Category Archives: St John’s Church

‘Corner Chat’ offers company, cuppas and chat

A new venture is starting in Hale, offering a place for people to come and have a chat and a cup of tea or coffee in comfortable surroundings.

‘Corner Chat’ will take place on alternate Tuesdays from 10am to noon in the Sumner Room at St John’s Church, Hale, starting on September 18, and everyone is welcome whether they just want a bit of company, a hot drink and a biscuit, or some support.

“The idea is to provide a safe place in Hale where people can find company and enjoy friendly conversation on a regular basis,” said Wendy Edwards, founder of Corner Chat and a Licensed Lay Minister in the parish. “Everyone is very welcome, whatever their age. We have many people who come to St John’s regularly to tend loved ones’ graves, then there are parents from Tootsies Nursery in Monkton Lane and people just passing by.”

They won’t be formal bereavement sessions but bereavement support will be available if required. “We will all support each other as much as we can as we chat in the Sumner Room,” added Wendy.

Corner Chat will be on Tuesdays, September 18, October 2,16, 30, November 13, 27, and December 11.

For further information contact Wendy Edwards on 01252 406772 or 07740 082460 or at

Photo of Wendy Edwards 23.01.18 (1)(1)Sumner Room

Pictured: Top – Have a welcome drink. Picture by Nicole Honeywill. Unsplash.
Above: Wendy Edwards; the Sumner Room at St John’s.

Ministry team grows again

Wendy Edwards, Bishop Andrew and Craig Nobbs outside St Paul's, Dorking, after the serviceThe ministry team in the parish has grown again. With the licensing of Wendy and Craig as Licensed Lay Ministers (LLMs) last Saturday the team has grown to three full-time clergy, three LLMs and two retired clergy who still conduct services, preach and carry out pastoral work in the parish.

Wendy Edwards and Craig Nobbs were both licensed to the parish by the Bishop of Guildford, the Right Rev’d Andrew Watson in a service at St Paul’s, Dorking.

Wendy, the daughter of renowned local journalists Ted Parratt and the late Jean Parratt, started her training in Southwark, but returned to her childhood home of Farnham in 2017, following her mother’s death the previous year, and continued her training with the Diocese of Guildford.

“I returned to the church in 2007 after a very difficult time in my life, and I felt a calling to ministry but it was too early,” she said. “The feeling came again at the end of 2013 and I started exploring it and began my training in 2014. Licensed Lay Ministry is a preaching and teaching ministry in a pastoral context and I will have a particular funeral ministry. In my previous job I worked as a chartered legal executive specialising in wills and probate. I always supported people around the time of deaths in the family through the legal side and felt a call to support them through ministry.”

Wendy will be particularly attached to St John’s, Hale, the church she chose to go to when she returned to Farnham, in part because she had been a bridesmaid there twice in the late 1960s.

Craig Nobbs was already an LLM when he moved to Farnham 18 months ago but was licensed to another parish and wanted to continue his ministry in his new home. He has been relicensed to the Parish of Badshot Lea and Hale and his ministry will mostly be at St George’s, Badshot Lea.

Speaking after the service Craig said: “The service was out of this world and an affirmation of what I am doing in the parish. This parish is one with a big heart. During the licensing service I was conscious of waves of love from both the parish and from God himself. What kept going through my mind was a line ‘Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven’ (from the hymn Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven), as that has been my experience.”

Craig’s ministry will mostly be at the weekend as he works full-time in London as a Whitehall civil servant taking a lead in educational policy.

Lesley Crawley added: “We are delighted and blessed to have both Wendy and Craig with us and look forward to their continuing ministry as the parish grows and seeks to express the love of God in our community”.

Welcome to Mary

If you were at St John’s on Sunday 13th May, you not only saw a Miracle Play, you heard for the first time our new musician, Mary Klymenko, leading the music with her beautiful piano playing.

I met Mary at a music weekend in March. She told me that she’s a piano teacher, lives very near St John’s, and did we need any help with the music there? I said, “yes please”! I’d been worried because it was getting hard to cover all the services with such a slender rota of musicians. Lesley had told me to pray about it, which I did, and was answered with abundance.

The congregation was treated to a Schumann Arabesque during Communion that Sunday. Mary, although not an organist, can transfer her keyboard skills onto the St John’s organ, when it works! (But that’s another story). Mary and her husband have two young boys, and so she will just play at St John’s once a month. Thank you for making her feel warmly welcome.



The Miracle play (or Pentecost, the musical)


It was a funny coincidence of events, really. Just before Christmas, we went to see a friend of ours performing in a pantomime. At the same time, Lesley was wondering what she could do for “Thy Kingdom come”, the annual C of E call to prayer. For the previous two years she had organised an art exhibition at St John’s, but felt it was time to do something different. The idea of writing and performing a miracle play about Pentecost came just as we turned our car into the driveway, coming home from the pantomime.

So, extensive internet research on what existed on this theme only produced a small fragment referring to Acts, Ch2, where the locals accused the disciples of being drunk as they emerged from their upstairs room speaking in tongues (or glossolalia if you want the technical term to help with the occasional crossword).

However, this, and a few more modern ideas, from the Life of Brian, for example, led to a script.

The venture then seemed to acquire a life of its own. We had our young artists at St Marks painting paper “flames” to hand out to the congregations. Lesley found short quotations from St Theresa and other, largely contemporary, theologians to stick on the back of them. I found myself in the role of producer, although once the rehearsals started, I did very little, as the cast effectively took over and the play blossomed into something much greater than the original concept.

It was a memorable and exhausting event. We did two performances on the 13th and two more on the 20th May. My thanks to everyone who took part, particularly the “Holy Spirits” Freya, Emilia and Tia (and their mums) who gave excellent performances and had a double dose of religion for two weeks running!

Possibly the lasting image I’ll take from it was the look of shock and astonishment on the faces of Alan and Lesley, our rectors, when the flip chart was produced and the congregation asked, “What has God ever done for You?” This memory is closely followed by the choreographed rendition of “Give me that Old-time religion” – maybe we should perform more hymns in this way!

I think we succeeded in getting the message of Pentecost across in a quite unexpected but effective way – a good combination of humour and a serious underlying message.

Bob Shatwell

It’s A Miracle… play!

Its’ a Miracle…. play was performed on Sunday (13th) at St John’s and St Mark’s and will be performed at St George’s on the 20th May at 10am and 11:30pm. I am lost for words, other than “GO ALONG” – it was very, very funny indeed and I am still sniggering every time I think about it. Huge congratulations to Lesley and Bob Shatwell, and the cast!

Lesley Crawley

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“It’s a Miracle” Play – 13 and 20 May

The C of E has an annual “Thy Kingdom Come” initiative where the parishes are asked to do something different to “help families and young people to pray together”. For the previous two years we’ve put on an art exhibition with a biblical theme at St John’s. This year we’ve decided to do something different – a miracle play. We’ll be performing it at St John’s and St Mark’s on 13th May and St George’s on 20th May.