Category Archives: Diocese of Guildford

Ministry team grows again

Wendy Edwards, Bishop Andrew and Craig Nobbs outside St Paul's, Dorking, after the serviceThe ministry team in the parish has grown again. With the licensing of Wendy and Craig as Licensed Lay Ministers (LLMs) last Saturday the team has grown to three full-time clergy, three LLMs and two retired clergy who still conduct services, preach and carry out pastoral work in the parish.

Wendy Edwards and Craig Nobbs were both licensed to the parish by the Bishop of Guildford, the Right Rev’d Andrew Watson in a service at St Paul’s, Dorking.

Wendy, the daughter of renowned local journalists Ted Parratt and the late Jean Parratt, started her training in Southwark, but returned to her childhood home of Farnham in 2017, following her mother’s death the previous year, and continued her training with the Diocese of Guildford.

“I returned to the church in 2007 after a very difficult time in my life, and I felt a calling to ministry but it was too early,” she said. “The feeling came again at the end of 2013 and I started exploring it and began my training in 2014. Licensed Lay Ministry is a preaching and teaching ministry in a pastoral context and I will have a particular funeral ministry. In my previous job I worked as a chartered legal executive specialising in wills and probate. I always supported people around the time of deaths in the family through the legal side and felt a call to support them through ministry.”

Wendy will be particularly attached to St John’s, Hale, the church she chose to go to when she returned to Farnham, in part because she had been a bridesmaid there twice in the late 1960s.

Craig Nobbs was already an LLM when he moved to Farnham 18 months ago but was licensed to another parish and wanted to continue his ministry in his new home. He has been relicensed to the Parish of Badshot Lea and Hale and his ministry will mostly be at St George’s, Badshot Lea.

Speaking after the service Craig said: “The service was out of this world and an affirmation of what I am doing in the parish. This parish is one with a big heart. During the licensing service I was conscious of waves of love from both the parish and from God himself. What kept going through my mind was a line ‘Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven’ (from the hymn Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven), as that has been my experience.”

Craig’s ministry will mostly be at the weekend as he works full-time in London as a Whitehall civil servant taking a lead in educational policy.

Lesley Crawley added: “We are delighted and blessed to have both Wendy and Craig with us and look forward to their continuing ministry as the parish grows and seeks to express the love of God in our community”.

Transforming Church, Transforming Lives

The Diocese of Guildford’s vision and mission strategy
“God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – is in the business of transforming individuals and communities, and we have the joyful privilege of joining in.”

Transforming Church, Transforming Lives is the Vision and Mission Strategy for the Diocese of Guildford. Through 12 transformation goals it encapsulates everything we are about:

Here is a video of some of the work going on in the Guildford Diocese to inspire us:

Bishop Andrew’s Maundy Thursday Sermon

The Maundy Thursday Service at the Cathedral is perhaps my favourite service of the year – where we renew our commitment to the promises that we made as priests and receive the oils that we will use for the forthcoming year. I enjoyed the sermon from the bishop and the encouragement and the challenge of the service. I came away revitalised for another year in ministry.

Below is the sermon:

Guildford Cathedral, 2016

Luke 7, 36-50​

“The whole thing was an outrage. The behaviour of Simon the Pharisee was completely beyond the pail!

The woman – well, she behaved impeccably throughout. True, she was classified as a ‘sinner’ – possibly a euphemism for the town prostitute – but she’d heard Jesus, she’d seen him in action, and she loved him – so what better way to show that love than impulsively buying an expensive pot of perfumed ointment, gate-crashing a private party, wetting Jesus’ feet with her tears, kissing them and wiping them with her hair, then decanting the contents of her pot as lavishly as she possibly could? The whole thing seems perfectly reasonable: I’m sure you and I would have done just the same in the circumstances.

And what of Jesus? Well, he appeared completely untroubled throughout. Having the local prostitute letting down her hair in his presence; allowing her to touch him and anoint him with her ointment and tears in full view of Simon and all his nice Pharisaical friends; even holding up that woman as a role model, as an example of what great love really looks like. Well, that was quite reasonable as well, of course: just the sort of thing that happens to us all the time, in fact, whenever we host a meal for our nice Pharisaical friends.

But Simon: well, he behaved outrageously. He never gave Jesus a proper greeting – a welcome kiss, a little oil on his head, some water for his feet – he quietly seems to have snubbed his guest, doubting whether he was really a prophet at all. His motives in inviting Jesus along in the first place were distinctly mixed. Even the woman had a thing or two to teach him about gratitude, holiness and the love of God.

Read the rest of the sermon here

Update on the refugee response – how you can help NOW

Recently the Cathedral hosted ‘PEACE: Responding to the refugee crisis’. A video of highlights from the event is now on the diocesan web pagehttp://www.cofeguildford.org.uk/refugees, with lots of useful resources.

Since the event took place, much has been happening across the diocese. Important links have been formed between the diocesan team, the county and borough councils, charities and other key stakeholders.

Refugees arrive in the Diocese

The first group of refugees to arrive in the diocese under the resettlement programme will come directly from the refugee camps in Lebanon in early December, and more will be arriving soon after Christmas. This group is formed of four families, each with young children – 7 little girls, and a boy of 3 years, and a baby expected very soon.

The diocesan team are liaising with the county and borough councils to help support the families, who have been through a strict vetting process. Although they have housing allocated to them, they will have very few possessions.

Their urgent needs are:

  • Furniture (not white or electrical goods)
  • Pram and pushchairs
  • Toys
  • Vacuum cleaners
  • Crockery and cooking utensils
  • Winter clothes

Additional ongoing needs are:

  • Housing – social landlords with two or three bedroom properties
  • Storage space
  • Teachers of English as a Second Language

If you can supply any of these, please contact Diane Peters: diane.peters@cofeguildford.org.uk. For now we will keep a list of offers to match specific needs, so please do not bring any items until requested. We will update you as needs change.

Refugee camps

There is still a great need for financial donations to support refugees in camps across Europe, Lebanon and Jordan. The best way is through existing charities as they already have the people on the ground and have the expertise to use your donations well. See our list of suggested charities: http://www.cofeguildford.org.uk/refugees.

As winter sets in and the weather gets colder, the need for warm clothing for those in the camps is becoming critical. Guildford: People to People have a collection of warm clothing organised for November 28 at Guildford Borough Council. The have a very specific list of needs: http://guildfordpeople.org/events, so please check before you donate.

We would also encourage you to write to your MP to urge them to press David Cameron for a stronger response to the refugee crisis. There is aletter template on the website if you would like to use it.

Thank you for your continued time, enthusiasm and compassion to helping all refugees, whether in the camps or arriving in the UK. Please continue to hold them in your prayers.

PEACE: Responding to the Refugee Crisis

“Love the foreigner who lives amongst you” (Leviticus 19.34)

 PEACE: Responding to the Refugee Crisis

Guildford Cathedral

20th October 2015

My response to the refugee crisis – and maybe you’re the same – has been what Bishop Andrew calls “a mixture of compassion and confusion”. I feel called to do something, but worry that I don’t have all the facts and that what I do might be too little, or not what’s really needed.

I therefore volunteered to attend this conference on behalf of Alan and Lesley, with the brief to report back to the parish. Around 200 people from across the diocese were there to hear the latest facts, discuss options and identify the best response at a parish and individual level.

Led by Bishop Andrew, an impressive panel of speakers included the Chair of the Refugee Council, the Church of England’s Home Affairs Policy Advisor, the Director of World Church Programmes and a senior figure from Surrey County Council. Whilst they touched on the plight of refugees across the world and the situation at Calais, the primary focus was on the current crisis in Syria. Key facts about the practical challenges on the ground were brought to life by individual stories – a reminder that we are talking about real people who just want respite from a situation that is completely beyond our experience.

The messages were clear:

  • There is a fundamental difference between a refugee and an economic migrant: the vast majority of these people are fleeing war and would much prefer to be able to remain in their home country
  • 20, 000 people over 5 years is a drop in the ocean
  • We can and should do more
  • We are not going to be ‘swamped’ by the numbers being proposed and do have time to prepare for their arrival (likely to be in the New Year)
  • We don’t need to re-invent the wheel: agencies and processes exist to help
  • A lot is already happening behind the scene: in the face of government inertia, these agencies are working together to prepare a joint response
  • Coordination and the avoidance of duplication are therefore vital
  • We can all do our bit – even if it’s in a very small way!
  • This is for the long term: whatever we do, it needs to have solid foundations and be sustainable

So what can you and I do? The next few months will see a great deal of preparation on the part of agencies at a national and local level. You can stay in touch with what’s going on, share ideas and coordinate action via the following website http://www.cofeguildford.org.uk/resources/refugee-help. A useful Facebook page (Farnham Help for Refugees in UK and Overseas) has also been created to promote local activities.

In the meantime, think carefully and realistically about what you might be able to do, both now, and over the longer term. A few of us may be able to offer a spare room to a family, or be able to foster an unaccompanied child, but this won’t be for everyone. Each of us will be able to do something however – whether it’s a cake sale to raise money, donating clothes, toiletries and toys so needed by charities on the ground, or simply writing to our MP. As Maurice Wren from the Refugee Council put it: “Never underestimate the power of a clogged up inbox to get an MP moving!”

Conference attendees were reminded of what the Dalai Lama once said: “If you are feeling insignificant in this world and feel that you have no impact on those around you, you’ve clearly never been in bed with a mosquito!”

Let’s be mosquitos!

Rachel Holmes

November 2015