All posts by stellawiseman

Candlemas

Candlemas coming up. This is the annual Christian festival which takes place 40 days after Christmas and commemorates the time Jesus was presented in the Temple in Jerusalem. The story is told in Luke 2:22–38.

The official day is February 2, and some people leave their Christmas decorations up until then, but we are celebrating it on the Sunday before – January 31.

At St George’s there will be a Christingle – see here – and at St John’s and St Mark’s we shall be lighting candles which will be ready for you at the services. You can pick up a cardboard drip-shield at the churches this weekend, and we would like you to decorate it and bring it with you on January 31.

On the day, Lesley Shatwell will be preaching at both St John’s and St Mark’s and there will be pencils and a sheet of paper on seats ready for you to use. She says: “There will definitely be creative, congregational participation – and it may be good to remember that ‘Creativity is intelligence having fun’ as Albert Einstein said, because we are going to have fun and everyone’s intelligent”.

We are celebrating Candlemas here online too, looking at how we can share the light of Jesus with others. Please bring your own candle and you can make a drip shield using a paper plate or other white card. You can bring battery-operated candle if you prefer. There will be craft at the end where you can make a candle to remember Candlemas and its meaning.

How to make a drip shield

Cut the card into a circle, or a square, depending on your preference, then make two small slits in the shape of a cross in the middle of the card. One cross should be enough but you can make another cross at a 45 degree angle to the first one, as in the picture below.

As you push your candle through the hole that these make, the card should just grip the candle gently. You can see an example of this here: https://youtu.be/DGTYIJv2peM

Decorate your drip-shield and you are ready to go.

Why Candlemas?

Finally, why candles and why Candlemas? Candles are a symbol of light and hope and the festival comes half-way through the period between the Winter Solstice (December 21/22) and the Spring Equinox (around March 21), so heading towards spring but not yet there. In pre-Christian times there was a ‘festival of lights’ then and the church combined this with celebrating the presentation of Jesus in the Temple, using candles at the service and blessing candles for use in the year ahead.

Top picture by Nicola Fioravanti on Unsplash.

Christingle at St George’s

There will be a Christingle service at St George’s on January 31 at 10am.

Christingles are a tradition whereby the story of God’s love for the world, shown in Jesus Christ, is told using an orange, a candle, a red ribbon and dried fruits and/or sweets. Please join us – it’s all Covid-secure.

The word Christingle comes from the German word ‘Christkindl’, meaning ‘Little Christ Child’. You can find out more here.

Community Support

The Farnham Helpline 01252 745446 is open from 10am until 4pm for anyone who needs help because of Covid – shopping, prescriptions etc.

Also, if you need pastoral support please let a member of the clergy know. Alan and Lesley can be contacted on 01252 820537 or by emailing:
revd.alan@badshotleaandhale.org or 
revd.lesley@badshotleaandhale.org

You can also contact the church office:
07842 761919 or admin@badshotleaandhale.org

The NHS Volunteer Responders are active and available to support with collection of shopping and other essentials in all areas. You can call them for free on 0808 196 3646.

How can you help the Foodbank? They are generally well stocked up, but are always short of certain items which they highlight on their website. They also have posters of these specific requests at food collections points: Waitrose, Nationwide, Wine rack on Ridgeway and Co-op in Rowledge. 

The Hoppa Service is still running if people are in need of transport.

Hale Community Centre is staying open for reduced hours to carry on delivering the Community Fridge & Store and the Swap Shop. They are open Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 10am-12pm.

Brightwells Community Meals are running and have the capacity to accept more clients. You can get in touch with them on communitymeals@brightwellsgostry.org.  

These community meals can support those living alone, or in residential facilities, and provide a freshly cooked hot meal.

Picture by Jonathan Sanchez on Unsplash.

Lent

Next month we move into Lent which begins on Ash Wednesday, this year February 17.

Lent is that six-week period leading up to Easter, a time of reflection and prayer, a time when people often ‘give up’ something – chocolate, alcohol, social media etc – as a type of self-discipline and active reflection.

It is a solemn time but also a time of looking forward, moving from the barren darkness of winter to the new life and light of spring. This winter has been particularly dark as we have faced Covid-19 and all that this has meant, but there is hope that we are on a slow journey to light.

With this in mind our Lent observance will focus on looking forward and looking outwards, seeing how we can grow our ministry to our community.

There will be a sermon series in the three Sunday services at the churches plus the Wednesday service at St Mark’s, and in the online Sunday Morning service. This will start on February 21. The Lent groups will also be following this theme and will meet on Zoom. They will be on Tuesdays 2:30-4pm and Wednesdays 7:30-9pm.

The week before Alan will run a sessions to check that everyone can access the meetings. These sessions will be on Tuesday 16th at 2:30pm and 8:45pm – you are welcome to check you can get in at either session.

Please contact Alan on 01252 820537 or revd.alan@badshotleaandhale.org to tell him you are interested in coming to Lent Groups or to ask for help with accessing them.

Five year plan

Where will we be in five years?

The PCC is putting together a five-year plan to help us become stronger as a parish.

There are three strands to the plan:

  • Outreach – enabling our churches to be more accessible and relevant to our communities, and making sure we are engaged fully at the heart of our communities;
  • Youth – ensuring we engage with young people of all ages in our communities;
  • Finance – ensuring we have a strong financial base from which to minister.

Each year we will have targets to ensure we are on track and there will be groups set up to help guide these three strands. You will hear lots more about this and if you want to help out in these areas please let me know Lesley know on 01252 820537 or revd.lesley@badshotleaandhale.org.

Lockdown update

We are back into lockdown with schools closed to most children; restrictions on leaving our homes; all but essential shops closed; and other rules which are now law which you can find here.

However, churches can remain open for worship as long as they follow strict precautions such as social distancing, hand sanitizing, no mingling between households/bubbles, everyone of 11 and over wearing masks (unless exempt), and the parish is continuing to monitor the situation. We have increased the space between chairs where possible, have moved the altar at St Mark’s back to create more space and at St Mark’s will be bringing communion to people rather than expecting them to move around to take communion so that there is enough room for everyone.

However, no-one who feels uncomfortable about coming to church should feel any obligation to come and there are online services every week here.

Lesley explains the thinking behind this: “Churches offer comfort and support which is particularly important at a time when our mental health is under such strain. Moreover, the risk of catching Covid has been shown to be very low in UK churches and we have gone out or our way to ensure that we have mitigated any risks. We will continue to follow the guidelines and to ask our congregations to do the same.

“We also want churches to remain open for funerals. For many families, church funerals are important and we are also able to accommodate larger numbers than many crematoria – we can have up to 30 people – so enabling more people to experience this important aspect of grieving.

“Of course many of our congregations may not wish to come to church at the moment. We are continuing our services online as well as in church so those who have internet can join in. However, we are acutely aware of those people who do not have internet and cannot come to church and we are doing what we can to ensure that they are not isolated. We even have people ringing others up and playing the service through the phone as well as just having a general chat.”

Our services are at 9.30am at St John’s, 10am at St George’s and 11am at St Mark’s, and online services are here.

Support a neighbour

Have you got a few hours to spare? Could you help someone who needs company or assistance with practical tasks?

Farnham Neighbours’ Network, a new buddying initiative, aims to build sustainable friendship in Farnham, fostering neighbourliness, providing practical support and combating loneliness.

This local network is looking for volunteers: people with good listening skills and an hour or so to spare each week who are interested in getting to know someone new . In the current lockdown, the focus is on supporting people and combatting loneliness through social phone calls, which means you can safely volunteer from home.

In the longer term, volunteers will be needed to support others with learning how to use a new piece of technology; to do some light DIY and gardening; to go for walks and more, in line with the ambition to have a network which supports the needs and wishes of the town’s residents.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer or simply finding our more. click on the link here or email the coordinator Erin Beesley: erin.beesley@farnhammaltings.com

The FNN coordinator links volunteers up with a neighbour based on proximity, interests and the support they are happy to give. All volunteers receive a DBS check and will be given full support to ensure they feel confident and safe in volunteering.

Farnham Neighbours Network is run by Farnham Maltings in partnership with Farnham Town Council.

Picture by  Ave Calvar on Unsplash.

Have your voice heard over the future of Farnham

Join the online public meeting on January 6 at 6.30pm to discuss the Farnham Infrastructure Programme which aims to improve traffic and transport across the town and make Farnham a better and safer place to live.

It is very important that north Farnham residents have their say so that all parts of the town are improved. For instance, if the centre of Farnham is pedestrianised, what impact would that have on north Farnham?

There are details of some of the issues in a leaflet here:

If you are on Facebook please join the North Farnham Voice group (click here) and please sign up for the Zoom meeting on Wednesday – click here to do so.

There will also be Zoom hubs available. Contact Hale Community Centre or St Mark’s Church/St George’s Church.

Anyone who doesn’t want to or cannot participate via Zoom can email Catherine Powell, founder of North Farnham Voice, with ideas and/or solutions or can contact their local councillor – details of councillors can be found here.

Please join us and have your voice heard.

concert raises money for Macmillan Cancer Support

Charity fundraising has been a victim of Covid, but there have been ways to keep bringing in money as a concert at St John’s before Christmas (and before Tier 4) proved.

The Gazebo Quartet, made up of local professional musicians, hired the church on December 13 and put on a concert for an invited audience who could sit safely in bubbles and appreciate the music.

Judy Dudley from the quartet writes: “

“The players who constitute the Gazebo String Quartet would like to give a big thank you to St John’s, Church Hale for making it possible for us to perform our Christmas Concert in December 2020.

“Being local musicians who play for both amateur and professional events, we formed the quartet when playing together outside under a gazebo during the early Covid restrictions, hence the name!

“We presented an eclectic programme of popular music items from Neil Diamond to Gilbert and Sullivan followed by beautiful arrangements of Christmas Carols from a variety of European roots.

“St John’s Church has a very fine acoustic for an event like this which made playing there particularly satisfying for string players. We were so pleased to be able to donate £175.00 to Macmillan Cancer Care donated by our generous invited audience.”

Judy Dudley (violin), Zoe Marshall (violin), Pippa Cuckson (viola) and Lynda Trice (cello).