Christmas Newsletter 2023


It seems we have been in our ‘new’ Café for ever but it’s only three years since we left our home of some forty years in Crown Court. Have you visited us – if not please drop in and enjoy a coffee and a piece of cake!

The smooth running of the cafe very much depends on our hard-working staff and loyal volunteers. We have been blessed with many new and lovely volunteers of all ages and many ’Duke of Edinburgh’ students during the summer and helping with the busy Saturday trade.

So many people help the Cellar to flourish, we are most grateful to our volunteers who work both in the cafe and support us in other ways such as baking lovely homemade cakes and befriending our regular customers. A special mention must go to Colin who has worked five days a week over many years and is loved by us all.

Our most important role is still befriending, listening, and praying with those who are struggling with life, loneliness, mental illness, and budgeting. We strive to build trusting relationships with our customers and help and encourage them day by day. We have our food bank table where people can come and take things without judgement or answering questions and welcome donations for that. We also value donations of homemade cakes.

A huge ‘Thank You’ to everyone who supports us and has encouraged us through these difficult times – if you would like to donate some Christmas Gifts to go into our parcels would you be kind enough to let us have them by 15th December.

Thank you so much!
Debbie Portsmouth and The Cellar Team

We have your details on our secure data base as you have received communications from us in the past. This newsletter has been put together to keep you in touch with The Cellar. If you do not receive the newsletter by email and would like to, please contact our email address (below) to save printing and postage costs. Also get in touch if you know someone who would like to receive it, or if you wish to unsubscribe.

Debbie reflects on our social outreach and Christmas dates

In August we enjoyed a wonderful day out by coach to Bognor, the sun shone all day, and we enjoyed the beach, some delicious food and great company with our friends, we were able to take a coach of 50 people from 4 years to 94 years.

On Saturday 25th November we are arranging a day out to Winchester for some festive fun and a spot of Christmas shopping at the Christmas market.

On Monday 18th December we will once again be hosting a full Christmas meal for around 30 customers many of whom live alone, this was a huge success last year.

On Tuesday 19th December we will be holding a Christmas party with entertainment and buffet lunch, and we will be distributing Christmas hampers, everyone is very welcome to pop in, do come and meet the lovely people who are supported by the cellar throughout the year.

Other things…

Chris and Maggie have been called to pastures new on the Isle of Wight and left us in May. They are following a pathway of Christian Healing Ministry with others focussed on Carisbrooke Priory where they have historic links. Chris also feels a strong call to instigate a global peace mission on which he is already engaged. He will have the time and space to attend more fully to this calling. He will continue as a trustee and be popping back from time to time but always prayerfully supporting the work of Cellar and Skillway as a ‘flying buttress’!

We welcomed Mark Williams in the summer to become our new Chairman and enjoyed a social get- together in the Cellar with our trustees and staff and volunteers from both arms of the trust.

About this time last year, through the good offices of our friend and former trustee John Vallat, we formed a partnership with the charity ‘The Association for Pastoral Care in Mental Health’ or ‘Being Alongside’ as it is better known. This initiative and partnership have added another layer to the service that the Cellar provides.

We offer tea, cakes and most importantly… company and a chat to those referred to us via the medical centres and their care-coordinators. This is now becoming a regular ‘fixture’ and happens on the first Thursday afternoon of each month – if you are interested to see what is happening here, please put the date in your diaries and come and join us.

Christmas thoughts from Ali

Do you have a favourite Christmas Carol? I do, and I understand I am not alone in choosing it, yet in this carol there is no mention of a stable, a baby, no Holy family and, only vaguely, even God. These words came to me earlier this year when I was considering a friend’s condition.

*‘And ye, beneath life’s crushing load, Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow:’

but I did not remember where it was from until I looked it up. When I continued to read the second half of the verse, I was overwhelmed, it was as if God was saying, ‘This is how you see things, but look! This is how I see it; this is the reality!’ It continues …

*‘look now! For glad and golden hours Come swiftly on the wing;
O rest beside the weary road,
And hear the angels sing.’

And this verse, though always relevant, holds a new resonance this year:

*‘Yet with the woes of sin and strife The world has suffered long; Beneath the angel-strain have rolled Two thousand years of wrong;

And man at war with man hears not The love song which they bring:
O hush the noise you men of strife, And hear the angels sing!’

The importance of Gift-Aid to a donation from our Treasurer Brian

In the years gone, many Friends of the Cellar support us in many different ways; some in prayer, some volunteering in the cafe; and some regularly visit us for a cup of tea, coffee or just to chat; to mention a few examples. Some of you have donated to help us financially. (Don’t forget the Cellar is actually a charity.) Some donate regularly and some occasionally. All are good and a huge thank you goes to all of you! Looking down the list of donors I become aware that quite a few of you have never asked for your donation to be gift aided. I am writing to you now to ask you to consider signing up for gift-aid.

Gift Aid is a UK Government sponsored scheme through which our government will increase your donation to the Cellar by a quarter without any questions asked. Almost every taxpayer can participate in this scheme. The good thing about it is that you don’t need to do anything except complete the declaration form attached and returning it to us. We can then proceed with claiming gift-aid against the total sum you have donated when we do our gift-aid reclaim process once a year.

Just an example, if you donate £10 under the gift-aid scheme, i.e., you have already given us your declaration form, we will receive £2.50 from the Government. So, your £10 donation becomes £12.50. Just that simple.

Please give it a serious consideration. If you are a taxpayer at this moment, your donation to us can be 25% more.

New Home and New Chapter for the Cellar café

We are overjoyed to have a beautiful new home at the heart of Godalming. After much prayer and exploration of alternative locations the Lord has provided us with a glorious warm, spacious and colourful place within which to continue to serve Him.

You will note our modified name and mission statement which reflects the pilgrimage that everyone is journeying along and on which we continue to serve both the local community and the local churches with joy and commitment. Waverley Borough Council have generously provided us with the location and the lease and helped us at every stage of the process. We are enormously grateful and it is a privilege to serve together and to support one another.

We opened our doors on 26th October and Councillor Penny Rivers officiated at the opening ceremony the following day cutting the ribbon with obstetric scissors symbolizing new birth and new hope!

Our aim is to continue to serve those within our local community who are struggling with special needs or circumstantial difficulties including mental problems and poverty. We are aware that this could be a ‘winter of discontent’ and want to be able to provide warmth and friendship and assistance with food parcels or free food as necessary. We would also like to welcome anyone along their ‘pilgrimage’ in whatever state of repair or disrepair to provide rest and refreshment along the way. In these difficult times we are acutely aware of the importance of friendship and welcome. Our Lord Jesus provided us with such an example of this generosity of Spirit and we strive to follow Him in this pathway.

Our ‘regulars’ have found their way to the new café and we have been able to keep in close touch through the summer through meeting at the band stand for picnics and then in a local café when the weather changed. Debbie and Emma have been wonderful in keeping in touch and being Mother Geese to their special flock!

The journey to our home has been drenched in prayer and waiting on the Lord and He has given us a vision for the way ahead with the importance of providing a ‘table’ to continue to wait on and serve those on the journey. He has also guided us into an expanded ministry including street ministry with pray and praise; setting up an expanded Cellar Prayer and Praise Band ; offering our services to the local churches who may be struggling for whatever reason to give support and practical help in the form of leading worship and providing the sermon; providing an early response listening service for troubled young people in collaboration with Trinity Trust Team, Dan Eley Foundation and the newly formed 14-18 group in Busbridge; lastly exploring outreach to the non-churched through camino groups within which, as per the El Camino pilgrim route in Northern Spain, folk are able to share stories and enjoy fellowship. The first such group prior to the second lockdown was most agreeable and spirit-filled.

We are conscious that when the world has had to run for cover the Lord’s Kingdom is unstoppable and the sound of praise from grateful hearts cannot be muzzled. We believe that the Lord has given us a new wineskin within which He is pouring new wine and we rejoice in all that is to come.

Do come and see us and continue to support this wonderful service for the local community and beyond. Our love and blessings to you all,

Dr Chris J