Category Archives: St Mark’s Church

Easter crafts for children

If you like art, craft, and fun and are between five and 11 years old, why not come to the Good Friday craft workshop at St Mark’s on April 7?

It starts at 9.30am and there will be a short family service at 11am when parents and carers can join in and the morning will finish with hot cross buns after the service.

Spaces are limited so if you’d like to come, ring Anne Boyman on 01252 724429 to book a place.

Holy Week

Join us as we travel through Holy Week, which runs from Palm Sunday, April 2, to Easter Eve, April 8, with a series of services and meditations across all three churches.

Palm Sunday recalls the story of Jesus as he entered Jerusalem, welcomed as a king but riding on a humble donkey, and there will be services at all three churches – St John’s at 9.30am, St George’s at 10am and St Mark’s at 11am – with palm crosses given out.

Services and meditations in Holy Week

From Monday to Wednesday, April 3-5, there will be a series of short meditations for Holy Week each evening at St John’s at 7.30pm. These will be around 30 minutes long and will give time to reflect and pray.

On Wednesday, April 5 at noon, there will be a communion service at St Mark’s, and on Maundy Thursday, April 6 there will be communion services at St George’s and St John’s at 7.30pm, when the altar will be stripped and a vigil will be held. At St John’s there will also be foot-washing, recalling the act of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet at the Last Supper before his death.

Maundy Thursday is so called because the name derives from the Latin world ‘mandatum’ which means ‘commandment’, and it recalls Jesus’ words at the Last Supper: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another as I have loved you.”  So this is New Commandment Thursday.

Stripping the altar is an ancient custom whereby everything is removed from the altar and it reflects the way everything was stripped from Jesus on Good Friday – his clothes, his dignity, his life – and leaves the altar bare for the Good Friday liturgy the next day.

On Good Friday , April 7, there will be Good Friday Liturgy at St John’s at 9.30am. At the same time at St Mark’s there will be a craft session for children aged five to 11, from 9.30-11am, This will be followed by a service at 11am to which parents and carers are also invited, after which there will be hot cross buns for everyone.

You can also join in a Walk of Witness in central Farnham on Good Friday, by gathering in the Hart car park at 11.45am for a silent walk through central Farnham starting at noon, and ending up at St Andrew’s Church for a short service.

At 2pm there will be a ‘Good Friday Hour at the Cross‘ at St George’s, a time for prayer and reflection as we approach the time traditionally held to be the hour that Jesus died – 3pm.

On Saturday, April 8, several people from the parish are being confirmed at an Easter Eve service at Guildford Cathedral at 7.45pm. This is a special service with communion as well as baptism and confirmation, and is a lovely way to celebrate the coming of Easter. Please do join us.

Easter Day services can be found here.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

And the winners are…

The Farnham Poetry Competition

A massive thank you to all those who took part in the Farnham Literary Festival’s Poetry Competition which the parish organised on behalf of the festival.

We had an incredible 138 entries which came from Farnham and much further afield, as far, in fact, as Nepal! And around 100 people gathered at St Mark’s on March 11th to find out who had won and to hear poetry readings from the winners, runners-up and anyone else who wanted to read. We also heard from the two wonderful judges – Ellora Sutton who judged the adult  poems, and Coral Rumble who did the same for the under-16s. Please read their work!

And the winners were…


First prize
The Robin by Margot Sidwell-Woods

Second prize
Many Tongues, One Voice by Jet Pariera-Jenks

Third prize
Hope by Thomas James

Highly commended
Save Us by Daisy Brice
Hope for Autism by Monty Monro
Be Hopeful by Hannah Jakobek
Hopeful Poem by Kobi Green
Hope by Alice Howell
I hope for a Dog by Lyra Buttery
Hope by Jessica Mellor
A Handful of Hope by Florence Champion
Hope by Alina Liepsch
Hope by Jaxson Wright


First prize
Insomnia and Death of the Queen by Rodney Wood

Second prize
Sift and Scatter by Chris Hunter

Third prize
There is a Light that Never Goes Out by Liz Usher

Highly commended
Frensham by Victoria D’Cruz
Sunday Lunch by Lorna Darcy
Looking for Hope by Mel Cracknell
Worship by Vicky Samara

And now for the poems:


First Prize
The Robin
by Margot Sidwell-Woods

The sky is dark
Sluggishly grey
We trudge along
Through the ashen day
And on this morning
With its charcoal tint
There’s a flutter of feathers
A robin’s beak and wings
Its eyes are bright
And its breast is red
It ruffles its feathers
And tips back its head
And melody pours out
Splashing into the air
High, sweet notes
That don’t belong there
But one day they could
In a new clear sky
And, like this bird,
I could learn to fly
I turn to stare
At the red over its heart
And my mouth twitches
It’s a smile
Small – but it’s a start

Second Prize
Many Tongues, One Voice
by Jet Pariera-Jenks

The National History Museum has opened its doors
And children are scouting the corridors
Gazing at evolution’s historic trail
From fierce dinosaurs to slow sea snails
Fascinated by ancient fossils and bones
And marvelling at geodes captured in stone.

But the scene that draws everyone’s eyes
Swims above them as if the seas filled the skies
The skeleton of a blue whale hangs in the air
And all the children stand and stare
They crane their necks to the ceiling to see
This oceanic creature of nature’s beauty.

They point and gape at her white bleached bones
In their hands lie forgotten their cameras and phones
One boy turns to another and grins
“Isn’t Dóchas the whale a beautiful thing!”
His Irish accent is thick and his companion frowns
“This whale is called Haffnung, she swims where we’d drown.”

A Spanish girl interrupts the German’s words
“No! She’s Esperanza, it’s wrong what you’ve heard.”
More children are adding names to the fray
“She’s Von!” “Tanna!” “Tumanako!” Everyone wants a say
Children start quarrelling, a fight breaks out
The once peaceful museum echoes with screams and shouts.

They argue about the whale’s name
Kicking and punching without decency or shame
Until an old man holds up his hands for quiet
“Children, there is no need for this angry riot!”
The museum echoes with the hush
All the youngsters look away and blush.

“You’re all right, the whale is called Dóchas,
Hoffnung, Von and Esperanzas
Because all of these words are one and the same
They all mean hope, and Hope is this whale’s name
She hopes that her sisters are safe in the sea
And that we stop hunting her kin so needlessly.”

Hope is important in all walks of life
We should unite our voices to keep it alive
Instead of quarrelling when none of us are wrong
We should spread the message through poems, laughter and song
Through war ridden countries and earthquake-shaken ground
Let’s join hands in hope, let the beauty resound.

After Jalaluddin Rumi, 16th century Sufi mystic

Third prize
by Thomas James

Hope.. it is in all of us;
in soldiers during wars
in doctors when performing operations
in all of our friends and families
… in you

Sometimes it is hard to find
sometimes it is hidden in the depths
sometimes we feel we lose it
but remember it is always with you

Once you find hope
all your goals will be within reach
so there is no need to mope
and that’s what I am trying to teach

Hope is in all of us
In the strong and the brave
In the weak and the shy
In the happy and the sad
Hope is in all of us

… and it is the most important thing….

Highly Commended

I Hope for a Dog
by Lyra Buttery

I hope I get a dog,
I’ll walk it every day,
Even if it’s rainy,
I’ll still go out to play.
I’ll feed her in the morning and in the evening too,
And when we go for walks she’ll do a great big poo!
I hope she will be small, brown and fluffy,
And I will brush her every day so she doesn’t get too scruffy.
I hope she jumps on the bed at night.
And sometimes gives me a terrible fright.
I hope to call her Daisy
And I’ll love her, even if she’s crazy.

A Handful of Hope
by Florence Champion

Everyone Has a Handful of Hope
Hidden in their pocket.
It helps you think, helps you cope
When you’re struggling.

Some say hope is red,
Some say it’s yellow,
But who is actually telling the truth?
Well everyone is correct,
As hope is not just one thing,
But many things,
Many items,
Many thoughts,
Many communities brought together.
That’s hope.

Hope doesn’t always work,
Although it cheers you up on a gloomy day,
Takes you away from things,
Things that put obstacles in the way,
Of achieving your dreams.

Yes, of achieving your dreams
Those things called doubt and worry and fear,
They line up on display,
They try and pull down tears from your eyes –
They make you afraid.
But as I said,
You can take all of those things away,
If you have a handful of hope,
Hidden in your pocket,
As it helps you think, helps you cope,
When you’re struggling.

by Alina Liepsch

Hope is a special something
We cannot live without.
We can all have hope,
And we should not doubt.

We hope things will get better,
When everything goes wrong.
Hope gives us what we need,
It helps us to stay strong.

It keeps us going when we’re tired,
And helps us when we fall.
If we hope for what we already have,
Then that’s not hope at all.

But hope for what we can’t yet see,
Means patience, calm and waiting.
When we have something to believe
It makes a life worth living.

by Jaxson Wright

In a world full of war
Sadness and pain,
When the winters are cold
And pouring with rain,
When people are hungry
Homeless and poor
Nowhere to sleep
Except the dirty wet floor,
The glimmer of hope
That brightens the sky,
That spring is coming
The floors will get dry,
The sound of laughter
Will fill the warm air,
I hope we are happy
I hope that hopes there.

by Jessica Mellor

When there’s an ominous hole in the back of your mind,
You feel like drowning, struggling to survive.
When you think your incarcerated in your grave,
Hope is only found from among the brave,
The never-ending dissatisfaction that is suffocating within you,
You’re entrapped in your mind, not knowing what to do.
Everyone struggles from time to time,
Not understanding life, thinking that’s a crime.
But if you look into the distance, there’s a shining light,
Part of your individuality can radiate so bright.
Not knowing there’s a way out,
A place to escape,
Not seeing there’s a hope,
It’s easy to lose your way.
Tring to navigate a path,
Just trying to stay alive,
Just to keep breathing
To get through the day and night.
Even through the darkest of times,
There are glimpses of hope,
But sometimes not clear enough to see,
For some it’s far too much to cope.

Hope for Autism
By Monty Munro

A Person with autism is
Talking without emotion
Inventive – thinking outside the box
Struggles academically
Tedious it feels
Imaginative thinking
Creative thoughts

Hopeful Poem
by Kobi Green

Hope is a wonderful thing
it surrounds everyone
From the stars
To the tiny, tiny bees
The whole world is surrounded by it
You just have to find it.

Be hopeful
By Hannah Jakobek

Have faith in yourself.
Open your mind.
People need to have hope.
Eventually it will work out.
Free from pain.
Uniquely you.
Look for hope wherever you are.
Live in the moment.
You are amazing.

By Alice Howell

I Hope for lots and lots of chocolate at Easter.
I Hope the Easter Bunny comes.
I Hope for candyfloss and cuddles.
I Hope for lots of fun and family.
I Hope for sunshine.

Save Us
By Daisy Brice

Darkness, fear, hate, all of this is an empty void
People waiting for it all to change gears for a brighter day.
I sat under a range of leaves on a tree
Thunder hit the three trees
Leaves falling and crying. The world
Dark falling, evil walks past us.
But I hope the retrieval of the Greatness
Hope with hope
The sky bright with a little rain for the crops
Icebergs safe
Everything is alright
Forests huge with something to prove
But this could be through
Unless we Dream incredible Dreams
You can save us all
You need to hope.


First Prize
by Rodney Wood

At night, when all the colours die / they read about themselves in colour /
with their eyelids shut
Craig Raine, A Martian Sends A Postcard Home

My sleep routine starts after the news at 10.30.
I flip through 119 TV channels which don’t feature
actual programmes only clips of the Queen,
Paddington Bear, marmalade sandwiches
and adverts I’m not interested in.

After that I take umpteen supplements: lavender,
valerian root, melatonin, magnesium,
a glass of Dom Pérignon, listen to “Clair
de Lune” by Debussy, have a warm shower,
a light snack, write a to do list, put away
my phone before the sleep cycle can begin.

Last night, 8 September 2022, for example,
I shut my eyes to an empty screen before
clips of the Queen, Paddington Bear, marmalade
sandwiches and adverts I’m not interested in
about paperless TV licences, buying

and selling cars, star sign based cuisine, bread,
burgers, avocados, life insurance, slots,
EuroMillions, swimwear, equity release, shirts,
video poker, loans, beer, smoothies, mints,
holidays in Greece, mobile telephones, roulette,
perfume, coffee machines, Kane to score next,

sunscreen, boilers, hemp extracts, home
delivery, hair colouring, online casino, racing,
video bingo, chocolate, biscuits, cough drops,
trains, credit, online sports betting, home insulation,
insurance, hemp extracts, trainers, how to stop

gambling, gambling and more gambling,
5 minute party political broadcasts
on behalf of All 4 Freedom, Charter, Family,
Scotland – Unhyphenated, Climate, Rubbish,
Church of the Militant Elvis, Count Binface,
Motherworld and the other 337 political parties.

After that another clip of afternoon tea
with the Queen, Paddington Bear, marmalade
sandwiches and only then, the alarm goes.
Another sleep interrupted but there’s always
hope I’ll sleep before the next coronation.

Second Prize
Sift and Scatter
by Chris Hunter

I stood in that yellow, searing heat; a blasted amalgam of sift and scatter. A scape shaped of grief, shimmer, pine roots and shadows cast by cypress, as black as sump oil.

The unplanned end to a furnace thickened, crumpled stumble from gate to tree to stone.

In the autumnal chill of chain grey, that land remains neutral. Just yellowed grass and cold dirt. Now, instead, it is a sultry, soured, shifting molasses of emotion.

The moment draws me down to the ground. This strange gravity of everyone interred. Once strangers but now unified in soil, to clay, to sand. 

The words of everyone who has passed, fusing and dividing for those who wish to hear it. The whispers of the next day, early light after loss, the quiet voice from another room. The unmercenary kiss to the brow. Dates forgotten. Emotion not. 

Now this place gives back all that has been taken from those who lie here and those who got to walk away. It gives back each regret in one long breath of scoria-laden intent. It raises strange hope from former pain and leaves a message throughout the earth beneath my feet.

There in that dust blown sift and scatter. You have gone. You really have gone. Though you knew this place and we are both here, sharing that hope that you said once lost, would lose you.

Third Prize
There is a light that never goes out
By Liz Usher

If Hope is a thing with feathers
it fell down our chimney last night
and came to its rest
on a red-brick dust nest
behind our gas flame-effect fire.
We’ve not used the gas fire for ages –
we daren’t turn it on for the cost…
but hope springs eternal
in appliance infernal,
you can’t turn the pilot light off.

Highly commended

by Victoria D’Cruz

Small pebbles rock beneath our feet
Cold wet toes curling
The wind whips your lack of hair not flying now
My thick locks knotting with fear
We leave our clothes, laid neatly for our return
We walk, uttering only smiles of encouragement.

I used to run straight in
Embracing the cold shudder that hit my perter chest.
Sending my heart racing, that weird feeling when I thought of you.
Breath gasping
Quickening the panic.

My Dad told me it’s not real sand and swans could break my arms.

Today together I edge in at the precipice.
Swimming shoes hiding my unmanicured nails, tow-float spread around my middle age
Little by little
I stop, step  until the tiny waves comes to me
I move to them controlling my breath.
Drawing imaginary squares of air.
The rush as a hopeful laugh slaps me in the face.

Sunday Lunch
by Lorna Darcy

Whenever we have roast chicken
For lunch on a Sunday
And the carcass,
Pale and broken open
Sits steaming,
Speared on the carving block
Peeled carrots,
Peas seething,
Potatoes and parsnips burnished,
He carefully frees the wishbone
From the frame of the bird.
Strips the malleable white flesh from the brittle bones.
Holding up the delicate V,
He wraps his little finger round one
And offers the other,
Jagged as a tooth,
To me.

I pinch it between thumb and forefinger
To get a better grip
Knowing with unbreakable, unshakeable certainty
That when we pull apart,
He will come away with the greater portion. Always the victor.
The good futures wishbone
Aloft like a ragged pennant
In his finger.
In all the times we have enacted
This minute ritual
I have never, ever won.

And yet, he offers it to me, and there is always hope.

Looking for Hope
by Mel Cracknell

My son wore red
The tense is past
A clue, a statement, a feeling or reality?

The robin wakes at dawn stays until nightfall.
How do I know?
His song is his voice he tells the world here I am.

My son’s voice has gone
I have his red tee shirt

by Vicky Samara

Thank you all for your support!

Mothering Sunday

It’s Mothering Sunday – aka Mother’s Day – this weekend (Sunday 19th) and we will be celebrating at all three churches: St John’s, Hale (near the Six Bells roundabout) at 9.30am; St George’s, Badshot Lea (opposite the school) at 10am and St Mark’s, Alma Lane (next to Tesco) at 11am.

Come and join us as we give thanks for all those who care and protect us. Posies for all.

Farnham’s poets revealed at the Poetry Competition Awards Evening

Come and find out the winners of the Farnham Poetry Competition at an Awards Evening which will be held at St Mark’s Church on Saturday, March 11th, from 5pm.

The winning entries to both the adult and under-16 competition will be revealed along with second- and third-place and highly commended entries in an evening which will also feature an open mic for all local poets, and performances by the two judges Ellora Sutton and Coral Rumble.

It’s been an amazing competition with almost 150 entries, all on the theme of hope, from near and far, including an entry from Nepal. The winners will have the chance to read their work then everyone else will be invited to come forward and read.

The evening starts at 5pm so that children can leave early at the interval at around 6.15pm if they wish. Refreshments will be served and admission is free.

The children’s poetry competition is being judged by poet Coral Rumble and the adult one by poet Ellora Sutton.  Ellora is a Hampshire-based poet and museum person. Her work has been published in The Poetry Review, The North, bath magg, and Popshot, among others, and she reviews poetry for Mslexia. Her latest pamphlet, Antonyms for Burial, was published in 2022 by Fourteen Poems and is the Poetry Book Society’s Spring 2023 Pamphlet Choice. She tweets @ellora_sutton, or you can find her at

Coral Rumble is a popular, award-winning poet, with five poetry collections, plus 170+ anthology contributions. The Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat (picture book) was longlisted for the Oscars Book Prize Award.

Coral won the Caterpillar Poetry Prize, 2018. Her collections have been promoted by education magazines and shortlisted for awards. Her verse novel, Little Light (2021) was a recommendation for National Poetry Day 2021, and was a chosen text for Empathy Day 2022. It has also been longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2023. Her debut novel, Jakub’s Otter will be published in 2023.

The Farnham Poetry Competition is run in conjunction with the Farnham Literary Festival which runs until March 12.

Daffodils and art

It’s Coffee Artz again this week. Join us for art, coffee and daffodils at St Mark’s on Thursday, March 2nd, 10.30am to 12noon.

Coffee Artz takes place on the first and third Thursday of each month and each time the group takes a different theme to inspire the art. No artistic skill is needed, no experience is needed and the equipment is all provided. Coffee, chat and cake are also provided!

To find out more email Lesley Shatwell.

Photo by Hilary Halliwell on

Easter Craft Market

We’ll be holding our Easter Craft Market on Saturday, March 18th, at St Mark’s Church, Alma Lane, from 10am-2pm.

You can expect a buzzing market with lots of lovely stalls – from clocks to socks, cuddlies to cards, jewels, hats, jumpers, felting, soaps…. – along with refreshments, live music and an Easter Egg hunt!

If you are a crafter who wants to sell your work, please get in touch as we have a few spaces left. Tables are just £12.50 each. You can find out more here or email or call us on 07842761919.

Interfaith Women’s Group – March meeting

After a highly successful first meeting, the next Interfaith Women’s Group will take place at St Mark’s Church on Saturday, March 25th, 2.30-4pm. This time the group will be talking boundaries – how we set them, why they are important, whether societal expectations give women more of a challenge in setting them than men face. There will also be opportunities to talk about faith journeys.

This is a joint venture between the parish and Lajna Ima’illah, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Women’s Association and takes place on the fourth Saturday of each month at St Mark’s.

The group discusses topics that most concern us today, such as social media, gender-based violence, inclusion, education, equality, bringing up children and many more. There is also plenty of tea and cake!

Women of all faiths and none are welcome.

To find out more, contact Stella Wiseman.

Picture from an image by George Milton on