Alan has been blogging about the Christian Faith. If you would like to see all his blog posts please click here.
The Diocese of Guildford has launched its first ever preaching competition for young people. Open to any young preachers with a connection to the diocese, the competition aims to encourage young people to give preaching a try, and to find creative ways in which we can hear the voices of young people.
The sponsor of the project, Bishop Jo Wells, the Bishop of Dorking, said: “I am delighted to launch ‘Young Preacher of the Year’ across the Diocese. It provides an opportunity for any young person aged 14 to 18 to have a go at preaching, and for others to discover budding preachers in their midst.
“Giving young people a voice and a very public platform is vital if we are to be ‘transforming church, and transform lives’ as we proclaim in our vision. If you are aged 14 to 18 and think this might be for you, we’d love you to enter. All are welcome to enter regardless of experience or qualification.”
The prize for the competition includes both a trophy and the opportunity to preach from the highest pulpit in the area (well above sea level anyway) – the one in Guildford Cathedral.
Entrants must be in school years 10-13 in September 2017 (aged 14-18). Entry is simple – just record yourself preaching for 3-4 minutes on your mobile phone and complete the short entry form on the competition website. More information here www.youngpreacheroftheyear.co.uk
Closing date for entries is 5th November 2017. For a poster to display in your church or school see www.youngpreacheroftheyear.co.uk/poster
To find out more about the Young Preacher of the Year competition, contact organiser David Welch, Diocesan Youth Adviser, by email to email@example.com
Hello, I’m your Parish Prayer Co-ordinator. Now, I bet you didn’t know we have a Prayer Co-ordinator and perhaps you are wondering what I have been doing all this time. Prayer underpins our lives and the life of our parish. It is the way we communicate with God and it is often an individual matter between you and God. It is certainly NOT the role of Prayer Co-ordinator to interfere in any way with your personal prayer with God.
We have run sessions introducing new ideas to reinvigorate your prayer-life and this is something we could develop. You may have seen pop-up displays in church with photos, artefacts and thought-provoking quotations. Or perhaps you have missed them … they are designed to be a momentary, fresh display to inspire prayer and help you to ponder theological questions during the week. There will be more. They are part of my role: I am passionate about finding ways to get people creatively thinking about prayer.
My latest target in the parish is the Prayer Boards we have in St George’s and St John’s. The aim is to take the prayers made via these boards and present them during the Sunday service. They will be brought to the altar and blessed at the same time as the collection (not read out loud). From there, they will be delivered to me as Prayer Co-ordinator and I will ensure that they are prayed from Thursday till the following Thursday. I believe this scheme will ensure that people’s prayers are prayed and honoured both on the Sunday at the main service and during the following week.
Obviously, if there is a particular pastoral issue, I will relay that to the ministry team. We will be trialling this scheme for three months, starting on 1 October.
If you have any ideas or concerns about this scheme, or the prayer-life of our parish generally, please let me know.
Lesley Shatwell (LLM)
Some thoughts from our curate, Hannah Moore, as she approached her priesting.
I had my call to ordained ministry twenty years ago. I had been recently married and was pursuing my teaching career. One Sunday as a knelt at the communion rail to receive communion I had a real sense of God saying, “Hannah one day you will do this.” My response was “oh okay” and then I put it to the back of my mind. I got on with starting a family, moving back to the UK from South Africa and setting up my own business.
Some fifteen years later, now with two children, I was approached by my local vicar and asked whether I had considered discerning a vocation to ordained ministry.
As he said it, I got butterflies in my tummy and felt electrified. The long forgotten memory from the altar rail came flooding back.
My circumstances twenty-three years ago were so different from today. Pursuing a calling to ordained ministry at that time would probably been easier as I only had myself and my husband to consider. I certainly would not have had to learn juggle as much as I have over the last few years – being a wife, a mother, my theological studies, closing a business, working in a church placement and starting my curacy.
However, I have to trust in God’s timing. He knew the right time for me to answer the call he had placed on my life, he understands the impact it has had on my family.
Not long after my ordination as a deacon last year, I was assisting at a funeral. I was walking in front of the coffin, leading the family to the graveyard when I had that “aha moment”. A sense of confirmation that I am doing what God wants me to do with my life. I was so excited in that moment that I wanted to do a Charlie Chaplin leap into the air but that would have been inappropriate, so I calmly lead the procession across the road.
The past year since my ordination as a deacon in the Church of England has been a time of learning and growing. I have been able to conduct funerals, baptisms and be involved in various other ministries in the Parish.
By being ordained a priest it will also give me the opportunity to journey with couples towards their wedding day. I am looking forward to performing my first wedding in August which should be a joyful occasion for everyone involved. As I continue my curacy as a priest I am looking forward to finding opportunities to engage with my local community on Sandy Hill and explore plans for extending the community engagement in St John’s Church in Hale.
I am excited and a bit nervous as I will be able to preside at communion. During a communion service the church remembers Jesus’ actions during the Last Supper. Jesus took bread and wine and shared it with his disciples, and he encourages us to continue to do this as we remember his death on the cross and his resurrection. I am looking forward to fulfilling a priestly role at the altar table which draws people closer to God as they remember Jesus actions at the Last Supper, his death and resurrection. In performing this role I believe I am fulfilling what was said to me all those years ago – “Hannah one day you will do this.”
I wanted to finish with a short reflection I have written since my ordination it is called:
I don’t know about you but I live in a world of “just about.”
I am “just about” on top of my housework.
I am “just about” at the bottom of the ironing pile.
I am “just about” doing all the mum things I need to do.
I am “just about” spending enough time with my husband to keep our relationship safe.
I “just about” manage a weekly catch up with my family.
I “just about” manage to see my pre-ordination friends.
I “just about” play golf weekly to do a bit of exercise.
I have “just about” enough time and energy I need to fulfil my role as a curate.
And then, there are those moments that are “just about” GOD.
Without these valuable “just about” moments…… all the other “just abouts” would be impossible.
Maybe you are “just about” doing what God wants you to do but maybe you are not. Maybe he is calling to something completely different – you will never know unless you push at the door.
Hello from Wendy Edwards
A very big thank you, to all of you at St. John’s, for your warm welcome to me since I started worshipping with you on February 19th, 2017. I look forward to worshipping at St. George’s and St. Mark’s over the summer and to gradually meeting you all.
I am approaching my final year of 4 years of training to be a Licensed Lay Minister and hope to be licensed in June 2018, God willing. I feel excited and grateful to Lesley and Alan that I am now joining the Ministry Team in the Parish of Badshot Lea and Hale.
I was born in Lincolnshire but we moved to Upper Weybourne Lane with my family in 1962 when I was 5 and we moved to Roman Way when I was 9. I attended primary and secondary schools in Farnham. I left home to live in Wimbledon when I was 18, worked in the law and taught Keep Fit classes and returned to Farnham recently, after 41 years away, to live in Oast House Crescent with my husband, Steve. We have 2 grown up children and a young grandson. We are very grateful to live in such a beautiful, peaceful location.
Sadly, my mum, Jean Parratt, died on my 59th birthday last October. She was known to many of you for her Museum on a Shoestring talks, her work on the Farnham Diary and at Farnham Museum and her 10 books about Farnham.
Through my grief, I have found it heart-warming to benefit from the high regard in which she was held by so many Farnham people. The unique legacy she has left the people of Farnham has buoyed us up immensely and it has helped me to feel seamlessly included in the Farnham community which she loved so much.
I was a bridesmaid twice at St. John’s for my late Uncle Francis when he married Auntie Sally in April 1966 and for my Auntie Margaret and Uncle Geoff. Here is a photo of me at their wedding (I am the dark haired 11-year-old bridesmaid) with my late sister, Debbie (the younger, blonde, bridesmaid) on 25th January 1969. I look a bit different now and don’t wear turquoise velvet much nowadays! I do look forward to chatting to you over coffee after a service in the coming months.
Best wishes, Wendy Edwards
At the Annual Church Meetings held on Sunday 30th April the following were elected:
Carol Le Page
Other Church Officers
Electoral Roll Officer
A date for your diary : Sunday 30th April at 6:30PM at St George’s Church Room. Come and join the celebration of all that is good and find out about aspects of life in our Parish with which you may not be too familiar. There will be cheese and wine to sustain you while you chat, look at photos and have fun. We have achieved so much in the last year and hope to do even more in the future. This will be followed at 7:30PM by the Annual Meetings.
We will be printing very few Annual Meeting booklets this year so please find it electronically here. Also, please find these documents by clicking on them:
And then the Bishop laid his hands on me….
The moment on the 3rd of July at my ordination when Bishop Andrew laid his hand on my head and asked God to “Send down the Holy Spirit on your servant Hannah for the office and work of a deacon in your Church” was the culmination of a journey of discernment towards ordination which began 20 years ago. This journey began at the altar rail in St Paul’s Anglican Chapel in Parkhurst, Johannesburg. On receiving communion one Sunday morning I had a sense that God was calling me to ordained ministry. I put it out of my mind to focus on my teaching career and having a family. About 6 years ago my then vicar, David Price, asked me if I had ever considered being ordained and that earlier prompting come flooding back.
The journey has intensified over the last three years during my formal training at St Mellitus Theological College. Training towards ordination is a process which is designed to stretch and grow you, it makes you feel incredibly vulnerable, it unpacks everything you believe and it puts you back together – hopefully stronger than before. It is a process which involves many hellos and a fair few goodbyes. It has meant moving and redefining who I am, how I see myself and how others see me.
From the Thursday before my ordination on the 3rd July, I was on a retreat with 12 other ordinands at St Columba’s House, Woking. The initial part of the retreat was at Charterhouse School Chapel to run through the ordination service. During this rehearsal, I had walked around in my cassock for the first time. I had butterflies in my tummy and it all felt slightly surreal.
After the rehearsal we headed off to the retreat house. The next 36 hours was to be in silence. It is amazing how quickly you develop into a community even in silence. You have to figure out how to attract someone’s attention if you want them to pass the salt and pepper. Humans have this built in desire to laugh and when you are in silence the silliest things, which under normal circumstance you might not notice, suddenly seem funny. One of the other ordinands is a Wine Sommelier and he conducted a wine tasting in silence but with lots of exaggerated sound effects which was very amusing.
My family maintained “radio silence” during the retreat and this was challenging because I missed them and also there was a realisation that this was something I had to do on my own with God. The three days of retreat were a blessed time with God that I spent reflecting on my journey to this point and looking forward with excitement and trepidation to the road ahead.
Waiting to be ordained evoked memories of the feelings of expectation I experienced before my children were born – I knew my life was about to change, I had been preparing for this moment but I had no idea what to expect and how much things would change. These feelings were intensified as we waved goodbye to the first group of Ordinands who set off for the 10am service.
I arrived at Charterhouse School Chapel at the same time as Michael, Rachael and Reuben but we had been told that we could only go and greet our families after the service so I had to wave to them across the field.
Whilst getting dressed in my cassock and surplice there was lots of huffing and puffing as I tried to calm my nerves! One last pit stop to the toilet before getting into the procession and then we were off. Whilst walking down the crowded aisle I picked out the faces of family and friends who had come to support me, I don’t think I stopped smiling.
Right up to the moment Bishop Andrew laid his hands on me, I expected a flood of tears, in fact I was even clutching a tissue, just in case. But this did not happen. Instead, I felt overwhelmed by a sense of God’s presence and a feeling of complete peace and calm.
Afterwards, being greeted by so many well wishers was incredible and the welcome the family and I have received in the Parish was wonderful.
Much later, once my close family had headed home, I sat on the settee and simply exhaled. I was brought back to earth with a bump as Rachael needed help with her homework, Mike needed some help tidying up the kitchen and Reuben needed to be encouraged into bed. This is what the next part of my journey in ordained ministry will be – balancing ministry and family life – something which all Moore family will be learning together.
On 25 June this year, I made promises to God and to Bishop Andrew. Promises such as declaring “my belief in the faith which is revealed in the Holy Scriptures”, my “obedience to the Bishop of Guildford … in all things lawful and honest”. I promised that I would “promote peace and unity” – that’s a big ask these days, I think I might have my work cut out on that one alone. And also I promised to be obedient “to the minister in whose cure I may serve” – that’s obedient to Alan and Lesley – but only provided that what they ask of me is lawful and honest. Heavy, solemn promises … crikey, what brought me to this point?
And people ask me, “What’s it like now you’re ‘done’?”.
Well, it’s been a long journey, for me and for all those who have supported, guided, helped and prayed for me. Thank you to you all – particularly Alan and Lesley and especially my poor, long-suffering husband Bob. Three years: 39 pieces of marked work (average 60% mark), Monday evenings over at Guildford, residentials, sermons, parish placement …
But what is it really like being “done”?
If I’m honest, I remember little of the day itself. The week before, I had finished my final assignment on the practical aspects of pastoral care, so all my coursework was done. Nothing left hanging over me, but through that week, I became more aware of a deep feeling which had started as unease, morphed through worry into a state of panic, tinged with excitement. Dear God, am I ready for all of this?
“You’ll be fine, no need to worry, it’s normal to get butterflies …” Yes, I’m sure it is all right for you. But this is me, I’m the first person ever in the whole world to feel apprehension – er well, maybe I exaggerate a bit … Actually, the most helpful comment I received during this time was from a lady at St John’s who assured me that already she could see the joy of God within me as I inhabited the role of minister. What a lovely thing to say, thank you.
So the great day finally came. The service was scheduled for 5.30 pm at St Peter’s, Farnborough. I and my fellow Licensed Lay Ministers-in-waiting had spent the day in shared, quiet study and preparation – by now, the butterflies had turned into giant pterodactyls and I was a bit shaky. Would Beki, my daughter make it, would Mum manage to get into the church in the wheelchair, would I stumble over the words in my reading or perhaps trip over my robes? Oh heck!
But then, we made our promises to Bishop Andrew and lined up to go into church for the service where we would be “done”. Waiting in the procession outside in the sunshine, I felt a huge sense of relief. I’d made it! Beki had arrived safely, Mum was carefully installed at the end of a row, I could almost quote the Old Testament reading I’d rehearsed it so much. My friends, family and supporters all ready to cheer me on and the sun shone. Now all I had to do was pledge my life to God.
Do you know the feeling, when so much is going on around you, you are caught up in the midst of it all and you simply go where you are told and do what you’re told? At times, the service felt a bit like that. But somewhere between the time outside when I had felt sense of relief and part way through the service when we sang “Bless the Lord, Oh my soul”, nervous anxiety had done a complete somersault into pure joy so I could “sing like never before …” There is such depth to God’s love and at times, very special times, we are able to catch a glimpse of God’s love at work in our lives.
“Done”? I’ve only just begun!
My name is Hannah Moore and in a few weeks time I will be moving into your Parish with my family to work and worship with you.
I was born in Bedfordshire, but at the age of five, I moved to South Africa with my parents and sister for a short work contract of two years. We ended up staying for 23 years. I met my husband, Michael, whilst at school and we have been married for 20 years. We have two children, Rachael and Reuben. Michael is a teacher and works at a secondary school in Fleet.
I qualified as a teacher and taught at a primary school before I had Rachael. I have also worked in the private sector on the planning and development of a Titanium mine. When we returned to England, I set up my own business in partnership with my sister and my mum running After School Craft clubs, which I did until I started my training for ministry.
Over the last three years, I have been studying at St Mellitus Theological College in London, as well as working for the Church on the Heath where I was training in ministry, and at All Saints Church in Fleet as a Children’s and Families worker.
When I am not working I love to watch sport. I am mad about cricket so enjoy watching England and I try to keep up with where Liverpool FC is in the Premier League table – not close enough to the top for my liking! I can also be seen out and about walking our two dogs (and the cats that often come as well.) I also love to relax with a good book or challenge myself with a jigsaw puzzle. Now that I have finished a very intense period of my academic studies I am looking forward to being a happy strummer on my guitar again.
Please continue to pray for my family as we prepare to move. Moving can be stressful, so I am keeping the words of my favourite Psalm in mind during this time as we sort out cupboards and say our goodbyes in Fleet., “I lift up my eyes to the hills from where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord” (Ps121).
Michael, Rachael, Reuben and I are really excited to be moving into your parish and getting to know you all.
**Hannah is being ordained at Charterhouse on 3rd July at 3pm – all welcome. All welcome to come back to St George’s straight afterwards for bring and share meal – at about 5:30pm.