Come to the Christmas Fayre!

Crafters and others will be selling their wares at a Christmas Fayre which will take place on 13th December from 2-5pm at St George’s Church, Badshot Lea

The congregation at St George’s have decided to bring a bit of Christmas Spirit to Badshot Lea this year and hold a Christmas Fayre.
It will be great fun, crafters selling their wares, yummy cakes to buy or to eat, a tombola, book stall and lots of other fun to be had.

Parish Priest The Revd. Lesley Crawley said:
“People remember with great fondness the annual parish fete in Badshot Lea which was held in the old vicarage gardens. When the new vicarage was built, there wasn’t room for the fete in the little garden and sadly the event fizzled out. We wanted to start a new community event in the village and decided that a Christmas Fayre inside the church sounded like fun.”

Christmas Gets Messy!

The message of Christmas is everlasting – but the ways it is celebrated can change and at St Mark’s Church, Upper Hale, things look set to get messy this December.

With its elements of food, crafts and stories ‘Messy Church’ was established a decade ago to help make church more fun and accessible for families who might not ordinarily go to church – and the monthly Messy Church services at St Mark’s set up in the spring are already proving popular.

Alongside the traditional services in the Parish including the Carol Services, the Crib Services and the Midnight Mass services, this year for the first time there will be a Messy Christmas on Thursday 11 December at 3:30pm at St Mark’s Church.

And to make sure local residents don’t miss out on the opportunity to attend a service of their choice the parish will be delivering its own Christmas card to all of the 5,600 homes in the parish listing all the services.

Messy Church team leader Alison Stickland said: “Without giving too much away there will be lots of cotton wool, glitter, sticking and colouring with some seasonal cake and biscuit decorating! As well as food for thought we promise a seasonal tea, with sandwiches and jelly for little ones and adults alike. Christmas is a time to bring people together, everyone is welcome, we would love to see new faces – do come and join in the celebrations.”

Parish Priest the Revd Lesley Crawley said: “We are delighted that Messy Church has become so popular, with 40-50 people now coming along each month, aged 0 to 70. We have an amazing team of volunteers who have caught the spirit of Messy Church and indeed many of them will be out and about posting the Christmas cards in the coming weeks. Do say hello and ask them about any of our services!”

St Mark’s Church is in Alma Lane, GU9 0LT.

He Went Away Sad

Mark 10 22 When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.

“Everywhere people have actually built their lives on the unquestioned belief that without certain things – money, power, success, approval, a good reputation, love, friendship, spirituality, God – they cannot be happy.”  You then develop an attachment to the thing and become happy when you have it and sad if you are in danger of losing it.

If you possess something but you can’t give it away, then you don’t possess it… it possesses you. – Frank Sinatra

This set me pondering about love, and marriage.  There is a paradox here, which I recognise in my own marriage – without Lesley I would be less happy, but clinging tight and not letting her have a free choice reduces my happiness too.  Instead of being about controlling the other to ensure that they are there all the time, you have to accept their freedom.  However, with it comes the gift of their presence – which increases our joy.

The Community Orchard is Planted!

The Extra Mile

Matthew 5.40-1 and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile.

We are programmed by society, our parents, our culture, our past experiences, our religion to want certain things. If we don’t get them we are unhappy… our programming tells us to be anxious, tense or worried. We expend energy coping with these emotions and even more energy rearranging the world so that the negative emotions aren’t triggered. Our existence is pathetic – we are at the mercy of so much we can’t control.

The way out is to be in the situation that causes us pain or difficulty and to observe ourselves, recognising that what is actually causing the pain is not the situation but the programming. Stay in the situation until there is a choice – we choose to act in a certain way, we don’t have to react

We see how powerful it is then to have the freedom to give to the person who demands our coat our cloak also, or to walk the extra mile. Only when we have freed ourselves from our inner programming can we come to a place of peace and love that permits us to do such a thing.

It reminds me of that Buddhist story of the Zen master:

During the civil wars in feudal Japan, an invading army would quickly sweep into a town and take control. In one particular village, everyone fled just before the army arrived – everyone except the Zen master.

Curious about this old fellow, the general went to the temple to see for himself what kind of man this master was. When he wasn’t treated with the deference and submissiveness to which he was accustomed, the general burst into anger.
“You fool,” he shouted as he reached for his sword, “don’t you realize you are standing before a man who could run you through without blinking an eye!”

But despite the threat, the master seemed unmoved.
“And do you realize,” the master replied calmly, “that you are standing before a man who can be run through without blinking an eye?”

(from here).

 

Discipleship

Luke 14:26 ‘Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple.

Happiness cannot be found by seeking it – unhappiness is caused by our false beliefs about what makes us happy, and these are so ingrained by society that we are not even aware that we have them – like a dreamer in a dream.  Once we realise that attempting to please others will never bring us happiness we can start to understand this.

Not trying to please others  is difficult.  I write this as someone who got a career because that is what you are expected to do after university.  It was all very pleasant, passed the time nicely, paid the mortgage, but wasn’t what I was called to do.  As I changed my life, discovered my vocation, left the career, stopped worrying about what the world might think (at least sometimes) I found a deeper happiness.  But – it was a scary process!

I was asked over 30 years ago if I might have a vocation to the priesthood, but at that time I was too scared to give up the nascent career that I had, too worried about what “they” might say.  Two questions which Lesley helpfully (really) asks me from time to time are:

  • Who are they – name them?
  • What is the worst that could happen?

They do help 🙂