Category Archives: Schools

‘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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Emily and the Generations on the radio

Emily and the Generations may sound a little like a pop group, but today’s blog post title actually refers to an interview with Lesley Crawley on BBC Radio Surrey this morning (Sunday, Jan 13).

She was interviewed on the Sunday Breakfast show about our final push to raise money for Emily the organ – just £559 to go folks, come on, we can do it – but the interview spanned far more than just Emily, important and beloved as she is.

Interviewer Emily Jeffery talked to Lesley about how Emily the organ is a beloved part of the community and how her overhaul will allow us to use her again in worship, concerts and for children to learn on.

Then the interview broadened out to something that is also dear to our parish – the way we try to bring old and young and in between together.

Lesley spoke about the fact that local school children will be welcomed in to see the organ when it is being restored, how the table tennis club we run has become a ‘youth group for all ages’, the fact that we don’t send the children out of church for a separate Sunday school (“we are an inclusive church … and it seems wrong to send out part of our congregation”), the plans for opening St John’s up more to the community and bringing people together with a café, and other resources, perhaps even a nursery which could link in with a local care home.

To hear the interview click here and go to 2:38:52.

 

 

Picture by Will Francis. Unsplash.

 

If you went down to the church that day you were sure of a big surprise!

 

For outside we gathered (on July 8) for a Teddy Bears’ – and all sorts of cuddly friends’ – picnic. While they sat and made friends,  we spoke about how we can tell our teddies all of our innermost secrets, confess what we have done wrong and know that they will always love us, a bit like God! As we get older, we learn more and our view of our teddy changes. As we grow up, our view of God changes too. We have opportunities to grow in our spiritual commitment and come closer to the Lord. Our choir sang the ‘Gloria’ – you can see them in the picture – and sang hymns and had a lovely time together. We finished off with non-alcoholic ‘Pimms’ and cakes.

Maxine Everitt

Floods of Praise for ‘Open the Book’

A team of volunteers from the Parish of Badshot Lea and Hale have recently been taking Bible stories into Folly Hill School and Badshot Lea Village School using props, costumes and drama under a scheme called “Open the Book”.

Sandra Hall, who worships at St George’s Church, Badshot Lea, and leads the team said:
“ ‘Open the Book’ is a project which aims to enable every child to hear the story of the Bible in their primary years. It offers a programme presenting Bible stories in a lively way that is also carefully structured to suit Collective Worship. There is a rolling programme over three years of about 100 stories based on the Lion Storyteller Bible, together with a reflection and prayer, all approved by Ofsted.”

Chris Green, the Headteacher at Folly Hill School said,
“The children really look forward to visits from the ‘Open the Book’ team. The way the stories are presented bring the Bible to life. The stories also help with other learning in the school. The Garden of Eden story lent itself to discussions about the environment and how we should look after it.”

Parish Priest The Revd. Lesley Crawley said:
“This project is great fun, the kids love it, the adults love it, there are gasps of amazement and peals of laughter. The Bible Stories are brought to life in a memorable way and we feel it is really important that this generation of children know the Bible stories, not only is our faith based upon them, but so is much of our culture. If anyone who is a Christian of any denomination would like to join our merry band then ring me on 01252 820537 or email me – revdlesley@gmail.com.”

Planting Poppies to remember the start of World War One

Children in year one at Folly Hill Infant School planted hundreds of poppy seeds under the guidance of the Revd Lesley Crawley at St Mark’s in the hope that they will bloom in time for the centenary on August 4.

The Revd Lesley Crawley said: “We have a good relationship with the schools in the area. I am regularly invited to take assemblies and the children also come to us for a tour of the church, including the chance to ring the bell!

“I thought that dedicating an area of the church grounds for poppy planting would be a simple way for the children to remember the First World War.

“Many of the children are from the village and by having the seeds planted at the church they can easily come along and see how their poppies are growing throughout the school holidays.”

You can see the photos taken here.

The poppy planting helps to support the Royal British Legion (RBL) appeal to see the country awash with poppies.

Purchasing fundraising poppy seed packs and planting them in your churchyard or local school garden during the spring should mean they flower in time for the national commemoration day on Monday August 4.

Lesley added: “The inspiration for the poppy planting came from an exciting meeting at the Education Centre in which I felt encouraged to show that the church remains at the centre of our community.”

Whilst the children enjoyed the chance to be out in the sunshine during school hours, they also knew why they were there. One said: “We are planting the poppies to remember the people who died and their families” and another added: “there were lots of poppies in the battlefields after the war.”