Category Archives: Services

‘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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A welcome for Ava and the new font

There was a sense of celebration in the air at St Mark’s Church, Hale, last Sunday. Not only was baby Ava being baptized, she was the first baby to be baptized in the new handcrafted font at the church.

Surrounded by family and friends, and with help from Ava’s big sister, six-year-old Mollie, Ava was welcomed into the family of God. Rev’d Hannah Moore reminded everyone that “Christ loves [Ava] and welcomes her into his Church” and baptized her in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, pouring water over her head. Ava barely stirred.

Mollie and the other children in the congregation had helped Hannah bless the water and were also delighted by the two small ducks – one marked ‘Ava’ the other ‘Mollie’ – which floated in the font.

Ava's Baptism 7

It was a joyful occasion and a fitting first use of the new, portable font.

The font is made of a beautiful, multicoloured glass bowl resting on a grey wrought iron stand similar to the iron work on the altar rails at the church.

The bowl was made by the Adam Aaronson glass studio and the stand by Cliff Madgwick of Hampshire Metalcraft and the work was commissioned and organised by Pat Manton from St Mark’s, a fine craftswoman herself.

 

 

 

 

Harvest Festival in the parish

It’s Harvest Festival time, the season when we celebrate the gathering of food from the land and give thanks for what the earth has produced and the hard work of those who have produced it.

Harvest Festival takes place on the Sunday nearest to Harvest Moon (the full moon closest to the autumn equinox), which this year was Sunday, September 22. However, the actual date for celebration is flexible and in  the parish we are marking Harvest Festival this coming Sunday, September 29, which also marks the last Sunday in the church season of Creationtide, and then holding the Parish Harvest Supper on Saturday, October 12.

There are Harvest services in all three churches – 9.30am at St John’s and 10am at St George’s, with Apple Day taking place at St Mark’s from 11am, and a special Worship for All service to celebrate Harvest at St George’s at 11.30am. Whichever service you attend, please bring with you items for the Foodbank, particularly the following:

  • instant mash
  • biscuits
  • instant custard
  • tinned meat
  • instant tea
  • tinned peas
  • tinned carrots
  • long-life fruit juice

BCP Evensong and Taizé are here to stay

We trialled two new services for the last six months, each were monthly on Sunday evenings:

  • BCP Said Evensong at St George’s at 5pm and
  • Taizé at St John’s at 6pm.

Both proved popular with about 7-11 people enjoying the stillness, so they are now going to be part of our regular service pattern. In addition, both congregations asked that they might occur more frequently. So this is the new pattern:

1st Sunday – Taize at St John’s at 6pm

2nd Sunday – BCP Evening Prayer at St George’s at 5pm

3rd Sunday – Taize at St John’s at 6pm

4th Sunday – BCP Evening Prayer at St George’s at 5pm

5th Sunday – no service

Also, some people have expressed a desire for us to say BCP Matins. This could be possible on a Wednesday or Thursday morning once a month. If you would value this please get in contact with me.

Lesley Crawley

Vigils, solemn services and the message of Easter hope

The week before Easter is known as Holy Week and will be marked with meditations, vigils and solemn services in the parish.

There will be a series of meditations for Holy Week at St John’s on Monday to Wednesday, April 15-17, at 7.30pm. On April 18, a day known in the Christian calendar as Maundy Thursday, there will be services at 7.30pm both at St John’s and at St George’s, with Holy Communion and a vigil, and the altar will be stripped of all coverings. At St John’s there will also be a ceremony of foot-washing as a reminder of the act of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet at the meal he shared with them on the night before he died.

Lesley Crawley explained why the churches are doing this: “Maundy Thursday derives its name from a Latin word ‘mandatum’ which means command. Jesus was executed at the time of the Jewish Passover celebrations and he and his disciples shared a meal together at which he washed their feet in an act of humility and service. It is reported in the Bible that he told his disciples: ‘I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.’ (The Gospel of John, chapter 13, verse 34).”

The following day is known as ‘Good Friday’ and commemorates the day that Jesus was executed by being nailed to a cross. There will be several services in the parish, starting with a silent vigil at St John’s Church at 8.30am and a service at 9.30am, while at St George’s there will be a Good Friday service at 2-3pm, with 3pm marking the time when it is traditionally thought that Jesus died. At St Mark’s in Upper Hale, there will be Easter activities for children ages five to 11 from 9.30am, followed by a service at 11am and hot cross buns (to book a place on the Easter activities, contact Hannah Moore on 01252 659267 or revd.hannah@badshotleaandhale.org).

Lesley continued: “Good Friday commemorates the darkness of Jesus’ death, but on Easter Sunday we celebrate the joy of his resurrection. Death could not hold him and in rising from the dead he showed that the God of love is stronger than anything that the world can throw at us.”

On Easter Sunday there will be services at St John’s at 9.30am, St George’s at 10am and 11.30am, and at St Mark’s at 11am. Both the 11.30am service at St George’s and the 11am service at St Mark’s will include an Easter egg hunt.

Lesley added: “Everyone is welcome at any or all of our services. Do come and explore with us the message of hope that Easter offers to us all.”

 

The motherliness of God

Sunday, March 31 is Mothering Sunday, and in our services that day we will celebrate mothers and others who care for us, with posies for everyone.

Mothering Sunday is thought to have begun in the 16th century when, on the fourth Sunday of Lent, people would return to their ‘mother church’ – that is, the local parish church or the church in which they had been baptised, or the nearest cathedral. The practice also began of allowing servants to return to their families on that day so seeing their mothers as well as their mother church.

Lesley Crawley comments: “On Mothering Sunday we celebrate mothers and those who care for us, remembering and praying for our own mothers. We also know that this day can be a difficult one for those who have lost their mothers, for those who have lost or cannot have children, and for those who have not had a good relationship with their mothers, and we offer them our support and prayers too.

“God is usually referred to as ‘father’ – in part a reflection of the time and patriarchal culture in which the Bible was written – but there are certainly references to the ‘motherliness’ of God in the Bible, such as this one in the Book of Isaiah: ‘As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you’. Christians believe in an all-loving God who loves us even more than a human mother could. Please do join us on March 31 at any of our services and celebrate and receive this love.”

Click here for some practical ideas from the Church of England for celebrating Mothering Sunday.

The altar frontal at Chelmsford Cathedral made by Creators (Cathedral School youth group). Picture by fourthandfifteen (www.flickr.com/photos/chelmsfordblue/)

 

An offer to everyone of healing and wholeness

There will be a service of healing and wholeness at St George’s this Sunday (March 17), at 10am, where everyone will have the chance to receive prayer and anointing with oil.

Healing and wholeness are not just about physical recovery. Lesley Crawley explains: “During his lifetime Jesus came alongside people, had compassion on them and healed them. Christians believe that in order to be whole we need to be at peace with God, with ourselves, with other people and with creation.

“Healing and wholeness can be about forgiving ourselves or forgiving others; they can be about moving from a place of denial to one of acceptance; they can be about finally finding peace of mind or finding the strength of spirit to overcome problems that have dogged us for years. Healing and wholeness are for everyone, for we worship a God of love who wants the very best for every person who God created.”

Come and join us at St George’s on Sunday at 10am.

 

 

 

Picture by Myriams-Fotos on Pixabay.

Dust and ashes

This Wednesday (March 6) is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, the beginning of the season which leads up to Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Ash Wednesday has its roots in the ancient Jewish tradition of penance and fasting and many Christians mark the day by going to church and having a mark of ashes placed on their foreheads. Here in the parish there will be a service of ashing at St John’s at both 9.30am and 7.30pm. The ash is made by burning palm crosses blessed at last year’s Palm Sunday services and you can receive the mark with the words:

“Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.
Turn away from sin and be faithful to Christ.”

It is a solemn reminder of our calling to follow Christ and be his body here on earth.

 

ash wednesday.jpg

 

 

Top picture by Ahna Ziegler. Unsplash

Come to Christingle

Come to Christingle on Sunday, February 3, at St George’s Church, Badshot Lea, at 11.30am.

Christingle is a celebration that takes place sometime between the beginning of December and early February.

‘Christingles’ are created out of oranges, sweets and dried fruit stuck in them using cocktail sticks, red ribbon around the oranges, and a candle which is then lit.

The orange represents the world, the red ribbon (or tape) symbolises the love and blood of Christ, the sweets and dried fruit represent all of God’s creations, and the lit candle represents Jesus’ light in the world, bringing hope to people living in darkness.

There are prayers and songs and a lot of fun and it’s aimed at everyone in the family. Come along at 11.30am, join in and also raise money for the charity The Children’s Society. Bring your friends too.

If you want to know more about the service or anything to do with the church call us on 01252 820537 or email revd.lesley@badshotleaandhale.org

Hear God in the stillness

There are two new services being introduced into the parish in the next few weeks, both of them opportunities to have some stillness and pray.

The first is Said Evensong from the Book of Common Prayer (BCP), a service beloved by many but which has declined in popularity in the last few decades. The second is a Taizé service, a simple service based on chants and silence.  They will take place monthly for  a trial period of six months, starting with Evensong on the final Sunday of the month at 5pm at St George’s, Badshot Lea – January 27 is the first one – and Taizé on the first Sunday of the month at 6pm at St John’s, Hale, with the first one on February 3.

The idea is to give us a chance to find some stillness so that we may hear God speak. Lesley Crawley says: “It feels so amazing, miraculous even, that God speaks to us ordinary folks and our lives are transformed forever.

“I believe that to experience such things we have to deliberately put ourselves in the way of God. We won’t hear God speaking unless we make time and space to do so. In our parish there is so much going on that sometimes I wonder whether God can accidentally get sidelined; and so we are offering two opportunities each month to have some additional stillness and prayerfulness. These will be located in particular buildings but are for everyone, irrespective of whether you go to a different church, or no church.”

BCP Said Evensong has been chosen by Lesley because it is a service she has loved since she discovered it during her curacy. She says of this discovery: “I loved the BCP, I loved the poetry of the language, I was charmed by the way that words have changed their meaning, and I enjoyed using those words with their old meaning. I found particular words and phrases incredibly challenging or comforting or meaningful – they pulled me into the presence of God. I loved the way that words were paired together like peace and concord, celebrating the depth and range of our language and behind that the diversity of all the peoples with their languages over many centuries who have come together to make our complex and many-faceted nation. The repetition was also helpful – saying almost exactly the same thing each week meant that I could experience the same words that had so blessed me the previous week and I found that those words continued to bless me from then on, week in and week out.”

Taizé has been chosen as a ‘doorway’ through to a closer experience of God. Lesley says: “I find that the experience of chanting enables me to step through the chants into the presence of God. Perhaps it is because I’ve always found it easier to learn things that are sung rather than said. For instance, at school I was rubbish at learning poems but I knew lots of pop songs off by heart! The chants are in various languages (although I tend to stick to the English and Latin chants) but actually language is irrelevant, it is just a tool to step into that place of intimacy with God.”

Craig Nobbs will be leading Said Evensong at 5pm St George’s on Sunday, January 27, and thereafter on the last Sunday of the month. Come along if you love BCP or have never experienced it and be swept along with its beauty.

Lesley will be leading the Taizé service at 6pm at St John’s on Sunday, February 3, and thereafter on the first Sunday of the month.

Lesley adds: “If neither of these services speak to you but something else will help you draw closer to God then please do that, and if you want some help setting something up then please contact me”.