Tonight’s Taizé service:
Tonight’s Taizé service:
This is you, Jesus. This is us. This is you and us together, the Body of Christ. You Jesus, here with us and in us, your church.
That is the sense I had today (Sunday, 2nd) back in the building for a service which was both different and yet irrepressibly the same, filled with the spirit of a group of people together turning to God, opening themselves up to God, and so letting God’s Holy Spirit in.
Jesus was recognised by his followers as the Christ, which means the anointed one, anointed with God’s Spirit. It flowed through him in his time on earth, spilling out of him and into others. That same Spirit meant that his death was not the end and it filled the early Christians; that same Holy Spirit hasn’t gone away. It/she/he, however you like to define the indefinable, means that we are not alone, that anything is possible.
We don’t understand everything, or even very much; we are in the dark a lot of the time; we grasp at and express our faith in different ways; we fall out; we are all shapes, sizes, personalities, backgrounds, traits, nationalities, skin shades, loves. We have strong feelings and opinions and aren’t always careful of each other. We don’t know what the future brings. But today, back in church I knew that we are the Body of Christ here on earth now, filled with that Spirit.
Jesus Christ, this is you, this is us. This is you and us together, the Body of Christ. You Jesus here with us and in us, your church.
Pictured: Christ the Redeemer, picture by Mourad Saadi on Unsplash.
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.”
Everyone is invited to join the service online here on Saturday, August 8 , from 10am and on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/badshotleaandhale
Today’s service led by John Innes:
Come on in! We are excited to announce that our churches will be open again for services this Sunday, after more than four months of being closed thanks to Covid-19.
There will be simple Communion services at each of the three churches from this Sunday: St John’s at 9.30am, St George’s at 10am and St Mark’s at 11am. We will also hold a service at noon on Wednesday at St Mark’s, replacing the old Friday service.
We are also going to continue to offer online services as we know that not everyone will feel able to come to the church buildings themselves. You can find our online services here.
If you are familiar with the services you will notice some differences, as Lesley Crawley explains: “We are absolutely delighted that we can return to the church buildings to worship together in person. However there will be changes to the services designed to reduce the risk of Covid-19. For instance we cannot have any singing, we cannot sit close to each other and we cannot share the Communion cup of wine. We will, however, be able to receive the Communion bread. Please come along and be a part of our services if you are able to, everyone is welcome.”
We have installed hand sanitizers and put up notices to remind everyone about social distancing and where it is safe to sit. Everyone attending will be asked for contact details so that if someone tests positive for Covid-19 it will be possible to get in touch with others who attended church at the same time. Those coming to church are strongly advised to wear masks but this is not compulsory.
There will be services available online from 9am on Sunday. “Holding services online means that more people can access them,” says Lesley. “Some people may feel particularly vulnerable to Covid-19 and therefore not want to come to church, and there are also others who cannot come to church perhaps because of mobility issues or illness, or because of work or family commitments. We should have thought about online services long ago but Covid concentrated our minds rather and has enabled us to be creative and reach more people.”
We are also very aware that the Covid pandemic has accentuated the divide between those who have access to modern technology and those who do not. Many of those who are not online are also older and have been increasingly isolated during lockdown. The parish, along with other groups in Farnham, has been supporting those who are isolated and is looking at how to increase this support in the future.
This evening’s BCP Evening Prayer
Today’s service led by John Evans:
Tonight’s Taizé service: