All posts by stellawiseman

Special atmosphere and Santa at SHIP party

Families from Sandy Hill met Santa Claus and showed off their dance moves at a party at St Mark’s on the Monday before Christmas (December 23).

The families, from the Sandy Hill Inclusive Partnership (SHIP), enjoyed a party which included table tennis, pool, art and craft, music and dance provided by the performing arts school Boogie Pumps, and, of course, a visit from Santa Claus who brought gifts for all the children and their parents too.

“It was a really special atmosphere,” said Francis from Boogie Pumps, who led the children in a dance session involving hoops, pom poms, baby sharks and a lot of energy and enthusiasm, while the general consensus among the families was that it was “awesome” and “we’ve been spoiled!”.

More than 100 presents were provided for the children following the annual Farnborough Business Park Christmas Gift Drive, collecting brand new toys, clothes, vouchers, make-up and jewellery for some young people. Members of St Mark’s, St John’s and St George’s churches had also donated enough presents for the SHIP adults to take home a bag of gifts each too.

A big thank-you to everyone who gave so generously, and to everyone who helped put on the party, including Waitrose who provided some of the food. It was great fun and a lovely start to Christmas. We are looking forward to other events with SHIP in the new year.

Celebrating on the way to Bethlehem

The villages of Badshot Lea, Hale and Weybourne were visited last Friday evening (December 20) by a host of angels, as well as a crowd of shepherds, sheep, kings, musicians, donkeys and a young couple in search of a place to rest and give birth to a baby.

They were all taking part in A Journey to Bethlehem, a re-enactment of the Christmas story in which two groups walked from St George’s and St Mark’s to St John’s, playing music and singing carols on the way. Along the two routes they met angels, shepherds, inn keepers and kings and followed a star – and two donkeys, kindly lent for the occasion by Folly Oak Donkeys – until they reached a stable constructed outside St John’s where baby Jesus was lying in a manger.

This was followed by a celebration in the church in which children recounted what they had seen on the journey and Cllr Alan Earwaker, Farnham’s Deputy Mayor, joined everyone in singing carols and playing the kazoo, before the evening ended with prayers, hot chocolate, mulled wine and mince pies.

“This was the first time we had tried A Journey to Bethlehem and what a wonderful celebration it was!” said Lesley Crawley. “It was lovely to see children and adults alike dressed up as some of the characters we read about in the Bible at Christmas, and to see everyone having such a joyful time. We are living in an age of division and anxiety and the story of God coming to earth in the form of a child, born into poverty in an occupied country, is one that can bring us hope and light. We wish everyone that hope and light this Christmas.”

Hangnail – a human issue

Many thanks again to the fantastic group of University for the Creative Arts students who were filming downstairs in the St Mark’s Community Centre earlier this month.

The film, Hangnail, examines that very human issue insecurity and deals with Toby (played by Julian Salmon), a man on a date whose anxiety and fear of failure take him over to the point when he literally tears himself apart. We caught up with Location Manager Izzie Gough after the end of the filming to ask her more about the production.

“George Lowe, who wrote and directed the film, saw it as a metaphor for the breakdown of a person,” she said. “It’s rather gross with all the special effects – fake blood etc – but it is a way to look at insecurity.”

The film is a ‘B Project’ – a five-minute film which UCA Film students create in their final year at the university, prior to producing a final graduation film. “The B Project films tend to be our passions because we can do more than one role and we have more freedom. They are also usually have smaller crews than the graduation films but this one had a lot of interest and the crew is large.”

As well as Izzie, Julian and George, Hangnail has been put together by Dylan Stevens (colour grader and extra); Stefan Gutierres-Yildirim (first assistant director); Josh Matthews (editor/continuity); Steve Adams (sound); Magdelana Rak (director of photography); Hannah Clayforth (first assistant camera); Katie Puddifoot (gaffer); Erin Morgan (grip); Olivia Loader (special effects); Callum Marshall (costume); Cristina Iorgulescu (prop/art department); Nicola Rhodes (production designer); Mariya Lilova (producer);

Izzie added: “Thank you for all your help and hospitality with the film. I know it’s a weird one and the content may have been questionable to the Church [no – it’s about humanity and our weaknesses, so right up our street!] –  it is great that the parish is open and accepting. I really think that your openness to our film and the set dressing made the difference between us being able to make a ‘student’ film and us being able to make a great one!”

It has been our pleasure (and the downstairs cloakroom looks better than it did before!). The film will be out next year and we look forward – with some trepidation because of the fake blood and guts! – to seeing it.

Pictured above: Julian Salmon being filmed by Magdelana Rak; Magdelana Rak (holding camera) and Hannah Clayforth; It’s not real blood, honest – Callum Marshall.

When Christmas hurts

Christmas is not always a time of joy and peace. There are years when you cannot celebrate, when grief, exhaustion, depression, anxiety, illness, or other life events mean that the season seems dark or empty. Sometimes it may simply be that the commercialism and busyness of Christmas is too much.

Join us then for The Longest Night – a service for when Christmas hurts, at St John’s Church, Hale Road, GU9 9AB, on Wednesday, December 18, at 7.30pm.

This simple service gives time for peace and reflection and offers words of comfort and support for those dealing with grief and hardship.

Everyone is welcome, whatever their beliefs.

Picture by Anne Nygard on Unsplash

 

Christmas celebrations!

Christmas is really getting going here in Badshot Lea and Hale. There were not one, not two but three carol services at the weekend (with help from Badshot Lea Village Infant School and William Cobbett Primary School) as well as our Christmas Carol Extravaganza on Emily the organ plus lunch on Saturday; Post19 holding a Christmas concert at St John’s last week, and Tootsiesthere today.

Tonight there are carols at the Hale Institute at 6.30pm. We will welcome William Cobbett School and Farnham Heath End School to St John’s at the end of the week and of course there is the Worship for All Carol Service this Sunday at 11.30am at St George’s, are our Crib Services on Christmas Eve, Midnight Mass at each of the churches to see in Christmas and Christmas Day all-age services. Don’t forget Journey to Bethlehem on Friday, leaving St Mark’s and St George’s at 7pm and following the star and the donkeys all the way to St John’s. Dressing up as a Nativity character is optional but encouraged!

Tomorrow, if you need a time of quiet, or if celebrations leave you cold at the moment, we have The Longest Night at St John’s at 7.30pm. A service for those for whom Christmas hurts, or who just need a time of reflection.

All the details are here.

Have a blessed Christmas.

Pictured above and below are Christmas celebrations by Post19.

Post19 Christmas 2019 3

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:

 

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).