Cross Border Newsletter, February 2024


St John's Church, 31 avenue Carnot, Menton,

(see location page)

Services on Sunday mornings, 10h30. All are welcome.

Read about the upcoming Lenton Course, schedule change during the Fête du Citron and the

Kermesse Fête, plus so much more!

Reflections from our Chaplain Chris .....


'Be Present'

Over the past month, these words have kept appearing in some way or other as I get on with my life. And in preparing this reflection, I noticed the idea of 'Being present'' first emerging in my words for the Cross Border in January..... so it feels right to continue it here!


This year Easter comes early, placing Lent only two weeks after Epiphany. Life is moving on quickly - too quickly! I know we all get that feeling from time to time.
We have barely finished reflecting on the message of Christmas and Epiphany and now we are on to the next thing. So as I walked along the seafront, I felt this voice
(and the sea) say,

'Be present to the moment, even if the moment passes quickly!'
As we do indeed turn to Lent I see a key message of Lent is 'being present'. When I meditate on Jesus' 40 days in the wilderness, being tempted, just as he is about to
set out on his life ministry, I realise how 'present' he must have been to what was happening in that moment.


We might imagine that after being baptised, presented
to the world and showing signs of being a very special type of leader, Jesus would have been eager to get on with the job. But no! He was present to the moment,
and in that moment, he felt the brakes being put on – to spend 40 days in solitude.


Many approaches to achieving psychological well-being nowadays focus on this idea of 'being present'. Mindfulness is a well-known example. Recently, I came
across the Welcoming Prayer as a form of prayer to use when dealing with difficult or strong emotions, which I have been finding very helpful. In this practice you first spend time noticing where the emotion is affecting you in your body physically. You then move to trying just to accept those sensations, rather than to just get rid of them. Finally, (only when you have properly spent time with these first two steps), you hold them before God and bring God into the conversation. So it's all about 'being present'.

God Bless. Chris

Fete du Citron/The Lemon Festival
St. John's Church will be closed on Sundays during the

Fete du Citron as the church

is on the route where the Parade takes place.

The three weekly Eucharist Services will therefore take place in Church on the Saturdays

17 and 24 February and 2 March at 17h00.

Refreshments afterwards as always.

Eucharist Service at the

Bordighera English Cemetery Chapel.

Instead of the second Wednesday in the month the Eucharist will be celebrated on Tuesday 20 February
at 10h30 by The Rev'd. Chris Parkman.

Coins for Funds

Do you remember 'Barbara's Bottle'

which used to be at the back of the church to collect any current euro or sterling coins which were no
longer needed by people returning to their home countries or which were weighing too heavily in their purses? Well, Beatrice has now taken on the collecting of such coins in aid of our Church funds, so please give the coins you no longer want to Beatrice or The Rev'd Chris. Thank you.

2024 is a LEAP YEAR !

What is a leap year?

A leap year means there's an extra day in the calendar. It takes approximately 365.25 days for Earth to orbit the Sun – a solar year. We usually round the days in a calendar year to 365. To make up for the missing partial day, we add one day to our calendar approximately every four years. That is a leap year, according to NASA.


It's still not perfect but the resulting deviation is
very small. What is a leap day? During a leap year, the month of February has an extra day added to it. So this year there will be 29 days in February, rather than 28. That 29th day is also referred to as a “leap day”.


How can you calculate a leap year? There is a set of rules for determining whether a year is a leap year. According to the Farmer's Almanac those are:
1. a year may be a leap year if it is evenly divisible by 4.
2. Years divisible by 100 (century years such as 1900 or 2000) cannot be leap years unless they are also divisible by 400. (For this reason, the years 1700, 1800, and 1900 were not leap years, but the years 1600 and 2000 were.)
What if you are born during a leap year? According to the Almanac, people born on a leap day during a leap year are known as “leaplings”.
Another unusual fact is when February has five Sundays. For this shortest of months to achieve this it must be both a Leap Year and 1 February must be on Sunday. This has only occurred five times in the last hundred years - 1920, 1948, 1976, 2004, and this year.


The next time it will happen will be in the year 2032.
Your Editor hopes to be around to witness the next five-Sunday February, but she will be 93 years old by then, so she may not still be editing the Cross Border.

Your editor, Elizabeth Cordone

Male parishioner of St. John's based in UK, aged 69, seeks a furnished room to rent, preferably in Menton, for about a month each year at a mutually convenient time.
Please contact Chris: Telephone +44 (0) 780 380 6887


God in Music

'Glorious the song when God's the theme': the Nunc Dimittis
This month we look at the New Testament where St. Paul exhorts the Christian community to sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to God. St. Luke tells us in his Gospel that the angels sang praises to God at the birth of Jesus, and he has given us three poems that have become part of Christian song: the Magnificat, the
Benedictus and the Nunc Dimittis.
The first two are full of praise and rejoicing. The last comes as Mary and Joseph fulfil the Law of Moses and bring the child Jesus to Jerusalem. In the termple they meet Simeon and Anna. Simeon represents each of us who can look back over life with gratitude in the face of death as he says, 'Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace.'

It is a story that has inspired preachers (Origen preached four
sermons on it) and artists, and also composers.
In the Christian Church these words of the Nunc Dimittis have become part of worship at the end of each day, not just the end of life. Cathedrals and parish church choirs have sung settings of these words in that great tradition of Anglican choral music at Evensong – settings that have captured the sense of quiet resignation, but also conveyed the glory of the light that is Jesus shining for all people. The setting I commend to you this month is Rachmaninov. It is part of his Vespers, the night-long vigil sung in the Russian Orthodox Church of the eve of
great feasts.
Rachmaninov composed the work (and it comprises 15 pieces) at great speed. After just two weeks he finished it in this month of February 1915. In England this work was only heard at All Saints Church, Margaret Street in London until recent years, when its place in choral music was reassessed. Performances and recordings soon followed and the Vespers are now seen as one of the great masterpieces of religious music.
This was no more so than in the beautiful setting of the 5th canticle, the Nunc Dimittis. Just 36 bars long, it begins with a rocking, undulating figure in the upper voices. A solo tenor enters as the voice of Simeon, and it ends with the basses slowly moving down to a low B flat: 'a sigh of wonder and resignation on the threshold of eternal rest and peace,' one critic has called it.

Rachmaninov later recalled, “After I played the passage at the end of the 5th canticle where the basses slowly descend to that low note, the conductor shook his head, saying 'Now where on earth will we find such basses? They are as rare as asparagus at Christmas!” Nevertheless he did find them. It was one of the composer's favourite pieces, and he asked for it to be sung at his funeral in the hope that it would send his 'ship of death gently towards the unknown region.'
On 2 February we shall hear these words as part of the Gospel on the feast of Candlemas. Simeon prays them because his cup is now overflowing. He has looked on the salvation of God. Music allows us to look on that glory and salvation also, and Rachmaninov, in his moving setting, has captured the calm trust of that moment, which shines out like the brightness of the light of Jesus.
( by The Revd. Michael Burgess looking at great works of music)

Life at St. James-the-Least
The Rectory,
St. James-the-Least


My dear Nephew Darren,
I confess to being rather disappoineted that little Miss Asquith retired from stoking the church boiler last month. She was ideally suited to the job; being only five
feet, two inches tall, she didn't have to stoop too much to get into the five foot high cellar.
That she had done the job for the past 50 years seemed another good reason for her continuing. But no, just because she turned 94 at the end of last month and was finding it difficult to negotiate the cellar steps on her two sticks, she decided to throw in the towel. And her rash decision placed us in a dilemma.
The boiler has been lit every Wednesday, so that the church becomes almost bearable by Sunday morning. It therefore means that it has had to be stoked three times a day for four days – not too onerous a duty I would have thought, especially as it gives an ample three days afterwards for recovery. Admittedlyy, the fact that a complete change of clothing is necessary after each visit is a slight handicap, but no one could be persuaded. Such is the level of Christian commitment these days.
And so we have become very modern and now have a gas boiler. No longer used, the cellar was instantly invaded and occupied by the flower arrangers and is now full of chipped vases no one can bring themselves to throw away and lengths of string and chicken wire that seem indespensable to their art.
There was an attempted second invasion by the Scouts looking for somewhere to store their tents, but they were repulsed by volleys of Oasis from the female occupying forces. They initially also took hostages, until the police convinced them it was not an entirely good idea. We now have a system with frost detectors, thermostats and so many options on the time clock that it renders the system incomprehensible. Apparently a simple on/off switch was an option the plumbers were unaware of. I also miss that deep rumble
beneath our feet during Matins, sounding like the Queen Mary coming into port, letting us know that the ancient boiler was attempting to get the water lukewarm.
Naturally there have been teething troubles; for several weeks, the church was admirably heated on Tuesday mornings and Friday afternoons when it was unused, but arctic on Sundays. On another occasion, the frost stat took over, but would then not let go, keeping the building heated for 14 days continuously. We shall probably need a loan from the International Monetary Fund to pay the bill.
And so twenty-first century technology is beginning to make a not altogether welcome appearance at St. James'. Miss Asquith has a lot to answer for.
Your loving uncle,

The English Library at St John's Church.


Upcoming events include: 


-An exhibition of Menton inspired paintings by Linda McCluskey. Please stop by the Library to see her work.


Children's English Lessons continue with Arabella on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons at 17h00. To join email Arabella at:

Madame Regine Dedonder, a qualified French teacher, has resumed her classes. Please email in advance if you wish to join. A minimum of 4 students is required. Cost: €5 per person per lesson.

The Library is always looking for reliable volunteers to help out on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornimngs. No qualifications required. Email:

May the warm winds of heaven blow softly on your home,
And the Great Spirit bless all who enter there.
May your moccasins make happy tracks in many snows
And may the rainbow always touch your shoulder.

The Revd. Chris Parkman.

The Bishop in Europe announced that the post of
Chaplain of St. John's Chaplaincy in Menton was offered to and accepted by The Revd. Chris Parkman.


He is a French resident, having worked in Nice at A Rocha (the Christian environmental conservation organisation) at their French community - Les Courmettes for many years.


Chris and his wife Sarah have moved to Menton.

Congratulations and thanks to all of the congregation and wider community that have made this possible.

An introduction to The Rev Chris Parkman.

Before ordination, Chris was a road engineer for 25 years, during which time he worked in various cultures around the world, and is now excited to build on this background, being part of an international community at St. John's.

With his wife Sarah, who will continue in her role working with the A Rocha International team, he hopes to maintain links and continue supporting the A Rocha team at Les Courmettes as a volunteer.

Truly, good news for our church of St. John's.

The good for which we are born into this world is
that we may learn to love.
George MacDonald, author and preacher
who inspired Mark Twain and C.S. Lewis
and who is buried in the English Cemetery, Bordighera

 Be persistent in prayer and keep alert as you pray, giving thanks to God. 

(Colossians 4:2)

 Diocesan Database - GDPR  DATA PRIVACY NOTICE
The Parochial Church Council (PCC) of St John's Church, Menton
1. Your personal data – what is it?
Personal data relates to a living individual who can be identified from that data.  Identification can be by the information alone or in conjunction with any other information in the data controller’s possession or likely to come into such possession. The processing of personal data is governed by the General Data Protection Regulation (the “GDPR”).
2. Who are we?
The PCC of St John's Church, Menton is the data controller (contact details below).  This means it decides how your personal data is processed and for what purposes.
3. How do we process your personal data?
The PCC of St. John's Church, Menton complies with its obligations under the “GDPR” by keeping personal data up to date; by storing and destroying it securely; by not collecting or retaining excessive amounts of data; by protecting personal data from loss, misuse, unauthorised access and disclosure and by ensuring that appropriate technical measures are in place to protect personal data.
We use your personal data for the following purposes: -
To enable us to provide a voluntary service for the benefit of the public in a particular geographical area as specified in our constitution;
To administer membership records;
To fundraise and promote the interests of the charity;
To manage our members and volunteers;
To maintain our own accounts and records (including the processing of gift aid applications);
To inform you of news, events, activities and services running at St John's Church, Menton;
To share your contact details with the Diocesan office so they can keep you informed about news in the diocese and events, activities and services that will be occurring in the diocese and in which you may be interested.
4. What is the legal basis for processing your personal data?
Explicit consent of the data subject so that we can keep you informed about news, events, activities and services and keep you informed about diocesan events.
Processing is necessary for carrying out legal obligations in relation to Gift Aid or under employment, social security or social protection law, or a collective agreement;
Processing is carried out by a not-for-profit body with a political, philosophical, religious or trade union aim provided: -the processing relates only to members or former members (or those who have regular contact with it in connection with those purposes); and
there is no disclosure to a third party without consent.
5. Sharing your personal data

Your personal data will be treated as strictly confidential and will only be shared with other members of the church in order to carry out a service to other church members or for purposes connected with the church. We do not share your data with third parties outside of the parish.
6. How long do we keep your personal data?

St. John's Church, Menton does not collect or keep your personal data
7. Your rights and your personal data 
Unless subject to an exemption under the GDPR, you have the following rights with respect to your personal data: -
The right to request a copy of your personal data which the PCC of St John's Church, Menton holds about you;
The right to request that the PCC of St John's Church, Menton corrects any personal data if it is found to be inaccurate or out of date; 
The right to request your personal data is erased where it is no longer necessary for the PCC of St John's Church, Menton to retain such data;
The right to withdraw your consent to the processing at any time
The right to request that the data controller provide the data subject with his/her personal data and where possible, to transmit that data directly to another data controller, (known as the right to data portability), (where applicable) [Only applies where the processing is based on consent or is necessary for the performance of a contract with the data subject and in either case the data controller processes the data by automated means].
The right, where there is a dispute in relation to the accuracy or processing of your personal data, to request a restriction is placed on further processing;
The right to object to the processing of personal data, (where applicable) [Only applies where processing is based on legitimate interests (or the performance of a task in the public interest/exercise of official authority); direct marketing and processing for the purposes of scientific/historical research and statistics]
The right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioners Office.
8. Further processing
If we wish to use your personal data for a new purpose, not covered by this Data Protection Notice, then we will provide you with a new notice explaining this new use prior to commencing the processing and setting out the relevant purposes and processing conditions. Where and whenever necessary, we will seek your prior consent to the new processing.
9. Contact Details
To exercise all relevant rights, queries or complaints please in the first instance contact the administrator,

The Church of England invites to Holy Communion all baptized persons who are communicant members of other Churches which subscribe to the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, and who are in good standing in their own church. Those who are prevented by conscience or the rules of their own Churches from receiving the Blessed Sacrament are invited to receive a blessing.

arrangements may be made by contacting the locum, or the churchwardens.
The Church of England invites to Holy Communion all baptized persons who are communicant members of other Churches which subscribe to the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, and who are in good standing in their own church.  Those who are prevented by conscience or the rules of their own Churches from receiving the Blessed Sacrament are invited to receive a blessing.