Apple Day

Come and celebrate the fruits of our community orchard from 10:00 until 11:00am on 1st October at St Mark’s. We have a juicer so if you would like to turn your apples into juice then bring apples that are in good condition, washed and picked from the tree along with clean two litre plastic milk cartons including the lid to put the juice in. We will be having some entertainment including apple tasting and apple-y music (and possibly dance). If that isn’t enough apply-ness there will be pancakes with apple filling to eat! Afterwards, you are welcome to stay for the 11am service if you wish.

Informal Festival Service – Sunday 22nd October, 11am

At St Mark’s Church on 22nd October there will be a special Festival Service at 11am. By this time we should have a highly decorated church as the output of the workshops will be on display! The service will be led by Lesley Shatwell. As she is a lay minister, it won’t be a communion service. However, it will be highly unusual, if not unique, in that it will be almost entirely a sung service, including the Gospel reading and sermon! We will make sure the melodies are accessible to all – no weird phrasing or unusual cadences designed to catch the uninitiated. The Music can be found here.

We will finish with a bring and share lunch. All welcome.

Total A4

Music and Art Workshops – Saturday 21st October

At St Mark’s Church, Upper Hale there will be workshops in the morning 10 – 12:30 and the afternoon 2 – 4:30. We’re still finalising the times and contents, but there will be a come-all-ye music workshop where musicians of any standard and any instrument are welcome to come along and join in. There will also be a singing workshop, run by Veronica (Nonny) Tabbush, an experienced choir leader who has organised choirs in Aldershot and Bordon. She presently lives in the Bristol area and runs choirs there.

There will be painting and arts and crafts workshops, possibly with photography and stone masonry. We will also be re-drawing the map of Hale.Workshops A4

Ceilidh – Saturday 21st October, 7-10

Saturday night ceilidh 7 – 10pm at St Mark’s Church, Upper Hale, GU9 0LT.

The band will be the one that plays for the annual Candlemas barn dance at St Georges, with Kris Lawrence as caller. There could also be a variable number of additional musicians, as those attending the workshop during the day will be welcome to sit in with us. We will also hopefully have a performance from the choir workshop and displays of art and photography generated during the day.

Ceilidh A4

Civic Service at St John’s

On the 10th of September, St John’s Church, Hale was the venue for the Civic Service for Farnham Town Mayor, Councillor Michael Hodge.

The service was attended by Mike’s family, friends, fellow mayors and community representatives. During the service Mike Hodge committed to serve the people of Farnham to the best of his ability during his year in office.

‘Serving others’ was the theme of the afternoon which the Reverend Hannah Moore explored in her address stating, “it is through service that we either discover our vocation or fulfil it as we stop focusing on our self and start to focus on the needs around us.”

After the formal service, Mayor Hodge said, “I would like to thank everybody who came to the civic service. My thanks also go to the Reverends Hannah Moore and Michael Hopkins, the organist, the choir and everybody else who contributed towards the success of the service.” Reverend Hannah Moore added her thanks to those of Mr Hodge commenting “it was an honour and a privilege for St John’s to host the Civic Service as it provided the Parish of Badshot Lea and Hale with another opportunity to play it’s part within the Farnham community.”

Reverend Hannah Moore will continue to serve the Mayor during his year in office as she acts as his Chaplain. When asked what this role entails she commented, “it means being available to be a listening ear for the Mayor, should he need it during the year and occasionally leading prayers at the Town Council meetings.”

After the service, canapes and refreshments were served from the Sumner Room, which was named after Bishop Charles Sumner, the former Bishop of Winchester and founder of St John’s Church.

Beyond Belief

We will be reading “The Orthodox Heretic“, by Peter Rollins as our next book at Beyond Belief.  We will be meeting on 11th October and 15th November and other dates to be arranged at 7:30pm at a location to be arranged!  If you are interested in joining us please contact Alan.

This is a book of modern parables, all with a twist!

Pete himself reads them here:, here: and here



Who is responsible?

I have been talking to a number of people recently about faith matters, and have realised that I think that their faith development is their responsibility.  That may or may not appear obvious to you, but it strikes me that many clergy think that it is their responsibility.

In one instance we were talking about a church where the pastor was fed up with people coming late to the service so he ordered that the doors be locked, and latecomers not admitted (don’t worry St Mark’s – we aren’t going to do it); in a number of cases, someone was excluded for their behaviour.

My take on this is that they are responsible for their own behaviour (as are the others in the congregation, just in case these things are done “to encourage the others“), although I have a responsibility to walk alongside them (fellow pilgrims on the way) offering help and guidance and sharing where I am.

I expressed this to someone and they challenged me with Paul’s discipline of wayward Christians in his letters.  However, at least some of these were issues to do with community, and the breaking of it, rather than individual behaviour.

Yes, the incumbent is responsible for the cure of souls, but how to do it?  If you exclude someone from the congregation your chances of influencing them in any way are surely gone!

Faith and Vulnerability

As I have referred to before, each day I read an excerpt from a commentary on the Rule of Benedict.  I have been doing this for around 15 years, and it cycles 3 times a year, so that is a lot!

This morning for the first time I noticed:

The end of Benedictine spirituality is to develop a transparent personality. Dissimulation, half answers, vindictive attitudes, a false presentation of self are all barbs in the soul of the monastic. (my emphasis).

And last night Lesley and I had been talking to some people who are going to help us run something like the new St Martin’s in the Fields course.  (If you are local, watch this space – we are planning to run it in Advent).

Lesley and I took part in a session at Greenbelt, and one of the things that I picked up from it there was that one of the aims was to get people to say what they really thought, rather than what they thought they should say!

Having been involved in a number of confirmation type groups over the years, one of the things that I have noticed is that the more churched people are, the more they want to know what the vicar thinks, whereas the less churched want an open discussion where they are quite happy to share what they think – whether it reflects orthodox thinking or not.  A long time ago I used to follow a blog where one of the posts was about the writers ideal church it had something like:

  1. You can believe what you want (you will anyway, you just won’t tell me).

If you want to grow spiritually you have to be honest about where you are.  Too many people belong to churches where there are right and wrong beliefs, and if you hold wrong ones you are not welcome.  How can you grow in the faith in those circumstances?  Sometimes we go down a dead end and have to turn around, but that dead end may well have been helpful, but if we can’t admit that that is where we are then it is difficult to do the U turn.