Category: News

Weekly News 15 July

I hope that you have had a good week and that you are looking forward to some time off, or at least a different pace of life over the next few weeks.

It has been an incredibly challenging year, and it is worth noticing just how much energy all the changes and uncertainties take out of you.

Of course, we are not immune to all that either and will be taking holiday over the next few weeks. You can see who is away and when here. Graham and I are looking forward to going to Scotland this coming Monday to celebrate our Silver Wedding anniversary!

The third of our new online series, ‘Sideways’ will be available on Sunday. This week features Helen who invites us to rest in the images of Psalm 23; The Lord’s my Shepherd. Take time to have a look, and at the others. See if there is something there you could share with someone you know who is curious about faith.

On Sunday, along with a plethora of other services, there will be Communion at 9.30 in Uplands and 11 in Paganhill. You can find a list of all our services on our spaces and places page. We will also be having the last of our APCMs in the parishes of Uplands and Slad and St Matthew’s, Cainscross. Please do keep all those who have been, and will be, elected to serve our parishes in your prayers. As we have given thanks and commissioned, I pray that you would have a renewed sense of God’s calling on your life and that you would have the courage to step into all that God has for you.

As I said in my report, this year we are prioritising investing in and establishing life-giving small groups. We have some well-established groups already, and those who belong to them will testify to how much they get out of being part of that. It would be great to have a complete picture of all that is, as well as to hear from you what you would love to be part of. Please get in touch if there is something you would like to suggest and/or facilitate a small group. 

May God bless you and keep you and shine upon you and give you peace.

Life giving small groups

These are the groups available at the moment.

You may know of more? If you do, please let Jodie know and we will update our information.

MonMorning PrayerStillpont 8pm
TuesMorning Prayer

Silent sitting 8am
WedMorning PrayerConfirmation group 7pm

Book Club 7.30

Prayer group 8pm
ThursMorning Prayer

Praying together 10am
Contemplative Prayer 3pm
FriMorning PrayerBible Study 2pm
SatMorning Prayer

Contemplative practice 9am

Image by Ohmydearlife from Pixabay

Reading and Questions for this coming Sunday 18 July

Ephesians 2.11-22
So then, remember that at one time you Gentiles by birth, called ‘the uncircumcision’ by those who are called ‘the circumcision’—a physical circumcision made in the flesh by human hands— remember that you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, so that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling-place for God.

Mark 6.30-34,53-56
The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, ‘Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.
When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored the boat. When they got out of the boat, people at once recognized him, and rushed about that whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the market-places, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.

Some questions to help you dig deeper into the passage:
Where do you go when you need to rest a while?
How easy do you find it to be compassionate when you are tired?
Do you rush to Jesus when you need healing?

Image by mnplatypus from Pixabay

Weekly News 10 July 2021

Welcome to this weekly news bulletin from Stroud Churches.

Something new:

Judy Howard has offered to set up a group for sharing the wisdom and practice of the contemplative tradition. She writes ‘Many of us are drawn to silence at the heart of our prayer. The 1st gathering will be on Saturday July 10th at 9am in St Laurence, for approx: an hour. Just turn up. If you’d like to ask Judy more do ring 01452770776 or email [email protected]

This Sunday:   

Our new pattern of in-person services continues this week. For details see our website

Look out too for our new weekly ‘Sideways’ feature there. This week from Graham. Do you know anyone else who might be interested in listening to this? Perhaps you could send them the link.

There’s a chance to talk and think about what we are doing when we come together for communion services

The second of our ‘confirmation group’ meetings is taking place this Wednesday 14th July at St Laurence’s at 7pm and we will be sharing with one another about what we are doing and why we do it when we praise God and hear and think about the Bible readings in our communion service. You don’t have to be thinking about confirmation to join in and it’s not too late!

Questions of the week

Questions relevant to these times that we can ask ourselves or share with one another:

  • How have my relationships with others changed or developed through this time?

  • How do I view life differently as things change?

  • What am I most anxious about as I think about the future?

It’s good to take time out for ourselves and often good to chat these things over – some of us find out what we think as we speak!

‘Run with the horses’

This is not an announcement of a new physical activity but the title of the next book club book that’s meeting on 4th August. It’s by Eugene Petersen and based on the book of Jeremiah. Jeremiah had a rollercoaster faith story that might be relevant for us these days – read, come and find out! Anyone is welcome to join the group as a one-off or regularly. Please contact Helen on 074 322221 or Peter [email protected] if you want to know more.

May God bless you in your rest and activities this coming week.

Be part of something wonderful

Do you long to see people of all ages in your worshipping community?
Do you want to reach out to those on the edges of our churches?
If the answer is yes, why not consider joining our Baptism Ministry Team? Watch this short video to find out more.

Weekly News 23 June

I hope this finds you well and enjoying these long days and the abundance of nature that surrounds us.

This Saturday our Curate, Helen, will be ordained Priest at the Cathedral.
You can watch the live stream and download the order of service here.
Please do pray for Helen, and all those being ordained this weekend.
I am sure that you, like me, will take the opportunity to thank God for her.

This coming Sunday there will be a Communion service, 11am at The Church of the Holy Spirit, Paganhill, and next Wednesday, 11.30 Holy Trinity, Stroud, as well as various other services you can see here on our website. 

Please do pray for Freya, that God would bless her and keep her, as her family bring her for baptism this Sunday in Randwick.

This week is also the final one of our online services and I will be leading and preaching on Jairus’ daughter and the woman who dares to touch Jesus’ hem. 

Some questions that may help you to engage with the Gospel; Mark 5: 21-43 as you prepare for Sunday:

  • Imagine yourself in Jairus’ shoes –
    What response might you have expected from Jesus?
    What risks were there?
    What hopes were there?
  • Imagine yourself in the woman who was hemorraging’s shoes –
    What response might you have expected from Jesus?
    What risks were there?
    What hopes were there?

The online service will be followed by online coffee at 11am – just press the ‘join us for a chat’ button. 

As we move into our new pattern of services, our online content will be shorter, more of a ‘thought for the day’, which may be a reflection on a reading, or painting, or poem. It may be an interview with someone, some music or a dramatic reading of a passage of scripture. This will be done in a way that is consciously orientated towards those who are not yet part of our worshipping communities. This change will also mean an end to our online after service chat, but we sincerely hope we will be able to have such interesting conversations, going deeper into the readings and sharing stories of the difference our faith has made, as we talk to each other face to face.

We are delighted that Jodie Calcutt is joining the team, picking up the good work Fiona has done. As well as this, Jodie will also be managing the hiring of our buildings, starting with St Laurence Church and Hall. She will be making sure these are well advertised, thinking about different ways they can be used and liaising with those who are using them. This is an exciting development and will mean that those spaces that are currently underutilised will become assets to our communities as well as sources of much needed income for our worshipping communities. If you would like to talk through the spaces available in your buildings and how they might be used, do get in touch with Jodie.

Our APCM’s are coming up very soon and the reports are available, or certainly will be very soon. Do read them and ask any questions you have. Our APCMs will not involve a series of reports being read out; they will assume you have read the reports, had conversations that need to be had and prayerfully considered the role you are going to help in your worshipping community. This will mean that our APCMs can be opportunities to celebrate all that has been and commission those who will serve us over the coming year.

Our new group, which will be exploring Communion, is starting this coming Wednesday evening. Please get in touch if you would like to be part of that.

Finally, many of you will have heard about the tragic death of North Vernon-White who fell from Tricorn House in Cainscross. Please do consider signing the petition that you can find on our news page asking for this awful building to be taken down.
Please pray for his parents and brother, for the whole community of Archway School and all those friends and family that are affected by this. Pray especially for our young people who have been so disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

May the Lord bless you and keep you and smile upon you and bring you peace.

Helen’s Ordination

This Saturday 26 June at 3.30pm our Curate, Helen Hill, will be ordained Priest at Gloucester Cathedral. The service will be live streamed and the order of service can be downloaded.

Please pray for Helen, Peter and all the family. Thank God for her, and ask that she would be deeply affirmed in her calling. Pray too for yourselves, that you would know your calling and have the courage to step into it as Helen has.

Readings and questions for this coming Sunday – June 27

Here are the readings and some questions that may help you to engage with scripture and prepare for Sunday:

Now as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in our love for you—so we want you to excel also in this generous undertaking.
I do not say this as a command, but I am testing the genuineness of your love against the earnestness of others. For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. And in this matter I am giving my advice: it is appropriate for you who began last year not only to do something but even to desire to do something— now finish doing it, so that your eagerness may be matched by completing it according to your means. For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has—not according to what one does not have. I do not mean that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of a fair balance between your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance. As it is written, ‘The one who had much did not have too much, and the one who had little did not have too little.’

2 Corinthians 8.7-15

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered round him; and he was by the lake. Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet and begged him repeatedly, ‘My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.’ So he went with him.

And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from haemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, ‘If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.’ Immediately her haemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched my clothes?’ And his disciples said to him, ‘You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, “Who touched me?” ’ He looked all round to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.’

While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, ‘Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?’ But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, ‘Do not fear, only believe.’ He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. When he had entered, he said to them, ‘Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.’ And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, ‘Talitha cum’, which means, ‘Little girl, get up!’ And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.

Mark 5.21-43

  • Imagine yourself in Jairus’ shoes –
    What response might you have expected from Jesus?
    What risks were there?
    What hopes were there?
  • Imagine yourself in the woman who was hemorraging’s shoes –
    What response might you have expected from Jesus?
    What risks were there?
    What hopes were there?

Image by mnplatypus from Pixabay

Petition to demolish Tricorn House

Many of you will have heard about the tragic death of North Vernon-White who fell from Tricorn House in Cainscross. Please do consider signing this petition asking for this awful building to be taken down.

Please pray for North’s parents and brother, for the whole community of Archway School and all those friends and family that are affected by this.

Pray especially for our young people who have been so disproportionately badly affected by the pandemic.

Weekly News 19 June

Hello; I hope you have been able to enjoy summer weather here at last and were able to keep cool!


Ordinations and callings

I have been spending time over the last week preparing for ordination as a priest (this is to happen on Saturday 26th June). I’d like to thank you all for your welcome and support over my first year with you and ask you to pray for all being ordained next weekend 26th and 27th as priests or deacons. The services will be live-streamed via a link on our website and you’ll also be able to find a list of the names and ministry settings of everyone being ordained through a link there. 

In her recent letter which you’ll find on the diocese website, Bishop Rachel said ‘……. ordination is primarily about the calling of the whole Body of Christ.’ We are all called to serve God in everyday life and also through our service to the gathered church. With APCMs happening soon, I wonder if you have practical skills to offer in filling one of the posts coming up or supporting those who are elected? If that might be for you, do contact your churchwarden.

Small Groups

This month the book club is meeting this Wednesday 23rd (we had to miss the first Wednesday). You are welcome to join in any month for a chat over a coffee or glass of something. This week we will be talking about the first part of a popular autobiography, ‘Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus’ by Nabeel Qureshi. 

The week after [30th June] we have a group starting to talk about aspects of the Communion service and what it says about our faith and how we live that out. You can join in if you are thinking about confirmation or just want to think again about those foundations. Please contact Kate or Helen if you’d like to. 

If you have other ideas about how we could get together in person or online to encourage each other in our everyday faith please do contact one of the team.