What's New?

The Roots of Jazz

Goring Free Church held an outreach evening event, The Roots of Jazz, on Friday 17 November for their local communities.

The event presented the Gospel through narration and performance from a live jazz band, exploring the influence and impact Christian Gospel messages have had on the development of Jazz music. 

To learn more about the band visit their website: therootsofjazz.com


Dinner with the Countess' Sister!

Joe Gregory, President of The Connexion, tells us about his unexpected dinner date with the Countess of Huntingdon's sister.

I must say I thought that being President of the Connexion would allow Elizabeth and I to travel to new places around the country and meet all sorts of interesting people.

However, I was not expecting to have dinner with the Countess of Huntingdon’s sister so early on in my term of office.

No, I didn’t use a time machine, there really is a Countess of Huntingdon alive today - I had no idea.

I was contacted by a chap called David Wakefield of Tunbridge Wells, who was asking if it was possible for a representative of the Connexion to attend a special ceremony he was organising.

A bit of history ...

Selina, Countess of Huntingdon financed the building of the Emmanuel Church in Tunbridge Wells and it opened on July 23 1769. Selina was concerned about the 'spiritual destitution' of a town whose only established church was closed in the off season.

The first service was held out in the open because of the numbers of people in attendance, and the preacher was George Whitefield, who was Lady Selina's chaplain. The text he used was 'This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of Heaven'. 

That first chapel had seating for 500people, and this was replaced by a larger stone building in 1867 which could accommodate 1000 congregants! Sadly, numbers declined greatly during the 20th century and the church closed in1970.

However, the church had its own graveyard, and this meant that the bodies had to be disinterred and then re-interred in the Tunbridge Wells Cemetery at Hawkenbury. This took place in 1973.

Eventually the church building was demolished to make way for a hospital car park in 1974.


Early 2003

David Wakefield and his wife Ruth were long standing members of the chapel and were married in Emmanuel Church in 1960.

David felt that it would be a good thing to mark the 50th Anniversary of the reinterment with a ceremony and unveiling of a memorial stone to commemorate the lives of those buried in their final resting place.

David is a keen local historian and he and Ruth arranged for the short service to take place on their 63rd wedding anniversary. He was thrilled when I informed him that Elizabeth and I could attend, and we were invited to Sunday dinner at their Georgian town house. He then told me that he had invited the Countess of Huntingdon to dine also!

Well, it turned out that Selina Hastings couldn’t make it, but her sister Lady Shackleton could. She would be accompanied by her daughter Emma.

I must say in the lead up to the big day Elizabeth and I felt a bit uneasy at having to socialise in such esteemed company. I’m not sure either of us had met a Lord or Lady before, we don’t come across many of them on the Isle of Sheppey.

Ceremony 2023

Parking in Tunbridge Wells is terrible, especially in the rain but we eventually found our way to David and Ruth’s house.

Our nervousness was soon dispelled because everyone was lovely. It turned out that Lady Shackleton had married the grandson of the great explorer Ernest Shackleton, hence the name.

Conversation flowed as we talked about our Countess, and I had researched Ernest Shackleton just in case. It turned out that Lady Shackleton’s daughter Emma was training to be a social worker. We were then driven to the cemetery, and I was surprised to see quite a large number of people gathered together in the drizzling rain.

David gave a speech, and his wife Ruth unveiled the magnificent memorial stone. Emma laid a wreath and then Felicity from the civic society read out the names of the deceased. All told it was a moving ceremony, which concluded with me sharing a prayer and a blessing.

We then retreated to the chapel in the cemetery, where a local historian named Dr. Ian Beavis gave a fascinating talk on the Countess of Huntingdon, the Great Awakening in the 18th Century and her impact on Tunbridge Wells. It was said to be a town of ill repute in the 1760’s, but the building of Emmanuel Chapel and the preaching of George Whitefield changed all that.

The event concluded with the inevitable tea and cake, and it was good to be able to chat with other local people. It was a really unusual event to be invited to, but all the people we met were delightful and it was a real privilege to be invited and play a small part.

It was great too to hear the role played by the Countess in revival and early Methodism, and to be reminded of the rich history of the Countess of Huntingdon’s Connexion.


Charity Golf Day

The Sierra Leone Mission (SLM) are holding a Charity Golf Day on Friday 23 September 2022 at Horne Park Golf Club, Croydon Barn Lane, Surrey, RH9 8JP.

The day will begin at 9.15am with tea, coffee and bacon sandwiches, ready to Tee-off at 10am from the first of the 18 hole Stableford course. A meal will be served afterwards - with prizes!

The cost of the day is £45. All proceeds will go to the work of SLM helping our communities in Sierra Leone.

To sign up contact Gordon Hamilton either by phone: 07551 199897 or by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We look forward to seeing you there!


Online Alpha Course

Wormley Free Church are running an online Alpha Course from May 11 at 8pm. 

Covid has prompted very many people to re-evaluate their lives and ask some of those big questions and the Alpha Course provides an ideal platform to do this. Offering a safe place with like-minded people, to explore those questions and discuss your views, learning about faith and Jesus. No pressure, no strings attached, no cost.

The course will run for 11 weeks. Each week includes a film or talk tackling a different question relating to Christianity and faith, followed by discussion - which is your chance to ask those questions! The first online meeting was on Tuesday 11 May, but don't worry if you have missed the beginning, they can soon help you to catch up. 

In light of the pandemic, courses are accessed digitally, watching the week’s video on Zoom together and then discussing it afterwards. 

It is not too late to sign up or find out more, visit Wormley's Alpha Page for details.


Great British Spring Clean

One way to get out and about during the lockdown road map restrictions would be to join in with the Great British Spring Clean, running from 28 May to 13 June, and organised by Keep Britain Tidy.

During the Great British Spring Clean, Keep Britain Tidy work with a range of partners across the UK – from big business and trusts to community groups and councils as well as members of the public. Everyone comes together as a network of #LitterHeroes to get rubbish off the ground, safely collected and, where possible, recycled. 

Now in its sixth year, the Great British Spring Clean is the nation’s biggest mass-action environmental campaign.  

In 2019, more than half a million #LitterHeroes collected nearly a million bags of litter - equating to 4,308 tons - that would have otherwise remained on our streets and beaches and in our parks.  

Following the Great British September Clean 2020, volunteers were asked how taking part in the project made them feel:

  • 79% agreed that volunteering helped improve their mood 
  • 44% agreed the campaign helped them feel less anxious about what is happening in the world right now and 
  • 43% said it helped them feel less isolated 
  • 78% feel more pride for their local area 
  • 64% feel more part of their local community 

So evidence quite clearly shows that taking part in litter picking is good for both the soul and the environment!

Click on the link below to find out how to join in:

Great British Spring Clean 2021

Why Believe?

If you've ever thought there must be more to life than this, why not join Why Believe?

The series will run over Easter to unpack six key questions, and get to the heart of why we are here and what life is all about.

Why Believe? is an online social media mission event taking place during Holy Week, hosted by Simon Allaby.

Short videos will be posted on Facebook each day from 28 March at 7pm for six days. There will be a live stream event on Good Friday.


Day 1

Why Believe?
An introduction to the week. Most people think there ‘must be more to life than this’. An encouragement for people to come with an open mind.

Days 2-5

Why believe in good and evil?
Why believe in justice?
Why believe in love?
Why believe in hope?

Each day will explore these core values that we all assume are essential for a civilised society to function well. But Simon will argue that in a Godless universe there is no reason why any of them should exist.

Day 6

Why believe in Jesus?
A Gospel presentation focusing on Jesus who lived a perfect life, who judges and loves us perfectly and who offers us the hope of eternal life.

How to take part

From 28 March you will find the videos on Facebook and Youtube. The Good Friday event will be live-streamed on Facebook, 2 April.

Facebook Link: Turn the Page @ttpstories

YouTube Link: Turn the Page

Safeguarding Training

Safeguarding the welfare of all those attending our congregations and church activities is a responsibility that we take very seriously.

Over the past year many churches have been mainly operating online, but with the hope of lifting Lockdown restrictions in the Spring, we are are looking to ensure all of our volunteers have received up-to-date training in safeguarding children and vulnerable adults.

Bearing this in mind, we shall be offering basic safeguarding training via Zoom over the next couple of months. The training is free and open to all volunteers within The Connexion congregations.

If you would like to participate, please get in touch with the safeguarding lead at your church, who will be able to provide you with further details.


Budgeting Course

With so many individuals and families suffering from financial hardship during the Coronavirus pandemic, a Budgeting Course offered by Rosedale Community Church is a welcome initiative.

Rosedale is running the three-week course during February. It is free of charge, and designed to help people to set their household budgets, manage their money and where possible, save for the future. 

With churches currently under Lockdown, the course, which is sponsored by HFC, is being delivered via Zoom from 1 February on Monday evenings and Wednesday mornings.

Rosedale is a lively, family church, with a heart for reaching out to the community. 

The church is based in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire. Visit their website or Facebook page to keep in touch with their activities, church services and online gatherings.


Alpha Course - June

Lockdown has encouraged many people to re-evaluate their lives and ask big questions.

The Alpha Course provides an ideal platform to do this. It offers a safe place to explore and discuss those questions, and learn about faith and Jesus, without pressure and at no cost.

Wormley Free Church are launching a new Alpha Course, beginning on Tuesday 19th June at 8pm. 

Alpha is an 11 week course, which during the pandemic will run via Zoom.

Each week includes a film or talk tackling a different question relating to Christianity and faith, followed by discussion - which is your chance to ask those questions!

If you would like to sign up, or you are thinking about whether or not to join, visit  Wormley's Alpha Page for more details about the course.


Drive in Carols!

In recognition that Christmas just isn't Christmas without a carol service, Wormley Free Church has joined forces with Hoddesdon and Broxbourne to create a Churches Together Drive in Carol service at Paradise Wildlife Park in Broxbourne.

Two services will be held on Sunday 20 December at 5.30pm and 7.30pm. There is a cost of £5 per car as a contribution to help to cover the costs.

For more details and to make a booking click on the link below. Wormley advise us that if you would like to attend speedy booking is recommended as tickets are selling fast.

Link: Information and booking: Drive in Carols



Connexion Church Christmas Services

Many of our churches, where possible, are planning carol services and Christmas Day celebrations.

In all cases places are limited due to Government social distancing guidelines, and attendance required to be registered in advance. We recommend that you visit your church's individual website for full details.


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