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.
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.
WHAT IS A DEANERY The Diocese of Oxford is divided into four smaller ‘episcopal Areas’, three of them overseen by their own Area Bishop. One such area is Reading. Each area is then further split into deaneries. The deaneries of the Reading Episcopal Area are: Bracknell, Bradfield, Maidenhead and Windsor, Newbury, Reading and Sonning. Sonning Deanery stretches from Wargrave in the north to Sandhurst in the south. It contains 12 benefices with 23 places of worship in a mixed rural, semirural and urban setting. Our current Area Dean is the Revd Richard Lamey, Rector of the three Churches of the Parish of St Paul, Wokingham.
What does the deanery give to the parish/benefice? The deanery represents a manageable level of organisation between a parish/benefice and the Diocese/Archdeaconry. Its aim is to assist churches to do things together that they could not do on their own; to support and encourage clergy in a role which can often be isolated and pressured; to perform an administrative function (eg allocating the Parish Share/organising building inspections); to act for the Archdeacon on inspections; to offer ideas, challenge and inspiration through meetings; to offer prayer and encouragement for each other; to work together towards input to the diocese; and to support mission and ministry in the parish/benefice.
What is a deanery synod? The deanery synod has a membership of all clergy who are licensed to a parish/benefice within the deanery, plus elected lay members from every parish. The larger your Electoral Roll, the more members you are entitled to elect. Members meet approximately four times a year at varying venues throughout the deanery. All meetings include a financial report, including reports on Parish Share, followed by a talk. Over the past year, lay discipleship, fundraising, and human sexuality have been discussed. All members share in a Eucharist service at one of the meetings. Currently, the Deanery Plan is being finalised. The emphasis of this plan will be on those areas of mission that can be done better as a deanery than as individual parishes: for example, outreach into new communities, empowerment of lay leaders, shared training courses, to name but a few.
What is Deanery Chapter? Clergy within the deanery meet monthly over lunch at Deanery Chapter. These meetings form an important basis for support, challenge and collegiality for clergy to learn from each other and from those who address the meeting.
Regular Prayer Letters are sent out from the Deanery- do please use those intentions as a way of weaving us all together in prayer.
Christian Resources for Living Well
in the Light of Mortality Inspirational resources to help ministers and pastoral leaders support conversations on death and dying. Visit this new website for a course, workshop, prayer walk, sermon starters, reflection cards, Bible studies and meditations.
Over the past year, groups of All Saints Church members have begun gathering together to talk about death. No, we haven’t lost our minds, become depressed or run out of things to say. We are trying out a recent Church of England project, designed as a form of ministry for those of all faiths and none, to encourage people to break down the taboo around death. This project is called Grave Talk.
The idea is to get us talking about our feelings around loss, our own death, grief, what a ‘good’ funeral means to us etc. The hope is that taking part in the discussion will get us thinking and talking to our loved ones about our feelings and our ideas about funerals.
Some people took a bit of cajoling to join the first group and most of us felt some level of trepidation and scepticism. What were we doing there, and why would talking about death be a good idea?
Despite all our doubts within a matter of minutes there was a buzz of conversation and laughter running through the room. In fact, people were so keen, it was difficult to bring the session to a close. Now we get people asking when the next session will be.
FREE YOUTH GROUP RESOURCE The Children’s Society have produced a new church youth group resource. The sessions are built upon their first-hand knowledge of supporting young people, no matter what issues they may face. It contains six youth group sessions from a faith perspective to help youth workers unpack key topics such as identity, sexting, mental health, healthy relationships and life online, empowering your young people to support themselves and their peers.
Each session is aimed at 11-16 year olds and is around an hour and a half long but can be adapted. See www.childrenssociety.org.uk/youth