Category Archives: News Releases

Emily’s extravaganza

Emily the Edwardian organ will take centre stage in a ‘Christmas Carol Extravaganza’ concert at St Mark’s, Hale, on Saturday, December 14 at 11am, thanks to the generosity of many local people.

Carols as you have never heard them before will be played on this much-loved organ, which has been renovated following a fundraising appeal. Anyone who donated at least £10 to restore Emily has been invited to the concert which will be followed by a free lunch. However, some tickets are still available at the door – just come along at 11am on December 14 for a festive concert plus lunch.

Emily the organ is named after local benefactor Emily Mangles who left money for it to be installed in St Mark’s Church in 1912. Over the years the organ had begun to deteriorate and an appeal was launched to restore it. An initial £23,000 was raised for the restoration work but when this took place in the summer, some further problems emerged costing a further £2,000. An appeal was launched and many people responded generously.

Lesley Crawley says: “Thank you everyone who has given money to restore this lovely organ which means so much not just to the church but to local villagers past and present. And do come and join us to celebrate the restoration at our Christmas Carol Extravaganza on December 14. I know you are in for a treat as some very skilled organists show just how versatile and fun organ music can be.”

The Christmas Carol Extravaganza and lunch will take place at St Mark’s Church, Alma Lane, Hale, GU9 0LT, from 11am. Please bring donations to the church or you can also give online at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/help-emily-the-organ

 

A Christmas Carillon at St George’s

Christmas kicks off at St George’s Church, on Friday, December 6, when the Carillon Singers stage a concert there from 7.30pm.

The Carillon Singers are a four-part, 30-strong choir, and on December 6 they will perform a varied programme including traditional favourites such as The First Nowell and O Come, All Ye Faithful, together with new songs, poetry recitals and a guest performance by a young musician.

The Carillon Singers have become known in the area, giving regular concerts in their ‘home church’ of St George’s, other churches, halls and residential homes, raising funds for charities and other organisations – one of which is Children in Distress, a charity helping sick, disabled and terminally ill children in Romania.

For 25 years the Carillon Singers have been under the musical leadership of Ralph Earwicker but now have a new musical director, Sam Rolles. Sam brings a wealth of musical experience in performing, teaching, composing and conducting. He has arranged some of the pieces for the St George’s Christmas concert especially for the Carillon Singers.

Entry to the concert is free but there will be a voluntary collection for charity.

For further information on the Carillon Singers visit www.carillonsingers.co.uk/

Sam Rolles
Sam Rolles, new musical director of the Carillon Singers
Pictured top: The Carillon Singers at a concert in St John’s, Midsommer Norton. 

175th birthday service at St John’s

A bishop, a mayor, an archdeacon and clergy and church members old and new joined the celebratory service for the 175th birthday of St John’s on Sunday, November 24.

St John’s was consecrated in November 1844 and the service on Sunday – which was led by the Bishop of Guildford and attended by the Mayor of Farnham, Cllr Pat Evans – marked the climax of several months of birthday celebrations which have included a flower festival, an arts and crafts festival, talks, concerts, a lot of reminiscing and, of course, cake.

St John’s was also delighted to welcome the Archdeacon of Surrey – the Venerable Paul Davies – as deacon, and former St John’s clergy the Rev’ds Paul Smith and Jennifer Paterson. Paul Smith led the intercessions while Jennifer read the New Testament lesson – Acts 2:37-47 which shows the church in action 2,000 years ago, sharing the same gospel of Jesus Christ that is shared today.

The Bishop of Guildford, the Rt Rev’d Andrew Watson, preached at the service about the many changes that had gone on in the past 175 years, including the fact that traffic on Castle Street could sometimes be slower now than it was when local resident and inventor John Henry Knight was the first man fined for speeding in a car – in 1895, travelling at nine miles per hour. The Bishop also spoke about the future and the sense he had of God’s plans for the church in Hale.

There are plans underway to use St John’s not just for services but as a hub, responding to needs in the community. Rev’d Lesley Crawley is working on a long-term project to develop the church and has been talking to local residents, groups, charities, schools, businesses and other organisations, to discover what is most needed in the area. She said: “Our 175th birthday has been a wonderful reason to celebrate this beautiful church and we have loved welcoming friends old and new to St John’s. It has also been an opportunity to focus our minds on the future and what we believe God is calling us to do here in Hale. I am very excited as I look forward to seeing the church grow and develop. Here’s to the next 175 years!”

Afterwards there were snacks and Prosecco and the Bishop and Lesley Crawley cut the birthday cake made by parishioner and member of the choir June Jasper.

There is a communion service at St John’s every Sunday at 9.30am, and on the first and third Sunday there is also a ‘Taizé service at 6pm, using liturgy featuring prayer chants and silence and based on the Taizé monastic community in France.

This Christmas there will also be a carol service on Sunday, December 15 at 4pm; a ‘Longest Night’ service – for people who find Christmas difficult – on Wednesday, December 18, at 7.30pm; a Crib Service on December 24 at 3pm; Midnight Mass on December 24 at 11pm; and a Christmas Day service at 9.30am. St John’s will also be the meeting point for the Christmas event, ‘a Journey to Bethlehem’, on Friday, December 20, when two groups will walk to the church from Badshot Lea and from Upper Hale and arrive for a short service attended by the Mayor.

Top 10 Carols!

It’s that time of year again – time to vote for your favourite carols and hear them sung at St George’s Church on Sunday, December 1, in the annual Top 10 Carols.

This year there are two chances to take part in Top 10 Carols – at Worship for All at 11.30am, and at a Top 10 Carols service at 4pm.

All you have to do is write the name of a favourite carol on a voting slip (to be found in each church), pay £1 per vote, and put the money and voting slip in an envelope and place them in the box provided. You can vote as many times as you like as long as you pay £1 per vote. If you are casting votes for carols to be sung at Worship for All, write Worship for All on your voting slip.

The 10 carols with the highest number of votes will form the running order for a Top 10 Carols Service at Worship for All and at 4pm.

So come along, pay your pound or two or ten, vote for your favourites and enjoy a rousing Christmas sing at St George’s.

 

An invitation to our 175th birthday service

 

Come to a 175th birthday service at St John’s Church, on Sunday, November 24, at 9.30am, bringing to a climax several months of celebration.

Everyone is invited to join in a celebratory service, marking 175 years since the church was consecrated in November 1844, and just as a bishop, Charles Sumner, was at the first service, so a bishop will be at this service 175 years later. The Rt Rev’d Andrew Watson, Bishop of Guildford, will lead the service and preach, and the Archdeacon of Surrey, the Ven Paul Davies will also be there, along with former clergy and members of the congregation.

There will be traditional, favourite hymns, a Communion service and afterwards birthday cake and a chance to reminisce about the past and look forward to the future.

Join us on November 24 at 9.30am, at St John’s Church, GU9 9AB, to celebrate the past and look forward to the next 175 years.

 

Picture by http://www.post19.com

Join us on a Journey to Bethlehem

As the schools break up this Christmas, everyone is invited to join ‘A Journey to Bethlehem’ – a short re-enactment of the journey Mary and Joseph took to Bethlehem on the first Christmas, complete with angels, shepherds, kings and even a couple of donkeys.

On Friday, December 20, at 7pm, two groups of adults and children will make their way from St Mark’s Church in Upper Hale and from St George’s Church in Badshot Lea, to St John’s Church, Hale. Among the groups will be shepherds, angels, kings, donkeys, Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus, and on the way they will meet more members of the traditional Nativity cast, including an innkeeper with no room at the inn, and a star to guide them.

Everyone is invited to join them on the route and to join in the carol singing as they go.

The two groups will converge on St John’s Church for a short service at 7.30pm, followed by refreshments.

Hannah Moore said: “This will be a lovely start to the Christmas holidays for children and adults alike. Come and join us as we remember the journey that Mary and Joseph had to make, and Jesus’s humble birth when God came to earth in human form. Another name for Jesus is ‘Emmanuel’ which means ‘God with us’ and that is just what this Christmas story is all about.”

Everyone is invited to arrive at either St Mark’s or St George’s at 6.30pm, ready to leave at 7pm and make their way to St John’s at the bottom of the Upper Hale Road. Children are particularly encouraged to wear nativity costumes with suitable footwear for winter weather. There will be marshals but please also bring torches to light the way.

Picture above ©anyka6 via Canva.com

 

 

Journey to Bethlehem front

‘When I hear The Last Post I think of him’

St John’s Church, Hale, was packed on Saturday night when people of all generations gathered for the Farnham Festival of Remembrance, to pay tribute to all who have suffered and died in armed conflict and to pray for peace in a divided, war-torn world.

The Festival featured the Royal British Legion and other representatives of the armed forces in the form of A Company, 4th Battalion, Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment; the Sea Cadets of TS Swiftsure1 Battalion Aldershot Army Cadet Force; and 229 (Farnham) Squadron Air Training Corps.

Civilians were represented by the Mayor of Farnham, Cllr Pat Evans; the British Red Cross; St John Ambulance; the Guides; and three local schools – Badshot Lea Infant School, William Cobbett Primary School and Farnham Heath End School.

Music was provided by Farnham Brass Band; TS Swiftsure; the combined Parish choir; Frances Whewell; Wendy Edwards; Liv Jasper;  Sara Burnie; and Dexter and Archie Dedalo-Skilton, Kyle Manson-Hing and Paris McCann, all extraordinarily talented musicians from Farnham Heath End School.

Narration was by Town Crier Jonathan Jones; and a service was led by Rev’ds Hannah Moore and John Morris, with additional reading by Bob Skinner, one of the leaders of Weybourne Community Church. The whole festival had been organised by Simon Alexander, to whom huge thanks and praise must go.

Each brought to the occasion a unique element, from the stirring percussion of the Sea Cadets to the moving tribute of the member of the Army reserve who spoke of his friend ‘Socks’ (so called because one time he forgot his socks when he was deployed) who was killed in Afghanistan. “When I hear The Last Post I think of him” he said.

There was the thoughtful poetry from William Cobbett pupils, the solemnity of the moment when the Guides processed in with the Torch of Remembrance, accompanied by Liv Jasper singing When the Lights Go On Again. There was so much more, including heart-rending poetry from World War One; a simple and beautiful poppy installation by children from Badshot Lea Infant School; memories of World War Two; and the building of a drum altar, draped with the Union Flag and the standard of the Royal British Legion, and topped with a Book of Remembrance of local people who had died in World War Two.

Intertwined with this was the sense that peace is a fragile thing and we must never stop striving and praying for it. In Aftermath, written by Siegfried Sassoon in the year after the end of the ‘war to end all wars’, Bob Skinner read the line: “Do you ever stop and ask, ‘Is it all going to happen again?’”

The young people sharing in the festival and receiving the gift of remembrance from older generations, seemed aware that this gift was a responsibility too and that the hope of peace lay in their hands as much as anyone else’s.

Above all, as prayers were said in front of the drum altar, there was an understanding that , however dark the world is, the suffering God is there in the midst of the darkness.

“Have you forgotten yet?…
Look up, and swear by the green of the spring that you’ll never forget.”
                                                                                    (Siegfried Sassoon, March 1919).

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Lights, craft, action – Christmas kicks off in Badshot Lea

The Christmas lights are being  switched on in Badshot Lea on the evening of Monday November 18th, in preparation for celebrating the coming of God to earth in the form of Jesus, born some 2000 years ago but ever relevant and transformative.

Come and join us at St George’s Church, Badshot Lea, from 4.30-7pm. Not only are the lights going on, there will be a craft fair in the church and, outside from 5-6.30pm, community singing and entertainment by the Sea Cadets and the children of Badshot Lea Infant School.

There are still some craft tables left. If anyone would like one, let us know by email. And come along and do some Christmas shopping, have a sing and get into the Christmas spirit.

 

Picture by Markus Spiske on Unsplash.

In memory of lost babies

The loss of a baby, either in the womb or at or soon after birth, is a tragedy which affects thousands of families every year, and each person’s grief will be personal and unique. This year, during Baby Loss Awareness Week (October 9-15), St George’s Church will be holding a drop-in session on Friday, October 11, from 3-4pm, for people to come and reflect and light candles in memory of lost babies. There will be a memory tree in the church and there will be the opportunity for anyone who wishes to talk over a cup of tea.

Rev’d Hannah Moore said: “We hope that anyone who is grieving the loss of a baby – however long ago this happened – will be able to draw comfort from coming to the church on Friday afternoon. They will have the opportunity to light a candle for their children and write their names on paper ribbons to hang on the memory tree, and will also be able to talk about their lost little ones if they wish. Acknowledging that grief – whether it stems from a recent tragedy or one that occurred months, even many years, ago – can help enormously in the healing process. There will be the opportunity to pray if anyone wishes – we believe in a God who is alongside us in the tragedies of life as well as on the good days.”

The annual awareness week, now in its 17th year, is an opportunity for bereaved parents, families and friends, to commemorate babies’ lives and break the silence around pregnancy and baby loss in the UK. The week is led by Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity, in collaboration with 70 charities in the UK.

Clea Harmer, chief executive of Sands, said: “Baby Loss Awareness Week is a unique opportunity for parents to commemorate their babies who died, and I hope the afternoon at St George’s will help bereaved families in the local area feel less isolated and alone in their grief.

“Pregnancy loss or the death of a baby is a tragedy that affects thousands of people every year. It is devastating for parents and families and it’s vital they get the bereavement support and care they need, for as long as they need it.”

Anyone who needs pastoral care is urged to contact Hannah Moore on 01252 659267 or Wendy Edwards on 0​1252 406772.

It’s picnic time for teddy bears at St George’s

Teddy bears and their friends are invited to St George’s, Badshot Lea, tomorrow (Sunday, August 18) for a teddy bears’ picnic at 11.30am.

The picnic, to which all bears and other favourite characters – and their human friends – are invited, will take place as part of the regular Worship for All service which takes place every Sunday at 11.30am.

Lesley Crawley said: “Worship for All is for the whole family and aims to share something of the love of God with all ages, and to be a fun, welcoming service. We hope as many people as possible will round up their bears, big and small, old and young, and come to the teddy bears’ picnic on Sunday.”

Picture: Teddy bear by Dorothe Wouters on Unsplash.