Category Archives: Children and Youth

Baptisms are back!

Families are returning to church for baptisms in the parish after months of delay thanks to Covid-19. The first baptism in the parish took place on Sunday, August 23, when little Archie Higginson (pictured with his parents above) was baptized at St John’s, and this is being followed this month by the baptism of two sisters, one of whom was born in lockdown, and a further one booked for October.

The baptisms all take place in the main Sunday services and there are strict rules on hygiene, social distancing and wearing masks but this didn’t detract from one-year-old Archie’s baptism. “It all went well,” said Archie’s mother Nola. “It was a bit strange wearing face masks but it felt like a proper baptism and we felt welcomed into the church.” She also sought to allay other families’ fears about not being able to invite family and friends to the service. “We were able to invite everyone we wanted to and Archie enjoyed it too. I thought he’d wriggle more as he doesn’t like being still but he was fine.”

On September 27 we will welcome little Isabella and Eden Argenti. Two-year-old Isabella was to have been baptized in May but now her baby sister Eden, who was born in June, will be baptized at the same time. Isabella and Eden’s mother Rose, who is one of the regular readers in our online all-age service, said: “We were so happy to hear when the churches were able to reopen, and after welcoming our second daughter during lockdown, we are very much looking forward to having both our girls now baptized together at St John’s this month and welcoming them into the church.”

Lesley Crawley baptized Archie and will baptize the sisters. She said: “We are so pleased to be able to hold baptisms in the services again. Obviously, there are differences because of Covid restrictions but these don’t detract from what is a very special and joyous occasion of welcoming someone into the church and beginning their new life as part of the Christian community.”

Adults as well as children can be baptized and baptisms take place in the main service as baptism symbolises the entry of a person into the life and family of the church. The services all have anti-Covid measures put in place.

To enquire about baptisms, please contact Stella Wiseman on 07842761919.

Pictured top are Nola and Matthew Higginson with Archie.

Children welcome in church

We would love to welcome children back to church now that we have started services in the buildings again.

There is plenty of space in the churches and there are places for families to sit in their ‘bubbles’. Please, though, bring your own toys, books, colouring books, colours, snacks and drinks etc, and we ask that you don’t share between families.

There is a relatively formal service at St John’s at 9.30am, an informal service at St George’s at 10am and a very informal service at St Mark’s at 11am.

Please join us.

Picture by Dawn Hudson

Safer recruitment

Lesley and Alan recently undertook some safeguarding training, and were reminded that the reason that the church sometimes does things differently is because most organisations can safeguard by exclusion – if they think that someone might be a risk they exclude them.  The church is inclusive and welcomes all. However, the impact of this is that we need different procedures to other organisations. 

The training was about Safer Recruitment, and one of the facts we were given was that other voluntary groups are getting better at this, and if the church doesn’t also do so we will become the most likely place for malevolent people to seek to infiltrate their way in.

All people helping with church activities which involve children or vulnerable adults should be “safely recruited”.  We have a large number of people who have taken on roles over many years without this.  It is within the PCCs authority to accept all those currently in role and implement this for those going forwards.

Safe recruitment says that for those roles which involve children or vulnerable adults:

A role description should be written;
The role should be advertised (not essential for volunteer roles);
An interview (which could be an informal chat for volunteer roles);
References should be taken;
There should be an ongoing oversight role;
A confidential declaration should be completed;
A review should determine whether a DBS is required.

If you would like to know more, please contact Alan.

Picture by  Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

Look up to the sky for Ascension Day

Next Thursday (May 21), we will be celebrating Ascension Day online with a special service for all ages which will be available on this website from 7.30pm.

Ascension Day is a Christian festival which takes place 40 days after Easter Sunday, and which celebrates the story of Jesus ascending to heaven as told in the Bible in the book of Acts, Chapter 1.

The service will incorporate many of the elements which will be familiar to followers of the parish – hymns on fiddle, double bass and keyboard, photos of members of the church looking up to the sky (they may even be wearing tea towels on their heads in time-honoured fashion), prayers, a story about the impact of Jesus on the life of his disciples and a talk about the impact he still has. There will be contributions from people from all across the parish.

We do still need a bit of help though. Can you pop a tea towel or scarf on your own head and transport yourself back 2,000 years to the time just after Jesus died and rose again? Imagine you are one of the disciples and you are with Jesus when he ascends to heaven. Look up to the sky and take a selfie.

Maxine Everitt, who is organising the service along with Kris Lawrence, explains a bit more: “We would like you to imagine what it would have been like to watch Jesus ascend into heaven; the tea towel or scarf is to help you get into character.

“What would you be thinking? Can you capture that in an expression? Individuals, couples and families including youngsters would be great too –  Please!”

Once you have taken your selfie, send it to Alan, then join us here on Thursday, May 21, from 7.30pm or on Facebook.

 

Thanks and reflection

The service of thanksgiving and prayer for the NHS and other frontline workers has been hugely welcomed and reflected the gratitude and creativity of our community as well as the importance of prayer for many of us (online searches for information about prayer have skyrocketed since the outbreak of Coronavirus began).

Our thanks to the masses of people who were involved in the service which Alan and Lesley put together: Farnham Heath End School; the Scouts; people across the community who sent in beautiful rainbows and other works; keyworkers who allowed themselves to be photographed and the pictures shown as Olivia Jasper sang Amazing Grace; church members; the Mayor of Farnham, Pat Evans; and local MP, Jeremy Hunt.

Lesley Crawley reflected on the service: “I have been bowled over by the gratitude of others for this service and I hope it is enabling others to take their thoughts and anxieties and feelings of gratitude and turn them into prayers. For me, I find prayer always helps; it always makes me feel more peaceful and bit by bit it makes me a better version of myself. In the case of a nation praying it gives us a helpful and even hopeful way of expressing our concerns and worries and also a way of focussing on the good and being grateful for that.”

Special atmosphere and Santa at SHIP party

Families from Sandy Hill met Santa Claus and showed off their dance moves at a party at St Mark’s on the Monday before Christmas (December 23).

The families, from the Sandy Hill Inclusive Partnership (SHIP), enjoyed a party which included table tennis, pool, art and craft, music and dance provided by the performing arts school Boogie Pumps, and, of course, a visit from Santa Claus who brought gifts for all the children and their parents too.

“It was a really special atmosphere,” said Francis from Boogie Pumps, who led the children in a dance session involving hoops, pom poms, baby sharks and a lot of energy and enthusiasm, while the general consensus among the families was that it was “awesome” and “we’ve been spoiled!”.

More than 100 presents were provided for the children following the annual Farnborough Business Park Christmas Gift Drive, collecting brand new toys, clothes, vouchers, make-up and jewellery for some young people. Members of St Mark’s, St John’s and St George’s churches had also donated enough presents for the SHIP adults to take home a bag of gifts each too.

A big thank-you to everyone who gave so generously, and to everyone who helped put on the party, including Waitrose who provided some of the food. It was great fun and a lovely start to Christmas. We are looking forward to other events with SHIP in the new year.