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Dear Church Family friends, 

Happy New Year! I do hope you have had a good Christmas and something of a holiday break. After a very busy and hectic December, we had a wonderful time over Christmas: excellent and well-attended services, many guests and visitors and time with our family to relax and catch up.

Now we arrive in January with the dark days and regular rain … not a great start to 2023!

Our Sunday programme for January and February is set out below. Each Sunday at 10am our service is “live-streamed” on YouTube; and a recording of it may be viewed at 10am or later on in the day. It is still very encouraging to have new people continuing to join our church family: checking in or checking us out!! And between 20 and 30 people join us on-line most weeks. God is good!

Sunday 1 January                  

10am           Morning Service

Sunday 8 January

8am             Holy Communion

10am           Morning Service with groups for primary school aged children

11.30am     Morning Service at St Francis’

5pm             Evening Service

Sunday 15 January

8am             Holy Communion

10am           Morning Service with groups for primary school aged children

5pm             Evening Service

Sunday 22 January

10am           Morning Service with groups for primary school aged children

5pm             Evening Service

Sunday 29 January

10am           Morning Service with groups for primary school aged children

5pm             Evening Service

Sunday 5 February

8am             Holy Communion

10am           Café Style Morning Service for all ages

3pm             Lego Church – especially for families and children

5pm             Evening Service

 Sunday 12  February

10am           Morning Service with groups for primary school aged children

5pm             Evening Service

Sunday 19 February

8am             Holy Communion

10am           Morning Service with groups for primary school aged children

5pm             Evening Service

Sunday 26 February

10am           Morning Service with groups for primary school aged children

                      Guest speaker: The Revd Richard Lloyd

5pm             Evening Service

 

Coming up …

Tues 10 January            1pm             Organ Recital – refreshments from 12.30pm

Sat 28 January               6pm            Pre-Theatre Supper £5.00

                                        7.30pm           Talking Heads with John Lofthouse £10.00

                                                                     Please book via the office.

Tues 14 February          1pm             Organ Recital – refreshments from 12.30pm

 Wed 22 February           7.30pm        Ash Wednesday Service

 

During January we have been focussing on vision: our vision of Jesus and our vision of his work for us in our church family and community.

Vision is generally defined as a dissatisfaction with the present situation and a desire for a different preferred future. We have looked at the vision of Jesus, being baptised by his cousin John and hearing the words of affirmation and encouragement from his heavenly Father: “This is my Son with whom I am well pleased.”

Our vision is neatly summed up in our statement: Loving God. Living faith. Serving Community. And is expressed in the many services, activities and events that make up our community life together.

In a recent sermon I set these out:

Loving God: Worship of the living God and learning more about him

Here are just some of the features of Sunday and of things happening on other days in the week … under the umbrella of our Loving God theme:

  • We have moved back into the Lady Chapel for our 8am services
  • We have moved our 6.30pm service to 5pm to make it more attractive and accessible in the winter months
  • We have introduced Lego Church to our programme to invite and engage families with children on a Sunday afternoon
  • We are moving Kids Alive down from St Francis to St Andrew’s as the request of the families – to see if we can grow the group and welcome more families to our after-school provision
  • We are planning a School of Theology – a more in-depth look at aspects of our faith in a programme we can offer to the town
  • We will have a series of Lent Groups, looking at aspects of our Christian faith
  • We are planning an “Easter Experience” to attract the children from our local schools
  • We are commending an app called “Lectio 365” to help us in our daily prayer and bible reading
  • At the same time, we are expanding the list of people who help and serve us in leading worship and preaching, looking for training opportunities for them to grow in experience and confidence

Living Faith: this leads to examples of practical caring for those in need, in the name of his Son

  • We distributed 10 bags of “extras” for individuals and families at Christmas, just to help those who might find the cost of living increases a challenge.
  • We are actively involved with families enquiring about baptisms, weddings and funerals. Offering a listening ear and practical help.
  • Each week, our Breathe group welcomes new people and the established group has got creative with banner-making and design.
  • The new fish installation which is a rescue mission from its original home at Farnham Hospital is a good example of this group’s making things new and embracing innovation.
  • Not only do people who can’t get to church watch us on YouTube, they also might receive communion at home or in their residential care home situations.

Here are examples of sacrificial kindness and reaching out to our local community (family, friends and neighbours) as an expression of the good news we have found for ourselves.

And finally, our Serving Community theme finds expression in a number of different ways:

  • Offering regular Organ Recitals and Concert programmes at St Andrew’s.
  • Using the hall at St Francis for support groups of different kinds.
  • Hosting a significant Ukrainian congregation at St Francis.
  • Hosting Remembrance Day and Christmas Carols for the town in the open-air and in St Andrew’s Church.
  • Our work with our two Church schools, which includes assemblies, services in Church, Christingle services for Year 5s, being part of the Faith Team and giving talks and RE lessons to support curriculum learning
  • Arranging invitation events like the Magic Night last year or Talking Heads, coming up later this month might be obvious ones.
  • But even the regular ones like
  • Kids Alive
  • Youth Group
  • Women’s Breakfast
  • Men @ Pub
  • Come Dine with Me

have a mission edge to them.

I set these out simply to remind myself and indeed all of us of the many aspects of our shared life together which we can either take for granted or forget or just not know about. The list is not exhaustive, but it does help us to see what we can be thankful for and the areas of church life, in particular, for which we can pray. Someone once said: “vision leaks”. In other words, we do forget things from time to time and we do all need reminding, me included!

And finally … What a catch! You will see some fish have arrived in church, as an artistic installation. These fish (Aerial Aquarium) were originally designed for Farnham Hospital. They were needing to be rehoused due to health and safety issues. We have, therefore, been delighted to move them to the parish church in the centre of town, clean and restore them and relocate them in the church dedicated to St Andrew, the fisherman! We hope you will enjoy seeing them here. Many thanks to all those who made this possible.

Kathryn joins me in wishing you well and assuring you of our prayers.

With all good wishes, as ever, David                                                              1 January 2023

 

Our Parish is committed to following the Safeguarding Policies of the Church of England to keep children and vulnerable adults safe from harm.

Concerns of any sort should be reported to The Rector, The Revd. H. David Uffindell (01252 710129), or our Parish Safeguarding Officer, Sanchia Vinall (01252 715412).

The Diocesan Safeguarding Advisor is Jackie Broadfoot (07918 559387)

To view the Church of England Policy Statement ‘Promoting a Safer Church’

click here