Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Story

Thank you to all who have worked to make Christmas such a blessed time at Seal Church this year.

The story which I told in our Christmas Morning service - the Christmas Branch - can be found on the church website. Click on the link on the right hand side of the page.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas at Seal

What's on for Christmas at Seal Church?

10 am All Age worship with an angelic theme
NO Matins this morning
6.30 pm Traditional Carol Service

4pm Crib Service
11.30 pm Midnight Mass (Carols from 11pm)

10 am All Age Communion

And here's a picture of a festive visitor to the vicarage patio...

(Don't worry - there's no pheasant on the menu for Christmas Day in the Le Bas household!)

And a picture of Seal Church hall pretending to be a Swiss chalet...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Women Bishops and the Apostolic Consititution

Earlier in the year I was interviewed, along with other Christians in Sevenoaks, by a BBC online reporter about the controversies surrounding the consecration of women bishops. The same reporter has now done a follow-up piece in the wake of two recent developments in this discussion, the report of the Revision committee looking at the legislation which would be needed for women to be bishops, and the Pope's offer (the Apostolic Constitution) to create an "ordinariate" for Anglicans wishing to become Roman Catholic but keep elements of their Anglican heritage.
The follow up report is here, in case you are interested.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The first Messy Church - a great success

We didn't know if anyone would come. But in the event we had about 17 children (they didn't stay still long enough to count reliably), plus their accompanying adults, at our first Messy Church session in the Church Hall yesterday. We were preparing for Harvest Festival (next Sunday - Oct 4), which is also the feast day of St Francis, so we made a banner with St Francis preaching to the birds - our birds are species previously unknown to ornithologists, but fantastically colourful and feathery (see below, or come along to church to see them next week!). We also made sunflower pew ends to adorn the church for Harvest, and bird feeders to take home, made out of old plastic milk bottles... I hope the avian population of Seal appreciate our labours. You might think that this would have appealed mainly to the younger children, but it was the teens and nearly teens who couldn't be dragged away from the cutting and sticking for the final round-up act of worship. This included (of course) a spirited rendition of Old Macdonald (can't think why that wasn't included in Hymns Ancient and Modern) during which we discovered that Old Macdonald had diversified - as farmers must these days - and was now keeping dinosaurs, as well as the usual cow, sheep, pig etc. I suggested to the small
boy who insisted on including the dinosaur that it might eat the other animals. "Perhaps it is a herbivorous dinosaur - one that only eats plants?" I asked. "No, its a T.Rex!" he retorted. Why am I not surprised...
The session certainly lived up to its name - it was exceedingly messy - but as you can tell, great fun.
Future sessions are from 4-5.30 on:
Nov 22
Jan 24
April 2 - Good Friday morning in the Church (10-11.30)
May 16

All welcome!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Seal Fete

A wonderful fete! The weather was glorious, and lots of people came. These photos were taken near the start of the fete, so it doesn't look anything like as busy as it was when things really got going. I am hoping that some of you out there have more photos. Send them along and I'll post them here.
Many thanks to all who worked so hard to make this a success!

Posted by Picasa

Seal Fete 2

Sunday, August 09, 2009

H1N1 flu

H1N1 Flu
In accordance with guidelines issued by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York,we will only be giving the bread at Communion services for the time being.
You can find out more about the Church's response to the current flu pandemic here.

If you think you have flu and need a "flu friend" to collect Tamiflu or other essentials, please contact us and we will do our best to help.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

St Paul's bones?

There's a fascinating article in today's Daily Mail by A.N. Wilson about the excavations in the church of St Paul without the walls in Rome, which was built over the spot where it has always been alleged that St Paul's body was buried.
Whether the bones discovered there are Paul's or not, Wilson does a very good job of putting Paul's significance into a nutshell, and talking about his relationship with St Peter too.

Saturday, May 30, 2009


We are marking our Patronal Festival in several ways this year.

We begin on Friday 26 with a sleepover in the Vicarage garden for our children and young people (8 years and over). I must be mad to have suggested it, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. I am hoping there might be at least a little sleep involved … Parents need to fill in a permission form if they want their children to take part.

On Saturday June 27 we have an organ concert by Keith Hearnshaw. He will be bringing a big screen on which the audience will be able to watch him playing, so if you’ve ever wondered how organists manage to produce such a wonderful sound (and play with their hands and feet at the same time!) this is the event for you. The programme will be of popular organ classics, so there’s sure to be something for everyone in it.

Tickets (on the door) cost £5 for adults and £2.50 for children and profits go to church funds.

On Sunday 28th we’ll be celebrating the feast of St Peter and St Paul in our morning communion service. In the afternoon there’s a Strawberry Tea in the Vicarage Garden from 4- 6pm. We finish the weekend with an evening service of readings, hymns and prayers celebrating the lives of our patron saints at 6.30 pm

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

Happy Easter from all at Seal Church. Thank you to all who have helped during Holy Week - musicians, servers, readers, flower arrangers and all who helped at our Good Friday craft activites.Here are some pictures of the craft morning and the resulting displays (many thanks to Tanya who took most of these.)
During Good Friday morning, in case you wonder what was going on, we made Easter Bonnets (a symbol of newness, since people would often wear new clothes or hats on Easter Sunday), painted crosses, made an Easter Garden for the porch, and made a "wall" ,broken down the middle to symbolise Jesus defeating the "walls of hostility" between people. (And there were hot cross buns to sustain us - thank you, Vanessa, for serving these!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Holy Week at Seal

St Peter and St Paul, Seal, welcomes you to its services during Holy Week.
8 pm Compline (Night Prayer)
8 pm Holy Communion and Tenebrae
10 – 11.30 am Children’s craft activities
12– 8pm Time for reflection
Drop in at any point for as long as you like. There will be focuses for prayer around the church for you to ponder.
2.30 – 3pm Good Friday Service
8 pm Compline
8 pm Compline
10 am Parish Communion for Easter Day
6.30pm Festal Evensong
more detail on

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali to step down

This morning it was announced that Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, who has been Bishop of Rochester for the last 15 years is to step down in September.
I have pasted the text of his letter to the clergy and laity of the diocese below:

From The Bishop of Rochester, to clergy and laity in the Diocese of Rochester.

March 2009

"Dear Colleague

I have decided that the time is now right for me to step down as Bishop of Rochester as from 1 September 2009. I will have been Bishop in the Diocese for nearly 15 years and during this time have valued my modest part in the life of the Church locally, nationally and globally.

I am hoping to work with a number of church leaders from areas where the church is under pressure who have asked me to assist them with education and training for their particular situation. Details of this arrangement are still being worked out.

We thank God for his blessings and for friends we have made in the Diocese in the past 15 years. I am so grateful to God for the friendship and loyalty of those around us and ask for your prayers as we take this step of faith 'not, knowing where we are going' (Heb II: 8).

Although I will be around, my official engagements in the diocese will cease after I have completed the Visitations in June, giving time for handover, some holiday and moving. My farewell service for the Diocese will be held at Rochester Cathedral on 12th September 2009 at 3.15 p.m. and further details will be circulated at a later date. Details about the process of appointing a new Bishop and the arrangements during the interregnum will also be published later.

Thank you for your fellowship in the Gospel these many years and I pray that God will continue to bless your own ministry as you proclaim Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.

In Christ's service"

[Michael Nazir-Ali]

Monday, March 23, 2009

New organist needed

Seal Church needs a new organist and choir director - could it be you?

We are a friendly church with a long musical tradition. The organ is good, and there is a robed choir of adults and juniors. The incumbent REALLY ENJOYS good music (and is a passable sop. herself) and is inclined to say an enthusiastic YES to musical ideas. Pay is negotiable within RSCM rates, and over the last few years there have been about 6 weddings per year - 8 this year - and some church funerals too. We are prepared to be flexible if you can only offer part of the package we are looking for.

All in all it is an organist's dream! If you are an organist we'd love to hear from you.

More details here.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Seal school to be "ofstedded"

Seal C of E Primary school is having an Ofsted inspection this Thursday - inspectors now only give a few days notice of a visit. Please pray for the school community at this time - staff, pupils and governors, as it is always stressful to know that you are being observed and judged by others.
You can find out more about our school here

Monday, March 02, 2009

Anyone know a good organist???

Our organist, Dan, has told me this week that he wants to move on from Seal at Easter. He has been very happy here, but wants to take up other opportunities which he can’t fit around his commitments here. (He has a wonderful voice, for example, and would like to be able to do more singing.) Easter Sunday will be his last Sunday duty here, though he will be around to help with choir practice and weddings for a while longer. It will be a great loss to us here at Seal, both personally and musically. There will, of course, be an opportunity to express our appreciation of all he has given us over the ten years he has been here. We will begin to seek a new organist and choir director as soon as we can, but it may take a while to appoint someone, so I am sure you will be patient as we try to do the best we can in the interim.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I know it was cold, and inconvenient, but wasn’t it beautiful too! There are some snowy pictures of the church on our church website. If anyone took any others and would like them included in the gallery, please email them to me.

Lent groups : "The week that changed the world"


Our Lent discussion groups this year will look at the events of Holy Week and explore what they have to say to our lives today.

Mondays 9, 16, 23, 30 March at Seal Vicarage
1.15pm - 2.45 pm
(Especially for those with small children – bring them with you!)

Mondays 9, 16, 23, 30 March at Seal Vicarage
8pm - 9.30pm

Thursdays 7.45pm 12, 19 & 26 March & 2 April at 57 Seal Hollow Road

Groups 1 & 2 led by Revd Anne Le Bas
Group 3 led by Kevin Bright
To book a place sign the list at the back of church phone 01732 762955
or email

Saturday, January 31, 2009 love and serve...

There is a growing trend, it seems to me, to regard faith as a private matter, a way of finding a bit of peace in a busy world, of relaxing or of getting to know ourselves better. While these things aren't bad in themselves, they aren't true to the vision of Jesus or to the message of the Bible. Instead we are told that what God requires of us is to "do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God" Micah 6.8. There is never any shortage, of course, of opportunities to do all these things. To find out about some local initiatives to get alongside people in various forms of need in our own community you might like to download and read the newsletter of the Social Concern Group of Sevenoaks Churches Together. It has news of a new Contact centre where separated parents can meet with their children, a Debt Advice service, and a Befrienders scheme. All these initiatives would welcome your prayer, your financial support, and more volunteers. If you think you can help in anyway, you can find contact details on the newsletter.