Larkfield and East Malling
Larkfield and East Malling
Called to Love and Praise
We are a friendly, welcoming Church, of all ages with a membership of around 80, and many more in our wider Church family.
Our Church family comes mainly from the villages of Larkfield, East and West Malling, Kings Hill, Addington, Leybourne, Ditton and Aylesford, all of which are just west of the County town of Maidstone in Kent.
We enjoy worship in a variety of styles from traditional to modern, and our congregations usually include a wide variety of ages, from toddlers to octogenarians.
See our Services page for full details of in-person and on-line services and opportunities for worship.
Muffins Group share lunch at Rochester Cathedral
News from the hot seat...
Someone has kindly lent me a book by David Winter entitled What's in a word? - as we journey through Lent, it invites us each day to reflect on one word used by Jesus. Some are clearly important (like 'Father'), others less so (like 'but'). In the second week of Lent, we are invited to reflect on the word 'way' and Jesus' declaration that he is the way, the truth and the life. Winter points out that this was Jesus' response to a common human question - how do I get there? Jesus had been talking about the Father's house, where he was going to prepare a place for his friends, and told his disciples that they knew the way to the place where Jesus was going. Alarmed, Thomas admitted that they had no idea. Instead of giving them directions, Jesus assured them that he would be their guide - the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).
In the early church, Christians were known as 'followers of the Way.' Winter wonders if we have lost some of that sense of commitment to a journey, that sense of adventure, as Christianity has generated church buildings and become inevitably more static. 'Journeys are exciting and often rewarding, but they can also seem threatening and disturbing... We do not know - and cannot know - the details of the journey that lies ahead of us. But we can and do know who is leading the way.'
Some news and updates for the coming weeks...
This Sunday will be another busy one at Larkfield - at 9am, we'll be celebrating the stories of Holy Week and Easter with our Breakfast Church friends and families, with a 'scratch Easter.'
After the 10.30am service, led by Valerie, we'll also be holding our final Youth Alpha session. Thank you to all those who have been praying for these sessions and providing puddings. It's been a joy to welcome our 10 young people (although never all at once!) - please continue to pray as we consider what we might offer next.
Church funds - We need your help!
It's not always easy to talk about money, but at last week's Church Council, we spent a long time doing just that. Unfortunately, due mainly to rising costs, our church is currently running at an annual deficit of up to £10k - which means we're in danger of running out of funds in just a couple of years. Larkfield is a brilliant church, with a huge amount of energy, creativity and a real desire to reach out and share God’s love. It would be such a shame if that work came under threat, due to a lack of funds. As Brian said on Sunday: 'I don't want to be shopping at Morrisons in a couple of years and hear someone say - didn't there used to be a church over there?'
There's not much we can realistically do to reduce our expenditure, so the Church Council has agreed various ways to try and increase our income. We appointed three small groups, to look at finding new lettings, applying for grants, and organising church fundraising events.
There are things that all of us can do - whether or not we're in a position to give financially. Here are some ideas:
If you donate to the church, and are eligible for Gift Aid, please ensure you're signed up - it's easy, and means we get an extra 25% at no extra cost to you. Please speak to Tricia for more details.
If you’re in touch with any groups, organisations and classes locally, ask whether they might be interested in hiring our hall or the Sycamore Tree. Chat to Mike, our lettings officer, about availability.
Support our fundraising efforts, like the poetry evening on 9 March and the barn dance on 6 April.
If you generously buy resources that we use at church, and don't claim the cost - you could claim, and then donate the same amount to the church, so we can claim the Gift Aid (assuming you're eligible).
Let me know if you'd like to join one of the groups looking at lettings, grants, and church fundraising events. We're looking especially for someone else to join Mike and Val on the 'lettings' group - making contact with local organisations and advertising our premises.
Consider how you might respond to our Gift Day in April.
Pray! For God to provide the resources we need to do his work in our community.
The Methodist Church in Britain has launched an appeal to support the emergency work being carried out in Gaza by the Methodist Liaison Office's partners, which focuses on helping civilians in Gaza with medical, dental and mental health needs and offering them financial support.
You can find out more, and donate to the appeal, here.
Next week, I'll be on a connexional course (for ministers in their fifth year of ministry) near Stoke from Tuesday to Thursday. Please forgive the lack of weekly email!
Lent and Easter
Full details of Lent and Easter activities are to be found on the new Lent page.
New resources for Pastoral Visitors
Those of you who are Pastoral Visitors might be interested to look through some new resources that have been made available on the Methodist website, here, just for you. These include questions and prayers that you might like to use with those you visit, based on the 'Methodist Way of Life.'
The Explore Course - Taster session on Thursday 11 April 2024 at 7pm
Explore is an opportunity for any member of the Methodist Church in Britain to take a step back, and consider how they are called to respond to God's invitation to church leadership, whether that is lay or ordained. It is a nine-month course and, once registered, people also get a 1:1 Accompanist, support about theological reflection and signposts to a range of resources. The next opportunity to join this course is in May 2024, with a taster session on Thursday 11 April 2024, online 7-9pm. You can find out more here.
Save the dates
A few important upcoming dates:
Sunday 14 April - We are delighted that the Revd David Gillman will be leading our special 60th anniversary service, which will be followed by a bring-and-share lunch and then a '60 hymns for 60 years' musical celebration - watch this space for more details!
Sunday 21 April - Following the 10am service, there will be a bring-and-share lunch and then the General Church Meeting, which you are all warmly invited to attend.
Sunday 26 May - United service at Holy Trinity, Larkfield (where I'll be leading the service).
A Warm welcome awaits visitors to our Welcome Hub in the Sycamore Tree.
Our Warm Space evolved into a Community Hub and now into the Welcome Hub.
As a Welcome Hub, we will be open on Mondays and Wednesdays 10am to 2pm. Do call in for a cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate. There’s always cakes or cookies, and soup and other snacks if you come at lunch-time.
If you would like to volunteer on a regular or occasional basis, please speak to Monica.
Welcome Hub's Christmas Meal Pictures
see the pictures from the party here
Welcome Hub's First Birthday Party Pictures
see the pictures from the party here
Many thanks to Rob, our own Piano Guy
Celebrating 60th Anniversary
This year we are celebrating our 60th Anniversary. Forthcoming events will appear here:
9th March 7pm Poetry Evening
6th April 6pm Barn Dance
Exciting plans are afoot for Lent and Easter in Larkfield! Following the success of the 'Known & Loved'
mission week in 2022, we are planning to join together again with our friends from other churches in
Larkfield to follow a Lent course called '123GO!'
The course is designed to encourage us to turn Easter from a 'private party' to a 'public celebration' - to
share the good news of Easter in visible, engaging ways. We hope that this will lead us towards some
public outreach on Holy Saturday (30 March) and an ecumenical, outdoor (weather permitting!) service on
Easter Day (31 March). The details will be shaped by the conversations that take place in the Lent groups.
Lent groups will be held on:
• Monday evenings at 7.30pm at 56 Fielding Drive with Monica
• Wednesday mornings at 9.30am at the Dorcas Centre (Brookfield School Site) with Claire
• Wednesday evenings at 7.30pm at the Dorcas Centre with Mark
We hope that everyone who wishes to will be able to get involved.
Little Larks - new start time
Please note that Little Larks has a new start time of 1:30
Hospital Volunteer Needed
Dial-in service - Thursday 7th March at 10am
Our dial-in service is now taking place monthly, at 10am on the first Thursday of the month. You are warmly invited to join us this morning, as we reflect together on the theme of Epiphany, through poetry, through Scripture, and through prayer. The details for joining from a phone or computer are as follows:
Step 1: At 10am dial 020 3481 5237 from a mobile or landline
Step 2: When requested, enter the Meeting ID 999 8764 3710 followed by #
Step 3: When requested, enter the Passcode 345080 followed by #
You do not need a 'Participant ID' - just press #
If you have a laptop, iPad or phone, you can also get into the service on these devices with just one click using the following link:
(In case you need it, the Meeting ID is: 999 8764 3710 and Passcode: 345080)
Poetry for Pleasure Evening - 9th March
The Church Book Club are planning to present another Poetry for Pleasure evening on Saturday 9th of March 2024 at 7pm in the Church. Tickets will be £5 to include light refreshments and will be available in due course. Please put the date in your new diaries. All proceeds will go to Chuch funds.
In the meantime if you would like to read a poem or have a poem you would like read by someone else please speak to Brian Trice. We need details of the poem and the author by the 8th of January 2024. If you require any further information please speak to Brian, Margaret Cox or Valerie Thornewell.
Spreading the Word
In November there were 83 visits to the site, 37 from directly entering the site, 36 via Google, 5 from Bing and 3 from North Kent Methodist website!
In 2023 there were 1648 visits to the site, up 27%. Visits from NKM were up 75%
In 2022 we had more than twice as many visits as 2021!
In 2021, 418 people visited the website 605 times for an average of 5 minutes 4 seconds.
In 2022, 721 people visited the website 1299 times for an average of 4minutes 59 seconds.
In 2024, visitors were from all parts of the UK, with multiple visits from US (44), France (7), India (6).
Popular pages visited were:
The most busy time is 4pm on a Monday!