Christmas Market: This month’s Church Market, taking place tomorrow Saturday December 5th, is the Christmas Market and has the promise of an even greater variety of produce as well as books and plants on sale. As always good food, coffee and friendly chat is on offer so do come along and encourage others as well. The November Market raised the useful sum of £382.40 and all proceeds are in aid of church maintenance.

Song-along: Singing carols accompanied by Sussex Brass, the band that plays at Winchelsea’s Summer Fetes, expects to be an energetic and joyous event. You are most welcome to come along tomorrow evening, Saturday December 5th at 7pm for some seasonal song-along fun and carol singing held in St Thomas’ Church. Winchelsea Bonfire Boyes have organised this no-ticket event but donations would be welcomed.

Lighting the tree: The Lights of Love service for remembering a loved one takes place this Sunday December 6th at 3pm and includes the lighting of the Christmas tree in the Church. Rector Robin Whitehead will be leading the service which welcomes everybody and there will be cakes, biscuits, mince pies, tea and coffee afterwards.

Advent 2015: Advent Winchelsea is an extension of the successful Winchelsea Advent Windows, which has seen the town light up 24 windows during advent each year for the past 6 years. This year, led by Sandra Mackenzie Smith and Di Smedley the team has challenged themselves to come up with a fresh new idea for the town. Around the town there will either be a Christmas tree or window with a Christmas theme lit up each evening from Tuesday December 1st to Thursday December 24th. The windows will all be indoors but some of the trees will be outside and most will remain on display until Thursday December 31st. Everyone is welcome to the openings each day at 5pm and the windows and trees will remain lit up each evening until 9pm. Maps will be available at the Winchelsea Farm Shop and the New Inn for a small donation, showing all the locations and with a list of the themes and the sequence of each opening. The team’s chosen charities this year are the Rye Food Bank and Blue Cross, Northiam and they look forward to welcoming you to the town and thanking you for helping to raise much needed funds for these good causes.

Christmas coffee: The Winchelsea New Hall Society will be holding a Christmas Coffee Morning from 10am till 1pm on Saturday December 12th in The Court Hall on the High Street. You are invited to come along and enjoy coffee and a mince pie and have a look around the stalls for those last-minute Christmas Gifts including arts and crafts, Christmas decorations and Christmas cards. There will also be a raffle which includes some great prizes and all proceeds from the Coffee Morning will be split between the New Hall and the Pipewell Gate Appeal.

Words and Music: A ‘Christmas Celebration of Words and Music’ at the Methodist Chapel has been arranged for Saturday December 12th at 10.30am. Leading the service will be Keith Miller and the Methodist circuit Worship Leaders. They are back by popular demand as they led a very enjoyable celebration last year and all are invited to be present as ‘God’s presence is the best present of all’. Seasonal refreshments will follow the celebration and there will be a collection in aid of ‘Action for Children’.

Historic Bruges: The city of Bruges with its Flemish painters and Gothic architecture is the subject of the talk at the Second Wednesday Society’s next meeting on Wednesday December 9th at 2.30pm in the New Hall. Melanie Gibson-Barton is giving the talk which is described as ‘More than just chocolate’ since the Belgian city is a chocolate hotspot with a huge number of chocolatiers and shops. If you wish to attend the Second Wednesday’s Annual General Meeting before the talk you will need to be at the New Hall for 2pm and mulled wine will be available.

Christingle service: This year’s Christingle service will be on Friday December 11th at 2.30pm in St Thomas’ Church and everyone is invited. All the children from St Thomas’ Primary School will be in Church along with parents to really celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. Christingle or ‘Christ Light’ which happens during Advent is a symbol of Jesus, the Light of the World. This celebration is now held in many schools and churches and has continued to grow in popularity since its early beginnings in 1747 in the missionary outreach Moravian Church. The children will be guided through each part of the service that makes the orange a symbol of Christianity and when the church lights are dimmed, candles are lit to signify Jesus the great light and Morning Star.

Sir Walter Scott: The Literary Society is meeting next Friday December 11th to hear a talk on Sir Walter Scott by John Davison at 7 for 7.30pm in the Court Hall. Scott was a 19th century poet and novelist who wrote Ivanhoe and the Waverley novels but is best known as the founder of the genre of the historical novel and its tales of gallantry and romance. It is believed that Scott helped to create modern Scotland by healing the division between the romantically backward Highlands and the more enlightened Lowlands. Non-members pay £4 and light refreshments will be at hand.

Sunday train service: Next Sunday December 13th John Spencer and Monika Betson, Co chairs of THWART (Three Oaks and Winchelsea Action for Rail Transport) have organised a small celebration of the successful conclusion of a 10 year campaign to keep train services for Three Oaks and Winchelsea stations running all week. THWART with the help of Sussex Community Rail Partnership (Sussex CRP), the Marshlink Action Group, Railfuture, 1066 Country and our MPs’ has been given by Southern this opportunity for both communities to prove that they will use the 7 day train services that are now going to be provided. Looking to the future this is vital but it is also hoped that all other local communities will support these 2 stations and of course the Marshlink Line. In Three Oaks there is no other form of public transport. For Winchelsea, in addition to residents using the train the idea is that having a 7 day train service will allow Tourism - walkers/bikers etc to return. So do come and join the team briefly to celebrate the return of Sunday rail services at Winchelsea station on Sunday 13th December at 11.20am when there may well be some tickets for free local rail travel courtesy of Sussex CRP. The aim is to greet the 11.37am to Rye and Ashford which will be carrying some THWART supporters and the 11.45 train which supporters may wish to board for Hastings etc. Those that are left will no doubt need some resuscitation in a local hostelry. In the meantime THWART is very grateful for all the support it has received from so many organisations including Southern over the last ten years. It has paid off!

Fanfares & More: Ellis Brass is an exhilarating young Brass Quintet who will be performing in St Thomas’ Church on Saturday December 19th at 7.30pm. ‘Fanfares, Fugues & More’ is the theme and this will include Bach through to pianist and bandleader Hoagy Carmichael. If you would like tickets they are on sale at £12 each (£6 under 16s) from Winchelsea Farm Kitchen or online at Ellis Brass is a leading brass ensemble consisting of five senior students currently studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. The members of the quintet have performed with a wide range of prominent youth orchestras as well as for the BBC and English National Ballet.

Winchelsea Beach

Lights of Love: There will be no Sunday afternoon monthly prayer meeting at St Richard’s on Sunday December 6th because of the Lights of Love service at St Thomas’ Church at 3pm and all are invited. The service is an opportunity to remember a loved one and will include the lighting of the Christmas tree in the Church after which there will be seasonal refreshments.

Christmas Meal: If you are coming to the Christmas Meal next Friday December 11th at 3 for 3.30pm please ensure that your names are given to Judy in the Post Office today (Friday) as the caterers need to know numbers. The annual Christmas Meal is for paid up Members of the Winchelsea Beach Community Association and will be held in the Community Hall.

Children’s party: The Winchelsea Beach Community Association’s Christmas Party for Primary School age children will be on Saturday December 12th from 4.30 to 6.30pm in the Community Hall. The party is free for children living at Winchelsea Beach and if they would like to bring a friend who doesn’t live there a charge of £3 will be requested. For those children wishing to attend please ensure that names are given to Natalie 07817962680 by Monday 7th December.

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