Category Archives: St John’s Church

‘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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Farnham Festival of Remembrance

Each November we remember those who have suffered and died in armed conflicts around the world, and this year we mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day, a turning point in World War Two, but one which, as in any war, cost many lives.

This year St John’s Church takes centre stage in Farnham’s Remembrance commemorations, when on the evening of Saturday, November 9, from 7.30pm, it becomes the venue for the Farnham Festival of Remembrance, a military and musical spectacular which will pay tribute to the service men and women of the country’s armed forces.

In the presence of the Mayor and with the guidance of the Royal British Legion, the evening will feature a wide range of musical talent, including Farnham Brass Band and the musicians of the TS Swiftsure Sea Cadets Band.

All three of the armed forces will be represented by the Princess of Wales Army Reserve Regiment, Sea Cadets, Army Cadets and Air Cadets, along with the civilian services including the British Red Cross, St John Ambulance, Scouts and Girl Guides as well as some of the local schools.

There will be a parade, a concert and a short service in honour of those who have been injured or lost their lives in the defence of the freedom and liberty of the nation.

Please join us for this spectacular event. Entry is free and donations will be shared between local causes including the parish and the Royal British Legion.

For more information email admin@badshotleaandhale.org

 

poster for remembrance

Picture by Tony Liao on Unsplash

 

 

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

A song of praise to a great afternoon

Music is good for the health – studies in recent years have shown its importance to our mental, physical and emotional health. It can certainly lift our mood and bring people together, as was ably demonstrated on Saturday by Singing and Reminiscing, a celebration at St John’s Church of the past 175 years in music and memories.

Wendy Edwards and Margaret Emberson led the audience, along with members of the choirs of St John’s and St George’s, in singing songs from each decade since St John’s Church was founded in 1844.

Though some of these were from years that no-one would be able to remember, Wendy and Margaret had gone to the trouble of finding ones which were well enough known for us to be able to sing along with ease. So we happily joined in with familiar numbers such as My Grandfather’s ClockWhere Did You Get That Hat?; and Keep the Home Fires Burning, and then moved on to those which at least most in the audience could remember from the original recordings – including Sunrise, Sunset; a Beatles medley; some ABBA; The Music of the Night (with a very effective solo from Bill Thomas and an extremely high E from Margaret); and the moving A Flower Remembered, written by John Rutter as a commemoration of the victims of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami followed by a nuclear accident at Fukushima in Japan.

For the present day there was a new song, which we sang in a round under Margaret’s guidance – Song for Saint John’s, which Margaret had written to celebrate what we do at the church – and rounded off with a rousing version of the hymn For All the Saints.

In between Wendy spoke about the history of St John’s and the area and even produced a picture of the church’s founder Bishop Charles Sumner and his wife Jennie, which had to have been taken before 1849 as Jennie died that year.

Part way through we stopped for a cream tea with melt-in-the-mouth homemade scones, and there was plenty of reminiscing as old friends caught up with each other.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon and huge thanks must go not just to Wendy and Margaret and the choir, but to all those who worked so hard behind the scenes to make this a success.

There has been an unprecedented number of special events at St John’s over the past few months as we have celebrated the 175th birthday of the church and without the hard work and support of church members these events would never have happened. The whole parish is truly grateful – and a little bit awed!

Wendy, Margaret and the choirs are taking Singing and Reminiscing to Farnham Mill nursing home in November where I know it will be hugely appreciated.

SW

 

Pictured top: The choir with Wendy and Margaret.

 

Music through the years (and a cream tea!)

 

Music, cream teas and happy memories come together at St John’s this weekend in Singing and Reminiscing from 3-5pm on Saturday, August 3.

As part of the St John’s 175th anniversary celebrations, we are holding an informal afternoon of community singing, with songs from each of the decades of the past 175 years, from My Grandfather’s Clock from 1844 to John Rutter’s 2017 composition A Flower Remembered, plus a new number, composed this year, Song for St. John’s by Margaret Emberson. Cream teas will be served and there will be plenty of opportunity to reminisce.

The afternoon will be led by Wendy Edwards and Margaret Emberson and the combined choirs of St John’s and St George’s. Wendy Edwards explains the thinking behind the afternoon: “There must have been billions of musical notes which have resounded through St John’s Church over the last 175 years. Most of these will have been in the form of hymns, anthems, solos, organ pieces, sung mass settings and concerts, formal and informal. We want to celebrate the musical spirit of St John’s.

“We will sing one song for each decade of the last 175 years. These have been carefully selected to be well known and to provide a flavour of that decade. We have traditional and popular songs, a hymn and songs from shows which we hope everyone will enjoy singing with us. The words will be provided.”

Everyone is welcome to this afternoon of music and memories. To help with catering, it would be useful to know how many are coming. Anyone who is planning to come is asked to contact Wendy Edwards at llm.wendy@badshotleaandhale.org or ring the parish office on 07842 761919. However, if you make a last-minute decision to drop in, there will always be room.

Happy birthday party!

St John’s Church celebrated its 175th birthday with a community party on Saturday, July 20, attended by everyone from tiny tots to the Mayor of Farnham.

Cllr Pat Evans, Mayor of Farnham, helped Lesley Crawley to cut a birthday cake, and local residents, including the Mayor’s Consort David Evans and Hale and Heath End councillor Michaela Gray, tucked in to a buffet accompanied by Pimms, tea and coffee, while listening to classic songs performed by singer/songwriters Jasper and the Island, aka Olivia Jasper, and Meg Wassell.

Heavy rain in the morning meant that the festivities had to be moved indoors but that didn’t dampen the party spirit with people spilling over from the crowded tables into the pews. Guests came not just from the Church of England but from other churches and none and we were particularly pleased to welcome members of the Godalming Baha’I community.

There are many people to thank – in particular those from the St John’s congregation who worked tirelessly and cheerfully as they have done at all the events so far, those who made the cakes and Sainsbury’s and Waitrose who generously donated much of the food.

As well as adding her thanks, Lesley Crawley said: “There was a lovely atmosphere with new friendships being formed, and others being deepened, and I believe there were even a couple of old colleagues who bumped into each other after many years. Relationship is central to our understanding of God and it is through our contact with each other that we can express God’s love.”

The next event to celebrate the 175th anniversary of St John’s is an afternoon of Singing and Reminiscing which will take place on Saturday, August 3, from 3-5pm. There will be a cream tea and plenty of opportunities to join in singing old favourites. Everyone is welcome and it would be helpful to know approximate numbers where possible. If you would like to come, please give Wendy Edwards a call on 01252 406772 or 07740 082460. But if you decide to come at the last moment, then please just drop in and join us.

Below: The Mayor and Lesley Crawley cut the cake. 

Bottom: Crown Daisy Nursery enjoyed the celebrations. Jasper and the Island. Happy partygoers (x2). Little Anastasia came from Alton with her mother to join the fun.

Cllr Pat Evans and Rev'd Lesley Crawley

 

It’s party time!

There’s a birthday party in St John’s churchyard, Hale, on Saturday, July 20, from 12-2pm, and everyone is invited.

The party, called Music in the Churchyard, will celebrate the 175th anniversary of St John’s. There will be food and drink and plenty of cake, all of it free, with music by Farnham artist Jasper and the Island, and fellow singer Meg Wassell. Both will be performing well-known songs by bands such as ABBA and Fleetwood Mac alongside classic jazz and old-style numbers.

Jasper and the Island is a singer/songwriter with influences from country, pop and folk, but who also enjoys performing theatre and covers. She currently has original songs on SoundCloud, but will be releasing her debut EP later this year. Jasper and the Island often performs on the last Wednesday of the month at The Plough in Farnham. Meg is a jazz/soul/pop singer songwriter whose influences include Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, Amy Winehouse and Gregory Porter. In April, Meg released her debut EP Blood Orange and is vocalist for the Sundown Jazz Society band. She is currently creating new music, playing local festivals and holding jazz residencies in her hometown of Hereford.

Pictured from left: Jasper and the Island (photo by Daisy Sharp); Meg Wassell (photo by Ellie Burd).

The idea behind the party is not just to celebrate a milestone for this beautiful Victorian church which was consecrated in 1844, but to invite everyone to come and enjoy the hospitality which the church offers. Lesley Crawley said: “St John’s is everyone’s church and as well as celebrating our anniversary, we are looking forward to the future and we want the community to be involved in that future. We really want to hear from people what they want from the church and are running a survey for residents and local organisations to complete.” To find the survey click here.

Entry to the party is completely free but we need to know numbers so that we can prepare enough food and drink. Let us know if you are coming by emailing news@badshotleaandhale.org

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

Christopher Herbert to deliver lecture

Christopher Herbert, a celebrated speaker and authority on church art and architecture, will give a talk at St John’s Church, Hale, on Art, Architecture and Christianity in Victorian England this Wednesday (June 5th, at 7.30pm), as part of the 175th anniversary celebrations of St John’s.

Bishop Christopher Herbert is the former vicar of The Bourne, Canon of Guildford Cathedral and Bishop of St Albans, and visiting Professor in Christian Ethics at the University of Surrey. He is a sought-after lecturer across the UK and in Europe and has been a guest lecturer at The National Gallery; the Courtauld Institute; King’s College, London; the University of Leicester; Westminster Abbey and at The Arts Society (NADFAS) groups in the UK and mainland Europe. He has also lectured for Swan Hellenic on their Rhone cruises.

The talk will look at the way Victorian England responded to massive changes in society and the world with assertive confidence but also with nostalgia. In architecture and painting, these two conflicting forces gave rise to some fascinating and provocative work both in the Church and in society.

Christopher Herbert retired to Farnham where he had been vicar of The Bourne between 1981 and 1990. In addition, he was Director of Post-Ordination Training for the Diocese of Guildford and was made a Canon of Guildford Cathedral, before becoming Archdeacon of Dorking in 1990. He became Bishop of St Albans in 1995.
He is a prolific author and much of his writing is based on the themes of prayer and spirituality, for both children and adults. Among his best-known books are Ways into Prayer and Pocket Prayers. In 2002 he completed a major piece of research into ‘The Image of the Resurrection of Jesus in 15th Century Northern European Art’, for which he was awarded an MPhil by the University of Leicester. He was awarded a PhD by the University of Leicester in 2008, for his ground-breaking research on ‘The Origins of the Easter Sepulchre in Pre-Reformation England’.

Admission to the talk on Wednesday is free but donations are welcome. Refreshments will be provided.

For further information on Christopher Herbert, visit www.threeabbeys.org.uk

Talk reveals modern slavery in the UK

“If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t” was the message of a talk on modern slavery and human trafficking, delivered at St John’s Church, Hale, on May 22.

The talk, by Suzette Jones, health and wellbeing adviser for the Diocese of Guildford, revealed that, more than 200 years after the abolition of the slave trade in 1807, there are still an estimated 40.3 million men, women and children trapped in modern slavery in the world, and up to 136,000 potential victims in the UK alone, according to the Global Slavery Index. Some of these are hidden in plain sight in our communities – as cleaners, in nail bars and car washes – and Surrey and Hampshire are known to be home to particularly large numbers of enslaved people living in our streets.

Suzette explained that the victims of modern slavery are often vulnerable people who thought they were being given a chance to escape their troubles for a better life – an education, a job, somewhere to live – and are often groomed over time so that they don’t realise what is happening. Once enslaved they usually live in fear, either for themselves or their families or both and so cannot escape. While many come from abroad, many are from the UK and in 2017 the UK had the most victims of slavery in the world, with Albania and Vietnam a close second and third.

The talk, which was accompanied by a film based on a true story about enslaved men working on a farm, detailed some of the signs of slavery to look out for, including people working long hours without the proper protective equipment, lack of money, language problems, not having identity documents and having strange injuries. Car washes and nail bars are particularly known for using slave labour and there is a smartphone app – the Safe Car Wash app – which offers a short survey about the working conditions of car washes, and since its launch a year ago has been used more than 2,000 times with 41 per cent of the reports showing a likelihood of modern slavery. A nail bar app is following soon.

Behind the work to tackle modern slavery is The Clewer Initiative, which works with church networks to develop strategies to detect modern slavery in communities and help provide victim support and care. It relies on individuals to understand and report signs of modern slavery and anyone concerned that they may be witnessing slavery is urged not to tackle it themselves but to call the Modern Slavery Helpline on 0800 0121 700, or 999 if someone is in immediate danger.

The talk was part of a series of events to mark the 175th anniversary of St John’s Church, Hale. The church was founded by Bishop Charles Sumner, Bishop of Winchester and resident of Farnham. He was a cousin of William Wilberforce who worked for the abolition of slavery in the early 19th century and whose son Samuel became Bishop of Winchester after Charles Sumner retired.

For further details of The Clewer Initiative and how to spot signs of modern slavery, visit www.theclewerinitiative.org. For further details of the St John’s Church, visit www.badshotleaandhale.org

 

Pictured above is one of the campaign posters for The Clewer Initiative.