The Parish of St Michael and All Angels, Withyham

and All Saints, Blackham

East Sussex

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picture of Withyham church
St Michael and All Angels, Withyham

picture of Blackham church
All Saints, Blackham


Letter from the Rectory May 2018

Dear Friends,

On 20 April, the local community bid farewell to Frank Sellens in Withyham Church. We gave thanks for his truly astonishing record of 51 years as the organist choirmaster at the Church, as well as his much-publicised 79 years working on the Kent and Sussex Courier. It is hard to imagine anyone in the future matching that length of service.

Frank came to St. Michael’s Church as the organist because of his friendship with Rev. Peter Scott in 1961. What was unusual was the fact that he was almost entirely self-taught: he’d learnt by watching the organist at the Congregational Church in Tunbridge Wells.

Similarly, with his career as a reporter which began when he left school at the tender age of 14 in March 1939, Frank learnt the job as he went along.

The fact that he spent so long in those two places, suggests that Frank was completely contented. As he commented in later life about his time at the Courier, “I never wanted to work anywhere else.”

Contentment with our lot is a characteristic that eludes many today at a time when we enjoy an unprecedented variety of opportunities. St. Paul could say to the First Century Christians in Philippi in Modern Greece, “I have learnt to be content whatever the circumstances” – both in times of need, as well as in times of plenty.

Frank demonstrated both contentment and faithfulness in the two places in which he spent so much of his life.

For the Christian, faithfulness entails attempting to be obedient to God’s commands and to live as much like Jesus as we can. For to be a Christian is not primarily about trying to be a ‘good’ person, but rather about modelling our lives on Jesus’. For many, the principal goal in life is to be successful. It was Mother Theresa of Calcutta who once said, “We are not called to be successful, but we are called to be faithful.”

James Campbell