Category Archives: St John’s Church

An Advent full of Joy

Advent is going to be a bit different this year. Normally the four services leading up to Christmas are a little bit solemn; the church is not decorated, no baptisms happen, the hymns are in a minor key. It is all about watching and waiting and hoping.

However, not this year! Let’s be honest, ever since March we have been watching and waiting and hoping – it has been the longest Advent ever. A number of people have said they have had enough of being miserable and they would like some joy in December instead. Also, as we are not having crib services or carol services in church this year, we want to invite everyone in throughout December to hear the story of Christmas.

Consequently, all the churches will have a series of family-friendly services including drama and opportunities for craft throughout December and we will be looking at characters in the Nativity:

  • 6th December – Mary and the Archangel Gabriel
  • 13th December – Shepherds and Angels
  • 20th December – Mary and Joseph
  • 25th December – birth of Jesus
  • (no service on 27th December)
  • 4th January – Magi (or Kings)

Please let Lesley know if you are willing to take part by email revd.lesley@badshotleaandhale.org or phone 01252 820537. At each of the above services there are lots of roles for adults and children and young people to get stuck into:

  • Welcoming
  • Singing
  • Reading a prayer
  • Drama
  • Reading a poem
  • Preparing crafts

It will be lovely to see you there.

Every blessing

Lesley

Light, rain and beacons of hope across town

Eight beacons shone out through the rainy skies across Farnham tonight.

The beacons, provided by Farnham Town Council, shone from Badshot Lea, Rowledge, Wrecclesham, The Bourne, Farnham Castle, Central Farnham and Lower and Upper Hale where they were placed in the grounds of St John’s and St Mark’s.

Their lighting marked the beginning of the Christmas season in Farnham and the switching on of the Christmas lights across the town.

The beacons were warmly received across town with typical comments on social media being ‘heart-warming’, ‘beautiful’, ‘fabulous’, ‘amazing’. One man who turned up at St Mark’s took a selfie with the light and explained that he was doing so at all eight.

Towards the end the skies cleared and stars appeared and the evening felt just a little hopeful in this difficult year.

The beacon at St John’s. Top: At St Mark’s

Praying throughout Lockdown

If you have heard the bells ringing every evening since the start of lockdown Mark Two, at St John’s, Hale, and St George’s, Badshot Lea, and have wondered what is going on, the answer is that this is part of a call to prayer.

The archbishops and bishops are calling on everyone to pray at 6pm every day throughout lockdown and churches each to ring a single bell at the same time.

The archbishops wrote: “Bearing in mind our primary vocation as the Church of Jesus Christ to pray and to serve we call upon the Church of England to make this month of lockdown a month of prayer. More than anything else, whatever the nation thinks, we know that we are in the faithful hands of the risen Christ who knows our weaknesses, tiredness and struggles and whose steadfast love endures for ever.

“Above all we recall people to some of the fundamental spiritual disciplines that shape our Christian life. How we do this is up to each congregation and clergy person. We will publish resources to support you… During the first lockdown we cheered for the NHS every Thursday. During this second lockdown we invite you to fast in a way appropriate to you as well as pray for our nation every Thursday, for its leaders, its health and essential services and all those who suffer.”

Resources can be found here and there is a printable prayer booklet available too.

St John’s is also open for private prayer on Thursdays and Sundays, and St George’s on Tuesdays and Saturdays.



Beacons of Light and Hope

The night sky will be lit up across Farnham this Saturday by beacons which will shine out from 5-8.30pm from eight places across the town, including St John’s and St Mark’s Churches.

The lights will sweep across the sky from Badshot Lea, Weybourne, Upper Hale, Rowledge, Wrecclesham, The Bourne, Farnham Castle and Central Farnham and will mark the beginning of the Christmas season in Farnham.

During the shining of the beacons, the switching on of the Christmas lights in the town centre and surrounding neighbourhoods, will also take place.  

The beacons are being staged by Farnham Town Council to represent the coming together of the Farnham community during 2020 and hopes for a brighter 2021. 

Councillor Alan Earwaker, the council’s lead member for tourism and events, said: “COVID may stop us inviting residents to the town centre to see an official Christmas lights switch-on this year but let us bring the lights to you. Wherever you live in Farnham or nearby villages, we hope you will be able to see at least one of our searchlights in the sky. Come out to your doorsteps to see them – and give your neighbours a wave too if you can.”

Picture by Casey Horner on Unsplash

  

Churches Open for Prayer

During this second lockdown the churches are closed for services, though you will find our services online here. However two of our churches are open for private prayer:

St George’s, Badshot Lea, is open on a Tuesday and a Saturday, and St John’s is open on a Thursday and a Sunday. Both will be open 9am-4pm.

Details of where the churches are can be found here.

Light a candle for a loved one

Every year at this time we hold services at which we remember those who have died. These are often known as All Souls services as they take place on, or around, November 2 when the church marks All Souls Day, a time of prayer and remembrance for the dead.

We call the services ‘Light a Candle for a Loved One’ as we encourage people to light candles in memory of those they have loved and lost.

This year’s services will take place at St John’s on Saturday, 31st October at 3pm; at St Mark’s on Sunday, 1st November at 11am as part of the usual service; and at St George’s on Sunday, 1st November at 3pm. Everyone is welcome.

If you wish to, please bring a piece of paper to the service with the name(s) of anyone you wish to remember. There will be an opportunity to offer this to God and to light a candle in memory of your loved one.

Farnham Festival of Remembrance returns

The Farnham Festival of Remembrance returns this year but will be online, here on the website, on Saturday, November 7, from 6pm.

Covid restrictions mean that it has been impossible to hold the festival in its home in St John’s, but, nothing daunted, we’ve gone online, with participants recording themselves separately and the whole being put together to create a moving event which pays tribute to all those who have served in times of conflict and peace. This year the festival also commemorates the 75th anniversary of both VE and VJ Day which marked the end of World War Two.

Jeremy Hunt, MP, will open the festival and he will be followed by an assortment of readings, reflections, prayers, poems, songs and hymns and the National Anthem played by Farnham Brass Band.

Simon Alexander has been working seemingly non-stop to organise the event and says: “Each November as a community and a nation we take a moment to pay tribute to the service men and women of our Armed Forces in an act of Remembrance.

“Living in Farnham, the presence of military service is all around us: Farnham, the home of the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment; neighbouring Aldershot, the home of the British Army; nearby Odiham, one of the bases of our Royal Air Force; and Sandhurst, the home of our world-renowned Military Officers Academy to name just a few.

“Remembrance is a time for us to pay tribute to these brave men and women who serve so selflessly to protect and defend our nation and our freedom.

“War comes in many forms and, as such, the public service of our Armed Forces comes in many forms too. This year we have leant on the help of our military again in our time of need here at home to help us deliver essential services during the pandemic. Dedicated, agile and responsive as ever, the men and women of our Armed Forces have responded to our nation’s call.

“As we embark on our annual national commemorations of remembrance please join us online along with the Royal British Legion; Princess of Wales Royal Regiment; Sea, Army and Air Cadets; Jeremy Hunt MP; the Mayor of Farnham; Farnham Brass Band; local schools and a range of readers, soloists and performers for the Farnham Festival of Remembrance 2020, whom we thank for their time and skill in contributing, and let us together not forget our service men and women, past, present and future.”

Join us online for this year’s Farnham Festival of Remembrance.

Pictured: The Combined Forces at last year’s Farnham Festival of Remembrance in St John’s Church.

Looking forward to spring

The grass near St John’s Church and the layby where we park for church is going to be a joy to see next spring, thanks to the efforts of Farnham in Bloom.

John Ely and friends were out planting bulbs this morning, ready for spring blooms. Autumn may be here and a difficult winter is looming, but new life will be forming in the cold earth.

For more on Farnham in Bloom, click here.

Celebrating harvest

Everyone is welcome to celebrate Harvest with us this Sunday (October 4) – online and/or in church.

Our Harvest Festival services go online from 9am on Sunday; both a formal and an informal one, with the Mayor of Farnham taking part.

There will also be services in church at 9.30am in St John’s, Lower Hale; 10am in St George’s, Badshot Lea; and 11am in St Mark’s, Upper Hale. The churches will be decorated for the festival and there will be a collection of donated food in each. This will be given to Farnham Foodbank.

The Foodbank welcomes all donations but at the moment has a large stock of tea, breakfast cereal, baked beans, long-life milk and long-life juice so would prefer other items such as tinned vegetables, tinned fish and meat, rice, pasta, puddings and the like.

Come and join us in this celebration.

Pictured top is St George’s ready for Harvest.

Politics and Faith meet in Season of Creation

Politics and faith meet in the parish this month as we celebrate the Season of Creation, with contributions from local MP Jeremy Hunt; Cllr Penny Marriott, Mayor of Waverley; Rt Rev’d Andrew Watson, Bishop of Guildford; and, for Harvest Festival on October 4, the Mayor of Farnham, Cllr Pat Evans.

The Season of Creation is an international, ecumenical season which runs from September 1-October 4 each year. During this time people are encouraged to focus on prayer and action to protect the planet, and we are joining in with services in the churches and here online each Sunday. The online services will feature guest contributors including the Bishop of Guildford who will preach this Sunday, September 6, on what is known as Climate Sunday, when the focus will be on the challenge of climate change. He will be joined by Cllr Penny Marriott, who will give a Bible reading and Jeremy Hunt, MP, who will read a prayer known as the Collect.

Other guests over the next few weeks include Ruth Valerio, environmentalist, theologian, social activist and author, who launched the Eco Church scheme; Ben Niblett, campaigner on poverty, injustice, climate change and fair trade who works for the Christian charity Tearfund; and the Mayor of Farnham, Cllr Pat Evans, who is passionate about local community issues.

The Season of Creation will challenge everyone to do something to help tackle the environmental crisis that is threatening the Earth. Lesley Crawley comments: “The Season of Creation helps us focus on the world we live in and our duty to care for the environment. The way we are living is causing damage to the planet and all that lives on it – humans, other animals, plants, all living things – and we are calling on everyone to take action in whatever way we all can to stop the damage and begin restoration of our world. We would like everyone to make a pledge, however small, to do something positive, whether it is walking rather than driving where possible, cutting down on the amount of meat we are eating, looking at how our clothes are manufactured and how many we buy and then throw out.

 “Please join us in person at our churches or online where we will be thinking about what we can do in the Season of Creation and long term. We are delighted that the Bishop of Guildford, the Mayor of Waverley Penny Marriott, Farnham’s mayor Pat Evans, and our local MP Jeremy Hunt are among those contributing to our online services and we continue to call for action from all areas of society.”

Everyone is welcome in the churches which have had Covid-19 precautions put in place.