Category Archives: St John’s Church

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.

Baptisms are back!

Families are returning to church for baptisms in the parish after months of delay thanks to Covid-19. The first baptism in the parish took place on Sunday, August 23, when little Archie Higginson (pictured with his parents above) was baptized at St John’s, and this is being followed this month by the baptism of two sisters, one of whom was born in lockdown, and a further one booked for October.

The baptisms all take place in the main Sunday services and there are strict rules on hygiene, social distancing and wearing masks but this didn’t detract from one-year-old Archie’s baptism. “It all went well,” said Archie’s mother Nola. “It was a bit strange wearing face masks but it felt like a proper baptism and we felt welcomed into the church.” She also sought to allay other families’ fears about not being able to invite family and friends to the service. “We were able to invite everyone we wanted to and Archie enjoyed it too. I thought he’d wriggle more as he doesn’t like being still but he was fine.”

On September 27 we will welcome little Isabella and Eden Argenti. Two-year-old Isabella was to have been baptized in May but now her baby sister Eden, who was born in June, will be baptized at the same time. Isabella and Eden’s mother Rose, who is one of the regular readers in our online all-age service, said: “We were so happy to hear when the churches were able to reopen, and after welcoming our second daughter during lockdown, we are very much looking forward to having both our girls now baptized together at St John’s this month and welcoming them into the church.”

Lesley Crawley baptized Archie and will baptize the sisters. She said: “We are so pleased to be able to hold baptisms in the services again. Obviously, there are differences because of Covid restrictions but these don’t detract from what is a very special and joyous occasion of welcoming someone into the church and beginning their new life as part of the Christian community.”

Adults as well as children can be baptized and baptisms take place in the main service as baptism symbolises the entry of a person into the life and family of the church. The services all have anti-Covid measures put in place.

To enquire about baptisms, please contact Stella Wiseman on 07842761919.

Pictured top are Nola and Matthew Higginson with Archie.

Children welcome in church

We would love to welcome children back to church now that we have started services in the buildings again.

There is plenty of space in the churches and there are places for families to sit in their ‘bubbles’. Please, though, bring your own toys, books, colouring books, colours, snacks and drinks etc, and we ask that you don’t share between families.

There is a relatively formal service at St John’s at 9.30am, an informal service at St George’s at 10am and a very informal service at St Mark’s at 11am.

Please join us.

Picture by Dawn Hudson

The Irrepressible spirit alive in Church

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.

Stella Wiseman

Pictured: Christ the Redeemer, picture by Mourad Saadi on Unsplash.

Churches reopen for services

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.

Churches prepare to reopen

As you probably know, the government has announced that church services may resume from this weekend and we have been looking carefully at how this will be possible from the beginning of August which will give us enough time to prepare.

It is not, unfortunately, simply a case of throwing open the doors and welcoming everyone in, much as we would like to. There are all sorts of issues to deal with to ensure that we keep everyone safe.

This week further information has been released by the government, the national Church of England and the Diocese of Guildford to help us plan to reopen the churches for services. 

Our plan – subject to PCC approval – is to have a service in each of the three churches on a Sunday and a mid-week service at St Mark’s from the beginning of August.

Because of the dangers of Covid-19 infection, the services will follow a simple format with no singing but with musicians playing instruments. We will not be able to share the Peace but we will be able to take Communion, though in one kind only. The Bread may be distributed in wafer form by the priest (who will have taken all the necessary hygiene precautions) but we cannot share the Wine. Everyone coming forward to receive Communion or a blessing will be guided on where to walk and stand in order to minimise the danger of passing anything on.

Everyone will have to observe strict social distancing measures – though you can sit in your household groups of course – and hygiene regulations, but we have installed hand sanitisers already and have been working hard to ensure that it will all be as safe as possible.

We are also going to continue worship online so anyone who can’t come to church on Sundays or feels unsafe doing so can still join in the worship.

We’ll keep you updated.


Sunday Worship – 28th June

Below are the services, and three sermons.  I have updated the Children’s page with Michelle’s talk and activity. First here are the notices:

Notices

Private Prayer

Our churches are open for private prayer – to see times click here, to help supervise the churches email Lesley.

Giving

Please Give to our Ministry

This church relies on donations to provide care and support to everyone in this community. Now more than ever, please consider giving generously to support our mission and ministry by clicking the button above. Thank you for your support.

Flower Festival

Here it is in case you missed it!

Services

All-Age:

Click the top one if you can view it:

Otherwise use this one but it doesn’t have Stormzy’s video:

More Traditional:

Sermons

Lesley’s Sermon:

John Innes’s Friday Service Sermon

Bishop Jo’s Sermon

A Gallery of Flowers

Thank you again to all the contributors to our Celebration of Summer Flowers.

To enjoy the flower festival in all its glory, watch the video here.

Then scroll through the pictures and videos below at your leisure.

Individuals

With thanks to the many individuals who sent in pictures and videos.

The Kay family.
Flowers photographed by Lesley and Bob Shatwell during their lockdown walks.
Anne Boyman’s Welly Wander
Dario Alexander
Maurice Emberson
Jackie Hyne

Faith Groups

Ahmadiya Muslim Women’s Association, Aldershot

‘Love for all, hatred for none’ https://ahmadiyya.uk/


Farnham Baha’is

Wild flowers from Farnham. www.bahai.org.uk/


St Andrew’s Church, Farnham

https://standrewsfarnham.org/


St George’s Church, Badshot Lea

With thanks to Maxine Everitt and her armoured friend


St Thomas-on-The Bourne

https://thebourne.org.uk/


Places of learning

Barfield School

Aurelia Barnes, age 7, Barfield School. https://www.barfieldschool.com/


Farnham Heath End School

http://www.fhes.org.uk/


Post19

Post19 is a leading Life Skills and Support Centre for young adults with learning difficulties. It is based in Farnham and supports young adults throughout Surrey and Hampshire. https://www.post19.com/


William Cobbett Primary School

William Cobbett Lion Care Bubble’s Flower Festival Entry! 12 children aged 7-10 years have worked together whilst social distancing to create this flower poster

www.william-cobbett.surrey.sch.uk


Art

We asked people to send in their artistic entries too and have been bowled over by the talent.

Nick Seversway

Nick Seversway is an art restorer and is also a key person in researching the history of the Kitty Milroy paintings in St Mark’s Church. www.picture-restorer.com/

Penny Fleet

Penny Fleet is a professional mixed media and collage artist specialising in nature, seasonal and wildflowers, birds and wildlife. You can buy her work via her website: www.pennyfleet.co.uk/

Rich Shenton

Rich Shenton is an artist and writer whose work includes portrait, still life, the natural world – particularly seascapes – and cartoons of Boz the cat and his friends. www.facebook.com/RichardWShenton/

Samantha McKay

Susan Everitt

Susie Lidstone

Susie Lidstone is a professional watercolour artist living and working in the parish of Badshot Lea and Hale. She specialises in flowers and buildings and has painted many scenes of Farnham. Her designs are available as cards, notebooks, zip pouches, pocket mirrors, tea towels, cushions, ties, scarves, face masks, calendars, even deck chairs, as well as limited edition prints and the paintings themselves. She also takes commissions. Prices range from £2-£700. http://susielidstone.com/


Organisations

Thank you to local organisations who have shared their work with us.

Badshot Lea Bloomers

Making Badshot Lea beautiful with blooms (and hard work).


Farnham Town Council

www.farnham.gov.uk


Hale Opportunities

The Opportunities Community Project started in Hale with the aim of helping and supporting lone parents locally to build a brighter future for themselves and their families. The project is funded by the Hazelhurst Trust.

Following the success of the project in the Hale area it has been extended to Ash, Farnborough, Wrecclesham and Godalming.

The project offers free classes in IT training, either to learn or update skills to an employability level, then to support students in looking for work. There is free childcare. Opportunities also offers friendship, support and leads to a new future. www.opportunitiesproject.org


Girlz Club

Girlz Club is run from Hale Community Centre and exists to help local girls have fun, learn skills and build self-esteem. www.halecommunitycentre.org.uk/


Hale Community Centre

Formerly The Bungalow, Hale Community Centre is a community resource which provides a range of services, activities and meeting spaces for people of all ages. Its aim is to provide recreational, learning, business and social activities, which are accessible and affordable. www.halecommunitycentre.org.uk/


The Hale History Project

The Hale History Project is a voluntary project which has developed from the great interest and enthusiasm in the history of their locality emanating from the residents and ex-residents of Hale, Upper Hale, and other nearby hamlets and villages. Outside lockdown it holds monthly coffee mornings with exhibitions and archives. It also takes an interest in current events in the local area. www.halehistoryproject.co.uk


Family Voice Surrey

Family Voice Surrey champions the needs and rights of SEND families in Surrey: families with children or young adults up to the age of 25 who have special educational needs, chronic illnesses, including mental health conditions, or disabilities. www.familyvoicesurrey.org


Therapies Through Nature – Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice

Therapies Through Nature offers patients and carers at Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice simple gardening sessions. Table-top workshops enable participants to create flower baskets, planters and herb gardens, for example, which can then be taken home or given as a gift to a loved one.

Research has shown that gardening, or even simply spending time surrounded by nature, can help patients feel less stressed and improve their wellbeing. The sessions also give patients the opportunity to join in with an activity which they used to enjoy before they became ill. No experience of gardening is necessary to join this group, and patients can take part at any stage of their illness. These sessions are often referred to as Social and Therapeutic Horticulture. www.pth.org.uk/


Women’s Institute

In normal times, the Hale Women’s Institute meets on the second Wednesday of the month at 1.45pm in the Hale Institute. surrey.thewi.org.uk/find-wi/hale


Businesses

Farnham Mill Nursing Home

The idea was to create bright summer colours, and with the current situation of the Covid-19 virus, keyworkers and lockdown, the residents and staff used the rainbow as inspiration. Each heart was hand made by residents at Farnham Mill using tissue paper flowers; the sunflowers (which is a symbol used a lot at Farnham Mill) were made using yellow paper with sunflower seeds for the centres. www.farnhammillnursinghome.co.uk/


K & S Memorials

These pictures are of a rockery and St John the Evangelist memorial stone (aka the ‘Bonkers Stone’ in the garden of Wendy and Steve Edwards in Hale. For the story behind the pictures, see here. www.kempandstevens.co.uk/


Lavender Hill Flower Company

Lavender Hill is a bespoke flower company based in The Bourne, Farnham. www.lavenderhillcompany.co.uk


Mind Your Bonce Millinery

Based in the parish of Badshot Lea and Hale, Karen Geraghty of Mind Your Bonce specialises in handmade cloche hats, retro and modern cocktail hats, pillbox hats, and mini cocktail hats. This unique headwear is carefully handmade in England using traditional methods and high quality materials, frequently using outstanding vintage tweeds. www.instagram.com/mind_your_bonce_millinery


Nibbs Gin

A message from Nibbs Gin, based in Farnham: “The Nibbs team are delighted to be part of the Flower Festival. We have been busy out picking elderflower locally ready for this year. At the end of last year we launched our second gin, Surrey Hops, using traditional hops from Farnham. Through July and August we will be offering free delivery on everything through our on-line shop and a special offer on our 20cl bottles when you buy one of each. Please refer to our website www.nibbsspirits.co.uk


Squire’s

Squire’s Garden Centres is a family-run business set up in 1935 and still run by the same family. The centre in Badshot Lea is one of 16 and there is another at Frensham. squiresgardencentres.co.uk


Steph Lovell Flowers

Steph Lovell is a young, modern florist based in Camberley. https://stephlovellflowers.com/


This church relies on donations to provide care and support to everyone in this community. Now more than ever, please consider giving generously to support our mission and ministry. Thank you for your support:

K & S Memorials and The Mini memorial Stone

K & S Memorials and the men behind the Oast House Crescent Rockery St. John the Evangelist mini memorial stone.

K&S Memorials (www.kandsmemorials.co.uk) was set up by Mr R.W.A Thorne of Kemp & Stevens Funeral Directors, Alton, in the 1980s. However, Kemp and Stevens had produced memorials before that time going back to the founding of the business over 100 years ago.

Kemp and Stevens are one of very few funeral directors that have their own in-house memorial masons. Michael Thorne heads up the memorial division of Kemp & Stevens which still trades as K&S Memorials. Sam Taylor works alongside Michael creating the memorials.

A memorial simply is a marker to show where someone is buried but a memorial is not simple. It is a personal statement, a place for reflection and something that will remain long after the family themselves have passed away. It is a lasting tribute to the deceased. 

It is the last thing anyone will do for the person who has died. Some people are not ready for a memorial and they have said this because once the memorial is placed on the grave it all becomes final.

A memorial is not just a static stone; it has meaning, and whether the memorial is four feet tall or one foot tall, the stone has the same meaning for the family.

There are many factors in selecting the right memorial and it is all based on individual taste. Michael Thorne will offer advice and wants the client to have the memorial they want and, in some cases, need. 

The initial design phase is the first and most important step. Michael endeavours to show clients exactly what the memorial will look like by the way of CAD (Computer Aided Design) layouts.

Once the layouts are approved then work can begin.

Michael Thorne designed, and Sam Taylor is the memorial stonemason who created, the St. John the Evangelist mini memorial stone in Wendy Edwards’s Oast House Crescent Rockery entry for the 2020 online Flower Festival.

Sam is clearly getting less destructive and more creative as he ages! He started out in the demolition business then moved into landscape gardening. In both earlier jobs, he worked with different types of stone, as well as other materials.  His experience in kerb shaping has helped him accurately shape larger areas of memorial stones, for example fancier edgings on the stone.

He realises how important his work is to bereaved people and does his level best to do a good job of work and to please the customer, as does Michael Thorne, his boss, who takes instructions for the memorial stone.

Sam left several masonry tools with Wendy to help her and her husband, Steve, start to understand his work. Computers are used in the design part of a gravestone inscription but still most of the work is done by labour-intensive physical chiselling.

The tools are: –

  1. A dummy hammer – these can be different weights- for hitting the chisels with.
  2. A claw chisel – for ‘roughing out’ a design on a stone.
  3. An Italian chisel – slimmer than many chisels, for finer work.
  4. Wider chisels.
  5. A compass- not the North/ South  directions sort you take when you go out walking but a metal instrument, sometimes called dividers, with two sharp pointed ends  with which you can score a circle or curved shapes on a stone.
  6. A beautiful, adjustable wood and brass marking gauge with tiny inset brass pins for scoring lines on stone. 

Most stone now comes from India and can take 16 weeks to arrive by sea but some stone does still come from England e.g. Portland Stone. Stones vary in softness and hardness so different tools and different techniques are used.

Wendy learned a new word from Sam. The word was kerning. That is the distance between two letters on an inscription and it is critical to how a memorial stone inscription will look. A kerning measurement which is too big (letters too widely spaced) will not create a visually pleasing result.  Steve used to be a draughtsman and had heard of this term, kerning, but it was new to Wendy. 

There are many types of font which a memorial stonemason must be able to create and there can be challenges in identifying an  inscription font chiselled onto a memorial stone by a different stonemason at an earlier date, in order to match that up with a later inscription.

Mistakes in the words of an inscription on a stone are obviously not that easy to correct but Sam does have ways and means to sort things out. Not that Sam makes many mistakes at all but occasionally the customer approves a design which they later realise contained a mistake.

Sam is usually a patient man but can get a little agitated when he is delicately placing gold leaf in the lettering on a memorial stone and someone opens the workshop door and lets the breeze in!

Many thanks to Sam and Michael and K & S Memorials for the St. John the Evangelist mini memorial stone.

Their help fulfilled Wendy’s plan for her entry for the Parish of Badshot Lea and Hale’s online Flower Festival in 2020 to celebrate the essential contribution of memorial stonemasons to the easing of the heavy load of grief, following a loved one’s death. 

The inscription on a memorial stone is often the last written communication between us and our loved one.  A big responsibility for Sam Taylor of K & S Memorials but one he always discharges with great attention to detail and professionalism. Thank you, Sam, for all your expert chiselling. 

Wendy Edwards, Licensed Lay Minister.

The Tale of Wendy Edwards and The Bonkers Stone

(otherwise known as The Oast House Crescent Rockery with St. John the Evangelist mini memorial stone)

In January 2020, when only snowdrops adorned St. John’s churchyard, Wendy Edwards had a pleasant chat there with Sam Taylor, a stonemason with K & S Memorials in Alton and his young assistant, Danny.

They were giving after-care to a memorial stone they had made and spoke enthusiastically to Wendy about their work.  Wendy told them of the Flower Festival planned later in the year and Sam kindly agreed to make a mini-memorial stone which originally Wendy planned to have inside church with a flower arrangement nearby to showcase the  important work of memorial stonemasons in our grief journey.

When we decided to have an online Flower Festival, Sam confirmed he was still OK to make the stone but where could Wendy put it now, with St. John’s closed? She wanted to put it in her and her husband Steve’s own back garden in Oast House Crescent which has a large rockery. The rocks are lovely, weathered and covered in slow-growing moss and lichen and very characterful.

Steve does not attend church but is very understanding and patient with Wendy and her church work. Wendy knew she needed to ask Steve whether it was acceptable to him to have a mini memorial stone in their back garden, as it is a little unusual! She told him over a cup of tea in their garden that she had had a ‘bonkers’ idea and explained it all to him, rather nervous that he might say ‘No’. To her surprise, he agreed to the plan and to helping Wendy position the stone, but he has ever after called the stone The Bonkers Stone!

Sam Taylor worked hard on the memorial stone over at K & S Memorials in Alton. He delivered the stone one day to Wendy and Steve’s garden. It is only 17 inches high, made with some spare stone, with a colourful design featuring an eagle for St. John the Evangelist and a snake emerging from a chalice, a reference to the legend that St. John the Evangelist was offered poisoned wine and instructed the poison to come out and it did, in the form of a snake. Sam also  loaned them some of his tools and explained all about his interesting work. The eagle-eyed among you will spot the tools in some of the photos among the summer flowers.

If you would  like to read all about Sam’s work as a stonemason, the tools he uses and about K & S Memorials, please see this link to the profile of K & S Memorials and the men behind the Oast House Crescent Rockery St. John the Evangelist mini memorial stone.

This  online flower festival entry is by many people who all kindly donated flowers, foliage, or containers or, in the case of Wendy’s husband, Steve, in the first week of his retirement, whittled two rosewood pegs to position the upright stone temporarily.  Wendy did most of the 10 flower arrangements, but Sue Crawshaw donated a beautiful one with white campanula (hare bells).

Wendy’s thanks go to Steve Edwards, K & S Memorials, especially Sam Taylor and Michael Thorne; Steve’s parents, Hazel and Brian Edwards; members of a parish bereavement support group Corner Chat- Vicky Kidney, Margaret Foster, Jackie Hyne, Dario Alexander, and Jenny Golding; neighbours of Wendy and Steve’s in Oast House Crescent – Sue Crawshaw, Andy and Lindsay Dunne, Valerie Handl, Charlotte Strugnell, Margaret Hockey and Pat Manton.

Thank you all so much for your support.  

                                                                       Wendy Edwards