Category Archives: St John’s Church

A journey through Holy Week

Join us online and in person as we travel through Holy Week, from Palm Sunday, which recalls Jesus entering Jerusalem in triumph yet riding on a donkey, through the events which led to his crucifixion on Good Friday and his resurrection on Easter Sunday.

Palm Sunday

There will be Palm Sunday services in all of the churches tomorrow (March 28):
St John’s, Hale, at 9.30am;
St George’s, Badshot Lea, at 10am;
St Mark’s, Upper Hale, at 11am.

Services in church in Holy Week

From Monday to Good Friday we will have the following services in church:
March 29, 7.30pm: Holy Monday Meditation – St John’s;
March 30, 7.30pm: Holy Tuesday Meditation – St John’s;
March 31, 12pm: Holy Wednesday Service – St Mark’s;
March 31, 7.30pm: Holy Wednesday Meditation – St John’s;
April 1, 7.30pm: Maundy Thursday Service – St John’s;
April 1, 7.30pm: Maundy Thursday Service – St George’s;
April 2, 9.30am: Good Friday Liturgy – St John’s;
April 2, 11am: Good Friday All-age Service – St Mark’s;
April 2, 2pm: Good Friday Hour at the Cross – St George’s.

Online services

The following online services will be available on Facebook and the website:
April 1, 7.30pm: Maundy Thursday;
April 2, 9.30am: Good Friday;
April 3, 8pm: Holy Saturday;
April 4, 10.30am: Easter Day.
For the services, click here.

Easter Sunday in church

Please also join us for Easter Sunday services in the churches followed by socially distanced Easter Egg hunts:
St John’s, Sunday, April 4, at 9.30am;
St George’s, Sunday, April 4, at 10am;
St Mark’s, Sunday, April 4, at 11am.

Each day there will also be extracts from our online Easter drama, Company on the Road, on YouTube and Facebook.

May you feel blessed as you journey through this week.

Picture by Duncan Sanchez on Unsplash.

Cycling virtually end to end for the Church and Dementia research

Farnham man Paul Eggleton (pictured below) has started his ‘cycle ride’ from John O’Groats to Land’s End to raise money for both the parish and Alzheimer’s Society, but without leaving his house.

On April 1 he started the ‘journey’ on his exercise bike, ‘travelling’ about 20 km a day, so the 1,550km will take him approximately 10 weeks. Today, April 11, he reached Dingwall and will be in Inverness tomorrow.

He was also on the radio this morning, talking to Emily Jeffery of BBC Radio Surrey, and you can hear him at 3:45:45 here:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p09c8k8y

This is a peculiarly lockdown-style fundraising event. Paul says: “I started to use an exercise bike and thought this would be a good way of getting fit and raising money for charity, as we can’t actually get out and do much at the moment.

“I chose the two charities because I see Alzheimer’s as one of the biggest challenges for an aging population and finding a cure would immeasurably improve life for older people, and the St John’s Church tower has crumbling stonework which comes from being nearly 200 years old. It’s a lovely north Farnham landmark and we want to preserve it.”

Paul has set up a fundraising page and will divide all the money raised between Alzheimer’s Society and the fund for restoring the tower at St John’s. To make a donation visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/paul-eggleton-1

He is also tracking his progress on Twitter (https://twitter.com/EndVirtual).

Farnham Heath End reflects at St John’s

This week we welcomed students from Farnham Heath End School to St John’s on the National Day of Reflection on March 23, when they tied ribbons in the churchyard and lit candles in the church in memory of all the people who have died in the past year and in support of those who have been bereaved.

Eight students visited the church on behalf of all students in the secondary school on the day which marked the first anniversary of lockdown.

Leo, a year eight student, said: “It is important to remember that this disease has claimed so many lives and left so many families distraught. I don’t know if we took all the right actions to minimise the loss of life. If this was ever to happen again we should remember these times and try to learn from them.”

Dan Conquer, assistant principal at the school, said: “A year ago we could not have comprehended the loss of life on the scale we have seen and so many families affected. Our students were very reflective as we all considered the events of the past year. Being at the church was a really poignant opportunity to mark that. Our thanks go to St John’s for organising this event.”

St John’s was also open for the three days from March 21 to 23 so that people could visit to tie ribbons on the trees and light candles inside in memory of those who have died.

Yellow ribbons and prayer for National Day of Reflection

A National Day of Reflection is taking place on March 23, the anniversary of the start of the first lockdown. The parish is marking the day by offering special services on the Sunday before – March 21.

At the services there will be a chance to reflect on the year and in particular to remember those who have died during the past 12 months. There will be prayers and yellow ribbons for people to tie in the churchyards in memory of those who have died. Many who have lost a friend or family member will not have been able to attend the funeral service, making the process of grieving more difficult.

Lesley Crawley said: “On March 23 it will be a year since the start of the first lockdown. We had no idea then how tough it would be or that a year on we would be in our third national lockdown.

“It has been a time of great anxiety and for many great grief as they have lost family and friends and may not even have been able to attend their funerals. The church is there to offer support and one way is through our services which we hold both in person in the churches – we have Covid regulations in place – and online. You don’t have to believe in God to come in and seek peace and comfort – the church is for everyone.”

The church services on March 21 will be at St John’s, Hale, at 9.30am, St George’s, Badshot Lea, at 10am and St Mark’s, Upper Hale, at 11am. There will also be a service on the website from 9am.

Mothering Sunday

Everyone is welcome at our Mothering Sunday services this Sunday – March 14.

There will be services in each of the churches – and daffodils for mothers and other special women in our lives – as well as online.

The services in the churches are at 9.30am at St John’s, Hale; 10am at St George’s, Badshot Lea; and 11am at St Mark’s. The services are Covid secure, but please follow all guidelines.

An online service will be here from 9am and on Facebook from 10am.

Mothering Sunday is not just about mothers but about the love of God too, as Lesley Crawley explains: “Mothering Sunday is a chance to say a special thank-you to mothers, grandmothers and other important women in our lives who have given us love and support. It also reminds us that we have a loving God who cares for us more deeply than we can ever begin to imagine.”

Candlemas

Candlemas coming up. This is the annual Christian festival which takes place 40 days after Christmas and commemorates the time Jesus was presented in the Temple in Jerusalem. The story is told in Luke 2:22–38.

The official day is February 2, and some people leave their Christmas decorations up until then, but we are celebrating it on the Sunday before – January 31.

At St George’s there will be a Christingle – see here – and at St John’s and St Mark’s we shall be lighting candles which will be ready for you at the services. You can pick up a cardboard drip-shield at the churches this weekend, and we would like you to decorate it and bring it with you on January 31.

On the day, Lesley Shatwell will be preaching at both St John’s and St Mark’s and there will be pencils and a sheet of paper on seats ready for you to use. She says: “There will definitely be creative, congregational participation – and it may be good to remember that ‘Creativity is intelligence having fun’ as Albert Einstein said, because we are going to have fun and everyone’s intelligent”.

We are celebrating Candlemas here online too, looking at how we can share the light of Jesus with others. Please bring your own candle and you can make a drip shield using a paper plate or other white card. You can bring battery-operated candle if you prefer. There will be craft at the end where you can make a candle to remember Candlemas and its meaning.

How to make a drip shield

Cut the card into a circle, or a square, depending on your preference, then make two small slits in the shape of a cross in the middle of the card. One cross should be enough but you can make another cross at a 45 degree angle to the first one, as in the picture below.

As you push your candle through the hole that these make, the card should just grip the candle gently. You can see an example of this here: https://youtu.be/DGTYIJv2peM

Decorate your drip-shield and you are ready to go.

Why Candlemas?

Finally, why candles and why Candlemas? Candles are a symbol of light and hope and the festival comes half-way through the period between the Winter Solstice (December 21/22) and the Spring Equinox (around March 21), so heading towards spring but not yet there. In pre-Christian times there was a ‘festival of lights’ then and the church combined this with celebrating the presentation of Jesus in the Temple, using candles at the service and blessing candles for use in the year ahead.

Top picture by Nicola Fioravanti on Unsplash.

Lockdown update

We are back into lockdown with schools closed to most children; restrictions on leaving our homes; all but essential shops closed; and other rules which are now law which you can find here.

However, churches can remain open for worship as long as they follow strict precautions such as social distancing, hand sanitizing, no mingling between households/bubbles, everyone of 11 and over wearing masks (unless exempt), and the parish is continuing to monitor the situation. We have increased the space between chairs where possible, have moved the altar at St Mark’s back to create more space and at St Mark’s will be bringing communion to people rather than expecting them to move around to take communion so that there is enough room for everyone.

However, no-one who feels uncomfortable about coming to church should feel any obligation to come and there are online services every week here.

Lesley explains the thinking behind this: “Churches offer comfort and support which is particularly important at a time when our mental health is under such strain. Moreover, the risk of catching Covid has been shown to be very low in UK churches and we have gone out or our way to ensure that we have mitigated any risks. We will continue to follow the guidelines and to ask our congregations to do the same.

“We also want churches to remain open for funerals. For many families, church funerals are important and we are also able to accommodate larger numbers than many crematoria – we can have up to 30 people – so enabling more people to experience this important aspect of grieving.

“Of course many of our congregations may not wish to come to church at the moment. We are continuing our services online as well as in church so those who have internet can join in. However, we are acutely aware of those people who do not have internet and cannot come to church and we are doing what we can to ensure that they are not isolated. We even have people ringing others up and playing the service through the phone as well as just having a general chat.”

Our services are at 9.30am at St John’s, 10am at St George’s and 11am at St Mark’s, and online services are here.

concert raises money for Macmillan Cancer Support

Charity fundraising has been a victim of Covid, but there have been ways to keep bringing in money as a concert at St John’s before Christmas (and before Tier 4) proved.

The Gazebo Quartet, made up of local professional musicians, hired the church on December 13 and put on a concert for an invited audience who could sit safely in bubbles and appreciate the music.

Judy Dudley from the quartet writes: “

“The players who constitute the Gazebo String Quartet would like to give a big thank you to St John’s, Church Hale for making it possible for us to perform our Christmas Concert in December 2020.

“Being local musicians who play for both amateur and professional events, we formed the quartet when playing together outside under a gazebo during the early Covid restrictions, hence the name!

“We presented an eclectic programme of popular music items from Neil Diamond to Gilbert and Sullivan followed by beautiful arrangements of Christmas Carols from a variety of European roots.

“St John’s Church has a very fine acoustic for an event like this which made playing there particularly satisfying for string players. We were so pleased to be able to donate £175.00 to Macmillan Cancer Care donated by our generous invited audience.”

Judy Dudley (violin), Zoe Marshall (violin), Pippa Cuckson (viola) and Lynda Trice (cello).

Epiphany

Come to any of our three churches this Sunday – January 3 – to celebrate Epiphany.

We will be holding all-age services for Epiphany at 9.30am at St John’s, 10am at St George’s and 11am at St Mark’s. Everyone is welcome – we have done everything that we can to keep congregations safe from Covid. Please wear a mask unless you are exempt.

Epiphany recalls the visit by the Magi – also known as the Wise Men – to the infant Jesus as recounted in the Gospel of Matthew. They came from eastern lands and were therefore not Jewish so they signify the way that Jesus is for all nations, Jews and non-Jews alike.

Because the story speaks of them bringing three gifts to Jesus – gold, frankincense and myrrh – the Western church has tended to talk of three Magi but the Eastern church suggests there were 12.

Come and join us and celebrate.