St Michael & All Angels

Sharing God's Love

July Magazine

Unbelievably, it’s already time for our third ‘virtual’ magazine! Sadly, there’s still not much going on but we do hope that you’ll find the articles in the magazine interesting.

It’s really important to continue to support all our advertisers – click here to view! You’ll notice that, despite these difficult times, we have a new advertiser, namely Forte Music Weald of Kent, based in Pattenden Lane.

Now, please read on!


I am writing this on Pentecost, the day the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles, and as the Co- Ordinator for Music in Worship at St Michael and All Angels and a member of the choir, I’m missing singing those great Pentecost hymns.

With the church closed for worship, the team have not had much to do. But I have been kept busy with my other role as church treasurer. It is always a struggle to meet our financial commitments and the past few months have been even harder. But it has been a complete joy to be able to use the church bank account to look after funds for the much-needed food bank. I know that Carol, one of our church wardens, used this letter last month to update you on that, so I thought I would think about music during the pandemic and lock down.

Music has always been especially important to me. As a child of the 70’s I could be found recording the Top 40 on a Sunday night! I now listen to Radio 2 all day and I love all genres of popular music and some classical, but people who know me well know that Bruce Springsteen is my passion!

Usually when I hear a new song it’s the melody that gets to me and I would say that it’s the same with church music. But during this strange time, I’ve noticed that I’ve become more aware of the lyrics. Who can fail to be moved by the words of ‘You’ll never walk alone’ sung by Michael Ball and Captain Sir Tom Moore, or the Radio One Live Lounge ‘Times like these you learn to live again?’

I’ve found myself looking to the varied collection of hymns that are available whenever I’ve been struggling over the past few weeks.  When I have been working on the food bank accounts the words of the Hymn ‘When I needed a neighbour were you there’ sprang to mind and Marden has certainly been there for their neighbours. When I’ve needed a prayer and don’t know what to pray, then the words of Graham Kendrick’s ‘Beauty for Brokenness’ seem very apt (you can listen to it using the link below).

While we are unable to worship together in church, some have been joining our zoom service on a Sunday at 6.30pm led by our reader Sarah Emanuel. I have taken to going out for a walk at 9am on a Sunday morning and listening to the Church of England’s on-line service. Together with ‘Songs of Praise’ this gives me a chance to sing.

As I write this, we still don’t know when our church will reopen and based on an article in the ‘Telegraph’ today, we may not be able to sing in groups, but we can still sing at home.

Until we can be back together, I leave you the first verse of my favourite hymn:

‘O Jesus, I have promised to serve Thee to the end;
Be Thou forever near me, my Master and my Friend;
I shall not fear the battle if Thou art by my side,
Nor wander from the pathway if Thou wilt be my Guide.’

Jane Lowther Treasurer and Music in Worship Co-ordinator

You might like to listen to 'Beauty for Brokenness' here.

Church view


As you will have heard on the news and read in the paper the Government has said that “places of worship may be open for private prayer” but that the social distancing rule of two metres must still be adhered to. With this in mind we have had discussions with Bishop Rose and the Area Dean and sadly have had to come to the conclusion that we are not able to open our Church at the moment. Churches with chairs rather than pews are able to move them apart and only have a few chairs available, with fixed pews and narrow aisles this is just not feasible. Another consideration for us is the age of the fixtures and fittings in our Church, deep cleaning is not an option. We have spent time working out how we could make a one way system work but would need to have several people on duty when the Church was open. We will review the position on a regular basis and certainly when social distancing rules are relaxed.

Please be aware that the building may remain locked but the Church family is very much in business, on the website you can link in to all the regular activities and if you are in need of anything or need someone to pray with you please contact one of the Churchwardens. We have people willing to help.

Please do not think that we have taken this decision lightly, without a Vicar to make these decisions we feel that we must err on the side of caution and in line with the advice that we have been given. Many churches in the diocese are not opening yet, even the Cathedral is only opening for a few hours a day and there are strict guidelines in place.

We will be in touch again soon.
Graham and Carol Churchwardens St Michael and All Angels Marden


Registered Charity No. 298202

LionsHave you been impressed by the level of community action during the pandemic?

Would you like to be involved and make a difference after lockdown?
Then Paddock Wood & District Lions need you!

Who are the Lions?
Lions International is one of the largest international organisations serving communities all over the world. Paddock Wood & District Lions cover Paddock Wood and all the surrounding villages including Marden.

Who joins Lions?
It could be you! We are men and women from all walks of life who enjoy helping others and meeting up socially.

What do we do?
Our motto is “We Serve” and that’s what we try to do. We raise funds through a range of activities including the Paddock Wood Carnival, East Peckham Fun Run, the Duck Race and not forgetting the Christmas Sleigh which brings joy and goodwill to the whole community.
We then use the funds to support charities, local community groups and deserving individuals.

How much time will it take?
We meet once a month usually in a local hostelry but the time and commitment that you give to Lions depends on your own personal circumstances.

Want to know more?
For more information, please see our website: or Facebook: then contact us on 0345 833 9564 or



I wonder what comes to mind when you hear the word “prayer”? When I was a child at school, it meant it was time to put our hands together and close our eyes, while someone else - usually an adult - said a prayer for us all. And that is certainly one way to pray - but is that all it is? I think we would all recognise that prayer has to involve something much deeper.

I’m sure we have all had times of great joy when our hearts are lifted in awe and wonder and thanksgiving - that’s prayer. And then times when our hearts are so weighed down with worry or fear, we cry out for help - that’s prayer too. There will be times when loved ones are in distress and our hearts cry out for them... that’s prayer.

The Christian understanding of prayer is that we have a loving God who cares deeply about us and our world, and who, above all, longs to be in relationship with us. Prayer is one of the ways this relationship grows. And there are so many ways of praying and so many kinds of prayer. Two pieces of advice I’ve found helpful, are first, there are as many ways of praying as there are people; and second, to pray as we can, not as we can’t. So, in this magazine, for the next few months we will be looking at some of those different ways of praying, realising that all we will be doing is scratching the surface. Meanwhile, maybe some of you would like to share prayers, or ways of praying you have found helpful? If so, contact the editor at

There is so much wisdom out there that we would love to share!
Rev. Lesley Hardy

Celtic Cross


UK General Practice sits at the heart of the NHS and prides itself on being at the forefront of providing patient-centred care to local communities. It has many strengths with perhaps its greatest being the ability to cope with and embrace challenge and uncertainty, turning this into opportunity and innovation. The resilience of its staff is often tested but in my 30 years of working for the NHS I have never found myself so challenged as during the last three months. Perhaps naively, I and many of my colleagues thought that we would never encounter a pandemic in our lifetime. The danger was there and some years ago we had even been involved in preparatory exercises but it seemed a distant threat and there were many other priorities.

As the worldwide threat from Coronavirus heightened it still felt to be a situation that was under control and our efforts were centred on following the guidelines to manage suspect cases which at this stage were still focused on those with a relevant travel history. By the middle of March it was clear this wasn’t enough and ahead of lockdown we swiftly changed our procedures and moved to a system of total phone triage, with our front door closed to patients: our priority being to protect our patients, our staff and ourselves whilst still providing an essential service.

We worked with our colleagues in other surgeries through the Weald and Ridge Primary Care Networks and were relieved to be part of the Covid Assessment Unit at Headcorn Aerodrome where the excellent organisation and structures in place gave us the confidence to work and assess our patients safely.

As we entered lockdown the challenges we faced were enormous and at times felt overwhelming. To list but a few:


In 'scrubs' with our laundry bags.

But the biggest challenge was coping with the anxiety and fear that for the first time in our careers the nature of our work posed a threat of illness to us and our families.

In the face of a time of crisis for the NHS it felt that the role of General Practice was to support our secondary care colleagues and manage the strain on the NHS by caring for our patients and at times treating conditions in the community which would usually have necessitated hospital care.

We survived but only with the help of those around us.  The selflessness and commitment of our team has been exceptional: in the face of personal risk they demonstrated a determination to remain professional and focused on supporting each other and on providing care to our patients. We have always hoped not just to work for but with the local community and we have never felt more supported or appreciated. It was amazing to see how the residents and businesses of Marden came together to look after each other. The kind words, rainbow pictures and tasty treats were all much appreciated. We were grateful for the understanding of our patients who respectfully kept their distance at a time when they knew we were fraught and worked with us to understand the new systems.

And now we barely recognise ourselves! We have swapped our smart shirts for scrubs and PPE, the building has been stripped of all soft furnishing; we have Perspex screens in reception and only 4 chairs in the waiting room.  The smell of bleach greets us in the morning and at times it is eerily quiet with so few patients attending, we are socially distancing and there is less face-to-face interaction.  We miss what we have lost: the gentle reassurance of seeing patients and the familiarity of working in close proximity with our colleagues. The wearing of masks and visors are a necessity but they can create a barrier; we hope you know that behind the masks we have faces of reassurance, care and concern.


Left: One of many ‘Thank You’ items we received.
Right: Ready for work at the Headcorn Unit.

The word “crisis” is said to comprise two characters in Chinese, one representing danger the other opportunity. The dangers of this pandemic are all too evident but we are now cautiously optimistic that there may be opportunities too.  Many of the new guidelines have demonstrated that we could be working more efficiently to prioritise care for those in most need. We have discovered that we can successfully consult by phone or video for many medical problems. Our patients have grown in their confidence and ability to self-manage minor problems. The Electronic Prescribing Service is allowing us to work more efficiently. Staff are successfully working from home and many of our meetings now happen virtually. Digital online consulting tools have potential to improve access. We are looking at improving our recall systems for chronic disease management. Collaboration with other local surgeries has improved, together we are looking and planning for how we will cope with a second wave of Covid-19 should it come. We think we will be better prepared.

We may never return to “normal” and there is sadness in that, but there is also the knowledge that we have grown in confidence and learnt from the challenges of this pandemic. The care we give may look different in the coming months and we have much to contend with, but there is a hope that, as we come though this pandemic together, General Practice will not only remain the bedrock of the NHS but will possibly change for the better.
Dr. Julie Morgan Marden Medical Centre



FegansFegans exists to bring hope to the lives of children, families and communities in towns across the UK. Fegans, a Christian charity was founded 150 years ago. They focus on counselling children and providing parental support intervention and training. Their aim is to provide families most in need of parenting or therapeutic support with the care they require to become self -sufficient. This work with parents and children helps to enable them to manage their lives, build relationships and make positive choices.

Recent surveys show that mental health issues among young people have reached epidemic proportions. Children and teens have been picking up on fear and panic during the pandemic.

Parenting in the pandemic can be difficult, with families thrown together, responsibility for continuing education and In many cases loss of income. Fegans has been there with help and advice. Yes, it does make a difference. We can help financially to support this very worthwhile charity.

We are unable to fund raise at the moment so please do consider a donation via the church treasurer, Jane Lowther.

Margaret Bradford 01580 713180


Again we haven’t been able to include advertisements for our local businesses in our virtual magazine, but we strongly encourage readers to support them so you can still access their advertisements – click here to view.


To be sung to the tune ‘What a friend we have in Jesus’.

When this Corona War is over
Oh, how happy we will be
We can see our friends and family
We can go down to the sea
When we throw away our face masks,
Oh, how happy we will be
And get back to our routine tasks,
And enjoy our liberty

When we see the end of lockdown
Oh, how happy we will be
We will do our shopping in town
And once more we will be free
When we come down from the plateau
Oh, how happy we will be
Maybe have a slice of gateau
And discard all PPE.

When we see the end of Covid
Oh, how happy we will be
When at last we have a vaccine
And we have immunity
When the numbers stop increasing
And infection rates start easing
Oh, how happy we will be

When everything is back to normal
Oh, how happy we will be!

Elizabeth Brookes



Marden in BloomWe do hope you are enjoying the planters around the village during the ongoing crisis and thanks to Golden Hill Nursery in providing most of the plants.  If you live near a planter or regularly pass one, please consider giving them a drink of water – they need lots of watering especially when it’s hot and dry.

It's so sad that the planter in Maidstone Road near the sign was demolished recently by a lorry and then the railing planters at the West End stolen – all the hard work and time we put into trying to keep our village pretty, sometimes seems futile.


Those of you who are fortunate to have gardens will have had a lot more time to tend and enjoy them.  Gardening has a wide range of health outcomes such as reduction in depression and anxiety symptoms, stress, mood disturbance and BMI, as well as an increase in the quality of life, sense of community, physical activity levels and cognitive function. Get clicking and posting – bees, insects, flowers and anything to do with nature - please share on our Marden in Bloom Facebook page or the new Marden Wildlife Facebook page.

Marden in Bloom provided a number of children with sunflower seeds in the Spring – please don’t forget to post your photos on the Marden in Bloom Facebook page when they start to bloom.

Wildflower Meadow
Despite the lockdown, a few of the “Bloomers” have embarked on creating a Wildflower Meadow in Southons Field.  This is a ‘work in progress’ project and doubt the seeds that have been sown will come to much this year.  The annual seeds may flower, but the perennial seeds will hopefully make an appearance next year.  If any residents would like to grow some wildflower plugs or donate plants for the meadow, please email:

Best Tree Competition 2020
When you are out and about on your daily walks or have any trees in your garden, it would be great if you could take photos and encourage your children to understand the importance of trees.  Please send your jpeg images to: by end October and post on our Facebook page. Please remember the photos should only be of trees in our Parish and can be bare, in flower or in leaf.  The competition will be judged at the Tree Charter Day – see below.

Upcoming events:

Pop Up Bulb Sale - Saturday 19th September from 8am-11am either outside OneStop or online. Please look out for further details.

Scarecrow Safari – Saturday 26th Sept – “Bloomers” hope to hold this again after the resounding success of last year’s Safari as you can social distance for such an event.   The theme will be ‘Heroes & Heroines’.  If you would like to take part, please let us know initially via our Facebook page or email: 

Tree Charter Day – Saturday 28th Nov - The Parish Council has registered with the Tree Charter and become a Charter Branch.  Marden in Bloom and Marden Walking Group plan to hold a joint event.  Look out for further details nearer the time.

If you’re interested in becoming a member or can help out, please email: or call Anne on 01622 833351

Anne Boswell  & the “Blooming” team


As the weeks progress we continue to keep in touch with each other and some are now taking advantage of the new measures to meet for coffee and a chat with another member, in a garden.

It may be a while yet before we're able to meet as a group as, with almost fifty members, the Vestry Hall is quite a small space if social distancing continues.
So many activities, organised by our hard working committee, have had to be cancelled, including theatre trips and garden visits.

We now receive all information from the National Federation and West Kent, on line, so we continue to receive information and advice.

Some of our more elderly members are receiving help from the Parish Council volunteers list and, of course, family and friends.

We look forward to a greater degree of freedom but know that we must be patient.
We all appreciate this amazing village and the shops and businesses making our everyday lives easier.

Jean Robertson, President


The Art Club hopes to restart as soon as possible. Members have been keeping in touch with one another – and encouraging each other in any art projects.
Keep well,
Mo Clayton


We can only hope to resume our meetings as soon as the Vestry Hall is available again. It has been a long haul but people in Marden seem to have kept pretty positive and local shops have done a great job.

Looking forward to a good summer – at least we have nice walks and most of us have gardens
Keep well,
Mo Clayton


Here are some ideas about how to Climate Proof your Garden, courtesy of ‘Gardeners' World’ magazine.  At the time of writing we haven't had rain for weeks & everything is parched, so these ideas are especially worth thinking about.

Creating multi-layered plantings. Plants help to reduce extremes of temperature in their surroundings by creating shade & by trapping air amongst their foliage. Layered plantings of trees, shrubs & perennials mimic natural woodland and moderate the microclimate in a garden.

Grow your own. Home grown veg, herbs & fruit, eaten fresh & full of nutrients, are not only good for us but good for the environment too. Eating seasonal crops & preserving summer harvests by bottling & freezing reduces food miles & reliance on imported food. 

Collect rainwater. Plants prefer rainwater to tap water and it is obviously much cheaper & better for them.  Fit water butts to all your downpipes & from sheds & greenhouses. The less mains water we all use, the more energy is saved, reducing the nation's greenhouse gas emissions.

Install permeable paving. Using gravel or porous paving allows rain to soak into the ground, reducing run off and flash flooding during downpours.

Mulch soil. This greatly reduces moisture loss from the soil and therefore cuts down the amount of watering needed during dry spells  It also helps to preserve micro-organisms that keep soil healthy.

Reduce the number of containers in your garden, and plant in the soil. Plants in containers need more watering, feeding & general maintenance than those in the ground which can look after themselves more easily.  If you can't grow in the ground, try and use the largest containers possible.

Hope this is helpful.
Alison Ball


How fortunate we are to have our excellent Medical Centre in Marden, and to know that if we do get any symptoms of the virus, we can ask for help from them, or from the NHS phone lines, or from our excellent hospital over at Tunbridge Wells.

This would not always have been the case, of course, and a small village like Marden would have had very little support in the past.

I’ve been reading the book ‘A Wealden Village – Marden’, which was written by two lovely church ladies, Phyllis Highwood and Peggy Skelton, in 1986. An excellent little volume, but it makes very little reference to medical provision. Obviously Marden must have suffered from plague and the Black Death, but we have no idea of how badly. The first mention we have of a local doctor is in 1784 when Dr Thomas Sharp gives a bill to the parish, charging them 15 shillings for seven days and nights nursing ‘young Barns’ with the smallpox.

The next is not until 1814, when one Ambrose Daws asked that the parish doctor appointed by the Overseers of the poor might attend to his wife. Apparently the Overseers agreed, but declared that in future no pauper could be visited by the doctor without the prior approval of the Vestry meeting. Imagine having to ask the local council permission before seeing the doctor!

We do know that according to the 1851 census, the village doctor is Robert Perry, and he lived in Bridge House in the centre of the village. He came from Exeter, but had qualified up in Glasgow.

Around the same time, the population grew greatly in the late summer, as hundreds of hop pickers came down from London. They were paid on a daily rate, and if anyone was sick, they received nothing. At some point Mrs Spender of Chantry Place gave the plot of land where the Medical Centre now sits to be a ‘Hop Pickers Mission’, and they particularly looked after the health of our seasonal visitors.

Perhaps the most interesting quotes come from the early school records. In November 1901 we read: ‘owing to the continued spread of diphtheria in the parish and the deaths of two children recently attending the schools, Dr Tew, Medical Officer of Health … ordered the closing of all departments from this date …’ The children returned in December, only to have another case of diphtheria, resulting in the school being closed again until after Christmas, and the classrooms disinfected.

Four years later it was a measles epidemic, with over 100 cases being reported, and the school again being closed for six weeks. The children returned, but 8 months later there was a ‘second spike’, and the school was closed again.

The last and perhaps saddest record from the school comes on 9th June 1913, ‘Sarah Godden sent home from school.’ Then on 13th June, ‘Sarah Godden died in the fever hospital. Parents seem afraid to send their children to school.’ The school was closed for a month, during which the teachers cleaned every cupboard with disinfectant and burned all manuscript paper, old books, and the children’s tapestry work.

These days, of course, came before our National Health Service, and people had to pay for any medical care. The one encouraging sign was that the parish decided to subscribe to the West Kent Hospital, and from then on there was one bed available for Marden residents in that place. How fortunate we are now to have all the provision that is available to us.
Stephen Hardy



HomelessAt a time when Maidstone Day Centre is still temporarily closed because of social distancing restrictions, staff and volunteers continue to work behind the scenes to support homeless and vulnerable people in the local area.

Whilst it may be difficult during these uncertain times, if you are able to help by donating food or money please contact the manager Zofia who will arrange for a safe collection/delivery. You can also donate online by clicking here.

Homeless Care staff strive to work in collaboration with other local organisations in order to ensure the provision of the best service possible for local people in need. One of those organisations is Porchlight, a charity working to make homelessness a thing of the past. Homeless Care was delighted to receive the following letter of thanks from Jayne Hendy, Housing First Coordinator at Porchlight:

“To Maidstone Day Centre
I want to express my thanks for the amazing partnership working during these unprecedented times. Despite lockdown, social distancing, and the ongoing threat of Covid 19, frontline agencies have continued to provide services to those most at risk and most in need in our communities. As Porchlight’s Housing First Coordinator in Maidstone, I would like to take this opportunity to say how much I have valued the ongoing support I have received from Maidstone Day Centre in ensuring that those housed under Porchlight’s Housing First Project, have been assisted with food parcels throughout the lockdown and social isolation period.

The provision of food parcels has not only been a great support to those in need but also to me; by limiting my need to shop during the peak times to buy food for my clients, my risk of exposure to the virus is much reduced. It is with good interagency-partnership working that we often make the most difference.

Again, thank you

Jayne Hendy, Housing First Coordinator, Porchlight”

Homeless Care's food bank, Food For Thought, has been incredibly busy during this period of lockdown, helping local people access the essential resources they need. Homeless Care is lucky to have been blessed with many hardworking volunteers during this time.


In last month’s ‘Epilogue’ I included a picture of my grandfather with his 1920’s motorcycle, sidecar and trailer setting off on a camping holiday. Within our collection of old photos, I also have some of an earlier holiday in 1914. Grandfather was a secondary school teacher, and for the whole summer holidays they decided to hire a horse-drawn caravan from somewhere in Winchester. For a month they travelled across the New Forest – here’s a photograph and my dad was the 3-year-old on the right.


When they arrived home, the world had completely changed – Britain and Germany were at war, and the next four years would be very different. Grandfather joined the Royal Engineers, but fortunately returned safely at the end of the war.

Change happens in various ways – sometimes slowly and sometimes more dramatically. Sometimes there is time to plan things carefully, and at other times it is thrust upon us. And sometimes change is welcomed, but at others it is fiercely resisted.

As we are gradually coming out of the Covid-19 lockdown, the government is attempting to plan change as carefully as possible, but inevitably not everyone agrees with them. Should things change more quickly, or more slowly? There are many opinions.

It’s almost inevitable that there will be many changes, and things will never be back to where they were at the beginning of this year. But we do now have the opportunity to plan what changes these last months have made to our own lives. We have enjoyed living less pressurised lives – do we want to go back to the busy lives we used to live? We have realised the importance of family and friends – how might we be able to build on that? We have lived more simply – do we wish to continue in that vein?

Considering the future can make us very anxious, but what gives me great peace is the certainty that God does actually care about our individual lives. For many decades now my life has had its ups and downs, but I can honestly say that God has been there and never let go of me, even when my grasp on him has been very poor. So, as we all face the changes of the coming months, let’s hold on to some words of Jesus:

“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For those who don’t know God run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and doing what he wants, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.”
From Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 6, verses 31–34
Rev Stephen Hardy

What next



The Editorial Deadline is 12 noon on 10th of the month prior to being published. 
magazine is sometimes full before the 10th so early copy is advised.

Co-ordinator and Advertising
Mrs Sarah Davies, 9 Roundel Way, TN12 9TW 832394
And don't forget to support all our local businesses – see here.

Mrs Liz Bryant, Le Cérisier, Goudhurst Rd. TN12 9JY  832018
Mr Don Chambers  01937 849203
Rev. Stephen Hardy, Russets, Maidstone Rd.  TN12 9AE  833263

Mr Nick Ferguson-Gow  832733

Mrs Sandra Bourne  831473
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The views expressed in this Parish Magazine are not necessarily the views of the Editors, PCC or Church. Errors and omissions, whilst regrettable, may occur. Please advise the editor in writing when appropriate action can be taken. Please note that the Parish Magazine is uploaded on the Marden Church website and therefore open to all – please bear this in mind when submitting your articles. 

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Well, to be honest there aren't any 'normal' services as the building is not yet open for public worship. But there is an on-line Evening Service each Sunday at 6.30pm. This is using the popular platform 'Zoom'. Get in touch with Sarah if you would like to join in. Also now a weekly service from inside the church can be found on Facebook.