Posts Tagged ‘St Mark’s Church’

St Mark’s Church Armistice Day Vigil

November 10, 2018

I had looked in St Mark’s Church earlier on in the day for a World War One window which had been restored.

I could not find.

Passing by a few hours later, now dark, a light on, the church still open.

St Mark’s Church open, a vigil to mark Armistice Day.

I quietly walked around the church. I still could not find the window.

I remained a little while in silent contemplation. I thought of the horror of those souls who died in the trenches.

I wished to walk back down the side aisle to light a candle, but reluctant to disturb those in the church.

The First World War did not end at eleven o’clock on 11 November 1918 one hundred years ago. That was when an Armistice was agreed, a ceasefire, the day the guns fell silent.

Peace was not agreed until the following year.

Exacting reparations were imposed on Germany. Keynes warned against but he was ignored. This led to the Second World War.

What we see today in Europe, in the Middle East, is unfinished business from WWI.

No lessons have been learnt.

Greece dared challenge the EU. A vassal state for daring to challenge the EU is being destroyed to serve as a warning to other vassal states.

WWI was the first democratised war, no family was left untouched, unlike the Boer War. It was the first industrialised war. Cavalry charges of little use against machines guns and barbed wire, the first use of tanks.

How it affected communities was brought home to me this summer in a church in Arundel. In the pews, silhouettes of the fallen.

New injuries. In the Boer war, wounds did not become infected. In the mud of the trenches, wounds became infected

Not all who died died in action. Many were unfairly executed for cowardice.

There are no survivors left from WWI. Soon their children will also be lost to us.

Memories fade.

BBC, in a ground breaking work, collected the living memories of those who lived through WWI for a series marking 50 years since WWI.

My grandfather served in the trenches in France but he never talked about it, other than to complain it destroyed his health.

Did the veterans not talk about their experience because of the horrors it brought back, or because no one wished to listen?

Uncle Albert of the Trotter family in Only Fools and Horses told to shut up each time he tried to recount his wartime experience.

International Bomber Command Centre, in a race against time, has recorded and archived memories of veterans of WWII Bomber Command.

British are obsessed with the two world wars. Eighty per cent of the books on the two world wars are in English.

When veterans of Bomber Command turn up at an event people wish to talk to them, ask for their books to be signed, even though they are not the authors.

£45 million is raised by Poppy Day Appeal. To what end?

Those homeless on the street with serious mental problems are too often ex-service men who can no longer cope with modern life. Do we commemorate the dead and ignore the living? This was raised by Aaron Bastani, who was then condemned for doing so.

The First World War was called The Great War, the war to end all wars. By the 1930s this was being questioned, as the nation prepared for yet another war. 

In 1939 there was no commemoration of Armistice Day.

UK is built on a war economy. Weapons are supplied to the world’s most repressive regimes.

UK arms and provides military support to Saudi Arabia. A corrupt Islamic regime no different to ISIS, that is carrying out genocide in Yemen, that degrades women, that beheads its critics, that killed and cut up a journalist who walked into a Saudi Embassy in Turkey.

Tommies fought in the mud of the trenches. Donald Trump could not be bothered to attend a ceremony at an American War Graves Cemetery because of a little drizzle.

Did the fallen die for nothing?

On Armistice Day our thoughts turn to those who died in two world wars to liberate Europe from tyranny.

A decade ago, 60% of countries across the world were democracies. That figure is down to 40%.

Two weeks ago Greeks marked Oxi Day, the day at the start of WWII when they said no to Fascism. They paid a very heavy price. Two years ago they voted Oxi in a referendum, to then be be betrayed by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

We have a Europe in chains, vassal states of the EU.

Across Europe we have a rise of Fascism as a direct response to the EU.

Armistice Day should never be about poppies, red or white, or even solemn reflection on those who died, and in the wars and conflicts of today, those who die are not only soldiers, combatants, they are civilians, innocent civilians who are not even party to the conflict.

We must question the wars, even more important question who is profiteering from the wars.

It is sickening that British Legion partners with war profiteers British Aerospace.

St Mark’s Christmas Concert

December 9, 2012

Each year, the children of St Mark’s Primary School put on a Christmas Concert.

It would normally take place in St Mark’s Church, but the boiler has failed. Electric heaters have been installed, these overloaded the wring, and the cables burnt out.

Thus the concert took place in the Church Hall.

It was standing room only. I was in a way lucky, I arrived as the concert was due to start. I was stood by the door. Had I been in the hall, it would have been too hot.

The concert was a musical. Told through the eyes of children asking for a bedtime story.

Some quite amusing little ditties. I am not sure if they were meant to be amusing but that is how it came across.

A brilliant foot-tapping jazz number, with Herod as the centre piece as the wicked king.

At the end of the concert, the church was presented with a cheque for over a thousand pounds by the school for a new boiler. Still a very long way to go, an estimated cots of £25,000.

The concert was followed by mulled wine and minced pies.

No photos. A box ticking exercise that does nothing to protect children.

This evening a Rock n Roll Christmas. It will either be rubbish or brilliant. We wait to see.

A celebration of Holy Week at St Mark’s by the children

March 29, 2012
A cross of nails

A cross of nails

a single candle lit for friends

a single candle lit for friends

I have been to St Mark’s Church at Christmas when the children of St Mark’s Primary school run the service. I have been very, very impressed.

Children’s Carol Concert at St Mark’s

What would it be like when they run the service for Easter?

This evening I found out. I was very, very impressed. Not only was I impressed, but I found it deeply moving.

On entering the church I found musical chairs was still in play, only the people do not move the pews move.

Following a brief welcome by the Rector Rev Ian Hedges, the children took over and ran the service for a little over half an hour.

We had a group of players, actors or performers, call them what you will. They were all dressed the same, in oversize creamy yellow t-shirts, several, like prisoners, had stamped on the back who they were, for example Jesus, disciple, soldier etc, and black shorts. They were told they could go home as they were dressed, they did not need to change, but please if you do, remember to take home the clothes you arrived in.

Another smaller group of children narrated the scene, using what I assume were taken directly from or adaptation of the Gospels.

Another much larger group of children sang.

As the children narrated, the players performed mime.

The story was told from the Last Supper through to betrayal, trial, beating, execution and burial in a tomb.

It was incredible to watch. Well deserving of putting on as a stage performance.

At the end, thanks from Ian to the children and an excellent summing up.

Ian held a wooden cross. Said how they had been hammering in nails. The play deliberately ended at a low, Jesus being executed on a cross, carried off to a tomb.

Seeing the cross of nails, I thought of the medieval cross of nails from Coventry Cathedral that Canon Andrew White wears and the good work he does in Iraq and the Middle East.

The children were year 3/4, which meant absolutely nothing to me. I asked. They were aged seven to nine years old. The school groups the children together spanning two academic years.

I lit a single candle for my friends Mio, Paulo, Andrew and several others. I seemd to have started a trend as several of the children then lit candles.

I only wish my lovely Japanese friend Mio (a kindergarten teacher) could have been there, as she would have loved it.

Ash Wednesday
Reflection on The Nail at St Mark’s
Mary’s thoughts on her way to Calvary

Victorian Christmas Carol Concert St Mark’s

December 16, 2010
late Victorian Christmas cards

late Victorian Christmas cards

It was in July 1880 that Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Connaught laid, upon a miserably wet day, the foundation stone of St Mark’s Church and seventeen years later she returned to lay the foundation stone for St Mark’s school. Now 130 years later, we celebrate the success of both the church and the school and rejoice in the close partnership that church and school have built. Tonight, we turn back the clocks and try to imagine we are worshipping in a time gone by.

A couple of weeks ago I went to a Christmas Tree Festival at St Mark’s Church, a four day event which included a market, a night with GK’s Funky People, Christingle Service organised by the children from St Mark’s Primary School and a tea party for the old folk.

At the Christingle Service the back of the programme listed the upcoming Christmas programme, one of which was a Victorian Christmas Carol Concert.

I almost set off to it Sunday evening, luckily I double checked the programme to find it was actually Wednesday evening, three days later.

I arrived to be greeted at the door by the Rev Ian Hedges and handed a programme by a lady dressed in Victorian costume.

And what a lovely spectacle greeted my eyes. At the front of the church half a dozen little urchins stood holding candles. A sprinkling of the congregation had gone to the trouble of wearing Victorian dress.

The concert started with a brief explanation by Ian Hedges of the concert and the early history of the church and the associated school. He apologised that he had been unable to obtain a Victorian frock coat for the occasion.

The concert was in celebration of 130 years since the founding of the Church. In July 1880 the foundation stone was laid by Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Connaught, daughter-in-law of Queen Victoria. Seventeen years later, the foundation stone of St Mark’s School was laid. A commemorative service was held to celebrate the opening of church. It then fell down!

Ian then handed over to the children.

Lights were dimmed, a procession of children walked through the church holding candles to join the other half dozen already at the front. The reading of the lessons, the singing, all led by the children.

What I especially liked was when a group stood together beneath an old lamp and explained the various symbols of Christmas.

I also liked a rather unusual Tell Me a Story Shining Star, giving the impression of an old fold song.

The concert ended with a rather upbeat version of The Holy and Ivy. Followed by a closing address by Ian Hedges. He had little to say other than to thank everyone, because as he said, the kids had said it all. Then at his request, the kids gave us an encore of their upbeat The Holy and Ivy.

The collection was for a charity called Saint George Foundation. I had never heard of them and thought nothing more of it, until a chance conversation with a man as I was leaving, who just happened to be the founder of the charity. From him I learnt it was helping street children in Sierra Leone. I am pleased to report the collection raised £200.

Strange, as during the carol service my thoughts turned to Canon Andrew White, aka the Vicar of Baghdad, and the work he has done with the street children of Baghdad and the love he has for those children. As I was writing I thought of the foundation Paulo Coelho funds in Rio to help street children.

I had been very impressed by the way the children from St Mark’s School conducted the Christingle Service a couple of weeks before. I was equally impressed by the way they conducted the Victorian Carol Concert.

My only regret was no photography as I would have loved to have shared the visual experience.

I was also feeling very sad as my lovely friend Sian was not with me.

After the service I found under a Christmas tree delightful late Victorian Christmas Cards.

At this time of year as our thoughts turn to Bethlehem, two thousand years ago, please also give a thought to Bethlehem today. Then it was under Roman occupation, today it is under Israeli occupation. The people of Bethlehem live in an open-air prison surrounded by an Apartheid Wall. [see Bethlehem Hidden from View]

All the more tragic that there are churches like St Mary’s in Guildford that support the apartheid regime and ethnic cleansing by having on sale Israeli so-called Peace Oil. [see Peace oil or taking the piss?]

Also see

The Digital Story of Christmas Nativity