Developing our plans for Growing Spiritual Maturity

We would like to grow in Spiritual Maturity as a Parish and so the PCC formed a sub-group to consider how we might achieve this. We used the Diocesan review documents for Community and Personal Spiritual Maturity, which were really helpful tools to aid discussion.

There are four themes in the “Community” material:

Rooted Faith: how can we be a disciple unless we study scripture, understand how the Church came into being, know something about the Church of England (if we claim to be an Anglican) and engage in regular prayer and worship?

Working Faith: however we spend our days – in employment, unemployed, volunteering, job seeking, studying, retired, at home with children – and the list is endless – disciples need to be disciples all the time. Does our faith ‘work’ when we are at work? Do we see
our ‘secular’ lives as separate?

Responsible Faith: the environment, social justice, fairness, equality, stewardship, food production . . . how do we behave responsibly if we believe that God’s world is a gift?

Sharing Faith: being a disciple means witnessing to our faith whether that’s by telling stories, having a chat, engaging in direct evangelism, writing articles, being creative – and embodying Christ so that people see our faith and want to share in it.

For each of the four areas we spent time reviewing where we thought we were.

We also looked at the ‘Personal review’ and instead of each member of the group doing this individually, we considered  how we as a church might help people address these and brainstormed ways to move forwards in areas that were difficult.

For each topic we then picked out what we considered to be the best ideas.  Then at the end of the process we looked at all of the ideas again and determined which we wished to progress, and took these to the PCC for approval. They included:

Knitted Crib
We will have a knitted crib set for each church which people borrow for a day and tell the story wherever they take it – they add to a scrap book which accompanies it and then pass it on to the next person. This will help us take the story out into the rest of our lives.

Welcome Training
What does it mean to be welcoming and inclusive?

Carol Singing on Badshot Lea Green
This should be a fun event at Christmastime and also a way of telling the Christmas story.

Next Lent – Bible Study with Sermons before hand.
We will have a commentary as a Lent book and encourage people to read their Bible through Lent, and talk about it at the groups.

Course on Prayer in May 2016
We will set up a series of weekday evening meetings with visiting speakers to introduce different forms of prayer.

More House Groups – start in September 2016
House groups are a great way to grow in faith but people have so little time. We will do a survey – ask about frequency/format/which nights/whether it is best that they last a finite time. Perhaps 6 weeks then a break – say 4 times a year.

Magazine Series
We will interview people (not the usual suspects) to describe how they came to faith and who influenced them.

These ideas  were received enthusiastically at the PCC and various suggestions to improve them were made.

Now all we have to do over the next year or so is to implement them!

“It has always been done this way”

There has been a lot of talk recently about Weddings and how Weddings have always been…  Well, did you know:

1076 – Weddings had to be conducted by a priest but no witnesses were required, and it could take place anywhere.

1306 – Mediterranean male bonding church ceremonies including the joining of hands at the altar, and a kiss were banned because of sex between the men.

16th Century – Council of Trent required two witnesses to be present.

1754 – The Marriage Act made the registration of marriages compulsory, and required that they take place in the Parish Church.  This did not apply to Scotland where marriages could be witnessed by anyone and did not require a priest – hence the rise of Gretna Green.

1836 – Civil marriages, and those by other denominations, became legal.

1857 – Divorce allowed to common people.  Previously an act of parliament was required.  Clergy were required to remarry divorced people and could only refuse in cases of adultery.

1870 – A wife was allowed to keep any money she earnt or inherited.  Prior to this it was legally her husbands.

1907 – Deceased Wife’s Sister’s Marriage Act allowed men to marry their deceased wife’s sister (contrary to BCP table of Kindred and affinity).

1929 – Age of consent raised to 16 for both sexes, previously 14 for men and 12 for women (parental consent was required for marriages under 21, and more recently 18).

1937 – Clergy could not be compelled to preside at a marriage, or allow their church to be used for a marriage while a former spouse was alive.

1957 – Convocation of Canterbury (Church rule makers) said that Marriage Service should not be used for those with a previous spouse still living.

2002 – General Synod allows remarriage in Church.

2014 – Law allows same sex marriage in England & Wales – but does not force churches to conduct them.  Church of England refuses to do so.

The Bug Hotel

A hotel has sprung up in the grounds of St Marks Church! The four story building with Victorian roof tiles is now ready to receive guests. These guests will not be paying however because it is a bug hotel!!

Constructed by the Adventurers it has been made completely from recycled materials and it is hoped that the residents will be beneficial to the orchard and other plantings. Many different habitats have been include with bricks, hay, pipes and wood in the hope that a wide variety of different species will take up residence!

On Monday the Adventurers went looking for residents. There are a number of snails and some spiders living there at the moment. Please let us know if you find any interesting creatures!

Laughter, loppers and lots achieved!

Working party –  St George’s – July 11th.

Whenever there is a request to ‘come along’ to a working party, what’s your reaction?   Is it, ‘I’m too busy’, or ‘ That’s not intended for me’.    Actually, it is a fantastic way to get to know people – working alongside someone gives the opportunity to natter –  it builds fellowship – you begin to make friends.

The rose gardens at St. George’s were planted many years ago by Bob and Cecily Woodlands.   Sadly, over the last few years they have become overgrown and sad.   Many of the trees were also in need of pruning.    We are very grateful to Gillian and Kevin Hyman for keeping the bedding plants along the walls pretty, but we needed a working party to make the Church gardens feel loved again.    We took the opportunity to give the Church a bit of a spring clean too – the brass, particularly needed attention.

So, on a bright Saturday morning, we turned out to polish, prune, weed and deadwood.  After a couple of hours, things looked so much better and we had a real sense of achievement.  It didn’t take long.   We laughed and worked in fellowship.  We haven’t finished yet – certain work needs the permission of the Archdeacon and the car park area also need attention – so expect more invitations to join in the party.  Maybe, next time, you may be more inclined to come along.

Maxine Everitt

On Becoming a Churchwarden

If you had told me last year, that I would volunteer to be a Church Warden whilst still working full time, I would have laughed out loud. No way! I’ve spent many years on the PCC and have watched several Church Wardens work extremely hard. I could never fit the role into my busy life. So, why am I sitting here now, writing about the honour of being one of the Parish wardens?

Over the last year, we haven’t had a warden at St. George’s. Sandra Hall had been amazing over her time as warden and we all realised how many jobs she had taken on. The good news was that lots of people stepped up and took on jobs. We coped for a year. Luckily, we benefitted from having Bill, Mavis and Pat up in Hale. It was a bit of a shock to the system when I read Rev. Lesley’s comments on Facebook, that if we didn’t have anyone willing to be Churchwarden, we would have to join with another parish. ‘NO’, I felt like shouting. I have been around long enough to remember the difficult times around merging Hale and Badshot Lea. At long last, I think we all feel we are one. We are now getting somewhere as a Parish. There is so much going on, it is so exciting to be part of a Parish where the Spirit is moving – I couldn’t sit back and let it disintegrate. Even better, I wasn’t the only one feeling that way. So we now have a team of 3 Church Wardens and 2 Assistant Wardens – so 5 people, working as a team, sharing tasks. We can do this! (I can do this!) And guess what? I’m really enjoying it. I’m meeting new people and finding out what makes our Parish and the Diocese ‘tick’. It is a steep learning curve, but we have this amazing team of people.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’ve been at St. George’s since my children were small and the eldest is now 27. I help run Family Praise and Dragons. As mentioned, I still work full time as a Care Manager for Hampshire Adult Services. I have a husband, who is not a Church goer – so, as you can imagine, I can be stretched, but I’m looking forward to trying to find time to go to services at St. John’s and St. Mark’s and getting to know everyone a bit better. I’m much happier ‘doing’ and although I happily stand up in front of the church and tell everyone about God, I’m really quite shy and find small talk difficult, so I need you to talk to me.

I pray regularly for our Parish to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Our mission is so important. I want us to make everyone feel so welcome when they visit our churches that they want to come back. I want to make church a place where children choose to be. I want our Church Family to be supportive and loving and people to feel able to take on roles within our Parish. I want to see growth! So, not a lot really 🙂

Please pray for me and the Church Warden team – and be kind, we are all learning.

Maxine Everitt

(Maxine is the dragon in the photo)

Pictures of the Prayer Tent

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Here are pictures of our first prayer tent at the Carnival, set up by:

Holy Family Catholic Church

Bethel Baptist Church

Weybourne Baptist Church

Hale Mathodist Church and

St Mark’s, St John’s and St George’s Anglican churches.

There were four stations set up inside that included lighting a candle, planting a seed, writing on stones and a prayer wall.

A Baptism on the same day as Princess Charlotte

On Sunday 5th July, little Isla-Rose Pearl Roberts was baptised at St John’s Church in the Parish of Badshot Lea and Hale by the Reverend Lesley Crawley. Isla-Rose was there with her were mum and dad – Nikki and David – and her big sister Lauren as well as all the rest of her family and friends.

Lesley commented, “We love baptising children in the the three churches of the Parish of Badshot Lea and Hale. They are baptised during the normal Sunday Services so that the regular congregation can officially welcome the newest members of the church. We aim to be congregations who provide a spiritual family for all those who are baptised.”

Nikki said, “Isla-Rose Pearl’s baptism was so wonderful, the service was absolutely beautiful and I was filled with joy when she was welcomed into the church. It means a lot for my children to be baptised because although a busy work and home life restricts me from attending church as much as I would like, I often think of God and pray for all of my family and friends.”

If you would like to know more about baptism (also known as Christening) then contact Lesley on or 01252 820537.

Teenage Prayer Experiment

Available on Amazon or here: Online Blog

Although the style of this book is aimed at a teenage audience, most of the content is appropriate for anybody (perhaps with minor amendment) provided that you don’t mind the jazzy graphics and odd fonts aimed at the target audience.

It contains a number of “experiments” – different ways of praying – and encourages you to see what works for you and what doesn’t.  It also contains a feedback form for yourself, and feedback left by others.

If you are looking to find a way to pray that suits you, and don’t mind the layout (Amazon has look inside), then this is a book/website worth looking into.