Category Archives: coronavirus

Farnham and Villages Helpline

A new Farnham and Villages Coronovirus helpline has been set up: 01252 745446 or help@farnhammaltings.com.

This is co-ordinating help across the area. If you can offer help in any way, please email volunteers@farnhamaltings.com.

If you are an organisation which is offering help, email organisers@farnhamaltings.com to be added to the list of groups which can help so that we can make sure the whole area is covered and co-ordinated.

Farnham helplineFarnham helpline 2

Sign up for the new COVID-19 research app

Covid Symptom Tracker, a new app, has been launched by Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals and King’s College London university  to try to understand more about the way COVID-19, or Coronavirus, is manifesting itself and why some people get the disease more severely than others. It also hopes to map where outbreaks are happening.

There are fake apps and scams around but this one is genuine and everyone who can is encouraged to sign up for it at https://covid.joinzoe.com/

All you have to  do is spend a minute each day answering quick questions, even if you feel well.

By doing this you can contribute to research on COVID-19 in partnership with leading scientific institutions.

Note, you are advised to check the access preferences you give the app. If you untick any, check again every day.

Sharing peace remotely

Alan is putting together a service which will be available online for Sunday. We’d like everyone to be able to share the Peace, even though we have to be far from each other physically.

If you would like to, please record yourself saying ‘Peace be with you’ and send it to Alan.

This is straightforward on a smartphone but if you don’t have one it is easy to do on the computer. If it is not obvious where the camera is on your computer, do a search for ‘Camera’ and it will show you where your webcam is. Press the ‘video’ button to ensure you are on video mode, and when you are ready, just press it again to record. When you have recorded yourself, press ‘stop’ (probably the same button you pressed to start it). The video will save to your ‘Pictures’ file, probably in a folder called ‘Camera Roll’, but it should be obvious. Then send it to Alan.

May the peace of God be with us all.

 

Picture by Mateus Campos Felip on Unsplash.

Latest instructions from the Church about the pandemic

We are urging  everyone to follow the instructions given by the Prime Minister to stay in their homes in a national effort to limit the transmission of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

But in a message, the Archbishops and Bishops have called on the Church to “continue to pray, to love, to care for the vulnerable”.

It follows the announcement by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson of sweeping restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the virus.

It means all Church of England churches will close with immediate effect in line with the Government’s instructions. There will also be no Church weddings or baptisms.

Funerals at the graveside or in crematoriums can still take place, but only in line with the Prime Minister’s statement.

In a joint statement the bishops said: “In the light of the Government’s measures, announced by the Prime Minister … we urge everyone to follow the instructions given.

“We will give a fuller statement of advice as soon as possible. Let us continue to pray, to love, to care for the vulnerable, and build our communities, even while separated.”

 

For information on online support from the Church, click here.

Food parcels needed for Frimley Park staff

We have heard via Hale Community Centre that Frimley Park Hospital is very short of food supplies/snacks to keep the staff going while working their shifts (especially in A7E Respiratory Wards where most staff are, also the Midwife team are very low on team members and food supplies).  

Also, if anyone can provide food parcels for Frimley Park staff for when they get home from their shift as they are suffering with the lack of supplies available at supermarkets and not being able to get there at the best time.

The hospital are only allowed SEALED AND WRAPPED PACKETS (ie, not ones you have prepared yourself but bought ones) in the building and for nurses/doctors to take home, and food parcels should be wrapped in a carrier bag or similar with a label on if there is a preference as to which department/team people would like it to go

One of the people from Hale Community Centre is arranging to drop off some items for staff this week. Is anyone able to bring items to the Community Centre on Tuesday between 10am and 2pm it would be much appreciated. There will be a box just outside the front door so you don’t have to come in.|But please don’t come if you suspect you have coronavirus! Stay indoors!

Church in a new form

Today – Sunday, March 22 – we will not be able to go to church, or at least not physically. But the coronavirus forcing the suspension of normal worship does not mean there will be no church – far from it. You can enjoy church from the comfort of your own home online. Some are livestreaming and others have recorded services or sermons.

Here in Badshot Lea and Hale, Margaret Emberson will be livestreaming on Facebook at 10am, playing and singing the hymns that should be being sung at St George’s. Find her here.

The Archbishop of Canterbury will lead first national virtual Church of England service, streaming at 8am on local BBC radio stations and online at 9am. The service, including prayers, hymns and a short sermon, will be broadcast online by the Church of England and broadcast on 39 local BBC radio stations and BBC Radio 4’s Sunday Worship. It will be on the Church of England’s national website.

Bishop Jo, Bishop of Dorking, has recorded a Mothering Sunday message based on the Gospel reading, John 19.25b-27, in which Jesus on the cross asks the disciple whom he loved to take his mother into his home. You can hear and watch her here.

Michael Hopkins, URC minister at The Spire Church in Farnham, Clerk of General Assembly of the United Reformed Church, and a great friend of the parish, has recorded a service for Mothering Sunday which you can access here.

New Inclusive Church, based in Birmingham, will be live online at 4pm with interactive discussions to follow via Zoom. Join them here.

Finally, churches of all major denominations are marking a national day of prayer and action today, particularly remembering those who are sick or anxious and all involved in health and emergency services.  Everyone is invited to light a candle in their window at 7p.m. on Sunday “as a visible symbol of the light of life, Jesus Christ”. A short act of worship ‘The Light Shines in the Darkness’ is available here courtesy of Fr Craig Huxley-Jones.

 

Lamentation for a time of Crisis

Richard Rohr is one of my (Stella’s) favourite theologians so you will find him appearing here regularly, particularly because he has some pertinent ideas about how to cope at this difficult time. Here are today’s thoughts from the Centre for Action and Contemplation. Do sign up so that they can be delivered straight to your inbox.

Intelligently responding to the coronavirus demands that we access resources of physical, emotional and spiritual resilience. One practice Christianity has developed to nurture resilience is lamentation. Prayers of lamentation arise in us when we sit and speak out to God and one another—stunned, sad, and silenced by the tragedy and absurdity of human events. . . Without this we do not suffer the necessary pain of this world, the necessary sadness of being human.

Walter Brueggemann, my favorite Scripture teacher, points out that even though about one third of the Psalms are psalms of ‘lament,,  these have been the least used by Catholic and Protestant liturgies. We think they make us appear weak, helpless, and vulnerable, or show a lack of faith. So we quickly resort to praise and thanksgiving. We forget that Jesus called weeping a ‘blessed’ state (Matthew 5:5) and that only one book of the Bible is named after an emotion: Jeremiah’s book of ‘Lamentation’.

In today’s practice, Reverend Aaron Graham reflects on the elements found in prayers of lament. I hope that you will find in his words and in the text of Psalm 22 a way to voice your own complaints, requests, and trust in God, who is always waiting to hear. We need to be reminded that our cries are not too much for God. [God] laments with us. In fact, [God] wants us to come to the [Divine Presence] in our anger, in our fear, in our loneliness, in our hurt, and in our confusion. Each lamenting Psalm has a structure;

  • They begin with a complaint. . . that things are not as they should be.
  • They turn to a request. God, do something! Rescue me! Heal me! Restore me! Show mercy!
  • Laments end with an expression of trust. Laments end with the reminder that God is setting things right, even though it often seems so slow. It is right for our laments to turn towards a reminder that God is in control and about the business of righting all things made wrong. [1]

Consider praying these words found in Psalm 22, or choose another passage of lament. Before you pray, ask God to speak to you. . .

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
and by night, but I find no rest.
Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
In you our fathers trusted;
they trusted, and you delivered them.
To you they cried and were rescued;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
(Psalm 22:1-5).

Self-isolating? Some ideas to fill the time

If, like me, you are stuck indoors self-isolating, you may be wondering what you can do to keep yourself as healthy as possible mentally as well as physically. After a while binge-watching Netflix, or playing endless games of online Scrabble (other word games are available) loses its appeal, and you probably shouldn’t allow the children to spend 16 hours a day on their phones/
computers/PlayStations/all three at the same time.

Fortunately there are lots of good ideas out there to help you fill the time and we have started compiling them so that we can share them and help preserve our collective sanity.

Keep the faith

For a start (this is a church blog after all) there are lots of spiritual resources and we are adding to our Faith Online page regularly. We also have a great forum with a mix of spiritual and other resources. Sign up here, then read, listen, watch, and discuss!

Get into the garden

If you have a garden and feel well enough to get out into it when it isn’t raining, gardening is a great way to clear the mind and focus on something other than the current situation. It is also intrinsically positive. You are preparing for the future, planting for a better time ahead. I’ve not yet got the energy to do much but next week maybe… You can order plants and seeds online or ask someone who is out and about to look for some for you. If you need someone to go to a garden centre for you, email me here and I’ll ask someone.

In the meantime I found this article which I thought might be helpful. It’s American but works this side of the Atlantic. Go on – Dig for Victory!

Singing is good for the soul

You probably heard about the singing from the balconies in Italy and Spain. We don’t have as many balconies here but there is still singing. Vic Cracknell, a man who has done more than most to encourage live music in Farnham, has started live streaming music on Facebook. He does a mix of genres and today I heard him performing Elton John, Carole King, Vera Lynn, The Beach Boys, and some of his own compositions. Find him here.

I’ll add some more links to others as I come across them.

Watch a West End Show

Yes, really!

The producers of the West End production of The Wind in the Willows are streaming the show online for free, though ask for a small donation that will be given to theatre charities. Watch and enjoy here.

It’s story time

Remember Little House on the Prairie on the TV? It was based on the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder and tells of the childhood of Laura herself in pioneer America in the late 19th century. If you haven’t read the books, now could be the time. Listen to Ruby2kids reading the first of the series Little House in the Big Woods. She’s reading a chapter a day and it is a delight whatever your age! Find her on YouTube here.

Laura Ingalls Wilder appears on a list compiled by Enchanted Hour Reading. It comprises books to help children make sense of their current circumstances. What is it like to live alone or within one family/ small friendship group while isolated from the world? These are books to enjoy together and some to read alone.

Get the colours out

Colouring is good for your mental health and very satisfying. Jules Middleton has some lovely colouring sheets here which will absorb you for hours. Be soothed.

That’s it for now. More coming soon.

Stella

 

And thanks to Sergey Shmidt on Unsplash for the lovely picture.

Love alone overcomes fear

Richard Rohr, author, spiritual writer and Franciscan friar based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has a regular blog which many people follow. You can find out more and sign up here.

This is his message today:

It is shocking to think how much the world has changed in such a brief time. Each of us has had our lives and communities disrupted. Of course, I am here in this with you. I feel that I’m in no position to tell you how to feel or how to think, but there are a few things that come to mind I will share.

A few days ago I was encouraged by the Franciscans and by the leadership team here at the CAC to self-quarantine, so I’ve been in my little hermitage now for three or four days. I’ve had years of practice, literally, how to do what we are calling “social distancing.” I have a nice, large yard behind me where there are four huge, beautiful cottonwood trees, and so I walk my dog Opie every few hours.

Right now I’m trying to take in psychologically, spiritually, and personally, what is God trying to say? When I use that phrase, I’m not saying that God causes suffering to teach us good things. But God does use everything, and if God wanted us to experience global solidarity, I can’t think of a better way. We all have access to this suffering, and it bypasses race, gender, religion, and nation.

We are in the midst of a highly teachable moment. There’s no doubt that this period will be referred to for the rest of our lifetimes. We have a chance to go deep, and to go broad. Globally, we’re in this together. Depth is being forced on us by great suffering, which as I like to say, always leads to great love.

But for God to reach us, we have to allow suffering to wound us. Now is no time for an academic solidarity with the world. Real solidarity needs to be felt and suffered. That’s the real meaning of the word “suffer” – to allow someone else’s pain to influence us in a real way. We need to move beyond our own personal feelings and take in the whole. This, I must say, is one of the gifts of television: we can turn it on and see how people in countries other than our own are hurting. What is going to happen to those living in isolated places or for those who don’t have health care? Imagine the fragility of the most marginalized, of people in prisons, the homeless, or even the people performing necessary services, such as ambulance drivers, nurses, and doctors, risking their lives to keep society together? Our feelings of urgency and devastation are not exaggeration: they are responding to the real human situation. We’re not pushing the panic button; we are the panic button. And we have to allow these feelings, and invite God’s presence to hold and sustain us in a time of collective prayer and lament.

I hope this experience will force our attention outwards to the suffering of the most vulnerable. Love always means going beyond yourself to otherness. It takes two. There has to be the lover and the beloved. We must be stretched to an encounter with otherness, and only then do we know it’s love. This is what we call the subject-subject relationship. Love alone overcomes fear and is the true foundation that lasts (1 Corinthians 13:13).
 

 

 

Picture: Richard Rohn, Wikimedia Commons 

 

Latest news and support

Thursday, March 19th

As we continue to work out how to live under the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, we will be offering offering ideas and resources to help each other.  Please do let us know if you can help or need help, or know someone who does. Email us here.

There are a number of resources on our Faith Online page and we have added a link specifically to support people’s mental health. More will be added.

At the end of the school day tomorrow schools close for all pupils apart from children of key workers and vulnerable children. The effects of this will be felt across all society and again we will be doing what we can to support people. Teachers and former teachers are offering to give advice and help where they can. Among those offering locally are Carolyn Weston and Rachel Wright. Carolyn, a retired teacher, is happy to give general email advice, via parents, to children who may have some work set or some homework to finish, and Rachel’s specialisms are Key Stage 3-4 Science and A-Level Chemistry. If you want to contact them, please do so via the parish admin email admin@badshotleaandhale.org and we will put you in touch.

A prayer in time of need:

Lord Jesus Christ,
you taught us to love our neighbour,
and to care for those in need
as if we were caring for you.
In this time of anxiety, give us strength
to comfort the fearful, to tend the sick,
and to assure the isolated
of our love, and your love,
for your name’s sake.
Amen.