Category Archives: St John’s Church

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/)

 

Car inventor’s grave restored at St John’s

One of the most famous graves in the churchyard at St John’s – that belonging to the motor vehicle inventor John Henry Knight – has been restored.

The grave dates from 1917 and had fallen into disrepair so we sought and received the go-ahead from John Knight’s descendants to repair the monument.

John Henry Knight, who was born in 1847 and lived in Weybourne House, Weybourne Road, invented one of Britain’s earliest petrol-powered motor vehicles. In October 1895 he also went down in history as one of the first recipients of a motoring fine when he and his assistant James Pullinger were found guilty at ‘Farnham Petty Sessions’ in Farnham Town Hall of using a locomotive without a licence and of not having a red flag carried in front. James Pullinger had been stopped while driving the vehicle in Castle Street, Farnham, earlier in the month. The car can now be seen in the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu.

John Knight pleaded not guilty on the grounds that the vehicle was too light to come under the Traction Act, but he and Pullinger were both found guilty and received a fine and costs. After that, he ran the vehicle on a private road but even then was nearly caught by a policeman hiding in a hedge. John Knight stated afterwards in his Recollections that this was “probably the first police trap on record”.

John Knight was responsible for several other inventions, including a steam-powered hop-digger, a brick-laying machine, a grenade-thrower, a radiator and a ‘dish lever’ for tilting plates when carving meat. Appropriately, given his motoring brush with the law, he also invented wooden vehicle tyres and a speedometer.

John Knight had also built a steam carriage as far back as 1868 and drove it on the roads around Farnham. According to contemporary writer William Fletcher this could carry three people at up to eight miles an hour and “easily mounted the hills in the neighbourhood of Farnham”, though John Knight himself admitted that “breakdowns were frequent”.

Lesley Crawley commented: “John Henry Knight seems to have been a colourful and clever man who was always using his ingenuity to create something new and solve problems of the day. Everyone in the parish has the right to be buried in our churchyard and everyone is equally special and equally loved by God. I find it humbling to think of all the people who have been associated with the church over the past 175 years and who will be in the future. The church is for everyone from the most eccentric inventors to the quietest passers-by.”

John Henry Knight's refurbished grave reduced sizeThe grave.

Weybourne House 1Weybourne House where John Henry Knight lived as a child.

Pictured top: John Henry Knight (standing) with his vehicle in 1895. Picture courtesy of the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu.

Inspiring vision and pathways to prayer

Lent is as much a time for taking up new habits as it is for giving up old ones, and one of the habits we are encouraged to develop is that of prayer.

Sometimes we need new ways into prayer and one such is being offered this Lent at St John’s on a Wednesday evening from 7.30pm – using the visual arts to provide inspiration and pathways to prayer.

The first was Wednesday this week, when a small group considered ‘Prayer and the Trinity’, meditating on the painting Holy Trinity by Rublev, reading a passage from Paul’s letter to the Colossians (chapter 1, vs 3-14) and considering the creator, saviour and inspirer – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Next Wednesday, we will look at Prayer in Challenging Times and the painting The Scream by Edvard Munch, and in subsequent weeks Prayer and Discipleship, and Caravaggio’s The Call of Levi; The Joy and Excitement of Prayer with The Visitation (Mary and Elizabeth) from the Church of the Sitio, Suchitoto, El Salvador; and finally Repentance and Forgiveness with Rembrandt’s The Prodigal Son.

Come and join us and find new ways in to prayer through art.

the scream

Pictured above: The Scream by Munch

Pictured top: Holy Trinity by Rublev

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

Concert for Christian Aid and churches

The Blackwater Valley Wind Quintet are staging a concert of classical music in aid of Christian Aid and the Parish of Badshot Lea and Hale at St John’s Church, Hale, on Saturday, February 16, at 7.30pm.

There will be a varied programme which will include pieces by Mozart, Vaughan Williams, Schumann and Gordon Jacob, and alongside the Blackwater Valley Wind Quintet will be other local performers.

Tickets (£10, £8 concessions, to include refreshments) are available from 07730009317 or 07519740607 or by emailing g.weston321@btinternet.com. Tickets may be available at the door.

Please help us find the relatives of these people buried at St John’s, Hale

Some of the gravestones in St John’s churchyard have become very unsafe and we are worried that someone might be hurt as a result. The maintenance of gravestones is the responsibility of the families of the loved ones, however, if we are worried about them from a safety point of view we have the right to lay the stones flat. We don’t really want to do this and so we urgently would like to contact the relatives of the following people as we believe that their gravestones fall into this category.  If it is you, or you know who they might be please would you let me know?

Ethel Matthews
Fredrick Lipscomb
Henry Tompkins
Harry Beaumont
George Cantwell
Wilfred Park
Eaustania Fagan
Jill Stares
Lotti Raynsford
Ivy Biddle
Charles Stent
Albert Woodhams
Frances Wilkinson
Samuel Bide

Thank-you so much

Lesley Crawley

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”.

 

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.

 

Have your say on the future of St John’s

As St John’s Church turns 175 this year, we are launching a major improvement and fundraising project and want to know what facilities you would like the church to offer.

Residents and local organisations are invited to complete a short survey to help us learn more about what our community needs and how the church can better provide this.  It can be found by clicking here.

 

St John’s Church is 175

We are going to be celebrating this year with lots of events and activities, we’ll keep you posted here. In the meantime please can you write about what St John’s Church means to you in 175 words and email it to news@badshotleaandhale.org. The writings will be published here so let us know whether you want it to remain anonymous.

Also – please complete our community survey by clicking here