‘Tis the season to sing carols

Advent is here which means Christmas is on the way, and what better way to start your celebrations with a bit of carol-singing?

Join us on Sunday afternoon (December 2) at St George’s, Badshot Lea, for Top 10 Carols. Sing your favourite carols and help raise money for the St George’s heating fund. All are welcome – whether you can sing or not. Come along from 3.30 to 4.30pm.

 

Come to Christingle

Come to Christingle this Sunday at St Mark’s Church, Alma Lane, at 11am.

Christingle is a celebration that takes place sometime between the beginning of December and February 2.

We create ‘Christingles’ out of oranges, sweets and dried fruit stuck in them using cocktail sticks, red ribbon around the oranges and a candle which we light. At this point, Bob, the churchwarden who is also responsible for health and safety, looks anxious and claims we are going to burn the church down but he’s joking (aren’t you Bob?!), but we are always safe.

The orange represents the world, the red ribbon (or tape) symbolises the love and blood of Christ, the sweets and dried fruit represent all of God’s creations, and the lit candle represents Jesus’s light in the world, bringing hope to people living in darkness.

There are prayers and songs and a lot of fun and it’s aimed at everyone in the family. Come along at 11am, join in and also raise money for the charity The Children’s Society.

Candles of Hope shine a light on human rights

 

St Mark’s Church will hold Candles of Hope on Saturday, December 1 – an evening of music, readings and art in aid of Amnesty International.

Organised by the Farnham branch of Amnesty International – the movement which campaigns to end abuses of human rights across the globe – Candles of Hope will feature Jay Parrack’s Voices Community Choir;  Anna Carteret (poetry reading);  Wildflowers (a capella); Richard Lane (classical violin); Frances Whewell (organ);  Bob and Lesley Shatwell (folk violin and double bass); Heather Golding and Caroline Walker (voice and flute); and Jonathan Adams (acoustic guitar and voice). There will also be an art display and refreshments will be on sale.

Admission is free but donations are welcomed. The evening begins at 7.30pm.

Helena Walker, one of the event’s organisers, said: “Candles of Hope’ is an uplifting evening of live music and inspirational poetry, along with an art exhibition and refreshments.  It offers the opportunity to celebrate the work of Amnesty International and learn more about Amnesty’s involvement with human rights issues around the world.  Everyone at the event will be invited to sign greetings cards which will be sent to people who are currently being supported by Amnesty International.

“Since 1961, Amnesty International has campaigned for the release of prisoners of conscience around the world; for some years, the Farnham members of Amnesty have taken a particular interest in Vietnamese prisoners and we will be welcoming a group of Vietnamese friends to the event.”

Amnesty International is a global movement of more than seven million people, campaigning for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all. It investigates abuses of human rights, lobbies governments and other powerful groups such as companies, tells the stories of people affected by abuses, and mobilises supporters to campaign for change and support the victims of injustice.  It acts on the principle that it is “better to light a candle than curse the darkness”.

For information on the Farnham Amnesty group, email farnham.amnesty@gmail.com

Christmas at St Mark’s

Monday 24th Dec at 5pm – Crib Service (especially for youngsters, come dressed as your favourite nativity character)

Monday 24th Dec at 11:30pm – Midnight Mass

Tuesday 25th Dec at 11am – All age Communion service

 

Christmas at St John’s

Monday 24th Dec at 3pm – Crib Service (especially for youngsters, come dressed as your favourite nativity character)

Monday 24th Dec at 11:30pm – Midnight Mass

Tuesday 25th Dec at 9:30am – All-age Communion

 

Christmas at St George’s

Monday 24th Dec at 3pm – Crib Service for Toddlers

Monday 24th Dec at 5.30pm – Crib Service for all ages

Monday 24th Dec at 11:30pm – Midnight Mass

Tuesday 25th Dec at 10:00am – All-age Communion

Shh! It could be a vocation…

In which a member of the parish fesses up…

There is something I have been keeping quiet about over the past couple of years – my vocation. Shh! Don’t say that too loud. Someone might hear.

It has always seemed like a big word, a big deal, something other people had. I was willing to accept that we all have the vocation to be the person we were born to be and to be that in the fullest possible way. Actually, that is a pretty big deal, especially as so much can get in the way of that vocation. But over the past few years I have had a growing sense that part of following that vocation, part of living my life to the fullest, could mean being ordained into the church.

No. Not me. That was something that vicars did and vicars knew the answers and could explain the Trinity and always believed in God, and never swore. I didn’t know the answers, wasn’t sure that it mattered that the Trinity is inexplicable (in my opinion – see, I don’t know), and had days when I wasn’t sure whether God was just something made up to make us feel better or, far too often, feel worse. Though obviously I never swore….(just ask my colleagues).

And yet… I kept wondering and I kept being encouraged in this wondering by Alan and Lesley who seemed to think that I might be suitable vicar material (and vicars obviously know the answers so they must have had a point…). And before I knew it, somehow I was being referred to the Diocesan Director or Ordinands for the Diocese of Guildford, a delightful and perceptive man called Rev’d Canon William Challis who shared my sort of sense of humour. So began a series of meetings in which we discussed faith, the church (not necessarily the same thing) and laughed a fair bit. Meanwhile we were both doing some discerning.

I assumed that William would discern that I was not suitable material and we’d agree that this was not part of my vocation and I’d say a sad farewell, glad I had kept quiet about it as how embarrassing would that be if people knew I didn’t fit the criteria, or that I had even assumed I might have done?!

But we kept on, looking at those criteria for selection and discussing subjects such as faith, mission, leadership, spirituality, vocation. It was challenging but fascinating. References were sought and given, William came to visit the family, and it seemed that he thought I was suitable after all. Suddenly I was faced with going on a Bishops’ Advisory Panel, or BAP, three days of intense scrutiny with other potential ordinands by a team of assessors who would make recommendations about us all.

As the months that this process took progressed, several things became a little clearer. The first was that I could be a vicar and still not know everything – still have days of doubt, still be human, still be me. After all this is an opening up to God and being led by God, I am not expected to do it on my own.

The second was that ordained local ministry would be a better fit than having my own parish. This would mean I could stay in the parish here (hooray!) as part of the team. I would be part-time and self-supporting (ie. non-paid) so I’ll have to keep working elsewhere to bring in the money. That will be OK though as I am rubbish at boundaries I will need help here.

The boundaries issue was one of the points made in the report which came back from those BAP assessors who were really quite nice and not the Harry Potter dementors that I had envisaged. They also came back with a resounding yes! I start training next September on the Guildford Local Ministry Programme with a view to ordination in 2022.

The other thing that has dawned on me is that I am responding to a loving God. A separate, though intertwined, process has been going on over the past few years. With the help of those actually very wise and knowledgeable vicars here in the parish I have gradually been losing my perception of God as an angry taskmaster whom I could never please, and finding that God is a gracious outpouring of love for us all, a God who can help us step into our vocations and allow all of us to live our fullest lives.

Stella Wiseman

 

Write yourself into the story

How can we access the Bible, make it come alive?

That is what  ‘Write yourself into the story’ is exploring next Tuesday evening – November 27 – at St Mark’s, Hale, from 7.30pm.

Basically, ‘Write yourself into the story’ is a way of reading the Bible and then responding by using your imagination and words to draw you into it and make it become alive for you. It is a simple process and open to everyone – you don’t have to be a writer to join in, and you will be talked through the process step-by-step. What you write will be a personal response and everyone’s will be different. And as those who attended the last session can tell you, it can be enlightening and fun. We also learned from each other when we read out and discussed our writing – though there is no obligation to do so.

Come along and join in. There may even be cake…

For further details, call Stella on 07854426297 or email news@badshotleandhale.org

 

 

Picture by Ben White, Unsplash.

Let Us Remember

Wars affect not just individuals but whole communities, so it is fitting that remembrance is a community event, particularly this year when we have been commemorating the centenary of the end of World War One.

In Badshot Lea and Hale we held two community events on November 7 and 8, as well as services of Remembrance at the war memorials and in the churches.  On November 7 at St John’s Church, the community gathered together to pause and remember those who had died in the conflicts past and present. The Farnham Town Crier Jonathan Jones read some poetry and the year 6 children from William Cobbett school read In Flanders Fields and  a combined parish choir sang A flower remembered and Circle us Lord.

The idea for the evening was to encourage those attending to remember but also to live as people of peace and reconciliation so we drew the formal part of the evening to a close by singing Shalom. After the service, hospitality was offered by the congregation of St John’s and the display of art work and poetry was enjoyed by all who attended. The display will be available in the church until November 19.

The next day we held a similar event at St George’s Church. The Farnham Mayor and his wife joined members of the community in a packed church.

Badshot Lea Infant School had been working for a few weeks on fantastic art and poetry which was displayed around the church. There was also poetry on display from other members of the community, including a poem by Leslie Morrel to his wife Eva written in 1942. Unfortunately, Leslie lost his life during WW2 and is listed on the Badshot Lea War Memorial. Eva, now aged 96, still lives in the village.

The children from the school entertained us with some lovely singing and the Parish choir helped led Pack up your troubles and It’s a long way to Tipperary.

As with the St John’s event, we wanted to encourage people to remember but also to strive for peace and reconciliation. After the service, hospitality was offered by the congregation of St George’s and the display of art work and poetry was enjoyed by all who attended. A huge thanks to Badshot Lea Infants teachers, pupils and parents who helped make this event such a success.

At St Mark’s, the local Beavers, Cubs and Scouts joined us at the Hale war memorial and then walked up the hill for the Sunday service at which their standards were received by the church. The church itself was filled with Remembrance art created by the community, in part during the Sunday services leading up to November 11 and at Thursday morning art. There was also a prayer station which focused our minds on the individuals who had died in armed conflict, allowing us to reflect on the personal loss that war brings.

Afterwards Scouts, Cubs, Beavers and other guests joined the congregation for coffee and conversation, and a lot of biscuits!

 

 

 

Remembrance Sunday

This year’s Remembrance Sunday is particularly poignant, as it falls exactly 100 years to the day on which World War One ended.

Although none of the veterans who served in that war – the ‘war to end all wars’ – are now alive, the horror and the sacrifices continue to resonate, something that has been obvious in the community commemorations that have been taking place and will take place this weekend. Remembrance Sunday also commemorates those who have died and suffered in subsequent wars, right up to today where wars continue to destroy people, their homes and communities.

Over the last few days we have held community commemorations at both St John’s and St George’s, where children from local schools and others from the area have contributed poetry and art, and the churches remain full of these contributions. At St Mark’s, the church has been decorated with red and white poppies created by the community there.

Alan also rededicated the war memorial in Weybourne this week, accompanied by representatives from local schools, the Royal British Legion, the Mayor of Farnham and members of 4th Battalion The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment.

This Sunday we are holding the following services of Remembrance:

In Hale, the 9.30am service at St John’s will be followed by a gathering at 10.45am at the War Memorial, and there will be an 11.15am service at St Mark’s with prayer stations on the theme of peace.

In Badshot Lea, the 10am shortened service at St George’s will be followed by a gathering at 10.50am at the War Memorial. There will then be a service for all ages at 11.30am.

In Weybourne, a service at 4pm at the War Memorial will be followed by refreshments in the Village Hall.

Please do join us at any of these events.

Community Remembrance events

November 7 and 8
As we approach Remembrance Sunday, we are holding two community remembrance events to which everyone is invited.

On Wednesday (November 7) at 7pm, St John’s will be hosting an community remembrance event which will include performances of songs and poems by William Cobbett School and a combined parish choir.

Then on Thursday (8th) at 3pm, St George’s will be hosting a community remembrance event. This time there will be performances of songs and poems by Badshot Lea Infant School and a combined parish choir.

At both of these, there will be an art exhibition and poetry displayed. Please get involved by submitting poems and art around the theme of Remembrance and by coming along to share hospitality with the community.

 

 

 

Picture by Pierre Best, Unsplash