St. Mary’s Church, Kentchurch, Crib Set
In the mid ‘80s a great wind blew from west to east across the south of England. There was massive wind damage to mature trees. At Kew Gardens many trees of different species were torn from the ground. Most were large and old specimens.
In the following spring Otto and Jean went to Kew where felled and fallen trees were being replaced. Whilst there we saw that excellent use was being made of the wood as beautiful figures from the Scriptures were being made. We saw Noah’s Arc and its animals and there were Crib Sets with Mary, Joseph and Jesus in the manger. There were shepherds and their sheep and three wise men with gifts as well as the Guardian Angel.
The money raised from these carvings was being used to pay for the re-planting.
At this time Philip Harrat, who was a curate to these parishes, and Jean were running an informal, young peoples’ extra service. Soon adults joined us and after the service there was time for coffee and juice, biscuits and a chat. We had decided not to have a collection, but to leave a collection plate. The money was designated for charitable usage, eg. the Baby Unit at the hospital.
After seeing the Crib Set, and knowing we had money in the bank, Philip and I put it to parents and children that we should buy a crib for the church as an heirloom. There was unanimous agreement.
At every Carol Service, each child and young person is handed a figure, (it was not long before Jean had bought extra animals such as cows, donkey, chickens and even a deer!). At the beginning of the service the figures and animals were taken to the altar and they were assembled to make up the Crib. Whilst this was taking place, it was usual to sing, ‘Away in a Manger’.
Written by Jean Marauschat (2016)