Category Archives: 175 anniversary

175th birthday service at St John’s

A bishop, a mayor, an archdeacon and clergy and church members old and new joined the celebratory service for the 175th birthday of St John’s on Sunday, November 24.

St John’s was consecrated in November 1844 and the service on Sunday – which was led by the Bishop of Guildford and attended by the Mayor of Farnham, Cllr Pat Evans – marked the climax of several months of birthday celebrations which have included a flower festival, an arts and crafts festival, talks, concerts, a lot of reminiscing and, of course, cake.

St John’s was also delighted to welcome the Archdeacon of Surrey – the Venerable Paul Davies – as deacon, and former St John’s clergy the Rev’ds Paul Smith and Jennifer Paterson. Paul Smith led the intercessions while Jennifer read the New Testament lesson – Acts 2:37-47 which shows the church in action 2,000 years ago, sharing the same gospel of Jesus Christ that is shared today.

The Bishop of Guildford, the Rt Rev’d Andrew Watson, preached at the service about the many changes that had gone on in the past 175 years, including the fact that traffic on Castle Street could sometimes be slower now than it was when local resident and inventor John Henry Knight was the first man fined for speeding in a car – in 1895, travelling at nine miles per hour. The Bishop also spoke about the future and the sense he had of God’s plans for the church in Hale.

There are plans underway to use St John’s not just for services but as a hub, responding to needs in the community. Rev’d Lesley Crawley is working on a long-term project to develop the church and has been talking to local residents, groups, charities, schools, businesses and other organisations, to discover what is most needed in the area. She said: “Our 175th birthday has been a wonderful reason to celebrate this beautiful church and we have loved welcoming friends old and new to St John’s. It has also been an opportunity to focus our minds on the future and what we believe God is calling us to do here in Hale. I am very excited as I look forward to seeing the church grow and develop. Here’s to the next 175 years!”

Afterwards there were snacks and Prosecco and the Bishop and Lesley Crawley cut the birthday cake made by parishioner and member of the choir June Jasper.

There is a communion service at St John’s every Sunday at 9.30am, and on the first and third Sunday there is also a ‘Taizé service at 6pm, using liturgy featuring prayer chants and silence and based on the Taizé monastic community in France.

This Christmas there will also be a carol service on Sunday, December 15 at 4pm; a ‘Longest Night’ service – for people who find Christmas difficult – on Wednesday, December 18, at 7.30pm; a Crib Service on December 24 at 3pm; Midnight Mass on December 24 at 11pm; and a Christmas Day service at 9.30am. St John’s will also be the meeting point for the Christmas event, ‘a Journey to Bethlehem’, on Friday, December 20, when two groups will walk to the church from Badshot Lea and from Upper Hale and arrive for a short service attended by the Mayor.

175 words for a 175th birthday

We asked people to write 175 words about St John’s for the church’s 175th birthday.

If you want to add some more, email news@badshotleaandhale.org

 

 

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Happy 175th Birthday, St John’s!

Serenity
Away from the hurly burly of life in Hale
Intensely moving
Never hostile and always
Tranquil

Just the place to celebrate with
Others the love of God, his Son and the Holy Spirit,
Nowhere more
Special.

Christenings and marriages of family and friends.
Healing in times of sadness with
Understanding and support of clergy and congregation.
Revelations of God’s work through words, music and images.
Celebrations of special events; Christmas, Easter and  Harvest.
Holy times throughout the year, every year.

Happy 175th Birthday, St John’s!
Always there since 1844.
Let us all embrace change in the years ahead,
Enclosed by your sheltering roof.

Alison Ridgeon, 2019


 

What does St John’s mean to me? It is a place of memories. Moving to Hale 80 years ago and being taken as a small child to church. Passing the church on my way to school and later work, learning about God and his love for us. Happy memories and sad, losing my father when I was 20, being supported and comforted. Happy times when I walked down the aisle to be married to my late husband John, 60 years ago. Returning 2 years later with our first daughter to be baptised.

Moving away from the parish but still holding St John’s close to my heart. Keeping in touch through my Mother until her death. The wonderful Requiem service that was held for her. With the coming of the Internet to be in touch again. Recently through this source my parent’s names have been entered in the Book of Remembrance.

Whatever the future holds for the incorporating of other uses in this beautiful building, may the presence of the Lord be always moving in St John’s

Mary Hart  (née Green)   


 

On a Sunday in September 2001 at St John’s, I led a pilgrim communion with boots underneath my robes and rucksack under the altar. After the service a few parishioners accompanied me towards the North Downs Way and the beginning of the way to Canterbury. I had always wanted to go on pilgrimage and finding myself at one end of the long-distance trail seemed too good an opportunity to miss. I stayed in parishes along the way, having made prior arrangements for accommodation, and arrived in Canterbury the following Saturday. Members of the parish travelled there to meet me and join in Evensong in the Cathedral. I invited parishioners to accompany me, both by physically walking with me for all or part of a day, or by following my daily posts on the internet. One day, making our way through Kent, one of my companions inspired me with stories of the Camino de Santiago in Spain. In 2006 I made the first of three pilgrimages there. Thank you, St John’s, for the inspiration!

Paul Smith


 

My grandparents, parents, my husband and myself all married at St John’s  – it holds a special place in my heart.

Every Sunday of my childhood we attended Matins at 11:00am, the service conducted by Rev. Jonathon Edwards. A pretty full congregation, each member regularly in their same pew, my Father as church warden seeing to hymn books and taking the collection. Mr. Leigh-Taylor often read the lessons, with such a clear, expressive voice. If my Father read the lesson I remember being surprised as it was the same voice I heard for a bedtime story.

Harvest Festival was a splendid event, every possible space filled with flowers, fruit vegetables and a beautifully baked sheaf of corn in front of the altar. The church smelt wonderful.

I remember the arrival of Rev. Peter Hogben for one particular reason. He preached a sermon which had us all laughing out loud – in church!!! I was shocked but secretly delighted to have this happen in the usual quiet, sombre service, in which one rarely spoke above a whisper.

Judith Hunt


 

The grand opening of St John’s Hale on November 8th, 1844 was well described by a reporter at the time. It was a wet day, with the ‘road thronged with carriages and other conveyances’; the Archdeacon preached an ‘elegant and impressive sermon’; the princely sum of 84 pounds, 13 shillings and sixpence was raised in the collection; and ‘in the evening the Lord Bishop entertained at dinner a large party of the clergy and gentry’!

Move the clock forward 175 years and it feels like a very different age than our own! Yet the same ‘God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ’ is being worshipped Sunday by Sunday, and St John’s remains at the heart of the community, with a vision to reach out further still. I was privileged to visit the church on one of my first Sundays in the diocese, and was given the warmest of welcomes; and I much look forward to returning during this anniversary year to give thanks for all that has been, that is, and is to come.

Blessings, +A

The Right Rev’d Andrew Watson, Bishop of Guildford


 

St John’s for me over the years has been a constant presence.  Like many in the community, a punctuation for life events. A place for bright beginnings and soft endings. A place for celebration, solace and hope. And now St John’s is all this to my young family, too.

Anon


 

We as a family first attended St John’s Church for the Christmas midnight service of 1977. We were living in Army quarters in Farnborough and had found a partially built house in Hale which we were going to buy, so we thought it would be a good idea to attend the Hale Parish church.

The church was very full, but we had a nice welcome and thought it might be the one for us, so now, nearly 42 years on, I am still a member.

Yes, the congregation has altered, a lot have moved or died, but there are some members still active and enjoying the formality of the church.

So now, nearly 42 years later, the congregation is smaller, but there is always a friendly greeting on arrival.

There have been several changes of clergy. The Rev’d Michael Sellors had the job of burying my husband; yes, another very full service. He, himself, died a few year ago.

Diana Thomas


 

St John’s Church is a place where it is easy to pray. Sometimes I am there with no intention of praying, I’m just there to collect something, but I find myself sitting in the church, enjoying the stillness and the beauty, and more than that – the palpable sense of God. It is almost as if the walls have absorbed all the people’s prayers over the years and now when we enter the building we are enveloped in the gentle love of God, our hearts are stilled and we feel peace.

St John’s church is also under threat, though. The roof and the tower and the walls are all crumbling, costing far more than the congregation could possibly raise. But I have an immense sense that God hasn’t finished with St John’s yet, God has plans for its future and it falls to us to discern them and join in.

Lesley Crawley 


 

St John’s has been my spiritual home now for 42 years; through the good times and the sad times, the church door has always been open for me, allowing me to pray and contemplate on my life.

Initially, I mainly attended at festive times. In later years, I went to the Sunday early morning Communion service and enjoyed very much the peace and tranquillity, which helped me meditate when praying. After a spell of going to Friday services at St Marks, I have now arrived at the 9.30am Sunday service.

I really enjoy this service – singing hymns and participating in the service. There is something about saying your prayers with others. I try to pray every day at home, but in Church there’s a contentment which is difficult to describe.

St John’s is my Rock – so much so, that when I pass away (which hopefully will be a long time yet!) I would like my ashes to be buried in the cemetery at the Church. Long may St John’s flourish for the next 175 years.

Chris Fisher


 

Last year we filmed a 60s wedding scene in the church. The building is beautiful and charming, and helped realise our script perfectly.

When we first visited the Church the sun was shining through the windows so wonderfully, which on the day of filming helped to craft the warm and loving atmosphere we were aiming to create! The priest and volunteers were equally as warm!  The Church felt untouched by time and was such a joy to work in!  We filmed during the heatwave, and the building most definitely provided some cool relief (popular with the cast and crew!). Filming in such an impressive building made our jobs easy, as the visuals were already stunning. I remember the sunshine pouring through the stain glass windows, which looked glorious (and even better on 16mm film!)

We’re very lucky and grateful to have been given the opportunity to film in such a beautiful and historical building.

A special thanks to Winston, Sylvie, and Alan, without whom The Bride in the Black Veil would not have been possible!

Lauren Jarvis


 

A warm welcome – my first and abiding memory of St John’s.  In 2001 I turned up to the Wednesday morning Holy Communion, prior to an interview for the post of full-time curate.

I was a stranger.  I was greeted at the door by Diana, with a smile and friendly greeting. Afterwards, many people said “hello”. For someone whose future ministry may lie in this place, it was immensely reassuring.

I became curate at Hale with Badshot Lea, as it was then, that summer. Another precious memory is of the first Holy Communion I celebrated, in 2002. Jane Virji and I had been through our diaconate and priesting together so it was decided that we should ‘co-celebrate’ at St John’s.

It was an unusual arrangement, but the parish took it in its stride. Rector Paul Smith moved on very soon afterwards, leaving two inexperienced priests running the Hale end of things. With the love and patience of many people, we survived.

Something at St John’s which mystified me was a sound which seemed like the muffled cry of a child. After many months I discovered that it was a creaking floorboard near the vestry door!

Rev’d Deborah Scott-Bromley


 

My memories are of running down Upper Hale Road on a Saturday afternoon in the 1960’s cassock, surplice and ruff in hand, with my younger brother David to sing in St John’s choir during the wedding season.  We were paid 1/2 crown per wedding and it was very exciting to have two or three weddings during one afternoon.

Although we belonged to St Mark’s choir the weddings were always at St Johns and members of St Marks were always encouraged to help provide a full choir especially during the summer holidays, when numbers were low!  We always enjoyed the weddings.  The church was beautifully decorated, the congregation were happy and excited and sang loudly to the well known family hymns. It sent shivers down my spine when the organ struck the first notes of the bridal march and once the bride was handed to the groom we could see the nervous couple and were proud to be part of their special day.  St John’s is a beautiful church full of history and happy family memories.

Wendy-Rae Mitchell


 

150th anniversary of St John’s building and consecration was a high point of my period as Incumbent of Hale with Badshot Lea. We celebrated with a catalogue of events through a week in November, including welcoming a former parishioner who had subsequently become a bishop to preside and preach, wearing a new set of Eucharistic vestments that had been especially commissioned and made for the occasion. At the end of the week there was a celebratory dinner in Farnham Castle (home, of course, of Charles Sumner, our founder and benefactor) at which the guest speaker was the comic actor Derek Nimmo, who had made a specialism in his career of creating clerical characters on stage and screen.

In the introduction to the 150th Anniversary History of St John’s I wrote: “A building, even a Church building, is hallowed not so much by its appearance or proportion as by the faith that it represents and the community in which that faith is celebrated.” May that continue to be true in Hale for decades to come!

+Humphrey Southern
Vicar of Hale/Team Rector of Hale with Badshot Lea 1992-1999


 

St J14

An invitation to our 175th birthday service

 

Come to a 175th birthday service at St John’s Church, on Sunday, November 24, at 9.30am, bringing to a climax several months of celebration.

Everyone is invited to join in a celebratory service, marking 175 years since the church was consecrated in November 1844, and just as a bishop, Charles Sumner, was at the first service, so a bishop will be at this service 175 years later. The Rt Rev’d Andrew Watson, Bishop of Guildford, will lead the service and preach, and the Archdeacon of Surrey, the Ven Paul Davies will also be there, along with former clergy and members of the congregation.

There will be traditional, favourite hymns, a Communion service and afterwards birthday cake and a chance to reminisce about the past and look forward to the future.

Join us on November 24 at 9.30am, at St John’s Church, GU9 9AB, to celebrate the past and look forward to the next 175 years.

 

Picture by http://www.post19.com

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.

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

 

It’s party time!

There’s a birthday party in St John’s churchyard, Hale, on Saturday, July 20, from 12-2pm, and everyone is invited.

The party, called Music in the Churchyard, will celebrate the 175th anniversary of St John’s. There will be food and drink and plenty of cake, all of it free, with music by Farnham artist Jasper and the Island, and fellow singer Meg Wassell. Both will be performing well-known songs by bands such as ABBA and Fleetwood Mac alongside classic jazz and old-style numbers.

Jasper and the Island is a singer/songwriter with influences from country, pop and folk, but who also enjoys performing theatre and covers. She currently has original songs on SoundCloud, but will be releasing her debut EP later this year. Jasper and the Island often performs on the last Wednesday of the month at The Plough in Farnham. Meg is a jazz/soul/pop singer songwriter whose influences include Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, Amy Winehouse and Gregory Porter. In April, Meg released her debut EP Blood Orange and is vocalist for the Sundown Jazz Society band. She is currently creating new music, playing local festivals and holding jazz residencies in her hometown of Hereford.

Pictured from left: Jasper and the Island (photo by Daisy Sharp); Meg Wassell (photo by Ellie Burd).

The idea behind the party is not just to celebrate a milestone for this beautiful Victorian church which was consecrated in 1844, but to invite everyone to come and enjoy the hospitality which the church offers. Lesley Crawley said: “St John’s is everyone’s church and as well as celebrating our anniversary, we are looking forward to the future and we want the community to be involved in that future. We really want to hear from people what they want from the church and are running a survey for residents and local organisations to complete.” To find the survey click here.

Entry to the party is completely free but we need to know numbers so that we can prepare enough food and drink. Let us know if you are coming by emailing news@badshotleaandhale.org

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.

Christopher Herbert to deliver lecture

Christopher Herbert, a celebrated speaker and authority on church art and architecture, will give a talk at St John’s Church, Hale, on Art, Architecture and Christianity in Victorian England this Wednesday (June 5th, at 7.30pm), as part of the 175th anniversary celebrations of St John’s.

Bishop Christopher Herbert is the former vicar of The Bourne, Canon of Guildford Cathedral and Bishop of St Albans, and visiting Professor in Christian Ethics at the University of Surrey. He is a sought-after lecturer across the UK and in Europe and has been a guest lecturer at The National Gallery; the Courtauld Institute; King’s College, London; the University of Leicester; Westminster Abbey and at The Arts Society (NADFAS) groups in the UK and mainland Europe. He has also lectured for Swan Hellenic on their Rhone cruises.

The talk will look at the way Victorian England responded to massive changes in society and the world with assertive confidence but also with nostalgia. In architecture and painting, these two conflicting forces gave rise to some fascinating and provocative work both in the Church and in society.

Christopher Herbert retired to Farnham where he had been vicar of The Bourne between 1981 and 1990. In addition, he was Director of Post-Ordination Training for the Diocese of Guildford and was made a Canon of Guildford Cathedral, before becoming Archdeacon of Dorking in 1990. He became Bishop of St Albans in 1995.
He is a prolific author and much of his writing is based on the themes of prayer and spirituality, for both children and adults. Among his best-known books are Ways into Prayer and Pocket Prayers. In 2002 he completed a major piece of research into ‘The Image of the Resurrection of Jesus in 15th Century Northern European Art’, for which he was awarded an MPhil by the University of Leicester. He was awarded a PhD by the University of Leicester in 2008, for his ground-breaking research on ‘The Origins of the Easter Sepulchre in Pre-Reformation England’.

Admission to the talk on Wednesday is free but donations are welcome. Refreshments will be provided.

For further information on Christopher Herbert, visit www.threeabbeys.org.uk

Talk reveals modern slavery in the UK

“If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t” was the message of a talk on modern slavery and human trafficking, delivered at St John’s Church, Hale, on May 22.

The talk, by Suzette Jones, health and wellbeing adviser for the Diocese of Guildford, revealed that, more than 200 years after the abolition of the slave trade in 1807, there are still an estimated 40.3 million men, women and children trapped in modern slavery in the world, and up to 136,000 potential victims in the UK alone, according to the Global Slavery Index. Some of these are hidden in plain sight in our communities – as cleaners, in nail bars and car washes – and Surrey and Hampshire are known to be home to particularly large numbers of enslaved people living in our streets.

Suzette explained that the victims of modern slavery are often vulnerable people who thought they were being given a chance to escape their troubles for a better life – an education, a job, somewhere to live – and are often groomed over time so that they don’t realise what is happening. Once enslaved they usually live in fear, either for themselves or their families or both and so cannot escape. While many come from abroad, many are from the UK and in 2017 the UK had the most victims of slavery in the world, with Albania and Vietnam a close second and third.

The talk, which was accompanied by a film based on a true story about enslaved men working on a farm, detailed some of the signs of slavery to look out for, including people working long hours without the proper protective equipment, lack of money, language problems, not having identity documents and having strange injuries. Car washes and nail bars are particularly known for using slave labour and there is a smartphone app – the Safe Car Wash app – which offers a short survey about the working conditions of car washes, and since its launch a year ago has been used more than 2,000 times with 41 per cent of the reports showing a likelihood of modern slavery. A nail bar app is following soon.

Behind the work to tackle modern slavery is The Clewer Initiative, which works with church networks to develop strategies to detect modern slavery in communities and help provide victim support and care. It relies on individuals to understand and report signs of modern slavery and anyone concerned that they may be witnessing slavery is urged not to tackle it themselves but to call the Modern Slavery Helpline on 0800 0121 700, or 999 if someone is in immediate danger.

The talk was part of a series of events to mark the 175th anniversary of St John’s Church, Hale. The church was founded by Bishop Charles Sumner, Bishop of Winchester and resident of Farnham. He was a cousin of William Wilberforce who worked for the abolition of slavery in the early 19th century and whose son Samuel became Bishop of Winchester after Charles Sumner retired.

For further details of The Clewer Initiative and how to spot signs of modern slavery, visit www.theclewerinitiative.org. For further details of the St John’s Church, visit www.badshotleaandhale.org

 

Pictured above is one of the campaign posters for The Clewer Initiative.