November / December 2017
November’s events began with our monthly afternoon tea and clothes sale, and was followed by our annual Armistice Day parade, where as in former years we laid a wreath alongside that of the Mayor and Council of Homps.
This was the day before our own Remembrance Sunday service on November 12th when we were lucky enough to have a bagpiper player to enhance our service.
Later in the month, as our President and his wife who are American, and the Social team hosted a thanksgiving Dinner, as a fund raiser. Places were limited to 30 people and it was quickly oversubscribed. The menu was a traditional one of turkey as the main dish and pumpkin pie as the dessert, and the whole evening was much enjoyed by those taking part.
The following night was our usual monthly quiz, once again with a full complement of participants.
December 1st saw the usual afternoon tea and clothes sale, and was followed two days later by our Chapel Anniversary, our fifth in the present building, with the Advent Sunday service being followed by a Faith lunch. This more or less concluded our social activities for the year, but we held our usual Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols the week before Christmas, and there was a shortened Communion service on Christmas Morning,
In the week after Christmas our Pastoral team invited anyone feeling lonely or at a loose end to come to chapel for a “brew and natter” and the year ended on Sunday December 31st with morning worship, though our congregation was severely depleted by illness and some members being away visiting family etc.
October was a “five Sunday” month and all our speakers were from within our own fellowship. Socially the highlight of the month was a Curry Night, organized and cooked for us by one of our married couple members, and very much appreciated by all who attended.
Afternoon tea and clothes sale on the first Friday of the month was followed by our usual monthly quiz on the last Friday evening - the questions were cleverly constructed around events of 50 years ago, including events in France were quite taxing for us ex-pats.
Attendances on Sunday have been holding up well, despite most of our non-resident members having returned home to various parts of the United Kingdom. The year seems to have moved on swiftly and we shall soon be into the season Advent and Christmas.
The schools have gone back, the tourists have all gone home - well not quite but almost. We welcomed many familiar faces and some new ones too at our four Sunday morning services, where we averaged around 30 each week. Coffee and cake or biscuits (sometimes both) always follow worship so there is plenty of time for chatting and catching up on news.
Our clothes sale in September had on offer a different range of clothing, to better fit the colder months, and Sue is always looking for “new” clothes to add to the collection.
The quiz night lived up to its reputation of good fun, this months being put together by our President and his wife, who are American, so there was a decidedly different twist!! It even needed two tie-break questions before a winner could be declared.
Our worship included our Harvest Festival, when we followed the service with a Faith lunch, and the following day the harvest gifts were taken to Resto du Coeur in Carcassonne.
Despite August being a holiday month, our Sunday attendance held up well, our numbers being swolen by new faces and retuning non-resident members. On the social front we did not organise anything although held our monthly clothes sale, and at the end of the month a very successful and well attended quiz night.
Yoga continued with most weekly sessions being held around the lake on the outskirts of Carcassonne, and our craft group met in the upstairs room every Thursday. Pilates has been suspended during the hottest months and will recommence in September.
July is one of the months which had five Sundays, we had varied leaders and speakers, including a Songs of Praise service in which all of the hymns were written by Tim Dudley-Smith.
Being a holiday month several of our members have been away, but equally a number of our non-resident members have visited us, and an increasing number of first-time visitors have “found” us via our website.
On the social front our monthly “New2U” clothes sale took place on the first Friday of the month as usual, and the quiz night brought up the rear on the last Friday. On a scorching sunny Saturday we held a garden party at the home of one of our members at St.Valiere, with a variety of stalls, games of skill, and afternoon teas. A sum of 500€ was raised towards ESCF funds.
We have been particularly fortunate this month in having three visiting speakers for the four Sundays, our own Anthony Jenner, and two, friends of visiting members. We feel blessed that we have so many different leaders/speakers who choose to come and join us in our worship and inspire us.
On the social front, our “New2U” clothes sale and afternoon tea took place on the first Friday of the month, and the month concluded with the Quiz night on Friday 30th.
The Revive coffee morning also took place as usual on the third Friday, but the team have now decided to take a break during the summer, so this was the last of the current season. The same applies to the Pilates group, who were faced first of all with mounting temperatures as the month progressed, and, as last year, there will be a summer break, with classes re-starting in September.
Our yoga teacher is making a trip to Italy during July and so classes are formally suspended, though it was suggested that outdoor sessions in a variety of venues might well be planned, and members would be notified accordingly.
It has been an exceptionally hot month, and energies have been sapped by the heat, nevertheless there has been plenty of activity one way or another. July and August are normally hot and so the teams decide that this is the best time to break off regular sessions and have a holiday. It also coincides with many of our members having visitors, or going away themselves, and this tends to affect attendances at functions.
There will however be our usual clothes sale and Quiz nights in July and August, and a garden party is planned for July 22nd at St.Valiere.
May was an exciting month for ESCF - it was the Fellowship’s 10th anniversary on the weekend of May 6/7th. We celebrated with a Faith supper on the Saturday evening and a special anniversary service on the Sunday morning.
Ten years ago, our first services were held in members houses, and we were lucky enough to have amongst us at that time, an Anglican Priest, Brian, and his wife Bridie, who helped us to get started. It was with great pleasure that they were able to spend a week with us over the anniversary weekend and see how we have grown.
The regular activities continued apace throughout the month, with Bible study group, craft group and yoga group all meeting weekly, and Pilates group which re-started mid- month after a holiday break .
The Revive coffee morning this month included a craft stall selling the products made by the group over recent months, and towards the end of the month a delivery of foodstuffs donated by members was delivered to Secours Catholique at Rieux Minervois.
At the Anniversary service a garden voucher was presented to our Immediate Past President who retired from office at the Annual General Meeting, in appreciation of her years of service first as Vice-President and later as President
During the month it has been good to welcome a number of our non- resident members as they visit the area.
On the Worship side, April has seen all our Lenten events finishing and our Easter programme flourishing. Lent lunches continued up to Wednesday 12th April, followed the next day by our Annual Maundy Supper, where we eat together and re-enact the Last supper, with Holy Communion. As usual the table was laid out in one long line with our 26 participants ranged down both sides, and members of the Worship team led us through the story of the crucifixion and last supper, followed by the bread and chalices being handed from member to member to join in the Communion. The evening ended with the singing the hymn ”There is a green hill far away”. On Good Friday members made the walk from St.Valiere to the cross and memorial at Ginestas, followed by tea and cakes at the home of one of our members. We had a full chapel for our Easter Day service which was led by Rev.David Pusey, father of one of our regular ”second home” visitors.
Our usual social events, the New 2U clothes sale and afternoon tea, the Revive coffee morning, and the monthly quiz night, all took place during the month. The holiday season has not yet fully begun, but we have had a number of our non-resident members arrive on visits, either to relax, or to prepare their properties for rental during the summer, and it is always wonderful to see them come and join us in our worship and events. Next month will see our 10th Anniversary celebrations in the form of a Faith Supper and celebration Morning worship with Communion on the weekend of May 6/7th.
Our Lenten programme got under way on Ash Wednesday (after a highly successful Shrove Tuesday Pancake lunch), with a lunch of bread, soups of different hues, and cheese, setting the pattern for similar lunches each Wednesday throughout Lent. Following lunch there has been the opportunity to stay and join a discussion on aspects of the Sermon on the Mount from St.Matthew’s gospel.
Sunday worship has taken place each week, with our final Sunday observing the “English “ date of Mothering Sunday, when a posy of flowers was given to each lady present. Unfortunately this year the daffodils usually selected were past their best, and so a posy of wild flowers was substituted.
The Pastoral team continue their monthly coffee morning, and the Craft group, Pilates and Yoga groups have continued to meet every week, though a trip to UK by our instructor Karen, followed by illness on her return, extended the Pilates term slightly. Our quiz night continues to flourish and provides an evening of fun and knowledge for all who take part.
Our monthly New2U clothes sale and afternoon tea continues , and as the weather improves and holiday home owners return there should be more people visiting us during the summer months.
We are all looking forward to Easter, when there will be a Maundy Thursday supper, replicating the Last Supper, and our Easter Communion service on Sunday April 16th
Looking ahead ,the weekend of May 6/7th sees ESCF celebrates its 10th anniversary, and there is to be a Faith supper on the Saturday evening and a special celebration service on the Sunday morning.
Our morning Worship took place every Sunday as usual, with Holy Communion on the first Sunday of the month. We are fortunate in having members who are willing to lead our services, and this provides us with interesting and different “talks” (we don’t call them sermons) usually based on one of the scripture readings for the Sunday in question.
On the social front we began on the first Friday of the month with the “New 2U” clothes sale and afternoon tea, which attracts members from all areas, and concluded the month with the Quiz night.
This is a quiet time of the year, with many people away on holiday, or visiting families , but we are generally well supported, and this was shown emphatically when we held our “Pancake lunch” on Shrove Tuesday. More than 40 people attended over the lunchtime period, and enjoyed both savoury and sweet pancakes. We make no official charge, but ask for donations and we were well rewarded for the efforts put in.
Our craft group, Pilates class and Yoga group met throughout the month as usual
Our Pastoral team continue with their regular monthly coffee morning on the third Friday of each month, when everyone is welcome to pop in and enjoy a chat over coffee and cake or biscuits.
As we commence Lent there are a series of Lent lunches on every Wednesday up to Easter, where soup and bread and cheese are the order of the day, and no charge is made, but donations are welcome. These lunches are followed by Bible Study based on St. Mathew’s version of the Sermon on the Mount, staring around 2pm and finishing by 4pm.
If you are interested in any of the above events and would like more information ,or would like to be included on our mailing list, please complete the “Contact us” section of the website, and we will respond promptly.
January was a busy month with five Sunday services, the second of which was our annual Covenant Service. Sadly, we also had to officiate at the funeral and cremation of one of our non-resident members.
Margaret O’Keefe, from South Wales, had just arrived mid January with husband Michael at their holiday home in St.Couat d’Aude, for their customary spring holiday, when she was taken ill with bronchitis and sadly died from a suspected heart attack, aged 71.The service at Trebes crematorium was attended by members, and friends from their village, with Dennis Lewin leading the service, and David Brown providing music on the organ.
On Sunday January 22nd ESCF held its Annual General Meeting after service, at which the existing “Bureau” of President Caroline Gorst, Secretary David Brown, and Treasurer Sheila Brown were all due to stand down. There were five names on the ballot papers for election to Council, and two members, Dennis Lewin and Jan Letchford, along with the former Treasurer,Sheila Brown, were elected to the Council to serve for two years. The meeting was followed by a Faith lunch.
On the social side, January is usually a quiet month, as many people are away visiting families etc., so the only event which had been planned was Quiz night on the last Friday of the month. Due to torrential rain and thunderstorms on the evening in question attendance was affected with several folk unable to get to Homps due to flooding, but those who did manage to arrive enjoyed an evening of fun with a quiz which was based on the BBC’s “pointless” quiz programme. Meanwhile the Pastoral team held their monthly coffee morning on the third Friday of the month.
The newly-elected Council held a meeting at which the new President, Secretary and Treasurer were confirmed as follows:- President:- Neil Stroud, Joint secretaries:- Fiona Smith and Lizanne van Enckevort, and Treasurer Frances McCarthy.