Friday, 29 July 2011

All Weather Walkers - Lower Froyle & Bentley

StPaulsCamberleyWalkingGroupInBentley

Wet Weather in Bentley

Words: Graham Le Clercq. Picture: Nick Mitchell

On Sat 16 July, the St Paul’s Fine Weather Walkers set off on a trip that Noah might have thought twice about, after so much rain, led on by Hugh Payne, the walk leader. Graham Le Clercq sets the scene….

This was a day to dispel any possible rumours that Fine Weather Walkers don't walk in the rain; well 11 of us anyway. In fact by the end we could have provided some useful gear test reports.

The village of Bentley, about 4 miles south west of Farnham, is where our walk started and finished. It has not changed greatly over the years still retaining it's post office. It is surrounded by mainly arable farmland. In recent years Bentley received considerable media attention through “The Village” programme which was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 followed by several TV series.

As Hugh Payne, our walk leader, led us out of the recreation ground it was hard not to feel sorry for the locals preparing for the annual fete, particularly knowing the bad forecast.

We joined the St. Swithun's Way for the short stretch to the church then continued north through a lovely arcade of trees and uphill on our first farmland footpath then lane to reach the ancient Harrow Way, old even to the Saxons. We followed this west, dipping in and out of woodland, before turning south towards Lower Froyle as the rain intensified. There was a good view of the village as we descended towards the welcome shelter of some trees for our midway break.

Field paths that were until recently just dust had now heavily muddied our boots. We shared relief at being able to lose this unwanted weight in the long grass of a field and running water of a lane on the approach to Lower Froyle. This relief was short lived as climbing the muddy path to the ridge on Saintbury Hill gave us time to realise that this process was going to be repeated again and again. The view from the ridge was good though in spite of the rain. Heading down the other side and several changes of direction later we reconnected to the St. Swithun's Way for the fairly flat mile or so back to the cars.

Changing in the rain was great fun before heading off to The Halfway House at Bucks Horn Oak for an enjoyable relaxing hot lunch.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Indiana Jones & the Making of the Ark of the Covenant

StPaulsCamberleyArkTablets1Making of the Ark Service

A touch of Indiana Jones came to St Paul’s, in Camberley, as we were transported back in time to 1480 BC to experience life as an Israelite. St Paul’s remodelled the church for the occasion, to house a replica, life sized, Ark of the Covenant - the biblical chest built by the Israelites, to contain the Ten Commandments etched on Tablets of Stone. .

People were given a real experience of what it would have been like to enter the most holy place on earth, as they were invited into the tabernacle, past the temple guards. Ancient music played, and the smell of incense was in the air. A golden lampstand and altar completed the transformation, as people were taken on a journey exploring the “Making of the Ark”, in two interactive services on Sunday 17 July.

Service leader Geoff Andrew was interviewed by BBC Radio Surrey before the service, and says: “It’s a wonderful vehicle for showing how sacrifice and cleanliness was so important then, and how the people really feared and respected and were in awe of God. We even had a stuffed cuddly lamb we pretended to sacrifice.”

Anyone familiar with the Indiana Jones movies will know about the mystery surrounding the whereabouts of the Lost Ark. But not many people know what the Ark of the Covenant actually was, who made it and why it was so important to the Israelites in Biblical times. The Ark has inspired everyone from Dan Brown to Steven Spielberg, making the film “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. The ‘hands on’ service explored why the Ark was so special and why thousands of years later it still sparks stories, adventures and discussion.

I interviewed Hannah, David and Shirley after the service, to capture their reactions to this spectacular. You can hear what they had to say by pressing play.

So what did you think about today"s Ark of the Covenant interactive service? (mp3)

Monday, 18 July 2011

Rev Claire does Egypt for Mencap

Claire Isherwood  on the Mencap Nile Bike Ride. Talking to some Egyptian Children she met at a water stop in Feb 2000

Claire in Egypt on a 500km cycle in aid of Mencap

We’ve blogged already about our Iron Man Curate, our Helmand Padre and Vicar, and our Youth Director’s experience in China. So we thought it was about time we covered the other members of the team at St Paul’s. This week, I interviewed Rev Claire ‘Cycle Egypt’ Isherwood (Assistant Curate), to find about the charity cycle ride she did for Mencap in 2000.

Do you have time for hobbies and interests?  

There's not much time for these, but I do love being outdoors.  We have a large garden I enjoy looking after, I love walking the dog, and camping and have even taken up jogging in the last couple of years.  Quieter moments give me time for reading and spending time with family and friends, which is very important to me. 

Tell me about the charity bike ride you did in Egypt, how did you get involved?

Claire Isherwood finishing the longest day (25 miles) of the Mencap Nile Bike Ride At the time I was a teacher, and had a child who had been diagnosed with Down's Syndrome in my class. Mencap, the charity for people with learning disabilities, was a good cause, and I wanted to do something I had never done before.

The ride took one week, and I cycled 500km, with 114 strangers, and my brother (who took no notice of me!). I raised £3000 for the charity. Raising the sponsorship was the hard part.

 

 

Map of Egypt - Courtesty of Sun International Tourism The route started in Luxor, and headed down the west bank of the Nile through the desert and the rice fields. Then crossed over the river, and cycled up to the Aswan dam. Back up the east bank to Luxor, ending up on the final day cycling up to the Valley of the Kings, finishing at the Nile bank. I felt saddle sore, but elated at the end of the ride.

Did you come away a different person in some way?

Yes.  I came to realise that it wasn't about finishing each day up with the main body of the pack, but it was about cycling at the back with those who were fighting the weakness of their bodies to get through to the end, and keeping going even when they were all in and were suffering from the dreaded Nile runs.  I was humbled by their strength and courage, and filled with an awareness of the privilege of being able to help and encourage them, along with others who chose to remain at the back for the same reasons.

Would you do it again?

Might do!  The memory of the aches and pains has probably faded sufficiently by now.  At the moment I make do with sometimes cycling up Church Hill  to get to St Paul's!

Next time, we chat more about Claire’s family, her role at St Paul’s, and what makes her tick.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Ark of the Covenant – The Service

Ark - by Michael Reeve used under Creative Commons License

A touch of Indiana Jones is coming to St Paul’s, in Camberley in the form of a replica, life sized, Ark of the Covenant - the biblical chest built by the Israelites, to contain the Ten Commandments etched on Tablets of Stone.

St Paul’s are remodelling the church for the occasion, setting up the Ark in a Tabernacle, guarded by Temple guards.  A golden lampstand and altar will complete the transformation, as the “Making of the Ark” is explored, in the interactive services on Sunday 17 July, at 9.30am and 11.15am.

Rev Graham Shaw says: "Anyone  familiar with the Indiana Jones movies will know about the mystery surrounding the whereabouts of the Lost Ark. But not many people know what the Ark of the Covenant actually was, who made it and why it was so important to the Israelites in Biblical times. We want to invite everyone to come and find out more on July 17. We're planning a really interactive service that will bring the true story of the Ark to life, with lots of opportunity to explore the artefact’s and discover what life was like for the Israelites around 1480 BC."

The Ark of the Covenant has inspired everyone from Dan Brown to Steven Spielberg, making the film “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. The ‘hands on’ service will take a look at why the Ark is so special and why thousands of years later it still sparks stories, adventures and discussion.

The Ark of the Convenant inspired Steven Spielberg

Want to know more? Tune in the local BBC radio on Sunday 17 July at 7.20am, and hear Geoff Andrew on the Faith programme.