#330: Happy and Glorious

Hello, dear friends- Bertie here. I am taking a short break from working out how to wrap each of my whiskers in Red, White and Blue ribbon in time for the weekend to send you a cheery update and to say hello. I have not been this excited since the last Royal wedding- aeroplanes, impossibly complex trifle, trestle tables in the street, distinctly average cover bands in the park- all in all, it is Britain at its finest. Do send photos of what you get up to- do wish Janet Wickham and Alan Crew a Happy Birthday if you see them this week- and here is the news.

Pentecost and the Jubilee all in one service

The service at 9.30 is going to be jam-packed with goodies- those joining on the Livestream will need a candle, and something to light it with and a pen and some paper as well. And it would be an amazing Sunday to start to put messages on the chat-bar too. Here is the OoS you will need as well…

Also, don’t forget the BBQ at Woosehill on Sunday after the service, and services at 10 and 11 as usual. Lots to look forward to, to celebrate and to give thanks for. And because there is SO MUCH happening in the next few days, there won’t be a Service on Sunday evening at Woosehill (on the 3rd of June) because everyone is going to be exhausted by then.

Emmbrook Royal Ramble- this weekend only!

Please take a walk around our friendly neighbourhood to see how many “Crowns” and other displays you can find to raise funds for the schools.

Please encourage friends, family & neighbours to join in by inviting them on Facebook. (search Facebook events for “The Emmbrook Trail 2022 A Royal Ramble”)

The trail will run during half term (Saturday the 28th of May until Monday the 6th of June) but even if you are away on holiday for the week, you can still get involved by buying a map for a friend or making a donation.

Royal Ramble maps are on sale for £3 purchase maps via Eventbrite  here:- and collect your maps at one of three local shops on the poster.

And in other news…

My secret informant at Churches Together in Wokingham, Bonnie the Town mouse, has sent me this secret update:

The AGM of Churches Together in Wokingham will be happening at 7.30pm on Tuesday 14th June in the Bradbury Centre. Prayer and Praise, followed by a (brief!) business meeting, and then we’ll be having updates from some of the projects CTW is involved with: Foodbank, Soulscape, Share, Christian Aid and welcoming Ukrainian refugees.

Everyone very welcome to come along and hear about all the great things happening in Wokingham!

We are also looking for someone to volunteer as Convenor – really just to make sure information is circulated and be another point of contact. It’s helpful if they can also attend the monthly CTW lunch which is on the third Tuesday of the month at 12.30pm in the Bradbury Centre.

Susannah Riley has sent this overview of the Tuesday afternoon Meditation Group:

St Paul’s Meditation Group

We meet monthly, usually on the 2nd Tuesday of each month, in St Paul’s Church.

We meet between 1.15 and 1.45pm, but tend to gather before this, with music from 1.10pm to settle ourselves before meditation. After meditation we usually have a time to answer questions/for discussion.

We welcome anyone, whether you have never tried meditation before, or have been meditating for years, whether you are Christian, or of a different faith or none.

No payment or booking needed, so do just come along, but please check the website/Bertie Newsletter/Pews News/St Nic’s News sheet in case of changed date.

The group belongs to the Worldwide Community of Christian Meditation which provides useful resources and information about meditation. We meditate in the tradition of John Main, a 20th Century Benedictine monk who rediscovered this ancient Christian tradition.

Please contact me if you would like further information or would like a chat before joining us.
Susannah Riley

My friend Chris Cipkin sent me this photo from their recent Tithings Group meeting. I have always wanted to join a Tithings Group because they sound such fun but I have never been able to work out which of my friends’ groups to join. And now the problem is solved!

[Tithings Groups are social and support groups based at St Paul’s- some are flourishing, some are struggling and some never really got going. We are currently surveying what is working and what is not and will be relaunching things in the Autumn- but do speak to a member of the clergy now if you would like any more details or information, or would like to join a group.]

Free Environmental Event in Oxford on June the 11th:

Just getting in touch because Greenpeace UK is running an in-person Introduction to volunteering to help the environment – with a Greenpeace event in Oxford on 11th June. This will be an opportunity to learn about how Greenpeace campaigns, and how to get involved. We are inviting people from across the region (we can cover travel costs), and we wanted to let people from your local community know about it.

Here is a link to the event:

It would be great if you could share this with anyone from your community that might be interested! There is a blurb below this email that you can share out, or we can also send over a poster in case you’d like to share it on your socials or print it off to put it up – we are happy to pay printing costs if you’d like to do this! The event is free, and Greenpeace can cover travel, childcare or other accessibility costs if needed to help ensure that people can attend.

Please feel free to get in touch via email if you have any questions. Thank you for your time!

And finally… Nadia Bloz-Weber on forgiveness

Last Summer while on a road trip, I parked overnight at a vineyard in Kansas where I met a retired couple from Vermont who were touring National Parks with their 11 year old granddaughter.

“5th graders get a National Parks pass” she tells me, not looking up from her cell phone. 

“The donkey’s friendly” her grandfather follows.

It takes me an embarrassingly long time to stop trying to figure out if maybe that is a “touring national parks” term before I realize he means an actual donkey, Sam, who I then realize is standing a car length’s in front of us. 

After a chat with the Kansans, I walk back to my van recalling some camping memories from my girlhood; memories of belonging, of loneliness, of boredom, of when I was filled with effervescence, of when I felt wronged.

And soon I found myself wondering what Leah, their 11 year-old granddaughter, will remember about the trip: the grievance of no wifi? the tedium of endless days in a truck? the dampness of Carlsbad cavern? A hurt feeling? the one argument? or the thing they thought was so funny at the Grand Canyon?

What I really wondered was: will her memory be selective like mine – sifting through the past for the one shitty thing that happened – like turds in an emotional cat box?

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about my memories – about the stories I tell myself about the past. Some of us tend to only select the good memories. Some of us only select the bad. And neither of these strategies seem to me a path to actual healing.

I love that scene in season 2 of Ted Lasso when Ted finally is honest about how angry he is at his father (who died by suicide when Ted was 16).

“He quit on his family and he quit on himself”, he tells his therapist.

He goes on to tell her about the events of that unimaginable day.

She takes it in, waits a beat, and then says,

“I’m curious, Ted. What did you love about him?”

“Why?” Lasso asks, looking hesitant, maybe even a little betrayed.

“Because you told me what you hate about him, now tell me something you loved about him.

It takes a moment, but eventually he grins and then goes on to tell a delightful story of his dad showing him tremendous grace when Ted was 8 even though it cost his dad an entire night of sleep.

It can feel as if saying something, even just one positive thing about someone who hurt us is an act of self-betrayal, but often, it is an act of self-love. That is not to suggest that what they did was OK. But to allow for the complexity of another human being is ultimately to also allow for our own.

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