Photos of the Arts at St Mark’s Festival

On the weekend of 20-22nd October St Mark’s held an Arts Festival, organised by the energetic and talented Bob and Lesley Shatwell. It consisted of an exhibition, concert, workshops, ceilidh and festival service… a mesmerising, colourful exuberant weekend celebrating art and the people of this parish. Here are some photos:

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Fun Parish Quiz Night

Another great ‘Fun Parish Quiz Night’ on Saturday the 7th of May held at St George’s –

A plethora of quizzers from the three churches and beyond gathered to wrack their brains from the topical to the obscure, searching the corners of their minds for the answers on topics from Europe to films, fact or myth, the Olympics and guessing and tasting crisp flavours. There were even chants for our quiz master to sing the answers to the music round, which he obliged, much to the audiences delight. There were lots of laughs with the quick fire final round, dressing in a hat, tie, gloves and glasses before the answer was given!

We want to say ‘Thank You’ to everyone who was a great sport and helped make the event so successful, even with a couple of seats to spare we still took almost £230 for church funds.

Here are some photos

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Carrie & Jason Grafham and Chris & Mat Brown

Have you visited St John’s this week?

“a wave of prayer …”

In our parish of Badshot Lea and Hale, in Surrey, we decided to answer the call to prayer with an art installation, featuring work from artists based in our parish or with a very strong connection to the parish.

From this initial thought, the idea took hold.  “I’ll make scones, it will give a real English summer’s day feel.”  “And jam, we must have lots of jam.”
“What sort of music do you want?  I’m sure the choir would like to sing …”

And so it continued until suddenly we had a full parish event!  We called upon artists aged between 6 and 92 to give their own interpretation of a phrase from the Lord’s Prayer and we have a wonderful, eclectic response.

After some nervous moments … would the art be ready?  Would anyone come?  Finally we opened our doors on Sunday 8 May.  And people came, viewed the exhibition, ate scones and listened to the music.
Here are some of their comments:
“Beautiful installation, thank you for all the work that has gone into this.  Inspiring”
“Great idea, great show – could they stay here?”
“It’s good to be reminded of the Lord’s Prayer at work in our lives.”

St John’s can seem quite a deserted place, but that day, I thought the church itself really came to life, got up and danced for joy.  The power of the Lord’s Prayer at work within our community.

And we are going to do it all again this weekend.

Lesley Shatwell
LLM (in training)

A Christmas Carol

There is something magical about a good story and there are few storytellers as good as Charles Dickens. When he published A Christmas Carol he wished that it would “haunt (our) houses pleasantly”, and that “no one (would) wish to lay it”. The power of his storytelling was that, 172 years later it is still haunting us most pleasantly and far from laying it, we call up its spirit again and again.

The magic of the tale kept an audience enthralled on the evening of December 5 at a one-man rendition given at St Mark’s Church in Hale, Farnham. To be fair, it was not just the tale that had us spellbound, it was the way it was told by Jonathan Jones, who is often seen around Farnham in his guise as Town Crier. On that Saturday he had cast off his green crier’s coat in favour of a red velvet jacket and sat comfortably in an armchair in front of the altar. From here, though he did not stay seated for long, he told us the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim, nephew Fred and the three Ghosts – Past, Present and Yet to Come.

It is a famous story which plays unashamedly with our emotions, and Jonathan drew on all its clever devices so much so that I actually found a tiny tear in my eye for dear Tiny Tim, and though I knew the ending well, I was still relieved when… spoiler alert… Scrooge saw the error of his ways.

All of this was told without a note, an impressive feat of memory and acting, with differing voices and even conversations between characters, all the more impressive given that Jonathan is not a professional actor.

After an interval during which mulled wine and homemade mince pies were served, Jonathan was back in his armchair with a set of Christmas poems and stories. He had done his research and gave us the background to poems such as The Night Before Christmas – originally A Visit from St. Nicholas, and written by the American Clement Clarke Moore in 1822. Not all the offerings were as schmaltzy as this one, not certainly the tale of Jabez Dawes, as told in Ogden Nash’s The Boy who Laughed at Santa Claus, nor the truly funny Twelve Days of Christmas by John Julius Norwich which details the rapidly declining romance of Edward and Emily.

The evening was held to raise money for another Emily, likewise in decline, this time Emily, the 103-year-old organ at St Mark’s which is in desperate need of a complete overhaul. The fundraising was clearly important, but what felt equally important was the community coming together for an evening of entertainment in a village venue that seems well suited to such events. I look forward to more soon.

Stella Wiseman

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Pictures by Lesley Shatwell and David M Moore, courtesy of Farnham Herald