Time Capsules Placed Under New Floor at St Augustine’s Church

On Sunday 21st January, in a history-making moment, time capsules were placed under the new floor at St Augustine’s Church, Scaynes Hill. This came at the end of a special service led by the Rt Rev’d Ruth Bushyager, Bishop of Horsham. The Vicar, the Rev’d Beverley Miles, told the congregation that the wonderful space under the floor was just too tempting to leave completely empty. The intention had been to put a single time capsule under the new floor but the number of interesting items had increased and actually four containers were needed – two time capsules, a metal document box and a bottle tin.

Much thought had been given to suitable items to include which would paint a picture of the church and community at this particular time and many members of the church and the local community were involved in the process. Members of the congregation and friends at the church coffee shop were asked to write “postcards to the future” giving details of their everyday lives and experiences. Children from St Augustine’s CEP School contributed drawings of the school capturing one of the seasons and children from Great Walstead School wrote about “Life at Great Walstead in 2023”.  Scaynes Hill Sustainability Group produced a leaflet describing some of their projects and events.

Copies of the Parish Magazine for 2023 included in the time capsule provide a spotlight on the church and the village. The “Pew News” for 2023, service booklets and flyers of services and events give information about church activities throughout the year. A leaflet and postcards describe the “Jubilee Tapestry” and its making. St Augustine’s Eco Church status is reflected in information about the church’s “A Rocha Silver Award” and environmental initiatives. Also included are items that the church produced during the pandemic – the “Lockdown Cookbook”, the Lockdown Calendar and a DVD of the “Lockdown Readings” of St Mark’s Gospel. Items providing general information about our life and times complete the archive along with a bottle of communion wine in a special bottle tin.

The group placing the time capsules under the floor consisted of Bishop Ruth, the churchwardens, Kevin Deal and Sheila Argent, and Jenny Walker, the church archivist. The Bishop spoke first of the timeless nature of the church which is a wonderful and precious thing. Looking around the church at the stained glass, memorials and tapestry the Bishop spoke of those who had gone before in this place – generation upon generation of our forebears had witnessed here and this can be felt in the stone of the walls. The Diocese itself would be celebrating its 950th anniversary next year.  Now we were thinking about people we do not know who, in 100 years’ time, will open the capsules and be fascinated by what they find. The Bishop then placed the bottle of communion wine under the floor and this was followed by the two time capsules, the document box having been placed in the space earlier. In her prayers Bishop Ruth looked back, speaking of God’s love and grace through the ages and today. She prayed a “forward blessing” on those who will go before us in the decades to come. Finally, she prayed that the witness of the church in Scaynes Hill would be enduring and that it would be faithful to its calling to be the light of Christ in this place.