Saturday, 26 March 2011

Camberley Vicar Deploys to Afghanistan

Padre Mark Chester, on pre-deployment training Padre Mark Chester (right) in Cyprus on pre-deployment training

“Part of my role will be to come alongside soldiers and help them think through what life’s about” – Mark Chester

Map of Afghanistan Rev Mark Chester, Vicar of St Paul’s in Camberley, deploys to Afghanistan in April to spend 3 months ministering to the troops, as a unit Padre. He will be directly responsible for the pastoral care of around 500 commandos, and part of a team of 10 Padres in 3 Commando Brigade. This will involve a lot of moving around Helmund by land or air, as he visits the soldiers of the Royal Artillery in Camp Bastion and forward patrol bases.

Click to listen to Mark's interview Listen to an interview with Mark, as he prepared for his deployment

His duties will include caring for the wounded, church services, ministering to any casualties and helping the troops as they think about their lives,  away from their families, in a stressful and demanding environment. Mark says: “I will also be involved in helping people come to terms with things in life which they haven’t encountered before. Very often you find yourself in new situations looking at life a completely different way, which raises all sorts of questions. Part of my role will be to come alongside soldiers and help them think through what life’s about”. Mark has an important role to play providing spiritual care. As the General The Right Honourable, Lord Dannatt GCB CBE MC, former Chief of the General Staff, at his recent talk on The moral dimension of soldiering at St Paul’s said: “even the toughest of men, when the chips are down, and the reality of life and death confronts, are reaching out into the spiritual dimension” .

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Tim 4 vs 7

Rev Mark Chester, St Paul's Camberley

St Paul's is well associated with the military, being quite close to Sandhurst, and traditionally where many officers lived. I asked Mark if there are any similarities between ministering to St Paul’s, and ministering to soldiers. Mark said: “We are all people who have needs, strengths and opportunities. We are all here for a purpose, and God wants us to make the most of the gifts he’s given us to make a difference in the world”.

Padres are non-combatants, and do not carry guns. I asked Mark how he felt about that, and he said: “what it’s saying to soldiers and civilians is there’s something else going on here which is not solved at the point of a gun. What we’re about is winning the hearts and minds of the people, so we can engage and help them make Afghanistan a better place. Where the rubber hits the road is in forming good relationships”.

Military padres have been described as the ‘rarest of the rare’. Throughout history they have been decorated for bravery in action – four have been awarded Britain’s highest award for gallantry, the Victoria Cross, and some 400 have received the Military Cross. They go out alongside soldiers unarmed. They face the heat, the dust and the dangers relying on comradeship, faith and courage to keep them going*.

Mark, not normally known for his use of modern technology, has a trick up his sleeve to help him perform services whilst out in theatre. He will be playing worship music during the services using his iPod. He said “we will automatically have splendid musical accompaniment even though there might not be a full stringed orchestra”. I’m not sure we will get him tweeting, but the iPod is a step in the right direction!

Rev Sue Stephens will be standing in for Mark as Vicar of St Paul’s whilst he is away.  

* Reproduced with the kind permission of the AFCU from an article in Contact magazine, “Let us Pray”.


Saturday, 12 March 2011

St Paul’s Camberley Website Launch

  Fred Guyot, webmaster

Fred Guyot, St Paul’s new webmaster, showing off the site








“…a great opportunity for those in and outside St Paul’s to find out about, and engage with, all that God is doing in Camberley."  - Rev Graham Shaw

St Paul’s, Camberley, is delighted to launch our new dynamic website, full of the latest information on our various activities. We have a brand new, easy to remember, website address to go with it

The previous website was very “old skool” , a single page stating who we are, and how to contact us. Quite outdated and lacking in features to engage with the people of Camberley. We wanted a modern stylish site design with more functionality and an attractive appearance. Information needed to be easily accessible. This new site gives us exactly what we need, and was developed in-house over several months by our new webmaster, Fred Guyot, assisted by Nigel Hague.

Watch a guided tour of the key features, by webmaster, Fred Guyot

Rev Graham Shaw, Curate at St Paul’s says: "There are so many great things going on at St Paul's - many of which even I don't know about! The new website is a great opportunity for those in and outside the church to find out about, and engage with, all that God is doing in Camberley."

What to expect on the site?

  • New, easy to remember, domain name
  • Calendar of activities at St Paul’s
  • Integration with our Twitter stream
  • Listen again to sermons and read the latest notices
  • Find out all about us, how to contact us, and where we are

St Pauls Website

Fred has a host of ideas to build on the site, and develop it further, ensuring it stays updated with the latest information about St Paul’s, in the most easily accessible format. Checkout the video for a sneak preview of features coming soon.

To contact the webmaster, Fred Guyot, email

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Vacancy - Children’s Outreach Worker


St. Paul’s Church Camberley

Part-time (20 hours) Salary: £11k

A large and lively evangelical Anglican church with a clear commitment to children’s work is looking for a committed, evangelical Christian for this new and exciting position.

Do you have:

  • A heart to bring unchurched children and families to Christ and grow their faith through schools, midweek ministry and other events?
  • Experience of working as part of a team within a children’s ministry?
  • Self motivation and excellent management skills, especially leadership, organizational and interpersonal?
  • Energetic, creative and visionary gifts to enable our children’s ministry to grow?

If so, for an application pack or for more information, please phone 01276 700210 or email

Closing date for applications: Monday 4th April 2011

There is a Genuine Occupational Requirement (GOR) that the postholder is a Christian.

Friday, 4 March 2011

A Most Gracious Walk

Map reading“The pub’s over there Hugh!”

On Saturday 19 Feb 15, our team of intrepid explorers walkers headed off for a walk around Chobham. Listed in the  Domesday Book as Cebeham, Chobham  was worth £15 10s 0d back then. The beautiful river Bourne runs through the village.

Led by walk leader Hugh (that’s him checking the map), they followed the Mill Bourne from the centre of Chobham, past Emmett's Mill and out to Fairoaks Airport. They then proceeded to Gracious Pond (created by building a dam across the SW end of the valley, and listed in Norden’s map of 1607) on the edge of Chobham Common, where the group stopped for coffee and admired the view.

The loop of Chobham Common was completed, and St Paul’s walkers returned through farmland and horse stables. Although tempted by the thought of a ride back, they wanted to work up an appetite, so marched on. Hugh advises most of the 7.5 mile walk was very muddy and the weather was drizzly but their spirits were not dampened. The walk was topped off with lunch at the Four Horseshoes pub in Chobham Green, half a mile from Chobham.

Four Horseshoes Pub

If you are interested in walking, and would like to join one of the free guided walks hosted by St Paul’s, then please contact Graham on The next walk is on 19 March around Blackheath and St Martha's Hill.

For more information on the walking group, and other walks done, take a look at some of their other blog posts here.

Phone 2 019