Division and peacemaking

A sermon preached at St Mark’s on August 18 on the text Luke 12: 49-56.

The text from the Gospel today is a tough one. It is about Jesus saying he came to bring division to the world. (You can read it here). I gather that far more learned people than I am have decided today to preach on one of the other readings in the lectionary but at St Mark’s we don’t read these, so I have to deal with the Gospel.

Mind you, the other readings (Isaiah 5: 1-7; Hebrews 11: 29-12: 2) aren’t that easy, because they talk of some of the less pleasant things God is portrayed as doing – eg drowning the Egyptians – and this is something that we have to deal with.

And here in this passage, what is going on? Is Jesus talking about his death, about the end times, about strife within the community? Fire is something that is used in the Bible to purify and is painful and associated with a vengeful God.

And what about saying that he had come to bring division? I thought he was the Prince of Peace. After all he said ‘Blessed are the peacemakers’.

Or was he talking about what inevitably happened because of the radical, anti-establishment nature of the Gospel? Jesus was a divisive character then and continues to be. Those following him at the time would have been seen as radicals and no doubt this divided families, as it still does in some places. And a gospel which said that the outcast was worthy, that the poor should inherit the earth – was this upturning of values the fire he was talking about? It was obviously going to divide people.

And if Jesus inevitably divides people, what are we meant to do about it? Do we just say, oh, that is OK, Jesus said there would be division so I am right to be divided against my friend, neighbour etc? That seems like a lazy, literal interpretation of the text.

I’ve been reading various interpretations of the text and they have been useful but also exposed something at the root of why we have the problem of division –  ie there are lots of interpretations and I, like most of us, have leaned generally towards the ones I agree with and have discounted the others. That interpretation suits me, that one doesn’t so I will go with the first and not the second. Or I can’t fit that one into my narrative so I will ignore it. It doesn’t fit with the conclusions I have already reached.

The issue of my liking some interpretations and not others, the issue of not even considering some interpretations, is fundamental to the issue of division which he talks about and is horribly resonant with society today. I don’t know when there was last such a divided country. The same goes for America. And as I look at people who support opposite views to mine I find myself thinking – how could you? How can you be so: ignorant, selfish, blind etc etc? And they no doubt look at me and say much the same. That sort of attitude and division is not going to bring healing to the world.

Think for a moment about something you are convinced you are right about. What do you feel about the people who disagree with you?

The same goes for church. This was really underlined recently for me when I went to the first Surrey Pride and spent some of my time arguing against a group of men and women from an organisation whose main aim appears to be to challenge LGBTI+ people, and persuade them to turn away from their sexual identities. I believe passionately in a God who accepts people just as they are. This group were made to leave the Pride event – one of the ambulance staff there said that one young person had had a panic attack after they had spoken to this group – but stood outside to talk to people there with the police keeping a watchful eye. The police were fantastic and stood close while I spoke, ready to intervene if they were concerned for anyone’s safety.

Neither the group nor I was going to persuade or even listen to the other. We both knew we were right. But where did that leave us? Probably both sides feeling self-righteous and cross.

So what do we do about these divisions?

My personal response to division has usually been to try to pour oil on troubled water, try to keep everyone happy. Division is bad, right? OK I didn’t try that at Pride but that was unusual. Usually I have tried to be a peacekeeper.

But maybe peacekeeping isn’t the way forward. If we just try to keep the peace then we are less likely to deal with the issues that are causing the division in the first place. We will ignore those issues and they will fester and cause greater issues and greater divisions. Maybe that is one of the things we have been doing in this country which has led to such division now. If one lot of people have felt left behind and another happy with the status quo, maybe that was inevitably going to lead to the divisions we have over Brexit, or inevitably going to lead to Donald Trump.

I think there has been another factor which has been at play here too, encouraging the rise of the right wing, something which has exacerbated the divisions. As a more liberal society has emerged there has been a push back by those whose position and power is threatened – chiefly the mainly white patriarchy.

So we have divisions and if peacekeeping isn’t the way to solve them, what is? Maybe looking at what causes division would help us grow and change for the better. Maybe this is one of the things Jesus meant when he talked about division and about reading the signs. He was saying that there will be division because his way is challenging to the status quo, challenging to the powerful, challenging to the haves, and it is right that it is challenging and divisive, because if it isn’t society will never grow and change and follow his way.

So maybe we shouldn’t be peacekeepers but something more proactive – peacemakers. Jesus said ‘blessed are the peacemakers’ not blessed are the peacekeepers. Peacemakers are those who look at both sides, see both sides as having rights and responsibilities, offer both sides a way forward. Peacemakers at their best are those who try to look at the world through the eyes of both sides.

But, says the follower of Jesus, my side is obviously right. I am obviously right. My understanding of what Jesus wants is obviously right.

How do we know our interpretation is right? Maybe a little humility would be good here, and maybe a little bit of trying to listen, to each other and to God. I have become more and more convinced that prayer is a way forward (even though I am not good at practising what I preach!). If we pray, try to listen to God as well as each other, then maybe we will change within. Maybe that is the fire that Jesus meant – a fire within us which changes us.

Stella Wiseman

Picture by Sunyu.

 

Taking Pride in inclusion

The first Surrey Pride took place on Saturday, August 10, and we were proud to support it and to join in the parade in Woking town centre and the event in the park afterwards.

For too long churches have treated the LGBTI+ community appallingly, at best offering a half-hearted welcome, at worst supporting, even leading, persecution. This is changing, but slowly, and even at Pride in Woking there were people from a group who preached that it is possible to  ‘leave’ LGBT identities and sexual practices as these are ‘in conflict with the Christian scriptures’. Their preaching caused at least one young Pride-goer to have a panic attack in what should have been a safe space. The group was asked to leave but stood outside the main area with the police keeping a watchful eye on them as they continued to approach people.

Thankfully, those at the Christians at Pride stand were welcoming everyone just as they were and offering blessings and assurance that God loves us all, including our sexual identities. To be celebrated and loved like this is a powerful message and one that the church needs to shout out loudly. We try to do so in this parish which is why St Mark’s is sporting a rainbow flag at the moment and why we support the Rainbow Church services elsewhere in the diocese. It is also one of the reasons we belong to Inclusive Church, an organisation that is committed to celebrating and affirming every person and to challenging the church “where it continues to discriminate against people on grounds of disability, economic power, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, learning disability, mental health, neurodiversity, or sexuality”.

There will be people in the parish whom this affects personally and there will be people who disagree with this stance. We welcome debate but we ask for respect and humility on all sides. Above all, we ask that we try at all times to listen to God and to seek God in each other.

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13, v 35)

egg and sid at Pride

Pride is a colourful event!

Inclusive-church-logo

Lord, teach us to pray

A sermon by Lesley Shatwell on the Lord’s Prayer

The disciples said: “Lord, teach us to pray”.

And then Jesus replied by giving us what we now call the Lord’s Prayer.

It’s something which everyone used to learn when they were little – at least that was so back in the 1950s/60s when I was little, but I guess things have moved on since then …

I rather feel that it’s not just me falling behind the times though, because whilst the Lord’s Prayer is the most beloved prayer, well known and well used by Christians every day, I think the words themselves may be concealing some things.

Let me say from the outset that it is completely, totally NOT my intention to question the words of Jesus. These are merely thoughts I have which I hope may encourage you to think prayerfully for yourselves.

Take “Our father” for example.  It seems to me that’s a shorthand for “our mother, our beloved parent who created us, who sees us and knows us better than we know ourselves and who loves us come what may”. Often people have difficulty in thinking about God as father.  It could be for any number of reasons, but we are addressing God here, the God who created us, who is without gender.  Ageless, timeless, and without limit.

And yet, by using the word “Father”, Jesus invites us to have a personal relationship with our God, creator of all things.

We are invited to count ourselves into God’s family.

Our father …

At this point, maybe we had better take a moment to acknowledge the holiness of the Lord’s name.

We come into the holy presence of God.

As Moses was reminded when he approached the burning bush through which God was speaking to him, “Take off your sandals, you are on holy ground.”  Hallowed be your name.

We are allowed to call God “father” but God is holy and we are humble before him.  Let’s not forget the priorities here.

Talking about priorities, “your will be done”.

Yes, that’s your will, Lord, not mine.  Because if I’m honest, you have a much better grasp of things than me.  For instance, I struggle to share all I have generously with your whole creation.  I take too much for granted, I want too much for myself and my loved ones.  I’m inclined to get annoyed and upset if you don’t play your part in my plans to make everything happen the way I want it.  And yes, that hurts.

But I wonder, whilst you are at work on me Lord, it would be useful if I could remember that what I want is not always the most important thing from your point of view.  Help me to be gracious and accepting of your will.  I know ultimately it never works if I try to force you to fall into line with me.  If I make the wrong decisions, gently bring me back to your ways.

Your kingdom come – and please hurry up.  We are in dire need of heaven here on earth right now.  We as humans have made such a mess of so many things.  When your kingdom comes all will be realigned to your ways and I can’t wait.

But in the meantime, we need daily bread now.  Yes, that’s food and clean water, shelter, and safety – everything our bodies need.  But also give us each day our spiritual food.  Help us to grow in wisdom and your grace.

Forgive us our sins.  Oh my goodness, if there was ever someone needing forgiveness, it’s me Lord.  Even when I try to do my best, I fall short.  And I do try, but it is so disheartening when things don’t work out the way you would wish.

I’m inclined to try and hide my shortcomings.  I hide them so well, sometimes it’s difficult to admit I have any, least of all if I call them “sins.” I don’t sin, I’ve been really good just lately … who am I kidding? Yes Lord, I acknowledge that I am less than the perfect human.

I am work in progress, I keep trying and in the meantime I would be grateful if you could forgive my past slip-ups and let me have the freedom to make a clean start.

It hurts when I’m annoyed with someone, when I believe someone is deliberately trying to upset me. Or even if the person upsets me without them knowing it. Lord, give me the grace to forgive everyone who has ever harmed or upset me or my family or my loved ones. Again, I need the freedom which is in your gift, so that I can move on to reconciliation.

Lord, help us through the evil which surrounds us.  Keep us true to you when we seem to be surrounded by darkness and terror.  We are living through uncertain times now.

Circle us with your love and let us know you are with us come thick or thin.  Be with all who suffer, let everyone know that you deliver us from evil.

And Lord, I know I’m asking a lot – but please be aware that I will carry on asking. I’m not going to give up calling on you because I know that you never give up on me. Let me not be too upset if you don’t grant my prayers in the way I ask. You have a far more complete picture than I do, help me to trust your kind and loving judgement of me.

All that said, I do have confidence that if I ask for anything which is good and right in your sight, then my prayer will be answered, in your own time and your own way – for which I thank you.

I know that if I knock persistently on your door you will open it to me.

If I persistently search for you, I will find you.

For you give me your Holy Spirit, so I need never search alone.

Amen

Luke 11.1-13 – Lord’s Prayer: St Mark’s. 28 July 2019.

 

Image by Beki Blade,  used in Thy Kingdom Come 2016 exhibition.

 

Emily needs a little more help

Emily the organ is asking for help.

Emily, the 107-year-old organ in St Mark’s, has just been restored following several years of fundraising, but in the course of that restoration some new problems emerged. We have already raised £23,000 for the organ, and now need to find a further £2,000 to pay for the extra work.

Lesley Crawley explains the problem: “When the restorers took Emily apart they found some leatherwork which had perished. It seems to be the original leatherwork so is over 100 years old, and if we hadn’t replaced it, the organ would have soon failed.

“The restorers have kindly trusted us to raise the extra money but we need the help to do so, so we are asking the community to give us a hand with this. We are very fond of Emily and she is a real community asset which we are very lucky to have – not many churches have an instrument of such character and appeal. That character and the love people have for her was clearly demonstrated at the concert we held to celebrate in July. We are also lucky to have such willing and entertaining musicians to play her and we look forward to many more concerts as well as being able to use Emily in worship. Added to this, she is now a fine instrument for people to use when learning to play the organ.”

There is more than one way to help raise the £2,000. It is possible to sponsor a pipe – there are 524 of them – and sponsorship starts at £15. Click here to find out more.

Or you can make a donation via our JustGiving page by clicking here. Anyone who donates at least £10 will be invited to an organ concert at St Mark’s in December to hear this wonderful old instrument played by highly skilled and entertaining musicians.

But if you want to come to the concert, please don’t be shy – give your name on the JustGiving page, then email admin@badshotleaandhale.org and you will receive an invitation to the concert in December.

If you prefer, you can send a cheque to The Rectory at 25 Upper Hale Road, Farnham,  GU9 0NX, made payable to The Parish of Badshot Lea and Hale, and again, if you want to come to the concert, add your name and contact details.

Pictured top: Emily the organ. Photo by George Britton.
georgebrittonphotography@gmail.com Instagram – @g3xrg3

Consecration of St John’s, Hale

In this 175th anniversary year many new and interesting documents telling the story of St John’s have been found. Below is a press cutting, thanks to Bob Skinner, telling of the consecration of St John’s on 8th November, 1844:

18441116 Hampshire Advertiser p. 4 Consecration of St Johns Church 8 Nov 1844.

In addition, our church architect has found some plans. Below is the original plan of the church and then the plan of the extended church in 1897 (you can read the appeal for fundraising for the extension here):

1842 to 44 Original Plan1861 Extension Plan

There was a dedication service at St John’s, after the extension and thanks again to Bob Skinner, the cutting is here (it is difficult to read so I have also typed out the words):

Surrey Advertiser 24 February 1897 p7

The chancel of the parish church of St. John, which has been enlarged and improved as a jubilee thankoffering was re-opened by the Bishop of Winchester at a special service on Saturday afternoon. The work was commenced in November 1894, and completed at the end of last month. The chancel has been extended towards the nave, and an iron screen on a low kerb wall has been placed at the entrance. Permanent choir seats and clergy desks have been provided in oak in the increased space, and the pulpit and lectern have been removed to the nave. The renovation in the chancel also consists of a mosaic reredos. The new transept has been erected over the tomb of Bishop Sumner, who was interred with his wife on the south side of the chancel in 1874. The organ has been placed in the transept, the opening to which on the east side is near the altar rails. The super-altar was on Saturday adorned with vases of white flowers. A very large congregation had assembled for the dedication. The service was opened with the singing by the choir of the 84th Psalm as the Bishop and clergy entered the church from the vestry and proceeded to the chancel.  His lordship was attended by the Rector of Farnham (the Rev. C. H. Simpkinson), and the Rev. C. E. Hoyle (chaplains), and the following clergy: Revs W. H. Moody, R. D. (Frensham), G. E. Hitchcock (Hale), G. J. C. Sumner (rector of Seale), R. J. S. Gill (vicar of Aldershot), J. De Verd Leigh (incumbent Holy Trinity, Aldershot), J. D. Henderson and E. D. Finch-Smith (Farnham), J. W. Pickance, A. E. Algar, and G. Bentham (Aldershot), and South Phillips (Hale). Coral evensong was conducted by the Vicar of the parish and the Rev. A. South Phillips, Tallis’ music being used for the responses. The special Psalms were the 24th and 150th. The Rev. C. H. Simpkinson read the first lesson and the Rural Dean the second. Following the singing of the anthem, “Break forth into joy,” by Nimper, the Bishop said the special prayers of dedication. His lordship preached from the text St. John c.10. v. 22. He said it was not merely an accident when they used the word dedication in association with the fact of their service that day. There was a close association with the ceremony which took place where our Lord was as described in the text and with that in which they were then engaged. They were that day not merely commemorating the building of a large place, but were taking part in a service to show that it should be beautified and made appropriate for divine worship and best fitted for the great end for which it was set up. They were that day offering afresh to God a church more worthy for the ministers and those who worshipped. A church like that in a parish which was likely to become populous must bring the solemn thought that in ages ahead men, women and little children would come there and would remember that others had obtained help in their daily life in the years before. He trusted that he and they might be making a difference for those who were yet unborn and who in the ages far ahead would come to worship within those walls. The offertory, and also that on Sunday, were in aid of the building fund. Mr E Caesar, who presided at the organ, played a march by Theo Bonheur at the close of the service.

The painter of the beautiful picture above of St John’s when it was first built is not known.

St John’s Church is 175

Come to the 175th events:

Flower Festival
May 18th 10-4pm and May 19th 12-4pm. Entry £1, refreshments available.

Talk on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking
May 22nd 7pm
Bishop Charles Sumner, who founded our church was a relative of William Wilberforce and so I seems appropriate as part of the 175th anniversary celebrations that we look again at slavery. Modern day slavery and human trafficking is going on around us now and we need to have our eyes open to it and learn what we can do to combat it. Suzette Jones, the Diocesan Health & Wellbeing Adviser, will give a talk at St John’s to help us all understand what we can do.

Talk from Christopher Herbert on ‘Art, Architecture and Christianity in Victorian England’
June 5th at 7:30pm. Donations welcome, refreshments available.

Art and Craft Exhibition
June 22nd 10-4pm and June 23rd 12-4pm. Entry £1, refreshments available.

BIG Party entitled ‘Music in the Churchyard’     
July 20th 12-2pm. Free of charge for the whole community. There will be music, food and lots of cake. All are invited, please let us let us know that you are coming so we can get the catering right. Email pamelaanne.m@btinternet.com

Afternoon Tea Singing and Reminiscing

Aug 3rd 3-5pm. Free of charge and open to all. There will be a cream tea and lots of opportunity to join in the singing.

Celebration service with Bishop Andrew presiding

Nov 24th  at 9:30. Please come and join the service, followed by our 175th birthday cake!

Please also write about what St John’s Church means to you in 175 words and email it to news@badshotleaandhale.org. The writings will be published here so let us know whether you want it to remain anonymous.

Also – please complete our community survey by clicking here

It’s picnic time for teddy bears at St George’s

Teddy bears and their friends are invited to St George’s, Badshot Lea, tomorrow (Sunday, August 18) for a teddy bears’ picnic at 11.30am.

The picnic, to which all bears and other favourite characters – and their human friends – are invited, will take place as part of the regular Worship for All service which takes place every Sunday at 11.30am.

Lesley Crawley said: “Worship for All is for the whole family and aims to share something of the love of God with all ages, and to be a fun, welcoming service. We hope as many people as possible will round up their bears, big and small, old and young, and come to the teddy bears’ picnic on Sunday.”

Picture: Teddy bear by Dorothe Wouters on Unsplash.

A song of praise to a great afternoon

Music is good for the health – studies in recent years have shown its importance to our mental, physical and emotional health. It can certainly lift our mood and bring people together, as was ably demonstrated on Saturday by Singing and Reminiscing, a celebration at St John’s Church of the past 175 years in music and memories.

Wendy Edwards and Margaret Emberson led the audience, along with members of the choirs of St John’s and St George’s, in singing songs from each decade since St John’s Church was founded in 1844.

Though some of these were from years that no-one would be able to remember, Wendy and Margaret had gone to the trouble of finding ones which were well enough known for us to be able to sing along with ease. So we happily joined in with familiar numbers such as My Grandfather’s ClockWhere Did You Get That Hat?; and Keep the Home Fires Burning, and then moved on to those which at least most in the audience could remember from the original recordings – including Sunrise, Sunset; a Beatles medley; some ABBA; The Music of the Night (with a very effective solo from Bill Thomas and an extremely high E from Margaret); and the moving A Flower Remembered, written by John Rutter as a commemoration of the victims of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami followed by a nuclear accident at Fukushima in Japan.

For the present day there was a new song, which we sang in a round under Margaret’s guidance – Song for Saint John’s, which Margaret had written to celebrate what we do at the church – and rounded off with a rousing version of the hymn For All the Saints.

In between Wendy spoke about the history of St John’s and the area and even produced a picture of the church’s founder Bishop Charles Sumner and his wife Jennie, which had to have been taken before 1849 as Jennie died that year.

Part way through we stopped for a cream tea with melt-in-the-mouth homemade scones, and there was plenty of reminiscing as old friends caught up with each other.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon and huge thanks must go not just to Wendy and Margaret and the choir, but to all those who worked so hard behind the scenes to make this a success.

There has been an unprecedented number of special events at St John’s over the past few months as we have celebrated the 175th birthday of the church and without the hard work and support of church members these events would never have happened. The whole parish is truly grateful – and a little bit awed!

Wendy, Margaret and the choirs are taking Singing and Reminiscing to Farnham Mill nursing home in November where I know it will be hugely appreciated.

SW

 

Pictured top: The choir with Wendy and Margaret.

 

Music through the years (and a cream tea!)

 

Music, cream teas and happy memories come together at St John’s this weekend in Singing and Reminiscing from 3-5pm on Saturday, August 3.

As part of the St John’s 175th anniversary celebrations, we are holding an informal afternoon of community singing, with songs from each of the decades of the past 175 years, from My Grandfather’s Clock from 1844 to John Rutter’s 2017 composition A Flower Remembered, plus a new number, composed this year, Song for St. John’s by Margaret Emberson. Cream teas will be served and there will be plenty of opportunity to reminisce.

The afternoon will be led by Wendy Edwards and Margaret Emberson and the combined choirs of St John’s and St George’s. Wendy Edwards explains the thinking behind the afternoon: “There must have been billions of musical notes which have resounded through St John’s Church over the last 175 years. Most of these will have been in the form of hymns, anthems, solos, organ pieces, sung mass settings and concerts, formal and informal. We want to celebrate the musical spirit of St John’s.

“We will sing one song for each decade of the last 175 years. These have been carefully selected to be well known and to provide a flavour of that decade. We have traditional and popular songs, a hymn and songs from shows which we hope everyone will enjoy singing with us. The words will be provided.”

Everyone is welcome to this afternoon of music and memories. To help with catering, it would be useful to know how many are coming. Anyone who is planning to come is asked to contact Wendy Edwards at llm.wendy@badshotleaandhale.org or ring the parish office on 07842 761919. However, if you make a last-minute decision to drop in, there will always be room.

Emily the organ sings again

Emily, the Edwardian organ at St Mark’s Church, showed off her versatility in a concert on Saturday, July 20, to celebrate her restoration.

Emily, named after the eccentric local benefactor Emily Mangles who left money to the church in 1912, was celebrated in a light-hearted evening during which John Mansfield, Geoff Willis, Stephen Lacey, Rob Goldfinch and Frances Whewell of the North Hampshire Organists Association (NHOA) performed a varied programme which ranged from Bach’s Toccata in D minor to Gershwin’s I got Rhythm, with vocal accompaniment by singer Wendy Edwards. There was also a demonstration of how an organ works using props worthy of Blue Peter, and some surprises in how individual stops work. We learned some of the background to when and how Emily was built in 1912 and why she needed restoring, and there was even an interview with Emily Mangles herself – in the form of the original Emily’s great-great-great niece.

Emily Mangles the younger told the audience about the family who lived in Poyle Park (near Tongham) and who numbered among them an MP and serious collectors of plants from overseas. There is even an Emily Mangles rhododendron and the family introduced garden designer Gertrude Jekyll to architect Edwin Lutyens, a partnership responsible for some of the country’s most beautiful houses and gardens. The modern Emily Mangles had brought with her a copy of a poem written by her Victorian predecessors called The Hubbub of Poyle which features Emily as ‘Daddy The Good’, referring to her good works in the parish and her love of playing the organ and leading a choir, as well as her passion for pigs and love of crumpets.

While admitting to feeling slightly spooked by seeing the words ‘In Memory of Emily Mangles’ on the organ itself, Emily said how amazed she was at the affection shown for the organ. That was something that shone through the whole evening. There was affection not just from the musicians, but from the large audience, some of whom had known the organ many years ago and had come back to see and hear her, and some of whom were discovering her for the first time.

Emily the organ was made in Hastings, installed in the church in 1912 and is now sounding as good as ever thanks to the restoration by Dean and Shawn from FH Browne & Sons. However, that restoration hasn’t been entirely paid for. At the end of the concert Lesley Crawley told us that, during the course of restoration, new problems had been found. Dean and Shawn had continued the work, trusting that the church would raise the money, so a new appeal has been launched to raise £2,000 more. Details of the appeal appear here and you can give via our JustGiving page by clicking  here.

 

Happy birthday party!

St John’s Church celebrated its 175th birthday with a community party on Saturday, July 20, attended by everyone from tiny tots to the Mayor of Farnham.

Cllr Pat Evans, Mayor of Farnham, helped Lesley Crawley to cut a birthday cake, and local residents, including the Mayor’s Consort David Evans and Hale and Heath End councillor Michaela Gray, tucked in to a buffet accompanied by Pimms, tea and coffee, while listening to classic songs performed by singer/songwriters Jasper and the Island, aka Olivia Jasper, and Meg Wassell.

Heavy rain in the morning meant that the festivities had to be moved indoors but that didn’t dampen the party spirit with people spilling over from the crowded tables into the pews. Guests came not just from the Church of England but from other churches and none and we were particularly pleased to welcome members of the Godalming Baha’I community.

There are many people to thank – in particular those from the St John’s congregation who worked tirelessly and cheerfully as they have done at all the events so far, those who made the cakes and Sainsbury’s and Waitrose who generously donated much of the food.

As well as adding her thanks, Lesley Crawley said: “There was a lovely atmosphere with new friendships being formed, and others being deepened, and I believe there were even a couple of old colleagues who bumped into each other after many years. Relationship is central to our understanding of God and it is through our contact with each other that we can express God’s love.”

The next event to celebrate the 175th anniversary of St John’s is an afternoon of Singing and Reminiscing which will take place on Saturday, August 3, from 3-5pm. There will be a cream tea and plenty of opportunities to join in singing old favourites. Everyone is welcome and it would be helpful to know approximate numbers where possible. If you would like to come, please give Wendy Edwards a call on 01252 406772 or 07740 082460. But if you decide to come at the last moment, then please just drop in and join us.

Below: The Mayor and Lesley Crawley cut the cake. 

Bottom: Crown Daisy Nursery enjoyed the celebrations. Jasper and the Island. Happy partygoers (x2). Little Anastasia came from Alton with her mother to join the fun.

Cllr Pat Evans and Rev'd Lesley Crawley

 

Serving the Villages North of Farnham: Badshot Lea, Hale, Heath End & Weybourne