All posts by Peter Wells

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.

New Communities

For more details or to book your place:

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.

Prayer Cycle for December

No. 84                                          December 2019

This month our special focus is on Christmas in our Churches.

 Please pray:

  • That we shall be able to welcome many to our services this year both regular worshippers and visitors and that they may they know not just our welcome but also that of our Lord Jesus in this special season and that the services will be meaningful and challenging to all.
  • That those who already know the love of God will be re-inspired by news of this birth, as heaven bends to touch earthcome face to face with Emmanuel, God with us.
  • That those who find Christmas a time of loneliness and disappointment will find comfort and peace in the face of the Christ-child. come face to face with Emmanuel, God with us.

  Please pray for:

  • All Christmas Services in all our Churches
  • Midnight Mass
  • All Age Christmas Day Services
  • Carol Services
  • Nine Lessons and Carols
  • Crib Services and Nativity Plays
  • Churches Together in Crowthorne witness on Crowthorne High Street in the lead up to Christmas:
    • The (first ever!) official switch on of Christmas Lights, Sunday 24th November 6pm
    • Late Night Shopping on Crowthorne High Street, Friday 6th December
    • Angel Bombing and Carol Singing on the High Street, 14th December
  • St John the Baptist Crowthorne: 1st December Advent Fair and Advent Taizé worship
  • St George’s Owlsmoor: visits from both our local Primary Schools during December and the special services: 1st December Christingle, Saturday 14th December, Evening of Festive Music, Carol and Nativity Service
  • St Mary the Virgin Winnersh, 8th December 4.00 p.m. Messy Christingle, 24th December 4.30 p.m. Crib Service, 25th December,10.00 a.m. Christmas Day Family Eucharist
  • St.Catherine’s. Bearwood, 15th  December,  6.30 p.m. Candlelit Carol Service 24th December, 4.30 p.m. Crib Service, 11.00 p.m.  Midnight Mass
  • St Sebastian Messy Church 13th December
  • St Mary’s Wargrave Messy Church 15th December
  •  Woosehill Church for the response to the message of Christ from the Woosehill Community they are invited to the various Christmas services including carols at the Ye Olde Leathern Bottel pub on Monday 9th December from 7.30 pm.
  • The Stationng process as Woosehill Church and the Methodist circuit seek out a new minister to take them forward for the next three years.
  • All Saints Wokingham, 3 Session Advent Course – Alive in Christ

Prayer Cycle for November

No. 83 November 2019

This month our special focus is on Sonning Deanery Synod

 Please pray for:

  • Area Dean: Rev’d Richard Lamey
  • Lay Chair: John Smith
  • Associate Area Dean:  Rev’d Jane Kraft
  • Secretary: Bridget Crossley            
  • Treasurer: Vacant
  • Quinquennial Inspection Secretary: Michael Byrne
  • Ecumenical Representative: David Hare
  • Standing Committee: Rev’d Richard Lamey, John Smith, Rev’d Jane Kraft, Bridget Crossley, Pauline Humphreys, Judith Scott, Rev’d Catherine Vaughan
  • Representatives on Diocesan Synod: Rev’d Richard Lamey, Rev’d Hugh Barne, Martin Hughes, Judith Scott, John Smith, Peter Barrett
  • In Synod please pray:
  • For the Deanery Plan, that we will continue to listen to God as we listen to each other and try to enact our plan for the local Churches in four groups:
  • encouraging lay discipleship,
  • reaching out to the new housing estates being built locally,
  • setting up the right training courses to deepen our faith
  • building stronger relationships within the Deanery.
  • Praying for all those involved in these groups as they start working in these areas, so that we might become a stronger Deanery, becoming better at supporting the ministry of each parish and its people.

In the Deanery please pray for:

  • The Environment Impact Conference at Beech Hill Memorial Hall 7th November
  • The evening entitled “Christians Together on Climate” on 23rd November, 6:30 for 7 till 9 at St Lawrence’s Reading as they consider the responses from the local churches and diocesan funding
  • St Mary’s, Winnersh holding fund raising events in November, a Hand Bell Concert and a Pamper Evening to raise the £10.000 needed for a new boiler
  • Give thanks for the appointment of a new Parish Administrator for Winnersh Parish, that there will be a strengthening of the good links with the public, local schools, residential homes, funeral directors, and enhance communication with the Diocese and Deanery. 
  • St. Catherine’s Church Bearwood celebrating its Patronal Festival on the Feast of Christ the King (24th November) with a Joint Eucharist with St. Mary’s Winnersh at 11.00am that the Holy Spirit will lead us into God’s preferred and promised future for the parish.
  • The Quench, the Christian Bookshop, at Holme Grange, Wokingham, experiencing difficulty with team personal health and family issues and reduction in sales.

Surviving the Break Up

Programme

The Adult Experience of Divorce.
The evening covers some of the feelings experienced by people – anger, sorrow, low esteem and helplessness. Some ways of dealing with these feelings are also explored.
The Effect of Divorce on the Children.
This session looks at how children react to separation and divorce, with suggestions for making this period as easy as possible for them.
Legal Aspects of Divorce.
A local solicitor gives advice and information on the financial and legal aspects of divorce.
Happiness, Confidence & Independence.
An opportunity to explore who we are, who we can be and how to move forward towards our own happiness.
Quotes From Former Participants.
‘… it was good to be with other people who knew how I was feeling, because they were feeling it too.’
‘… the solicitor helped us to see what questions we needed to ask and which practical issues needed to be faced.’
‘… the specialists helped us to understand what was happening and were a springboard for the discussions that followed.’
‘… the course took me forward.’

This is a 4-session course designed for anyone who is at any stage of separation, break up or divorce. It has been created to help people understand the process involved in splitting up. There is an opportunity to meet and gain support from other people in a similar situation.
Each evening consists of a short talk, followed by the chance to discuss experiences in small groups.
Dates: Wednesday evenings at 8:00pm
6th, 13th, 20th and 27th November 2019
Venue: St Sebastian’s Parish Centre,
Nine Mile Ride, Wokingham.
Cost: There is a small fee of £10.00 to cover refreshments, administration costs, etc. However, please do ask if this proves difficult as fees can be reduced or waived.
Please Contact: St Sebastian’s Parish Centre, Nine Mile Ride,
Wokingham, RG40 3AT
Telephone: 01344 761050
(9:00am – 3:00pm Monday-Friday)

Prayer Cycle for October

No. 82                                          October 2019

This month our special focus is on St John the Baptist Church Crowthorne

 Please pray for:

  • Vicar:  Rev’d Dr. Lisa Cornwell
  • Associate Priest:  Rev’d David Ramsbottom
  • LLMs:             Gillian Gyenes, Hazel Berry, Julia Norton, Dr Lewis Simmons
  • Church Wardens:   Leslie Richardson, Leigh Welham
  • PCC Secretary:        Mary Harwood
  • Treasurer:                  Rebecca Al-Jadir
  • Assistant Treasurer: Julie Sharpe
  • Choir Director:       Katherine Bond Smith

In the Parish please pray for:

  • Our clergy and all those who lead services and preach, intercessors and those who read the lessons
  • Carol Frost in her training as an LLM.
  • Our PCC
  • The Choir and the visiting organists who play for our services
  • The Net (our Sunday School): for the teachers, children and parent helpers.
  • Pathfinders, the leaders and the young people attending
  • Minus 5s, those who lead, singing, pray and tell stories to the children and their parents.
  • More leaders for all the children and young people’s work
  • The Church yard team and those who will cut and strim the hedges ready for winter.
  • Our continuing Christian Spirituality Course, October 7the Formed Spirituality/ John Calvin, October 14 The Spirituality of Compassion/ Jean Vanier, Oct 21 Spirituality of Cynthia Bourgeault/ Centering Prayer
  • Our annual ‘Tea and Favourite Hymns’ on 20 October
  • The All Souls and All Saints services
  • Our Mindfulness Quiet Day in November lead by Tim Stead.
  • All the groups who use our hall during the week

In the Deanery please pray for:

  • St George’s Church in Owlsmoor, someone to please come forward to become Treasurer
  • The Church Urban Fund event at the Exeter Hall in Kidlington, on October 7th when there will be an afternoon of discussion around church growth, discipleship and social action, to which all will be welcome.
  • All the many new communities in our Deanery
  • All young people going away to University and College.
  • All the work done by C.R.O.W. – ‘Crowthorne reduce our waste’

Hazel Berry: