The Parish Giving Scheme

We are currently raising money to pay our Parish Share – this money goes to paying, housing and trining our clergy and towards the support costs of the diocese. It is really important work. Please help us by joining the PGS scheme – ask Alan – 01252 820537 or


The running and maintenance costs of our churches are very high,  any financial support you can give would be most welcome.

Even if you cannot get to church on Sunday you could become a member of the Parish Giving Scheme and give a regular donation.  By helping us with the running costs you will ensure the church is here for when you need it.

What is the point of PGS?

PGS will help us in the parish to reach our donors who prefer an automatic direct debit based systems to the traditional ways of collecting money into the local church.

How does PGS help donors?

PGS offers donors a convenient, elegant and secure method of making their regular donations to our church by Direct Debit.

What are the benefits to the donor and the church?

Donors may have their donation automatically uplifted by inflation each year, if they so choose. Also, donors can remain anonymous to their local churches if they prefer.  One of the biggest problems faced by most churches is that of ‘static giving’. If giving had kept track with inflation since the year 2000, it would have increased by over 50%.  As an example of the difference this would have made to a donation of £40.00 a month given in the year 2000, it would now have to be £61.32 a month.

Can Gift Aid be claimed back if giving is through the PGS?

The answer is yes and it is very easy to set up.  You simply sign a declaration when you make your application to join the scheme to confirm that you are a payer of tax.

How will my donation qualify for Gift Aid?

In order for your donation to qualify, you must:

  • Be a UK taxpayer
  • Pay at least as much Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax as our church will recover on your donation in the tax year.


How much will it cost us?

The Diocese is paying the marginal costs of participating in a scheme already set up by the Diocese of Gloucester. There are NO additional costs to our parish.

I don’t pay Income Tax and you will not be able to claim Gift Aid so what is the point of me belonging to the scheme?

A regular donation will assist with the financial planning by your PCC.  You may even be willing to agree to the inflation increase option so that you help the church overcome ‘static giving’.  This will become even more important if we have an ageing congregation who no longer pay tax. Approximately 15% of our income is currently through Gift Aid but is likely to reduce unless we get new tax paying donors.

Can I change the amount I donate or drop out of inflation proofing my donation?

The answer is Yes to both of these questions.  Details of what to do can be found in the information pack.

How do I join the scheme?

It’s easy, you just have one simple form to complete.

I don’t go to church, can I give financial support?

You don’t have to attend church regularly to be a donor but by giving regularly you can help to ensure the church is there when you need it in the future.

A sparkling evening of Kipling

Jonathan Jones treated local residents to a sparking evening of drama and poetry when he performed a one-man Kipling show at St Mark’s Church, Upper Hale, to raise money for the “Emily the Organ” appeal. One of the parishioners, Kathy Robertson, with her team, provided props and the refreshments and the church was transformed into Kipling’s living room for the evening.

The Reverend Lesley Crawley said, “Jonathan told us Kipling’s life story in the first person. We travelled with him through his difficult childhood and the appalling grief when he lost first his daughter and then his son during the Great War. There was also humour and deep wisdom in the poetry. The evening was spellbinding.”

£380 was raised towards refurbishing the pipe organ, at the moment £6000 has been raised towards the £23,000 target. If you would like to help get the pipe organ playing again then please contact Lesley Crawley on 01252 820537 or

Thoughts about Jesus, Mary and Martha Luke 10:38-42

So these few verses tell a story of drama and passion, a conflict between two sisters, and in it Jesus is a hero – he is the model for us – we are each called to be heroes.

So let’s start the story. We all know that hospitality is a massively important aspect of middle-eastern tradition. In desert countries the welcoming of the stranger is the difference between life and death. And in Luke’s Gospel in particular hospitality is hallowed.

And Martha is doing it – or trying to do it perhaps. Martha is probably the older sister and she has invited Jesus and his mates into her house. She suddenly has a dozen or more people to feed with no warning.

Mary, on the other hand, sits at Jesus’ feet, listening to his teaching. Women were meant to be in the kitchen – why was she doing this? How dare she mess with roles and take the place of a man?

Martha gets a bit fed up – she starts banging the pans, hoping that someone will notice that she’s having to do everything. She looks forlorn. She glares at her sister. She gets more and more upset until she explodes… storming in to confront Jesus:

“Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me”.

Have you ever done that? Mary must have been very upset and angry indeed to ask a guest to intercede! She accuses Jesus of not caring for her – presumably she felt if he had cared then he would have sent Mary into the kitchen. I can relate to Martha – that dreadful feeling of hurt… that feeling of being overlooked, not cared for, that feeling of anger that others aren’t honouring her when she was trying to be hospitable. However, the fact is that it was terrible hospitality – how embarrassed everyone must have been.

Jesus responds “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her”.

She was so distracted that she couldn’t do hospitality – she couldn’t be attentive and gracious to her guests. Instead, she was grumbling and complaining. She was nasty to her sister and unfair to Jesus. There was a power play – she wanted to control Mary and she enlisted Jesus in this struggle.

But Jesus doesn’t play these games – he is a hero. Heroes respect the dignity and honour of all people, heroes rise above social contructs that demean and inhibit others. Heroes are almost always lone voices because people get sucked into ‘group think’. Heroes speak out – they aren’t passive.

Jesus could have colluded with the social convention and told Mary to get into the kitchen.

Jesus could have told Martha that this was between her and her sister and he didn’t want to get involved.

Jesus could have berated Martha for embarrassing him and the disciples.

Instead he recognised the pain inside her. Perhaps she had often been overlooked and this anger was about more than the events of the day. Perhaps she had many worries – perhaps she worried that if her sister behaved like a man then she would never marry. We don’t know, but it is an act of kindness to recognise the worries, to acknowledge then.

And then an invitation. Mary has chosen the better part and it won’t be taken away from her. Perhaps Martha can choose that too… “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing.” That thing is to know the love of God and to rest in it.

So what about us? Are we so busy that we can’t sit at the feel of Jesus? Are we so worried and distracted that our efforts of hospitality go awry? Do we end up resentful of others?

The story reminds me a bit of the Prodigal Son. The father being with the younger son, and the older son who is cross. Then the father pleading with the older son. In this case the story is suspended once again. We don’t know whether Martha joined the part or remained aloof. We don’t know whether everyone enjoyed the meal together and whether Mary and Martha reconciled their differences.

Where do you see yourself in the story – are you the one carrying pain, working so hard, worrying so much? Are you the one that has been attacked because you are following your heart? Are you the hero that can stand up for others without dehumanising anyone? Are you all three?

Licensing: is it just about being “done”?

On 25 June this year, I made promises to God and to Bishop Andrew.  Promises such as declaring “my belief in the faith which is revealed in the Holy Scriptures”, my “obedience to the Bishop of Guildford … in all things lawful and honest”.  I promised that I would “promote peace and unity” – that’s a big ask these days, I think I might have my work cut out on that one alone.  And also I promised to be obedient “to the minister in whose cure I may serve” – that’s obedient to Alan and Lesley – but only provided that what they ask of me is lawful and honest.  Heavy, solemn promises … crikey, what brought me to this point?

And people ask me, “What’s it like now you’re ‘done’?”.

Well, it’s been a long journey, for me and for all those who have supported, guided, helped and prayed for me.  Thank you to you all – particularly Alan and Lesley and especially my poor, long-suffering husband Bob.  Three years: 39 pieces of marked work (average 60% mark), Monday evenings over at Guildford, residentials, sermons, parish placement …

But what is it really like being “done”?

If I’m honest, I remember little of the day itself.  The week before, I had finished my final assignment on the practical aspects of pastoral care, so all my coursework was done.  Nothing left hanging over me, but through that week, I became more aware of a deep feeling which had started as unease, morphed through worry into a state of panic, tinged with excitement.  Dear God, am I ready for all of this?

“You’ll be fine, no need to worry, it’s normal to get butterflies …”  Yes, I’m sure it is all right for you.  But this is me, I’m the first person ever in the whole world to feel apprehension – er well, maybe I exaggerate a bit … Actually, the most helpful comment I received during this time was from a lady at St John’s who assured me that already she could see the joy of God within me as I inhabited the role of minister.  What a lovely thing to say, thank you.

So the great day finally came.  The service was scheduled for 5.30 pm at St Peter’s, Farnborough.  I and my fellow Licensed Lay Ministers-in-waiting had spent the day in shared, quiet study and preparation – by now, the butterflies had turned into giant pterodactyls and I was a bit shaky.  Would Beki, my daughter make it, would Mum manage to get into the church in the wheelchair, would I stumble over the words in my reading or perhaps trip over my robes?  Oh heck!

But then, we made our promises to Bishop Andrew and lined up to go into church for the service where we would be “done”.  Waiting in the procession outside in the sunshine, I felt a huge sense of relief.  I’d made it!  Beki had arrived safely, Mum was carefully installed at the end of a row, I could almost quote the Old Testament reading I’d rehearsed it so much.  My friends, family and supporters all ready to cheer me on and the sun shone.  Now all I had to do was pledge my life to God.

Do you know the feeling, when so much is going on around you, you are caught up in the midst of it all and you simply go where you are told and do what you’re told?  At times, the service felt a bit like that.  But somewhere between the time outside when I had felt sense of relief and part way through the service when we sang “Bless the Lord, Oh my soul”, nervous anxiety had done a complete somersault into pure joy so I could “sing like never before …”  There is such depth to God’s love and at times, very special times, we are able to catch a glimpse of God’s love at work in our lives.

“Done”?  I’ve only just begun!