Month: May 2019

Intercessions from High Leigh Conference

Intercessions: opening worship of the High Leigh Conference 2019

God of compassion, we remember today
Those for whom earthquakes, wind or fire
Has brought chaos and destruction.
For those who have lost everyone and everything they love.
We hold in our hearts and before you, those for whom the future is uncertain because of ill health, precarious relationships, or economic challenge; and those for whom the end of life in near.
And we share in in joy, with those experiencing new birth, new life and fresh starts – full of hope and expectation.
We bring before you our sacred and beautiful planet, teaming with life, renewal and healing forces.
May we do all we can to halt and mitigate the slow death of biodiversity
The continuous assault on what you have made.

God of mystery,
Where are you
When the world flings demands
Like a rain squall at the window,
When the pressure to perform steals us from ourselves,
When grasping for our future leaves us empty handed?
Where are you
When confusion is in heady ascendance,
When digging for surety lacerates and fragments?
Where are you in the fray,
In the tangled threads of feeling with no beginning or end?

God of our depths, be with us.
Do not rescue, but hold us;
Befriend, and reacquaint us
With our roots,
Our core,Our true desires.

Help us to know
How slowly moves the deep;
our connection to earth
and stars,
and the life that is you.

Help us to know
What we carry inside;
a space that does not always, or often,
know its shape
or size,
or what its purpose is.

Help us to know
That beyond our striving and our need
All you are is love,
And all we have is you.


 Alison Webster May 2019


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.

Pauline Humphreys (Deanery Synod Standing Committee Member)