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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Join us to celebrate Pride on Saturday, August 8, here online from 10am.
August 8 should have been marked by a Surrey Pride march and celebrations on the street but these had to be cancelled because of Covid-19. However, we are celebrating the LGBTI+ community and God’s wonderful, inclusive love with an online service.
There will be music, art, photography, prayers, poetry, Bible readings and reflections from individuals including a former curate of St George’s whom some of you may remember – Rev’d Paul Holt – along with Sara Gillingham, a leading intersex campaigner and great friend of the parish; Jayne Ozanne who runs the Ozanne Foundation which works with religious organisations to eliminate discrimination based on sexuality or gender; and Dr Ash Brockwell, a transgender man and educator who has contributed both a poem and hymn to the service.
There is a moving reflection on growing up as a gay man from James Muller, a Farnham photographer whose work features regularly in Vogue Italia, and who has kindly contributed many of his beautiful photographs; there is art from local people, including paintings by members of Farnham Heath End School’s LGBT+ group, and stones painted with rainbow messages to indicate God’s love for everyone.
Stella Wiseman, who leads inclusion work in the parish, explains the thinking behind the service: “The church as a whole doesn’t have a great track record in welcoming people who do not fit into a heterosexual, cis-gender box, and indeed has caused great harm to many LGBTI+ people. This is something we need to repent of and make amends for. We have no right to limit God’s love and welcome like this and to damage and destroy people in the name of God is appalling.
“Thankfully, things are changing and many churches, such as those in this parish, are more welcoming and inclusive now. Some of us would have been walking under the Christians at Pride banner in Woking on August 8th but Covid-19 has put paid to that. So instead we are organizing this lovely, colourful service online and we are delighted that members of the local church are taking part along with friends from other churches. We are really grateful to them for giving up their time to share with us their experience of God’s love and welcome and grateful too for the art, photography and music.
“Pride in Surrey is taking a Pride-themed vehicle around the county that weekend too and will be live-streaming and the parish has just been asked to send a contribution to the online Pride. The Pride vehicle will be making its way to Farnham on Sunday 9th at 10am so watch out for that too. You can find out more on prideinsurrey.org/ontheroad.”
During the period of Thy Kingdom Come, we are asking people if they can create prayer stations at home and send them to us (email@example.com)
Here is one which Michelle Chapman has made – a finger labyrinth with instructions which we have reproduced below.
Praying with the finger labyrinth
Draw your labyrinth (start with the purple cross, then the red right angles, finally the dots. Start with the top of the cross and join up to the next line with a curve. Follow the pattern, I have made it easier to follow by using different colours)
There is only one way in and out of the labyrinth.
Sit quietly and take a few deep breaths, allow yourself to feel Gods presence.
When you are ready very slowly enter the labyrinth using your least dominant index finger and slowly follow the path to the centre. Allow your thoughts to surface, remembering that Jesus is with you all the way. Release all your thoughts and tensions on the winding journey.
When you reach the centre just rest a while with God and have a conversation. If you are finding lockdown difficult explain. Also think about the good things about lockdown and say thank you.
Coming out of the Labyrinth
When you are ready to exit the Labyrinth follow the same path joyfully. You can sing a song or hymn say a psalm or an uplifting poem or say the Lord’s prayer.
As you reach the exit give thanks and praise to God.
Prayer stations are prayer activities which are often set up in churches, but can be set up anywhere, including homes. The idea is to engage people in some form of prayer activity – reading, writing, listening, drawing, touching, reflecting and then responding to God’s voice.
Could you set up one at home, or in the garden, and video or photograph it and send it to us to go up online? Send it to Alan and we can put it up on the website and social media.
It can be something as simple as a candle and music – as in the video below – or a wonderful artistic creation, or something in between.
If you like to sit before God with music playing, try our reflection here. The music reflects a number of moods – quiet contemplation, excitement, passion, joy, peace – rather like prayer really!
Each day during Thy Kingdom Come – the period of prayer between Ascension and Pentecost (May 21-31 this year) – a different member of the parish will appear on a video saying a version of the Lord’s Prayer.
Day 11: One of the joys of the Lord’s Prayer is that it is said by millions around the world – a wonderful sharing. Here are just a few of us:
Day 10: a musical version provided by three Lesley Shatwells and two Bob Shatwells!
Day nine, and Stella Wiseman chooses a version of the Lord’s Prayer which is rooted in nature and an inclusive spirituality. It comes from The Earth Cries Glory by Steven Shakespeare (c) Steven Shakespeare 2019. Published by Canterbury Press. Used by permission. firstname.lastname@example.org.
On day eight, John Evans sings a plainsong version of the new translation which churches arrived at in the mid-20th century, and gives us the history of its development. He also explains the doxology at the end: ‘For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours now and forever’.
Day seven, and Alan Crawley takes us back to the 1970s with the Series Three version of the Lord’s Prayer:
Day six: John Innes explains that The Lord’s Prayer “starts with the finishing line”. It is presented in the opposite way that many people practise prayer – ie a plea for help, but John explains that “Jesus teaches the prayer as one who has arrived”. He then prays the Presbyterian version:
Day five: One of Lesley Crawley’s favourite versions is by Rev Bret Myers which she loves for its accessible language:
Day four: What if God suddenly interrupted and had a chat?
On day three, Margaret Emberson has recorded a beautiful musical Lord’s Prayer, in which she sings two parts and also plays the piano:
On the second day of Thy Kingdom Come, Wendy Edwards has recorded a version she has written herself:
Alan started the series with the version we use every Sunday in church when we could meet in the actual buildings, and still use every Sunday in our online services.
Thy Kingdom Come – words so many of us know from the Lord’s Prayer, and, since 2016, the name given to the days between Ascension and Pentecost (this year May 21-31) which are set aside by many churches and individuals as a time of prayer.
We are joining in – church closures can’t get in the way of prayer! Every day we will be posting a video below, and, at midday you will find a version of the Lord’s Prayer spoken (or sung) by a member of the parish. There are also loads of wonderful resources on the Thy Kingdom Come website, including an app for Apple and Android.