Category Archives: St Mark’s Church

Reflections on a Campfire

Richard Myers reviews an unusual evening at St Mark’s

‘Campfire’ was a show put on at St Mark’s on 8th April, advertised as ‘An evening of stories, song and hot cocoa. True stories told by members of the community’. We all had to pretend we were sitting round a campfire while these delights went on. The lights were low, and a few props and some real cocoa helped to create this impression, with a few sound effects at the beginning produced under instructions from the two talented hosts of the show, a poet and a musician linked with Farnham Maltings, Molly Naylor and Dominic Conway.

What was unusual about it all was that fact that it was largely people we knew who were the storytellers and musicians, with the hosts providing the framework. The two hosts had visited a few days earlier and coached those who wished on how to tell their story well. The stories took up the bulk of the evening. Some were extremely personal and very moving: regretting being mean at school, a hard evening in a difficult childhood, a long wrestle with the desire to have beautiful hair. Others were individual experiences of national events – an account of an Empire Day celebration many years ago, a memory of buying an ice cream on the day World War 2 started. A few were humorous – misunderstandings in teaching the Scouts. There was an account of being caught up in a terrorist incident in Paris. Speakers were old and young. The standard was very high. I liked the fact that some of the personal stories were quite difficult to listen to and broke through the general jollity to a more powerful note.

But this seriousness was balanced by the lighter stories and by the music. ‘Karma Chameleon’ figured and some others I am unable to name. There was a bit of a sing-along with some impromptu guitar playing by members of the audience. We were invited to list ‘family sayings’ during the interval, and these were read out in the second half – rather a clever idea with a nice feel – funny, but also with an insight into different family lives: one was ‘FHB’, said by the mother when she had under-catered, meaning ‘Family Hold Back’, i.e don’t eat very much.

St Mark’s was offered this ‘show’ by Farnham Maltings due to the part it had played during the Farnham Literary Festival; so I guess we all have to thank Stella for it, as well as Farnham Maltings. And we did well; the videographer there said we were a better audience and a better location than they had had the night before!

Pictured: Molly and Dominic at Campfire.

Holy Week and Easter

Easter is being celebrated in the Parish of Badshot Lea and Hale in north Farnham by a series of services, reflections, a craft market, and an open-air Easter Experience and not just one but four Easter Egg hunts.

On Monday to Wednesday this week there will be meditations at St John’s, Hale, at 7.30pm.

On Maundy Thursday, April 14, there will be Holy Communion, the Stripping of the Altar, and a vigil at both St George’s Church, Badshot Lea, and St John’s Church, Hale, at 7.30pm, with foot-washing at St John’s as well.

On Good Friday, April 15, there will be a Good Friday liturgy at St John’s, at 9.30am, and a service at St Mark’s, at 11am. At 2pm at St George’s, there will be Good Friday devotions.

On Easter Sunday, April 17, we will celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ at St John’s, at 9.30am; then at St George’s at 10am; and at St Mark’s, Upper Hale, at 11am, and each service will be followed by an Easter Egg hunt.

On Easter Saturday, April 16, there will be an Easter Craft Market with an Easter Egg hunt for children, at St Mark’s Church, Upper Hale, from 10am-2pm. There will be lots of stalls selling everything from knitwear to truffles, jewellery to soaps, and a trail to find Easter eggs.

And don’t forget the Easter Experience in the churchyard at St John’s, Hale, a series of interactive stations which trace the story of the last week of Jesus’ life all the way to his death on Good Friday and his resurrection on Easter Sunday. The Easter Experience is available at all hours of day and night until April 18.

Gather around the Campfire

What’s your story?


We all have a story to tell, but it’s not always easy to talk about yourself. Sharing our stories can help us reconnect with each other in an increasingly fractured world.

That’s why Campfire is coming to north Farnham. Campfire is a unique, magical event which celebrates the untold stories of people who make up a community.

We’re looking for people to tell true stories at the event, and to come to workshop beforehand so that they’re well-equipped to contribute. No story is too small! From mundane moments to miraculous misadventures, we want to hear it all.

All you need to do is show up to our free, fun workshop. You might come with an idea of the story you could tell, but it’s totally okay if you turn up with nothing. We’ll help you find and shape your story in a warm, supportive environment. Why not come to the workshop and see what it’s all about? You’ve got nothing to lose!

The workshop will take place at St Mark’s Church on 1st April, from 7.30 to 9.30pm. The campfire event will take place in the church on 8th April at 7.30pm.

This is what others have said:

I didn’t think I had any good stories to tell, but Molly gives you interesting prompts and helps you create a structure around something from your life you didn’t think was story-worthy.

It makes you realise how interesting other people are!

Exceeded my expectations!

It will be hosted by musician Dominic Conway and poet and author Molly Naylor, with live music and cocoa. Here they are explaining more:

Molly is a poet, playwright and creative writing tutor. She has run True Stories Live, a sell-out event in Norwich where local people get up on stage tell stories, for the past five years.

Dominic is the award-winning musical director of Little Bulb Theatre who recently toured village halls with the wildly successful Mountain Music.

Interested? Email news@badshotleaandhale.org or call 07842761919.

Adventurers is back!

Adventurers, the club for ages 7-11, is back.

The popular club, led by Anne Boyman, has returned to St Mark’s on Tuesdays in term time from 5.30-7pm.

There are games, craft, art, stories, prayers, refreshments and a lot of fun and friendship. So, if you, or someone you know, are age 7 to 11, why not give it a try? Just turn up, or give Anne Boyman a call on 01252 724429.

What a festival!

Three workshops, two awards ceremonies, a theatrical evening and a lot of good poetry – it all added up to a major contribution by the parish to the inaugural Farnham Literary Festival (March 5-13).

St Mark’s Church was the only north Farnham venue taking part in the festival and not only did we host events, we ran the Farnham Poetry Competition and filled the church with poets young and old with fresh voices and their own take on Farnham.

During the week there was a workshop to create your own fantasy world; a writing memories workshop (with some rather saucy poetry!) run by Right at Home care agency and the church; a crime writing workshop with Joy Kluver, author of the Detective Bernadette Noel series; a rehearsed reading by the Farnham Theatre Association of A Tale of Two Theatres (the story of the Castle and Redgrave Theatres); the awards ceremony of the Farnham Fiction Award, and the awards ceremony of the Poetry Competition.

The church buzzed all week with people of diverse ages and backgrounds who leapt at the chance to express themselves creatively. There is enormous creativity here in this community and we are hugely grateful to everyone who took part, including the poetry judges, Coral Rumble who judged the under-16s category, and Ellora Sutton who judged the adult one.

We had around 80 entries to the poetry competition and the judges found it hard to choose between them. In the end their choices were:

Under-16:
First place:
Farnham by Katie Parratt.
Runners-up:
Under a Tree by Nigarish Nabeel Nasir.
Farnham  by Louis West.
Shortlisted:
A day at Gostrey Meadow by Minha Nabeel Nasir.
Farnham attraction by Harrison West.
Meadow by Alina Liepsch.
There is a place I know by Maria Benyon.
Welcome to Farnham by Mimi Farrell.
Why Farnham makes me smile by Ellie Darlow.

Adults:
First place:
The First One that’s Second by Elmaz Ekrem.
Runners-up:
Farnham Park 2021 by Rosemary Wisbey.
Local Character by Andy Morse.
Shortlisted:
Farnham Swimming Baths by Elaine Fell.
Farnham Friendship by Chandra McGowan.
Swimming in April’s Cold by Chris Hunter.
embedded in wood and stone by Kate Kennington Steer.

Kate Kennington Steer is a participant in Creative Response, an arts-related organisation run by professional practising artists who share their practice with vulnerable people, and members of Creative Response were also there on the poetry evening, reading from and selling their new book of poems Where Seeds Are Planted Poems Grow.

We are currently collecting in recordings of the winning poems and they will be published here shortly.

Here are a few images from the week:

Winner of the adult poetry award Elmaz Ekrem (left) with judge Ellora Sutton.
Building fantasy worlds in the Build a World Workshop. Yes, even the Mayor was busy doing so!
David Wylde and Chris Reeks in A Tale of Two Theatres.
Coral Rumble, the judge of the under-16s poetry competition reads some of her own poetry.
Neil Macdonald speaks at the writing awards, along with judge Gary Couzens.
Writing crime with Joy Kluver.

Mothering Sunday

Next Sunday, March 27, is Mothering Sunday and everyone is welcome at any of our services – St John’s, 9.30am; St George’s, 10am; St Mark’s, 11am.

We will be celebrating our mothers and/or others who take or have taken care of us over the years. There will be refreshments and posies for all. Contact us if you would like more details.

If you find Mothering Sunday difficult, there is a peaceful reflection called Loving Kindness at St Mark’s at 9.30am. Further details here.

Loving Kindness – for when Mother’s Day is Complicated

Do you find Mothering Sunday tricky?

Mothering Sunday can be complicated for so many different reasons: perhaps you have lost your own mother, perhaps the relationship is broken, perhaps you feel you are hopeless at being a mother – there may be a hundred more reasons why Mothering Sunday is tricky.

Why not take some time and space to reflect, to sit quietly and know that God sees you as an individual, not “just a mother” or “just a child of a mother”.

On Sunday, March 27, at 9.30am at St Mark’s, Pamela Marsham will be leading a short, mindfulness based session to help you unwind and relax into God’s love for each and every one of us.

Monthly Craft Market

On the third Saturday of every month we hold a Craft Market at St Mark’s from 10am-2pm.

We invite local crafters to take part and we have a wide range of creative people there selling a huge array of gifts for yourself and others. There are jumpers, teddy bears, soaps and soap dishes, candles, cards, earrings, necklaces, hats and gloves, glass gifts, knitwear, pictures, pottery, sweets, notebooks, coasters, mugs to go on the coasters… and much more, with new stalls added regularly, and all of it sold to a background of live music and refreshments in the adjoining room.

If you would like to hire a stall, click here for a form, or call 07842761919 or email craft@badshotleaandhale.org

Come and join us as a shopper or a seller, or just to enjoy the buzz and friendly atmosphere.

Dust and ashes

This Wednesday (March 2) is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, the beginning of the season which leads up to Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Ash Wednesday has its roots in the ancient Jewish tradition of penance and fasting and many Christians mark the day by going to church and having a mark of ashes placed on their foreheads. Here in the parish there will be a service of ashing at St Mark’s at noon, and at St John’s at 7.30pm.

We are being encouraged to make Ash Wednesday a time of prayer and fasting for Ukraine.

The ash is made by burning palm crosses, like the ones we use at the Palm Sunday services each year, and you can receive the mark with the words:

“Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.
Turn away from sin and be faithful to Christ.”

It is a solemn reminder of our calling to follow Christ and be his body here on earth.

Picture by Ahna Ziegler. Unsplash.