St Michael & All Angels, Marden, Kent

Sharing God's Love

Virtual Mag

Welcome to the first ever ‘virtual’ edition of Marden Parish Magazine. In the absence of many of our organisations meeting this month, we have invited them to contribute a variety of other items which we hope you will enjoy.


Little did we know when we wrote to you for the March magazine (on the 6th February) how all our lives were to change so completely by today, 9th April. Would we have believed that the Church, the Vestry Hall, shops, cinemas etc. would all be closed and firmly locked, and we would all be at home and practising social distancing? Not a concept we are used to in Marden! We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your kindness to each other with practical help where needed and possible and for all the phone calls and emails that have kept us all in touch with each other. Please keep safe and keep praying for all of us that when this awful time is over we will all be able to meet up again and feel part of this strong community. In the meantime we will enjoy a virtual magazine.
From your Churchwardens, Carol and Graham


As you know, the Church building is now sadly closed but there are other ways we can keep in touch:

Every Sunday there will be readings, reflections and music on the home page of our website which will remain there for the week ahead. Many people have been finding these helpful.  Go to to reflections page.

Every Saturday at 9.30am there is a Zoom prayer meeting. Please join us! Amanda will send you a link. Email Amanda.

And during this time of anxiety, we are pleased to offer you a booklet of prayers and to invite you to visit our regular Prayer page. Please let us know if you would like us to pray for you.

The Church Office continues to be available for phone calls and email contact Tuesday to Thursday 9.00am to 1.00pm and for any other queries or emergencies please contact the Churchwardens.

A weekly Church update is sent from the Church Office on Thursdays. If you would like to go on this mailing list, please let our Administrator Judy know.

You may have found already that many churches are live-streaming services on a Sunday which offer great variety and many of us have been enjoying these. You may wish to join with Goudhurst Church (GK Church) or Canterbury Cathedral (Cathedral)


We are in bewildering times, adjusting to having to keep adjusting. Some of us are having to cope with the loneliness of isolation, others are dealing with friction from being cooped up together for so long in close confinement; some of us have too much work and the risk and stress that goes with this, and others have been forced to stop working, with the worry and financial concern that goes with that. These are times of confusion, uncertainty and real difficulty for many of us.

How are we responding and managing? Well, we are seeing acts of kindness and social solidarity in quantity: the village organised with volunteers and food bank and home deliveries from our shops, phones ringing as neighbour checks on neighbour, the weekly shout out for key workers louder each week. We are finding new ways of being community: surprising ourselves by adapting to new technology to communicate, new ways of working, new ways of being church and sharing worship and providing pastoral care, new forms of entertainment such as the live streaming of theatre, the virtual cuppa, online quizzes and exercise classes! We are finding creative things to do, and humour and music are thriving on social media as people share the funny and the ridiculous, the beautiful and uplifting, on home video. We are doing resourceful things: baking bread, digging the garden and sowing seeds. There is a mood of cheerful resilience, generosity and neighbourliness in spite of the strange circumstances.

It has been a huge communal effort to limit our lives so that we can protect one another and care for the most vulnerable. We may have felt worry and confusion about what we are meant to do and what’s the right thing, but though we may not always get it right, we are all trying our best. Often the best qualities come out of the worst situations: heroism in disaster, compassion for others from loss, kindness in despair. It is Holy Week as I write, and this is the theme of the Easter story: that out of cruelty, suffering, and the darkness of the tomb will come Resurrection, hope, joy and life!

There are already the early signs of hope in the world, advances in testing, work on a vaccine, and there are signs here in the unfolding of Spring and in the exuberance of birdsong and profusion of blossom. The crisis will pass, and when it has passed, we shall have to consider whether we just want to return to the old normal, or whether we want to do things differently. We shall need to find a way to hold together the different realities of this experience. Just as the Easter story holds together the cross, the tomb and the Resurrection there will have been loss and grief, financial cost, an overwhelming need for recovery, and there will also have been unexpected gifts of generosity, time and care for one another, a new awareness of our connection with one another around the world and appreciation of the beauty of the natural world around us, blessings that can become part of our communal life.

When the day comes that we emerge from our confinement into the sunlight, to greet one another with joy, restored to life, and maybe to a new vision of how life might be, there will be a time of real celebration and rejoicing!

Sarah Emanuel, Reader


Spring Blossom – picture by Sarah Emanuel in Marden orchards


During these times of the Coronavirus crisis, we have been looking for helpers and there have been 95 fantastic residents so far who have come forward to volunteer on behalf of the Parish Council’s Community Assistance Group. Half of these have been paired up with residents already who have got in touch and are in need of help with grocery shopping, prescription collection, among other errands that they are unable to do due to self isolating or shielding. 

Marden Parish Council would like to express their gratitude to these residents and to those are who are assisting their families, friends and neighbours during this difficult time. This is what community spirit is all about and we hope it will continue long after this is over!

If you require help with shopping, prescription collection or a friendly phone call, please get in touch with the Deputy Clerk, Rachel Gillis-Coates by calling 07940 241333, emailing or messaging through the Marden Parish Council Facebook page. There will be a volunteer that you can be paired up with to help you.

Praying Mask


Something worse than a virus is the fear surrounding it. Fear of what might happen. Jesus never promised us a trouble free life, but he did promise to be with us always. In this season of Easter, Christians rejoice in a risen Lord, who is alive and promises to be with us always. Many times throughout the Bible, we read “Do not be afraid”, and that is written in many different contexts. In a time when so much is unknown for us, we do know we can reach out to a God who deeply loves us, and hears our faintest cry. We don’t need special words, but here is a prayer if you would like to make it yours.

“Dear God. I can’t help worrying and sometimes sick fear takes over. Please help me to know you are with me, and those I love and care about. And please Lord, may everything be done to keep this virus in check.”

And remember some wise advice:

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the centre of your life”
(St Paul writing to the Philippians, chapter 4, verses 6–7, from 'The Message' version)


Can we pray for you? Please let us know. See Prayer page.
The Prayer topics are now on the weekly notice sheet.
And some prayers for VE Day can be found here.


We are enormously grateful to all of our patients for their understanding during these extraordinary times. The messages of thanks and support have meant so much to us all, particularly at times when we have been hit hard with staff sickness and have struggled to provide an essential service. We are now working as we have never worked before and you have adapted with us: THANK YOU!

We are following RCGP, BMA and NHS England guidance and now only offer face to face appointments in exceptional circumstances. This is to avoid foot fall in the building to protect our staff and you.  All clinical staff will be wearing full PPE for any face to face appointments and we now have the option to see patients in their cars in the marquee in the car park for simple tasks such as blood tests. 

We are still doing the best we can to care for you but have to prioritise those patients who have the greatest medical need. We have stopped a number of non-essential tasks: e.g. private medical reports, ear syringing, minor surgery and travel vaccinations.  ROUTINE child and adult immunisations are a high priority and we are continuing with these.

We have found that phone and video consultations (where technology allows) are working well. To maintain the safety of our staff we have a number of clinicians working from home using either secure NHS laptops or approved remote access log-in.

Medication from dispensary can be collected from:
9:30-11am and 4:30-6pm.
Please ring the front door bell, a member of staff will either speak to you through the intercom or come to the door to assist.

If you pay for prescriptions please aim to do this with a card (ideally contactless)
Please allow 5 working days for processing of all repeat prescriptions. These should be posted through the letterbox.

We are enormously grateful to the PPG for their support in delivering medications from the surgery dispensary to patients who are unable to leave their homes.

Online Access
We would encourage all who are able, to register for online access. This will enable you to book phone consultations online and request repeat prescriptions. Please go to the “Patient Access” area of our website. This process can now start from home, rather than visiting the surgery.
If you need help with getting this under way the Patient Participation Group may be able to help. Please approach the surgery in the first instance.

We are keen to keep providing you with up to date information and news.
Please refer to our:  Website:

Facebook page: NHS Marden Medical    Answerphone message: 01622 831257
If you know of neighbours, friends or family who do not have online access please keep passing information to them.

We look forward to happier times when we can return to some sense of normality but in the meantime please rest assured that caring for you and those you love is of the utmost priority to us.

Best Wishes from all the team at Marden Medical Centre.

Written 9th April, please note this may be subject to change over the coming weeks.

Medical centre

Marden Medical Centre is part of the Weald group of Practices. The Weald group is combining with the Ridge group of GP practices to provide the highest level of support to their patients during the Covid-19 crisis. Anyone with suspected Covid-19 symptoms should telephone 111 or the Marden Medical Centre. If the symptoms are significant and typical of Covid-19 they will need to be seen by a clinician and will be referred to the Ridge Covid Assessment Unit, located at Headcorn Aerodrome. Here the patient will see a clinician in person.

If you have any other medical issued not related to Covid-19 you should telephone the Marden Medical Centre.

I know you will all appreciate that the staff at Marden Medical Centre are committed to providing excellent care to all of us, so please be understanding and abide by the rules. This is important to take care of yourself and our dedicated staff.

If you do need help at this time, when we are all expected to keep to social distancing, please get in touch with Marden Parish Council or the Patient Participation Group.


You may have noticed that we have not been able to include advertisements in this virtual magazine, but we strongly encourage readers to support our local businesses, many of which are still open, so that they survive this difficult time. You will find all the regular advertisers here.


Our charity for the month of May was to have been Christian Aid. We await news of a future fundraising event for this vital charity, but do donate if you are able (via the Treasurer, Jane Lowther email here), and especially pray for their work in many needy areas of the world.

Christian Aid – Prayers in a time of Coronavirus
Love never fails
Even in the darkest moments, love gives hope.
compels us to fight against coronavirus alongside our sisters and brothers living in poverty.
Love compels us to stand together in prayer with our neighbours near and far.

Love compels us to give and act as one.
Now, it is clear that our futures are bound together more tightly than ever before.
we pray in our individual homes – around the nation and around the world – we are united as one family.
So, let us pause and find a moment of peace, as we lift up our hearts together in prayer.

Say these prayers aloud or silently, alone or with others online.


An Invitation from Living Memories …

We hope you are coping well with self isolating, staying safe and well, finding ways to pass the time. You are out of sight but definitely NOT out of mind. Please get in touch if you need help or even just a chat, we are here for you. You can also phone the Alzheimers Society’s Dementia Connect Support Line 0333 150 3456 which is extending opening times to provide extra support.
I’m sure many of you have some great ideas on how to self isolate successfully, so please share them via contact details below.
In the meantime here is something we could all be doing in our spare time, if we have access to the internet.

Go to the BBC's Musical Memories page and set up your own playlist.  If you haven't already done this, it is a great project and sparks so much conversation and memories, no age limit!  It also creates a permanent record to be replayed for years to come.  If you can't remember your favourites then ask someone to search for the music that was around during your teenage years/twenties and you will be surprised by the results.  Here is the website:

If you don't have access to the internet, write down your favourites and bring them along to our next meeting. We will play them for you.  Have Fun!
email:  Tel: Rachel 01622 831941 

Pooh going home

No doubt you will recognize the drawing, from one of the Winnie the Pooh books, drawn by E H Shepard, and we acknowledge his copyright.


On the Village Diary page you will find the last remaining events!
And below are contributions from our clubs and organisations

I hope you are all keeping well. I go out most days for a 45 minute walk round the estates and country lanes and acknowledge anyone else I see doing the same.

Please phone others if you have problems or want help in any way.
Catherine Alderson

Just into Week 3 as I write this - hope everyone is well.

On the plus side it is Spring, the gardens are looking great, the friendliness and help in Marden is terrific.
Also I have cleaned out cupboards and sorted out junk (most of the junk is then put back – 'just in case'). Still at least I do, for the moment, know where it is.

I just think the garden centres should still be open, with the restrictions being observed in shops. Growing plants is therapeutic and surely it is madness to have such beautiful summer flowers being thrown away?? And we might need those vegetables in time as there might be shortages.
Apart from the depressing news, the downside for me is that I have no excuse not to do housework - something I like to keep to a minimum. But as I hit my hand with a hammer today while driving in a stake for tomatoes, I think I have a let-out clause.

Stay well.
Mo Clayton

Although unable to meet, members are keeping in regular contact via emails or telephone calls to check on each other.

Most of us are trying to keep up the painting and drawing but the current warm weather leads to some extra gardening instead.
And good news, one of our members – June  – has become a grandmother for the first time. Not able to see or hold the baby of course, but some cheering news amongst all the doom and gloom

Hopefully this will soon end and we can all continue as before.
Look after yourselves one and all.


The Friends of Marden's Heritage have reluctantly decided to postpone this year's Big Musical Picnic which was due to be held in Southons Field on 4th July.

We very much hope that the current situation will have improved sufficiently to enable us to hold the Picnic in September.
In the meantime we trust you will all stay safe and well.

Carol Hogg

Our speaker on 10th March was Lucy Adams, Head Gardener at Doddington Place. Doddington is a privately owned house and garden belonging to the Oldfield family. It was originally built in 1860 for Sir John Croft, sherry & port producer. The garden is 10 acres in size and among other things has a large woodland garden, rock garden and formal garden.
is the busiest time of year for Lucy and her small team, which comprises 2 full-time & 3 part-time gardeners. They carry out the usual tasks of scarifying, mulching and moss treatment and start to tidy up after the winter, preparing the garden for opening at Easter. The garden stays open until the end of September.
Summer is when the plants in the Mediterranean bed come into their own.  To look their best, the Mexican plants need a long, dry summer. They have to fend for themselves as nothing in that bed is watered.

During the winter the plants have to be tough to withstand the cold weather, as the garden is at the top of the North Downs and is very exposed to the elements.
Alpine beds have been created in the Rock Garden. There is a long herbaceous border with an Edwardian theme, and ‘ghost’ borders with silver/grey plants along with other soft colours.

Doddington also boasts 2 miles of ornate cloud-pruned Yew hedging. The pruning of this takes place during late summer/autumn when a cherrypicker & man are hired for a month to help tackle this huge task. Thankfully this only needs doing once a year, but from the photos we saw it looks wonderful when completed.
One of Lucy’s tasks is to go around the garden on a Monday morning, making a note of any gaps in the planting which are then filled to keep the garden looking its best. She also has weekly meetings with the owners to discuss ideas and plans for the garden.

We look forward very much to a visit to Doddington Place at some time in the future.
As you may recall from last month’s magazine, unfortunately our April & May meetings & Plant Sale have been cancelled owing to Coronavirus. Further ahead we can’t predict at the moment.

For further information on the Society, please visit our website or contact Jill on 01622 833411.



WIWe are asked to imagine the following being read by Victoria Wood, Julie Walters or Joyce Grenfell ...

"WI advice on self-isolation: Mobberly WI have issued the following guidance for isolation.
Right ladies, Judith Bickerstaffe has kindly emailed the crochet patterns for the face masks and matching underwear sets. Anyone who runs out of wool should message Delia who will leave fresh supplies in a vacuum sealed sandwich bag on your doorstep. She will knock the theme tune to Miami Vice on your door so you know it's her, you'll have to take pot luck on colours, but I do know there is a particularly lovely shade of burnt copper.
Mavis has drawn up a rota for the Haz Mat suit and WW2 gas mask, it is one size fits all so please don't specify size requirements.

If any of our less able members need provisions such as bread, milk, wine, gin or pickled walnuts please contact Cynthia, who will pop to the shops for you providing her moped isn't being used by her grandson for pizza deliveries. Laura will go ahead with her useful and inspirational talk on Christmas and other gifts made from J-cloths.
is finishing off the template for making an emergency face mask and draft excluder from a spare bra. I know some members have raised concern that as Connie is a 46GG she has more material to work with than most, but she assures me her template will be scalable from 32 A upwards.
Audrey wants to apologize for the mix-up with the medication run, but please be assured Joan suffered no side effects from taking Marjorie Butterworth's husband Viagra and haliborange. And likewise Marjorie's husband seems to have responded really well to the HRT. Marjorie says they even agreed on the pattern for their new curtains.

Sad news because of the Government announcement, the trip to Leeds and 'Miss Fifi's Private Dungeon and Macrame Club' has been postponed and at this moment we don't have a rescheduled date.
Great news: we have already started collecting prizes for the summer fayre raffle. It looks like the star prize this year may well be a pack of 9 Andrex Quilted Aloe Vera toilet rolls. Shortly followed by a complete set of knitted Nolan Sisters toilet roll covers. Mavis says any resemblance between Colleen and Anne Widdecombe is purely coincidental.

Right Ladies I must dash, I hear Springitts has just had a fresh delivery of tinned prunes."


Marden History Group volunteers continue to work from home during this difficult time. David McFarland tells us what they have been up to these last few weeks.

I continue to telephone Eunice Doswell 5 days a week at 9.00am, poor thing!




Pat Crawford provides the Rural Focus Press Group Comment and Advice Column.

Every cloud, however black, has a silver lining. Covid-19 is causing havoc around the world with more people dying than happens in conflicts and wars but even out of this global catastrophe it’s possible that something good may result. 

We are in lockdown and as a result the use of cars and other vehicles is in massive decline. Several airlines have grounded their fleets. Shops, offices and businesses have closed their doors. Consumers have responded to government guidelines and are shopping for foodstuffs and household essentials once a week.  With pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes closed, entertainment is largely centred in the home. All this is contributing to a vast reduction in carbon emissions.

Marcus Ferdinand (Independent Commodity Intelligence Services) projects that UK greenhouse gas emissions will reduce by 24.4 percent this year. Emissions in China are predicted to drop by 25 percent.

Once the worst of the crisis is over is it possible that we might consider adapting - and adopting - some of the temporary restrictions?   Shopping just once a week shouldn’t be too difficult for most people.  Reducing the use of the car by cutting out just one unnecessary journey a week could make a vast collective contribution.  Borrowing a few supermarket slogans: Every little helps…Try something new today….It’s what we do. (And by the way, aren’t the supermarkets and independent retailers doing a wonderful job during the current crisis?)

Not surprisingly, the UN climate change conference that was due to take place in Glasgow in November has been postponed. President-Designate and Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Alok Sharma said: “The world is currently facing an unprecedented global challenge and countries are rightly focusing their efforts on saving lives and fighting COVID-19. That is why we have decided to reschedule COP26.”

The postponement is essential but governments around the world (and individuals) mustn’t allow Climate Change to topple off the global agenda. Before Covid-19 it was pretty near the top.  Covid-19 is the most urgent threat we face today but Climate Change remains the biggest long-term threat. 

Members of the RFG would like to thank the NHS and all those carrying out essential jobs to keep the country running.


During the Coronavirus outbreak, Paddock Wood Community Advice Centre remains open from 9.30am – 1.30pm Monday to Friday.  We have adapted our service to enable our dedicated team of skilled volunteer advisers to access all our usual resources, including our secure case management system.  We can help you with any enquiry, no matter how big or small.  Our specialist debt advisers can talk to you about your options and plan ahead during this time of uncertainty and our specialist Welfare Rights Advisers continue to conduct casework for those appealing benefit decisions at the first-tier tribunal.
Due to the government’s guidance on social distancing, we cannot currently offer a drop-in service or schedule face to face appointments.  Here is how you can access our service:

Telephone Advice Line: 01892 838619


Here are some of the ways we can help you:

For more information or help about any issue at all, contact Paddock Wood Community Advice Centre at 64 Commercial Road, Paddock Wood, TN12 6DP, call us on 01892 838619, email or see our website:


From Janet McIntosh
    "There is no such thing as time--

     Only this very minute
     And I'm in it.
     Thank the Lord"

          Joyce Grenfell

"For the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle (dove) is heard in our land."
          The Bible: Song of Solomon 2, verse 11

"What is this life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare?—
No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare."

          W H Davies


Signs of Spring - picture by Sarah Emanuel

EPILOGUE – What’s going on behind the scenes?

If we were not confined to our home at this time, one of the things that we enjoy doing is visiting National Trust properties. We have a number around us within easy striking distance, and whenever we are away in our camper van, we always look to see what is on offer there. Obviously, the coffee and cakes are a great attraction, usually our first port of call, but I especially enjoy Mediaeval and Tudor architecture, and particularly the way in which the popular style of one generation is adapted to suit the tastes of the next.

Another thing that always fascinates me is to see tapestries, often adorning the walls of otherwise cold and draughty buildings. One feature of these great hangings is that the front is usually a grand picture, often taken from biblical or mythical stories, but the back is always a total mess, with threads all over the place, loose ends, and places where mistakes have been skilfully adjusted so that the front side still looks good.

To me, this seems to be a bit of a metaphor for life. We would like to see a lovely picture in which all is neat and tidy, everything in its place, and all making good sense. But what we actually see is more like the back – uncertainty, confusion, really quite a mess – and we begin to wonder if there is any meaning or overall picture at all. This is especially true at this time of unprecedented change – what is going on, when will it all get sorted out?

As a Christian, I do believe that there is a big picture, and it’s actually an enormous and glorious picture, but we do not yet see it. We get some glimpses of colour and design as we look at the amazing created world. We get further insights of light and shade as we look at the life, teaching, death and resurrection of Jesus – allowing us to grasp the importance of things like self-sacrifice, love, hope, forgiveness and new life.

But then, closer to home, this particularly messy time in our lives has actually revealed yet more of the greater and more glorious picture – the love, compassion, self-sacrifice and other signs of goodness that we discover in so many people and so many actions. All these small details adding up to create a much bigger picture, that, in our more normal self-centred existence, we never really noticed.

In the church we have just celebrated Good Friday and Easter – two events that are almost opposites. Death and renewal, deep despair and glorious new life. The Easter season actually continues until the end of May. During Holy Week before Easter we placed one reflection on the church web site each day, and we had many appreciative comments. Now for the Easter season we are continuing with one reflection each week, together with a song and a prayer, and you will find them here.

And if this period of lock down is starting to get you down, may I encourage you with a reminder that when they were weaving tapestries, if something went wrong, the master weaver would come along, make some new connections and stitches on the back, weaving the error into the picture in such a way that it would become part of the finished picture.
Rev’d Stephen Hardy





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

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
If you have enjoyed our 'virtual' magazine, why not become a regular subscriber once the printed editions become available again? Do send us your name and address here.

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 as the building is closed. 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.