Friends of the Church in India Day 2019

4 Lushington Friends

Friends of the Church in India Day Service – 5 Oct 2019
Theme of the day: Christian relationships with other faiths

Sermon by The Venerable Alastair Cutting, Archdeacon of Lewisham & Greenwich
Acts 17:16-34; John 14:15-21;
Beauty for Brokenness: Graham Kendrick


FCI day programme image
Friends of the Church in India 2019 programme

All of my earliest childhood memories are Indian. 
My parents had been doing their missionary training at one of the Selly Oak colleges in Birmingham when I was born, and the three of us arrive together in India when I was aged about 18 months old. 

We lived most of the next 12 years in a small rural town called Jammalamadugu, in the Cuddapah district of Andhra Pradesh, in the Rayalaseema Diocese of the CSI. 

A few years later, my sister was born in India, in the CMC hospital in Vellore, even sharing the initial of her name CMC with the hospital she was born in.

If you wanted to understand some of our Indian heritage as a family, you might share the confusion that the Registrar of Births had when my father went to register my sister Catriona’s birth.

“So, your daughter was born in India, so her nationality is Indian!” 
“Well, no, said my father, she has the same nationality as me, and I am British.” 

“Ok, said the birth Registrar, so where were you born?” 
My father explained that as his parents had previously also been medical missionaries in India, in Chik Ballapur, near Bangalore, so he William Cutting had in fact been born in India.

“Then she is Indian! replied the Registrar!” 
Well, no, explained my father patiently, he was British because his father was British.

“So where was your father born?” 
Well, said my father, his father Cecil Cutting’s parents had actually also been missionaries in India, as teachers, since 1893, so his father had also been born in Ranikhet, then later lived in Benares/Varanasi in India.

“So she IS Indian!” exclaimed the Registrar, triumphantly!

There was the a scurry to provide birth certificates and marriage certificates for my father William Cutting, my grand father Cecil Cutting, and my great-grandfather also William Cutting, before my sister could have her nationality confirmed as British. Which was complicated, as there were no Birth certificates in the 1850s when my great grandfather William was born…
A Baptism Certificate fortunately sufficed.

Continue reading “Friends of the Church in India Day 2019”

Armistice Centenary – and an Eltham soldier

Cecil Cutting cropped image

(From a sermon preached on the Centenary of the World War 1 Armistice) 

Around the church are a number of pictures of a young First World War soldier.

Lieutenant Cecil George Cutting
Lieutenant Cecil George cutting a dashing figure

Let’s hear a bit of his story.

He was the son of a missionary teacher family who were living and working in India, as he approached secondary school age, Cecil George was sent to boarding school.

The young scholar was at a school just over a mile from here, at Eltham College.

He was a lively student, who particularly loved his sport.
Athletics; and cricket mainly.

Cricket.

The school regularly played other teams, and had several matches against the world famous local cricketer, WG Grace.

There’s a record of a match where the great WG was bowling against the young Cecil George.

Cecil George was one of the best all rounders in the team.

But not on this occasion.

Cecil George, bowled out by WG, for a duck!

He left school in July 1915 age 18. He was not called up at once, and the Academic year 1915-16 he spent at Imperial College reading Chemistry.

Then he was called up at the end of the Summer term of 1916. Cecil George was Gazetted as of the 27 Nov 1916 and recorded in the Royal Garrison Artillery.

He did his basic training in the Infantry.
At the end of this they asked:

“Who has Matric Maths?”
“I do!”  Says Cecil George.
“Right, if you can count more than two legs, you are going to be in the Cavalry!”

Off he goes and does the basic training for the Cavalry in Exeter.

At the end of that basic cavalry training they said

“Who has Higher Maths?”
“I do !” says Cecil George.
“Right, if you can plot graphs and trajectories, you are going to be in the Artillery!”

So off he goes and does the basic training for the gunners.

He ended up a with the Royal Garrison Artillery on the Selonica Front, not far from the Greek border across into Turkey.

The RGA was often supported by the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) who had devised a system where pilots could use wireless telegraphy to help the artillery hit specific targets. Years later it became clear that Cecil George was involved going up in these ‘string bag’ aeroplanes of that era, as a “spotter” for targets! This was very early in the history of flight, and must have been some adventure for the young soldier!

Continue reading “Armistice Centenary – and an Eltham soldier”

Join us at the Cathedral

Please come and join us at Southwark Cathedral on 14 April 2013.

Southwark Invitation
Southwark Invitation

Alastair’s installation, along with Archdeacon colleagues Jane Steen and Chris Skilton, takes place at 3pm. The original announcement was made back in December at Henfield, and at Southwark and Chichester.

Friends who wish to come, please do! It would help to have a rough idea on numbers, by emailing or texting/ringing 07736 676106 that you’d like to come.

Those who would like to robe, choir dress with black shoes please.

We would love to see you!

Alastair, Kay, Hannah & Laura

(We are probably moving at the end of May, to Sydenham/Forest Hill. Address on the linked pdf – please update address books! Personal email addresses and mobile numbers as they were.)

Copthorne to Henfield

Updated with move dates: After 14 great years at St. John’s Copthorne, we are moving to Henfield: remaining in Sussex, and Diocese of Chichester, and even in the same episcopal area and archdeaconry of Horsham, but in a new deanery: Hurst.

The following pdf documents were released as information about the Henfield benefice, and it’s new incumbent.

The text from each of the documents is quoted below.

About the parish of Henfield:

About Henfield
About Henfield

About Henfield‘s new vicar:

Alastair Cutting - Henfield
Alastair Cutting - Henfield

About Henfield:
After 14 years thoroughly enjoying ministry at St John’s, The Rev’d Alastair Cutting, with Kay, Hannah & Laura, are to leave Copthorne. Their last Sunday will be Pentecost, 23 May, starting in Henfield on Friday 2 July 2010. Continue reading “Copthorne to Henfield”

What my parents did, and what my children don’t

Cardinal Red Tile Polish. There was a time when no self-respecting house-wife would not have the front door-step regularly polished with ‘Cardinal’. Haven’t seen it around for ages, though I think you used to be able to get it in Woolworth’s – and indeed what happened to that too?

It got me thinking a bit about practices of the generation before us, things that we (generally) no longer do; and of some of the things we do, but our children have given up on. I thought I might try and make a list of things that now seem so anachronistic… Do join in, and add more in reply comments.

Cardinal Red, courtesy of Billogs@Flickr
Cardinal Red, via Billogs@Flickr

How about fountain pens and inky fingers? Ball-point pens were anathema at my school; and I remember having to regularly re-fill my pen, using the lever on it’s side, from the Royal Blue Ink bottle on the windowsill of the classroom. Little scratching of the fountain pens heard these days; mainly replaced by the tap-tap sound of fingers on laptop keyboards instead.

Music reproduction has changed enormously. In 1960s rural India, we didn’t have a radio; but we did have a gramophone with some records. Even the old brittle 78rpm shellac ones. (I remember my sister standing on a favorite record, and breaking it; or hearing stories of people –philistines– heating old records to recycle them in to flower pots.) All a long way from the iPod, and higher quality music available for instant download in greater quantities than ever before in history. I suspect Bach and Mozart would have been tempted to give their right ear to have access to the huge catalogue of music we largely ignore.

Items heading towards the local museum:

  • Dress-making patterns
  • Telegrams, and telephone boxes
  • Hand-cranked meat-mincers
  • Shoe polish
  • Update: additions from the ‘Comments‘…

  • twin-tubs
  • ironing underwear (!)
  • old fashioned slideshows with family snaps
  • napkin/serviette rings
  • sugar tongs & sugar cubes
  • paper doilies
  • This is not all about nostalgia not being what it used to be, though. I may need to consider another post on things that grandparents have start to pick up from their grandchildren – surprisingly, to show it’s not all one-way…

    And then there is the list of things we don’t yet have, but really could do with – but I think Dave Gorman already has that one covered.

    In the mean-time, do add (in reply comments) to the what ever happened too… list

    London, in Synod week

    This week I have spent most of my time in that other ‘London Eye’, the circular debating chamber of Church House, Westminster.

    Church House Westminster - London 'Eye'
    Church House Westminster - London's other 'Eye'

    I, and others, have commented and commented elsewhere especially on the General Synod Blog, so do look there for some of what Synod has been up to.

    I take being an elected member of the Church of England’s General Synod quite seriously, for though I am not a delegate, expected to carry others views, I do try to sit in as many of the debates and fringe meetings as I possibly can.

    However, being in London has given me a rare opportunity to walk along the banks of the Thames on a couple of occasions, and last night get a cheap mid-week ticket to a theatre production after Synod business had finished.

    I sat with a married clergy colleague, slightly uncomfortably, but also with huge fun, at Alan Ayckbourn’s revival of his 1985 ‘Woman in Mind’.

    Woman in Mind
    Woman in Mind - Alan Ayckbourn - Vaudeville Theatre

    Ayckbourn was interviewed by the Telegraph in the run-up to the West End opening of the production, with the marvellous Janie Dee in the lead rôle.

    The piece is set in a vicarage garden, and is based on the life of wife of the vicar. She has immaculate garden, an exemplary family, a beautiful life. Except, as it transpires, much of the perfection is in her mind – the reality leaves much to be desired. Ayckbourn does not really explore the causes for ‘Susan’s’ mental illness, but looks at it’s outworking.

    I sent a text to my wife saying I was at a play about a vicar’s wife slowly going mad – she responded with a text saying she could introduce me to many clergy wives for research, and that most clergy wives were slowly going mad. She added she was not joking; which though I already knew, I needed to be reminded of; especially in the week this clergy couple celebrated a silver jubilee of years since our engagement.

    Ayckbourn’s play is perplexing, and I think probably a commentary on many professional people of our time, not just vicar’s wives. But the play is not without humour, or indeed hope. Note to self, may need to pick up dreamy immaculate white suit on the way home…

    One further suggestion from a couple of colleagues was to try and get to the Byzantium Exhibition at the Royal Academy before heading home. More signs of hope.

    Byzantium Exhibition
    Byzantium Exhibition

    Family

    Hannah, Kay, Laura, Alastair
    Hannah, Kay, Laura, Alastair - July 2008



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    About


    :: Alastair Cutting ::
    husband of one; father to two; son of medics; CofE priest for many,
    English-born, of Scottish heritage, Indian-raised, 3CK,
    with a passion for God, Macs, the arts, and Aotearoa/NZ;
    working in the UK for the Church of England in South East London as
    Archdeacon of Lewisham & Greenwich, in the Diocese of Southwark.

    Alastair’s MA (including NZ) papers are here, and CV is here.

    Alastair, Kay, Laura & Hannah in Queenstown, NZ; August 2009
    Alastair, Kay, Laura & Hannah in Queenstown, NZ; August 2009

    Hannah, Kay, Laura, Alastair
    Hannah, Kay, Laura, Alastair 1998

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