Church Blog
News, Updates, Thoughts

The latest news, updates, and thoughts from the team at St Mary's.

Isaiah 40:1-11

The beginning of February brings longer and warmer days. With it, we celebrate St Valentine’s Day. With four teenagers in the house, we wonder will any secret admirers be brave and send a card? A gesture of admiration is thoughtful and sweet but how do you determine if someone really loves you? Does someone love you because they send you a card, or a box of chocolates? Or do you determine they love you because they’ve listened to you, taken notice and remembered what you have said; maybe they’ve worked out your favourite colour for example, and let you know they know! Is it in the giving, or in the detail of their knowledge of you? And how do you show your loved one that you love them? Do you send a card, a gift, or do you listen carefully and know details about them?

I recall reading about love languages a few years ago. It emphasized that individuals express and appreciate love through various means. It suggested that the most effective way to demonstrate love is by acknowledging how someone expresses their love to you and reciprocating in kind, as it aligns with their preferred way of receiving affection. This could be by spending quality time together, giving gifts, giving compliments, offering hugs, or assisting with tasks.

God loves us! With God, it’s in the details- he knows us by name but more than that, he knows the number of hairs on our head! But he also gives; he gives again and again, showing his grace and mercy to us, when we really don’t deserve it.

But what if you’re not in a season of love? What if right now, Valentine’s Day seems like a day of misery lurking around the corner, been there, done that, worn the t-shirt and got burnt fingers? Or perhaps you feel that you erred in the wrong direction a bit too far and although you’ve heard that God is a God of second chances, and third and fourth and so on, that you have run out of chances. Here’s the surprise: there are no limits to the number of chances. No matter what you have done, how far you have gone, God is still and will always be calling you back into relationship with him and each other. He loves you, he forgives you, he will protect you and never forsake you.

Does he correct? Yes, as a good father would. Just the other day, I saw a father grab his young child as she was about to step out onto the road in front of a car. His first reaction was to shout at his daughter never to cross the road without checking for cars, which was then immediately followed by a hug of overflowing love and relief that she was okay. God’s correction is there to keep us safe because he loves us and doesn’t want us to get hurt or hurt others.

But will God really forgive me? A couple of nights ago, I lit a lavender scented candle. Not having spotted it, my youngest son walked in the room, smelled the air and stated, “mmm, I can small lavender!” Moments later my middle son walked in and said, “why can I smell that bush?” (close but not so accurate). And then, my eldest son walked in and said, “what’s that smell?” I’m not sure if this says more about the ages of my sons than it does their memories, but it appeared they had remembered the smell at different levels of recognition. In the same way we may

have different levels of understanding or recognition of God’s forgiveness. Does God really forgive me, will he really show mercy? Yes, we need to remember the God who delivered the Israelites out of Egypt. It’s the same God of our ancestors! He’s done it before, he’ll do it again!

Regardless of how you communicate your affections this Valentine’s Day, keep in mind the love of God- the God who knows you by name, the God who corrects to protect, the God of the second and third and fourth chances. The God who welcomes you back with open arms. The God whose love language is that of a contrite heart.

God loves you so much! He’s calling you back!

Advert for Creation CafeOn Monday 19th February we are launching a weekly pop-up Cafe, which we are calling the "Creation Cafe". It will run most Mondays 2-5pm from the Church Hall at the back of St. Mary's Church, and be clearly signposted from Church Lane. We hope to provide drinks and cakes to those who may be walking in the area, those who like to share their love of crafts, and anyone in the community who just wants some company in a warm, friendly environment.

St. Mary's is a beautiful church, with historic links to literary and artistic figures, set alongside footpaths that lead through Bramshill Forest. The historic Redwoods both in the churchyard, and on The Mount opposite were planted from seed collected by Rev'd Charles Kingsley (author of 'The Water Babies') a past Rector of Eversley. He was also a knowledgeable naturalist, and the churchyards, lanes, woods and skies around St. Mary's are alive with a variety of wildlife, which in due season include Snowdrops and Bluebells, at least 8 species of butterfly, Red Kite and Buzzard, and various species of dragonfly.

As we enter the 300th year of St. Mary's as a building, in the form it currently exists, we are delighted to expand the welcome we are able to offer to locals and visitors alike through this informal, volunteer-led, community space. We look forward to welcoming you, whether you bring your muddy boots, well-behaved dogs, a craft project or just want to enjoy this beautiful place.

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’” Luke 10v27.

Putting aside a week to pray as a benefice is a great way to start the year. As we pray together, our focus will be on Luke 10 v27.
In particular we pray that we will:

  • Love God with all our heart, as shown through our worship, our prayer life and how we look to follow where he is leading us.
  • Love each other through our support and care for everyone in our church family.
  • Love our communities through practical support and a desire to share the love of Jesus.

There are a wide variety of events planned during the week. Please put them in your diary and join us in person or on-line.

Monday 8th Jan 

  • 9.00am On-line prayer
  • 9:30am In person prayer at St Mary’s 
  • 12noon Lunch and prayer at St Barnabas

Tuesday 9th Jan

  • 9:30am In person prayer at St Barnabas 

Wednesday 10th Jan

  • 9:30am In person prayer at St Mary’s 
  • 10.00am On-line prayer
  • 12noon Lunch and prayer at St Mary’s

Thursday 11th Jan

  • 9:30m In person prayer at St Barnabas 
  • 4pm “Prayer and Waiting on God” at St Barnabas

Friday 12th Jan

  • 9:30am In person prayer at St Mary’s 
  • 10.00am On-line Prayer

Saturday 13th Jan

  • 9.30am Breakfast and Creative prayer for all ages at St  Barnabas 
  • 2.00pm Church open for private prayer at St Mary’s 

Sunday 14th Jan 

  • 6.00pm Revive - worship and prayer evening at St Barnabas

St Mary's Christmas Banner

Friday 8th December

Sunday 10th December

Sunday 17th December

Sunday 24th December

Christmas Day 25th December

Do join us this Christmas!

It suddenly seems as if Christmas is about to begin. By the time you read this we will have switched on the Christmas lights at Darby Green and next Friday 1st December, is Charles Kingsley’s school Christmas Fair. We have over 20 special events across the benefice during December, please pray that as we welcome people they will come back in the New Year because they want to know more about the baby who is still ‘good news of great joy’ for the whole world.

This week is also the last chance to sign up for the benefice Quiet Day at St Marys on 2nd December, which is an opportunity to draw breath before all that hustle and bustle begins.

There are a couple of things going on that I would like to bring to your attention.

Did you know that there are 24 chapters in the gospel of Luke? Margaret Manning has come up with the brilliant idea of asking for volunteers to record themselves reading a chapter of Luke each day in December. We can then post these videos, one each day, on our and on our websites and Facebook page. It would be great if we can get 24 different people doing reading a chapter, so if you would like to take part please , let me know which day you can do it and then send a video of your reading to Margaret ready to be uploaded on the correct day. This is an opportunity to be creative – different locations, styles of reading, versions of the Bible and even Christmas themed clothes are encouraged.

One of the exciting things that is happening over the next few weeks is that the Chairman of Hart has requested that he holds his Carol concert in St Barnabas church this year. This will take place on Saturday December 9th at 5pm. It would be great to support him, so please come along for a celebration of Christmas, there will be minced pies, mulled wine and bagpipes!

On the same morning, 9th December, between 9:30- 11:30 we will be meeting at St Barnabas to pray for God’s blessing on our Christmas services and also for the success of our bid to Hart for funding for a community hub. This is something that is relevant to both our churches as the foodbank will be a major beneficiary of the improvements we are hoping to make. Please join us for some or all that time. After prayer, we will be decorating the church ready for the service in the evening. Food of various kinds for pray-ers and workers will be available at all times.

Have a wonderful week. I look forward to seeing you in church on Sunday and around the parishes during the week,

We are moving into a period of the year when we do a lot of remembering. Before we get to Remembrance Sunday itself, we will be holding a short reflective service at St. Mary's Eversley, at 4pm on Sunday 29th October at which the names of loved ones who have died (recently or at any time in the past) can be remembered. 

Whether we have been bereaved recently or a long time ago, many of us carry the pain of loved ones having died. This short, reflective service offers the opportunity to remember these treasured people, to acknowledge the weight of grief we still carry, and to lay it down again afresh before the God who suffers alongside us.

If you would like the names of a loved ones read out at this service (whether or not you are able to attend), please email revdrachelhartland@gmail.com

The churches of St. Mary's Eversley and St. Barnabas Darby Green are looking forward to the arrival of Rev'd Faith Bailey as our Vicar. 

Faith, with her husband Stuart, have made a short video introducing themselves and inviting all of us to Faith's formal Institution as our Vicar, and her first services in our two parishes, which can be viewed by clicking here.



Faith will be Instituted as Vicar by Rt. Rev'd David Williams at St. Barnabas Church, Darby Green at 7.30pm on Monday 2nd October 2023. 

Faith's first Sunday leading worship at St. Mary's Church Eversley will be 8th October at 10am. Her first Sunday at St. Barnabas Church Darby Green will be 15th October at 10am. 

All these services will be followed by lovely refreshments to give everyone an opportunity to meet with Faith and Stuart as they start their ministry with us.

Thanks to Andrew and Harry Ware for producing this video for us.

Faith and Stuart BaileyWe are delighted to announce that Rev’d Faith Bailey is to be our new Vicar.

Her Institution Service will be at St. Barnabas Church at 7:30pm on Monday 2nd October 2023. All are welcome.

Faith writes:

I’m really pleased to have been selected as your new vicar. Stuart (my husband) and I are very excited to be joining you in early October.

Rachel and the Bishop thought it would be helpful to tell you a little bit about ourselves.

I was born and grew up in Essex and left to go to University where I met Stuart. After living on the south coast for a few years we moved to Yateley over 30 years ago where we have been ever since. We have two grown up sons who are both married and one grandson. Andrew and Hannah (and baby Aedan) live in Witney. Andrew works in parliament and Hannah is a teacher. Chris and Karin live in Dundee where Chris is doing research at the University and Karin works for Christians Against Poverty. We love visiting them and one of the highlights of our year is when we all get together for a week’s holiday. We also enjoy walking, spending time with friends and good food.

I originally trained as a materials scientist but following a career break after having the children I became a teacher and then sometime later worked for St. Peters in Yateley as their schools and family worker. This eventually led me to study for ordination at Wycliffe Hall in Oxford and after ordination I served as a curate both in Yateley and at St Martins in Camberley. I currently work for The Diocese of Winchester where I teach and mentor people training for either Licenced Lay Ministry or ordination. I will be moving on from this role at the end of September.

You may well recognise Stuart; he has been the councillor for Yateley East, Frogmore and Darby Green for many years and is currently the Mayor of Yateley. He has also preached a few times at both St Barnabas and St Mary’s during the vacancy as he is a Lay Minister (LLM).

We are both really looking forward to October when we can get to know each other and discover together what God has in store for us all in this next season of the life of the benefice.

HOLY WEEK SERVICES ACROSS THE PARISHES

There are opportunities across the Benefice to journeying with Jesus to his Cross and Resurrection this Holy Week. We remember the sacrifice or our Lord so that we can experience again the power of his resurrection, the renewal of our faith, and the knowledge of his love. We are delighted that once again our worship is being supported at St. Barnabas by Bishop David, Bishop of Basingstoke.

Palm Sunday 2nd April           

8am BCP Holy Communion

10am Holy Communion at St. Barnabas Darby Green

10am All Age Worship at St. Mary's Eversley

Monday 3rd April                         

10am Online Prayers via Facebook and our Benefice YouTube channel 

Wednesday 5th April                 

10am Online Prayers (as above)

Maundy Thursday 6th April 

7pm Holy Communion at St. Peter’s Church Yateley

Good Friday 7th April            

10am Family Worship at St. Mary's Eversley, and at St. Barnabas Darby Green

An Hour at the Cross – service of reflection at St. Mary’s Eversley

Easter Sunday 9th April       

8am BCP Holy Communion

10am Family Communion at St. Mary's

10am Family Communion at St. Barnabas Darby Green led by Rt. Revd David Williams, Bishop of Basingstoke

10am Family Communion  at St. Mary’s Eversley, led by Rev’d. Rachel Hartland    

4pm BCP Evening Prayer with Hymns at Bramshill Mission Chapel

 

Ash Wednesday is on 22nd February, and on the Sundays following, and in our discipleship groups we will be looking at the story of Nehemiah, and what we can learn from it for our churches today.

This focus has been prayerfully chosen by the combined forces of ministers and preachers across St. Mary’s and St. Barnabas, with help from those who are supporting us from other churches. Nehemiah is just part of the story of how, and how well, Jerusalem was rebuilt following the Exile of Israel in Babylon. To get a clear picture of the historic context please can everyone in our churches:

  • Take time to read through the Old Testament books of Ezra and Nehemiah (which were originally one book!) They’re not that long, and you’re only looking at understanding the sweep of the story.
  • Watch the video Overview: Ezra-Nehemiah which will also help us understand what’s going on, and might start to raise some questions about how studying Nehemiah might have relevance to our current situation – it’s only 8.5 minutes long, it’s not a feature film 

If you are interested in buying the book (which costs about £7.10-£7.99 depending on the bulk ordered), please email me (I can use a discount to order). Otherwise our homegroups will be provided with a range of notes for sessions, which will follow on from the preceding Sunday’s sermon. There will be 5 sessions before we break for Holy Week, and 2 further sessions after the Easter holiday’s – which is why we’ve called it a Spring Discipleship Course - rather than a Lent one!

If you’ve got any questions, want to join a group to specifically look at this as we continue to pray and study scripture through vacancy, then please do talk to one of the Churchwardens or ministers!