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).