#413: Am I the only person who likes January?

Hello again, my dear friends- it was brilliant to see you all on Sunday. I don’t know if you spotted me on the altar using some of those candles to melt my Gouda? It was very helpful of you to lend me the use of some of the lower ones- the issue on a normal Sunday is that I am not quite big enough to use the ones on the reredos… Thank you to all who have commented on my poem from last week, saying how much you enjoyed it. OK, to be honest, I got a lot of comments but it is fair to say that they didn’t use the word enjoyed quite as often as I hoped- endured, suffered, painful, cheesy were more commonly used. I am just surprised by how little people in Wokingham understand the literary arts.

The Choir are singing at Bristol Cathedral on Saturday afternoon- if you’ve booked a ticket don’t forget to turn up for the Coach!

This Sunday sees the commissioning of the Parish Visitors at St Paul’s and St Nick’s at 9.30 and 11am respectively.

It is also the day when we have our next Games Evening in the Parish Rooms- 7pm, bring a drink and a game and we will provide tables, nibbles and company. It is open to people of all ages and from all three Churches and it is always gentle and good fun. See you there.

Sunday the 11th is quite busy…

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.

There will be a memorial service and burial of ashes for Margaret Fielden on Monday the 19th of Feb at 11.30am- and everyone is welcome. If anyone has any particular memories or thoughts about Margaret you would be happy to share, please can you let Fr Richard know? 

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

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



And finally, two farewells are announced… 

Bishop Olivia has announced today that she is retiring from the end of September. Do see the Diocesan website for more details and information- and do please pray for her and for Keith as they move into a new stage of life together.  

And from Bishop Hall in Madagascar… 

 Our Mad Life 92

Farewells Galore, 1st instalment

“I will believe it when I see it” wrote one of our friends when I announced that I was retiring in 2023.  I did try.  Here we are in 2024 and I am still attempting to retire.  I now have gone as far as making a public announcement and stating the date, 17th March, for my last service. I did this at a national service in the cathedral in the capital on Sunday, 21st January. This was watched live by a huge number of people.


The national service was a “Time of Prayer, Praise and asking Blessing on the Year 2024” attended by all the bishops and other church officials. Here one attempts to wish everyone a happy new year on first meeting in the year, regardless of when that might be.  Children hope for small presents from parents at Christmas but the really big event is the family coming together to offer parents gifts in the New Year. As such I have been embarrassed by many kind people giving their “Father in God” New Year gifts. These have included a new pair of leather sandals and a miniature village in a bottle and many envelopes with money. (Whatever happened to all those ships in bottles I remember from my childhood?)


On Saturday last I said my farewell to the Scouts of the Region in a very well attended service in the Lutheran Church. On Sunday I had my New Year greetings from Mahajanga cathedral in the morning and in the evening a Farewell from the Council of Churches when I was solemnly presented with a splendid new shirt. The service was a remarkable event with 8 choirs from the various Lutheran, Reformed and R.C. churches as well as our own Anglican church. Each sang an anthem and they all joined in a final anthem plus of course congregational hymns. Not surprisingly the service lasted over three hours and was enlivened by a friendly spirit of competition between the choirs.

Given the weather, as it is the rainy season and many of the roads, such as they are, have been washed away in places, I have decided, at eye-watering expense, to take to the air with the help of Mission Aviation Fellowship. On the 16th February I shall fly to the far south of the diocese for a Confirmation and the opening of a new rectory on the Sunday and fly back to Antananarivo on the Monday. Confirmations have been booked at four other churches as well. I am still awaiting a decision about my travelling arrangements for the dedication of the new church at Ambario. Will it be by dugout canoe or ox-cart?


I overheard one of the clergy say, “The Bishop is on his final sprint!” The reality is that my capacity for sprinting has long since disappeared and I just pray for energy to keep going and inspiration to say something worth hearing…


But don’t feel sorry for me. Here I am enjoying blazing sunshine, enthusiastic singing at every turn, organic food and sights that your travel agent would want thousands of pounds to arrange, while most of you are freezing or battling with the winter winds.


Love and prayers to you all from Madagascar,





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.