Winchelsea Village Voice

• This year’s Garden Society Annual General Meeting will be held tomorrow (Saturday) in the Court Hall. Time of arrival is 10am.

• The popular annual Curry Night, arranged by the Bonfire Boyes, also takes place tomorrow. This appetising event will begin at 7.30 pm in the New Hall. Throughout the year there are several fund-raising events to support the Bonfire Boyes and at least £3,400 will be needed this year to pay for fireworks, insurance and other expenses.

• You are invited to the Open Day of the Rye & District Community Hub in Market Road, Rye.

The date of this innovative community event is Wednesday 29th February from 10.30 am to 8 pm.

Throughout the day tea and coffee will be available and there will be DVDs to watch showing interesting community events from the 1970s-80s

There will also be the opportunity to meet the team that are producing the new free community newspaper, ‘Rye & Winchelsea Looker’ and you will be able to learn about the new interactive web site.

The Community Hub will continue meeting every Wednesday from 10.30 am to 12.30 pm.

• The parish Lent Discussion Group begins on Wednesday evening 29th February, 7pm in St Thomas’ Church and will be on consecutive Wednesdays up to 28th March. David Page will chair the group which will be based on a course entitled Handing on the Torch. Each session is 90 minutes in length and starts with a recorded introduction of different speakers that includes the Archbishop of York and Clifford Longley, author and broadcaster.

Introductory booklets at £5 each can be bought from David who will be happy to answer any queries.

• Weekday Eucharists at St Thomas’ Church begin on Mondays at 6 pm with the laying on of hands and anointing for those who would like healing.

On Tuesdays, Wednesday and Saturdays the services begin at 9.30 am.

• The Annual Parochial Church Meeting for the election of Churchwardens and members of the Parochial Church Council will take place at St Thomas’ Church on Friday 2nd March at 7pm. Members of the Church Electoral Roll and residents of the parish are welcome to attend. During the meeting reports will be received on the life of St Thomas’ over the last year.

If you are not already on the Church Electoral Roll you can telephone 01797 226365 for an application form.

• Winchelsea Archaeological Society is holding an exhibition of the silver gros tournois coin of Louis the Pious (c.1270) found in Winchelsea last year.

The exhibition will be on Saturday 3rd March at the Museum (above the Court Hall) from 11 am to 1 pm and entry is free.

If you should find an object in your garden or elsewhere that looks of archaeological interest, you are welcome to leave it with WAS.

They can be contacted on the Winchelsea Community Answer phone (01797 224446). WAS will ensure that the object is examined by a professional archaeologist and they will then report back to you.

Also please try to record where you found the object.

• There were many women preachers in early Methodism as Rev. Peggy Heim revealed in her talk last Saturday at the Methodist Chapel.

Peggy who is a Methodist Minister in the Hastings, Bexhill and Rye Circuit did not underplay her belief that women together with men are a significant part of the church.

Tough and entertaining before a congregation of about 50% men to women Peggy began on the well-known verse in 1 Corinthians that woman should be silent in church.

A careful exegesis of these verses, she noted, shows that Paul was referring to specific situations and not an absolute rule. In reality Paul knew several women who were close friends in spreading the Gospel including Phoebe whom Paul addressed as, our sister, helper and deaconess.

It might be thought that John Wesley coming from an Anglican background would be averse to women preachers but in fact it was the opposite.

John’s appreciation for the intellectual and spiritual qualities of women in the church can be credited to his mother Susanna who instilled this in him and his brother Charles.

Susanna Wesley and other women in the early Methodist movement helped to spread the Gospel and were active members of the church.

John Wesley was the first within the Methodist movement to authorize a woman to preach. In 1761 he granted a License to Preach to Sarah Crosby.

Later he licensed other women as preachers and these included: Grace Murray, Sarah Taft and Hannah Ball.

One of the youngest to be ordained was Mary Fletcher who began preaching at age 16.

In John Wesley’s 1786 sermon he disputed any thoughts of women as ‘submissive playthings’ and described such a notion as Turkish barbarity, in the context of the Ottoman Empire of the time. He questioned how any woman of sense and spirit could submit to it.

However after John Wesley’s death there were struggles for acceptance to preach for Methodist women.

The idea of women preachers continued for a century to be a controversial subject but by the end of the 19th century they were granted full clergy rights.

Today over 12,000 women serve as United Methodist clergywomen and since 2006, 16 women have been appointed as bishops.

After hearing some of Peggy’s anecdotes the service concluded on a very amiable note leaving much for all to think about.

Cindi Cogswell 31, High Fords Icklesham