We love a baptism and we’ve celebrated quite a number recently, welcoming children and their families into the church. Baptisms take place at all three churches – St George’s, St John’s and St Mark’s – and always in the main service as baptism means becoming part of the whole church and the congregation is an important part of that.
Recently we also had a special celebration of thanksgiving for the baptism of little Lewis who was baptized in Romania but whose family wanted a service here in Farnham too. Baptism families are given a candle to mark the occasion and Lewis’s Romanian one was pretty impressive. Lesley Crawley even prayed in Romanian.
On Sunday Maximus was baptized and, at five years old, was able to declare fervently that he wanted to be baptized and later lead the congregation out of the church, holding his candle before him.
Pictured top: Families and godparents with Lesley after the thanksgiving for Lewis (far left) and baptism of Lillie-Rose (centre).
Below: Maximus is baptized.
Lewis’s Romanian baptismal candle.
There will be a Christingle service at St George’s Church on Sunday, February 2, at 11.30am and everyone is welcome.
Christingle services take place any time between the beginning of Advent and the festival of Candlemas on February 2. The idea of the Christingle – where the story of God’s love and care for the world is told through the symbols of an orange, red ribbon, fruit and sweets and a candle – goes back almost 275 years to a church in Germany. These days it is usually associated with The Children’s Society which exists to help children suffering from poverty, neglect and danger in the UK.
The St George’s Christingle will take place at Worship for All, a weekly Sunday service at 11.30am which is particularly suitable for families with children.
Picture by Richard Gillin on Flickr.
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.
The villages of Badshot Lea, Hale and Weybourne were visited last Friday evening (December 20) by a host of angels, as well as a crowd of shepherds, sheep, kings, musicians, donkeys and a young couple in search of a place to rest and give birth to a baby.
They were all taking part in A Journey to Bethlehem, a re-enactment of the Christmas story in which two groups walked from St George’s and St Mark’s to St John’s, playing music and singing carols on the way. Along the two routes they met angels, shepherds, inn keepers and kings and followed a star – and two donkeys, kindly lent for the occasion by Folly Oak Donkeys – until they reached a stable constructed outside St John’s where baby Jesus was lying in a manger.
This was followed by a celebration in the church in which children recounted what they had seen on the journey and Cllr Alan Earwaker, Farnham’s Deputy Mayor, joined everyone in singing carols and playing the kazoo, before the evening ended with prayers, hot chocolate, mulled wine and mince pies.
“This was the first time we had tried A Journey to Bethlehem and what a wonderful celebration it was!” said Lesley Crawley. “It was lovely to see children and adults alike dressed up as some of the characters we read about in the Bible at Christmas, and to see everyone having such a joyful time. We are living in an age of division and anxiety and the story of God coming to earth in the form of a child, born into poverty in an occupied country, is one that can bring us hope and light. We wish everyone that hope and light this Christmas.”
Come to Christingle this Sunday, December 1, at St Mark’s Church, Alma Lane, at 11am.
Christingle is a celebration that takes place sometime between the beginning of December, which is when Advent begins, and February 2.
‘Christingles’ are created out of oranges, sweets and dried fruit stuck in them using cocktail sticks, red ribbon around the oranges and a candle which is then lit. At this point, Bob, the churchwarden who is also responsible for health and safety, looks anxious and claims we are going to burn the church down but we are sure he’s joking (aren’t you Bob?!), and we are always safe.
The orange represents the world, the red ribbon (or tape) symbolises the love and blood of Christ, the sweets and dried fruit represent all of God’s creations, and the lit candle represents Jesus’s light in the world, bringing hope to people living in darkness.
There are prayers and songs and a lot of fun and it’s aimed at everyone in the family. Come along at 11am, join in and also raise money for the charity The Children’s Society.
The Christmas lights are being switched on in Badshot Lea on the evening of Monday November 18th, in preparation for celebrating the coming of God to earth in the form of Jesus, born some 2000 years ago but ever relevant and transformative.
Come and join us at St George’s Church, Badshot Lea, from 4.30-7pm. Not only are the lights going on, there will be a craft fair in the church and, outside from 5-6.30pm, community singing and entertainment by the Sea Cadets and the children of Badshot Lea Infant School.
There are still some craft tables left. If anyone would like one, let us know by email. And come along and do some Christmas shopping, have a sing and get into the Christmas spirit.
Picture by Markus Spiske on Unsplash.
There was a sense of celebration in the air at St Mark’s Church, Hale, last Sunday. Not only was baby Ava being baptized, she was the first baby to be baptized in the new handcrafted font at the church.
Surrounded by family and friends, and with help from Ava’s big sister, six-year-old Mollie, Ava was welcomed into the family of God. Rev’d Hannah Moore reminded everyone that “Christ loves [Ava] and welcomes her into his Church” and baptized her in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, pouring water over her head. Ava barely stirred.
Mollie and the other children in the congregation had helped Hannah bless the water and were also delighted by the two small ducks – one marked ‘Ava’ the other ‘Mollie’ – which floated in the font.
It was a joyful occasion and a fitting first use of the new, portable font.
The font is made of a beautiful, multicoloured glass bowl resting on a grey wrought iron stand similar to the iron work on the altar rails at the church.
The bowl was made by the Adam Aaronson glass studio and the stand by Cliff Madgwick of Hampshire Metalcraft and the work was commissioned and organised by Pat Manton from St Mark’s, a fine craftswoman herself.
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.
There will be donkeys at church this coming Sunday (April 14) in celebration of Palm Sunday.
Palm Sunday recalls the Biblical account of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, with crowds placing palms in front of him and greeting him as a king. Churches around the world will mark the date, and at St Mark’s, Hale, at 11am, and St George’s, Badshot Lea, at 11.30am, the congregations will be joined by donkeys, courtesy of Folly Oak Donkeys.
Rev’d Lesley Crawley said: “When we recall that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey it reminds us that he is a king who comes in peace, not as a conquering warrior. Having a donkey at a service also brings the story alive, especially for children who always crowd round to give the donkey a stroke. Please do come and join us. And we are really grateful to John and Rosemary Porter and all at Folly Oak Donkeys for bringing the donkeys to us.”
Pictured: Meet the Donkey. Picture by Daniel Fazio. Unsplash
Emily and the Generations may sound a little like a pop group, but today’s blog post title actually refers to an interview with Lesley Crawley on BBC Radio Surrey this morning (Sunday, Jan 13).
She was interviewed on the Sunday Breakfast show about our final push to raise money for Emily the organ – just £559 to go folks, come on, we can do it – but the interview spanned far more than just Emily, important and beloved as she is.
Interviewer Emily Jeffery talked to Lesley about how Emily the organ is a beloved part of the community and how her overhaul will allow us to use her again in worship, concerts and for children to learn on.
Then the interview broadened out to something that is also dear to our parish – the way we try to bring old and young and in between together.
Lesley spoke about the fact that local school children will be welcomed in to see the organ when it is being restored, how the table tennis club we run has become a ‘youth group for all ages’, the fact that we don’t send the children out of church for a separate Sunday school (“we are an inclusive church … and it seems wrong to send out part of our congregation”), the plans for opening St John’s up more to the community and bringing people together with a café, and other resources, perhaps even a nursery which could link in with a local care home.
To hear the interview click here and go to 2:38:52.
Picture by Will Francis. Unsplash.