Calendar meals – or how to raise money and irritate a teenager

You’ve heard of Calendar Girls? Well meet Calendar Meals. There’s a new charity calendar around raising money for the Parish of Badshot Lea and Hale and the charity Lupus UK, with each month showing a meal lovingly prepared by a mother for her son, and made into a picture – a face, an animal, a flower.

A sweet idea to encourage a child to eat you might think. No, because the child in question is 16 and rolls his eyes every time his mother dishes up a bit of food art, knowing full well that his she is winding him up and will post a picture of the latest meal on Facebook where it will garner admiring comments.

“You should make a calendar out of these”, was one comment. “Challenge accepted” came the reply and now, as Christmas approaches, the mother, Stella Wiseman, is selling the calendars to make some money for the parish and for Lupus UK. Her son, Robbie Eggleton, continues to roll his eyes.

Stella says: “All the profits are going to the parish and to Lupus UK, a charity which supports people living with Lupus, an incurable autoimmune disease which causes the immune system to produce too many antibodies. My best friend has it and anything that can help support her and teach more people about the disease has got to be good. I’d also like to raise money for the parish to support the work we do in the community.

“Another added benefit is that the calendar simultaneously makes people laugh and the longsuffering Robbie roll his eyes.”

There are two sizes of calendar – 16 x 21cm and 21 x 28cm and they sell for £13 and £15 respectively, including postage and packaging.

So if you fancy eccentric food art to brighten up 2020 and want to support two worthy causes, email admin@badshotleaandhale.org or call 07842 761919 and let us know what size you would like.

Here’s a taster:

 

Advent 2

Matthew 3:1-12

This Sunday we remember the Prophets, and the thing about John the Baptist is that there hasn’t been a prophet in Israel for 400 years.  The passage is full of symbolism, a lot of which we won’t naturally understand

John dresses in the same way as Elijah (2 Kings 1:8)  – and the old prophets (Malachi 4:5) say that Elijah will come before the Messiah.

He (mis)quotes Isaiah: A voice cries out: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

In pre Roman times most roads were not made up – the only roads that were made up were for the King to use – so the passage is equating the Lord with the King – the Messiah.

At the heart of the passage is a call to repentance, and a call to trusting in God’s grace.  Jewish faith believed in repentance as the way (back) to God.  There were nine norms of repentance:

  1. Wash
  2. Make yourself clean
  3. remove evil doings from God’s sight
  4. Cease to do evil
  5. Do good
  6. Seek justice
  7. Rescue the oppressed
  8. Defend the orphan
  9. Plead for the widow

The latter three of these being a constant refrain – to care for the alien, the orphan and the widow – perhaps something to contemplate in the forthcoming election!

The condemnation of the Pharisees and Sadducees comes because they believe that keeping the law is what is required, and that being children of Abraham guarantees that they will be right with God – not repentance.  In Aramaic the words for children and stones are similar, and so John is using word play to attack them.

Finally we come to the axe at the foot of the tree and the winnowing fork.  Those of us who lean towards a loving God struggle with these images – but they only apply to those who do not repent, and repentance can happen at any time.  However, I would want to argue that the sooner we repent the better – life is better lived in the light of repentance than it is otherwise and life lived without repentance is already a form of hell!

Where are you on the journey of repentance?

 

It’s Christmas!

This Christmas the three churches – St George’s, Badshot Lea; St John’s, Hale; and St Mark’s, Upper Hale – have a range of services and we sincerely hope that there will be something that will suit everyone:

St George’s

Sunday, December 15, 6pm.
Carols by Candlelight.

Friday, December 20, 7pm.
A Journey to Bethlehem.

Sunday, December 22, 11.30am.
Worship for All Carol Service.

Tuesday, December 24, 3pm.
Crib Service for Toddlers.

Tuesday, December 24, 5.30pm.
Crib Service for all ages.

Tuesday, December 24, 11pm.
Midnight Mass.

Wednesday, December 25, 10am.
All-age Christmas service.

St John’s

Sunday, December 15, 4pm.
Nine lessons and carols by Candlelight.

Wednesday, December 18, 7.30pm.
The Longest Night – when Christmas hurts.

Friday, December 20, 8pm.
A Journey to Bethlehem Service.

Tuesday, December 24, 3pm.
Crib Service (especially for children – come dressed as your favourite Nativity character).

Tuesday, December 24, 11pm.
Midnight Mass.

Wednesday, December 25, 9.30am.
All-age Christmas service.

St Mark’s

Friday, December 13, 7pm.
Informal carols by Candlelight.

Friday, December 20, 7pm.
A Journey to Bethlehem.
.
Tuesday, December 24, 5.30pm.
Crib Service (especially for children – come dressed as your favourite Nativity character).

Tuesday, December 24, 11.30pm.
Midnight Mass.

Wednesday, December 25, 11am.
All-age Christmas service.

 

Emily’s extravaganza

Emily the Edwardian organ will take centre stage in a ‘Christmas Carol Extravaganza’ concert at St Mark’s, Hale, on Saturday, December 14 at 11am, thanks to the generosity of many local people.

Carols as you have never heard them before will be played on this much-loved organ, which has been renovated following a fundraising appeal. Anyone who donated at least £10 to restore Emily has been invited to the concert which will be followed by a free lunch. However, some tickets are still available at the door – just come along at 11am on December 14 for a festive concert plus lunch.

Emily the organ is named after local benefactor Emily Mangles who left money for it to be installed in St Mark’s Church in 1912. Over the years the organ had begun to deteriorate and an appeal was launched to restore it. An initial £23,000 was raised for the restoration work but when this took place in the summer, some further problems emerged costing a further £2,000. An appeal was launched and many people responded generously.

Lesley Crawley says: “Thank you everyone who has given money to restore this lovely organ which means so much not just to the church but to local villagers past and present. And do come and join us to celebrate the restoration at our Christmas Carol Extravaganza on December 14. I know you are in for a treat as some very skilled organists show just how versatile and fun organ music can be.”

The Christmas Carol Extravaganza and lunch will take place at St Mark’s Church, Alma Lane, Hale, GU9 0LT, from 11am. Please bring donations to the church or you can also give online at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/help-emily-the-organ

 

Light in the darkness

Richard Rohr, spiritual writer and Franciscan friar, writes a daily blog which is shared worldwide. At the moment he is talking about darkness, particularly apposite not just because of winter and our waiting in Advent for the light of the world, but because we are living through dark, divisive times. Perhaps we always have. The message of light in the darkness echoes through the ages.

Here is what he has written today:

‘The darkness of this world will never totally go away. I’ve lived long enough and offered spiritual direction enough to know that darkness isn’t going to disappear, but that, as John’s Gospel says, “the light shines on inside of the darkness, and the darkness will not overcome it” (1:5). This is our own belief in paradox and mystery, the Christian form of yin/yang.

‘We must all hope and work to eliminate suffering, especially in many of the great social issues of our time. We work to eliminate world hunger. We strive to stop wasting the earth’s resources. We peacefully fight to end violence. We don’t ignore or capitulate to suffering, yet we must allow it to transform us and the world. Suffering often shapes and teaches us and precedes most significant resurrections.

‘The power of suffering is surely our creative and courageous relationship to it. Most of us have not been given the “winnowing fan” of discernment that John the Baptist ascribes to Jesus (see Matthew 3:12). For the most part, hard and fast laws are not a winnowing fan. Laws rush us to judgment instead of the slow sifting of prayer, context, and motivation. The most common way to release our inner tension is to cease calling evil what it is and to pretend it is actually not that bad. Another way to release our inner tension is to stand angrily, obsessively against evil—but then we become a cynic and unbeliever ourselves. Everyone can usually see this but us!

‘Christian wisdom names the darkness as darkness and the Light as light and helps us learn how to live and work in the Light so that the darkness does not overcome us. If we have a pie-in-the-sky, everything is beautiful attitude, we are going to be trapped by the darkness because we don’t see clearly enough to separate the wheat from the chaff. Conversely, if we can only see the darkness and forget the more foundational Light, we will be destroyed by our own negativity and fanaticism, or we will naively think we are completely apart and above the darkness. Instead, we must wait and work with hope inside of the darkness, even our own—while never doubting the light that God always is, and that we are too (Matthew 5:14). That is the narrow birth canal of God into the world—through the darkness and into an ever-greater Light. It seems we must all let go of our false innocence to find that “God alone is good” (Mark 10:18).’

To find out more and to sign up to Richard Rohr’s meditations, visit the Centre for Action and Contemplation, cac.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

false innocence to find that “God alone is good” (Mark 10:18).

Pray Your Way this Advent

Find out how to Pray Your Way with our Advent series on Tuesday evening this month.

The series of three sessions is deigned to give new insights into ways of praying.

The first, on Tuesday, December 3, at 7.30pm, is “Unlocking Prayer”: a practical introduction to a method of theological reflection which can shine a light on puzzling things in our lives, and will be led by Lesley Shatwell.

On December 10, Craig Nobbs will lead “Holy Reading”: The contemplative monastic discipline of Lectio Divina, showing how this practice can dovetail into everyday life.

On December 17, Stella Wiseman will help you to “Write yourself into the story …” Taking a passage from the Bible you can learn how to think yourself into a story.

Each session will start at 7.30pm and will take place at Lesley Shatwell’s home in Badshot Lea. For details, contact Lesley on 01252 314703 or llm.lesley@badshotleaandhale.org or email the parish office.

Celebrating Christingle

Advent has begun, and what better way to begin it at St Mark’s than with a Christingle service?

The idea of the Christingle – where the story of God’s love and care for the world is told through the symbols of an orange, red ribbon, fruit and sweets and a candle – goes back almost 275 years to a church in Germany. These days it is usually associated with The Children’s Society which exists to help children suffering from poverty, neglect and danger in the UK.

Children and adults joined in to make their Christingles at St Mark’s on Advent Sunday and sang the Christingle song which reminds us that the orange represents the world, the red ribbon 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 were special prayers too, including this one:

We pray for children growing up in families struggling to make ends meet.

Lord Jesus, it hurts to think about this. Part of us would rather not. We’d rather look away. Help us to reach out, and come alongside them. We thank you for the Christingle and the ribbon that represents your loving sacrifice, wrapping itself around the world.

We ask you to wrap your loving arms around each child in need today. Be close to each one who doesn’t have enough of the basic things they need, who is avoiding telling a parent or carer to avoid causing more stress; or who is frightened of what might happen or of people finding out how hard things are at home.

We ask you to keep opening our eyes to see them and help them, directly in our communities, and through the work of The Children’s Society throughout our country.

Come, Lord Jesus,

Hear our prayer.

For more on The Children’s Society, visit www.childrenssociety.org.uk/