All posts by Lesley Crawley

I am a priest in the Guildford Diocese, I am particularly interested in inclusivity for all in the church and clergy wellbeing. I became a Christian when I was 14 which was a shock because I previously scoffed at all faith, spirituality and religion. I have a bachelors degree and doctorate in Engineering. I have worked in Engineering Management, Research Science and have been a University Lecturer in Engineering. I am married and have three sons, four step-daughters and a grandson. My favourite place is Southwold and spend as much time as I can there, I enjoy walking and sitting in coffee shops, I also play Bridge. I love psychology, I am fascinated by people and what makes us thrive.

Caravan Jazz Videos

Did you miss the opportunity to see the Caravan Jazz event on May 4th, when Wendy Edwards and the Teddy’s Café Bar Jazzmen played music and told stories from the life of Ted and Jean Parratt, Wendy’s parents?  Fear not, it can be seen by clicking the below links, videos thanks to Seamus Flanagan. The evening raised money for the Kitty Milroy murals, at St Mark’s Church, Upper Hale:

Part 1

Part 2

Featured are Michael Atkinson R.I.P. bass guitar/ukelele, Kendall Gordon – keyboard, Hugh Lister- clarinet, David Mason-trumpet, Geoff Rideout-guitar, Roger Sinclair- keyboard, Wendy Edwards- vocals, Melissa Heathcote-vocals, Mike Twiddy-vocals and Frances Whewell-piano

If you would like to donate to the Murals fund then please click on the icon below.

Consecration of St John’s, Hale

In this 175th anniversary year many new and interesting documents telling the story of St John’s have been found. Below is a press cutting, thanks to Bob Skinner, telling of the consecration of St John’s on 8th November, 1844:

18441116 Hampshire Advertiser p. 4 Consecration of St Johns Church 8 Nov 1844.

In addition, our church architect has found some plans. Below is the original plan of the church and then the plan of the extended church in 1897 (you can read the appeal for fundraising for the extension here):

1842 to 44 Original Plan1861 Extension Plan

There was a dedication service at St John’s, after the extension and thanks again to Bob Skinner, the cutting is here (it is difficult to read so I have also typed out the words):

Surrey Advertiser 24 February 1897 p7

The chancel of the parish church of St. John, which has been enlarged and improved as a jubilee thankoffering was re-opened by the Bishop of Winchester at a special service on Saturday afternoon. The work was commenced in November 1894, and completed at the end of last month. The chancel has been extended towards the nave, and an iron screen on a low kerb wall has been placed at the entrance. Permanent choir seats and clergy desks have been provided in oak in the increased space, and the pulpit and lectern have been removed to the nave. The renovation in the chancel also consists of a mosaic reredos. The new transept has been erected over the tomb of Bishop Sumner, who was interred with his wife on the south side of the chancel in 1874. The organ has been placed in the transept, the opening to which on the east side is near the altar rails. The super-altar was on Saturday adorned with vases of white flowers. A very large congregation had assembled for the dedication. The service was opened with the singing by the choir of the 84th Psalm as the Bishop and clergy entered the church from the vestry and proceeded to the chancel.  His lordship was attended by the Rector of Farnham (the Rev. C. H. Simpkinson), and the Rev. C. E. Hoyle (chaplains), and the following clergy: Revs W. H. Moody, R. D. (Frensham), G. E. Hitchcock (Hale), G. J. C. Sumner (rector of Seale), R. J. S. Gill (vicar of Aldershot), J. De Verd Leigh (incumbent Holy Trinity, Aldershot), J. D. Henderson and E. D. Finch-Smith (Farnham), J. W. Pickance, A. E. Algar, and G. Bentham (Aldershot), and South Phillips (Hale). Coral evensong was conducted by the Vicar of the parish and the Rev. A. South Phillips, Tallis’ music being used for the responses. The special Psalms were the 24th and 150th. The Rev. C. H. Simpkinson read the first lesson and the Rural Dean the second. Following the singing of the anthem, “Break forth into joy,” by Nimper, the Bishop said the special prayers of dedication. His lordship preached from the text St. John c.10. v. 22. He said it was not merely an accident when they used the word dedication in association with the fact of their service that day. There was a close association with the ceremony which took place where our Lord was as described in the text and with that in which they were then engaged. They were that day not merely commemorating the building of a large place, but were taking part in a service to show that it should be beautified and made appropriate for divine worship and best fitted for the great end for which it was set up. They were that day offering afresh to God a church more worthy for the ministers and those who worshipped. A church like that in a parish which was likely to become populous must bring the solemn thought that in ages ahead men, women and little children would come there and would remember that others had obtained help in their daily life in the years before. He trusted that he and they might be making a difference for those who were yet unborn and who in the ages far ahead would come to worship within those walls. The offertory, and also that on Sunday, were in aid of the building fund. Mr E Caesar, who presided at the organ, played a march by Theo Bonheur at the close of the service.

The painter of the beautiful picture above of St John’s when it was first built is not known.

BCP Evensong and Taizé are here to stay

We trialled two new services for the last six months, each were monthly on Sunday evenings:

  • BCP Said Evensong at St George’s at 5pm and
  • Taizé at St John’s at 6pm.

Both proved popular with about 7-11 people enjoying the stillness, so they are now going to be part of our regular service pattern. In addition, both congregations asked that they might occur more frequently. So this is the new pattern:

1st Sunday – Taize at St John’s at 6pm

2nd Sunday – BCP Evening Prayer at St George’s at 5pm

3rd Sunday – Taize at St John’s at 6pm

4th Sunday – BCP Evening Prayer at St George’s at 5pm

5th Sunday – no service

Also, some people have expressed a desire for us to say BCP Matins. This could be possible on a Wednesday or Thursday morning once a month. If you would value this please get in contact with me.

Lesley Crawley

Pragmatism or Principle?

Recently there has been much discussion about the decision not to invite the spouses of gay bishops to the Lambeth conference – I think there is a reasonably fair post from a more conservative perspective here.

A lot of this has focused on the apparent inconsistency of inviting the bishops, but not their spouses, and the majority of views that I have seen have either expressed the view that if you are inviting the bishops you should invite the spouses as if it is wrong to invite the spouses it is wrong to invite the bishops, or that if you aren’t inviting the spouses you shouldn’t invite the bishops for a similar reason.  Both then rail against the decision because it is placing pragmatism above principle (the Archbishop of Canterbury apparently having told one of these bishops that if their spouse were invited there would be no Lambeth conference).

What I wish to look at in this blog post is the assumption that Christianity is about holding a principled position on this issue or that.  The two great commandments:

‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Matthew 22:37-40

and numerous other quotes suggest that the most important thing about Christianity is love; love for God, love for neighbour, love for enemy.

If instead of assuming that we have to hold onto a principled position – and that our principle is more important than someone else, whose principled position leads them to the opposite conclusion, both then requiring those in authority to decide who is right – we assume that we have to love one another where does that lead us?

I have long thought that the 10 commandments, or the 613 laws of the Torah, are far easier to keep (ho ho) than the two great commandments because they are so black and white, and allow for little need of interpretation; whereas the two great commandments can leave lots of scope for ambiguity, and debate as to who has got it right.

I for one would have more sympathy for the decision if I thought that it came from the wrestling with the two Great Commandments, than if I thought it was a purely pragmatic attempt to get as many bishops to Lambeth as possible – even if the answer were the same!

Please help us find the relatives of these people buried at St John’s, Hale

Some of the gravestones in St John’s churchyard have become very unsafe and we are worried that someone might be hurt as a result. The maintenance of gravestones is the responsibility of the families of the loved ones, however, if we are worried about them from a safety point of view we have the right to lay the stones flat. We don’t really want to do this and so we urgently would like to contact the relatives of the following people as we believe that their gravestones fall into this category.  If it is you, or you know who they might be please would you let me know?

Ethel Matthews
Fredrick Lipscomb
Henry Tompkins
Harry Beaumont
George Cantwell
Wilfred Park
Eaustania Fagan
Jill Stares
Lotti Raynsford
Ivy Biddle
Charles Stent
Albert Woodhams
Frances Wilkinson
Samuel Bide

Thank-you so much

Lesley Crawley

St John’s Church is 175

Come to the 175th events:

Flower Festival
May 18th 10-4pm and May 19th 12-4pm. Entry £1, refreshments available.

Talk on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking
May 22nd 7pm
Bishop Charles Sumner, who founded our church was a relative of William Wilberforce and so I seems appropriate as part of the 175th anniversary celebrations that we look again at slavery. Modern day slavery and human trafficking is going on around us now and we need to have our eyes open to it and learn what we can do to combat it. Suzette Jones, the Diocesan Health & Wellbeing Adviser, will give a talk at St John’s to help us all understand what we can do.

Talk from Christopher Herbert on ‘Art, Architecture and Christianity in Victorian England’
June 5th at 7:30pm. Donations welcome, refreshments available.

Art and Craft Exhibition
June 22nd 10-4pm and June 23rd 12-4pm. Entry £1, refreshments available.

BIG Party entitled ‘Music in the Churchyard’     
July 20th 12-2pm. Free of charge for the whole community. There will be music, food and lots of cake. All are invited, please let us let us know that you are coming so we can get the catering right. Email

Afternoon Tea Singing and Reminiscing

Aug 3rd 3-5pm. Free of charge and open to all. There will be a cream tea and lots of opportunity to join in the singing.

Celebration service with Bishop Andrew presiding

Nov 24th  at 9:30. Please come and join the service, followed by our 175th birthday cake!

Please also write about what St John’s Church means to you in 175 words and email it to The writings will be published here so let us know whether you want it to remain anonymous.

Also – please complete our community survey by clicking here

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

Come to a Start! course

In October we are starting a Start! course… The course introduces Christianity through six DVD based interactive, small-group sessions. The Start! course makes no assumptions about participants’ background or experience or knowledge of Christianity or the church. It really does start from scratch.

Each session lasts about 90 minutes and is based around short, DVD programmes – two per session. There’s time to chat, interactive exercises and space for reflection – in a style that aims to be honest and enjoyable.

Come along and bring your friends. To find out more contact Lesley – 01252 820537,

Start A4 Poster.jpg