#412: Getting ready for Candlemas

I have been to my creative writing class again this week- I really just go for the ginger nuts (Bertie writes) but I was struck by the muse of poetry this time every bit as forcefully as Paul was on the way to Damascus, as Pat Reed read in Church last week- it was an amazing story and I felt just as overwhelmed. Who knows- maybe I will be the next Shakespeare. Maybe A Midsummer Night’s Dream was really written by one of my ancestors- we all know that someone with as normal a background as Will couldn’t have written the plays so who is to say that they weren’t penned by a mouse? Let me show you what I mean…

Cheese, O cheese, cold and cuddly and clorious

How do I love thee, let me count the wheys

Every day I eat you

Eat you, and eat you, and eat you

Some say I should love you less and my friends mor

E but I know that cheese will never let me down. Even the plastic cheese on burgers is epic. Epic. Epic.

Remember- you knew me in the very moment I became famous and transitioned from mortal mouse into a poetry god. So thrilling.

Also, please can we apologise for the technical issue on Sunday morning which meant that we missed our first ever Sunday morning since we started doing a Livestream on the first Sunday of Covid days? It was a licensing issue to do with the camera which we could do nothing about on the day but Peter has now fettled it and normal service has been, in every way, resumed.

Forthcoming Attractions

This Sunday is the feast of Candlemas (kept a little earlier than usual because it has to be kept before the 2nd of Feb and can’t be pushed back). Services at 8, 9.30, 10 and 11. At 9.30 and 11 you are invited to bring along a candle from home (see photo at the start of the message) to represent the fact that we are all one people shining with one equal light even though we are very different. Please either bring whatever you have at home or, if you have a choice, something which could represent you- and definitely choose a candle which will stand up safely on its own. It is a lovely festival, marking the end of Christmas, and the day when Simeon and Anna met Jesus in the Temple and rejoiced at the wonders God had done and continues to do.

Feb the 3rd- Choir Trip to Bristol Cathedral

Feb the 4th- Commissioning of Pastoral Visitors at 9.30 and 11. Games Evening for the whole parish at 7pm in the Parish Rooms- you bring a drink and some games, we offer some nibbles and the hall.

Feb the 11th- Foodbank Collection in the morning (9.30 and 11), Taize Service at St Nick’s at 3pm and then Songs of Praise to raise money for the purchase of Hymnbooks at St Paul’s at 6.15pm.

The Foodbank are especially asking for long life milk, hot dogs, tinned fruit, custard, tins of peas and potatoes, tea bags in boxes of 40 or 80, shaving foam and female deodorant. Thanks!

Feb the 14th- Ash Wednesday Services at 10.30 and then 8pm- do please start to think about what you will do to keep Lent well this time round? Start to plan now so you are ready to go when Lent comes.

The next Parish Quiet Day is on the 24th of Fed, at Finch, led by Fr Richard and Becky Medlicott from All Sts, Wokingham.

Sponsoring a Hymnbook– also, remember the Songs of Praise Service on Feb the 11th at 6.15pm

Lucky Numbers for Jan 2024

The Lucky Numbers draw for January took place over coffee after Communion at St Nicholas on Sunday 21st January 2024.

Congratulations to the lucky winners:

£50     No. 99    Keith Mintern

£25     No. 33    Petra Johnstone

£15     No. 4      Margaret Carver

£10     No. 62    Jenny Biggs 

The Lucky Numbers Draw raises funds for repairs and renewals to the church building. Funds remaining after the distribution of the prizes go to the Restoration Fund for this purpose.

One share (number) costs £24 per calendar year;  you can have as many shares as you wish, paying annually or monthly by Standing Order.  For more information, please contact Tony Roberts (979 5351), Liz Gallagher (989 1176) or Mary Cassidy (979 5096) – or talk to Mary at St Paul’s, or Tony or Liz at St Nicholas’.

New subscribers are actively sought for the calendar year 2024! A number of vacancies for new joiners have arisen this year. Equally we are happy to welcome increased share holdings from existing subscribers!

Other news and notices

There will be a session for people who have joined the parish in the last few years on the evening of the 3rd of March- details to follow but consider yourself invited!

Here is the information you need to join the Bible Study Group online on a Tuesday evening…

Here is the link from the Woosehill weekly notice sheet. The same information is in St Pauls Pews News.

Tues 7.15-8.30pm Zoom Bible Study

Meeting ID 838 7693 1293

Password 254711

**or click on the link below

Tuesday Bible Study

We look forward to you joining us. Unfortunately, we do not have any spare copies of the “Mapping Mark” resources but they are available from the link below at £2 plus p&p

The two Christingle Services raised over £1,420 for the Children’s Society which is a great result- thank you.

A reminder that, as part of our commitment to being an inclusive Church where we work hard to listen to every voice and experience, and as part of our commitment to safeguarding, we have two Children’s Advocates who make sure that we consider everybody and also are good people for people to talk to. The PCC approved their job description last week and here it is:

And here is a notice from the Diocese of Oxford about what they do with the statistics we send them every year…

Latest attendance figures show continued recovery

Early analysis of returns from the annual October count demonstrate that attendance recovery from lockdown has continued and by October 2023 was at 84% of the 2019 level, a further increase on the 81% seen in 2022.

This recovery from October 22 to October 23 represents an average of an extra three people attending each church each week.

Bishop Steven has welcomed the news. He said: “Thank you for all of your hard work. Warm thanks to all those parishes who returned their mission statistics early so we could build a picture of what is happening.”

The full analysis prepared by Dr Bev Botting and others is available on our website

The figures confirm our understanding that the recovery has been slow but steady, for understandable reasons. There are fewer volunteers and energy levels have been low in many places. This sense of recovery is underscored by our Parish Share returns in 2023 with 94.5% of share collected. 

Bishop Steven continued: “There is one major priority for development and focus which emerges from these figures which underscores again much of what we are hearing across the diocese. Our ministry to children and young people is taking much longer to recover from the pandemic across all sizes and traditions of churches. This will need to be a major priority in every parish, benefice and deanery in the coming years. We follow a saviour who places the highest priority on children.”

Read Bishop Steven’s letter in full.

Soulscape (one of our three charities) have sent this update for Jan 2024- enjoy!

And here is a job advert for St Paul’s School…

Looking further ahead

For our young people- Wednesday 5, 6, 7, 8s is taking a break at the moment but the Monday group is still meeting online at 5pm and you would be very welcome.

Also, Yellow Braces is the legendary Diocesan Youth Event which lots of people from St Paul’s have been to in the past and Esther is going again this time in July- do look at the link… Yellow Braces 2024 – Diocese of Oxford (

There is also a trip to Taize this summer- in August- for those aged 16 to 30… 2024 Pilgrimage to Taizé – Diocese of Oxford (

And Esther (Dolphin Launchpad) and Becca (Runton Challenge) will be leading some of these camps for children and young people so do look through the booklet to see if anything grabs your attention… West Runton Holidays

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