Cindi Cogswell

If you are a member of the Parochial Church Council there is a meeting this evening (Friday) at 7pm in the Rectory. Among other business Council members are required to vote on whether they will accept a woman as incumbent or priest in charge. The PCC has already voted to allow women to officiate during the vacancy and would welcome views from the parish on these important matters.

Other Church matters are the welcoming of a new organist, David Birchenough who is expected to begin on Sunday September 1. He will be playing the organ at the Sunday morning services in both St Thomas’ and St Richard’s Churches, apart from the third Sunday and will also be covering the senior choir practises. During this month the Junior Choir will continue practising on Mondays from 5.45pm and the Senior Choir on Tuesdays from 7pm for forty-five minute sessions. It has been a good year of practise and performance for the choirs so in August there will be a well-deserved break. After which all will resume with conductor Marion Lovell on the September 1.

The Friends of the Ancient Monuments and Museum have organised Cellar Tours at 11am on Saturday July 20 and Sunday July 21. You will need to meet at the Town Well in Castle Street and the cost is £5 per person which includes a booklet. FOAM is a registered charity and all proceeds from the tours are used to help maintain the ancient monuments of the town. Please book in advance by emailing or phoning 01797 229525. These cellars provide fascinating details about the town’s wine trade in the middle ages. An interesting study was noted in Malcolm Pratt’s ‘Winchelsea the Tale of a Medieval Town’ concerning the temperature and humidity of a typical cellar in the town to show its usefulness as a wine store. During 2002 and 2003 measurements were taken which showed that the outside temperature varied between 25.4 degrees C and -2.3 degrees C whereas inside the cellar the variation was between 16.5 degrees C and 11.4 degrees C. The ideal temperature for storing wine is between 10 and 15 degrees centigrade and the aforementioned cellar is well within this range. In addition the humidity readings taken over that time were equally as steady and together proved the case that these 14th century cellars were designed to preserve and supply quality wine.

Castle Class of St Thomas’ Primary School will be joining the annual carnival in Rye on Tuesday July 22. This year the theme for the floats is water and they will be taking their ‘Awesome Australia’ creations in the parade. These consist of an array of vivid angel fish, jelly fish and orange clown fish on bamboo canes which they will hold above their heads. The whole carnival will once more be afloat with colour as it swims through the streets to the beat of drums by Rye College students.

On the afternoon of the 22nd the school will be saying farewell to their Year Six pupils with a service in the church at 2 pm. This will be an opportunity for the children to share their memories at the school and read out the prayers they have written. At the end of the service each child will be presented with an inscribed Bible by the Chair of Governors and as always parents and friends are welcome to join service. On the next day, Wednesday 23rd July the children break up from school for the relaxing and well-earned six week summer break.

A Walk With A Difference is a three mile walk from Brede High woods (Ellenwhorne Lane – Eastern car park) to the Royal Oak Whatlington but with a stop en route at Sedlescombe Vineyard for wine tasting and 3.5 miles return. This social venture will take place on Thursday 25th July. If you would like to participate in the walk the person to contact is Phil Maynard of the Rye and District National Trust on 01797 260637 to register your interest.

The classical duo Melodia is presenting Women of Opera at St Thomas’ Church on Saturday August 3 at 7pm. This Celebration of Song is performed by Lucy Ashton of the Royal College of Music and Anya Williams of Exeter Drama, plus Ivora Reese and they will be singing some favourite music from Carousel, Westside Story, The Marriage of Figaro and plenty more. The sum raised will be shared between the church and St Michael’s Hospice and tickets are £10 per person from Winchelsea Post Office or on the door.

Two successful fund raising events were last week’s Church Market which raised the sum of £359.85 for Church funds and the Cantatrice Concert. The Concert made £200 profit which will be split between the Church and the Pipewell Gate Appeal. These funds will be put to good use and the beneficiaries thank all who supported the events.

On the warm summer’s day last Sunday it was good to stand in the shade of the ‘Wesley Tree’ for another year. It was here that John Wesley gave his last sermon on October 7 1790 and was convinced that he had ‘almost persuaded’ the townsfolk to give up their dissolute ways and become Christians. The original ash tree was once described as ‘dressed in living green’ by Revd Harlow (died in 1923) who noted that ten years before a few adventurous boys discovered a nest of wasps at the foot of the tree and were determined to smoke the creatures out. However about 4 o’clock the next morning someone noticed the trunk was on fire and pails of water were used to quench the flames. The mishap actually rejuvenated the tree by burning away some rotting wood that was beginning to destroy it. Nevertheless sixty years later on the Friday 23rd September 1927 the town was shocked by the news that a heavy gale had blown down the old historic ash. The new ash that replaced it was from a cutting of the original and this year’s open air service saw over thirty people gathered round it. During the celebration of the 228th anniversary of the Methodist Chapel twelve hymns were sung in the half an hour which included favourites by John Newton, Fanny Crosby and Charles Wesley. There was also some disturbing news given during the service by the minister Barry Turnwell regarding the condition of the ‘Wesley Tree’. It appears to lack vigour and there are concerns about ash dieback but it is hoped that the tree is as hardy as its ‘parent’. A tree expert has been alerted to give a prognosis and Barry will be reporting back. After the service everybody adjourned to the Methodist Chapel to hear Revd Rose Westwood talk on the most important commandments which are to ‘love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind,’ and ‘your neighbour as yourself’, demonstrating how this is good advice for all times.

Winchelsea Beach

There will be a 9.15am Eucharist service this Sunday July 21 in St Richard’s Church and residents and holidaymakers are invited to come along.

The members of St Richard’s Church will be looking forward to welcoming the new organist Richard Birchenough who is expected to join them on Sunday 1st September. Apart from the third Sunday in the month he will be playing the organ at the Sunday morning worship services.

The latest news on the Rye Triathlon, arranged for the 21st July at Winchelsea Beach, is that it has been cancelled for various reasons. This is very unfortunate for all the entrants who had been training for the event. However it is scheduled to go ahead in 2014 with a new bike course and race options. The George in Rye is the main sponsor for the 2014 and 2015 events and funds raised will go towards local charities. Everyone who has entered has been contacted to arrange deferrals or refunds otherwise email if you have not been contacted.

A table sale will be held at the Community Hall next Saturday July 27 at 11am. If you have items to sell and would like to book a table please contact 01797 222379 to find out the arrangements.