Welcome to our Website
Following advice from the Government and the Archbishop of Canterbury, we regret to inform you that all services, groups, concerts and activities at St Andrew's and St Francis are now suspended until further notice and the Churches are closed.
If you would welcome pastoral or practical support from the Church over the coming weeks, please contact the Parish Office on 01252 715412 or email email@example.com. If you are able and willing to support others over the phone during this time, please do also let us know.
Please note that the Parish Office is now closed, but emails and phone calls will be checked at regular intervals
We do hope you will join us for our 10am service each Sunday morning on Facebook and YouTube:
To view, click on the Facebook or YouTube links below:
To join one of our Zoom Services, the code is 599 647 1397
Dear Church Family friends,
Having taken a few days off for half-term, turned the computer off, and begun to explore the town-wide walks from our front door, I am writing to you once again. We are so blessed to have such beautiful countryside so close and so accessible. The North Downs Way (we’ve seen the sign at Hickley’s Corner very many times, of course) and the fields behind the university towards Crondall have been a complete revelation and a real joy.
At the same time, I am conscious that the effects of isolation, and the separation from people and the normal routine are, for some, increasingly hard to bear. In the last 14 days, I have taken two Covid-related funerals and an emergency wedding for a family where one of the relatives is terminally ill.
Hopefully, there will be some further news of other unlockings before too long. Noone envies those who have responsibility for the decisions between wealth and health, getting the economy going and keeping people safe. We can and should pray for our MPs: that they get this balance right and we do not descend into another, and possibly deeper, wave of Covid 19.
Our Graffiti Wall, open in the church porch, is now practically full of words and pictures, encouragements and message of hope. Do stop by if you are passing this way.
Do, please, also continue sending in your contributions to the Corona Creative! patchwork. The technical instructions are included in previous letters which you can find on the website. Any queries, please contact the Parish Office 01252 715412 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Lockdown Gallery, on our website and Facebook, it includes photographs, artwork and poetry. It runs as a slide show. Enjoy!
Josey’s Half-Term Activity Pack, sent to children and families has proved a great hit, with little figures of Jesus appearing all over the place.
The Community Leaders drew our attention to the Farnham Hygiene Bank. Please, if you are passing the church porch, could you deliver any of the following, which will be passed on to the HB: toothbrushes and paste, soaps, deodorants, shower gels, nappies and baby wipes. Many thanks to all those who have contributed to this already so generously.
The Farnham Coronavirus Support Fund has been able to help a number of people with short-term practical needs. Referrals can be made to it by us. If you know anyone you think might benefit, please do let us know.
Our weekly diary of things is taking shape:
Sunday: Morning Service at 10am on YouTube or Facebook
Evening Service at 6.30pm on Zoom
Monday: Morning Prayers at 8.30am on Zoom
Wednesday: Breathe Coffee and Catch up at 10am on Zoom
Thursday: Youth Group at 7pm on Zoom
On a personal level, Kathryn, Josh and I have been enjoying cooking: exploring exciting new marinades for BBQ food and veggie options for meals. “Saturday Soup” has become a regular feature of life in lockdown. We have also been aware of the continuing challenge of furlough and the options facing teachers, seeking to help Year 10 children re-engage with their learning in a live (rather than virtual) way, before they start their GCSE year proper later in the year. YouTube continues to surprise and delight. Anything by VOCES8 has been a real treat. Why not check them out?
I offer some words from Acts 2, where Luke writes this:
2 When the day of Pentecost came, all the believers were gathered together in one place. 2 Suddenly there was a noise from the sky which sounded like a strong wind blowing, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then they saw what looked like tongues of fire which spread out and touched each person there. 4 They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk in other languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak.
The three physical manifestations of the presence of God are remarkable.
The sound of a strong wind reminds us of the power of God; and that even in these times of disappointment and despair, the power of God is all around us and evident. We may not call it that but we could include: the skill of the wonderful people in the NHS who are tending for the sick and dying; the neighbourhoods which have come to life in conversation and practical help; the creative use of music and art to lift our spirits and bring us joy.
The tongues of fire remind us of the purifying and cleansing of God, to speak and to live life well. We know how all too readily a word spoken out of turn, misinterpreted or misunderstood can have a devastating impact. Words of praise, however, can build up and restore. Telling the truth, being straightforward, calling a spade a spade, might be tough to experience sometimes or to have to do; but not doing these things can lead to fabrication and fiction on a grand scale, which can in itself have catastrophic effects.
The talking in other languages reminds us that God is the God of all the world. The creator and sustainer of all that is holds the whole world in his hand, not just the parts we are familiar with or those people who are very much like us. Being part of an international church family is both a privilege and a responsibility. Remembering to pray for those less fortunate than we are, is a daily opportunity and gift.
One of the most moving pieces I have seen and heard recently is on YouTube at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6JfcFhs9Y8
It is sung by VOCES8 and is called Sing Joyfully, by William Byrd. The words are taken from Psalm 81:1-4. This wonderful offering is all the more poignant at the present time: not only are the churches still closed to us but even when they open again, we may not be able to sing at first. Just press control, click and enjoy.
Kathryn joins me in assuring you of our continuing thoughts and prayers.
With all good wishes.
David 3 June 2020