Update for Forest Row for Sunday, 12th May, 2024

Victory over the world

One of the greatest artistic creations known to humanity is the winged Nike – the Victory of Samothrace.

Although scholars cannot date the statue, it seems likely that it was erected as a thanks-offering after a great victory. This makes its form and its effect on us all the more remarkable. No gory, blood-spattered hero, Niké, the goddess of victory, was placed on the prow of a sculptured ship. The conventional interpretation of her stance is that she is braced, facing the wind, ready to sweep over the battle field, rewarding heroes with glory.

The final words of our gospel reading this week echo the spirit of the Niké.

ἐγὼ νενίκηκα τὸν κόσμον – ego nenikesa ton kosmon. Literally, ‘I have conquered the world’. Most translations soften this slightly, to ‘I have overcome the world’. Following Friedrich Rittelmeyer, we could echo the emphasis on ‘ego’, and say, ‘In my I the world is overcome’.

Why would Christ need to overcome the world? In the Gospel of St John, ‘the world’ can be the place that fails to acknowledge Christ and hates the disciples, because they know him (John 1:10; John 15:19). Ultimately, though, the world will be saved:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have the life that endures through all cycles of time. (John 3:16)

The winged Niké seems to have attained complete freedom to act in the world according to her own inner promptings. Our Ascension prayers express the fact that Christ has become free: his sphere of influence weaves together heaven and earth, these realms that can seem opposed, in perfect harmony. We can only engage constructively with something when we are free of it. But Christ’s freedom has a purpose: that the world be redeemed by his love.

Perhaps this can be helpful for us as we strive to find our bearings in a world world full of troubles. When we find our own inner freedom, we can be useful for the world – we can love it.

On Ascension Day, Thursday, 9th May, the Act of Consecration of Man will be held at 10am. There will be a presentation at 11am on The Clouds in the New Testament, followed by a walk to Tablehurst Farm with cloud observation.

There will be a House and Garden morning on Saturday 11th May 10am-noon.

There will be a presentation with conversation on The Promise of Peace on Ascension Sunday, 12th May.

Nataliia will be in Canterbury 11th-12th May.

Tom will be in London for national meetings of The Christian Community on 15th May, and in Ringwood 17th-18th May.

The Bible Study sessions on Thursday mornings will continue on 16th and 23rd May. We will turn to the Book of Proverbs.

We would be grateful for any offers of accommodation for the weekend retreat on the Spiritual Hierarchies, which will be held from 21st-23rd June. Please let Tom know if you would be able to help with this.

We have had a generous offer to help with the purchase of a new bench for the memorial garden. The old, wooden one disintegrated last year. It is possible to purchase a new one made from recycled plastic, which would be more durable and environmentally sound. Please let us know if you would like to make a donation towards this.

We are looking for new bedding for our guest bed. If anyone has a good quality single mattress that they no longer need, as well as a single duvet, please let Nataliia know.

Tom Ravetz and Nataliia Shatna

More information is available in the leaflet below.


Support The Christian Community

To make a one off donation or to set up a monthly standing order, please use the account details below

Account Name: The Christian Community in Forest Row
Sort Code 30-92-92
Account Number: 00012363
Lloyds TSB, 1/3 London Road, East Grinstead
West Sussex RH19 1AH

If you are a UK Taxpayer, we can claim tax back on your donation if you fill in a gift aid form. You will find one here, which you can download and return to us (signed and scanned is fine)

You can also donate using PayPal, using a credit or debit card.

Find us

School Lane / Hartfield Road
Forest Row
East Sussex
RH18 5DZ

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Priests of the community: Tom Ravetz and Nataliia Shatna. Contact us on the church email or using the form below.

Gospel readings for 2023-24

Current programme


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