Carols with FOAM: This evening (Friday) the Friends of the Ancient Monuments & Museum will be in the Court Hall singing Christmas carols from 7pm. Everybody is welcome to join them so just bring along your best singing voice.

9 Lessons: On Sunday December 21st the Nine Lessons and Carols candlelit service will be held at St Thomas’ Church beginning at 6pm. This is a service of Christian worship told in nine short Bible readings from Genesis, the prophetic books and the Gospels that refer to the fall of humanity, the promise of the Messiah Jesus and his birth. The readings are interspersed with the singing of Christmas carols and the opening carol is always ‘Once in Royal David’s City’.

Decorate the Church: If you would like to take part in the decorating of St Thomas’ Church for Christmas please contact Nigel Ashton at This will be for Monday December 22nd and Tuesday December 23rd from 10am to 4pm in the Church. All are welcome experienced or otherwise to lend a hand and Nigel and the flower team will be their usual inspirational selves. As always they are on the lookout for holly with berries, particularly variegated, so do bring along any seasonal foliage.

At the Crib: Christmas Eve Wednesday December 24th the Crib Service begins at 4pm in St Thomas’ Church. Families and friends are always welcome on this special occasion when the children will have the opportunity of taking the nativity figures to the stable at the front of the church. This year the part of the donkey is scheduled to be played by a pony belonging to a local resident.

Midnight Worship: The Midnight Eucharist on Christmas Eve will begin at 11.30pm for one hour in St Thomas’ Church. Always a joyful celebration as it leads into the start of Christmas day and the service will be conducted by Canon Robin Whitehead.

Christmas Morning: The celebratory morning begins at 10.30am in St Thomas’ Church for all who would like to participate in the Communion service and reflect on the Christmas message.

Street Gayme: Every Boxing day at 11am Winchelsea’s Castle Street becomes the scene of a vigorous type of rugby match known as the Medieval Street Gayme which amounts to getting ‘the Frenchman’s Head’ into a barrel. Seen as a form of retaliation for the many invasions undertaken by the French during the 13th & 14th centuries, it is a game without rules and very little mercy. Spectators are advised to keep out of the way but surprisingly injuries are limited to bruises and various lumps on the head. The game only lasts about twenty minutes then it is off to the New Inn to discuss scores over drinks. All are welcome to join one of the three teams and experience a good game!

Chapel celebration: Christmas is often a time for inspiration and talent and this was evident at the Celebration of Words and Music in the Methodist Chapel last Saturday morning. The Minister for Pett Keith Miller and the Worship Leaders from the Circuit entertained with slides, various readings and some hearty carol singing, focusing on the reflective and the rejoicing. Slides were shown of a football match played between British and German troops near the trenches in the Great War at Christmas which was both sombre and encouraging to see. It was also a time of hope and an excerpt from a Bob Hope and Bing Crosby film was enjoyed which involved the making of an American western without violence. A flower poking out from the barrel of a gun and many more decorating the sheriff’s office; in the film love conquered all. That same message of love has persevered throughout history and it began 2000 years ago when Jesus was born in Bethlehem.

60+ Dinner: This afternoon (Friday) the over 60’s Dinner takes place at 3.30 for 4pm in the Community Hall. Please ring Jill on 01797 224820 for availability and the cost is free for paid up members of WBCA or £3 non-members.

Christmas Worship: There will be a Christmas Eucharist on the morning of Christmas day in St Richard’s Church. This service will be led by Canon Robin Whitehead and will begin at 9.15am.

Best wishes to all for a happy and peaceful Christmas.

Cindi Cogswell

31 Highfords, Icklesham