#394: sad news on the churchyard oak tree

Bertie here- I have been working as hard as a Sunday Times journalist and am here with all sorts of scoops, insights, suggestions and revelations. I have been creeping into meetings and sending spiders to be my spies and generally keeping my ear to the ground. And so I can with clarity and conviction…

Here is the News

The Oak Tree: The news on the oak tree is not good. A very large branch fell down into the churchyard on the 19th of August and we have commissioned a report since then which concludes that the tree is dangerous and diseased and must be reduced to a stump of, at most, 4 m in height. We are currently getting three quotations from local contractors and working out what other surveys we might need. The advantage of leaving some height in the trunk is that it might sprout again and will be an excellent habitat for lots of local wildlife and insects. We are looking for donations from the community to help fund what will be a very expensive piece of work and a piece of work which we would never have wanted to do. Do please speak to a member of the PCC if you have any questions or would like more detailed information.

Cara Smart: Cara is now officially working half-time (20 hours a week) and so her curacy has been extended to the Summer of 2025. She is around and available and active and involved in things, but obviously in a shorter working week. It is great to have her back at work and great to have her around for an extra year.

Jason Searanke and Sally Dowling are the parish’s Children’s Advocates: their role is about ensuring that children and families are made welcome and helped to take their place in the life and worship of the Church, and that we are properly taking children and families into account in our decision making, and that we are as inclusive as we claim to be. Do look out for them and let them have any of your good ideas you would like to pass on- and they are great people to talk to if there is something you don’t understand or would like to explore.

Safeguarding: We now have a full leadership team, which is excellent news. Chris Barker is the Safeguarding Administrator which means that she focuses on our processes around safer recruitment, DBS checks, checking who has done training and keeping a record of the registers. Steffi Cetin is the Parish Safeguarding Officer who has a wider role of oversight and strategy and making sure we are doing the thing and discussing the things we ought to be. It is vital that we understand that safeguarding is not only what we do when something bad happens- it is making sure that it is as hard as it possibly could be for someone to hurt someone else and it is making sure that everyone has someone they can talk to and that, when they do, we handle it well.

Coming soon!

The first in the series of Walter Climate Change Lectures went extremely well last week with over 90 people present at All Saints in their new SpaceforAll area. The next in the series is tomorrow night (21st) at 7pm at All Saints- Hannah Mann from the Diocese on how we respond with faith to the Climate and Ecological Crisis. It will be brilliant so please do turn up, and tell your friends about it too.

Our next Splog will be on Friday 29th September 2023 at Chalk in Wokingham at 8pm, meeting at the Broad Street Tavern beforehand, at 7pm. SPLOG is a friendly group for men loosely or strongly connected to the Church. As last time, they will do us two courses from the attached menu for us for £25, excluding service. As always, drinks will be paid for individually. If you would like to attend, please reply to John Sutton at

Don’t forget the Quiet Day on the 21st of October which we are organising at St Mary’s, Winnersh…

Don’t forget the next Organ Concert is at 11am on the 11th of November, followed by the legendary Parish Bazaar. Do come along, and do let Louise or Teri know if you would like to run a stall.

Wanted! and Thanks!

We are about to having to start spending some money on the church and the churchyard and it would be good to have a stronger Fabric Team (which the Wardens lead) and someone who has an overview of our Fundraising. If you are interested in either then please do let someone know!

Thank you to all, who sponsored either Lawrence Doyle or Andrew Harte to take part in this year’s Ride & Stride to raise funds for the Berkshire Historic Churches Trust last Saturday. It looks like we will have raised a total of about £1,200 this year, once all the money has been collected in. If you sponsored either Lawrence or Andrew and still owe money, please would you try to catch them on Sunday morning  to give it to them. If anyone did not get a chance to sponsor them, it is not too late to sign their sponsorship forms and contribute towards this total!

Cara has sent in this easy-to-read suggestion for an easy-to-read Bible: Bible app recommendation. If you download the You Bible app, you can change the translation (my go to is NRSV) and also the font, including being able to change it to a dyslexic friendly font, bigger font size, extra spacing between the lines and different background colours, all for ease of use. Definitely recommend!

Cara has also sent in this outstanding article on humanity, sin and knowing ourselves to be mortal and dependent and loved: it is a great and challenging and affirming read for everyone…

(2) How to spot a bad man. – by Jayne Manfredi – Churched (

Here is the latest missive from our friend Bishop Hall in Madagascar:

Bertie’s Bonus

Bertie went with Jane and her son David to the gorgeous city of Salisbury last weekend- here is what he got up to… I promise that I was reading and not snozzling in the third picture… and no, the back of my head is not my best side…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.