Sunday, 29 May 2011

Divinely Blessed – The Feedback

“Thank you so much.  I really enjoyed myself”

Divinely Blessed held on Tuesday 24 May was an amazing evening to focus on the blessings in all our lives. We welcomed around 150 ladies (plus helpers) and managed to get through all the 1250 canapés and about 280 cupcakes, plus a little retail therapy.

Sharon Dirckx Our speaker Sharon Dirckx (a scientist with a PhD in brain imaging from Cambridge University, and also a Christian) spoke on what it is to be 'Divinely Blessed'. This included what our culture says is a blessing (family, health, wealth, material items) and also what other religions see as blessings.You can listen to more talks from Sharon here.

Victoria, Jenny and Nikki, from St Paul’s, told their stories about the blessings they have experienced in their lives. 

Everything went exactly as planned and we couldn’t have asked for a more successful evening!

“I am just home from Divinely Blessed and wanted to write to thank you so much for a really fabulous evening.  Wow!  It was all so polished and beautiful.  I felt so proud that St Paul's was my church and that we are able to put on such fabulous things.”

“Thank you so much.  I really enjoyed myself - please let me know about the one next year as I'd love to come again.”

“A friend I brought who is a non believer was massively impressed by Victoria and really wants to go on her marriage course.”

“My friends enjoyed hanging their shapes on the blessing tree and there was a lot of chat about the obvious love shown by our church family during people's trials and tribulations.

Cupcake

“My friends from work said that they found the testimonies really moving.”

“I LOVED the cupcakes!”

“I gave my neighbour a lift home and she was so touched by the evening and the highlight was the talk which she said was everything she needed to hear.  She is planning to come and try out house group next week.”

So, even just a few days later we have had some great feedback and it has encouraged us to start thinking about next year already! 

Sharon, Annie and Samantha

“Sharon with Annie and Samantha from the Divinely Team”

Annie Hunt (Divinely Team) xx

Cocktail

Friday, 27 May 2011

Sows of Selborne – Walk on

Sow of Selborne with 9 pigletsWords by: Mike Fugeman  Pictures by: Jane Orr

“meeting on the way a sow and her litter of 9 recently born piglets. “

Under the once again excellent leadership of Graham Le Clercq, a group of 13 of us left St Paul’s at 8:30am on Saturday 21 May and headed south to Selborne in Hampshire.

Magnificent views On what turned out to be an absolutely glorious day, we set off from the National Trust car park in Selborne on our 7.3 mile journey and headed up the famous zig-zag path [cut into the hillside in the 1760’s by Gilbert White and his brother John, to provide easier access to the Hanger and Selborne Common - ed] to cross Selborne Common [designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest and Special Area of Conservation - ed] with magnificent views across rural Hampshire.

Having passed through Newton Valence [famous for Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas D'Oyly Snow, who commanded many of the major battles in the first world war -ed], a short refreshment break was taken in the grounds of Upper Farringdon church before yet another wonderful set of views of quintessential English countryside on our way back to Selborne, meeting on the way a sow and her litter of 9 recently born piglets.

Three Horseshoes in East Worldham Lunch was taken in the Three Horseshoes in nearby East Worldham where a welcoming pint of London Pride accompanied a good lunch with prompt service from the staff.

 

 

The next walks are scheduled for Saturday 16th July and 20th August.

The St Paul’s walking group is open for all to join in the local area. You don’t have to be a member of St Paul’s. For more information on the walking group, and other walks done, take a look at some of their blog posts here.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Divinely Blessed – Canapés, Cocktails and Shopping

Divinely Blessed

“A ladies only evening to simply enjoy yourself”

DivinelyBlessedCaption 

Divinely Blessed promises to be a real blessing to the girls of Camberley. Divinely is an annual event for the ladies of Camberley, hosted by St Paul’s ladies. This years theme is “Divinely Blessed”, and is an opportunity for non-Christians and Christians alike to share blessings and explore how we can find blessings in our everyday lives, in a relaxed girly environment. Canapés, cocktails and a retail room featuring clothes, jewellery, food, art and glassware, are among some of the attractions on offer, on Tuesday 24th May at 7.30pm at St Paul’s.

One of the organisers, Annie Hunt says: “We like to create events where God can touch people with His love. This is a celebration of womanhood”. The team hope to show that Christians aren’t stuffy or boring, and can let their hair down and have fun!

Ulrike Carl, also on the Divinely team was keen to point out this event was not about selling people Christianity. She says: ”God is with us always, and will be with everyone. I think ladies will find out we are all together at the Divinely evening as women, to have a nice time, and feel comfortable”.

Previous Divinely’s have been a sell out. They include; Beautiful, Loved, Peaceful, Gifted, and Undressed.

Cup Cakes - not necessarily the ones at Divinely Blessed! Some interesting Divinely Blessed facts and figures

  • 250 tickets 
  • 400 cocktails
  • 1250 canapés
  • 300 cupcakes
  • Last year we had 300 ice cream tubs for the interval in Divinely Undressed

Listen to more about Divinely Blessed from the team themselves.

Listen!

Entry is by ticket only, due to the size of the venue. Tickets are free, but a suggested donation of £5 would be welcomed to cover costs. Please contact Annie on 07884 435130 or anniehunt19 at gmail dot com (replace at with the @ sign and dot with .) for more details, and to book.

DivinelySun

Friday, 6 May 2011

Easter in Helmand

image

“An Easter service with the Commando Gunners in Helmand”

Reverend Mark Chester is the Vicar of St Paul’s Camberley who has been mobilised as a Territorial Army Chaplain to serve with 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery in Afghanistan. This is his account of how he spent Easter this year.

Easter has been different for me this year. I suppose Easter is always different as the great truths of hope and eternal life through the resurrected Jesus seem subtly changed as we pass though various stages of life and experience. But Easter has really been different for me this year.

Ten days before Easter Day, I arrived in Helmand, Afghanistan as Padre to the Royal Artillery who are serving throughout the province as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). After the normal intensive induction course bringing me up to date with the latest campaign developments, I found time to be part of the small congregation celebrating Maundy Thursday and Good Friday in the tent which acts as one of the chapels in the base – celebrations not dissimilar to those taking place in many churches in the UK.

But Easter Saturday was different. The day on which we recall Christ’s descent to the world of the dead and ‘the harrowing of hell’; the day which for the first disciples was arguably the blackest in their lives, was marked at Camp Bastion by a vigil for a soldier killed in action. As the day drew to a close, some 3,000 soldiers stood in silence to remember Captain Lisa Head a bomb disposal officer fatally wounded whilst clearing roadside bombs. A young life caught in an act of violence ending in the apparent finality of death echoing something of the experience of Jesus. This was my first, and I would like to think, last vigil of my time in Helmand. A profoundly moving experience upon which I continue to reflect.

Easter Sunday was a new day and as the temperature climbed into the high 30s I was taken by armoured vehicle to a forward base. We passed through villages, deprived even by Afghan standards, which apart from the arrival of the motor car have probably changed little in the last 2,000 years. Easter was celebrated by word, sacrament and some ragged hymn singing, literally on a hill outside a city wall. This particular hill was surrounded by barbed wire and other fortifications enclosing an area about 200 x 200 metres where a contingent of gunners and a larger number of their Afghan Army colleagues would spend six months or more of their lives. We affirmed the truth that no matter how difficult the circumstances, how black the darkness and how deep the failure, there is always the hope of new life and new beginnings in the resurrection to eternal life of Christ Jesus.

In the Church of England, Easter Monday is traditionally a time for rest and recuperation – not so in Helmand. A visit to get to know the local Afghan troops included an opportunity to talk, though an interpreter, with a local Mullah. He was unfailingly polite and charming, and quickly initiated a robust denial of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ Jesus. At the close of a tiring and educative hour long exchange, I considered afresh what it might have been like the disciples in that first Easter week. Some had met the risen Jesus and believed. Others had not and were perhaps just as fervent as the Mullah in their denial of the resurrection – a position changed when they too encountered their risen Lord.

I am at the beginning of my tour of duty. Impressions are fresh and vivid. Reflections are as yet immature. I can only guess at what the next few months have in store. As I minister and pray for the spiritual and physical safety of the soldiers committed to my care, I remain confident in the Easter hope that nothing will be able to separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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“Padre Mark travels to church on Easter Sunday”

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Fernhurst Easter Walk

Bluebell wood“Bluebells, Noah’s Ark and Lurgashall Winery”

Hazel Bradbury writes about her first walk with the St Paul’s Walking group on Easter Bank Holiday Monday 25th April.

This was our first time with St. Paul’s Walking group and we were a little unsure as to how we would cope with a 7 to 8 mile walk as we hadn’t walked this distance before.

We set out on Easter Monday morning driving to Fernhurst in West Sussex, where we started our walk. The village is surrounded by hills. According to Wikipedia these include Telegraph Hill 676 feet (206 m), Marley Heights 700 feet (210 m), Bexley Hill 600 feet (180 m), Fridays Hill 675 feet (206 m) and the highest hill in Sussex, Blackdown 919 feet (280 m) to the northeast.

The countryside is so beautiful around Fernhurst and the show of bluebells we found every time we passed through woodland was spectacular. We were more than ready for our sandwiches by the time we got to the picturesque village green at Lurgashall, where we sat under a tree in the shade with a cool beer from the Noah’s Ark pub – perfect!

Noah's Ark Pub, Lurgashall

After lunch we set off again feeling refreshed and visited the famous Lurgashall Winery on the way home (where they say you can enjoy a true 'Taste of England'). Stopping off we sampled their wares, and enjoyed a a nice cup of tea. By the time we got back to our cars those miles had flown by. The weather had been glorious all day. The countryside was stunning and the company was excellent. What more could anyone want.

What a wonderful day!

 Members of the St Paul's Walking GroupFor more information on the walking group, and other walks done, take a look at some of their other blog posts here.