All posts by Stella Wiseman

I am the parish administrator and communications officer, a former journalist and now a deacon in the parish.

The Farnham Poetry Competition is back and full of hope

The Farnham Poetry Competition 2023 has now opened and this year the theme is hope.

There is a children’s competition, open to under-16s, and an adult one, and entrants are asked to write a poem on the theme of hope – what gives them hope, what hope is, where we might find it, anything about hope. 

Poems should be sent by email to poetry@badshotleaandhale.org or by post to Farnham Poetry Competition, St Mark’s Church, Alma Lane, Farnham, GU9 0LT, to arrive by 5pm on Friday, February 24.

 The competition is being run by the parish and is part of the Farnham Literary Festival which is being held across Farnham between March 3 and 12.

The children’s poetry competition is being judged by poet Coral Rumble and the adult one by poet Ellora Sutton.  The competition is free to enter and there will be prizes for the first prize-winners and runners-up in both categories. The winners will be announced at the poetry final evening on Saturday, March 11, at St Mark’s Church at 5pm, when there will also be an open mic for anyone to share their poetry, and the two judges will also perform their work.

Stella Wiseman, who is organising the competition on behalf of the Literary Festival, said: “We are living through extraordinarily difficult times at the moment and sometimes we can feel pretty hopeless. But there is hope around us and within us and this competition is an opportunity to explore where we might find it, what gives us hope, how we share that hope, really anything about hope.

“Last year, the poetry competition really showed the breadth of talent, ideas and sheer joy to be found in people and their writing and we really hope that this year will be the same. Please do have a go, and just enjoy yourselves writing.

“And once again we are delighted to have Coral Rumble and Ellora Sutton on board to judge the competition. They are both inspiring poets and we are honoured that they are taking part.”

Coral Rumble (left) and Ellora Sutton

Ellora Sutton is a Hampshire-based poet and museum person. She is the Creative Engagement Officer at Jane Austen’s House, and has been the Poet-in-Residence at both Jane Austen’s House and Petersfield Museum. Her work has been published in The Poetry Review, The North, bath magg, and Popshot, among others, and she reviews poetry for Mslexia. Her latest pamphlet, Antonyms for Burial, was published in 2022 by Fourteen Poems and is the Poetry Book Society‘s Spring 2023 Pamphlet Choice. She tweets @ellora_sutton, or you can find her at ellorasutton.com

Coral Rumble is a popular, award-winning poet, with five poetry collections, plus 170+ anthology contributions. The Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat (picture book) was longlisted for Oscar’s Book Prize Award.

Coral won the Caterpillar Poetry Prize, 2018. Her collections have been promoted by education magazines and shortlisted for awards. Her verse novel, Little Light (2021) was a recommendation for National Poetry Day 2021, and was a chosen text for Empathy Day 2022. It has also been longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2023. Her debut novel, Jakub’s Otter will be published in 2023.

Entrants should state whether they are entering the adult or under-16 category. Adults with particular educational needs may enter the under-16s category (call 07842761919 or email for further information). 

The judges’ decisions are final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Coffee Artz – so good we’re doing it twice!

Coffee Artz at St Mark’s – a morning of coffee, cake, chat and artistic endeavour (no skill or experience needed) – is expanding. It will now be on the third Thursday of the month as well as the first Thursday, so is on this week (19th) from 10.30am to 12pm at St Mark’s, Alma Lane.

This week the group will be exploring colourful ways of using paints and fabrics to create unique items and a group Coronation collage. They will also be eating cake, drinking coffee and tea, and socialising.

Everyone is welcome – just turn up!

Snowman Drive

We’ve not seen much of the snow, but you can still create a snowman or two at our Snowman Drive at St George’s on January 14th, 6pm-9pm.

This is a seasonal variation on a beetle drive and is a fun way to cheer up a dark winter evening. Create your snowman by rolling a die, then move move from table to table.

Bring your own snacks and drinks. If you want a fish and chip supper this will be available for £10 but you must book ahead for this. Please also let us know if you are coming even if you don’t want supper as this will help us judge numbers. Contact Maxine on maxine.everitt@badshotleaandhale.org or 01252 318135.

Picture by Adriaan Greyling on Pexels.com

Advent Reflections

We are approaching the end of Advent and the time is drawing near when we will greet God in human form – Jesus, born into poverty in an occupied land, part of a family forced to flee as refugees into another country, a baby who grew up to offer us the light of God’s love then, now and through all time.

Craig Nobbs, Licensed Lay Minister in the parish, has created a series of Advent Reflections which you can listen to here.

Christmas services

Here are all our Christmas services over the next few weeks. Please do join us whenever you can.

If you are not familiar with church services, don’t worry. There are easy-to-follow service booklets or the words are all on a screen (at St Mark’s), and please don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions.

Please do make yourself known to the vicar and other members of the congregation and please be assured, you are most welcome, whatever your beliefs.

Come and join us at any of our Christmas services.

Christmas at St Mark’s

Friday 9th Dec at 6pm – Carols by Candlelight
Sunday 11th Dec at 11am – Christingle Service
Wednesday 21st Dec at 6pm – Longest night (when Christmas hurts)
Saturday 24th Dec at 5.30pm – Crib Service (especially for youngsters, come dressed as your favourite nativity character)
Sunday 25th Dec at 11am – Christmas Communion Service for all ages

Christmas at St John’s

Sunday 4th Dec at 4pm – Seekers Carol Service (Family-friendly carol service)
Sunday 11th Dec at 6pm – Candlelight Carol Service
Saturday 24th Dec at 3pm – Crib Service (especially for youngsters, come dressed as your favourite nativity character)
Saturday 24th Dec at 11.30pm – Midnight Mass
Sunday 25th Dec at 9.30am – Christmas Communion Service for all ages

Christmas at St George’s

Sunday 18th Dec at 6pm – Candlelit Carol Service
Tuesday 20th Dec at 6pm – Carol Singing under the lit tree at St George’s (inside if wet)
Saturday 24th Dec at 3pm – Crib Service for Toddlers
Saturday 24th Dec at 5.30pm – Crib and Christingle Service for all ages
Saturday 24th Dec at 11.30pm – Midnight Mass
Sunday 25th Dec at 10am – Christmas Communion Service for all ages

Your Christmas and New Year magazine is here

The December and January magazine is out now, bringing you up-to-date with news and events in the parish, plus seasonal reflections and prayer, sources of help over the winter, and information on local groups and businesses.

There is a list of services over Christmas – please do join us – the background to Epiphany, Christingles, a Snowman Drive, events and lots more. Click on the link to download it below.

And don’t forget to let us have your news and articles. This is your magazine!

Wishing you a joyful Christmas and a blessed 2023.

Create an Advent Wreath

Family service, with carols, for all ages – December 4th, 4pm

Come to our family service on Sunday, December 4th at 4pm at St John’s, and help us create an Advent wreath, and sing Christmas carols.

All ages are welcome at the service – not just families with children – and we need your help to create the wreath. There will be carols and prayers and it will be followed by sandwiches and cakes (see the picture below…)

Advent Reflections

This Advent, Craig Nobbs, an LLM in the parish, is running a series of Advent Reflections, starting with a Quiet Morning on Saturday, November 26th, from 9am until noon in the Sumner Room at St John’s, and continuing with drop-in sessions at St George’s on Thursdays in Advent from 6.30-8pm.

The Quiet Morning will start with a short act of morning prayer, followed by two or three short readings and reflections, plus time to stop and listen. You can slip in and out quietly if you can’t be there for the whole time.

On the Thursday evenings Craig will be in St George’s Church from 6.30-8pm and will offer an Advent Quiet Time interspersed with prayers and readings every 15 minutes or so. This makes it possible to come even if for a short time, and leave when you wish.

Craig says: “It’s healthy to take time out to stop and think about what Advent might reveal to us as individuals and potentially, as a church. Advent can be about listening and waiting for God to show something of himself to us, however brief. So, how do we wait for God? I’m providing some opportunities to help you take time out and hopefully rediscover how we begin to do so in what are busy times.”

If you want to know more, please email Craig llm.craig@badshotleaandhale.org.

Christmas Craft Market with Father Christmas

Come to our Christmas Craft Market this Saturday, November 19th, 10am-2pm, at St Mark’s.

Lots of amazing handmade gifts and cards for Christmas and a chance for children to meet Father Christmas. Plus there is a lucky dip. Win a prize! Live music, free entry, refreshments, and a lovely atmosphere.

Huge thanks to the lovely Magikats in Farnham for sponsoring us. They provide tutoring for children and teenagers in Farnham and are at St George’s every Tuesday afternoon. Check them out.

See you there!

A warm hub in Badshot Lea

Keep warm this winter.

St George’s in Badshot Lea will be open on Monday afternoons from 7th November from 2-6pm as a Warm Hub – one of a network of Warm Hubs across Surrey. You can pop inside and get warmed up with a cup of tea or coffee, some cake, and stay a while with a book, puzzle, game or magazine.

St George’s is one of a number of Warm Hubs in Surrey supported by Surrey County Council. To see the list, visit surreycc.gov.uk/warmhubs (please note the Surrey list says The Rectory, St George’s Road. It’s in fact in the church hall – entrance next to the Working Men’s Club).