Category Archives: support

In Praise of Home Groups

What the heck is a ‘Home Group’?

Turn the clock back a good few years and my only idea was it was it definitely wasn’t something for me. Surely a ‘Home Group’ (aka, Bible Study, small group, study group, cell church – even Lent Group) was full of very holy, serious people, who actually knew where things were in the Bible and had been going to Church for ever, prayed regularly and knew all the answers and who would tell me I just had to ‘Have Faith’. Without doubt they would find out I was a fraud and only went to church because it was a good place to take my kids on wet Sunday mornings. There was no way I was going join any ‘small group’.

So what changed? I now enthuse about small groups any chance I have. I even lead one.

First, let me dismiss all of that absolute rubbish about the perception of what a ‘Home Group’ consists of. I have never been to one which was full of ‘serious’ people. Honestly, we spend a lot of time laughing. Not everyone prays regularly, not everyone believes everything, or even the same things. There are people in groups who are very new to church and some who have been going to church all of their lives but still have questions. Even in the early days no-one accused me of being a fraud and never did they dismiss my questions.

I’ve now been to lots of groups over the years. Weirdly they are all different – probably because they have consisted of different people and had different themes. I’ve loved some, felt challenged by others, but every time I have met and become closer to the people in that group. The only similarity is that they all consisted of people who are trying to get closer to God.

When I started to go to church I didn’t really get to know people. I didn’t know everyone’s name, I didn’t know where people lived or much about their lives. It was a long time until I felt that I wasn’t a visitor. I think it was belonging to groups that changed that.

I had been on the PCC for a while before I ever ventured into a ‘Home Group’. I was a busy mum with a full-time job and time was very precious. Then the PCC had a visiting speaker and an initiative called ‘Forward with God’ was launched. PCC members were ‘encouraged’ to go to one of the groups which were set up to follow the course.

I found I enjoyed it and got to know the people involved and was sad when the course ended. I think that there were about six groups and at the end of the course only one continued – not the one to which I had been going. I found I really missed it so I took a deep breath and joined the one that was continuing – and I can honestly say it was one of the best things I ever did.

To me being in a small group is church. Groups are inclusive, welcoming and eager to grow. Somehow, belonging makes you want to do more for God and become closer to the person you are intended to be. The people in the group form relationships because we share our thoughts and learn together. Over the years, my faith has grown and my relationship with God has deepened.

Through home groups, I have made real friends – people I can rely on, people I trust absolutely, people who help out, people I can cry with and have lots of laughs with; they are my ‘go to people’ and yet they are always so welcoming to anyone new.

At the moment, groups are continuing on Zoom. I really look forward to when we can gather again in person. We’ll advertise when that is happening. Why not give it a try?

Maxine Everitt

We’re Crowdfunding for our new Youth Hub

We are crowdfunding to raise money for our new Youth Hub at the St John’s which will be every day after school for 11-16 year olds. Check out www.avivacommunityfund.co.uk/st-johns-project to find out what you can get for your money and what we will be doing with it.

The Youth Hub

The hub will be open to all young people and we will be working in partnership with Relational Hub, a national charity which is helping young people thrive. Relational Hub is a proven model of youth and community work, with over a decade of supporting young people.

The Youth Hub will be based on these four principles:

Radical Hospitality – the way you welcome young people;

Everyday Youth Work – daily, consistent drop-in;

Support and Opportunities – developing skills and co-producing projects;

Sustainable Approach – having a long term approach, fundraising and enterprise strategy.

The link to find out more is here: www.avivacommunityfund.co.uk/st-johns-project

The May magazine is here

Our May magazine is out now, a bumper edition this month with information about the elections for Surrey County Council members and the Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner. Please read their statements and please vote; if we don’t bother to have a say we can hardly complain about the people who are elected.

There is information too about events going on this month including our Farnham Flower Festival (online again, of course) which is being sponsored by our favourite florist Florescence, and plans for the fete in July. Please get involved in both. There is news about new rooms to hire, an article on grief, information about taking part in Christian Aid Week and much more, plus, of course, lots of great adverts with services, offers and classes.

Download it here:

Prince Philip 1921-2021

Our sincere condolences and prayers are with Her Majesty the Queen and the Royal Family, as they mourn the loss of His Royal Highness, Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh.

There will be services at all the churches this Sunday: 9.30am at St John’s, Hale Road; 10am at St George’s, Badshot Lea; and 11am at St Mark’s, Alma Lane.

There will be an opportunity to light a candle and tie a black ribbon in the churchyard afterwards.

The churches will also be open next week for private prayer and lighting candles.

Because of Covid-19 we are unable to have a physical Book of Condolence but if you wish to sign one, there is an online one here: https://www.churchofengland.org/remembering-his-royal-highness-prince-philip

You can also do so by scanning the QR code here:

If you need support or further information, contact admin@badshotleaandhale.org or call 07842761919.

Picture of Prince Philip copyright: The Press Association

Children’s Mental Health Week

This week is Children’s Mental Health Week and it can’t come soon enough. All around us young people are struggling – lockdown, home-schooling, missing friends and family, anxiety, exam pressure, no space of their own. Some have added pressures – they may have parents or siblings working on the frontline, they may have lost someone during the pandemic, be ill or have a friend or family member who is ill. Some are living in homes where they do not feel safe.

There are lots of resources to help, particularly on the website www.childrensmentalhealthweek.org.uk/ This year the theme is Express Yourself. Finding creative ways of expression can be a huge boost to mental health. Art, craft, music, poetry, photography and drama are great ways of expressing our feelings and can make us feel better. There are ideas on the mental health week website, and some  free virtual sessions led by experts and familiar faces across acting, art, content creation, dance and writing. 

We are running a lockdown poetry festival so why not have a go at expressing your feelings in poetry – and encourage your children to do too.

If you need further help there are people out there to offer it. Don’t struggle on your own. Childline can be a great source of support for young people – 0800 1111 – and we have a list of numbers in the poster below.

Please do feel free to contact the clergy – revd.alan@badshotleaandhale.org
revd.lesley@badshotleaandhale.org
01252 820537.

And in an emergency, call 999.

Community Support

The Farnham Helpline 01252 745446 is open from 10am until 4pm for anyone who needs help because of Covid – shopping, prescriptions etc.

Also, if you need pastoral support please let a member of the clergy know. Alan and Lesley can be contacted on 01252 820537 or by emailing:
revd.alan@badshotleaandhale.org or 
revd.lesley@badshotleaandhale.org

You can also contact the church office:
07842 761919 or admin@badshotleaandhale.org

The NHS Volunteer Responders are active and available to support with collection of shopping and other essentials in all areas. You can call them for free on 0808 196 3646.

How can you help the Foodbank? They are generally well stocked up, but are always short of certain items which they highlight on their website. They also have posters of these specific requests at food collections points: Waitrose, Nationwide, Wine rack on Ridgeway and Co-op in Rowledge. 

The Hoppa Service is still running if people are in need of transport.

Hale Community Centre is staying open for reduced hours to carry on delivering the Community Fridge & Store and the Swap Shop. They are open Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 10am-12pm.

Brightwells Community Meals are running and have the capacity to accept more clients. You can get in touch with them on communitymeals@brightwellsgostry.org.  

These community meals can support those living alone, or in residential facilities, and provide a freshly cooked hot meal.

Picture by Jonathan Sanchez on Unsplash.

Support a neighbour

Have you got a few hours to spare? Could you help someone who needs company or assistance with practical tasks?

Farnham Neighbours’ Network, a new buddying initiative, aims to build sustainable friendship in Farnham, fostering neighbourliness, providing practical support and combating loneliness.

This local network is looking for volunteers: people with good listening skills and an hour or so to spare each week who are interested in getting to know someone new . In the current lockdown, the focus is on supporting people and combatting loneliness through social phone calls, which means you can safely volunteer from home.

In the longer term, volunteers will be needed to support others with learning how to use a new piece of technology; to do some light DIY and gardening; to go for walks and more, in line with the ambition to have a network which supports the needs and wishes of the town’s residents.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer or simply finding our more. click on the link here or email the coordinator Erin Beesley: erin.beesley@farnhammaltings.com

The FNN coordinator links volunteers up with a neighbour based on proximity, interests and the support they are happy to give. All volunteers receive a DBS check and will be given full support to ensure they feel confident and safe in volunteering.

Farnham Neighbours Network is run by Farnham Maltings in partnership with Farnham Town Council.

Picture by  Ave Calvar on Unsplash.