#328: My vote goes to whoever will get rid of Larry the Cat, the Terror of the good mice of Downing Street

The photo above portrays the full deception of the leaders of the parish who went to the inordinate lengths of organising a party at another Church (Woosehill) just so I couldn’t raid the bowl of cheese and onion crisps. All I can say is that I am wounded to my soul by the betrayal- and you will have to organise something quite stonking to make up for it. Like an amazing Evensong. With a picnic beforehand. And all of my friends there. I wish, I wish, I wish…

[Ed- something like this, do you mean, Bertie?]

It promises, Bertram, to be a very full and exciting weekend– with our excellent friend Bishop Hall from Madagascar giving a talk at Woosehill on Saturday at 3.30pm, followed by a cream tea- you need to email Teri (teri@theaustens.uk) to say you are coming so they can stir enough cream into clots- and then Bishop Hall taking the 9.30, and Roy Burgess the 11, while Cara is at Woosehill at 10 and Richard is gadding off to Crowthorne to help them while they are between vicars.

And as if that wasn’t enough refreshments and excitement, the Art Exhibition returns from the 23rd of July in the Parish Rooms- do offer your support, and do offer to help serve refreshments if you can because it is a great service to the community and a good fundraiser as well for Church funds- call Jenny on 978 3470 to offer your time and expertise. See you there, Bertie!

If you want to know about joining a Tithings Group, offering support, fellowship and fun, please see last week’s email or speak to Louise Cole in the Office- 0118 979 2122.

There are still some spaces on the Parish First Aid Course on the 8th of October– please speak to Louise Cole if you would like to know more or if you would like to come. Some Groups are paying for members to come so that could be one way of making it affordable for people. Or mice. Although I do wonder how effective Bertie might be at chest compressions because he has plenty of energy but not a lot of weight. And the tape on plasters always sticks to his fur. Which is very awkward to sort out.

The Diocese of Oxford produces an Annual Report, well, annually. It, well, reports on areas of focus and progress in the life of the Diocese. It is well worth a read, not least to remind us of the Diocese we are part of: Diocese of Oxford | Annual review (anglican.org)

Extract from Cara’s email to J-Club parents and families this week:

If your children are finishing the end of term at pre-school or school, getting ready to move into a new school or the next stage, please know that they and you are prayed for every day.  And if there’s anything you need from either me or Richard, please let us know, we’re both around at various points over the summer.

The PCC had a very good meeting on Monday night- see photo above. Among some of the things we discussed were…

a) the chalice– we were unanimous in thinking that it is the wrong moment to bring the chalice back because the Covid rate is still so high. We talked about intinction (dipping the wafer into the chalice) but the feeling of the group was that this was quite messy and complex so, for the time being, we are sticking as we are at both St Paul’s and St Nick’s. We also discussed the Peace and have decided that we will still need to be sensitive to what others are signalling to us but sharing the peace with a handshake with those around us will be fine. Thanks to everyone who sent in their comments and ideas on this as well.

b) we talked about organising a more structured and regular season of courses at different times. We discussed when we thought it would be good to meet and also what sort of topics people would like to cover- there was a broad focus on the Bible and Church history. We were really excited about the idea of more regular and more systematic and higher profile short courses for a set period of time to compliment the Tuesday Bible Study, Tithings Groups and House Groups. Watch this space!

c) we are facing an estimated deficit of about £6,000 this year as the result of falling regular Giving and increased bills, in line with those every household is facing. We obviously need to take this seriously, and that starts with us all being aware of what is going on and what the state of play is. Do please speak to Lyn Austen or Stuart Fairhead if you would like to know more details of anything around this, or if you would like to talk about a more formal way of donating money to support the work and ministry of the Churches of St Paul and St Nicholas.

And finally, a message from Wargrave Church inviting us to a special Service on the 20th of July which focuses on the environment

Special service with +Olivia on 20 July

St Mary’s Wargrave has been chosen to host a short service on Wednesday 20 July, at which Bishop Olivia will deliver a brief sermon on the environment.

You are invited to attend and are asked to arrive at 10.15 for a prompt 10.30 start.

A film crew will be present from 9 am until 3 pm, filming before, during and after the service, with a focus on aspects of our Eco Church activities.

This is for a series called Earthrise which will be broadcast worldwide on Al Jazeera. As the filming of the service could include shots of the congregation, you should only attend the service if you are happy that you might feature in the program.

Cara has begged and pleaded to be allowed the keys of the Bertie email (or the keyboard) for the next three editions as a way of sharing with you all of the excellent cheese and rodent jokes she has been working on and practicing when she should have been writing her sermon- so any comments, complaints, adverts and resources should be sent to her until the end of July. cara.smart@spauls.co.uk

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