#415: which is quite a simple sum if you add a + and an = in the right places

Dear friends,

I hope you will forgive me for slipping another photo from Bristol Cathedral into the weekly email. It was such a good and fun day, and Rhoda did an amazing job of organising the coach for us all, even us little mice who had to be smuggled into the luggage bay. Here is a link to the music from Evensong…

Today is still Ash Wednesday- and here is the news.

Dates and events

Today is Ash Wednesday, which is one of those days everyone should try to get to a Church service if they can. Woosehill have a service at 7pm and St Paul’s have one at 8pm, with the imposition of ashes- the 8pm is definitely on the Livestream and I suspect that the 7pm service might be as well.

Don’t forget that Lent starts today– what are you taking up and/or giving up for this season of reflection where we are called to walk closely with Jesus as his road leads him to Jerusalem? Joanna Brown has sent this message…

I would like to recommend to you a little book that I have which is called ”The Art of Lent”- a painting a day from Ash Wednesday to Easter by Sister Wendy Beckett. I have used this for several years now and will bring it with me on Ash Wednesday at 8 pm. My approach to Lent  is to take on something extra rather than to  give something up.

Don’t forget the Stations of the Cross at midday every Friday in Lent, as well as the conversations around the Church of England’s Lent Book on a Wed in the upstairs Parish Room at 1pm and the Diocesan Come and See resource which is a helpful and encouraging daily email with the odd video to watch.

Paul Armitage has sent this review of The Chosen, which might be something you take up watching during Lent…

The first few episodes of Season 4 of “The Chosen” have now been released in cinemas and will soon be available through streaming services and its own App. For those not familiar with the programmes, it is a historical drama set in first century Palestine and is based on the four Gospels. Unlike previous films and TV programmes depicting the life of Christ, it focuses as much on his “students” as much as Jesus himself; in fact, whole episodes have no Jesus in them at all. When, they are together, Jesus and the disciples are shown as friends, who sometimes fall out with each other, yes, but whose relationships are those of friends – informal, good-natured, fun-loving.

The programme-makers have set out to tell the gospel stories as relevant to today and to show the disciples as ordinary people with ordinary lives and with problems we may all recognise. This multi-season (7 are planned) series has deliberately adopted high production values, which makes it expensive to make. Uniquely, it is entirely crowdfunded, which has its advantages and disadvantages, especially in not being able to start filming until enough money has been raised!

God’s love is shown as a caring look and a literal arm around your shoulder. It isn’t hard to access, but practical, empathic and understanding. And this is what makes the show so compelling; even though we know where the narrative is going, we still want to see how God’s love works in these characters’ lives.

Season 4 will be available via The Chosen app in late February or early March and possibly on certain streaming services, too. Accessing via the app is free, so you can catch up with Seasons 1 to 3 while you wait! (A much better review can be found at and on the “Seen and Unseen Aloud” podcast of 5th February.)

This Sunday, don’t forget our services at 9.30, 10 and 11 and then Choral Evensong– the first in our services of sermons on God’s masterpiece. It starts at 6.15pm and is followed by refreshments in Church. Our guest preacher is April Beckerleg, the Vicar of St Nicolas, Earley.

Corpus Christi are inviting us to Belong and Believe, a 5 week course on our Celtic roots- Tuesday the 20th of Feb to 19th March (inclusive) from 7.30 to 9pm at the Keenan Rooms, part of the church on Sturges Road. Some people might prefer an in-person course and you would be made very welcome. Fr Richard is going to the first of them to help make everyone feel welcome!

A Confirmation Service with Bishop Olivia will happen on Sunday the 17th of May at 6.15pm at St Paul’s- if you haven’t been confirmed but would like to find out more information please speak to Richard or Louise Cole.

Notes and thanks

Thank you to everyone who gave so generously to the Foodbank on Sunday morning, and to everyone who came along to the Songs of Praise service in the evening, which raised a considerable amount of money towards the purchase of our new REH hymnbooks. Thank you too to Louise, Lesley and Chris and everyone who organised and led the service.

A Note on the Parish Rooms Car Park from Rhoda Hart

Car Park Item for Bertie

A few weeks ago there was chaos in the parish room car park due to The Holt parents’ attempted unauthorised use when it was already being more or less fully used by our hirers and this use spilled out on to the Reading Road causing real traffic problems. Unauthorised use by Holt parents has been an ongoing issue for years but as the car park has to be open at all times for hall hirers and people visiting the church & churchyard we cannot close it off.

The school is very supportive but they can only try to impress on the parents that they should not use the parish room car park and they were quick to send out yet another email after this particular incident. Sadly, these parents, individually, seem to think they are the exception to the non-parking rule.

The action taken by the Parish Room Trust is to ‘employ’ Vanessa, our administrator, to be a car park attendant for half an hour of each day she is available, Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays, blocking off the entrance with a portable barrier and asking those who have already parked to leave.

Thursdays the car park is not in use, so it will be left open but Wednesdays, currently, it is down to two or three people volunteering. If anyone feels they could occasionally don a high-viz jacket and man the barrier, please would you contact Rhoda, either at church or by email at The more people who could help, the fewer times one would have to be on duty.

There have been a good number of ‘near misses’ in the car park over the years with cars manoeuvring (seeing some of those manoeuvres has to be seen to be believed), children running across the car park and elderly hirers trying to get to their cars as they leave their activity.

Our hirers pay for the privilege of using our facilities and one of those facilities is the availability of car parking, they don’t expect to have to run the gauntlet of Holt parents!

Look out for the Repair Cafe coming soon to All Sts, which Peter Wells is helping to organise…


There is already a website and email address set up – WOKINGHAMREPAIRCAFE.UK. 

Commencing monthly from APRIL 2024 at SpaceForAll, All Saints Church, Wokingham 10am-1pm, every second Saturday of the month. Volunteer DIY’ers bring their own tools, and everything is booked on a ticketing system in advance on-line. All repairs are carried out FOC but donations are requested. All repairs are only on items that are not under warranty. They are looking to repair items such as:-  Electricals, bikes, lawnmowers, carpentry, clothes, costume (not expensive) jewellery etc.  Church flooring will need to be protected with tarpaulins etc. 

The Lucky Numbers draw for February took place over coffee after Mass at St Paul’s on Sunday 11th February 2024.

Congratulations to the lucky winners:

£50     No. 88    Petra Johnstone

£25     No. 99    Keith Mintern

£15     No. 72    Mike Darlison

£10     No. 77   Jo Gulliford 

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!

Please keep bringing your bottle tops and used stamps to Church for donation to charity…

Thank you for your support in dropping your used stamps in the box at the back of the church. They were originally intended for Christian Aid, but they have stopped collecting them as have the Air Ambulance, but I was given another institution who are using stamps to raise money. NHS at Amersham hospital is using them to raise funds for their “Scanner Appeal”…

And finally… thoughts on incense from St Denys’ Bookshop

“One of the elements of good liturgy is, for example, the use of colour and movement provided by the use of colourful vestments, processions and the like. Singing and chanting is another important part of liturgy, stimulating as it does the sense of hearing. The use of incense enables even fuller participation in the liturgy by stimulating the sense of smell. It also provides colour, movement and sound as the thurible is swung… [It is brought by the Magi and used in heavenly worship in Revelation] The most appropriate time to burn incense is when the Lord comes among us in person in the Eucharist.”

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