Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Charity Christmas Collection Stolen in Camberley Church Break-in

Very sad to report that the collections taken during the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services have been stolen from St Paul’s Church,  in a Boxing Day raid. The money collected was intended for charities including the Acorn Healing Centre in Bordon, Christian Aid and the church in the Middle East, which is suffering increased levels of persecution.

Vicar, Reverend Mark Chester said,  “St Paul’s is about building better relationships. One of the ways we do this is by giving local people the opportunity to be generous to local charities and those who are suffering in some way at Christmas. It is sad that two or three individuals have chosen to hurt many by stealing money that would have made a real difference. I pray that the thieves will realise the damage they have done to themselves and others, and choose a lifestyle that brings healing, rather than hurt”.

If you have any information about the incident which may assist police, please call Surrey Police on 101.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Frontline Celebrate a Christmas Breakthrough

Most welfare benefits are being cut. While approving of the governments aim to get those who can work back to work, Frontline have seen many worrying results nationally. Parents having to “top up” housing benefit to pay their rent, some benefits not being increased along with inflation and many people losing long-term benefits, has resulted in many struggling to buy food, gas & electricity and other basics. Thankfully churches and charities running food banks, clothing stores and restored furniture helps.  There are many other cuts on the way.  Many people are struggling to live, let alone pay debts.

Camberley FrontlineIn early November Frontline were approached by a single mum who’s disabled living allowance for her seriously disabled daughter, had been withdrawn.  Two Frontline advisers helped her to appeal against this decision and just before Christmas day, they heard that the appeal had been successful.

This has increased the client's income by some £250 a month.  Not a lot by some peoples standards, but all the difference in the world to this single Mum.  Super news just before Christmas.

Along with the financial worries, struggling with debt often leads to depression, anxiety and stress and can cause tension or arguments between you and your loved ones. Frontline provide free debt and benefit advice in Camberley. If you need help please contact Frontline.

Phone: 07880 711730 (24 hour message line)       


Blessing for Besom at Christmas

I wonder if you were brave enough to tackle the shops this year or if you entered a state of panic, with only a few days left to get it all done. The young people at St Paul’s have not only braved the shops for their own shopping, but this year they’ve taken their shopping one step further.

Hattie Lloyd with her collection for the BesomHattie Lloyd with her collection for the Besom

Our older youth groups have teamed up with Besom this year to bring some Christmas joy to the teenagers in Camberley who might not be expecting any present this year, by putting together packs of presents for them. Hattie Lloyd, who championed the idea, says “Everyone expects to get presents nowadays at Christmas but not everyone can. You hear about things like Operation Christmas Child that go to other countries but there are a lot of people who have needs right here in this community.”

In October, Diane Marlow spoke in our Harvest service about the work Besom is doing in Camberley. ”When Diane came and spoke to us in a service about producing packs for families in the Camberley area, I thought that there might be teenagers not just adults affected,” says Hattie. Hattie brought the idea of making present packs for the teenagers who Besom worked with to Evening Cell (a youth group at St Paul’s), and from there, the project was born

Hattie says, ”Some people donated items, some people put together packs”. On top of this Hattie got her school on board with the project. “My school was doing a charity choral concert and I nominated the Besom charity as the organisation we were going to give the money to and it was chosen, so we were able to supplement the packs with a further donation!”

Christmas Packs

With the items contributed and the money raised, we were able to put together five present packs – one for each of the young people Besom told us about. The packs looked great and were filled with a huge variety of presents - from mugs, to bath stuff, shop vouchers and even juggling balls!

Reflecting on the experience, Hattie says that it has been “Great seeing the reception when we spoke to people about it, they seemed excited which was nice to see. And seeing the finished packs was really cool as well.”

Sarah Percival, our Youth Director, reflects ”It’s been brilliant to see the creativity and initiative that’s come from the young people for this. We really hope those packs put a smile on some young people’s faces this Christmas. I can’t wait to see what the St Paul’s Young people come up with next!”


Sunday, 18 December 2011

St Paul’s Throws a Snow Ball!

If you are dreaming of a white Christmas, dream no more. As long as you are aged 5-11 years you are invited to St Paul’s first snow ball and yes, there really will be snow. Real snow! Imagine dressing up in your best clothes and dancing shoes, meeting new friends and playing splat the snowball (among other Christmassy party games). Imagine refreshments and goodie bags to take home, a disco and did I already say  lots of snow?!

St Pauls Snow BallSarah Hounslow, Children’s worker for St Paul’s and Snow Ball organiser says: “The Snow Ball is a winter wonderland party to celebrate the birth of Jesus. We’ll have lots of fun with music, snow and party bags to go home with.”

The ball will be held at St Paul’s, Crawley Ridge, Camberley Surrey GU15 2AD on Thursday 22 December from 3pm until 5pm.

But you’d better get your skates on as tickets are selling fast. Tickets are 1.50 and available from Sarah on 07789 995274.

Christmas Services Expose

St Paul's at Christmas We’re heading for Christmas at a phenomenal speed, and before you know it, we’ll have sung carols, been to the Christingle service with the children, and had a great big celebration on Christmas day.

If you don’t usually attend St Paul’s, you might like to know more about how we do Christmas here, and what to expect. We’re a welcoming church, on Crawley Ridge in Camberley, and we’ve done all we can to make your visit a special time. Comfy seats, red carpet, refreshments, and the Christmas story.

Here’s a roundup of what to expect at each of our Christmas services.

Sunday 18 December

6.00pm Carols by Candlelight

Carols by CandlelightA service based around carols and bible readings of the birth of Jesus Christ.  In a beautiful candle lit church, the retelling of the Christmas story through bible reading, carols and music of a variety of styles blends both the traditional and the modern.  This is a time for thought and reflection on the richness of what we experience. Stay on afterwards for mulled wine and  light refreshments. This service is intended more for adults and older children. 


Christmas Eve

3.00pm  & 5.00pm Christingles (great for children)

Christingles at St Paul'sChristmas eve is a special time, especially for the younger members of the family who can barely contain their excitement.  The early evening Christmas Eve Christingle Service helps them remember the original cause for their excitement.  There will be a tableau of the crib scene, child friendly carols, candle lit christingles in a darkened church and a small farewell gift.  All ages are welcome. Come early to get a seat as this service is always very popular. 

Christmas Day Family Celebration

9.30am  and 11.15am  Family Celebration  (great for children)

Christmas Day Celebration It’s Christmas morning!  A time of great excitement for many.  All the preparations are complete, the turkey is cooking and the table is laid.  Now it is time to come along to St Paul’s at 9.30 or 11.15 a.m. to join in a joyous celebration of the real meaning of Christmas.  There will be something for everyone, whatever age you are.  We will be singing traditional Christmas carols, finding out about what weird and wacky gifts people have already given and received, and also celebrating the birth of the greatest gift of all – Jesus Christ.  The theme of our celebration is “Expect the Unexpected!” 

We look forwards to welcoming you to join in our festive fun at St Paul’s, Crawley Ridge, Camberley, Surrey GU15 2AD. Directions on our website.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Christmas Brass at St Paul’s, Camberley

Some extremely talented musicians, the Sandhurst Band,  are performing  a free Christmas family concert at St Paul’s. I had a wonderful chat with Musical Director, Ian McElligott about the concert, and he spilled the beans.

Sandhurst Band Christmas Brass at St Pauls Camberley The award winning Sandhurst Band was founded in 1908. The 30 musicians are from all walks of life, and come together because of their passion for music.  They’ve crafted a varied Christmas family programme for us, with music ranging from the show Mama Mia, to light jazz, with a few soloists thrown in for good measure.

The real highlight has to be the world premier of A Celt in Jerusalem, composed especially for St Paul's by Ian McElligott.  The suite of 6 movements has an emotional centrepiece called  Procession to Calvary . But the music isn’t the only part of the performance, as it will be accompanied by a visual projection on our big screen, making this a true multimedia experience. Ian said of ‘A Celt in Jerusalem’ that “The music is heaven sent, and goes way beyond any ability I have. St Paul's is the most fantastic venue".

The plan is to include something for the whole family, including the children. The concert will be held at St Paul’s, Crawley Ridge, Camberley, Surrey GU15 2AD on Saturday 17 December at 7.30pm. The spectacular lasts 1 hour 40 minutes with a 20 minute interval to enjoy refreshments. Sounds like an ideal break for families with children who may need to leave for bedtime.

Ian isn’t just a conductor though, he’s also on the staff at St Paul’s! As Senior Administrator, he keeps things running like a well oiled machine. That’s what you’d expect though from a past Director of Music to the Band of HM Coldstream Guards.  Since leaving the army, Ian continued his musical career conducting top names such as Grimethorpe, Brighouse & Rastrick, Desford Colliery, Scottish Co-op and Thoresby Colliery bands, leading them in contests and concerts. I think after that warm up, he qualifies to lead Sandhurst Band at St Paul’s Christmas spectacular!

Tickets for the concert are free, and are available from St Paul’s by contacting Ian McElligott on 01276 700210. There’s a retiring collection for charity.

To find out more about St Paul’s Christmas events, please visit or contact the office on 01276 700210. 

To hear the full interview with Ian, click on the play button  below.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Special Christmas Message from Rev Mark

Search results for christmas ‘Christmas is cancelled this year because I cannot afford it’ said the lady on the TV. Was she right?

The context was that of one of the many programmes about the economic woes of our time.  I guess she was trying to say something about the difficulties of paying for all the presents, food, decorations and drink which accompany a 21st century British Christmas.

Her words were actually saying something else, something that is not right, and goes to the very heart of what Christmas is about. You see the gift of Christ(mas) cannot be bought.  Like any other gift it can only be received, perhaps with gratitude.  Maybe even happiness and joy.

You can afford Christmas, because it is free.  And you might want to say ‘thank you’ to God and celebrate His gift by joining in the celebrations at a church near you.  You are welcome whoever you are.

Rev Mark Chester is vicar of St Paul’s in Camberley. More information  on St Paul’s at

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Camberley Carol Service for the Bereaved 2012

Christmas can be a sad time if you’ve been bereaved this year. The first Christmas without your loved one can feel very empty, as people rush around buying presents and families prepare to gather together. Local churches in Camberley are holding a special carol service for people to remember those who they have loved and lost. This is an opportunity to come together with others who are feeling the same as you, and to support one another. The service will be held  at St Michael’s. Memories, reflections and carols are devised to help you get through this difficult time.

St Michael's CamberleyChurches together in Camberley recognise that Christmas can be a lonely and upsetting experience for people who have lost loved ones. Every year around 100 people attend this special service, which provides spiritual support and comfort from being with others in a supportive atmosphere. The service is hosted at St Michael’s Church, London Road, Camberley GU15 3JP on Sunday 9th December at 3pm.  A very warm and understanding welcome awaits, so don’t feel alone, please come along, and take part in this special service this Christmas time.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Nativity – The Movie : Screening at St Paul’s Camberley

Did you get your tree up this weekend? Started writing Christmas cards? Feeling Christmassy? Well this could get you feeling festive. Yes it’s time to get the popcorn out and head on over to St Paul’s as they show the BBC TV Nativity on their big screen.

The film takes a fresh contemporary look at the birth of Jesus. This new adaptation by Tony Jordan of EastEnders, Hustle and Life on Mars fame,  is beautifully filmed in what the The Telegraph said was the “BBC's gentle, compassionate take on the Nativity”.

The story starts in Nazareth, where a carpenter, Joseph, courts teenager Mary. A shepherd, Thomas, struggles under heavy taxation. Magi gather to discuss a great event foretold in the stars. All is brought together when Mary is visited by an angel and told she will give birth to the Son of God.

St Paul’s in Camberley is screening the 2010 BBC TV series (now released as a 2 hour film) on Saturday 10th December at 4.00pm on their extra large screen. No tickets are required for this free event, just turn up and grab a goody bag. Children are welcome. They’re serving refreshments after the film too.

Organiser, John Barker said “This is an opportunity to see a good film showing the first ever Christmas, to meet new people at St Paul’s and to invite friends and neighbours to a film that could be helpful to them spiritually.”

To find out more about other events at St Paul’s this Advent, please visit or contact the office on 01276 700210 or

However you dress it up, Christmas starts with Christ

The Christmas Experience - The Christmas story in real time - Sign Up

However you dress it up, Christmas starts with Christ. Isn’t that the true meaning of Christmas?

This Christmas, I’d like to invite you to follow the dramatic story of Jesus' birth, live online (well it would have been back in the day, if they had social media)  through a series of free messages via text, email, twitter or facebook to your mobile phone or computer.

Can you imagine Joseph sending out a tweet on the birth of Jesus, and Mary posting a photo on facebook!

The Christmas story unfolds on Sunday 18th December, reaching a climax on Christmas day and then leads you on in a journey of reflection over the following week. This amazing story will unfold as it is sent in a series of short messages to your phone, smart-phone or computer.

So, please join us as the story of Jesus' birth is alive again this Christmas.



Here is how you can take part.

Visit to register for messages either by email, text, facebook or twitter.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

It’s Advent – But What is it?

 Advent means 'arrived' or 'coming'.    

In Advent we remember the first coming of Christ as a baby.  We are reminded of the way his birth was told about many years before by a wide variety of people, by lighting a different candle each Sunday.

Advent Candle
We also remember those from far away who were warned of Christ's arrival by a star that they followed - and we have a special star in church which is lit up all through Advent until Epiphany which is the traditional time of thinking about the wise men.

But we remember the first coming in order to make us more eager to anticipate Christ's second coming as Lord.
Christ has 'arrived' and he is also 'coming'.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Christmas Message from Camberley Street Angels

StreetAngelsLogo As we enter the Christmas season, and the parties begin, it’s a busy time for Street Angels in Camberley. With increased numbers of people entering into the festive spirit, the team has to be on their toes, watching out for dangers and de-escalating threatening situations. Street Angels are now a familiar sight at the weekends, out on Friday and Saturday nights, wearing their distinctive jackets.


I spoke with Steve, the Coordinator of Street Angels in Camberley, who had this special Christmas message.

Camberey Street SceneSteve Isherwood, Coordinator of Camberley Street Angels

“Camberley Street Angels would like to wish their supporters, friends, families and all those they meet in the Town Centre on Fridays and Saturdays a Joyous Christmas and Happy New Year.  Having been around for two years now, we feel a part of the community of people working or enjoying a night out in Camberley at the weekends and have made many friends.  May God richly bless you this Christmas time.”

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Christmas at St Paul’s Camberley : What’s On

St Paul's Camberley Angel

Welcome to Christmas at St Paul’s in Camberley!

However you dress it up, Christmas Starts with Christ, and we’ve got a series of events lined up to help you really feel Christmassy.

Throughout this month I’ll be exploring what’s on at St Paul’s in more detail, giving you more information on the services and events, and what to expect. Let’s start with this handy guide to what’s on at St Paul’s this Christmas.

Saturday 10 December

4pm - 6pm  Spiritual Cinema "The Nativity"  (originally screened by the BBC in 2010) on our big screen

Saturday 17 December

7.30pm – 9.45pm Christmas Spectacular Family Concert by Sandhurst Silver BandSandhurst Band Christmas Brass

Sunday 18 December

6.00pm Carols by Candlelight

Thursday 22 December

3pm – 5pm Children’s Snow Ball (5-11 year olds)

Christmas Eve

3.00pm  Christingles (great for children)
5.00pm  Christingles (great for children)Christingles

11.00pm Midnight Holy Communion

Christmas Day

8.00am    Holy Communion
9.30am    Family Celebration  (great for children)
11.15am  Family Celebration  (great for children)

Christmas Day at St Paul's Camberley

For more information, see our website, or contact us on 01276 700210