All posts by Hazel Berry

Your will be done


A Christian response to key environmental issues

Date: Wednesday 5th June 2019

Time: 10 am to 4 pm

Cost: £10 which will include lunch

Venue: St James Church, Church Lane, Finchampstead, RG40 4LU

What does it mean to pray, ‘Your will be done on earth’? What are the big issues in our natural world today? How do they impact on people and what do they have to do with Christian faith and mission? This day will bring an up to date approach to climate change and biodiversity loss, and touch on other issues such as food, water, soil and plastic. How can we understand these issues as Christians an dhow can our response be fully missional?

Martin Hodson is a plant scientist and environmental biologist. He is operations director for the John Ray Initiative (JRI).
Margot Hodson is Rector of the Wychert Vale Benefice in Buckinghamshire. She is on the management boards of both the JRI and A Rocha UK. The Hodsons have written a number of books on faith and environmental issues.

For tickets follow the link below:




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)



Prayer Cycle for May

______________________________________________Number 77                                            May 2019

This month our special focus is on St. Mary the Virgin, Winnersh and St. Catherine of Alexandria, Bearwood

Please pray for:
Church Leaders:  Rev’d James Warren and Rev’d Clifford Smith

 Churchwardens elected at the 2019 APCM: 
Mrs. Debbie Brunt (St.Catherine, Bearwood
Mr. Alan Hall (St. Mary, Winnersh)

In the Parish please pray for:

  • The Lectio Group and their first outreach event ‘ Take Tea Together ‘at St. Mary’s Parish Centre, Winnersh on May 5th – for a good response to invitations and a positive atmosphere on the day.
  • The Spring Fayre at St. Mary’s on 11th May and all the stallholders and organisers.
  • The Gratis Choir Concert on 18th May, that it may be well supported and an inspirational evening.

In the Parish please give thanks for:

  • The continuing excellent relationship with Bearwood Primary School and for future development of links with the pupils and staff.
  • The monthly Holy Communion services at Abbeyfield and for future plans to hold a musical event for the residents this summer.

In the Deanery please pray for:

  • The farewell service to mark the retirement of Bishop Andrew, giving thanks for his eight years as Bishop of Reading.
  • Wisdom for those selecting the new Bishop of Reading
  • The Deanery Plan as we begin to think how to enact it. It focuses on making sure that everybody knows they are called to discipleship; on building healthy new communities, on sharing opportunities for learning and on building strong and honest relationships in the Deanery and across the Churches.
  • St Paul’s Wokingham: Julie and Keith as Mother Julie moves to be the Vicar of the Lambourn Valley Benefice, in Newbury Deanery, in June
  • Those elected as Church Wardens, Officers and PCC members, at the APCMs

Hazel Berry:

Café Theologique

Café Theologique

Monday 20 May
Time: 7:30pm

Recycling Old Wineskins? Reading the Old Testament in Context

What should we do with the tricky bits in the ‘Old Testament’? asks Robin Baker, Professor of Old Testament and Ancient Near Eastern Studies in the Department of Theology, Religious Studies and Philosophy at the University of Winchester.

Robin has written extensively on the strange world of the Bible including the books of Judges and Jeremiah. His focus is particularly on the relationship between the Old Testament and Assyrian and Babylonian beliefs and cultic practice, and reflections of Mesopotamian literature in the Hebrew Bible.

Venue: Zero Degrees Bar, Bridge Street, Reading RG1 2LR.
No charge, no booking.








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.

Deanery Planning Day

A Brief Report on the Deanery Planning Day: 1.12.18
by Revd Richard Lamey, Area Dean of Sonning

The Deanery Plan has been in construction over the past 18 months or so. After two major conversations at Synod the overall plan was discussed by every PCC and received very positive comments: and then on Saturday the 1st of December 2018 50 people from Deanery Synod and from the PCCs of the Deanery came together in Finchampstead Parish Rooms to turn a plan into a plan of action.
The day was led by John Smith (Deanery Lay Chair), Richard Lamey (Area Dean) and Rhodri Bowen (Parish Development Advisor for the Archdeaconry). Continue reading Deanery Planning Day

Chapter Programme


11 Sept 2018 ‘Flourishing in Ministry’ (1)


Catherine Vaughan Hugh Barne/John Cook
9 October 2018


            Deanery Plan

In preparation for Deanery Day on Dec 1st

Richard Lamey Richard Lamey and Julie Mintern
13 November 2018 Lectionary year ‘C’ John Castle Hannah Higginson
11 December 2018 Vocations Tina Molyneux David Hodgson
8 January 2019 Reflections on Deanery Day & Plan Rhodri Bowen Richard Lamey
12th February 2019  

Woodland/Forest Church

Tonia Elliott and Gemma Wilkinson Colin James
12th March 2019 Flourishing in Ministry (2)


Archdeacon Olivia Jane Kraft
9th April 2019

NB No meeting

Easter break Easter break Easter break
9th May 2019




James Lawrence (from CPAS)

on Courage in Christian leadership

Richard Lamey
11th June 2019 Bible Study – Ecclesiastes Julian Bidgood Lisa Cornwell
9 July 2019  Planning Meeting for next year


Richard Lamey Julian McAllen

Living well

Christian Resources for Living Well in the Light of Mortality 
New! Inspirational resources to help ministers and pastoral leaders support conversations on death and dying. Visit this brand new website for a course, workshop, prayer walk, sermon starters, reflection cards, Bible studies and meditations. 

Faculty Rules

Faculty Rules Consultation
If you’re responsible for your church building then there’s an exceptionally important and unique opportunity to share your views on Faculty Jurisdiction Rules. We are preparing a diocesan response but it’s important for parishes to comment individually too. Find out more in the recent DAC newsletter sent to all incumbents and church wardens across the diocese.