All posts by stellawiseman

Moon finds resting place in Hale

A Hale woman who was used as a model for one of the murals in St Mark’s Church has found her final resting place back in the village.

Joyce Helen Taman, née Eglington, whose ashes were interred in Hale Cemetery on April 5, was born in 1926, and was the model for the figure of Moon when one part of the murals was renovated and repainted in 1946.

Joyce was the youngest of three children and grew up in Vicarage Lane in Hale. She was educated at Hale School where she excelled at maths, and on leaving at the age of 14 was employed in the accounts department at Kinghams, a grocery distribution warehouse in Farnham’s West Street. She married Alexander Mitchell, a member of the military police based at the prisoner-of-war camp in Crookham village whom she met at a dance.

It is not clear how she was chosen to be the model for Moon, but she was always very proud of what she jokingly called her ‘muriel’. By the 1940s, some of the murals which had been painted by Kitty Milroy between 1911 and 1920 required renovation. A fundraising appeal was launched after Easter 1946 and among the fundraisers was the well-known soprano Joan Coxon who put on a concert which raised more than £13, around £500 in today’s money.

The paintings which needed restoring were to the left of the altar where damp had affected them and local painter Evelyn Caesar carried out the restoration, choosing Joyce to sit for Moon. Next to Moon is ‘Clouds’, a male figure, and his identity is still a mystery, as are the identities of many of the figures whom Kitty Milroy painted.

Moon was identified by two of Joyce’s daughters, Jeannette and Wendy-Rae, who came into the church last year while on a nostalgic trip around the area where they grew up. Joyce and Alexander (Alec) settled in Folly Lane North and brought up four children who attended St Mark’s and two even sang in the choir, beneath the picture of their mother.

In later life Joyce remarried and moved to the Midlands and in January this year died in Bournedale House care home in Birmingham at the age of 92. The family and friends returned to St Mark’s this month to celebrate Joyce’s life and her ashes were interred in the cemetery close to others in her family. At the service to celebrate her life, her son-in-law Roger stood beneath the picture of Joyce as Moon and played Blue Moon on his saxophone, a fitting tribute to a much-loved Hale lady.

If anyone has any information on who ‘Clouds’ might be, or any of the other figures in the murals please let us know. You can contact us here or email news@badshotleaandhale.org

Pictured top is Joyce Eglington on her 21st birthday, shortly after she was the model for Moon.

 

Moon

Moon, modelled by Joyce Eglington.

Clouds

Who is Clouds?

A confirmed time of joy

Easter Eve, the evening of the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, is a time of waiting, a time of joyous anticipation of the Sunday that is to come, of the message of hope, love and light that Easter brings.

For two members of our parish this Easter Eve was particularly special. Lymara Procter and Peter Davies were confirmed with 16 others from the Diocese of Guildford at a service in Guildford Cathedral.

It was, as Peter said afterwards, a wonderful evening, when Peter and Lymara affirmed their faith in God, confirming the promises made at their baptisms, and committing themselves to following Jesus Christ.

Both Bishop Jo, Bishop of Dorking, and Bishop Andrew, Bishop of Guildford, led the service and it was Bishop Andrew who confirmed Peter and Lymara, saying to each that God had called them by name and laying his hands on their heads asking God to confirm them with the Holy Spirit. Then all the candidates were greeted with applause and the words, said by the whole congregation: “We welcome you in the fellowship of faith; we are children of the same heavenly Father; we welcome you”.

It was a service of welcome, of joy, of sharing (we all shared communion after the confirmation), and of expectation – expectation of the hope of Easter and of the continuing journey that Peter, Lymara and all of us will take as we seek to follow Jesus Christ.

Anyone who would like to find out about confirmation should contact Alan or Lesley Crawley on 01252 820537 or revd.lesley@badshotleaandhale.org or revd.alan@badshotleaandhale.org

Pictured above are Alan Crawley, Bishop Andrew, Lymara Procter, Peter Davies and Lesley Crawley.

When the donkeys came to church

There were donkeys at St George’s and St Mark’s last Sunday. Twinkle came to St Mark’s, courtesy of Folly Oak Donkeys, while Paddy (pictured above) came to St George’s all the way from the Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth, Devon (he’s actually being fostered in Badshot Lea).

It was Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, and in both cases the donkeys led a procession of children and adults around the outside of the church and in doing so recalled the time Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey while crowds put cloaks and palm leaves down in front of him and called out: ‘Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!’

It was a triumphal entry, only a king who enters a city should surely be riding something more majestic than a donkey, shouldn’t they? By riding a donkey rather than a horse, Jesus showed he wasn’t the traditional conquering king that perhaps many of his followers wanted, but as a humble king who would upset the world order by being prepared to die and to show us how much God loves us.

Meanwhile, also on Sunday morning, Lesley Crawley could be heard on BBC Radio Surrey talking about Palm Sunday and Holy Week. You can hear her here at 1:49:08.

For details of the services up to and including Easter click here


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Raise a glass, raise funds, have fun

St George’s Church is holding a gin night on Tuesday, April 30, where local gin producers Nibbs will be serving their artisan gin while raising money for church funds and giving us an opportunity to have a fun evening with friends and neighbours.

Nibbs is a small family business based in Surrey, producing small batch artisan cocktail gin using freshly picked elderflower from the Surrey and Sussex countryside. It is available at selected pubs, off-licenses, markets and festivals and at special fundraising nights.

Maxine Everitt, who is organizing the gin night, said: “Come and try this wonderful local gin and support both the church and a local small business. This is a great opportunity for people from our community to come in to the church and have fun together.”

The evening starts at 7.30pm and tickets are £5, including a drink on arrival. To book, contact Maxine Everitt on 01252 318135 or maxine.everitt@live.co.uk

 

Vigils, solemn services and the message of Easter hope

The week before Easter is known as Holy Week and will be marked with meditations, vigils and solemn services in the parish.

There will be a series of meditations for Holy Week at St John’s on Monday to Wednesday, April 15-17, at 7.30pm. On April 18, a day known in the Christian calendar as Maundy Thursday, there will be services at 7.30pm both at St John’s and at St George’s, with Holy Communion and a vigil, and the altar will be stripped of all coverings. At St John’s there will also be a ceremony of foot-washing as a reminder of the act of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet at the meal he shared with them on the night before he died.

Lesley Crawley explained why the churches are doing this: “Maundy Thursday derives its name from a Latin word ‘mandatum’ which means command. Jesus was executed at the time of the Jewish Passover celebrations and he and his disciples shared a meal together at which he washed their feet in an act of humility and service. It is reported in the Bible that he told his disciples: ‘I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.’ (The Gospel of John, chapter 13, verse 34).”

The following day is known as ‘Good Friday’ and commemorates the day that Jesus was executed by being nailed to a cross. There will be several services in the parish, starting with a silent vigil at St John’s Church at 8.30am and a service at 9.30am, while at St George’s there will be a Good Friday service at 2-3pm, with 3pm marking the time when it is traditionally thought that Jesus died. At St Mark’s in Upper Hale, there will be Easter activities for children ages five to 11 from 9.30am, followed by a service at 11am and hot cross buns (to book a place on the Easter activities, contact Hannah Moore on 01252 659267 or revd.hannah@badshotleaandhale.org).

Lesley continued: “Good Friday commemorates the darkness of Jesus’ death, but on Easter Sunday we celebrate the joy of his resurrection. Death could not hold him and in rising from the dead he showed that the God of love is stronger than anything that the world can throw at us.”

On Easter Sunday there will be services at St John’s at 9.30am, St George’s at 10am and 11.30am, and at St Mark’s at 11am. Both the 11.30am service at St George’s and the 11am service at St Mark’s will include an Easter egg hunt.

Lesley added: “Everyone is welcome at any or all of our services. Do come and explore with us the message of hope that Easter offers to us all.”

 

Follow the donkey to church

There will be donkeys at church this coming Sunday (April 14) in celebration of Palm Sunday.

Palm Sunday recalls the Biblical account of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, with crowds placing palms in front of him and greeting him as a king. Churches around the world will mark the date, and at St Mark’s, Hale, at 11am, and St George’s, Badshot Lea, at 11.30am, the congregations will be joined by donkeys, courtesy of Folly Oak Donkeys.

Rev’d Lesley Crawley said: “When we recall that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey it reminds us that he is a king who comes in peace, not as a conquering warrior. Having a donkey at a service also brings the story alive, especially for children who always crowd round to give the donkey a stroke. Please do come and join us. And we are really grateful to John and Rosemary Porter and all at Folly Oak Donkeys for bringing the donkeys to us.”

 

Pictured: Meet the Donkey. Picture by Daniel Fazio. Unsplash

Caravan, The Hungry Years and all that jazz

An evening of jazz in memory of Farnham journalists Jean and Ted Parratt

There will be an evening of jazz at St Mark’s Church, Hale, on Saturday, May 4 in memory of Jean and Ted Parratt, local journalists and parents of Wendy Edwards, a licensed lay reader in the parish.

‘Caravan Jazz on a May Evening’, which will begin at 7.30pm, will feature songs by Django Reinhardt, Nat ‘King’ Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Glenn Miller and others, and will recall the time that Ted and Jean and their young children would enjoy jazz songs in the caravan which was their home in Lincolnshire. Ted drew the picture of their first caravan – reproduced above – just before Wendy’s birth.

From her birth in October 1957 to the age of four, Wendy and her brother and sister, Mark and Debbie, lived with Jean and Ted in various sized caravans as the family grew.

By day, Ted was doing his National Service in the RAF, but in the evenings back in the caravan with Jean and the children, he played jazz on his guitar, sometimes accompanied by his best friend, Terry Blackwell. On other nights, Jean’s walnut-cased radiogram would be tuned in, often to a jazz station.

Wendy has been researching her parents’ early life and recalls that her mother: “cared wonderfully well for us through the changing seasons, making potato soup with very few potatoes (we were very challenged financially) but always ensuring we were well fed and well loved. My mother enjoyed the jazz too in the evenings and ‘made do and mended’ the family’s clothes, while jazz melodies and rhythms lullabied us children to sleep.”

Jean and Ted worked for many years as journalists and photographers on first the Surrey & Hants News and then The Farnham Diary, with Ted also working for the Farnham Herald, and Jean busy writing local history books and giving talks, particularly inspiring many young people to discover more about the past. Jean died in 2016 and Ted in 2018.

On May 4, as well as the jazz, Wendy will share some of her knowledge and photographs of the early years. She says: “My mother called that time The Hungry Years, but they both believed these were the happiest in their 60-year-long marriage.”

Joining Wendy on the evening will be Frances Whewell on keyboard and Teddy’s Café Bar Jazzmen and other talented vocalists.  A light supper is included but bring your own drinks.

Admission is free but all donations are welcome for the Kitty Milroy Murals Fund at St. Mark’s Church. However, Wendy adds: “If, like Jean and Ted in The Hungry Years, you cannot afford to donate anything, please do join us anyway as all are very welcome indeed!”

To book your place, call Wendy Edwards on 07740 082460.

 

Repent and flourish

A couple of Sundays ago, Lesley Shatwell preached at St Mark’s on repentance and what it means.

The  Gospel reading that day was from Luke, chapter 13, v 1-9. You can read the whole extract here but, basically, Jesus says: “unless you repent, you will all perish”. He then told the parable of the barren fig tree which was given a reprieve.

This is what Lesley had to say about this uncompromising message:

When I first read the reading, I couldn’t quite make sense of what was happening.  I had to read through a few times.  It starts when Jesus has been told about an atrocity which Pilate has committed.  He slaughtered some Jews when they were offering sacrifices to God.  My goodness, that has strong resonance for us today doesn’t it?  Muslims being gunned down when they were at prayer in New Zealand.  Perhaps Jesus overheard people trying to make their own kind of sense to a barbaric act because he tells us that those who died were no more sinners than anyone else.  They weren’t slaughtered because of their sin.

But then there’s his comment, “unless you repent, you will all perish as they did”.  That’s worrying, it doesn’t seem to make sense does it?  And it’s frightening.  On the one hand, people died in a horrible atrocity and they no more deserved it than anyone else does.  They were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.  But on the other hand, that could be our fate unless we repent.  Can repentance really ensure that we will avoid perishing, even in random acts of terror?

Same goes for the disaster when the tower of Siloam collapsed and killed 18 people.  A “natural” disaster, no one’s deliberate fault.  And “unless you repent, you will all perish as they did”.  Those people who died weren’t extra wicked sinners, they were just like you and me.  Oh Jesus, help me, I don’t even know how to repent?  What is repentance?

OK, time out!  Let’s press the pause button before we all disappear into the fiery furnaces of hell.

What does “perish” mean?  That’s straightforward at least, isn’t it?  It means “die”.  We are human, we do all die eventually.  We don’t know when, but it comes to all of us.  Some might have an untimely death, some may slip away peacefully after a long and happy life.  So I don’t think Jesus is saying, “repent and you will have a human life here on earth for ever”.  There’s something else going on.  Hum.  One of the reasons why people were flocking to be baptised by John the Baptist was because they thought the end of the world was imminent.  And tomorrow could be the last day.  It tends to focus the mind: better get ready quick before it’s too late.

But equally, who knows exactly what Jesus meant?  He might have been talking about perishing to this world so that we might rise to glory in the next.  I’m afraid you will have to consider that for yourselves because we could be here till Christmas with this sermon if I start tackling the idea of everlasting life with God in heaven.

Right, I’m ready to press the “play” button again.  Repent!  Repent!  Yes all right!

Repent or else fire and brimstone, perishing in eternal hell.  Yes, but how?

What is repentance?

Repentance is the translation of the Greek word “metanoia”, which means “a change of mind”.

Oh, so it’s that easy?  I just have to change my mind?  It can’t be so hard – particularly if I will avoid eternal damnation.  But you have to mean it.

Change your mind and do something to show that you have truly changed your mind.

Change your mind and turn to Jesus – now there’s an invitation.  Yes, an invitation, not a threat.  Change your mind and turn to Jesus.

What if all those things which have been holding me back, all those things which stop me from being truly me, all those things which I am ashamed of in my life, which worry me, which upset me … what if all that rubbish in my life perished?

Now: imagine, for a moment, you are living a reasonably contented life.  Things are ok, you get by most days.  There are some good things, maybe a lot of bad things.  But generally you find life is worth living.  It’s like you are a tree, growing in a vineyard.  Some days it’s quite pleasant, the sun shines, the birds sing.  And nobody bothers you.  Nobody asks anything of you.  You are just a tree after all and there are plenty of trees around in the world aren’t there.  Yes, there are days when the storms come and you are buffeted by wind and rain, but nobody pays much attention to you.

And then, out of the blue one day, the owner of the vineyard comes by.  Where are the figs?

Figs?  Who said anything about figs?  I didn’t know I was meant to be giving you figs.  I’m just a tree, leave me alone.  Don’t chop me down, that’s not fair.  Look, give me a chance – now I know I could give you figs, I will, but I can’t make them overnight.  I will give you the figs, especially if I get help from the gardener.

It’s one view of the parable.  Do you see what Jesus is offering us?  Repentance.  It’s not a threat, it’s an opportunity, an invitation to try something in a different way.  Of course, it could be tough, even if it’s in your nature to produce fruit, you will have to put some effort in.

But, what is it about your life that you would change?  Do you have any regrets?  Any sadness?  Any cherished hopes?  Within each one of us there is potential.  The potential to bear good fruit.  But we need the right encouragement and we need to want to unlock the potential.  Within each one of us there is something, a gift, and it would be a huge loss if we let it perish.  Maybe you have found the gift, the potential within you, maybe you are still searching.  But we do have the gardener on our side.  Jesus is ready to give us all the love and nurture we need to flourish and bear good fruit.

Repent!  Turn to those true things which bring life in all its goodness.  But be kind to yourself, all things in their own time.  Gently does it, fruit takes a while to ripen.  And remember, Jesus, the gardener is always ready to nurture and care for you.

When inclusion means we have to change

Inclusion is a journey. Inclusion is not easy. Inclusion is worth it.

These are three conclusions I reached at the end of a weekend conference called ‘Being an Inclusive Faith Community’ at the beginning of the month.

It was a challenging and moving weekend at which a small group of us gathered in the warm and welcoming atmosphere of Woodbrooke Quaker Centre in Birmingham. I was the only non-Quaker in the group, which was led by Mark Russ, tutor at Woodbrooke, and Ruth Wilde, national co-ordinator of Inclusive Church, an organisation to which this parish belongs.

One of the first lessons of inclusion in a faith context is that the light of God shines in everyone, and we had this written up in the room in which we met, alongside other guidelines drawn from Quakerism including the belief in true equality and that Quakers seek to follow ‘the right way, not the popular way’.

These tenets are key. We probably think we are all lovely and welcoming and never exclude anyone, but when we take a deeper look we can discover that not everyone is as included as we might think. Changing that is an ongoing process and can meet opposition, not least in ourselves. For if we genuinely welcome everyone in, we will welcome in those we don’t understand, those we don’t like, those we don’t approve of, those who challenge us. Heck, we might even have to change.

There are several exercises I would like to try out in the parish following on from the weekend. One of them is to make us look at our own privilege and how we unconsciously or otherwise make it harder for others to feel truly accepted and valued. Are there people in our churches who feel they have little to give because of their background, illness or disability? Are there people who are not listened to because they find it hard to express ideas or because no-one thinks to ask them? Are there people who do not come into church because they believe they would not be welcome and if so, what have we done to make them feel like that? What barriers are we putting up?

I think that listening to each other’s stories and our true, lived experiences is key here, and not just listening but acting on what we learn. So if someone says that they feel left out or unwelcome, ask why and genuinely listen. If someone says they are afraid of something, or overwhelmed by it – too much noise perhaps – what can be done which also allows other people to express themselves? We are not looking to become some lowest common denominator which seeks to please everyone and ends up pleasing no-one, we are looking to become a radically welcoming community where everyone’s gifts and voices are heard.

It’s not easy and we will get it wrong time and again. There were times even in a group committed to inclusion, as we were that weekend, when we found it hard to understand each other. Sometimes it can be too hard. Sometimes genuine listening and being prepared to accept that we have to change is a step too far. It is possible to exclude ourselves.

I think there is a good example of this in the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15: 11-32) which ends with the younger son, who has previously rejected his father and the life he lived with him, coming back and being welcomed by his father with open arms and a party. This understandably upsets the older son who refuses to join in because he has dutifully stood by his father, worked hard and as he says, never been given so much as a young goat to kill so that he can celebrate with his friends. The father replies “Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.”

I hope that at this point the elder son came in to the party, welcomed his brother back and maybe found ways of getting along with him, even learning from him. We believe we have a God who is worth sharing so we must share and celebrate with everyone, and we must be prepared to change in following the radical welcoming God who will never give up on any of us.

 

 

Picture by Rémi Walle. Unsplash.

 

The motherliness of God

Sunday, March 31 is Mothering Sunday, and in our services that day we will celebrate mothers and others who care for us, with posies for everyone.

Mothering Sunday is thought to have begun in the 16th century when, on the fourth Sunday of Lent, people would return to their ‘mother church’ – that is, the local parish church or the church in which they had been baptised, or the nearest cathedral. The practice also began of allowing servants to return to their families on that day so seeing their mothers as well as their mother church.

Lesley Crawley comments: “On Mothering Sunday we celebrate mothers and those who care for us, remembering and praying for our own mothers. We also know that this day can be a difficult one for those who have lost their mothers, for those who have lost or cannot have children, and for those who have not had a good relationship with their mothers, and we offer them our support and prayers too.

“God is usually referred to as ‘father’ – in part a reflection of the time and patriarchal culture in which the Bible was written – but there are certainly references to the ‘motherliness’ of God in the Bible, such as this one in the Book of Isaiah: ‘As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you’. Christians believe in an all-loving God who loves us even more than a human mother could. Please do join us on March 31 at any of our services and celebrate and receive this love.”

Click here for some practical ideas from the Church of England for celebrating Mothering Sunday.

The altar frontal at Chelmsford Cathedral made by Creators (Cathedral School youth group). Picture by fourthandfifteen (www.flickr.com/photos/chelmsfordblue/)