Category Archives: News Releases

A Happy Birthday service for the NHS

The National Health Service is 72 years old today (July 5) so we are holding an online service to celebrate and give thanks for this life-saving institution.

The service, is a mix of music, prayer, art, videos and stories of how the NHS has helped improve health and save lives. There are contributions from Farnham Heath End School and Post19, which supports young adults with learning difficulties, from a Frimley Park Hospital nurse describing working during the COVID-19 pandemic, from people whose lives have been saved by the NHS; and there is a history of healthcare before the NHS from Father John Evans who remembers its foundation when he was a teenager in 1948.

“The NHS is a wonderful institution which is available for all UK citizens whether they are rich or poor,” says Lesley C.rawley. “It has saved the lives of many of us and made life for all of us better.

“I think that everyone has come to appreciate how special the NHS is during the COVID-19 pandemic and we have seen doctors, nurses and other NHS workers putting their own lives at risk and working round the clock to save lives. We really wanted to give thanks for everyone in the NHS and pray for God’s continued blessing of them.”

Churches reopen for private prayer

We are delighted to say that all three churches are open for private prayer on certain days.

The exact days and times that each is open are:

St John’s: Sunday 2-4pm and from July 12 all day.
Thursday all day

St George’s: Monday and Thursday, all day

St Mark’s: Tuesday and Saturday 10am-12pm

We have also installed hand sanitisers at the entrance and exit doors and everyone is asked to use these. The churches will then be shut for three days to help prevent the spread of the virus.

We are also able to hold funerals, weddings and baptisms in the churches, though numbers are limited.

Lesley commented: “We are so pleased to be able to welcome everyone back into the churches, although there are obvious time limits and other restrictions so that we can help protect people from COVID-19. Our churches are symbols of hope and stability in a troubled world and though we can pray anywhere, many of us find a sense of God and peace in church.

“Everyone is welcome to come in when we are open; people of any faith or none are free to come and enjoy the buildings.”

For further information contact the administrator, Stella, by email or by calling 07842761919.

Don’t Forget Dad!

There will be a celebration of dads on the website for Father’s Day, Sunday, June 21.

Normally there would be Father’s Day services in the church buildings, but lockdown has made this impossible, so instead the parish is holding an informal service online, available from 9am.

“At the service we will be celebrating the role of fathers,” says Lesley Crawley. “We will have a father explaining what it means to him and children talking about their father. We will also remember that all of us have a loving Father in heaven, and recognise that not everyone has had a father on earth that was good or safe or present.”

Amazing Grace

The hymn Amazing Grace was written in 1772 by John Newton (1725-1807) and published in 1779. The most familiar tune used these days is New Britain, composed in 1835  by the American composer William Walker.

John Newton worked on board slave ships for many years and it was during a storm at sea that the first steps of his conversion to Christianity occurred. However, he stated that he was truly converted some time later. He became an Anglican priest in 1764 and an abolitionist in the 1780s and campaigned against slavery thereafter.

Amazing Grace

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.

Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!

Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me,
His Word my hope secures;
He will my Shield and Portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, Who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.

The hymn is used for A Song for Farnham.

A Song for Farnham

Here is A Song for Farnham! This parish and other churches across Farnham have joined forces and voices to sing Amazing Grace.

As well as this parish, St Andrew’s Church; St James’, Rowledge; St Joan of Arc; The Spire Church; and Farnham Vineyard have sung a verse each.

The hymn is a favourite of many and was written by a former slave trader, John Newton, who eventually became an advocate for the abolition of slavery.

Lesley Crawley explains why the churches have decided to sing it: “The churches in Farnham wanted to make a song to lift spirits now that some people have been locked in for three months and many face uncertainty as to when it will end for them. We chose Amazing Grace – written by a slave owner who saw the error of his ways and found God even though he considered himself beyond the pale given his previous life. It speaks of God’s unconditional love and grace in our lives, no matter how we feel about ourselves.”

Listen to A Song for Farnham on social media and at and other church websites from Sunday, June 21.

Interfaith friendship and facemasks

We now have some cloth face masks for people in the parish, thanks to the work and generosity of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Women’s Association, Lajna Ima’illah UK, in response to the health threat posed by Covid-19.

The churches and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, which has its central mosque in Tilford, have been developing close links over the past year and we support each other where we can, so when Lajna UK contacted us last month to ask if we would like face masks we eagerly said yes. If you would like one, let us know.

“Our friends in Lajna UK have been so very generous in giving these masks to us,” says Lesley Crawley. “We are delighted to be continuing to build links with the Ahmadiyya Muslims who have a great heart for the community. We worship a loving God and follow many of the same values, in particular that of love for all people. Thank you again to our sisters from the local Lajna UK and we look forward to spending more time with you after lockdown.”

Ismat Sana, the Aldershot president of the Ahmaddiya Women’s Association, says: “Covid-19 is a new experience and we realised that there was a shortfall in PPE for those that needed it the most. Humanitarian work is massively important to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community as a whole and something our Women’s Association, Lajna UK, is already passionate about, so we decided to purchase materials and make PPE as a way of assisting our hardworking local community members.”

The Aldershot branch of Lajna UK will be taking part in the Farnham Flower Festival which you will be able to find on this website over the weekend of June 27-28.

If you would like a face mask would you also be willing to video yourself catching a face mask and then throwing it on to the next person? Here Stella Wiseman is caught on camera maintaining social distancing while delivering a mask to Bob Shatwell. Video yourself and send the results to Thanks!

Flower Festival goes online

Our Flower Festival is going online this year and you will be able to find it here on the website over the weekend of June 27-28, with the theme of A Celebration of Summer Flowers.

Last year’s inaugural Farnham Flower Festival was held at St John’s Church, and another was planned there for this year but lockdown put paid to that. Nothing daunted, we are taking the festival online and have invited the whole community to get involved – schools, community groups, churches and other faith groups, businesses, artists, craftspeople, individuals, and even two local gin companies which use flowers in their gins. Farnham Town Council is also submitting an entry to what promises to be a colourful and uplifting celebration.

We will be displaying photographs and videos of wonderful displays of flowers and floral art and craft. There will be music too and we know it is going to be a lovely weekend of colour reflecting the creative gifts of our community.

It’s not too late to get involved. If you would like to submit a picture or video of a floral display or a piece of floral art or craft, send it to us before the end of Monday, June 22. If you join our Lockdown Art Club, don’t forget the theme is flowers and we’d love your art too. Then visit us online over the weekend of June 27-28.

Pictured: Floral display from Therapies Through Nature which takes place at Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice. Therapies Through Nature is taking part in the festival.

Join the Lockdown Art Club!

Move over Grayson Perry – there’s a new art club in town. We are launching a Lockdown Art Club to encourage people to have a go at art and enjoy the creative process, whether or not they feel they have artistic skills.

Inspired in part by the joy and creativity evident in the Channel 4 programme Grayson’s Art Club, the Lockdown Art Club is open to everyone and will have a new theme each month. It is being run by Lesley Crawley and Dave Walker who, with his wife Helena before lockdown staged local art exhibitions and organised art activities at St Mark’s.

“The art club is a chance for people to have a go at art and then they can send us some photos of their work which we can display online,” says Lesley. “There will be a new theme each month and for June it is flowers. Maybe you’d like to draw or paint a view of flowers which you can see from your window, or perhaps a flower which represents your feelings about lockdown.

“Send pictures of your art to me ( and we can put them online. We are having a flower festival online at the end of the month and we can include the June pictures in that. Then, after lockdown, Dave will hold an exhibition at St Mark’s of some favourite pieces of work from across the months.”

Everyone is invited to take part, whatever age or background, whether or not they have ever tried to create art, and Dave and Lesley are at pains to stress that the finished pieces do not have to be perfect. “There is a lot of evidence now that art is good for our mental wellbeing, and many of us have struggled with our mental health during lockdown,” says Lesley. “We really want to encourage people just to have a go, and to remember that if a piece doesn’t work out exactly as we think it should, that is OK. The imperfections represent a bit of us in that artwork.”

Anyone wanting to contribute flower art to the flower festival, which will be on the website on June 27-28, should send their pictures to Lesley by Monday, June 22. Otherwise art pictures for the club are welcome at any time.

MP, Mayor and Intersex advocate choose favourite hymns

Jeremy Hunt, MP; the Mayor of Farnham; a prominent advocate for those born with intersex traits; and other key members of the local community, are all taking part in an online service of their favourite hymns, which will be online here on Wednesday, June 10, from 6pm.

Each person has chosen a hymn and will introduce it online explaining why they like it and what their Christian faith means to them. The hymns are a mix of old and new, and range from the 17th century My Song is Love Unknown, chosen by Janet Martin, one of the key organisers of the Farnham Flash Festival, to the 1980s’ one The Servant King, chosen by Sara Gillingham. Sara, an accountant by profession, also works with the church, universities and the media to raise awareness of people born with intersex traits, which is her own story.

Each speaks about what the hymn and their faith means to them – for Sara Gillingham it is a faith in a God full of grace, in whose image we are made, and Christ there beside us; while Jeremy Hunt speaks of the stillness which his faith gives him and how it is reflected in his choice of hymn Dear Lord and Father of Mankind. Among the other hymns you can hear are Father I Place into Your Hands, chosen by Bob Skinner, whom many will know from Farnham Foodbank, and Faithful One so Unchanging, the choice of Cathy Burroughs, manager of Hale Community Centre. You will also hear the rousing God is our Strength and Refuge, chosen by Pat Evans, the Mayor of Farnham, and sung to The Dam Busters March.

Lesley Crawley explains the thinking behind the service: “Favourite hymns can speak to us on a deep level, through the music and the words, and help us understand more about God and our faith. It has been a privilege and a pleasure to hear the choices of those who have so kindly contributed and understand more about what their faith means to them.”

Join us here on Wednesday, June 10, from 6pm, or on Facebook or on the parish YouTube channel. You may even want to sing along!

Liz’s Lockdown Labour – 700 PPE Visors for Frontline staff

Update: Liz will be talking about making the visors on BBC Radio Surrey on Saturday (June 6) at 2.45pm, and on Sunday at 7.45am.

Liz Larkin, a design and technology teacher from the parish , has spent lockdown not only teaching her pupils via the internet, but making hundreds of visors to be used as essential personal protective equipment (PPE) for hospitals and doctors’ surgeries.

Liz, who lives in Weybourne and teaches at Farnborough Hill School, has been in the workshop at the school creating visors out of PVC and polypropylene, using a laser cutter. “I use the laser cutter for the polypropylene straps and the PVC visors are made by hand,” said Liz. “I then clip them together by hand. It takes 20 minutes to make about 12. I’ve made around 700, many of them with the help of my family too.”

The visors are then sent to places which have been making desperate pleas for PPE for frontline workers, including the Scrub Hub which is making and collecting PPE for Frimley Park Hospital.  “I’ve given around 200 to the Scrub Hub and I have sent them to doctors’ surgeries here in Farnham and further afield. For instance, I’ve sent 70 to a practice in London which a school contact told me about.”

Liz sourced the materials herself. “I raised £700 through Go Fund Me for materials and started making the visors when we went into lockdown. I’m part of a huge network of design and technology teachers across the country doing this and thousands and thousands have been made for hospitals, hospices, care homes and surgeries which are absolutely desperate for PPE. People will get in touch and say ‘we are running out, we need some now’, and we will respond.”

Liz has been doing this in her spare time while also teaching a full timetable online for her pupils at Farnborough Hill, having to rework all her plans in order to teach a practical subject at a distance without the use of all the normal equipment.

She remains unfazed however. “I could see there was a need for the visors,” she said. “People in design are always spotting a need and doing something about it.”

Meanwhile people are still making scrubs for Frimley Park Hospital. If you can help by donating material – duvet covers, pillowcases, sheets, etc, or making caps, masks and scrubs themselves, let us know. Contact Stella Wiseman for information. Patterns can be supplied. Currently the hospital has enough scrub bags but desperately needs caps, masks and scrubs.

Pictured above are Liz, Chris, Hannah and Matt Larkin with some of the visors they have made.