The Farnham Crier to raise money to save ‘Emily’ the Pipe Organ

The Farnham Town Crier, Jonathan Jones, will narrate Dickens’s seasonal classic ‘A Christmas Carol’ at St Mark’s Church, Upper Hale on December 5th at 7.30pm. There will be no charge for the evening, but a retiring collection will be taken in aid of ‘Emily’ the pipe organ.

Jonathan Jones remarked, “It is a dramatised reading, based on the script that Dickens himself used for his acclaimed public readings, both here and the United States of America, where the characters of Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim and Christmas Past, Present and Future were brought to life on the stage by a solitary figure.”

The Reverend Lesley Crawley, a priest at St Mark’s said, “We are so thankful to Jonathan for offering this performance to save ‘Emily’. Emily is a beautiful Edwardian pipe organ that is just over 100 years old. She is referred to as ‘Emily’ after her benefactor – Emily Mangles. Sadly, she can no longer be played regularly as she is in need of a complete overhaul. I’m really looking forward to the event. Please put the date in your diary and come along with all your friends.”

Spiritual but not Religious?

A new book group is starting for those who are interested in the idea of ‘Spiritual but not Religious’, run by the Reverend Alan Crawley, Joint Rector in the Parish of Badshot Lea and Hale. It will start on 12th November at the Rectory, 25 Upper Hale Road, GU9 0NX.

Alan said, “My wife, Lesley, and I recently found a list of “26 books every ‘Spiritual but not Religious’ seeker should read”. We were intrigued and fancied reading some of the books for ourselves, and wondered if any others would like to join us in a book club, reading one every now and again, and meeting to discuss it. To find out, we are going to read “Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead”, by Brené Brown, and open our house to anyone who wants to come along and discuss it. If there is interest we can choose another book and another date at that time.”

He continued, “Everyone is welcome to just come along on the day, or if they are interested and can’t make it, just let us know and we will keep them informed of what is happening.”

Alan can be contacted on 01252 820537 or

No Committees at St Mark’s

You may have read the blog post “No Rota at St Mark’s” where we ditched the rota because it excluded children and also those who can’t commit several weeks ahead to come to church on a particular week. Well… we felt that committee meetings have the same problem. The few who are available to turn out at 7:30pm on a particular evening dictate the things that go on in the church and even worse than that is that the children have no say at all.

So on Sunday, after “Apple Day”, we ate our bring-and-share lunch and then planned our services for the next few months.

“What has been good about the services up until now?” asked Alan, who is one of our priests.

The first person to reply was aged eight, “The variety,” she said, “every week we do something different, it’s good.”

Everyone nodded. One of our older members said “This is the first church I’ve been to that feels like a family.”

“Me too,” said several people.

And so the meeting went on, adults and children together expressing their views… Pet Service planned, donkey required for Christmas Eve and the vestry really needs decorating!

I can’t see committees being popular any more at St Mark’s. We’ll plan it all together.

A Fruitful Apple Day

On 11th October St Mark’s Church in Upper Hale, Farnham hosted its first Community Apple Day. About fifty people, aged 0 to 70, came with bags of apples to be juiced and enjoyed apple pancakes, apple bobbing, apple juice and even singing apple-themed songs. The remaining fruit from the eleven trees in the community orchard was picked and juiced. The trees were planted by community groups last December

The Reverend Lesley Crawley, a priest at the church said, “It was such a lovely event; the sun shone, the apple juice was delicious, the children played and everyone had a good time. I owe a great debt of gratitude to John Ely who manned the juicer for two hours solid and has been such a supporter of all we have done in the churchyard at St Mark’s.”

Paul Sowden, who oversees the community orchard and wildflower garden said, “This event was a huge success, the atmosphere was brilliant and it brought the community together. We will definitely run this again next year and my prediction is that it will grow and grow.”

St Mark’s Reordering

The reordering committee have finished the job they were asked to do and have produced a plan to re-order St Mark’s. I would like to express my thanks to them for all the time and effort they put in. It is only possible to give a brief account of the plans but I am happy to answer any questions arising.

• We have received permission to remove the choir stalls and are in the process of selling them.
• The present font to be replaced by a custom made metal and glass font which will be moveable.
• The Victorian wooden floor boards to be sanded and polished and lay Victorian style tiles in the aisles.
• Electrical rewiring and installation of modern lighting.
• Creation of a quiet area with comfortable seating for private meetings,
• Replacing the wooden doors at the back of the north side of the church with glass doors.
• Insulation of the roof.
• We considered including conserving the wall paintings but the cost was so high we decided not to proceed at this time.

The estimated cost of the plans is £128,180, not including the architects fees. We are investigating getting grants to help with the cost and there will be meeting at 12 midday on October 25th in St Mark’s to discuss applying for grants and plan fundraising. The meeting is open to everybody and I hope as many people as possible will come. If you are interested but not able to come to the meeting please let me know.

Pat Manton

A concert to save our pipe organ ‘Emily’

St Mark’s Church, Upper Hale will be hosting a superb musical evening’s entertainment on November 14th at 7.30pm. This includes an organ recital by Stephen Lacey resident organist and director of music at St. Andrew’s Church Farnham, a choral repertoire by the Sedici with musical director Valerie Hoppe MBE and a performance from the Sedici recorder consort. There will also be a range of readings by a wide variety of authors from Noel Coward to Conan Doyle and J.M.Barrie to Kipling, all read by Rosemary Wisbey. Refreshments will be available during the interval.

The Reverend Lesley Crawley, a priest at St Mark’s said, “Emily is a beautiful Edwardian pipe organ that is just over 100 years old. She is referred to as ‘Emily’ after her benefactor – Emily Mangles. Sadly, she has been used very rarely over the past three years because after a century of service she is in need of a complete overhaul. The ‘action’ which links the keys to the pipes has become sluggish, the leatherwork is failing and the wind noise from the leaking wind trunks is detracting from her beautiful tone. The time has come for us to restore her.”

She continued, “There is no charge for this wonderful evening of entertainment but a retiring collection will be taken in aid of our pipe organ ‘Emily’. Please put the date in your diary and come along with all your friends.”

Harvest Supper

Strains of ‘We plough the fields and scatter’, the smell of good food, happy chatter and warm lights greeted us, as we walked into St. George’s hall on the first Friday night of October. Most people were already seated around the U- shaped layout of tables. Everything was elegant, wine glasses, bright napkins – Vicky, John and their team had been busy. There were lots of smiles and a chance to see old friends and make new ones. My sister, who grew up in Badshot Lea and was delighted at my invite to the Harvest Supper, met an old friend, who was also visiting. They both hid in the kitchen for a lot of the evening, washing up and enjoying a chance to catch up. A lot of hard work and love had obviously gone into the food preparation – and there was so much! Room for third helpings for the extra hungry! I really enjoyed taking a turn at serving the puddings – scraping the last bits of the tray is always the best.

Everyone helped to clear, fold down tables and shift chairs and almost with no effort the hall was ready for the entertainment. Home made talent – reminisance of times gone by- when people made their own fun, rather than relying on the television. A big thank you to everyone who stepped forward to ‘do a piece’. (I must especially mention Grace, who played the piano. I was gobsmaked at her skill).

All too quickly the evening came to an end – everyone joined in helping and the hall was back to normal in no time. There was a real sense of community. Young and old, everyone looked happy and there was a warm, fuzzy feel.
I should do a list of ‘thank yous’, but I’m not going to, as I am bound to miss someone who worked hard and quietly in the background. So, suffice to say, we are all grateful to everyone who helped to make the 2015 Harvest Supper one of the best ever.

Maxine Everitt

It has always been done this way

People can get very defensive about pews in churches, however they are a relatively modern invention.

Initially the only seating in church was around the wall or pillars – leading to the saying the weak go to the wall – with most people standing. Then in the 14th Century pews started to be introduced, becoming popular in the 15th Century as the sermon became a more important part of the service.

As pews were introduced, so came the habit of pew renting, where people paid to install “their pew”, or rented one, and often secured a name plate to it. Despite the fact that in 1612 a court had declared that a church “is dedicated and consecrated to the service of God, and is common to all inhabitants”, and therefore it belonged to the bishop to decide the question of ownership of a seat there; the practice continued into the 1970s.

This practice mirrored the stratification in society on churches, with some people furnishing their pews with cushions and curtains, and lighting fires.

Pews tend to create a particular approach to church in which the congregation become more like an audience than those gathered around participating. In more recent times some churches have removed pews and replaced them with chairs, which allow for a variety of layouts, from the traditional rows, to services in the round, with the altar in the centre of the people.

The layout of a church can say much about what we think is happening there. What do you think?