Category Archives: St Mark’s Church

Moon finds resting place in Hale

A Hale woman who was used as a model for one of the murals in St Mark’s Church has found her final resting place back in the village.

Joyce Helen Taman, née Eglington, whose ashes were interred in Hale Cemetery on April 5, was born in 1926, and was the model for the figure of Moon when one part of the murals was renovated and repainted in 1946.

Joyce was the youngest of three children and grew up in Vicarage Lane in Hale. She was educated at Hale School where she excelled at maths, and on leaving at the age of 14 was employed in the accounts department at Kinghams, a grocery distribution warehouse in Farnham’s West Street. She married Alexander Mitchell, a member of the military police based at the prisoner-of-war camp in Crookham village whom she met at a dance.

It is not clear how she was chosen to be the model for Moon, but she was always very proud of what she jokingly called her ‘muriel’. By the 1940s, some of the murals which had been painted by Kitty Milroy between 1911 and 1920 required renovation. A fundraising appeal was launched after Easter 1946 and among the fundraisers was the well-known soprano Joan Coxon who put on a concert which raised more than £13, around £500 in today’s money.

The paintings which needed restoring were to the left of the altar where damp had affected them and local painter Evelyn Caesar carried out the restoration, choosing Joyce to sit for Moon. Next to Moon is ‘Clouds’, a male figure, and his identity is still a mystery, as are the identities of many of the figures whom Kitty Milroy painted.

Moon was identified by two of Joyce’s daughters, Jeannette and Wendy-Rae, who came into the church last year while on a nostalgic trip around the area where they grew up. Joyce and Alexander (Alec) settled in Folly Lane North and brought up four children who attended St Mark’s and two even sang in the choir, beneath the picture of their mother.

In later life Joyce remarried and moved to the Midlands and in January this year died in Bournedale House care home in Birmingham at the age of 92. The family and friends returned to St Mark’s this month to celebrate Joyce’s life and her ashes were interred in the cemetery close to others in her family. At the service to celebrate her life, her son-in-law Roger stood beneath the picture of Joyce as Moon and played Blue Moon on his saxophone, a fitting tribute to a much-loved Hale lady.

If anyone has any information on who ‘Clouds’ might be, or any of the other figures in the murals please let us know. You can contact us here or email news@badshotleaandhale.org

Pictured top is Joyce Eglington on her 21st birthday, shortly after she was the model for Moon.

 

Moon

Moon, modelled by Joyce Eglington.

Clouds

Who is Clouds?

Vigils, solemn services and the message of Easter hope

The week before Easter is known as Holy Week and will be marked with meditations, vigils and solemn services in the parish.

There will be a series of meditations for Holy Week at St John’s on Monday to Wednesday, April 15-17, at 7.30pm. On April 18, a day known in the Christian calendar as Maundy Thursday, there will be services at 7.30pm both at St John’s and at St George’s, with Holy Communion and a vigil, and the altar will be stripped of all coverings. At St John’s there will also be a ceremony of foot-washing as a reminder of the act of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet at the meal he shared with them on the night before he died.

Lesley Crawley explained why the churches are doing this: “Maundy Thursday derives its name from a Latin word ‘mandatum’ which means command. Jesus was executed at the time of the Jewish Passover celebrations and he and his disciples shared a meal together at which he washed their feet in an act of humility and service. It is reported in the Bible that he told his disciples: ‘I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.’ (The Gospel of John, chapter 13, verse 34).”

The following day is known as ‘Good Friday’ and commemorates the day that Jesus was executed by being nailed to a cross. There will be several services in the parish, starting with a silent vigil at St John’s Church at 8.30am and a service at 9.30am, while at St George’s there will be a Good Friday service at 2-3pm, with 3pm marking the time when it is traditionally thought that Jesus died. At St Mark’s in Upper Hale, there will be Easter activities for children ages five to 11 from 9.30am, followed by a service at 11am and hot cross buns (to book a place on the Easter activities, contact Hannah Moore on 01252 659267 or revd.hannah@badshotleaandhale.org).

Lesley continued: “Good Friday commemorates the darkness of Jesus’ death, but on Easter Sunday we celebrate the joy of his resurrection. Death could not hold him and in rising from the dead he showed that the God of love is stronger than anything that the world can throw at us.”

On Easter Sunday there will be services at St John’s at 9.30am, St George’s at 10am and 11.30am, and at St Mark’s at 11am. Both the 11.30am service at St George’s and the 11am service at St Mark’s will include an Easter egg hunt.

Lesley added: “Everyone is welcome at any or all of our services. Do come and explore with us the message of hope that Easter offers to us all.”

 

Follow the donkey to church

There will be donkeys at church this coming Sunday (April 14) in celebration of Palm Sunday.

Palm Sunday recalls the Biblical account of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, with crowds placing palms in front of him and greeting him as a king. Churches around the world will mark the date, and at St Mark’s, Hale, at 11am, and St George’s, Badshot Lea, at 11.30am, the congregations will be joined by donkeys, courtesy of Folly Oak Donkeys.

Rev’d Lesley Crawley said: “When we recall that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey it reminds us that he is a king who comes in peace, not as a conquering warrior. Having a donkey at a service also brings the story alive, especially for children who always crowd round to give the donkey a stroke. Please do come and join us. And we are really grateful to John and Rosemary Porter and all at Folly Oak Donkeys for bringing the donkeys to us.”

 

Pictured: Meet the Donkey. Picture by Daniel Fazio. Unsplash

Caravan, The Hungry Years and all that jazz

An evening of jazz in memory of Farnham journalists Jean and Ted Parratt

There will be an evening of jazz at St Mark’s Church, Hale, on Saturday, May 4 in memory of Jean and Ted Parratt, local journalists and parents of Wendy Edwards, a licensed lay reader in the parish.

‘Caravan Jazz on a May Evening’, which will begin at 7.30pm, will feature songs by Django Reinhardt, Nat ‘King’ Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Glenn Miller and others, and will recall the time that Ted and Jean and their young children would enjoy jazz songs in the caravan which was their home in Lincolnshire. Ted drew the picture of their first caravan – reproduced above – just before Wendy’s birth.

From her birth in October 1957 to the age of four, Wendy and her brother and sister, Mark and Debbie, lived with Jean and Ted in various sized caravans as the family grew.

By day, Ted was doing his National Service in the RAF, but in the evenings back in the caravan with Jean and the children, he played jazz on his guitar, sometimes accompanied by his best friend, Terry Blackwell. On other nights, Jean’s walnut-cased radiogram would be tuned in, often to a jazz station.

Wendy has been researching her parents’ early life and recalls that her mother: “cared wonderfully well for us through the changing seasons, making potato soup with very few potatoes (we were very challenged financially) but always ensuring we were well fed and well loved. My mother enjoyed the jazz too in the evenings and ‘made do and mended’ the family’s clothes, while jazz melodies and rhythms lullabied us children to sleep.”

Jean and Ted worked for many years as journalists and photographers on first the Surrey & Hants News and then The Farnham Diary, with Ted also working for the Farnham Herald, and Jean busy writing local history books and giving talks, particularly inspiring many young people to discover more about the past. Jean died in 2016 and Ted in 2018.

On May 4, as well as the jazz, Wendy will share some of her knowledge and photographs of the early years. She says: “My mother called that time The Hungry Years, but they both believed these were the happiest in their 60-year-long marriage.”

Joining Wendy on the evening will be Frances Whewell on keyboard and Teddy’s Café Bar Jazzmen and other talented vocalists.  A light supper is included but bring your own drinks.

Admission is free but all donations are welcome for the Kitty Milroy Murals Fund at St. Mark’s Church. However, Wendy adds: “If, like Jean and Ted in The Hungry Years, you cannot afford to donate anything, please do join us anyway as all are very welcome indeed!”

To book your place, call Wendy Edwards on 07740 082460.

 

Repent and flourish

A couple of Sundays ago, Lesley Shatwell preached at St Mark’s on repentance and what it means.

The  Gospel reading that day was from Luke, chapter 13, v 1-9. You can read the whole extract here but, basically, Jesus says: “unless you repent, you will all perish”. He then told the parable of the barren fig tree which was given a reprieve.

This is what Lesley had to say about this uncompromising message:

When I first read the reading, I couldn’t quite make sense of what was happening.  I had to read through a few times.  It starts when Jesus has been told about an atrocity which Pilate has committed.  He slaughtered some Jews when they were offering sacrifices to God.  My goodness, that has strong resonance for us today doesn’t it?  Muslims being gunned down when they were at prayer in New Zealand.  Perhaps Jesus overheard people trying to make their own kind of sense to a barbaric act because he tells us that those who died were no more sinners than anyone else.  They weren’t slaughtered because of their sin.

But then there’s his comment, “unless you repent, you will all perish as they did”.  That’s worrying, it doesn’t seem to make sense does it?  And it’s frightening.  On the one hand, people died in a horrible atrocity and they no more deserved it than anyone else does.  They were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.  But on the other hand, that could be our fate unless we repent.  Can repentance really ensure that we will avoid perishing, even in random acts of terror?

Same goes for the disaster when the tower of Siloam collapsed and killed 18 people.  A “natural” disaster, no one’s deliberate fault.  And “unless you repent, you will all perish as they did”.  Those people who died weren’t extra wicked sinners, they were just like you and me.  Oh Jesus, help me, I don’t even know how to repent?  What is repentance?

OK, time out!  Let’s press the pause button before we all disappear into the fiery furnaces of hell.

What does “perish” mean?  That’s straightforward at least, isn’t it?  It means “die”.  We are human, we do all die eventually.  We don’t know when, but it comes to all of us.  Some might have an untimely death, some may slip away peacefully after a long and happy life.  So I don’t think Jesus is saying, “repent and you will have a human life here on earth for ever”.  There’s something else going on.  Hum.  One of the reasons why people were flocking to be baptised by John the Baptist was because they thought the end of the world was imminent.  And tomorrow could be the last day.  It tends to focus the mind: better get ready quick before it’s too late.

But equally, who knows exactly what Jesus meant?  He might have been talking about perishing to this world so that we might rise to glory in the next.  I’m afraid you will have to consider that for yourselves because we could be here till Christmas with this sermon if I start tackling the idea of everlasting life with God in heaven.

Right, I’m ready to press the “play” button again.  Repent!  Repent!  Yes all right!

Repent or else fire and brimstone, perishing in eternal hell.  Yes, but how?

What is repentance?

Repentance is the translation of the Greek word “metanoia”, which means “a change of mind”.

Oh, so it’s that easy?  I just have to change my mind?  It can’t be so hard – particularly if I will avoid eternal damnation.  But you have to mean it.

Change your mind and do something to show that you have truly changed your mind.

Change your mind and turn to Jesus – now there’s an invitation.  Yes, an invitation, not a threat.  Change your mind and turn to Jesus.

What if all those things which have been holding me back, all those things which stop me from being truly me, all those things which I am ashamed of in my life, which worry me, which upset me … what if all that rubbish in my life perished?

Now: imagine, for a moment, you are living a reasonably contented life.  Things are ok, you get by most days.  There are some good things, maybe a lot of bad things.  But generally you find life is worth living.  It’s like you are a tree, growing in a vineyard.  Some days it’s quite pleasant, the sun shines, the birds sing.  And nobody bothers you.  Nobody asks anything of you.  You are just a tree after all and there are plenty of trees around in the world aren’t there.  Yes, there are days when the storms come and you are buffeted by wind and rain, but nobody pays much attention to you.

And then, out of the blue one day, the owner of the vineyard comes by.  Where are the figs?

Figs?  Who said anything about figs?  I didn’t know I was meant to be giving you figs.  I’m just a tree, leave me alone.  Don’t chop me down, that’s not fair.  Look, give me a chance – now I know I could give you figs, I will, but I can’t make them overnight.  I will give you the figs, especially if I get help from the gardener.

It’s one view of the parable.  Do you see what Jesus is offering us?  Repentance.  It’s not a threat, it’s an opportunity, an invitation to try something in a different way.  Of course, it could be tough, even if it’s in your nature to produce fruit, you will have to put some effort in.

But, what is it about your life that you would change?  Do you have any regrets?  Any sadness?  Any cherished hopes?  Within each one of us there is potential.  The potential to bear good fruit.  But we need the right encouragement and we need to want to unlock the potential.  Within each one of us there is something, a gift, and it would be a huge loss if we let it perish.  Maybe you have found the gift, the potential within you, maybe you are still searching.  But we do have the gardener on our side.  Jesus is ready to give us all the love and nurture we need to flourish and bear good fruit.

Repent!  Turn to those true things which bring life in all its goodness.  But be kind to yourself, all things in their own time.  Gently does it, fruit takes a while to ripen.  And remember, Jesus, the gardener is always ready to nurture and care for you.

The motherliness of God

Sunday, March 31 is Mothering Sunday, and in our services that day we will celebrate mothers and others who care for us, with posies for everyone.

Mothering Sunday is thought to have begun in the 16th century when, on the fourth Sunday of Lent, people would return to their ‘mother church’ – that is, the local parish church or the church in which they had been baptised, or the nearest cathedral. The practice also began of allowing servants to return to their families on that day so seeing their mothers as well as their mother church.

Lesley Crawley comments: “On Mothering Sunday we celebrate mothers and those who care for us, remembering and praying for our own mothers. We also know that this day can be a difficult one for those who have lost their mothers, for those who have lost or cannot have children, and for those who have not had a good relationship with their mothers, and we offer them our support and prayers too.

“God is usually referred to as ‘father’ – in part a reflection of the time and patriarchal culture in which the Bible was written – but there are certainly references to the ‘motherliness’ of God in the Bible, such as this one in the Book of Isaiah: ‘As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you’. Christians believe in an all-loving God who loves us even more than a human mother could. Please do join us on March 31 at any of our services and celebrate and receive this love.”

Click here for some practical ideas from the Church of England for celebrating Mothering Sunday.

The altar frontal at Chelmsford Cathedral made by Creators (Cathedral School youth group). Picture by fourthandfifteen (www.flickr.com/photos/chelmsfordblue/)

 

Where is God in the storm?

The Gospel reading on February 24 was from Luke 8, 22-25. At St Mark’s that day, Lesley Shatwell preached.

The Gospel passage:

‘One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they put out, and while they were sailing he fell asleep. A windstorm swept down on the lake, and the boat was filling with water, and they were in danger. They went to him and woke him up, shouting, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he woke up and rebuked the wind and the raging waves; they ceased, and there was a calm. He said to them, “Where is your faith?” They were afraid and amazed, and said to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him?”’

Lesley’s sermon:

Jesus said to them: “Where is your faith?”

That’s a good question. And what is faith anyway?

It’s easy to believe something if you can see it to be true. The disciples witnessed how Jesus was able to calm the storm, so they came to believe.

But is that the same as faith? I don’t think it is.

Faith is about knowing. But it’s about truly knowing something even though you can’t explain it to anyone else. It’s not something we can measure. “I wish I had your faith … etc”

It’s not something we can force in ourselves and it is something which we can lose just at that very moment when it could be useful.

Just at that moment when you are all at sea in a storm.

Loss of faith doesn’t have to be so dramatic though.

The theologian Thomas Merton talks eloquently about how people can lose faith very easily. In summary he says: ‘People seem to lose their faith as they grow more mature. To start with, it’s easy, believe this and you do. But then the comfortable reassurance you get stops working. And then, well well, God’s not looking after me, why should I have faith in him? What’s God ever done for me? I don’t believe he exists, he’s never around when I need him.’

Merton goes on to say: ‘Don’t put faith in “sunshine” Christians, who promise a quick fix. You may have to find God alone. Faith is personal, nobody else can do it for you.’

I think a lot of us are looking for a quick fix. Something which will make us feel safe and secure, loved and well cared for.

And perhaps it seems that God offers this. All will be well, if I just had a bit more faith in God … and perhaps it would, I’m certainly not going to dismiss people’s faith, but at the risk of being less than a “sunshine” Christian, I can’t offer it to you that today. That’s a quick fix.

It doesn’t take into account that plain fact that none of us can force ourselves to believe in God.

I can look with wonder and a fair dollop of jealousy at people whose faith can move mountains, and yes, I probably envy them, but it is not my experience of being Christian. There are some days when I wake up and I know, without a shadow of a doubt that Jesus is my saviour. That wonderful aria from Messiah, “I know that my redeemer liveth …” is playing like a constant companion in my mind and the joy of the Holy Spirit runs right through me.

Then I catch a glimpse of the outrider clouds of a massive storm and all those wretched doubts creep in.

Life is tough. Lots of people have things far more tough in life than I do, but, dear Lord, this is me and there are times it feels as though I am totally alone and lost in a storm at sea. I long for Jesus to wake up and make everything better for me. But it hasn’t happened yet.

But before I wallow too much in the awfulness of everything, I must be honest: there are good times along with the bad times.

There are times when I love my life, I’m full of delight with everything and everyone around me. Times when life can get no better. And then it is tempting to think, “Oh, this is all down to me, to my careful planning, everything is working out well and I’m in charge.”

Wrong! God’s in charge.

It’s God’s doing, even though it may seem as though God is asleep and letting me get on with my life, I have to acknowledge that my joy is not entirely down to me.

God has given me a wonderful day and it is at times like that when I sometimes remember to give thanks and show my gratitude.

Often I don’t, because I’m human and I accept the good times which come to me as though I have a right to them.

It’s different though when things go wrong. Have you ever had days when you wake up with a feeling of dread as to what is going to happen now you have come out of the dreamland? Have you ever had days when everything hurts, everyone you meet seems to rub you up the wrong way so it would have been better if you had avoided people?

Yes, people, they are the problem; no, it’s my tummy, I shouldn’t have eaten that great big dinner last night; oh my back aches; no, it’s that awful meeting I’m going to have with my boss – yes, I knew it, everybody else is the problem. Always someone else’s fault.

Probably God’s fault. Everybody else is happy and well and I’m not.

God this isn’t fair, why have you forsaken me?

What have I done wrong? Wake up God!

It’s true, isn’t it?

We call on God a great deal more to sort out our problems than we do to give thanks and praise. It’s when disasters happen that we wonder where God is and why he has abandoned us.

Where was God during the tsunami? Where was God when evil people get into power? Why didn’t God stop that child from being hurt? Yes, God – where are you? Why are you asleep in the back of our boat as we are sailing head-on into a storm?

Wake up Jesus! We need you here now.

In our reading today, we hear about experienced fishermen who made their living going out in boats.

And they were terrified, they thought they were going to die. They were out of their depth as the gale swept down on them and the waters poured into their boat. All their own effort and skill couldn’t save them.

All the while, there is one person, their friend who sleeps through it all. He is with them though. He’s not left them. He’s in the boat with them.

At the point in the gospel where this passage occurs, they are just learning who Jesus is. They need more reassurance before their faith is strong enough to realise that because Jesus is with them in the boat, whatever happens, they are safe in the loving care of God.

The winds and waters obey Jesus, for God created all things. By calming the storm and saving their physical lives, Jesus is not forcing them to have faith, he is showing them again that he is with them.

In our lives there are plenty of storms when it seems that God is asleep and not aware of our troubles. Despite what it feels like, that’s not so, for God is always with us – as the final words Jesus says according to the Gospel of Matthew: “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age”.

Perhaps he is asleep but I don’t happen to think so. And anyway, what I do know is that Jesus is most definitely in the boat with us.

 

Picture: Christ in the Storm on the Lake of Galilee by Rembrandt.

A comforting croodle

The Celtic musical tradition of the British Isles is a rich one, with music which has been passed down the generations in Wales, Scotland, Ireland and the North East of England, and which has permeated non-Celtic culture. After all, don’t we all sing Auld Lang Syne at new year?

Auld Lang Syne is not the only familiar Celtic tune – there are plenty which most of us can sing along to, something ably demonstrated by the Celtic Croodle which took part at St Mark’s Church last Saturday evening (February 9), thanks to the hard work and talent of Wendy Edwards with support from Frances Whewell.

To croodle means to snuggle together and St Mark’s looked cosy and warm, offering welcome after a wet February day.  We sat around tables while Wendy, accompanied on the piano by Frances, led us on a musical tour of the Celtic parts of the British Isles, encouraging us to join in.

We started and ended in Scotland and en route we learned a little of the background to each song, though sometimes the origins are obscure. So we learned, for instance that the ‘low road’ in Loch Lomon (“O ye’ll tak’ the high road, and I’ll tak’ the low road, And I’ll be in Scotland a’fore ye,”) may refer to the tradition that the soul of a dead Scot who died abroad was taken back to rest in Scotland by a secret road; and that Bobby Shafto (a north-eastern song) was an 18th century politician who may well have dandled a baby or two in the hope of improving his reputation (“Bobby Shafto’s gettin’ a bairn/For to dangle on his arm”).

On the trip through Ireland among those we learned and sang about were young Mollie Malone, and an Irish émigré shocked by the fashions and attitudes of 19th-century London, writing back to his true love in a valley near the Mountains of Mourne. In Wales as well as singing along lustily to Land of My Fathers (and not a rugby ball in sight), we listened to Wendy sing beautiful songs including David of the White Rock and we were moved by All through the Night, before hurrying back to Scotland to join hands and sing Auld Lang Syne.

As well as the music, Wendy had provided a light Celtic supper of oatcakes, cheese, cheese and onion ‘sausages’, shortbread and Welsh cakes, which we enjoyed at the interval.

It was a happy, comforting and relaxing evening, an antidote to the February blues that can strike us. It also raised £200 in donations for the Kitty Milroy murals appeal through which we are planning to restore the rare and important murals in the chancel at St Mark’s.

Wendy is holding another musical evening at St Mark’s in May. This one will be a jazz evening in memory of her parents, renowned local journalists and historians Jean and Ted Parratt. It will take place at the church on May 4 from 7.30pm.  A light meal will be included but please bring your own drinks. The evening will also raise money for the Kitty Milroy murals,

A Celtic Croodle

Everyone is invited to an old-fashioned Celtic singalong at St Mark’s on February 9 from 7.30pm.

The Celtic ‘Croodle’ will trace a journey in song through Scotland, the north-east of England, Ireland and Wales, led by Wendy Edwards, accompanied by Frances Whewell.

There will be a light Celtic supper (oatcakes, cheese, Welsh cakes and shortbread) – bring your own drinks.

To croodle means to snuggle together so come along to snuggle and sing with us, in aid of restoring the Kitty Milroy murals at St Mark’s. All donations gratefully received.

Poverty in plain sight

Poverty is hidden in plain sight in our community. We may live in one of the least deprived parts of the country but there are pockets of real poverty here. In 2015, for instance, Sandy Hill was the most deprived borough in Waverley, especially in measures relating to income, education/skills and health.

Across the UK as a whole, we have seen an increase in the use of food banks, homelessness and rough sleeping, slavery and mental distress. With poverty comes poverty of spirit – self-esteem, isolation, depression. So, what can we do?

On Monday, February 4, Suzette Jones (Open to All / Health and Wellbeing Adviser from the Diocese of Guildford) will be leading a session at St Mark’s, from 7.30-9pm, to discuss this. As well as looking at the issues facing our society, the session will include practical suggestions to help us stand together against poverty. We will look at ways forward both through prayer and other steps we might take.

“Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” James 2:15-16 (NIV).

For further information, contact Lesely Shatwell, llm.lesley@badshotleaandhale.org