Wednesday, 20 March 2013

The end, or just the beginning?

Camberley Connections Balloon

Camberley Connections ended on Sunday 17th March.  Over 9 days, 14 students from Oxford came to help out, 9 local churches took part and countless church members put on 107 events which offered the opportunity for many people to ask questions and talk about their faith.  There were many offers of prayer, most of which were appreciated and many of which were accepted. 

Revd Claire Isherwood encourages us to live out the strapline for the project ‘sharing lives, sharing stories’ saying: “That was the end of the beginning!  Now we look for ways to build on our new found confidence in sharing our faith stories with those who don’t yet know the love of Jesus for themselves.”

Keep an eye out for more updates as I catch up with coverage from the week!

Monday, 18 March 2013

BBC Radio Interview with Frank Long – Banquet Challenge

Revd Mark Chester from St Paul’s challenged a team of 9 church goers to provide a banquet, including food and entertainment, for 50 people on the Old Dean in Camberley, in 1 week. They had a budget of £50 which they had to return at the end. Frank Long (Project Leader), describes how the challenge went.


With thanks to the BBC.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Update on La di Da Crafts

Last Saturday, 9 March something special happened on Park Street Camberley.   Jane Mallac describes the day...

"When we were originally thinking about what this event would look like, it was suggested that we hold a pre-Mothering Sunday card making event in the open air in Park Street.  Great idea, BUT…!  Wind, rain, cold and card making don’t really go together.  So, we had to come up with another Plan A (tables out on the street definitely being Plan Z!).

One of us with a very sweet tooth has been going along to the La Di Da Cupcake Café in Park Street, a brand new venue in Camberley, very pretty, very PINK, very girlie (though men have also been known to brave the girliness!), and cupcakes to die for!  Would they let us put up tables in the café?  We felt we could draw people in, they could give us the space we needed, nice and central to town, and people could have some fun drinking coffee, eating cake, making a free card, and hopefully be open to talking to us.

First prayer answered, Jess the lovely owner of the café said ‘yes’ – YAY!  We had a warm and dry venue!  A little bit of advance advertising, demonstration cards to make, packs of materials to put together, the logistics of getting chairs and tables, nine helium balloons, and one A-board, and all the craft materials down to the café by 9.45 on Saturday morning, and of course, lots of PRAYER,  and before we knew it, we were off!

We felt that God really anointed and blessed our time at the La Di Da on Saturday. The café was super busy, and had a real buzz about it – two baby showers, an eight year old’s birthday party, and we were given a prime position right in the window (thank you Lord!), to do our creative stuff.  From the outset and for the next three hours, we hardly had time to draw breath.  Parents would come and bring children to make a Mothering Sunday card, so, whilst supervising the children, we would also try and juggle having a chat, telling people who we were, why we were there, and gently steering the conversation towards ‘God Chat’. 

We were amazed how very open and forthcoming people were, how willing they were to answer our questions.  One young woman with her five year old daughter asked for our address – hopefully she will one day bring her daughter along to join in the fun of junior church; another young woman with young children was asking questions about evolution – not easy to juggle probing questions like that whilst helping a two year old to make a card!  We recommended Alpha, gave the church number and leaflet, and she took away a copy of Marks Gospel.  A dad was happy to stand and engage in conversation whilst his daughters made cards for their lucky mum, at the end of which we gave him the gift of a St Marks Gospel, and encouraged him to read it.  He is thinking of getting his daughters baptised, so it was relatively easy to talk to him. 

Another man was happy to answer questions, but declared that he didn’t believe in God.  We were not fazed by that – who knows, maybe this is the start of his God journey, and we may never know the ending, but God does, and that is all that matters.

So, looking back, it was totally exhausting, but we all felt encouraged that the afternoon had gone well, and we are grateful to God and the lovely people we met for making it easy for us, and to the La di Da Cupcake Café for giving us a venue to make it happen."

Camberley Connections Old Dean Community Challenge

Hear that? Yes it's the sound of Funky.

Finished University No Kids Yet (Funky) A team from Camberley Connections was issued a challenge this week, to provide a free community banquet, in 1 week, raising the funds themselves as part of the challenge.

Revd Mark Chester from St Paul’s challenged a team of 9 church goers last Sunday to provide a banquet, including food and entertainment, for 50 people on the Old Dean in Camberley. They have a budget of £50 which they have to return at the end.

Issuing the challenge in front of the entire congregation, Revd Mark said: “At 7pm next Saturday 16th March, you are challenged to host a banquet in St Martin’s Church Hall, Old Dean. Your guests will be anyone who will come. You should aim to have a minimum of 50 guest, and you have 6 days to organise it from scratch. Here is £50 to get you going, but fundraising is part of the event and you need to return the £50 next Sunday morning.

Any profit made during the challenge will be donated to the local charity Besom, which provides food packs to those in need.

The challenge is all part of a week of events known as Camberley Connections, to encourage people to share their faith stories with others.

For more information on Camberley Connections, the community challenge, and the week of events, check out the website at, find them on Facebook, or follow the twitter hashtag #CamConX

Sunday, 10 March 2013

BBC Radio Interview with Andy Salt

Andy Salt talked with Emily Jeffery from BBC Radio Surrey & Sussex on Sunday 10 March, about Camberley Connections. Listen to what it’s all about.


With thanks to the BBC. The full version of the programme is available here.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Spring Start – Classic Car Show

Over 40 veteran, vintage, pre-war and post-war classic cars will be attending the ‘Spring Start’ classic car show on Saturday 16th March at St Paul’s in Camberley.

Photo courtesy of

Everyone is welcome to join in this free event, and St Paul’s are putting on free coffee and bacon butties. It doesn’t get any better than that! I can hear Jeremy Clarkson now.


Saturday 16th March 2013
10.00am – 1.00pm

The address and postcode for your SatNav’s (if you’re car is that modern):-

St. Paul's Church,
Crawley Ridge,
Surrey GU15 2AD

Whilst you’re there, if you have any questions about faith, God and all that stuff, they’ll be happy to chat with you. You could even ask people about their ‘faith stories’. We’re all on a journey…

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Nikki’s Story

I grew up in a non Christian, dysfunctional family, though (thankfully) my parents sent my two sisters and I to Girls Brigade and Sunday School once per week. Ambulances and police cars were pretty regular to our house as my parents fought violently. As a result I became very close to my sisters and developed a deep faith through going to Sunday School, giving my life to Jesus when I was 13.


From the age of 15 my family, unable to settle, moved around the UK and Ireland and I went through various stages, coping with teenage pressures, playing mother to my sisters whilst trying to support my own mother through desperate depression.  Though my faith went hot and cold, I always believed in God. At the age of 18 I left home and my parents cut all ties with me.

That was such a difficult time for me. I didn’t have a church to support me but I met my now husband who at 20 took me in and helped me. We both got part time jobs so I could continue at university. I had to fight to see my younger sisters and coping with my parent’s rejection took its toll on me resulting in a breakdown. After we got married I was determined to find a church.

We became members at St Paul’s and built lots of strong friendships. We were desperate for children and after trying for 5 years we went through IVF. We had our beautiful daughter in January 2006. However in September our baby girl started to have seizures and she was diagnosed with a rare condition where her brain hadn’t developed properly. We were told it was unlikely she would walk or talk and she would need care for the rest of her life.

Well that was it for me. I’d had enough. I was so angry with God I tried to deny his existence but I was so surrounded by love and support from my church, friends and family that I just couldn’t deny Him. I began to read the bible much more (previously I’d hardly bothered) looking for answers. Over and over the bible talks of God being our healer, it tells us that He loves us and wants to prosper us and not harm us. So I decided to throw in my lot.

I thought If God is real and His word is real then I will believe it completely. I find the more I read the bible and the more I surround myself with His people and Him, the greater my faith becomes. Our little girl is now 7 years old. She is walking, communicating through signing as well as speech, she is developing and still making amazing progress. I believe God honours His word.

I have learned that life is a journey.  It can be cruel, painful, exhausting and unfair but as long as I journey with Him, I know I’ll flourish.

What’s your faith story?

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Beer and Hymns

I think you’re going to be surprised how modern hymns sound today, especially when sung in a pub in Park Street!

Beer And Hymns

You wouldn’t normally expect hymns to be sung in a packed out pub in Camberley, but Camberley Connections week is a little different. Pop on down to The Bear, 23 Park street, GU15 3PQ, Camberley on Thursday 14th March between 7.30pm – 9.30pm for some lively, raucous, uplifting singing. We would love you to bring your friends, enjoy the evening, and take part in something a little different.

We plan on having a really great night out, some drinks, and lifting the roof at The Bear. We won’t mention God or faith at all, unless you ask ;)

Mothering Sunday Crafts – La-di-da Style

We love the La-di-ha Cupcake Co, and we’re teaming up with them for some crafty card fun. Mums, bring along your gorgeous children on Saturday and they can get busy making you a card for Mothering Sunday, whilst you chill with a coffee and cupcake. Win-Win!

La-di-da Cupcake Co

As part of Camberley Connections week, we are going to supply all the craft materials, and have our crafty craft team ready to help out. The card making is free. Children and adults are welcome to come and make a card and have some fun, between 12.30pm – 4pm on Saturday 9 March.

The La-di-dah Cupcake Co. can be found at The Atrium, 70 Park Street, Camberley – near Laura Ashley.

Our craft team will also be happy to share their faith stories, about why they believe in God, but only if you ask them ;)

Meet The Students

A wonderfully enthusiastic group of trainee vicars are coming to help with Camberley Connections.

Wycliffe Students in Camberley

A team from Oxford University,  came to visit on 24 February, to help us prepare for Camberley Connections week on 9-16 March. They gave some great talks on the big questions we all have about life and faith. The good news is they’re going to stay with us for the Connections week, and help answer any questions you might have on faith. Look out for them at any of the events we are hosting around the town. They’re a fun bunch, and great to chat to. Grill them!