Questioning Faith is back, every Tuesday evening between now and November 30 from 7.30-9pm on Zoom. Come and discuss anything you like related to faith and the questions you may have. No question is too outrageous or simple to ask. To get the Zoom code email firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyone who has been bereaved in recent years is invited to join one of the special All Souls’ services on Sunday, October 31, in the churches of St John’s, Hale, St Mark’s, Upper Hale, and St George’s, Badshot Lea. The service times will be 11am at St Mark’s, 3pm at St John’s, and 6pm at St George’s.
All Souls’ Day is on Tuesday, November 2, so the churches are holding their services on the nearest Sunday to enable more people to attend. All Souls’ Day, also known as the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed and the Day of the Dead, is a day of remembrance of people who have died, and the services are designed to honour them and bring comfort to the bereaved.
Anyone who would like to attend is welcome to do so and anyone who would like support following the death of a loved one is invited to contact Rev’d Lesley Crawley on 01252 820537 or email@example.com
Move over elves on shelves, have a gnome at home this Christmas – and a home-made one at that.
There will be a gnome-making workshop at St George’s Church, Badshot Lea, Farnham, on Friday, November 12 at 7pm-9.30pm. Everything needed to make the gnomes will be provided, including instructions. The gnomes are then ideal for Christmas presents or decorations.
Come and celebrate the Kitty Milroy murals and Kitty herself at St Mark’s on November 7th at a special communion service at 11am, with the Bishop of Dorking and the mural restorers Stephen Rickerby and Lisa Shekede, and a concert and talk at 7pm.
The now-famous murals were restored earlier this year and new lighting has been installed so that they can be seen in their full glory. They are now recognised as being of national importance and a jewel in Surrey’s crown. So, on the day before the anniversary of Kitty’s birth in 1885 and, coincidentally, her death in 1966, we want to invite everyone to St Mark’s for a celebration.
The morning celebration will be a communion service at which the Rt Rev’d Jo Bailey Wells, Bishop of Dorking, will preach, and there will be a chance to hear from Stephen Rickerby and Lisa Shekede who spent 10 weeks painstakingly restoring the murals between April and June this year. In the evening there will be music, talks on the murals and Kitty, along with refreshments and, of course, the chance to see the murals.
Everyone is welcome at both the service and the evening celebration and there will be no charge, but to keep numbers manageable, particularly in the face of Covid, the evening event will be by ticket only. To book your tickets, click here.
The murals were painted between 1911 and 1920 and depict the Annunciation – the meeting between Mary and the Angel Gabriel when Mary is told she will be the mother of Jesus – as well as scenes from the Benedicite, an ancient hymn of praise to God about the wonders of the natural world, and local views. There are figures depicting the natural elements and seasons, and the models for these figures are known to be local people. The whole is a stunning creation by a hugely talented artist and the murals and Kitty herself are finally being given the recognition they deserve.
Come and celebrate this amazingly talented artist and her work.
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
Being in a community is important to us as human beings. We are a social species. We collaborate. We are comfortable in the sharing of our space with others. There are times, often when we are young and at school, where we are surrounded by hundreds of people who we may describe as our close community. At other times, it may just be one other, but having that space where we feel ‘at home’ with someone else is essential for our continued health.
Our church can be this also. A place where we share with one another, often outside of the normal social boundaries, in such a way that builds each other closer together and closer to God.
Developing these communities is important not only for our wellbeing, but also for helping us share God’s love with greater impact. Communities of generous believers can practically achieve more through having more hands at work. However, just the very act of a group of people from different backgrounds and ages, is a statement of generosity that shows the world the character of a generous God.
Sometimes it’s tricky, but these communities of believers sharing life together is our calling.
Who are your people? Take some time to reflect on those around you, with whom you share your faith journey. Pray for them individually and collectively for how you may follow God’s call in your wider community today.
Jesus put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.
Think about a time you received something from someone else. What opportunities were there for you to use the gift your received to help another? Is it enough to just say ‘thank you’ when we receive something, or does one good turn deserve another? What do many small acts add up to? Could we ourselves turn a mustard seed into a tree?
In our reading, Jesus tells us that small beginnings can have wide reach. If we can act generously as a response to the generosity we have received, we can be the seed from which wide branches of generosity can spread out.
When we are low, it can feel hard to feel like we have anything to offer others, when in fact, even simple acts like listening and talking can be small offerings of generosity that lift others around us.
God assures us that we can rely on him to lift us up when we are down. God is love, and his love is always with us. With his strength we can give forward of the many gifts we are blessed with. Just as Jesus commanded his disciples to love one another as he loved them, so our small acts of generosity can spread God’s love to others and throughout the wider world.
In our reading Jesus affirms that help and kindness offered to another person is help and kindness offered to him.
What do you see? What is your perspective of the needy? Do you see a child of God in need of help and support? Because how you see people determines how you relate to them. Our calling as Christians is not just for ourselves but to share God’s love and generosity with all and this is the culture in the Diocese of Chichester, supporting people in different situations because the only question that really matters is do we love Jesus and do we wish to see his will done on earth? Jesus said. “Just as you loved one of the least of these, who are members of my family, you loved me.”
– Revd Martha Weatherill, Generous Giving Training Manager
Today’s podcast shows how we can unlock generosity when we share what we believe God is calling us to do, or, as Archbishop Rowan Williams put it, when we “find out what God is doing and join in”. People are inspired to be generous when they feel that being generous matters, that without their generosity God’s work will not be fulfilled. We can sometimes be almost apologetic for asking for people’s generosity, yet generosity is transformative and integral to our faith and to living it out.
The podcast shows how young people in the parish benefited from people’s generosity, but of course the church benefited too, generosity is not a one-way street. The generosity brought the energy, hope, idealism, passion and action of young people into the church and we could all do with more of that. One of the joys of generosity is that it inspires generosity in return, and that it sets off a virtuous cycle. It is God’s economy in action, where acts of kindness inspire others and the call to love God and our neighbour transforms our neighbourhoods. Give, and it will be given to you…
– Jonathan de Bernhardt Wood, National Giving Advisor
Think about what today holds. Who will you see? Where will you go? What will you do? Think about how you can incorporate a simple act of kindness within it, so that you can begin that virtuous cycle of generosity.
It’s easy to feel like the troubles of the world are too much for us to have an impact. Whether it be a global pandemic, institutional racism, environmental disasters, or any number of other major issues that cause pain and hurt across the world… is there anything we can do to actually make a difference?
This is where a generous spirit comes into play. An act of generosity today becomes a wave of generosity tomorrow. We have been created in the image of God, a God who is generous beyond measure. When we lean into that part of our character, when we purposefully look for opportunities to share that generosity within our communities, you can be sure that the impact will be felt far beyond the first act.
We might not see the culmination of that generous act, but we can be confident that as we are generous to others so that generosity spreads and multiplies. People will see and experience it and be encouraged to be generous in their own way, with whatever they have to share with the world around them.
What gift have you received to serve others? It may be something practical like hospitality or financial generosity… Or perhaps you can share time with others, to be a listening ear? Consider your gifting and find one opportunity today to share it with the world.
Peter wrote here to encourage and instruct the dispersed and persecuted Christians of Asia Minor. As with any oppressed community some were richer, some poorer, but all suffered under their situation’s weight. However, in the midst of discussing their suffering, Peter exhorts that they should be good companions to one another, giving of whatever that they have received.
Under the pandemic we have all suffered. Our liberties were reduced in order to protect and care for each other. For some this has meant financial hardship, increased mental health worries, isolation and loneliness. Yet despite this suffering we see our churches serving, and Peter tells us to serve with the strength that God supplies.
But Peter goes further, for we are not just serving to be liked or from duty, but we are serving “so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ” (v.11). Through our generosity and service we praise God. Our hands become God’s hands and in their action we pray without ceasing. Through the simplest act of helping another, of giving from the wealth we have received, we are giving that gift to the body of Christ and praising him.
– Chris Boden, Stewardship & Resources Officer, Diocese of Worcester