Lockdown, lockdown. It’s all around us. And how are we feeling? Why not try to express it in poetry?
We are running the Farnham Lockdown Poetry Festival and invite everyone to write a poem about being in lockdown – whatever you feel, whatever your experience – and send it to us and we will put together a compilation video of our favourite poems and put it on our website.
Adults and children alike are welcome to send in their poems on the theme of lockdown. And don’t worry if you don’t think you can write poetry; read some and give it a go!
If you want some ideas, listen to this lockdown poem by Harry Baker:
Send your poems to Lesley Crawley: firstname.lastname@example.org to arrive by February 26. Or you can send them in the post to Rev’d Lesley Crawley, The Rectory, 25 Upper Hale Road, Farnham GU9 0NX.
The NHS Volunteer Responders are active and available to support with collection of shopping and other essentials in all areas. You can call them for free on 0808 196 3646.
How can you help the Foodbank? They are generally well stocked up, but are always short of certain items which they highlight on their website. They also have posters of these specific requests at food collections points: Waitrose, Nationwide, Wine rack on Ridgeway and Co-op in Rowledge.
The Hoppa Service is still running if people are in need of transport.
Hale Community Centre is staying open for reduced hours to carry on delivering the Community Fridge & Store and the Swap Shop. They are open Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 10am-12pm.
We are back into lockdown with schools closed to most children; restrictions on leaving our homes; all but essential shops closed; and other rules which are now law which you can find here.
However, churches can remain open for worship as long as they follow strict precautions such as social distancing, hand sanitizing, no mingling between households/bubbles, everyone of 11 and over wearing masks (unless exempt), and the parish is continuing to monitor the situation. We have increased the space between chairs where possible, have moved the altar at St Mark’s back to create more space and at St Mark’s will be bringing communion to people rather than expecting them to move around to take communion so that there is enough room for everyone.
However, no-one who feels uncomfortable about coming to church should feel any obligation to come and there are online services every week here.
Lesley explains the thinking behind this: “Churches offer comfort and support which is particularly important at a time when our mental health is under such strain. Moreover, the risk of catching Covid has been shown to be very low in UK churches and we have gone out or our way to ensure that we have mitigated any risks. We will continue to follow the guidelines and to ask our congregations to do the same.
“We also want churches to remain open for funerals. For many families, church funerals are important and we are also able to accommodate larger numbers than many crematoria – we can have up to 30 people – so enabling more people to experience this important aspect of grieving.
“Of course many of our congregations may not wish to come to church at the moment. We are continuing our services online as well as in church so those who have internet can join in. However, we are acutely aware of those people who do not have internet and cannot come to church and we are doing what we can to ensure that they are not isolated. We even have people ringing others up and playing the service through the phone as well as just having a general chat.”
Our services are at 9.30am at St John’s, 10am at St George’s and 11am at St Mark’s, and online services are here.
Have you got a few hours to spare? Could you help someone who needs company or assistance with practical tasks?
Farnham Neighbours’ Network, a new buddying initiative, aims to build sustainable friendship in Farnham, fostering neighbourliness, providing practical support and combating loneliness.
This local network is looking for volunteers: people with good listening skills and an hour or so to spare each week who are interested in getting to know someone new . In the current lockdown, the focus is on supporting people and combatting loneliness through social phone calls, which means you can safely volunteer from home.
In the longer term, volunteers will be needed to support others with learning how to use a new piece of technology; to do some light DIY and gardening; to go for walks and more, in line with the ambition to have a network which supports the needs and wishes of the town’s residents.
The FNN coordinator links volunteers up with a neighbour based on proximity, interests and the support they are happy to give. All volunteers receive a DBS check and will be given full support to ensure they feel confident and safe in volunteering.
Join us in person and online this Christmas. We have services for all ages where you will be welcome.
We have done everything we can to ensure that you will feel safe from Covid in our churches. Please wear a mask if you are able – we appreciate that not everyone can – follow the directions in the church and stay within your own ‘bubble’.
If you are not able or comfortable about coming to church, please join us online here. We will also be streaming Midnight Mass for you.
Everyone is welcome in our churches. As members of Inclusive Church we want to reiterate that, whatever your background, gender identity, sexuality, ethnicity or economic status, you are welcome. If you are neurodiverse, you are welcome; if you have mental health challenges, or a learning or physical disability, you are welcome. Whoever and however you are, you are welcome. Please ask if you need any assistance.
If you have heard the bells ringing every evening since the start of lockdown Mark Two, at St John’s, Hale, and St George’s, Badshot Lea, and have wondered what is going on, the answer is that this is part of a call to prayer.
The archbishops and bishops are calling on everyone to pray at 6pm every day throughout lockdown and churches each to ring a single bell at the same time.
The archbishops wrote: “Bearing in mind our primary vocation as the Church of Jesus Christ to pray and to serve we call upon the Church of England to make this month of lockdown a month of prayer. More than anything else, whatever the nation thinks, we know that we are in the faithful hands of the risen Christ who knows our weaknesses, tiredness and struggles and whose steadfast love endures for ever.
“Above all we recall people to some of the fundamental spiritual disciplines that shape our Christian life. How we do this is up to each congregation and clergy person. We will publish resources to support you… During the first lockdown we cheered for the NHS every Thursday. During this second lockdown we invite you to fast in a way appropriate to you as well as pray for our nation every Thursday, for its leaders, its health and essential services and all those who suffer.”
This month, as we deal with lockdown and all that this means, we remember and give thanks for those who served and sacrificed themselves in times of war. Our commemorations are mostly online this year but they are as important as ever.
We also look at ways of reducing our waste, hear from local MP Jeremy Hunt and welcome a new PCC. There’s Christmas shopping to do in our online art and craft fair, and the villages will be lit up by beacons on November 14, bringing hope and light.
Plus give to Project Wenceslas and help tackle fuel poverty and pop an extra pudding or two in your shopping order to give to the Foodbank. Oh, and get a cat…
On Saturday the Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that England would go into a four-week lockdown from Thursday, November 5th.
We are still waiting for details of what this means for churches and we will update you as soon as we can. A spokesperson for the Church of England has said: “We will study the detailed regulations and continue to liaise with Government departments to offer clarity to churches.
“This is a time of real uncertainty for everyone and the Church will continue to be central to the life of our communities in bringing light and hope.”
Here in Badshot Lea and Hale we will be continuing with online services which you can find by clicking here. And we will continue to do what we can to help our community through prayer and other support such as shopping and picking up medicines.
Do your bit for the environment The Fridge and Cupboard – food for all The Church and Covid Generosity The APCM John and Sue Innes Prayer Behind the verses – the background to one of Paul’s letters The Church Cat Registers
And much more…
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Serving the Villages North of Farnham: Badshot Lea, Hale, Heath End & Weybourne