Cross Border Newsletter, September 2023


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

(see location page)

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

Henri Houwen

Harvest Eucharist Service
at the Parc du Pian, Menton

Bring and Share Picnic lunch to follow. The Rev'd Chris Parkman presiding.

All are Welcome - Do Come

The Parc du Pian is a beautiful historic monument since 1955. A former olive grove with 540 olive trees, some over a hundred years old, it occupies 3 hectares of land. Now a public garden, it is open all the year round.
Come and celebrate God's good gifts in the open-air. Bring a friend, bring a dish, and bring your voice to sing the harvest hymns.
We look forward to seeing you there!

Please send Suzanne an email if you plan to attend.

Click HERE to send an email.





Who authorised the Bible anyway?
Question: If it was the Church that finally decided which books should be included in the Bible, then isn't the Church the top authority?

Answer: No, the Bible produced the Church, not the Church the Bible. This is the real issue: what caused a book to be accepted within the 'Canon' of Scripture? (Greek: Kanon, 'standard' or 'rule').


As far as the Old Testament was concerned:
1. Books that were recognised by Jesus Christ as infallible 'Scripture' could not be broken (Matthew 5.18). In John 10.35 Jesus didn't have to explain what he meant by 'Scripture', though elsewhere he did refer to its
different categories (law, prophets, psalms) as pointing to himself (Luke 24.44; Matthew 24.37). All was to be believed and obeyed.
2. Books that were recognised by God's people because of their impact. God's people will always recognise his voice (John 10.27). Jesus clashed with the Pharisees for adding their traditions to the Scripture; yet all were
agreed that the Old Testament Scriptures were God's word.
3. Books that were recognised by the New Testament. It is significant that the New Testament features hundreds of Old Testament allusions. Only two are from the body of books known as the Apocrypha (Jude 9, 14) –
seemingly in similar style to Paul's quotations from a Greek poet (Acts 17.28). The Apocryphal books were perceived to be on a lower level.


Next, what determined inclusion in the New Testament Canon?
1. Books that are Christ-centred in their emphasis. It was inconceivable to the early Church that the Gospels, for example, which focused so much upon the life and death of Jesus, could have any lower place than that given to the Old Testament scriptures.
2. Books that are apostolic in their teaching. It was to the apostles exclusively that Jesus promised guidance into all truth through the Holy Spirit's inspiration (John 16.13). The result of this was the New Testament
(1 Corinthians 2.12,13). Significantly, Peter brackets Paul's writings with what he calls 'the other scriptures' (2 Peter 3. 15,16).

Two locums were welcomed to St. John's recently to celebrate the Sunday Eucharist; on 20th August The Revd. Tim May who is in his third year of Curacy in the parish of Monkwearmouth, Sunderland. He told us the parish is most famous for its 7th century Church, St. Peter's which will turn 1350 years next year and is most famous for being the home of the Veneral Bede. Tim
was accompanied by his wife Beth who is currently doing a maternity nurse course in Monaco.


On 10th September we welcomed The Revd. Andrew Walker who is the parish priest of St. Mary's Bourne in the diocese of London. He was travelling with his dog Sam on the way to a Sabbatical in Greece. He told us he is also a volunteer gardener at the Chelsea Physic Garden. It is the oldest botanical garden in London and celebrating 350 years since its foundation in 1673 by
the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries to grow medicinal plants.


So we have learned of two different celebrations with a thousand years between them. They bring to mind something Albert Schweitzer once said,


“Sometimes our light goes out
but is blown into flame by another human being.
Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light.”

Introducing JACQUELINE JAMES ….......
I am a newcomer to Menton and a new member of St. John's English
Church where I have received a very warm welcome. I had dreamt of living in Menton since I first visited eleven years ago---I immediately
felt at home. It was one of those nebulous wishes that only come true for other people, but this year, the dream has become a reality.

Last winter I spent three months in Menton, to complete my third book. My writing was, intermittently, interrupted by my husband, Stuart, and during one of those interludes, we found the perfect apartment for sale. An offer was accepted and the rest, as they say, is history.


For thirty years I was an NHS GP, in inner city Sheffield and then rural Cambridgeshire. I retired in 2016. I already disliked a system that put patients' needs low on the list of NHS priorities and, after four years caring for my parents and seeing the medical profession from the other side, I had become very disillusioned. I had been writing as a release from the pressures of life and buoyed up by positive feedback for some short stories, I decided to write a novel.


In 2021 Rude Awakening was published. I was ready to rest on my laurels. I had achieved my aim. My characters had other ideas. Lets Escape followed a year later and I have just published Journey's End, the third in the Barwell Trilogy.

The trilogy centres around Hilary, a fifty-five year old woman who has never left home and lives with her widowed mother. She is contented but unfulfilled. She is not consciously aware of the ties that bind her but when her mother dies suddenly, leaving her alone, life opens up possibilities that she had never imagined.

In the books, Hilary and her friends mirror facets of my own life experiences. Hilary's story is unique, as is my own. Readers may not have lived the same lives as Hilary, her friends or even myself but the feelings are universal.

The books are available to borrow from St. John's English Library,
Menton. Click HERE for her website

St. James-the-Least


My dear Nephew Darren,

Your withering comments, saying that our choir robes, were “surplice” to
requirements did not go down well at last week's practice. I will concede that Mr Baddeley's robes smell somewhat kippered and are laced with burns – but you can expect little less from 40 years of enjoying a final cigarette behind a gravestone
before the start of Mattins.

Certainly, Mr Timmins' surplice has that strange series of red and blue polka dots, but that is only because he uses his time in the choir stalls when not singing to catch up on marking his pupils' essays. And we are only too conscious of Miss Thripp's red gash down her front, making it look as if the choirmaster has just stabbed her for coming in one bar too soon – but trying to eat a jam doughnut just before that wedding five years ago was an unwise decision.

But you have no right to disparage choir uniforms. Your own music group's T-shirts, jeans and baseball caps are no different from our robes – even though, unlike ours,
they haven't seen their way through the death of Queen Victoria, the relief of Mafeking, and two world wars.
Our robes are steeped in history – which can have unintended consequences. There has always been keen rivalry between our two tenors. Some weeks ago one was
given an elaborate solo, much to the other's disgust. Come the Service, as Major Clough warbled his way through his party-piece, Admiral Flagg developed an
ostentatious cough. In an attempt to silence him, I found a cough sweet in my cassock and gave it to him. After the Service, he commented that it had a strange
taste; I pointed out that it was not surprising, as it was in the pocket when I was given the cassock 50 years ago from Canon Ball's widow after he died.

In an attempt to improve the look of the surplices, Mrs Wigg offered to starch them all. Unfortunately, her enthusiasm is only surpassed by her ineptitude. She worked on the principle that if one packet of starch was good, ten would be better. When the choir arrived the following Sunday, they found twenty surplices standing round the vestry floor looking like a circle of tents at Scout camp. I half suspected that they would sit on the floor in the centre round a fire and roast sausages.
Once the choir had struggled into them, they had to process up the aisle in single file, as they were all about 6 feet wide. The choir stood rigidly throughout the Service, knowing that any rapid movement risked severing a major artery.


But our style of choir dress has one advantage which yours can never equal. Within our choristers' voluminous robes, there is ample space for peppermints, packs of cards, the Sunday newspapers and balls of wool and knitting needles. Your music group must feel utterly bereft during the sermon.

Your loving uncle, Eustace

GOD in the ARTS
The Rev Michael Burgess writes of 'Christ Healing the Sick' by Rembrandt. It hangs in the British Museum, London.

Jesus the physician
We live in a world where pain and suffering are ever-present realities. Aware of this, we turn to Jesus to bring newness of life and healing. And in that movement of turning, we find ourselves plunged into the heart of a mystery. We know that Jesus in his ministy worked for physical healing and inner healing, but he did that as the one who could save others, yet not save himself.


T.S. Eliot, pondering this truth, used the image of Jesus as the wounded surgeon. As the wounded surgeon, Jesus was always aware of the need for healing and wholeness in the lives of people around. The first stage in that healing ministry was compassion. The heart of Jesus yearned for others to be made whole. Wherever he went, the Gospels tell us that Jesus showed that compassion.


The second stage was creating a relationship with the sick – not treating them as objects, but making contact and reaching out to touch and heal. In doing that Jesus was not afraid to make himself unclean for a large part of his ministry as he associated with the sick, the dying and the dead.


This healing ministry of Jesus is presented with great strength and tenderness in this etching of 'Christ healing the sick' of 1647. It is by the Dutch artist, Rembrandt, whose work reflected his fascination with the life and ministry of Jesus.


Here he illustrates that episode in Matthew 19 when Jesus went to the region of Judea. Large crowds followed him. Some like the Pharisees were there to test him. Others came to receive the touch of healing. The Pharisees on the left are asking a tricky question about divorce. Jesus meets them head on with his direct answer, but we sense that his concern is not with that verbal battle. It is the battle against all that disfigures and destroys humanity that he turns to. Innocent children are as much his concern as learned adults – the sick as much as the healthy.

We see a mother with her baby in her arms, an elderly man with a stick, a sick man on his pallet. The dog is looking away, but everyone else reaches out to Jesus. He shines out as the focus of their concern and their need for healing. There are some 35 individuals in the etching – each one depicted in his or her uniqueness and need. As they reach out, so they begin to share in the light of healing that leads them out of the darkness.

It is a powerful and moving portrayal of this vital work of our Lord. We are told Rembrandt himself was prepared to offer 100 guilders for an impression of this etching, which was a vast sum of money in its day. It meant a great deal to him as the presence of Jesus meant so much to that multitude. With them we can turn to the compassionate face of Jesus to know his healing touch in our own lives, and to realise the great gift of life he brings as the wounded surgeon.


Pain and suffering do take us into the heart of the mystery of life. With Rembrandt we can find light in the darkness of this mystery in Jesus:

'The wounded surgeon plies the steel
That questions the distempered part;
Beneath the bleeding hands we feel
The sharp compassion of the healer's art.'
(T.S. Eliot : East Coker)

Growing with Others

General Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, was once invited to give 'a very short word' at a public gathering, so he stood up and preached a one word sermon: 'Others...' That word, of course, sums up the whole ethos, direction and amazing impact of the ministry he led, but it also goes to the very heart of what it means to be Church. The New Testament writers, for instance, use the word 'saint' 62 times. In every case bar one they use the plural form 'saints', and even the singular use of the word says 'greet every saint'.

In other words, the concept of a solitary Christian was as foreign to New Testament writers as it has been ever since in the writings of Christian Leadeers. John Wesley once wrote, 'God knows nothing of solitary religion. No man ever went to heaven alone.' No wonder then that the whole story of the Church's growth is also very much the story of 'growing with others in order to serve others'.


Perhaps we all have a natural tendency to equate growth and success with the individual gifts of larger than life leaders, but the Booths and Wesleys of this world were only successful because they understood that in God's economy, growing with and through others is not just a good plan, but his only plan.


A story is told of the moment that Jesus returned to heaven and the angels asked him what was now planned to follow his amazing life, death and resurrection. Jesus replied that he'd left a small group of his disciples to spread the Gospel and grow his Church. When the angels asked 'what else?', he replied, 'There is nothing else', and the angels were stunned and amazed and awe-struck at the idea that a few weak and fallible human beings, living and working with each other, could actually give birth to a movement that in time would grow the Church and change the world.
Perhaps you have a dream of growing something significant in your own church, community or organisation, or even simply in your own life.


Whatever your vision for growth, be it personal or very public, make sure that a profound connection and commitment to 'others' and for 'others' is at the very heart of all your plans.
(Phil Potter, author of : The Challenge of Change, BRF, image Wiki)

The English Library at St John's Church.


Upcoming events include: 


Children's English Lessons continue with Arabella on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons at 5pm (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:

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.