The monthly e-newsletter from the Team Vicar of All Saints Whitstable, Rev Simon Tillotson
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Friday, 1 May 2020

May Xtra 2020


Dear all

We are now quite a number of weeks into the lockdown and for many the psychological pressures are becoming difficult as well as the financial pressures.

Please be assured of my prayers. I have posted below the Unity Update for May which has a whole page dedicated to websites which can provide spiritual and practical help at this time.

Also please do not hesitate to contact me direct if you think I can be of help in any way.
My email address is and my phone number is 01227 272308.

Thank you to all of you who have been following the online worship which we have been running at All Saints and St Peter's Whitstable over recent weeks.

If you wish to watch the Sunday service this coming Sunday I have embedded the video into this newsletter so you simply click below at 11am on Sunday or after then if you are busy at 11am as it will be available afterwards too.

It features prayers and readings led by Sophia and Emily from our children's groups, Pat and Aubrey Holland from our church congregation, and also features a special musical item on violin played by Amy and Hannah Parry and on guitar by David Parry.

The theme of the sermon which is preached by myself is about Jesus the Good Shepherd. Please come back and watch it with the others from  the congregation at 11am on Sunday or afterwards if you prefer. 

Next week our speaker at our online 11am service will be Elena Markova, our Children and Families Minister, who has been working hard to provide online activities and craft for our various children's groups. I have asked her to talk about what has been happening as well as give a reflection on the readings for that Sunday.

Here is a wonderful video which she and Jo Springthorpe put together this week:

I am very grateful for the following which was sent to me yesterday. I do hope you find it a helpful reflection that helps us see some of this terrible time in a positive light:

And People Stayed Home
by Kathleen O'Meara
written in 1869

And people stayed home
And read books and listened
And rested and exercised
And made art and played
And learned new ways of being
And stopped
And listened deeper
Someone meditated
Someone danced
Someone met their shadow
And people began to think differently
And people healed
And in the absence of people who live in ignorant ways,
Dangerous, meaningless and heartless,
Even the earth began to heal,
And when the danger ended,
And people found each other,
Grieved for the dead people,
And they made new choices,
And dreamed of new visions,
And created new ways of life,
And healed the earth completely,
Just as they were healed themselves

1869 was the year of a cholera outbreak which started in Bengal but spread throughout Europe, North America, Russia and Northern Africa and people stayed indoors

With so few events happening at the moment this month's newsletter is quite short but here is Unity Update. I will cut and paste the actual links onto this post below Unity Update so you can explore the links direct from this post.

It also has information about our Online Team Ascension Day service:


Red Zebra
Immense credit must go to all those within the wider Whitstable community, including those from our churches who have helped, in creating a network of support for those struggling at this critical time. Do ensure everyone you know who is vulnerable are aware of the resources available. The best website to find out what is available is

Other sites
Canterbury City Council have also recently published a really helpful resource too which is highly recommended as a way of supporting local businesses

The Canterbury Diocese has very helpful information regarding to how churches should respond to the present crisis. It is also possible to subscribe to a weekly newsletter as well as follow the Calendar of Intercessions

From the Church of England website
Lectio 365(developed by the 24-7 Prayer initiative and CWR

Pray as you Go by Jesuit Media Initiatives (UK and overseas)

Also if you missed it, you can watch Karen Washington speaking about her experience of working on an ITU unit at this link at about 7 minutes into the feed

Also please do not forget to visit our All Saints Voices page on our website which has contributions from quite a number of All Saints members, Readers and retired clergy

For a direct link to that page please visit here

May God bless you in this month of May. 

Best wishes

Saturday, 4 April 2020

April Xtra Newsletter 2020

Dear all

I think its safe to say the last month has been one of the most extraordinary in many of our lives. That is for sure.

My thoughts and prayers are with you if you are finding it really hard going, as I know many of you are.

My thoughts and prayers are also with you if you are struggling physically or have contracted the virus, or know someone who has.

I have done a video with a few thoughts which you can watch here if you so wish, but please read the newsletter first before clicking on the video.

Tomorrow is Palm Sunday, usually quite an uplifting day as palms are given out to the congregation at the start of Holy Week.

As you will know, we are sadly unable to conduct services at the moment but there will be an online church service broadcast at 11am from the Vicarage tomorrow, Sunday, and I would like to invite you to join in by clicking on this video then. The service will be a celebration of Holy Communion.

The Church website has been updated a lot over recent weeks and there is now a lovely section featuring daily worship led by different members in the Clergy Team.

There is also a section called All Saints Voices where members of All Saints Whitstable have given reflections, many of them which are really powerful.


Elena Markova our Children and Families Minister has spent a lot of time preparing online events and groups.
You can read her letter HERE

Earlier this week the churchwardens, Margaret Arnold and John Johnson and I, sent out a letter to the congregation but it is also available to our wider contacts.
You can read our letter HERE

There is also a section on our website which has details of how the community is responding to the crisis. In case you cannot find the link to this you can find it HERE

I realise this is a lot to take in but I do hope you find all the online resources helpful.

If you follow the All Saints Whitstable Youtube channel or All Saints Whitstable Facebook page you will discover a number of additional events such as Video Blogs, services on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday and other such events. 

I am grateful that Peter Clements my churchwarden at St Peter's is allowing me to share of these links and websites with the congregation there as repeating this material twice would not make sense, though you are welcome to visit the St Peter's Facebook page and Geoff Court's Pioneer Minister Facebook page for material that is coming directly from St Peter's.

Finally, please pray for the wider Whitstable Team. There is a wonderful new Whitstable Team Ministry Facebook page where different members from different churches across the Team are interacting. Please pray for Rev Rachel Webbley our Team Rector, myself, Rev Paulette Stubbings and Rev David Vannerley and our teams of clergy and lay ministers. Thank you.

If you would like a regular reminder of this monthly email please do send me an email to and I will add you to the data file. 

Thoughts and prayers and love to all and see you online tomorrow at 11am! Don't forget to email me your own prayer requests please. Thank you. 


Thursday, 19 March 2020

All Saints Whitstable additional Xtra

Initial reflections on the Crisis we all face

The Coronavirus crisis that has become to take hold of our own nation in dramatic ways is going to affect our lives for years to come – that is what experts are predicting due to the economic effects it will have.

However, our immediate concerns must be centred on caring for the needy and vulnerable in our own community.
I am pleased to see that Whitstable is already bringing together volunteers to help ensure those who have no access to the internet can receive meals at home and emotional support through things like “phone buddy” systems. We are already starting this at All Saints and I am sure the wider Team and other churches in the town are adopting similar measures.

I am pleased to hear that restaurants and pubs are beginning to organise home delivery services for meals.

I understand full details of these will be circulated in due course and I would ask all pubs and restaurants and voluntary organisations to please work together in providing a comprehensive list of alternatives.

I am not one to advertise companies but these are unusual times. With online retailers having a three week wait and supermarkets being emptied by 8.30am in the morning, please encourage your elderly relatives and neighbours who are unable to get to local smaller food shops to look at other alternatives and help them if they dont know how to shop online.

Away from local provision one shop I found which is delivering frozen meals is Oakhouse foods. Another is

There are plenty of others. We need to encourage who walk to the shops and find the shelves empty to think and plan ahead

That said I am sure that once the panic buyers have no more storage space the pressures on some of the supermarkets will begin to ease.

There are already people without food in their house and who are housebound and we are only in Week 1 of the new measures that have come into place.

On a limited scale and protecting our own health, I have received offers from volunteers who are willing to shop for others at this time. If you would like to help – please contact me. is my email address


This is my second chief concern. For those who have adapted to the internet and more crucially do not live alone, loneliness is not such  a factor (though psychologists tell us it can still be a factor if relationships have broken down, which sadly can happen too often). 

However, for those who are now isolated at home who are not used to Facebook and Twitter and other social media, and who probably don’t even have a computer, the problems of loneliness is going to be a huge one to face and probably already is.

That is why I am so grateful that I have received a number of offers of help with the phone buddy system we are operating. You will agree to phone one, two or three people each week regularly. I will set it up with you. If I don’t know you, I will ask for references that can be emailed to me and a phone interview, just so I can be confident you are the right person for this. You do not need to be religious or a churchgoer to be a phone buddy but you do need to be open to the fact that the person you are calling may well be religious.


We have no idea what will happen in the coming weeks but the forecasts are grim.

Can I suggest that if you meet people in the street you do not talk right up to their face but allow a bit of distance between you.

Please remember that if you are feeling ill particularly with a sore throat or temperature you should remain at home for 7 days or 14 days if you live with someone else, and they should do this at the same time as you. With all the other messages we are receiving this can be forgotten.

Please remember that we are not meant to be seeing friends at social gatherings  but only meet with people when it is absolutely essential and even then through safe distancing. It is possible to keep in touch by phone and online. 

Please pray for our wonderful health service, and for the brave doctors and nurses and other medical care staff on the front line.

Please pray for people like myself and other clergy who are taking funerals at the moment and having contact with the public on a regular basis through this, even though we are now asked to do as much preparation before the funeral over the telephone.

Please pray for wedding couples whose immediate wedding plans have been put into jeopardy and who now face restrictions on the number of guests they are to have at church weddings.

Please make sure you give yourselves plenty of rest, and use the phone as much as possible to talk to friends and family. 

We are all experiencing a huge amount of challenge at the moment and the psychological effects will be huge on all of us. I have noticed myself feeling more tired than usual due to the sheer challenge of adjusting to the situation that now faces us all.


I am delighted to be part of the Whitstable Team Ministry. Rev Rachel Webbley, our Team Rector, Rev Paulette Stubbings, Rev David Vannerley and I are in the process of putting together action plans for each of our churches and our districts. A Facebook page for the whole Team has brought together people from across the Anglican churches in a way that we have not seen before and which is surely of God. I am in close contact with Rachel, Paulette and David and I am sure we will work very well together as we are already to ensure the Team rises to this challenge. Please pray for Rachel in her role as Team Rector in this. 

We will be working with our ecumenical colleagues too over the coming weeks and months to come up with new strategies to deal with the challenges we face.
I want to pay tribute to local councillors who are working hard on developing action plans for the whole town and will post on Facebook details of these as they emerge.
I will be doing a daily email with thoughts and reflections and I am sure my clergy colleagues will be doing this too. We are going to synchronise broadcasting on Facebook of the daily office too. I will also post additional regular video messages and acts of worship which I will post on the All Saints and St Peter’s websites and Facebook pages. These have already begun. These help to keep us together. 

I can understand people asking if there is a God why is he allowing this? This is a difficult question to answer but I would say that the bible provides a united picture of a world where suffering and pain lies at the heart of the human and global condition.
I have posted a message on the All Saints website about this and compared it to two worldviews or climbing frames which are separate – one purely based in this world and the other which is based in the framework of faith. Now of course I realise that there is huge crossover between the world of spirituality and faith and the real physical world around us. But there are also key differences. I would like you to watch the video if you have not watched it yet.
You can find it at

What I would like to assure you is that God is still present and if we ask him for strength I believe he will respond. I have often thought that crises can either strengthen or weaken our faith and trust in God. My prayer is that you will be given strength and grace at this time of need and that you will sense the presence of Jesus with you all the time. 
I and my other clergy colleagues will be posting lots of spiritual content so do please keep in touch with this.
Also do google searches on the Church of England website which has a host of spiritual provision that is excellent including details of live streaming. Check out the Canterbury Cathedral website which also is streaming live services regularly.

Also and crucially please check our website as soon we will be posting times when all the churches in the Team will be open for people to visit to come in and pray and reach out to God. It is important we do not all just sit at home and this is one way the church can help by encouraging you to come into the church and take time reflecting and praying whilst still observing safe space with those you meet. 

If you want to be part of a regular daily email from myself with reflections and news of what is happening and may be of help to you, please email me now at and I will add you to the list. 

Thank you for following this latest message.  Your friend and praying for you. 
The Vicarage
Church Street
Mobile 07833 448287

Friday, 6 March 2020

All Saints Whitstable March Xtra newsletter

Dear all

I do apologise for the delay in sending out the March newsletter.

This is a concerning time for  of us with the recent news about the Coronavirus arriving in the UK.

On Sunday 8th March we have our usual Compline which takes place on the Second Sunday of each month. As we are in the winter months, it will take place at 5pm. 

We will be having a special time of prayer for our country and for the world especially praying for an end to the Coronavirus outbreak and for a vaccine to be found, and praying for those suffering from the virus,  so if you are concerned about the situation may I invite you to come along to this 30 minute service.

I have also issued information to all of our churchgoers about how Holy Communion services should take place at the moment and this is available on the Prayer Pointers at Sunday's services.

Please also note that the Barn Dance due to take place towards the end of March to raise money for the German Exchange has been postponed for the time being.

My prayers for all who are anxious. May you know God's peace. 
This world is a world of beauty but there are certainly problems in our world too, and the Christian faith is in many respects more in touch with our world of suffering and pain than the sanitised outlook of our secular, materialistic culture today. 

I am though praying for all who are worried. Please be assured that I am available should you wish to chat with someone or need help, as are our pastoral assistants. Please call our church office on 01227 275947 (answerphone when office is not open)  if you are in special need of help or email me at The church is here to care.

For various reasons the Xtra this month is going to be shorter than usual - please though do check our website for details of our usual groups -


This Sunday 8th March we have our Family Communion service at 10am at All Saints Whitstable.
I am pleased to say that the mid week children and parent's group Holyballoo will be helping with the service. They have done a wonderful display of artwork and are going to help lead the prayers at this service.
The Family Communion service takes place at 10am on Sunday 8th March - I do hope to see you there!


This will take place on Sunday 15th March at 11.30am at All Saints church hall after our morning worship. 
We have a number of vacancies for the Church Council and if you are on the church membership roll (known as the church electoral roll) please will you consider standing for election?
I would appreciate your attendance at this meeting. Thank you.

You can read our report of the year 2019 in preparation for this meeting by clicking ON THIS LINK


I am so grateful to all of you for taking part in the attendance survey. We are now half way through the eight week survey.

I thought you might like a few facts that have come from it:
Over the first four weeks a total of 196 individual adults and children have  attended. 
48 of these adults and children started attending All Saints  in the last five years, 35 adults and children started attending between 6-10 years ago and 113 adults and children have attended for more than 10 years

123 of those who have attended are female and 73 are male.

I will let you know more statistics for the April Xtra.

There is a Christian Aid quiz

has a lot of information about what is happening this month especially with some important events
Please note that the Barn Dance on Unity Update under All Saints is now cancelled.


NB Do click on any of the advertisements of groups below to see in larger text, especially if you are viewing this by mobile phone.


A quiz organised by the Guides to raise money for one of the Guides who is raising money for a special trip to China

All the very best and hope to see you at one of our services this month (or more if you feel able to attend)


Friday, 24 January 2020

February Xtra newsletter 2020

Dear all

February is soon to be upon us. Despite it being the coldest month according to the Met Office statistics it is at least a month where Spring starts  gradually to emerge with the hope of longer, lighter evenings and better weather not far away. 

I do hope you are keeping well and here is some news about forthcoming events at All Saints Whitstable in February.

First of all I would like to mention the Alpha course which is now beginning in the first week of February not the last week of January.

There will be a choice of either Thursday evenings or Friday mornings. The venue will be the Vicarage.
There will be no meal.
However, the DVDs are excellent and the group last year really enjoyed coming on the course.

Alpha comes from a particular theological and spiritual tradition but you can come from any particular theological understanding or even from an agnostic or atheist viewpoint and still find the course worthwhile.
The format is to watch the DVD which lasts about 25 minutes and then there is a conversation about the video.

The Thursday evening session will begin on 6th February  at 7.30pm and will finish at 9.15pm. The Friday morning session will start  on 7th February and the timings will be from 10.30am till 12 noon.
There may be times when sessions have to be changed due to funerals I may have to take etc.

It is a particularly good way of preparing for confirmation which this year is in May at All Saints Whitstable with our new Bishop, Bishop Rose Hudson-Wilkin taking it! Now that is going to be brilliant! So if you are considering confirmation this would be an excellent course to attend.
Or if you consider yourself to be an atheist or an agnostic but you are still interested in speaking about spiritual matters it would still be very suitable. It is actually a course originally designed for those without faith as well as those with faith.

Also, if  you are simply just wanting to come and search and ask difficult questions such as "Why is there so much suffering in the world?" (A good question to ask in view of the recent news from Australia, China and the Middle East) then this is the perfect format. I certainly don't have all the answers but we can at least discuss the questions.

The course is free of charge though if you want to contribute to the cost of the manual I think it is £1.
Please email me at if you are planning on attending the course. Please let me know which course you are planning to attend. 

Here is a video I made yesterday about the course if you wish further information:

STARTING MONDAY - please contact Elena Markova for more information on
07719 983363

Sacred Space resumes for the year 2020 on Monday 27th January at 8pm at All Saints church. It concludes at 9pm
Sacred Space is an hour of reflection with occasional music and sometimes the use of incense. You can arrive late or leave early.
Here is a video from this time last year to give you an understanding of what it is like.
We do encourage people to bring a torch for their own health and safety.

Earlier the same day on Monday there is a very important event at Canterbury Cathedral

“Standing Together”

Holocaust Memorial Day

Monday 27 January

Canterbury Cathedral

To mark the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz

2 pm     “Standing Together”:
A Message for Today by Simon Langton Sixth Formers about their work for HMD 2020
3 pm     Walking tour of Jewish Canterbury
4.15pm Talk on the Jewish History of Canterbury and Records relating to Jewish History  followed by an opportunity to browse the documents with experts on hand
5.30pm Choral Evensong
Led by members of the Cathedral Community, together with representatives of Jewish and Islamic faiths
6.15pm Refreshments

Please feel free to come to as many or as few of the events as you would like.

For the 2 pm, 3 pm, and 4.15 pm session please meet in the Visitor Centre ten minutes before the start of the session you are interested in next to the main gate of the Cathedral.  For the Service, please just enter the Cathedral grounds and the staff on the gate will direct you to Evensong.

Although I cannot attend this event because I am  taking Pam Anderson's funeral, he needs to let the Cathedral know how many are going so please let me know if you are planning to attend so I can let the Cathedral know.
Email me please at

All Saints Supper and Quiz
Saturday 15 February 
6.30 pm for 7.00pm start
All Welcome
BYO drinks and glasses
Tickets £8
Tables of 8 (or just come along and we’ll make up tables)
See John Johnson for tickets or ring him (262581)

Lent begins towards the end of February. There are services held in all the Team churches. Do come along!


All our regular weekly groups are advertised on out website
Please do look at these to find out more about our church

Thank you for reading this month's newsletter
Rev Simon Tillotson

Saturday, 4 January 2020

January Xtra Newsletter

Dear all

A very Happy New Year to you!

We live in a worrying world with a dangerous situation in the Middle East possibly on the verge of becoming even more dangerous and terrible fires in Australia - amongst many other calamities elsewhere in the world. Nonetheless, however many worries we may have in life, God has still given us the gift of life which was all given to us freely and it is our duty to make the most of it as it is a precious gift. 

With this in mind let me express the hope that you are not overcome with gloom as can often be the case at this murky dark time of the year (though the weather today happens to have been beautiful). 

Indeed, may I wish you personally a blessed new year and also express the hope that you had a wonderful Christmas. It was good to see so many people at All Saints over the Christmas period. 

We have our Lord with us and He will guide and lead us through the Year. As we trust in Him, our faith grows stronger and the fruit of the Holy Spirit grows within us more and more. 

Now to news of January!

After a very busy run of weeks it looks like January will be a relatively quieter month but there are still new things to tell you about.

The first thing to tell you about is the Labyrinth that Dr Martin Garsed will be running on Saturday 11th January:

Open Labyrinth at All Saints Whitstable on 11th January 2pm to  4 pm.

Martin writes "This is an opportunity to take time out, drop in and prepare to set off anew on the road of 2020 as the Magi did all those years ago. An experience of letting go the past year and striding into the New one with love, faith and hope for oneself, our loved ones and all peoples."  

You don't have to come for the whole two hours. You can just stay for a short while or stay longer and arrive and leave at any point.


The next thing to let you know about is our Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

Here are the details:

If you want to read the material in advance or as you go through the week then please click on this link:

Something to remember is that Day 1 is Saturday 18th, Day 2 Sunday 19th, Day 3 Monday 20th and so on.


I am running another Alpha course from the end of January right up to the end of March.There will be a choice of either Thursday evenings or Friday mornings. The venue will be the Vicarage. There will be no meal.
However, the DVDs are excellent and the group last year really enjoyed coming on the course.
Some are coming back to attend a second time which is absolutely fine.
Alpha comes from a particular theological and spiritual tradition but you can come from any particular theological understanding or even from an agnostic or atheist viewpoint and still find the course worthwhile.
The format is to watch the DVD which lasts about 25 minutes and then there is a conversation about the video.
The Thursday evening session will begin on 30th January at 7.30pm and will finish at 9.15pm. The Friday morning session will start at 10.30am and run till 12 noon, beginning on 31st January. There may be times when sessions have to be changed due to funerals I may have to take etc.
It is a particularly good way of preparing for confirmation which this year is in May at All Saints Whitstable with our new Bishop, Bishop Rose Hudson-Wilkin taking it! Now that is going to be brilliant!
So if you are considering confirmation this would be an excellent course to attend.
But if you are simply just wanting to come and search and ask difficult questions such as "Why is there so much suffering in the world?" (A good question to ask in view of the recent news from Australia and the Middle East) then this is the perfect format. I certainly don't have all the answers but we can at least discuss the questions.
The course is free of charge though if you want to contribute to the cost of the manual I think it is £1.
Let me know if you are interested please. And do watch this video too! You can email me at

Please note that the suggested videos that come up after a Youtube video has finished are based on the user's own computer's interaction with Youtube or its parent company Google and are not in any way suggestions from All Saints Whitstable.

The Archbishop of Canterbury visits All Saints

We were really delighted and honoured when a surprise visit by Archbishop Justin Welby took place on Sunday 22nd December.
Archbishop Justin does visit parishes in his Diocese quite often but even so it did come as a surprise.

You can hear the Archbishop's sermon here:

If you are interested in listening to my Christmas morning sermon you can find it here. I was talking about the two questions that people often ask:
1) If there is a God why does he not reveal himself more obviously?
2) If there is a God why does he allow suffering?

I hope you find it helpful.

THE NEW YOUTH CLUB FOR 11 to 14 year olds. 
Starting on the last Monday evening in January
Contact Elena at for more information


Thank you for reading right to the end of the newsletter. I haven't this month included all our regular groups but please visit our website for more information on these.

Thank you
Rev Simon Tillotson

Location of Church - Click on picture!

All Saints Whitstable

All Saints Whitstable is a Church of England church in the Church Street area of Whitstable, between the railway station and the Thanet Way.
It has been in existence since at least the 12th century.
It is one of six churches that make up the Whitstable Team Ministry.
Church service times are 8am Holy Communion (BCP) and 10am Sung Communion on Sundays, with a Sunday Club for children.
A Family Communion takes place at 10am on the Second Sunday of each month where the children stay in church.
For more information on other services and general information please visit our main website which is or email the Vicar Rev Simon Tillotson at

The Holy Trinity by Andrei Rublev

The Holy Trinity by Andrei Rublev


If you do not receive a monthly reminder about this e-letter yet why not email the Vicar at and he will add your email address to the database. Then you will receive an email once a month, with the occasional one mid month, to keep you informed of things going on in the life of the church and the wider community.

All Saints Church Monthly Newsletter

All Saints Church Monthly Newsletter

Location of church

Location of church
Click on map for further details