Category Archives: Appeal

Collection to help refugees

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ (Matthew 25:25-36)

FHR collection Oct 18It is time to sort through our wardrobes and cupboards again ready for another collection organised by Farnham Help for Refugees in UK and Overseas and taking place on October 5 from 3-7pm in St George’s Church.

The clothes, toiletries, baby items and medical and other equipment which are collected in (see above for what is needed) will then be distributed to other groups who have direct links to refugees either in this country or overseas. For instance, a car full of supplies, particularly toiletries and feminine hygiene products, always goes down to Portsmouth where the Red Cross distribute it among refugees already in the country. Other supplies are taken to groups such as High Wycombe Helping Others which sends container loads out to countries like Lebanon and Greece which are currently home to thousands of refugees, particularly from Syria.

Members of the group also take clothing and supplies overseas themselves which gives them a clear idea of what is specifically needed. One of the members of the group was on the Greek island of Lesbos last month where thousands of people continue to arrive seeking refuge from war and persecution in their home countries.

Another member is Penny Hardcastle from St George’s who will be driving to Calais with a car full of contributions in October which she will pass to the organisation Help Refugees. She will also stay to help with sorting and food and clothing distribution.

This will be Penny’s second trip to Calais – the first last December opened her eyes to the plight of desperate people there. “Calais is very depressing,” said Penny. “Most of the people there have fled from life or death situations and they way they are treated by the police is terrible. It was bitterly cold when I was there and there were people out there with no shelter. They don’t have tents because of the police brutality – they are forced to move on so don’t have time to put up tents. They sleep in the woods. It snowed when I was there and then there was torrential rain and that was even worse.

“But the people were so positive and friendly and there was a lot of camaraderie among them. Most of them were men – the families don’t tend to be there – and many had friends and family in England. I met one man who had a business in Birmingham and had been deported and just wanted to get back there. I met intelligent, skilled people who want to contribute.”

Among the items that Penny will be taking to Calais are men’s winter clothes in small-to-medium sizes and shoes in sizes seven to nine (40-43). “The men tend to be of slim build – partly how they are and also they have often walked for many months – and they don’t have the large European feet. Clothes to fit teenage boys would be good. The men want to look nice, to maintain their dignity.

“It may feel like a small thing, turning up at the collection with a pair of shoes say, but it really does help. And these are all dignified humans. If I were in that position I would like to think that there were people who would want to help me.”

To find out more or to offer help with sorting and packing, contact farnhamhelpforrefugees@gmail.com

penny in calais

Penny in Calais last year.

Emily – the ‘Most Original Entry’

Hale Carnival was a joyful community affair with a happy, celebratory atmosphere which England’s win in the World Cup quarter-finals certainly enhanced. St Mark’s had its bunting up as well as a large rainbow banner as a reminder of God’s welcoming, inclusive love which is far greater than we can imagine. And we also had Emily!

Emily the replica organ was the St Mark’s entry into the carnival procession, created by Dave and Helena Walker and Frances and Paul Whewell. They also entered her into the Farnham Castle the previous Saturday where they won silver in the adults and individuals category. In  the Hale Carnival they not only took home second prize they also won ‘Most Original Entry’.

Thank-you Dave, Helena, Frances and Paul for your creativity and dedication!

Count your Blessings for Lent

Lent starts this year on Valentines Day – 14th February. Lots of people choose to do something special for Lent. In this parish one of the charities we support is Christian Aid and for Lent they are encouraging us to count our blessings each day with these special reflections and actions. Click on the below links to find out more:

Count Your Blessings 2018 adult

Children’s Count Your Blessings

 

 

Your church needs you(r money)

It would be nice to think that the practice of religion could be conducted without having to worry about such secular items as paying bills and general self-sufficiency. However, unless you’re going to go out in the desert, climb up a pole and generally shun society to conduct your devotions, this is unlikely to be the case.
Basically any church, regardless of denomination requires the congregation to contribute to its upkeep. The Church of England, even though it is the established church with the monarch as its head, is no different in this regard. We get no contribution from the diocese, from central government or the extensive royal estates.
The parish budget is divided roughly into two areas: the general fund, which deals with the day to day running expenses, including salaries; and the restricted funds which are reserved for specific purposes, e.g. building repairs or outreach. It all comes ultimately from the contributions of parishioners.

You may have heard people talking about “the Parish Share”. This is the major outgoing part of the general fund (about 65%). It goes to the diocese. Most of it comes back in the form of salaries of clergy and their housing. A smaller part is associated with such things as training and diocese administration. The ability to pay the parish share is regarded as an indication of the viability of the parish. We’ve managed for the last three years. It’s going to be a challenge this year.

This year, the budget predictions indicate a general fund expenditure of £104,000 and an income of £84,000, a shortfall of £20,000. We also have a problem with the special funds, particularly the part associated with building maintenance. We’re almost out of money here, after carrying out necessary repairs and modifications to each church.

On a personal note, when I was studying the figures in order to give a presentation on this problem to the churches recently, I looked at my own monetary contribution. I thought it was quite substantial. However, I then figured out how much I spent per week on coffee in various establishments and car parking charges in Farnham and Guildford etc. The amount I give to the church is comparable, or possibly slightly less, than these numbers. I think the parish is arguably more deserving, and certainly has a greater need of my money, than Starbucks!

You will be able to make similar comparisons based on your own lifestyles.

The most effective way to give is via the parish giving scheme. This is a direct debit system. If you are a taxpayer you have the option of donating gift aid. You can also choose to index link your contribution. If you don’t pay tax, we can claim tax relief on the amount collected in the collection plates, so you may want to consider this option. We would prefer to phase out the old collection envelope scheme, as it costs a lot in both time and money to administer, and technology has moved on since this was regarded as the clever way to contribute.

So, come on everybody. If we look at the numbers attending the church, we are a growing parish. However, the income isn’t reflecting this. I’m afraid the days of putting loose change in the collection plate are long past. I’m significantly increasing my direct debit, or, as Alan Crawley neatly, and delightfully ambiguously, summarised when I gave my presentation to St Mark’s,

“I’m upping mine, up yours (!)”

Bob Shatwell

An evening with Rudyard Kipling

Jonathan Jones, the Farnham Town Crier, will be performing on Saturday 9th July at 7:30pm at St Mark’s Church, Upper Hale, GU9 0LT, to raise money for the restoration of ‘Emily’ the pipe organ. Entry is free but donations are very welcome!

Jonathan explains, “I will present, in the first person, Rudyard Kipling’s “Something of Myself”. It is the story of Rudyard Kipling’s life, based on his autobiography and interspersed with dramatic readings of his poetry, including ‘If’, ‘Tommy’, ‘The Glory of the Garden’, ‘Recessional’, ‘My Boy Jack’ and ‘Gunga Din’. It covers his traumatic childhood, his early years in India and the tragic loss of his son John in the Great War.”

The Reverend Lesley Crawley said, “This will be a fantastic evening, we are so very lucky to have Jonathan performing for us once again. His “A Christmas Carol” performance was unforgettable. Do come along for a wonderful community evening and please help us to restore ‘Emily’!”

So far over £5300 has been raised to restore and rebuild the Edwardian Pipe Organ. The target is £23,000.

Christian Aid Week 2016: The week we love every neighbour

Christian Aid week will take place from 15th – 21st May this year. Laura Mead, Surrey’s Regional Co-ordinator for Christian Aid, highlights the plight of people in Bangladesh, like Feroza, who will benefit from the funds raised.

We believe Jesus calls us to love others as our neighbours; and not just the ones next door or at the end of the street.  We’re all made in God’s image, which means the whole world is our neighbourhood, and every person in it is precious.

Every May, over 20,000 churches across the UK and Ireland come together in a remarkable way to raise money and help transform the lives of some of the world’s poorest people. Volunteers from the churches in the Bourne Parish will be part of this huge effort in collecting donations. Through the funds raised during Christian Aid Week, people in developing countries can be given a safe place to call home and big strides made towards a world where everyone has enough food to eat.

This year, Christian Aid Week tells the inspiring story of families living on the low-lying islands on the Brahmaputra River, Bangladesh, who have a daily battle against the devastating and catastrophic effects of climate change. Bangladesh’s geography, with large rivers and monsoon climate, make it incredibly vulnerable to natural disasters, including floods and cyclones. Bangladesh is home to 160 million people, (four fifths of whom live on less than £1.30 a day), making it one of the most densely populated countries on earth.

Every year, when the snow melts on the Himalayas, the Brahmaputra River swells and sends water into homes, spoiling crops and ruining families’ possessions.  Homes can be destroyed, children swept away in rapid water and the land on which poor communities’ lives are built, washed away.  The people living beside this precarious river live in constant fear, and never feel safe with a place to call home. Christian Aid believes that the most vulnerable do not have to be engulfed by the tide of poverty; however vast these problems may be, there are solutions.

Christian Aid partner, GUK, works with these poor rural communities.

Feroza’s story

GUK is supporting families suffering from the consequences of annual floods, by providing them with earth plinths to raise their homes 6 – 8ft above water. This creates a safe place for them to rebuild their home and keep livestock.  They are being given new seeds, so they can grow essential crops.

Feroza, a mother of three, has seen her home swept away seven times. She now has a flood-proof house and the chance of creating a safe future for her family.  A Christian Aid Home Safety Package (£250) has provided her with a goat, seeds and a wormery, all of which will give her a long-term income. For the first time in her life she is free from fear and her family are thriving. She said: “I had a dream but I did not have the ability to fulfil that dream. Now I can think about how to go further. Before it was just a daydream.”                (use for pull-out quote)

You can help transform the lives of our global neighbours in Christian Aid Week by donating in the envelope dropped through your door, or online at www.caweek.org, calling 08080 006 006, or texting ‘SAFE’ to 70040 to give £5. 

Saving ‘Emily’ the organ

As readers of this blog probably know, ‘Emily’ is a pipe organ who lives at St Mark’s and she is 103 years old and getting more than a bit doddery. However, the good news for organs is they can be overhauled and be as good as new. The organ has over 500 pipes that need attention, as well as the complex mechanisms that turn pressing keys into making the pipes play. It is very labour-intensive, but if we raise the money then Emily will back on her feet and sounding wonderful for another 50 years.

Which brings me to the money! The overall cost to restore Emily is £23,000, and we have had some generous donations, a wonderful concert and a very enjoyable evening when the Farnham Town Crier performed ‘A Christmas Carol’ single-handedly. This has raised £1,900. In addition, people have sponsored pipes and stops, raising £500.

Specsavers have been very generous, giving out leaflets about ‘Emily’ and we are one of their twenty chosen charities this year, which celebrates 20 years of opening. Sir Ray Tindle has also been generous, offering to promote all of our events in the Farnham Herald in order to raise the money.

So there is £21,600 left to go – feels like a big target, but these are the next steps.

We are applying to grant-making bodies to see if they might help. So far we have applied to eleven trusts, six currently have no money, one has suggested another fund, one has been quite warm about us taking the application further and three are yet to respond. There are another three trusts we can apply to, although one of them requires us to have half the money committed before we do.

We have two events planned in the near future, they are:

  • Daytime organ recital on Thursday 2nd June at 2pm at St Mark’s Church, where our organist, Frances Whewell will play.
  • Kipling Evening, where the Farnham Town Crier will dress as the poet and recite his well-loved works – date TBA but likely to be Friday 8th July

Please support these events if you can – so far the events have had a fabulous, warm community feeling and I was pleased that we put them on whether we raised money or not!

If you would like to sponsor a pipe or a stop please let me know – revdlesley@gmail.com or 01252 820537

Harvest Festival – a time to share

Many churches have a tradition of people bringing the ‘fruits of creation’ to the altar at the Harvest Festival service, thanking God for them and then distributing them to those who need them. In the Parish of Badshot Lea and Hale, the churches of St John’s, Hale, St Mark’s, Upper Hale and St George’s, Badshot Lea will be collecting food for the local Foodbank on 4th October at the Harvest Services which are 9:30am, 10am and 11am respectively.

The Reverend Lesley Crawley said, “Please come along and sing your favourite harvest songs and, if possible, bring some food for those who don’t have enough. We will also be taking a collection at the end of the service at the door for the Syrian refugees.”

The Foodbank are particularly in need of tinned meat, instant mash, tinned Sponge Puddings, powdered milk, chocolate, Long Life fruit juice, tinned fruit, biscuits, snack bars, tinned rice pudding, UHT Milk, sugar, tinned vegetables, tinned fish and toiletries.

Photo accreditation: Georgie Fry

A Concert to Help Save our Pipe Organ “Emily”

A concert not to be missed

This is a rare opportunity to experience a superb musical evening’s entertainment. On November 14th at 7.30pm at St. Mark’s there will be an organ recital by Stephen Lacey resident organist and director of music at St. Andrew’s Church Farnham. A choral repertoire will be provided by Sedici with musical director Valerie Hoppe MBE. They will be singing a range of music from Vaughn Williams ‘Falstaff and the Fairies’ and the ‘Wedding Chorus’, Chilcott ‘Thou Knowest Lord’, ‘The Silver Swan’ Orlando Gibbons through to more modern arrangements of ‘Putting on the Ritz’ & ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’. There will also be an interesting range of readings by a wide variety of authors from Noel Coward to Conan Doyle and J.M.Barrie to Kipling, all read by Rosemary Wisbey. Refreshments will be available during the interval.

There is no charge for this wonderful evening of entertainment but a retiring collection will be taken in aid of our pipe organ “Emily”. Please put the date in your diary and come along.

Why does Emily need saving?

Emily is a beautiful Edwardian pipe organ that is just over 100 years old. She is referred to as “Emily” after her benefactor – Emily Mangles. Sadly, she has been used very rarely over the past three years because after a century of service she is in need of a complete overhaul. The “action” which links the keys to the pipes has become sluggish, the leatherwork is failing and the wind noise from the leaking wind trunks is detracting from her beautiful tone. The time has come for us to restore her.