

The Altar


Fr. Charles recieves the Gospels

Fr. Charles holds the key

Fr. Charles receives the Gospels

The Cake

Fr. Charles cuts the cake

Photographs by Janet Franklin
Cake photo Albert Lauder



End of an Era at St. Teresa's

Fr. Hugh Flower


A Mass of Thanksgiving for the work of Fr. Hugh Flower during just under 12 years at Parish Priest at St. Teresa's was celebrated on 9th January.   Mr. Ken Longley led the tributes to his many achievements;  the rewiring of the church and installation of new heating and lighting, the siting of the Font, the creation of the Community Room with the help of a grant from The Lottery and The Merstham Millennium Fund and, of course, the making of the splendid garden.  
Fr. Hugh was presented with "A Big Red Book" containing photographs of significant events during his Ministry in Merstham, a pair of candle trees (wrought iron tea-light holders which were standing either side of the altar during the Mass) and a cheque for almost £1,000.   The Celebration concluded with wine, refreshments and cake in the Community Room.  
Fr. Hugh has been appointed to be parish priest at The Holy Spirit church, Fetcham and continues to be Chaplain at High Down and Downview Prisons.


Ken Longley shows Fr. Hugh The Big Red Book of photographs

Merstham clergy together (Fr. Charles Howell, the new Parish Priest at St. Teresa's stands next to Rev. John Smith)

Fr. Hugh cuts the cake

At the Party - Hilda left with Mary Flower (Fr. Hugh's sister) right

Photographs by Louise Simon


News from St. Teresa's
Another Surprise Party
Mary Rayner

For the third time this year a surprise party took place in our Community Room to celebrate the birthday of an octogenarian - on this occasion for Mary Rayner. (Judging by her appearance and energy many of us secretly suspect she is twenty years younger and forged her birth certificate to collect an early pension!!!). Mary contributes to parish life in many ways, but her chief talents are in creating beautiful floral arrangements and generous giving of friendship. During the evening Fr. Hugh presented Mary with a new Daily Missal, her existing one having shown all the signs of years of use.

Mary with her bouquet

Mary cuts her cake



St. Teresa's Garden Opening 2005

St. Teresa's staged their 9th Garden Opening on the last Sunday in July - when the dry weather came to a halt and threatened a wash out!   All was well by the afternoon and the lawn was thronged with people enjoying cream teas in between identifying and admiring the plants.   Most of the plants for sale were snapped up very quickly.  £1,400 was raised through the entrance fees, teas, plant and other sales.   As well as boosting parish funds, a donation was sent to Perennial - The Gardeners' Benevolent Fund.

Is it this tall?

Children Playing

Sue manages the plant sales

Ina, centre, surveys the tea tables

Chaldon WI. take tea

Carola and her carer Dianne enjoy the flowers



More News from St. Teresa's
Surprise Party
Ken Longley

A surprise party was held at St. Theresa's recently to celebrate the 80th birthday of Ken Longley, long term parishioner and former headmaster of St. Francis School, Caterham.  
The photos were taken by his sister-in-law Dorothy


Ken cuts his cake



News from St. Teresa's
Social Evening

St. Teresa's Union of Catholic Mothers,
together with other parishioners have been helping support the Parish in Nilaveli, Sri Lanka, the home town of the Joseph Family who have moved to Merstham

 Already in need of assistance, matters were made worse when it was hit by the Tsunami. 
A Social Evening on 11th June, with an English Ploughman's Supper spiced up with Melda and Theo's special meat rolls, tables decorated with confetti as substitute for tropical flower petals, and a grand raffle, yielded not only a pleasant occasion for ourselves and guests, but a profit of £280.   So far we have sent £530 to Nilaveli





News from St. Teresa's

Its top gear from now on as St. Teresa's prepares for its annual garden opening
on Sunday 31st July 2005
2.00 - 5.00 p.m. Entrance £2.50. 
Afternoon ends with Songs of Praise in the Church.  
Delicious refreshments.   Plant Sales. 

Anne Moon gets on with the weeding



Father Hugh & Anne take a well deserved break



News from St. Teresa's

In May a surprise party was thrown for Fr. Hugh
in celebration of the 20th Anniversary of his ordination

Photo taken by Luke Longley (Aged 11)


The concert held on 9th April 2005 was a great success both musically and financially, raising £1,300.   The audience of music lovers from Merstham and the surrounding area were privileged to hear two prize winning young South African artists on the brink of international careers.   David Kimberg, baritone, opened the programme with a spirited "Largo al factotum" from The Barber of Seville".   He also sang works by Bizet, Donizetti, Mozart and Gounod, as well as some lovely songs by Roger Quilter and Gerald Finzi.   Pumeza Matshikiza, the soprano, sand Mozart, Puccini and Handel arias, songs by Richard Strauss, and a group of Spiritual.   She also sang two beautiful songs, by the South African composer M. Khumalo, in her native language.   As a finale they sang duets from Gershwin's Porgy of Bess and Mozart's Don Giovanni.   The were accompanied by the well-known pianist, Jean Mallandaine, who also devised the programme.   At the end Fr. Hugh Flower presented them with tokens of appreciation and expressed the sincere thanks of the audience.   Afterwards, over wine and canapés the audience were able to chat to the artists and wish them well. - Ann Lardeur


David Kimberg, Pumeza Matshikiza and Jean Mallandaine

Photos: Ernest Simon




Churches Together in Merstham

Churches Together in Merstham had a service for Peace on Sunday 13th March 2005 at St. Teresa's
during which members of the congregation hung peace doves on the tree in the Sanctuary.  
Rev. Marian Randall preached.

Rev. Hugh Flower (St. Teresa's), Rev. Dennis Hughes (All Saints),
Rev. Val Williams (St. Katharine's), Rev. Marian Randall (All Saints).  
Cathy Foskin from St. Teresa's
 can be seen behind the dove tree reading from the scriptures

Members of the congregation hanging up their peace doves.


Jean Longley: 80 years young

At the end of January the parish put on a celebratory Mass followed by a party for the 80th birthday of
Mrs. Jean Longley who has contributed much to both the Church and Village life in Merstham.

Jean Cuts The Cake



Her village involvement includes doing Books on Wheels with the Library for over 15 years, support for Shaftesbury House as a Committee Member of the Friends since the beginning of that organisation, and likewise Merstham Churches Together. She continues to be active in the parish serving regularly as reader and Special Minister of the Eucharist and as a member of the Union of Catholic Mothers of which is a past President.  - Ann Lardeur


Garden Opening August 2004

At the big bed

Checking the plant list

Fr. Hugh (left) and helper

Haley Braines and her Granny Margaret Sneade

Joe Moody takes a break Fr. Hugh & Pamela Schwenk share a joke Plant sales stall Tea time


In June 2004 the Bishop of Arundel and Brighton came to St. Teresa's to confirm candidates from Merstham, Reigate & Redhill.


The evening sun filled the Merstham’s Catholic Church with a golden glow as the congregation sang “Send forth your Spirit, O Lord, that the face of the earth be renewed”.   It was standing room only when Bishop Kieron Conry celebrated the Sacrament of Confirmation for 33 young people from Merstham, Reigate and Redhill.   
In his address Bishop Kieran said there were three important elements:  the laying on of hands, the anointing with holy oil, and the photographs at the end.   A keen photographer himself, he congratulated the young people on their courage in being prepared to stand up and be real images of faith.  
The world needs to see pictures of hope in contrast to those of war, terrorism and disaster which fill the daily news.    He stressed the importance of both self-knowledge and self-acknowledgement of  both good and bad before God.   The Church is for everyone regardless of who they are.    It is a place where they would always be welcome.
The young people together renewed the promises originally made on their behalf by their parents when they were baptized.   Then one by one, each supported by a sponsor, they were anointed on their foreheads with Chrism (a specially consecrated perfumed oil). After the ceremony, led by the Bishop, the newly confirmed, their families and friends streamed out into the sunset and the garden for photographs. - Ann Lardeur

Pictures: Edward Rogers, Ann Lardeur



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