Today’s service led by John Evans:
Today’s service led by John Evans:
What has lockdown been like for everyone? Over the next few weeks we will be chatting to members of the community about how they have found these past months.Today we start with a teacher.
Teachers have had their whole way of working turned upside down by Covid-19. How, for instance, do you teach a practical subject? This has been one of the questions that Liz Larkin, a Design and Technology teacher at Farnborough Hill, has had to face. Farnborough Hill is an independent school for girls ages 11-18, so among her pupils are those preparing for GCSE and A-level exams next year, as well as those who should have taken these exams this summer.
“I had to completely rethink what I was going to teach,” says Liz. “Luckily we were at the beginning of new projects because of the way the timetable rotation works. The year nines were able to finish upcycling aprons out of old jeans at home, though some had to have needle and thread sent to them and then I taught them to knit via video. The year eights should have been learning to solder and do electronics. But I got pupils throughout the school to learn CAD and CAM packages (Computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing), making models which we could print on the 3D printer. “
While the year 11 and 13 students have probably had the most frustrating time, not quite being able to finish their projects at school and having to have their final grades estimated for GCSE and A-levels, the year 10 and 12 students who take their exams in 2021 have had to start their coursework at a distance. “They have been able to start design and research for their projects but were not able to be in the workshop refining their skills.”
Year 10 and 12 pupils were able to return to the school in small groups. “We had year 10 in for week and did blended teaching between home and school, and year 12 in for a few lessons and to give them university application support. We also held a socially distanced retreat.”
But since lockdown began all pupils have been following their normal timetable of six lessons per day but doing so from home online and even taking school exams online. “The first week was the most challenging. We were teaching from home and trying to get our head round all the challenges but as we have all got better at it, it improved. We learned so much but it could be frustrating to spend some of the lesson making sure everyone was connected.”
More frustrating though was the lack of real contact: “I missed the girls most, that lovely interaction that we have.”
As you probably know, the government has announced that church services may resume from this weekend and we have been looking carefully at how this will be possible from the beginning of August which will give us enough time to prepare.
It is not, unfortunately, simply a case of throwing open the doors and welcoming everyone in, much as we would like to. There are all sorts of issues to deal with to ensure that we keep everyone safe.
This week further information has been released by the government, the national Church of England and the Diocese of Guildford to help us plan to reopen the churches for services.
Our plan – subject to PCC approval – is to have a service in each of the three churches on a Sunday and a mid-week service at St Mark’s from the beginning of August.
Because of the dangers of Covid-19 infection, the services will follow a simple format with no singing but with musicians playing instruments. We will not be able to share the Peace but we will be able to take Communion, though in one kind only. The Bread may be distributed in wafer form by the priest (who will have taken all the necessary hygiene precautions) but we cannot share the Wine. Everyone coming forward to receive Communion or a blessing will be guided on where to walk and stand in order to minimise the danger of passing anything on.
Everyone will have to observe strict social distancing measures – though you can sit in your household groups of course – and hygiene regulations, but we have installed hand sanitisers already and have been working hard to ensure that it will all be as safe as possible.
We are also going to continue worship online so anyone who can’t come to church on Sundays or feels unsafe doing so can still join in the worship.
We’ll keep you updated.
We would love more people to take part in the services and here are some ways you can do so:
Alan can record any comments you would like to make over the phone. Please call the Rectory (01252 820537) and arrange a time to do this. It will involve calling Alan on his mobile – and a number will be provided to do this.
If you would like to record a video or sound; make something and take a picture of it; write some prose; share something you found on the web – whatever you have found that has fed you spiritually; please send it to Alan to pull it together.
Large files can be sent to Alan via https://www.filemail.com/
Alan looks forward to receiving lots of contributions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank-you so much to our artists for contributing to the June theme which was flowers. Here is the video gallery and an introduction to the July theme, a self-portrait with a special thing – could be an object or a pet. You can send in drawings, paintings, collage, craft or photographs.
Here is a bit of information about some of the artists – please send me more about what inspires you and why you paint:
Janice Edmunds runs a small, friendly art group in the Sands.
Joan Thompson has been attending the group since 2007 when she retired from work.
Jean Hazleden has been painting for the last eighteen years, something she took up after she retired.
Susan Everitt writes, “I have sketched and painted since I was very small and I have attended many art classes and courses over the years, but it is only since I retired 8 years ago as a teacher at Hale School, that I have been able to really indulge this interest. I have been going to a Farnham U3A painting group regularly during this time and this has helped to develop my confidence and technique. Like many others, the recent Lockdown has encouraged me to paint more often and try different methods and ideas. Inspiration comes from many sources. Often my own or others’ photographs, ideas I find in art magazines or through the art group, my garden – especially in the summer, animals, beautiful scenery.”
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Tonight’s Taizé service:
If you had told me a year ago that our world would be affected by a great pandemic and we would be confined to our homes except for the most essential work, and then asked me what I might struggle with most, I would have guessed a few things:
I would have been wrong. There is one thing, and one thing only that has cut me to the core in terms of pain, and that is conducting funerals under the current circumstances. In particular, seeing people sitting on chairs at the crematorium, two meters away from the next person, crying with no-one to put an arm around them and console them. My heart breaks. I am forbidden, like everyone else, from offering a hug, and that is a dreadful cruelty that had never occurred to me before. It is torture to see someone in pain and not be able to offer acts of comfort. Here is a poem written by Stella about the pain of such a funeral.
My understanding is that most bereaved people have opted for something called ‘direct cremation’, a term I hadn’t heard of before, where their loved one is cremated with no ceremony preceding it. The hope is that after the lockdown is over, we will be able to have memorial services and express all that we want to and need to. I don’t know how that feels; I suspect it is like being in limbo.
I look forward to the day when we can have these memorial services, where people can cry and be comforted with hugs and words spoken softly and squeezes of the hand, where friends and relatives can be present and comfort each other in their grief.
Note: Church of England churches are available to all people for memorial services – those who attend regular services and those who have never attended.
A poem about funerals during the COVID-19 pandemic.
There was no black and yellow tape
So they searched the office drawers
And found brown
Which would seal parcels
But not stick to carpet
Scuffed, edged with dust, lines
To keep us safe, far apart
As we control our tears
On chairs ranged coldly
Ten of them
For ten stiff soldiers
Alert to the war
A war to save lives
Tearing us apart in the face of grief and death
Today’s service led by John Evans:
The National Health Service is 72 years old today (July 5) so we are holding an online service to celebrate and give thanks for this life-saving institution.
The service, is a mix of music, prayer, art, videos and stories of how the NHS has helped improve health and save lives. There are contributions from Farnham Heath End School and Post19, which supports young adults with learning difficulties, from a Frimley Park Hospital nurse describing working during the COVID-19 pandemic, from people whose lives have been saved by the NHS; and there is a history of healthcare before the NHS from Father John Evans who remembers its foundation when he was a teenager in 1948.
“The NHS is a wonderful institution which is available for all UK citizens whether they are rich or poor,” says Lesley C.rawley. “It has saved the lives of many of us and made life for all of us better.
“I think that everyone has come to appreciate how special the NHS is during the COVID-19 pandemic and we have seen doctors, nurses and other NHS workers putting their own lives at risk and working round the clock to save lives. We really wanted to give thanks for everyone in the NHS and pray for God’s continued blessing of them.”