Well, thanks a lot for that Bertie- we give you a house and we pay you your actual body weight in edam and this is how you repay us? I will be off to the Employment Exchange in the morning to see if I can find a jerboa with a typing qualification. Here is the news.
We are keeping the Feast of the Epiphany on Sunday the 8th, as we remember the arrival of the Wise Men/ Magi at the manger to worship Jesus. Services at 8, 9.30, 10 and 11 as usual with the 9.30 and 10 being available online as well as in person.
There is a lovely tradition of marking the doors of our homes with chalk at the Epiphany– we will bless the chalk in Church on Sunday and hand it out to everyone along with instructions for how to mark the door. If anyone would like chalk delivered to them, or a minister to come round and do it for you, then please let Louise know- firstname.lastname@example.org. (Like a lot of other deliveries, the offer of a visiting minister is only available within 12 miles).
Please also look out for a short questionnaire from the St Paul’s Worship Committee this Sunday, which Bertie might, perhaps, gather himself together in time to send out in his next epistle in a week’s time. It is trying to capture people’s thoughts around worship and music as we move into the New Year- let us know what you think!
Staffing and News
Very sadly, we heard this week that Fr Roy Holmes died last week. He was a core part of this parish for many decades, with Beth, and the last local member of the team of retired clergy who were still active when I moved here as Rector- Tony has moved to the South Coast, and Roy, Ivor and Ken have all now died. We will obviously let everyone know as soon as we have any details about the funeral. Do please pray for his family, especially for Beth, his widow. May he rest in peace and rise with the saints in glory.
It has been great to have Cara back able to do some things over the last few weeks- a great joy. She properly starts her phased return to work next week and we are thrilled that she is so much on the mend. She is not going to be working full-time for a while so do be thoughtful about what you ask her to do- but, on the other hand, she is back so do engage!
Jane Kraft has sent this message for Bertie to send on- but since he has basically bailed out I will have to do it, I suppose- I hope I get paid in cheese too: “a big thank you for all the Christmas greetings I have been sent. My best wishes for 2023 and please be assured of my prayers as the new year begins. Mother Jane.” See, Bertie, it’s not that hard- you’re not that great- anyone can do your job.
A quick note on the weekly Prayer List– the basic pattern is that we keep people on the prayer list for a month so that we can really focus our prayers. If you notice that someone you added to the list has been removed then it will simply be about timing and how long it is since you asked- and you can then, of course, put them back on again. We are keen to pray for everyone who needs our prayers, of course, but the danger of an extremely long list is that people lose focus and our prayers lose intensity, which is why we try to keep things fresh. People who have died are generally kept on the list until shortly after the funeral.
Christingle Service 2022
We had two very well supported services on Christmas Eve, each with a 4 minute Nativity with a difference! It’s not often there’s a dinosaur taking the place of a donkey, but our dinosaur was very popular.
McCarthy and Stone were good enough to fund the oranges, cocktail sticks and sweets we needed so all the donations have gone to the Children’s Society, a great £1,117.53. Amazing, and the numbers attending were very similar to pre-covid.
Thank you to everyone who came to help make the Christingles in the morning, acted in the nativities and welcomed the congregation, as we wouldn’t have managed all this without you.
Unfortunately, I have several packs of sweets left that I’m unable to return so if anyone would like some they will be available during coffee after the service this Sunday.
Start the New Year with a Happy Calendar
Mary has sent this calendar in for your delight and delectation: it looks super:
Forthcoming dates and events
Meditation Group Tuesday 10th January, St Paul’s Church.
PLEASE NOTE CHANGED TIME FOR THIS MONTH ONLY
Arrive from 12pm for 12.15pm start: Susannah: email@example.com
Last chance to sign up for the Parish Lunch on the 15th is this weekend- don’t miss out on what is always a fun event.
St Paul’s will be the venue for this concert later on in January, on the 21st:
Every year (pandemics excepted!) for a number of years Reading Phoenix has run a Come & Sing workshop in Reading, and we have often had a quite a few people coming into Reading from Wokingham. Therefore this year we have decided to hold the Come & Sing in Wokingham, at St Paul’s.
The piece of music we are going to look at is Karl Jenkins’ “The Armed Man”. We will do all of the well known mass sections and some of the movements, such as L’homme armé which provides the theme for the whole piece.
A banner for this is attached and if you would like to come along and sing it then you can book tickets by visiting www.rpchoir.com/come-armed – NB. there is a reduction of the ticket price for tickets bought before the end of December. We would also like to make this Come & Sing accessible for younger singers and so there is a reduced price for under-18s. Although any under-18s will need to be accompanied by an adult, so I am hoping that any adults in St Paul’s Church Choir who are attending, and able to take responsibility for any under-18s in the church choir, might be able to enable the younger singers to come along and sing with us. If you can’t come to the workshop but would like to hear the result then come along to the concert (£5 adults but free to under-16s). You can book tickets for the concert by visiting www.rpchoir.com/armed-man
At the start of the New Year, do think very carefully about whether what you need most is to go on the Lent Retreat which the parish is organising from the 3rd to the 5th of March. See the website and previous emails and Mary Cassidy for more information. It could be one of the best gifts you get this Christmas. Mary puts it like this: YOU ARE INVITED TO BOOK NOW FOR A LENT RETREAT conducted by Rev Roy Burgess
at St Columba’s House, Maybury Hill, WOKING GU22 8AB
6:00pm Friday 3rd – 2:30 pm Sunday 5th March 2023
The weekend will begin with a light supper followed by the film Jesus of Nazareth, and conclude after lunch and celebration of the Eucharist on Sunday. All meals are included; the bedrooms are single, ensuite. Anticipated cost £250. Silence will be an important aspect of this retreat, but there will also be worship, four talks leading from the film, times for discussion, opportunities for one-to-one meetings with the Conductor, and plenty of time for reading, reflection, prayer, relaxing, walking …
Booking forms are available at on the parish website: https://spauls.co.uk/lent-retreat-2023/
If you’d like to find out more, please talk to Mary Cassidy at church or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
St Paul’s will host a Confirmation Service at either 6 or 6.15 pm on Sunday the 26th of March 2023. Please do put the date in your diary whether you are coming along to support fellow members of the Church or because you yourself would like to make this key and vital commitment to God as a disciple.
And here is the latest news from Madagascar– edition 80: (cough) 354- not that it’s a competition- just saying- 354…