St Andrew’s in the gloom

candles in St Andrew's

candles in St Andrew's

It was a spur of the moment decision, to go to Farnham for the afternoon.

It was a freezing cold day, but at least the sun was shining. Though not for long, as soon as I set off, black clouds came sweeping in with the threat of heavy rain or maybe even snow.

I just missed a bus, saw it pass by as I walked to the bus stop. Ten minutes wait or more in the cold. As the bus pulled into Aldershot bus station I saw the Farnham train pulling out. A 25 minute wait in the cold. It was now raining.

With each delay I thought, why am I going to Farnham, was tempted to turn around, go home, but no, something was telling me to go to Farnham.

I thought I would look in St Andrew’s, the Parish Church of Farnham, but I saw no lights on, the door was closed. I thought try the door, you never know. I did and to my surprise it was not locked.

I walked in to a very gloomy church. Not quite pitch black but little light. Slowly, slowly my eyes adjusted to the dark. The only light was the fading daylight filtering through the stained glass windows, lights by the door on a noticeboard, a few candles and lights on two large Christmas trees.

There is something about churches with no lights other than the candles. You see the church from a different perspective, in a different light.

End of October, just before the clocks went back to winter time, I was in Winchester Cathedral. The light outside was fading. Inside the only light was from candles.

A year ago I was at the Brompton Oratory. It was the same, daylight had gone outside, dusk was descending, inside candlelight.

You see inside these churches as it must have been in Mediaeval times.

I lit three candles, or a tried. There were two candles burning in glass bowls, I succeeded in putting both out as I tried a light a candle.

That’s done it, I thought. I then saw a lit candle hanging to one side of the altar. Please do not go out, as I tried to light my candle. It worked. I then tried to light the candle in the bowl, but only succeeded in putting out my candle.

I tried again. Success. I lit the candle in the bowl. The other had nothing left to light.

I managed to light three candles: one for my lovely but mad friend Sian who I miss and wish could recover her sanity, one for my good friend Paulo Coelho for writing Aleph, and one for my good friend Canon Andrew White to keep him safe in Iraq as he has a lot of good work to do and for the angels who guard St George’s in Baghdad.

Is that was why I was in Farnham?

Or was it because I picked up a hardback copy of The Witch of Portobello?

It was then back home and out again to a children’s carol concert.

Books in Farnham Parish Church
Teddy bears parachuting off the church tower
An afternoon walk along the River Wey to Waverley Abbey

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