Prayer Cycle for February

No. 86 February 2020

This month our special focus is on Parish of Finchampstead and California

Please pray for:

Rector:                                           The Revd Canon Julie Ramsbottom
Associate Priest:                       The Revd Canon John Edwards
Associate Priest:                       The Revd Julian McAllen
Associate Priest:                       The Revd Tonia Elliott
Curate:                                           The Revd Gemma Wilkinson
Family and Youth Workers: Kate Meads and Sam Khan
Church Wardens Finchampstead: Jo Myall, Robert Alder
Church Wardens California:         Marjorie Stalker, Ashlyn Webster
Wardens St Eligius:                      Lucia Golding, Paul Marsden
Treasurer:                                          Colum Devine
Parish Administrator:                Pamela Zabbia
PCC Sec:                                          Carolyn Fox

Please pray for:    

  • The further embedding of our parish vision, that it might embrace those beyond the PCC, and that our five values might connect with the 400+ adults on our Electoral Roll
    • To nurture and develop faith
    • To be outward-looking and focussed on mission
    • To proclaim Jesus in all we say and do
    • To give the best possible welcome to all-comers
    • To enable the diversity of our congregations whilst all looking and pulling in the same direction
  • Revd Tonia’s ministry of outreach into the new community at Arborfield Green, and especially for
    • United@5 and United Kidz@Play
    • Alpha, Pilgrim and home groups
    • The embedding of youth work and further collaboration with Bohunt School
  • For our outreach at North Finchampstead.- especially the redevelopment of the Gorse Ride South estate –  and for collaboration with FBC and other agencies seeking to serve our parishioners
  • For Kate and Sam, for the growth of our ministry with young people and families, and our expanding ministry in local schools.
  • For our 2020 Lent Lectures Inspired  by… St James Church Centre  7.45pm for 8.00pm
    •  Tuesday 3rd March    Canon Mark Oakley – Inspired by Poetry;
    •  Tuesday 10th March  Mrs Beverley Stevens – Inspired by Literature
    • Tuesday 17th March  The Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell  – Inspired by Art
    • Tuesday 24th March  Revd John Castle Inspired by Scripture
    • Tuesday 31st March  Canon Julie Ramsbottom – Inspired by Music
    • Tuesday 7th April      Canon John Edwards- Inspired by Stained Glass  

In the Deanery Please Pray for: 

  • The Marriage Preparation day, for St Pauls, All Saints, Winnersh and Bearwood, on the 29th of Feb, for all those getting married in our Churches this year.

In the Deanery Please Give Thanks for:

  • the large number of children at CTG and the many who serve in children’s ministries. Praying that the children will come to faith in Jesus and grow into mature disciples and for two CTG families who have moved into the development with the desire to be in walking distance of church and to be witnesses to Jesus.

In the Archdeaconry Please Pray for:

  • The licensing of The Reverend Stephen Pullin as the new Archdeacon of Berkshire on   29th February.

2020 Lent Lectures Inspired by…

St James Church Centre, Finchampstead, RG40 4LU

7.45pm for 8.00pm

  • Tuesday 3rd March    Canon Mark Oakley – Inspired by Poetry
  • Tuesday 10th March  Mrs Beverley Stevens – Inspired by Literature
  • Tuesday 17th March  The Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell  – Inspired by Art
  • Tuesday 24th March  Revd John Castle Inspired by Scripture
  • Tuesday 31st March  Canon Julie Ramsbottom – Inspired by Music
  • Tuesday 7th April      Canon John Edwards- Inspired by Stained Glass  

Spring courses from the Diocese of Oxford

Spring courses from the Diocese.
A variety of courses suitable for those in the congregation and those training for ministry.  Equipping for Life: Learning for Discipleship and Ministry

Music for Mission and Ministry
Training courses from the Royal School of Church Music for leaders of worship and musicians. Three-day courses in 2020 take place in February, April and September/October. There are also one-day courses available. Flyer 

Eco church and energy audits

Click the image to watch the film and visit oxford.anglican.org/church-energy-audits to find out how your church can get involved.

Energy efficiency can enable our churches to provide attractive places of sanctuary, fellowship and communion – with a comfortable level of warmth and illumination – at a lower cost to the planet, and sometimes with financial savings as well. One significant barrier for churches, however, is knowing what positive actions they can undertake. PCCs can now obtain and begin to act on expert advice in this area with energy audits carried out by professionals with experience of historic places of worship. The energy audit looks at a range of energy uses in the church building, from lighting to heating, and recommends the energy and carbon reduction measures available. These can include simple changes that will cost nothing – such as setting adjustments and changing practices – as well as options for renewable technologies, better controls, or changes in equipment. This short film tells the story of how one church in Wokingham has benefited from this approach. To find out more, visit: oxford.anglican.org/church-energy-audits

Prayer Cycle for January

No. 85 January 2020

This month our special focus is on Arborfield with Barkham and Christ Church Wokingham.

Please pray:

  • For our family of churches gathering for our annual joint service on January 26th. Pray we would give God the glory for all he has done and be encouraged to continue to serve him.

Arborfield – St Bartholomew’s – Please pray

  • Give thanks for all those who continue to serve joyfully in seen and unseen ways week by week.
  • That as the new year begins, we would continue to rejoice in Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour and seek to live in light of his return.
    • The leadership team: Andy Kearns (Minister)
    • Wardens: Patricia Fryer, Joe Brown
    • Treasurer: Mark McDonnell
    •  PCC secretary: Tom Auden

Barkham – St James’ – Please pray

  • That the Lord would have been working in the hearts of some who came to our Carol services and that they would join us in January with a desire to find out more about Jesus.
  • Give thanks for those who have joined us recently. Pray they would settle into the church family so that we might grow and serve the Lord together. 
  • that we would grow in our prayerfulness; that we would be ‘Devoted to prayer, being watchful and thankful’ (Colossians 4:2)
    • The leadership team: Julian Bidgood (minister), David Horrocks, Michael Byrne
    • Wardens: Mark Stevens, Craig Manning
    • Treasurer: Lionel Matsuya
    • PCC secretary: Isobel Manning

Arborfield Green – Church at the Green – Please pray

  • Give thanks for number of relationships strengthened through outreach events pre-Christmas and pray that from amongst them there may be those who come to faith in Jesus in 2020.
  • Give thanks for the many children aged 0-11 who belong to CTG and pray they may grow into lifelong followers of Jesus.
  • That we would be a people who ‘Rejoice always, pray continually and give thanks in all circumstances.
    • The leadership team: Piers Bickersteth (Minister)
    • Elders: James Carpenter, Ed Clark

Christ Church Wokingham – Please pray

  • Give thanks for provision of a house for the Huddleston family.
  • For those who give so much time to serving the church family. That they would serve in the strength God supplies and find real joy in serving.
    • The leadership team: Mark Huddleston (Minister), Mellissa Tuthill
    • Wardens: Martin Northend, Helen Hotchkiss
    • Treasurer: Graham Richardson
    • PCC secretary: Andrew Bateman

In the Deanery please pray for:

  • All Saints Wokingham as they begin to ask for donations to realise the vision for a church building which is an accessible and open community hub.
  • Woosehill Guidance for post-Christmas reflection for a prophetic vision for the or the years ahead.
    • A sense of the ‘privilege’ of serving the King and making and taking opportunity to serve the people of God in Woosehill.
    • Hope and thanksgiving trust in God in the midst of illnesses.
    • The next processes after the energy audits one of which is application for funds for implimentation of these recommendations.
    • The process of transition at Hawthorns Primary school as they look for the next head teacher.
  • Winnersh Parish, especially that the Parish Priest, the PCC, Churchwardens and Parish Development Adviser may be enabled to listen to what God is saying as we consider our future mission and ministry in 2020 and beyond.

Oxford Diocesan Synod

A summary of the meeting held on Saturday 16th November 2019 in Milton Keynes

  1. The Rt. Revd Dr Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford, welcomed Synod members and visitors to the meeting. Following this, the meeting started with opening worship. It included Dwelling in the Word using a passage from Acts 20:17-38, led by The Revd Tim Norwood, Canon John Robertson and other members of the Milton Keynes Deanery. Special prayers were said for Bishop designate, Olivia Graham as she prepared for her consecration as Bishop of Reading taking place on Tuesday 19th November in St Paul’s Cathedral.
  2. A number of notices were read: there was a special welcome to The Rt Revd Oswald Swartz (Bishop Ossie) from our link diocese in Kimberley, South Africa. Bishop Steven paid tribute to Bishop Ossie as he prepared for his retirement early next year; this was part of his farewell tour. There were a number of other announcements: Revd Canon Stephen Pullin had recently been appointed as Archdeacon of Berkshire; The Archdeacon of Oxford had recently been nominated to be the next Bishop of Dudley; this was his final Synod and a small gift was presented to him on behalf of members. Revd Canon Sue Booys, Chair of the House of Clergy to the Diocesan Synod, announced she would be relinquishing her role as Chair in March 2020 and a replacement would be sought. Sue had been appointed as the new Chair of the Kimberley and Kuruman Link Committee.
  3. Presidential Address: Bishop Steven’s address was titled ‘How to Pray for this General Election’. He noted that by this he meant how to pray for the renewal of our political life in our nation at this present time. He noted how, over recent months, friends and colleagues on different sides in Parliament had asked him to pray for them and our Government. “So great is the rising tide of desperation, the sense that we are running out of answers, the sense of paralysis at the heart of national life”. Those requests he felt were sincerely made, and he wanted to respond to them: hence the need to give thought to how we pray, particularly as the general election will fall in the season of Advent. His full address can be found at: https://blogs. oxford.anglican.org/how-to-pray-for-this-generalelection/
  4. The Minutes of the meeting of Diocesan Synod held on 15th June 2019 were approved and signed.
  5. Questions: A member of Synod had submitted a question asking “Approximately how much has the Diocese spent on the development and production of the new Parish Planning Tool, in terms of money, resources and staff time?” A written response was given by the Diocesan Secretary outlining its purpose and details of costs. It noted that the response to the tool at the three Archdeaconry Area Days had been extremely positive and the tool had become a key resource for our Parish Development Advisors and the parishes exploring their call to become more Christ-like. A copy of the Parish Planning Tool is being made available to each parish/benefice free of charge, often at the Archdeaconry Area Day (around 150 packs were distributed at the recent Dorchester Area day alone). Additional packs may be purchased online at a cost of £10 per copy, along with additional listener cards. The Parish Planning Tool content is also available free of charge to our parishes to download and print locally.
    The full question and response can be found at https://www.oxford.anglican.org/who-weare/governance/diocesan-synod/
  6. Bishop Steven introduced the new Diocesan Secretary, Mr Mark Humphriss and invited him to address the Synod. In his speech, Mark paid tribute to his predecessor, Rosemary Pearce noting her level of knowledge and insight that she accumulated and the great team she had built in Church House. He noted his intention to spend some time getting out and about around the diocese, to gather wider views, to celebrate the life of our diocese but also to ensure that he hears where we are doing things well and where we might be able to do better.
  7. The Chair of the Board of Finance, The Revd John Tattersall, presented the budget for 2020 which had been agreed in outline at the June meeting. A number of people asked questions from the floor which led to some discussion points and the Motion to approve was later passed with one vote against and some abstentions.
  8. The Synod worked in groups to discuss two questions following a request for a wider debate on how the diocese was resourced and finances spent. A paper had been circulated to assist with this. This can be found at: https://www.oxford.anglican.org/who-we-are/governance/diocesan-synod/
    Following the group work sessions, feedback was collected and a summary of these would be available to members in due course.
  9. A Deanery Synod Motion from the Cowley Deanery was presented to members and the Synod were invited to debate the motion, asking that “In the light of the Oxford Diocese’s commitment to becoming a Christlike Church that is courageous, compassionate and contemplative we ask that this Synod:
    • I) recognise the significant level of inequality that exists across the diocese that enables some parishes to have churches that are “fit for purpose” whilst other parishes struggle to provide even the most basic of facilities such as running water, and
    • II) commission a Working Group that will propose how best to provide urgent practical support and funding to those parishes that are most in need of basic facilities so as to enable them to fulfil their mission.”
  10. After a period of debate this Motion was passed unanimously and Bishop’s Council would address how to move this forward.
  11. The Synod debated a proposal for the appointment of three full-time Associate Archdeacons in the Diocese of Oxford. Bishop Steven gave background to this item noting that currently the Diocese was significantly under resourced in this area compared to other dioceses where archdeaconries were typically much smaller. An increase in archdeacons’ responsibilities, including changes in legislation in safeguarding, Clergy Discipline Measure and Common Tenure meant that archdeacons’ workloads were not sustainable and had stretched existing resources to their limit. This proposal would seek to redress this balance and focus on our Common Vision allowing better proactive mission and pastoral support to parishes and deaneries. Following a period of debate this was voted on and passed unanimously.
  12. The Chair of the House of Laity, Mr John Sykes, presented the Scheme for approval for the Elected Lay Representation on Deanery Synods for the triennium 2020-23. This was approved by the Synod and would be disseminated to parishes in January before APCMs.
  13. Mr John Sykes, Chair of the Development Fund Panel, gave an update to members noting that the first round of funding had now closed, and the panel had met to review applications. There had been an encouraging response; it was not possible to give details of projects supported at this stage as applicants had not yet been notified.
  14. The Revd Tim Norwood and Canon John Robertson were invited to speak to the Synod on the work of the Celebrate and Bless Milton Keynes Deanery strand of the Common Vision process. With a population of 300,000 it is growing rapidly and becoming a regional centre – at the heart of the Oxford-MK-Cambridge arc.
  15. Reflection on the morning’s business was led by The Revd Richard Lamey, Sonning Deanery and Acting Assistant Archdeacon in Berkshire. Following this the Bishop of Buckingham led the closing prayers.

Future Diocesan Synod meetings: Next meeting: Venue: 17th March 2020 Green Park Conference Centre, Reading Dates of further Diocesan Synod meetings in 2020 (All Saturdays) from 0900 – 1300 (or as advised): 13th June 2020 Oxford area 14th November 2020 TBC

Elections for new Deanery Synods will be held in 2020 (3-year term of office). Notification will be sent in early January 2020.

2020 is also an election year for General Synod elections (5-year term of office)

Bishop Olivia

Our new Bishop of Reading

St Paul’s Cathedral
Inside the Dome
The new Bishop Olivia otside St Paul’s

On Tuesday 19th November, Olivia was consecrated as bishop in a service held in St Paul’s Cathedral, London

She was then welcomed and officially installed as the 10th Bishop of Reading at an afternoon service on 23rd November at the Reading Minster of St Mary the Virgin.

Before the service at The Minster
The new Bishop of Reading

Olivia was born and educated in Kent and went to work in Kenya as a teacher aged 18 for a year, which turned into 6. She then took a degree in Development Studies at UEA, Norwich before returning to work in Africa for another 7 years, in Djibouti, Somalia and Senegal. Towards the end of this period she married Keith, and their first child Robert was born. When the vote on the ordination of women as priests was carried by Synod in 1992 she returned to England to begin the process of exploring ordination. Their second child Philip was born six months before she started training on the St Albans and Oxford Ministry Course and she was ordained deacon in 1997, a few weeks after their third child, Sophie was born. During her curacy she trained as an Ignatian spiritual director. Olivia has served her whole ministry in Oxford Diocese, with 10 years in parish ministry before roles as parish development adviser and archdeacon. She has chaired the Diocesan link with Kimberley and Kuruman Diocese, delighting in the opportunity to keep up links with Africa. She has also led on the discipleship and clergy wellbeing work for the Diocese, and has a keen interest in environmental and social justice issues.