Mothering Sunday – 11th March

Come to church on Mothering Sunday – 11th March and say a prayer for your mum – or bring her along if you can, and give her a posy. All Age Services in the Parish at 9:30am at St John’s, Hale, 11:00am at St Mark’s Church, Upper Hale and 11:30 at St George’s, Badshot Lea. The 10am service at St George’s will be a regular Communion Service with added posies.

Thursday Morning Art

“Oh, I wish I could draw …”  I look at other people’s art, see they get so much pleasure out of doing it and I envy that.  My efforts are feeble.  Ah, but help is at hand at St Mark’s on a Thursday morning.  Dave and Helena, both brilliant artists in their own right, are very supportive of all attempts by those trying to channel their inner artist.  I found it doesn’t matter whether you are a budding Picasso or if you barely know one end of a paintbrush from the other, everyone is welcome to have a go.

I believe in Creator God, God who speaks through our creativity and sets our spirits flying free through our art.  It doesn’t matter how good you are, whether the result looks like you’d imagined it or not; it’s the process, the taking part, the giving it a go, which is important.

And it’s sociable.  There’s tea, coffee and cake and plenty of folk to chat to: St Mark’s really is the place to be on a Thursday morning from 10.00.  Come along and see for yourself.

Lesley Shatwell

Thursday Art

Parish barn Dance 2018

Was there something particularly depressing about January this year? We always hold our parish barn dance on the nearest Friday to Candlemas (2nd Feb.). However, this year we sold far fewer tickets. Instead of 80 – 100 attendees, as was the norm for the previous seven years, we had 30 – 40. I don’t think we publicised any less than normal, so it’s a bit of a mystery.

It’s not the only event I’ve been involved in recently that’s been poorly attended or cancelled through lack of interest. I think there’s a general feeling of depression and uncertainty across the country at the moment, leading to an all-pervading apathy.

Anyway, those who did attend enjoyed themselves and we had some good dancing and an excellent supper (thank you Alison and Matthew).

After deducting all expenses, we contributed £233 to parish funds. Last year we managed £688. Quite a contrast. However, it’s never been about making money, but about having an event to bring the parish together.

My thanks to all who attended and helped. I think it may have run its course at the moment and it’s time to try something else next year.

Bob Shatwell

 

Black Sheep and Prodigals

Religion poses many questions that have troubled theologians through the ages. “Is there a God?” “What is the nature of God?” “What is the Trinity all about?” “Why is there a sheep on a skateboard at the front of St Marks?” [1]

A partial answer to this last imponderable was that we had a well-attended talk last night (4th Feb.) from Dave Tomlinson, promoting his latest book, “Black Sheep and Prodigals”. As for the others, and similar questions, Dave’s main theme was concerned with avoiding black and white answers. Most of us do not experience the blinding light of revelation on the road to Damascus. At best we may experience an unreliable, intermittently flickering bulb, more often off than on. Indeed, it’s a good idea to be wary of those who purport to have all the answers. This instantly creates a divide: you can’t belong to our club unless you believe what we do.

Dave was at pains to stress that none of us have exclusive access to “The Truth”. We should encourage doubts and tolerate dissention, for that is how new insights may emerge.

We had forty minutes or so of these and many other thought provoking ideas, followed by an extensive question and answer session. I’m not going to deal with all the ideas here – buy the book, it’s the one we will be using for Lent discussions anyway!

Dave finished his talk by quoting my other favourite writer on religious topics, Karen Armstrong, “Jesus did not spend a great deal of time discoursing about the Trinity, or original sin…. He went around doing good and being compassionate.”

Or, to paraphrase Dave:- there is little point in asking what Jesus would do if he was around today – discover Jesus within yourself and act on it!

“Live passionately, believe sceptically, Love extravagantly”

 

Bob Shatwell 5th Feb 2018

 

 

[1] It’s to look as equally cool as the sheep with sunglasses, grazing nearby.