Category Archives: News Releases

Free Family Fun Day

Join us for a FREE family fun day on Friday, August 19th, 10am-1pm, at St Mark’s Church, Upper Hale (next to Tesco Express).

Free lunch provided, plus music, craft, table tennis and a chance for parents to relax and chat. Everyone welcome.

You can find out more by messaging us here or emailing Michelle –

See you there!

And yet… a story of ordination

Stella’s story

Well, it has happened. After a process lasting several years. I was ordained as a deacon at Guildford Cathedral by Rt Rev’d Jo Bailey Wells, Bishop of Dorking, on July 3rd.

This is both the culmination of a long time of discernment (the process of talking , thinking, praying about whether I had been called to be a minister in the Church of England), followed by study (more talking, thinking, praying and some writing too), and the beginning of new phase as I become a curate in the parish. This means a lot more learning, both on study days and on the job – learning to take services, including funerals, preaching more, being involved in pastoral care and the like – as well as doing my admin and communications job. As an Ordained Local Minister I don’t receive an income so need to carry on working.

Those are the bald facts, but behind these everything is slightly less fixed. It often is when we are trying to follow God. The path to this point has been winding, with hints of it many years ago, and if there had been women priests around in those days I might have started the process earlier. Then again, that might have been the wrong stage in my life as I have changed a great deal since then. I was pretty certain that the theology I heard preached in the churches I frequented then had to be true and it was only my lack of faith and discipline that caused me to doubt. Even as I delved deeper into faith I thought that I could somehow know the truth about God, could squeeze God into a box and then all I had to do was obey.

As you have probably guessed, it didn’t work out that way, and God somehow wouldn’t fit into a box or even a list of beliefs that I could tick off. The more I grasped at God and thought I had it sorted, the more God slipped through my fingers.

And yet. There is always an ‘and yet’. God is the ‘and yet’, the presence who can’t be grasped but is somehow here, around us, sustaining us, shining light through the cracks in our lives, piercing the darkness. Over the past few years I have become more at ease with the idea that there will not be clear answers on this side of death at least, but that this is OK.

I wish, in many ways, I could give you clear answers, ones you could tick off. I know how long I sought them. But if I gave you those answers you would probably find 100 reasons why they didn’t work for you, or maybe you’d tie yourselves in knots trying to accept them in the way you think you should, regardless of whether that was what I meant. I’ve been there.

I am more content these days to know that I won’t know everything, that I can’t define God. God continues to be more than the answers, more than a set of doctrines, more than orthodoxy. God continues to be, well, God, the source of being and of love, lifegiving and creative, extraordinary but rooted in the ordinary, rooted in community, in our relationships with each other.

One of my favourite stories from the New Testament is that of the two disciples who, after the death of their master, Jesus, were walking to Emmaus (Luke 24:13–32) and hadn’t heard about the resurrection of that same master. Jesus, the risen Christ – the Messiah – walked with them and explained what was said about the Messiah in the Hebrew Scriptures (what we now call the Old Testament) and how he would suffer and then ‘enter into his glory’. They still didn’t know that he was talking about himself and it wasn’t until he was with them for a meal and took the bread and broke it that they recognised him. Then, just as they would have asked him a stack of questions, he disappeared.

How frustrating, and yet… And yet they knew him deep within, for they said that their hearts burned within them as they walked and talked with him. They knew on a deep visceral level and they recognised him in a simple, shared act of a meal together. After that meal, their lives could never be the same again.

God for me is found in mystery but is also found rooted in the everyday, in community, in simple, embodied acts, in what we do together as a church. That is something we all work out together and I look forward to doing so with you more and more.

Stella Wiseman

Pictured top: Stella (centre), family, friends and Bishop Jo (far right).

Remembrance Sunday

Remembrance Sunday is on November 14th this year and there will be services at each of the churches in the Parish – 9.30am at St John’s, 10am at St George’s and 11.10am at St Mark’s. There will also be an Act of Remembrance at the War Memorial in Badshot Lea following the St George’s service. Anyone wishing to attend that who has not been at the service is asked to arrive for around 10.50am.

The St Mark’s service will follow the Act of Remembrance at the Hale War Memorial at 10.45am, where there will be a two-minute silence at 11am. This will be attended by Farnham Brass Band, the Scouts and Upper Hale councillor Cllr Pat Evans, and Cllr Evans and the Scouts will then continue on to St Mark’s for a service.

Lesley Crawley will also lead an Act of Remembrance at Weybourne Village Hall at 4pm.

The Farnham Festival of Remembrance

The third Farnham Festival of Remembrance will take place this year on Saturday, November 13. Once again, because of Covid, it will be online here on the website and on Facebook from 6pm.

Among those taking part are faith leaders, the Mayor of Farnham; Alder Valley Brass; Princess of Wales Royal Regiment; Army and Air Cadets; Farnham Heath End School, Potters Gate School and the Parish Choir, and they will present a moving evening of music, poetry, reflections, prayers, hymns and readings which will pay tribute to all those who have served in times of conflict and peace.

Simon Alexander has organised the event and reminds us that while we understand that Remembrance is a time to pay tribute to all those who serve and have served to protect and defend us, that “War comes in many forms and, as such, the public service of our Armed Forces comes in many forms too. This year we have leant on the help of our military again in our time of need here at home to help us deliver essential services during the pandemic. Dedicated, agile and responsive as ever, the men and women of our Armed Forces have responded to our nation’s call.”

Our thanks go to everyone who has taken part. Please join us online for this year’s Farnham Festival of Remembrance from 6pm on November 13 here on and Facebook.

A Kitty Birthday Celebration

Come and celebrate the Kitty Milroy murals and Kitty herself at St Mark’s on November 7th at a special communion service at 11am, with the Bishop of Dorking and the mural restorers Stephen Rickerby and Lisa Shekede, and a concert and talk at 7pm.

The now-famous murals were restored earlier this year and new lighting has been installed so that they can be seen in their full glory. They are now recognised as being of national importance and a jewel in Surrey’s crown. So, on the day before the anniversary of Kitty’s birth in 1885 and, coincidentally, her death in 1966, we want to invite everyone to St Mark’s for a celebration.

The morning celebration will be a communion service at which the Rt Rev’d Jo Bailey Wells, Bishop of Dorking, will preach, and there will be a chance to hear from Stephen Rickerby and Lisa Shekede who spent 10 weeks painstakingly restoring the murals between April and June this year. In the evening there will be music, talks on the murals and Kitty, along with refreshments and, of course, the chance to see the murals.

Everyone is welcome at both the service and the evening celebration and there will be no charge, but to keep numbers manageable, particularly in the face of Covid, the evening event will be by ticket only. To book your tickets, click here.

The murals were painted between 1911 and 1920 and depict the Annunciation – the meeting between Mary and the Angel Gabriel when Mary is told she will be the mother of Jesus – as well as scenes from the Benedicite, an ancient hymn of praise to God about the wonders of the natural world, and local views. There are figures depicting the natural elements and seasons, and the models for these figures are known to be local people. The whole is a stunning creation by a hugely talented artist and the murals and Kitty herself are finally being given the recognition they deserve.

Come and celebrate this amazingly talented artist and her work.

Coffee, cake, Kitty and the Big Draw

Fancy a cup of coffee with Kitty? Milroy that is. Join us at St Mark’s on Thursday, October 7, 10.30am-12.30pm, for coffee, cake and art and take part in The Big Draw.

Morning coffee and art will be resuming at St Mark’s, once a month, on the first Thursday of each month and the first one will coincide with The Big Draw Festival. Artist Philip Ryland will be dropping in to give us some guidance. Admission is free and you don’t have to book.

The Big Draw is a charity dedicated to raising the profile of drawing as a tool for wellbeing, thought, creativity, social and cultural engagement and runs The Big Draw Festival, the world’s biggest celebration of drawing.

While you are at St Mark’s spend some time admiring the Kitty Milroy murals in the church, our recently restored and nationally celebrated murals painted 100 years ago by local artist Kitty Milroy.

Collection for Afghan Refugees

Farnham Help for Refugees is holding a collection at St George’s Church, Badshot Lea, on Friday, October 8, 2.30-7pm, to support refugees, in particular those who have fled Afghanistan following the take-over of the country by the Taliban.

They are asking for winter clothes for men, women, children and babies, along with shoes, toiletries, baby goods, cleaning supplies, tents, blankets, sleeping bags, mobile phones, laptops, tablets and supermarket vouchers. See below for a full list.

Financial donations are also welcome. To donate, please bring cash on the day or donate via

Picture by EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid on flickr.

Come to the fayre

Come and join us at the Hale Autumn Fayre on September 4th at St John’s, Hale Road, 12-4pm.

There will be stalls, games, food and drink – a barbecue, bar, tea and cakes – a grand raffle with loads of prizes, and music. The fayre will be opened by Jeremy Hunt, MP, at 12pm, and Waverley and Farnham Councillor Sally Dickson will draw the raffle at 3.30pm.

Come and browse the stalls – everything from face creams to a bottle tombola, play games, eat, drink and be merry while listening to music by local musicians including two-thirds of Cajun Boogaloo; the Farnborough U3A Ukulele band; Wendy Edwards; Mary Klymenko; Frances Whewell; and Terry Owens, Football Club Ambassador for Aldershot Town and well known for keeping people going with his singing.

Buy a lucky programme and be in with a chance of winning a £50 voucher for Heaven’s Kitchen restaurant; buy a raffle ticket and you could win £100, or a host of other prizes including a £50 voucher for Daniele’s Sicilian Restaurant; browse gifts on the stalls; eat delicious cake or a burger; have a drink, and know that you are helping to raise money to support the church’s work in the community, including the setting up of a new youth hub at St John’s.

Join us from 12pm, Saturday, September 4.

Autumn Fayre – we need your help!

The Hale Autumn Fayre will be taking place at St John’s on Saturday, September 4, 12-3pm, and we need your help.

We already have lots of stalls planned, plus a bar, a barbecue and tea stall, and generous donors have given raffle prizes but we need more people to help with running the stalls and donating prizes.

We particularly need items for a bottle tombola – they don’t have just to be drinks but could, for instance, be shampoo or bubble bath – and the regular tombola. We need more raffle prizes and cakes. We also need more people to help on stalls, sell raffle tickets, and generally join in.

If you can help, please get in touch. Contact Stella Wiseman on 07842 761919 or You can also bring your donations to the back of St John’s Church or put them in The Ark (the old vestry).

Thanks! Let’s make it a great day!

Picture by Harry Grout on Unsplash.