Incredible Edible in Farnham?

Incredible Edible is a food growing movement that started in Todmorden in west Yorkshire in 2007. People started growing food that was free for all to take and it transformed their community. There are now more than 120 Incredible Edible groups in the UK, more than 500 in France and others across the world. Could Farnham be one of them? An open meeting is planned to meet to discuss this idea at St Mark’s Church, Alma Lane GU9 0LT on 9th March at 4pm. All are welcome.

The Reverend Lesley Crawley, priest in the Parish said, “Food is something we are all interested in – where does it come from? What chemicals are being used? How does that affect the environment? Sometimes we can feel so powerless but together we can affect things and change them for the better. Please come to the meeting, it is not a meeting just for church people or people of faith, this is about all of us and our community, both local and global.”

You can find out more on the Incredible Edible website:

Hymn Books free to a good home

St George’s Church in Badshot Lea, GU9 9LD has two different hymn books to give away. If you would like a book or two just pop in and collect them – the church is open every day from 10:00am to 4:00pm except for school holidays and Sundays.

The Reverend Lesley Crawley said, “At St George’s we realised that it was time to buy some new hymn books. We were using two different hymns books and some hymns were in one, some in another and other more modern hymns that we sing were in neither! We used to have extra hymns on bits of paper but it was becoming very frustrating. We can’t sell the hymn books because they are out of date, but if anyone would like one they are free to a good home!”

She continued, “You may remember we did this at St John’s, Hale, last year and we gave away 300 hymn books in the end – it was lovely because people left messages thanking us and it was great to think that the books will continue to be used and loved by members of the community.”

Incredible Edible

Incredible Edible is a the food growing movement that started in Todmorden in west Yorkshire in 2007. It shows what difference a small number of people with creativity and generosity can make. Two women in the town, Pam Warhurst and Mary Clear, were really worried about their community and also about the terrible state of the environment. They both had grown up children and they could see that something urgently needed to change if their grandchildren were going to have any kind of future. However, they knew that the authorities were slow moving and that lots of people felt powerless about the environment.

So Pam and Mary decided they needed to do something that would catch people’s imaginations, get them asking questions and then get them taking action together to create a greener, stronger, more resilient town.

They decided that what they should do was grow food. So Mary, whose garden is in quite a prominent place in the town, dug up all her roses and replaced them with vegetables and a sign that said ‘Food to Share. Help Yourself’.

Meanwhile Pam had gathered some more supporters and within a few months, vegetables began to pop up in some rather unusual places. Runner beans in the cemetery, for example. Sweetcorn outside the police station. Cabbages beside the main road. And every plot had a sign saying ‘Food to share. Help yourself.’

They started a lot of conversations. People started to ask questions about their food, about why it was being air freighted from poor countries, about what kind of chemicals were being used to produce it.  They started to look at land differently. Most importantly, they started to see themselves not as passive consumers but as people who could take action and change things.

Incredible Edible isn’t just a growing project; it’s a model for helping a place to thrive. Some of the things that have changed in Todmorden since Incredible Edible started are:

  • People have begun to move into the town because they are attracted by what they have heard about Incredible Edible
  • The secondary school is sourcing 90 per cent of its food from within a 30-mile radius
  • People have started to use the market more because they want to buy local food and because they understand that money spent in the local economy tends to stay in the local economy.
  • Literally thousands of people have come to visit Todmorden to see what is happening and then gone back to their own towns to start incredible edible projects. As a result there are now more than 120 Incredible Edible groups in the UK, more than 500 in France and others across the world.”

Interested? A group of us are going to meet to discuss this idea at St Mark’s Church, Alma Lane GU9 0LT on 9th March at 4pm. All are welcome. You can find out more here:


Giles Fraser on Helplessness

The talk that most moved me last year at Greenbelt was this one by Giles Fraser on Freud and Augustine. As it happens I’m not a great fan of Augustine and have mixed feelings about Freud. But anyway, if you don’t have time to watch it, the crux is this:

We can’t fix ourselves. This is central to what Augustine is saying and Augustine’s ‘original sin’ is a way of talking about fundamental human brokenness. As an example, the church is like Alcoholics Anonymous – we turn up and the first thing we do is acknowledge our vulnerability, our need for help and our helplessness. We can’t fix ourselves.

Freud says that the trauma of our helplessness as a child is so extreme that we spend the rest of our lives working this out. The trauma of childhood is that we are unable to be in control of the sources of own  satisfaction. He goes on to say that Christianity is a way of avoiding our helplessness – having a big Daddy in the sky makes us feel less helpless.

To overcome this feeling of helplessness, human beings have two possible coping strategies:

  • Deny that we have unmet needs – ‘I don’t need you’. We sometimes sabotage our happiness by pretending that we don’t want others. We become incredibly well defended.
  • Acknowledge our needs and then bully others into satisfying our needs. We are profoundly frightened by our original helplessness so we need to be in control.

We can even become phobic of our own desires in case they become unmet desires – we are scared of going on retreat because we might want a coffee and not be able to have one. We can’t bear desiring something and not having it – hence the joy of consumerism and instant credit.

And how do we feel about those who meet our desires? We feel ambivalent. The person who satisfies us may also frustrate us – we will have an ambivalent relationship with our partners, parents and God.

Being human means being vulnerable, being dependent upon each other. The road to wholeness requires us to express our need, we have to express our vulnerability. And Giles says that Christianity, far from running away from helplessness embraces helplessness in the idea of grace. We bear with our needs in prayer, we find that it is okay to sometimes have our needs not met, we find that it is okay to have our needs not instantly met. He says that helplessness is not a curse, it is a gift, our fragility as human beings is a gift.

Happy are those who know their need of God – the kingdom of heaven is there.

Maintaining St John’s Churchyard

As some of our long standing volunteers have now stepped back we are looking for people to help with the maintenance of St John’s churchyard.

Whilst we have a list of tasks that need doing we do not necessarily expect anyone to take on the whole of one of the tasks – many hands, on a rota, will make light work.  We already have some help, and Peter Haines has agreed to coordinate this.

The tasks that we would like help with are:

  • Grass cutting – Even though we plan to cut it less often than in the past all help will be very welcome
  • Strimming – we have a strimmer
  • Looking after the flower beds
  • Litter picking – A valuable task that keeps the character of the churchyard

If you would like to help with any of these tasks or would just like to know more about what is involved, please have a word with Peter (663719).


Suicide, the buffer generation and the need to talk

The biggest killer of men under 45 isn’t heart disease or cancer or accidents on the road, it is suicide. It affects far more men than women and the whole thing is both excruciatingly painful and taboo.

I watched a fascinating documentary entitled Professor Green: Suicide and Me and what came through is perhaps what we might suspect – men struggle to talk about their emotions and feel that is isn’t allowed in society – it isn’t ‘manly’, and consequently, all the emotion is bottled up until they can’t cope any more.

But what I didn’t know is that 20 years ago, suicide was more prevalent in young men, now it is middle-aged men that are more at risk. In other words, it is the same generation of men, born in the 1950s and 60s – who have been dubbed ‘The Buffer Generation’. In an article in the Telegraph, the dilemma is presented like this by a Professor O’Connor who does research into this area:

“Middle aged men are caught between two generations – when you look at their own models, their fathers, it was about not talking about their emotions,” he said.

“But when you look at their sons, they are much more at ease with talking about their emotions and seeking help.

“Society has moved on but middle aged men are not as equipped as they should be with dealing with changes in their role in society.”

“It is a good thing of course that there is more equality now but arguably in this age group men are not equipped to deal with the change in their social roles.”

Whatever the problems are, it appears that the answer is to talk about these things, to stop the taboo, both to help those who are suicidal and to comfort those who have lost someone in this tragic way.

Easter at St George’s

Easter Crafts – St. George’s – Good Friday – 25th March
If you are aged between 4ish and 11ish, why not come along on Good Friday morning for a chance to have some fun, make some stuff and learn a bit about Easter and some of the traditions? We will start at 10.00 and finish around 12. Please bring a grown up with you.
Please contact Maxine if you would like to come as numbers are restricted.

Easter Sunday Easter Egg Hunt – 27th March
As usual, during the 10.00 service at St. George’s there will be an Easter Egg Hunt and other activities for the children. They will be in Church for the beginning of the service and return to join the grown ups for the Eucharist.

Who, me? A Vicar?

Bishop Andrew has been given the challenge of increasing the number of ordinations by at least 50% on 2013 figures sustained annually from 2020. This increase sounds massive, but it will not increase the number of priests in the Church of England – it will simply compensate for those retiring. This target comes from one of the papers produced for the Renewal and Reform initiative that Justin Welby, our Archbishop of Canterbury, is spearheading.

So how about you? Is there any possibility that God is calling you? For me it has been the most exciting and rewarding adventure of my life, in fact I have only really felt like I was being fully me since I started to explore my calling.

My advice would be to let nothing get between you and that thing that God is calling you to, whether that is ordained ministry or lay ministry or preaching in the church or teaching or being a plumber! Whatever that niggle is, it is worth pursuing it! If you think you aren’t good enough or that it is a ridiculous idea then don’t worry – you are in good company – most people think that when they first feel the tug of their vocation.

Young ordained vocations are particularly being encouraged because they have been so neglected in the past – see the video below. If you want to know more about any of this (and you are any age) speak to Alan or Lesley – 01252 820537

A Good Mental Economy

Recently, I read a book that highlighted the fact that we understand how to manage our money, our financial resources, but we are far less canny about how we manage our mental resources. It went on to recommend four steps to ensure a good ‘mental economy’:

  1. increase income of mental and physical energy;
  2. decrease or eliminate unnecessary expenditures of mental energy;
  3. reduce and eliminate debts of uncompleted actions – old feelings, traumas, etc.- that drain mental energy;
  4. manage available income (energy) wisely by investing in more healthy actions.

It struck me that this is the spiritual life. We increase our energy by ‘breathing in’ – we pray, take time to go on retreat, do mindfulness or other meditations – the Bible tells us to ‘Be still and know that I am God’. We also try not to worry – that is the command that appears in the Bible more often than any other. We work towards forgiveness, such that the past isn’t a millstone around our necks. Finally, we work out what our vocation is, we find out what gives us joy and energy and what part we have in doing God’s work.

Too often we find ourselves exhausted, trying to fix unfixable people or situations whilst neglecting the things that God is calling us to. Perhaps the words of the Serenity Prayer say it best:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

The Devil’s Passion

From the award-winning writer of “Scaramouche Jones” & “The Madness of George Dubya” and the award-winning director of “Morecambe”, “Twelve Angry Men” & “Animal Farm” Passion Pit Theatre presents

or Easter in Hell
A divine comedy in one act

Written & performed by Justin Butcher, directed by Guy Masterson designed by Sarah June Mills, with music & sound by Jack C. Arnold

33 AD. Jesus enters Jerusalem to fulfill his destiny. Satan ascends from Hell to stop him. A battle begins  for the soul of humanity.

“A light sandblasting for jaded souls, a gleefully heretical flavour timely, beautifully-written, ingenious, poignant – an impressively versatile performance. Butcher’s writing shines.” (The Huffington Post)

“A serious and seriously fine piece of writing, a terrific performance, a startlingly original presentation  it crackles with great lines.” (The Church Times)

Award-winning playwright Justin Butcher, author of the world-famous “Scaramouche Jones”, starring Pete Postlethwaite and directed by Rupert Goold, the hit anti-war satire “The Madness Of George Dubya” and the controversially acclaimed “Go To Gaza, Drink The Sea”, now turns his pen to the greatest story of all.

By turns comic, gripping, poetic, pungent and heart-stirring, “The Devil’s Passion” offers a radically fresh perspective on the timeless narrative by renowned satirist, playwright and actor Justin Butcher, an audacious hells-eye view of the Passion of Christ from a master storyteller. Directed by Olivier-Award winner Guy Masterson  (“Morecambe”, “Twelve Angry Men”, “Animal Farm”), designed by Sarah June Mills (“Captain Show Off”, “The Women of Troy”, “The Archivists”), with a haunting and evocative new soundscape by Jack C. Arnold (“War And Peace”, “Holy Flying Circus”, “The Woman In Black”).

Wednesday 23rd March at 7.30pm
St Thomas-on-the-Bourne, Farnham
Frensham Road, Farnham GU9 8HA

Duration: 90 mins.

Tickets: £15/£10
Online bookings:
Telephone bookings: 0800 411 8881