I’ll name that Hymn in One!

As many will know, Barry Hall has moved with his family to Bournemouth and Frances Whewell has agreed to be the new Parish Organist, playing at all three churches at various times in the month.

Frances will also be choosing the music, and together with her we are developing a “Repertoire” for each service.  That is a number of hymns which the congregation knows and loves, and which we will be able to sing about three times a year on average.  This restricts the number of hymns that we can sing, but means that when we sing them we will be more confident, and newcomers have some chance of getting to know the hymns and songs.

In drawing up such a list we are almost certain to get it wrong, and although we have been discussing this with the Worship Groups for each church, we would also like to offer everybody the opportunity to look at the list and offer their views – there is no guarantee that this will change the list in cases of personal favourites, but where it highlights an obvious mistake it allows us to correct it.

The lists are available on the web here.  Please do let me know

  1. what we have forgotten
  2. what we have included that no one knows (or likes!)

Weight of numbers will probably count for something in determining which changes get made.

Alan Crawley

Photo thanks to Georgie Fry

“It has always been done this way”

One of the difficulties when reading the Bible is to determine which elements are culturally conditioned from the time of writing, and which are eternal truths.  This is not an easy task.

However, the same is true of many of the things that we take for granted in our churches today.  This is the start of an occasional series looking at some church history – particularly in the area of churches and worship.

This month I shall begin with church music.

Organs did not appear in general use in churches until about the 12th Century as music was associated with heathen cults.  Prior to this the music was not sung, but chanted and consisted primarily of the Psalms.

Hymns as we would recognise them started being written in the 17th and 18th centuries, with Charles Wesley a major contributor.  Carols only started being sung in church in the late 18th and early 19th centuries (having been sung outside church earlier in history).

In the 19th century the organ started to replace the Parish Band and hymns were introduced into the service – often with a robed choir.  Until then most Church of England Churches did not have music in the service; however they might have a Parish Band who would play at the end of the service.  This is because the Book of Common Prayer contains very few references to music, and where it most obviously does it referred to Cathedrals and College Chapels.

In 20th Century in some churches Parish bands started to reappear, often with electric guitars and drums, but also in a folk style.

So hymns as many would recognise them in the service have been a feature of worship for about 200 years, and modern worship songs have been around for about 50 – out of the 2,000 year life of the church.

Alan Crawley

Photo thanks to Georgie Fry

Farewell to Barry and Sandra

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On 17th May we said farewell to Sandra and Barry Hall at their last service with us before their move to Bournemouth to be with other members of their family.

Seven years ago, Sandra and Barry returned to live in this Parish, having both grown up in the area, and married in St George’s. Since becoming part of the congregation again, they have given of both their time and their talents unstintingly to the Parish, and Margaret Emberson acknowledged all that they had done in her speech to them. Sandra was thanked for all that she did as churchwarden, for the letters written, invoices and bills sorted, quinquenials and inspections arranged and dealt with, and meetings attended with clergy and other dignitaries in the parish and diocese. In addition, she accomplished a multitude of tasks, many unseen, which enabled our worship to run smoothly and kept our building in good order. (In fact, two weeks after her departure, one of the ‘new’ churchwardens was overheard to say that it was amazing how many little things Sandra did that people were unaware of.)

As if that were not enough, Margaret added, Sandra also gathered a team together to visit local schools as part of the Open the Book scheme. A group from this parish visits two local infant schools to read and enact Bible stories. Sandra arranged the rehearsals, sorted out the costumes, found props and liaised with the schools.

Turning to Barry, Margaret thanked him for playing the organ so beautifully every Sunday. (And in this he followed in the footsteps of his father, Charlie, a well-known and well-loved resident of the Parish, who had been a member of St George’s congregation and choir for over 75 years, and who was also the organist for many of those years.) Barry chose the hymns every week, practiced them, organised the choir, arranged concerts, played in the Parish Band and also for Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals.

Like Sandra, Barry also carried out a multitude of tasks to help with the smooth running of the church. He put things up in the loft, and got them down again when required, he raised the flag for the appropriate occasions, repaired or replaced countless items, and ensured the heating was on when the church or church room were being used.

As Margaret said, everything that Sandra and Barry did, they did with care, integrity, honesty, loyalty, endless energy, and always with words of encouragement.

In addition to the time they spent with their church involvement, Sandra and Barry still found time to pursue their own hobbies. Sandra, with her love of plants, enjoyed flower arranging, and also baked regularly for charity events. Barry was a member of the local tennis club, and maintained his interest in meteorology, which had also been his career occupation. He regularly contributed an item for this magazine, and indeed we have a ‘bonus’ contribution this month, since Sandra and Barry’s move did not take place quite as soon they had hoped.

Margaret Emberson, on behalf of us all, thanked Sandra and Barry profusely for all that they had done, and wished them well in their future in Bournemouth, saying that they would be in our thoughts and prayers as they begin their new life there. Flowers and a gift were given to them in as a mark of our appreciation.

Photos by Georgie Fry, Article by Margaret Dyer

Come Holy Spirit

The Pentecost service at St John’s on 23rd May was one of the most moving services I’ve been to in a long time. Several people commented about how it had affected them too, but I couldn’t persuade anyone to write about it!

For those who don’t know, Pentecost is the festival where we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit – God’s Spirit which enlivens each Christian. The Holy Spirit is reported in Acts to have come like a wind and also like tongues of fire which rested on each disciple’s head. In St John’s there was a place where we could make “Pentecost Crowns” to depict this (modelled beautifully by Florence in the picture). Incidentally, did you know that bishop’s mitres are shaped like that to look like flames of fire at Pentecost?

Moreover, the disciples were given the Spiritual Gift of speaking in tongues so that they could communicate the Gospel to people in their native tongue. This is because our first responsibility as disciples is to spread the Good News of God’s Love but we need the anointing of the Holy Spirit to be able to do this. For me personally, the most moving part of the service was being given the privilege of anointing everyone who wanted it. We anoint people with Holy Oil at Pentecost to ask for the Holy Spirit to be present in their lives. I know some people sensed the Holy Spirit very strongly as we sang the song “Be Still for the Presence of the Lord, the Holy One is here.”

In our prayers, we thanked God for the Holy Spirit who equips and guides us. Finally, we each had a candle and we took the light from the Easter Candle and passed it from one to another until all our candles were lit. This represented the light of Christ being in each one of us. The liturgy then becomes very challenging – reminding us of our responsibilities on earth, it says:

As part of God’s Church here in the Parish of Badshot Lea and Hale, I call upon you to live out what you proclaim.

Empowered by the Holy Spirit, will you dare to walk into God’s future, trusting him to be your guide?

By the Spirit’s power, we will.

Will you dare to embrace each other and grow together in love?

We will.

Will you dare to share your riches in common and minister to each other in need?

We will.

Will you dare to pray for each other until your hearts beat with the longings of God?

We will.

Will you dare to carry the light of Christ into the world’s dark places?

We will.

We then extinguished the Easter Candle in silence and we all processed out of the church singing “The Spirit moves to set us free – walk, walk in the light” This represented us taking the light of Christ out into the world. The blessing was outside in the beautiful churchyard in the sunshine.

I’d like to take the opportunity to thank all those who are on the Worship Groups who plan our services – there is one group for each of the three churches. It has been so good to plan services together and to grow in love and understanding of each other as we have worked together. The services are still developing so please give us your feedback!

Meet one of the new churchwardens

My name is Carol Le Page and I am one of the churchwardens at St. George’s Church, Badshot Lea. I am married and I have two children, two grandsons and one granddaughter. My eldest grandson is just finishing his first year in sixth form at Portsmouth Grammar School whilst the other grandson is at Heath End School and his sister, who is currently at William Cobbett Junior School, will be joining him there in September.

I have lived in Farnham for 29 years but my husband, to whom I have been married for 25 years, is Farnham born and bred. I am a retired Local Government Officer having worked for East Hampshire District Council for 24 years. If you are any good at maths you will have worked out that this is my second marriage as, unfortunately, my first marriage ended in divorce after 20 years.

As a young teenager I was very involved with the church in my, then, hometown of Crawley where I was a member of the church choir and also a Sunday School Teacher but for some reason, which I cannot recall, I drifted away from being an active Christian for a long time although I would still call myself a Christian if I was asked.
For some time I had felt that there was something missing in my life and as three years ago we were considering secondary schools for my grandson, with All Hallows being an option I started to attend services at St George’s. I was amazed at how welcoming the congregation were and what a wonderful atmosphere there was in the Church and soon forgot my original reason for attending and came along because I wanted to become a part of this group who came to worship every Sunday. Since then I have been a regular worshipper at St George’s and have become a “coffee Granny” at Little Bees and also a member of the Open the Book team, both of which activities I thoroughly enjoy.

A few weeks ago Lesley informed us that there was going to be a real problem if no one was prepared to step into the vacant Churchwarden positions at St. George’s. I felt drawn to look into this further and discovered that Maxine was also feeling the same so, after much thought and prayer, we made the decision to offer our services.

To be honest I am still very much feeling my way at the moment, there are so many things that come under the umbrella of being a Churchwarden, from making sure that the doors are open and locked as required to being responsible for both the fabric and the contents of the Church itself (albeit with the help of lots of other willing volunteers without whom the job would be just too daunting).

As a new Churchwarden I will be attending a course on Saturday, 6th June, to find out a bit more about exactly what the role entails so I think that perhaps it will be a good idea to write another “little piece” for the magazine in a few months time when, I hope, I will have more of an idea of exactly what I have taken on!
In the meantime I would just like to thank everyone for all the help that they are giving me when I am not sure about anything.

Thank you all and God Bless.

(Carol is featured in the photo above on the left. Photo credit – Georgie Fry)

Count your Carnival Blessings

This year, for the first time, there will be the opportunity to visit a Prayer Tent at Hale Carnival on the 4th July. The churches in North Farnham – Hale Methodists, Holy Family Catholics, Bethel Baptists, Weybourne Baptists and the Anglicans will be joining together to give carnival-goers this opportunity.

Those attending the Carnival will be able to visit various ‘prayer stations’ where they can leave a prayer request and find some quiet space and time to pray. Outside the tent will be prayer stations for children where they can also offer their hopes and dreams to God.

The Reverend Lesley Crawley said, “I am really excited about the prayer tent – so many people find prayer much easier when they visit prayer stations and do something symbolic such as dropping pebbles in water to let go of burdens or writing prayers for people and putting them on prayer trees. I hope that those who come along to the prayer tent find it a beautiful and peaceful space.”

If you would like to help man the prayer tent or put together the prayer stations then please contact Lesley on 01252 820537 or email revdlesley@gmail.com