As you will know, I have carried out most of the Archdeacon’s Visitations with the Cuckfield Deanery over the past few months. It has been a busy time, yet rewarding and humbling. Seeing the many endeavours our brothers and sisters in Christ undertake to proclaim the Good News has been a great experience. In an age where secularism is increasingly encouraged, it can sometimes seem to be a struggle to enable others to know the transformation which faith in Jesus brings about – yet within the deanery this wonderful work happens day by day.
There have also been surprises along the way. All Saints’ Highbrook (parish population 200!) is still using all its original registers (wedding, baptism and burial) from the 1870s! In Cowfold my breath was taken away by one of the most magnificent brasses in the country, that of Thomas Nelond, the twenty-sixth prior of St Pancras, Lewes. He died in 1433, and was buried in Cowfold, of which he was also vicar. Many of the churches in the deanery are either Saxon or Norman foundations, and each of these churches stand as witness to their long histories.
Haywards Heath is, as we know, a modern town. The four churches (St Wilfrid’s, The Presentation, St Richard’s and The Ascension) all play their part in proclaiming the Gospel in a very different environment to the other churches within the deanery. In doing so, their congregations, like the others, make the love of Jesus Christ known, sometimes in difficult circumstances.
Please pray for the work of our parishes within the deanery, asking that we may always seek to be led by the Holy Spirit and deepen our love in Jesus Christ, whose death and Resurrection leads us all to new life.