You shall go out with joy

What a joy to be at St Mark’s at the end of April as the congregation celebrated St Mark’s Day.

Usually I would be at St John’s in the choir on a Sunday morning, but on this occasion – not feeling my best, and needing a ‘lie in’ – I decided to go ‘up the hill’ to church.

How often would we be starting a service outside, planting Hellebores? And, appropriately, singing a couple of verses of All Things Bright and Beautiful. NOT one of my favourite hymns as it happens, but oh so appropriate to be singing ‘each little flower that opens, each little bird that sings’, accompanied by Bob on his fiddle.

Back inside, Lesley Shatwell took the service and we were reminded of the few things known about Mark the Evangelist. We also discovered that he is the Patron Saint of Venice and wondered how it would be if Hale were to be twinned with Venice!!

This lovely informal service finished with us ‘going out with joy, as the trees of the fields clap their hands’ and for those able to stay, there was a slice of cake to be had with coffee, to celebrate our church’s Patron Saint.

Gillian Geraghty

Saving ‘Emily’ the organ

As readers of this blog probably know, ‘Emily’ is a pipe organ who lives at St Mark’s and she is 103 years old and getting more than a bit doddery. However, the good news for organs is they can be overhauled and be as good as new. The organ has over 500 pipes that need attention, as well as the complex mechanisms that turn pressing keys into making the pipes play. It is very labour-intensive, but if we raise the money then Emily will back on her feet and sounding wonderful for another 50 years.

Which brings me to the money! The overall cost to restore Emily is £23,000, and we have had some generous donations, a wonderful concert and a very enjoyable evening when the Farnham Town Crier performed ‘A Christmas Carol’ single-handedly. This has raised £1,900. In addition, people have sponsored pipes and stops, raising £500.

Specsavers have been very generous, giving out leaflets about ‘Emily’ and we are one of their twenty chosen charities this year, which celebrates 20 years of opening. Sir Ray Tindle has also been generous, offering to promote all of our events in the Farnham Herald in order to raise the money.

So there is £21,600 left to go – feels like a big target, but these are the next steps.

We are applying to grant-making bodies to see if they might help. So far we have applied to eleven trusts, six currently have no money, one has suggested another fund, one has been quite warm about us taking the application further and three are yet to respond. There are another three trusts we can apply to, although one of them requires us to have half the money committed before we do.

We have two events planned in the near future, they are:

  • Daytime organ recital on Thursday 2nd June at 2pm at St Mark’s Church, where our organist, Frances Whewell will play.
  • Kipling Evening, where the Farnham Town Crier will dress as the poet and recite his well-loved works – date TBA but likely to be Friday 8th July

Please support these events if you can – so far the events have had a fabulous, warm community feeling and I was pleased that we put them on whether we raised money or not!

If you would like to sponsor a pipe or a stop please let me know – or 01252 820537

How to have a great conversation with someone who is going to die

I recently read an article with this title and I found it interesting, provoking and brutal. It is an important subject, though. Often I find myself talking to people in this situation, admittedly it is an occupational hazard! The author of the article gives this advice to a fictional Alice who is talking to a fictional terminally ill Bob:

Here are the things that Alice can talk about that will make Bob happy:

  • Stories of old adventures they had together. Remember that time? Oh boy, yes I do… it was awesome!

  • Clinical details. Bob, stuck in his bed, is probably obsessed by the rituals of care, the staff, the medicines, and above all, his disease. I’ll come to Bob’s duty to share, in a second.

  • Helping Bob with technical details. Sorting out a life is complex and needs many hands and minds.

  • “I bought your book,” assuming Bob is an author like me. It may be flattery, or sincere, either way it’ll make Bob smile.

I suppose one of the questions in my mind is whether making Bob happy is the main aim – perhaps having a real and deep conversation is a better thing to do. The hospice movement has a concept of ‘Total Pain’ whereby emotional, physical, spiritual, social pain can all come together at the end of life. This can be a blessing because in the resolution of this pain comes a total healing and acceptance that perhaps the person has never enjoyed before. It is much deeper than mere happiness.

What do you think? Are you in this situation? What helps you?

Come on the Prayer Course!

on the Prayer Course!prayer poster.jpgAre you interested in spirituality and prayer?

Would you like to try out five different methods of prayer?

Starting at the end of April, St Mark’s Church in Upper Hale, Farnham, GU9 0LT is hosting a five week course on prayer. Each week, a speaker will come to talk about one form of prayer and then help people try it out.

The guest speakers include Linda Scrivener – an Ignatian trained spiritual director who has led quiet days and Individually guided retreats, based at St. Columba’s house, Diane Rutter – a Companion in the dispersed Christian community, Contemplative Fire, and Jan McGrory – a member and Oblate of the World Community of Christian Meditation.

Come to St Mark’s on Tuesday evenings at 7:30pm, the schedule is below:

26/4 Introduction & The Daily Office
3/5 Ignatian Meditation
10/5 Body Prayer
17/5 Christian Meditation
24/5 Journaling

The evenings are free, and there is no need to book – just turn up on the night.

To find out more contact the Reverend Alan Crawley on 01252 820537 or

Welcoming our new Curate

For those who don’t know, this summer we are getting a curate in the parish, Hannah Moore. So what is a curate?

She will be a curate in training, which means that she will come to us, newly ordained, to undertake the equivalent of an apprenticeship for three or four years before moving on to have a parish of her own. Whilst training with us Hannah will also have training from the diocese and will have to undertake various assignments for them, consequently her time will not be solely spent on the parish.

On 3rd of July Hannah will be ordained deacon in the Cathedral. This means that she will be known as the Reverend Hannah Moore, and will wear a dog collar (and it will take most of the three years just to get used to that – and people saying “don’t swear in front of the vicar”), but will not be able to undertake certain tasks, primarily presiding at Holy Communion. However, she will be leading other services, including funerals.

A year later she will then be ordained priest in the Cathedral, at which point she will be able to do everything in the churches.

Hannah will be living with her family in the curate’s house on Sandy Hill and will be travelling round the churches and other places with Lesley and I in the early days, before branching out on her own. Please do make her welcome when she arrives in June.

Alan Crawley

New Churchwardens and PCC

Thank-you to all those who came to the APCM last night. Congratulations to our new churchwardens and PCC:


St G – Carol Le Page

St J – Pamela Marsham

St M – Bob Shatwell

Deputy Wardens:

St G – Maxine Everitt

St J – vacant

St M – Margaret Emberson

PCC Members:

St G – Kris Lawrence, Gemma Brown, Bill Thomas, Annie Thomas, Oliver, Haynes, John Boas

St J – Angela Hall, Sylvie Burrows, Gillian Geraghty, Diana Thomas

St M – Sarah Kay, Stella Wiseman

Deanery Synod Representatives:


We also elected Lesley Swan as PCC Treasurer and Gemma Brown as PCC Secretary

Please pray for our PCC as they serve us over the next year

You can find the review document here and the powerpoint presentation here.


The APCM – will take place on Sunday 17th April at St Mark’s at 7:30. This years APCM will comprise the Annual Meeting of Parishioners at 7:30 and the Annual Parochial Church Meeting immediately following. Please come. You can find the report document here.

Emotionally Intelligent Churches

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is a concept that was made popular by a man called Daniel Goleman, who wrote a book with that title. Decades of research have shown that it is the key requirement for success in every sphere of life. I recently read an article that analysed data from a million people show that these eighteen habits or qualities are prevalent in people with a high EQ:

  1. You have a robust emotional vocabulary
  2. You’re curious about people
  3. You embrace change
  4. You know your strengths and weaknesses
  5. You’re a good judge of character
  6. You are difficult to offend
  7. You know how to say no (to yourself and others)
  8. You let go of mistakes
  9. You give and expect nothing in return
  10. You don’t hold grudges
  11. You neutralize toxic people
  12. You don’t seek perfection
  13. You appreciate what you have
  14. You disconnect from technology sometimes
  15. You limit your caffeine intake
  16. You get enough sleep
  17. You stop negative self-talk in its tracks
  18. You won’t let anyone limit your joy

Reading this list made me wonder what an Emotionally Intelligent Church might look like. It would be a place where mistakes are allowed, offence is not taken, forgiveness is offered and thankfulness is central. There wouldn’t be grumbling or complaining, and change would be seen as a good thing. Toxic people would not be allowed to dominate, but instead they would be encouraged to understand their feelings. Self-control would be exercised, and people wouldn’t be overwhelmed by the jobs because they could say ‘no’. The church would serve the community joyfully and expect nothing in return.

Does this sound good? It does to me, although I think the only refreshments that would be served would be Chamomile or Peppermint tea!

Incredible Edible goes ahead in Hale

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. A group of residents have decided that we should spread this magic to Hale and so look out for planters and free food!

John Ely, a local resident and member of Farnham in Bloom Community Group said, “We have been very fortunate that Farnham Town Council have offered us three planters to get going. We already have food growing that we can put into the planters thanks to the work of the Post 19 charity.”

Carol McFarlane, who runs the Hale Community Project, commented, “It feels like the village is growing in community spirit, more and more initiatives are bringing us together to work for the benefit of all. I am very excited about this project, I’m particularly hoping the young people of the village will get involved with planting and growing.”

The Reverend Lesley Crawley added, “There are a number of groups involved in this, Farnham in Bloom, Hale Community Project, The Bungalow, Transition Farnham, Farnham Local Food and St Mark’s Church. However, everybody and anybody can get involved. If you want to know more, just contact me.”