Category: News

Christian Aid Week 10th-16th May

Again creative thinking has been applied by this esteemed social justice organisation – to see how best to ensure it can continue standing together with the most vulnerable and marginalised people during this time of global crisis.

They have a schedule of virtual events all taking place live from their Facebook page. And there are several more creative and fun ways on their website to help us join them in saving lives from our sofas.

Plant Sale for Christian Aid: Saturday 16th May, 10am – 1pm. Sutton Gardens, Middle Street. (Social distancing etc in force at the time will be observed; please bring your own boxes / carrier bags to take plants home)

Being Equipped for Everyday Faith: Cheltenham Racecourse, Sat 3rd October

This is an absolutely vital Diocesan event (Bishop Rachel is the National Episcopal Champion for Everyday Faith).

It is for those who spend most of their time out in the community, whether working, studying caring, volunteering…, and will equip and inspire us to live out our faith Sunday to Saturday.

It is for Christians who are grandparents, grandchildren, adults, teenagers, parents etc etc.

There are workshops, seminars and activities for all ages delivered by experienced speakers. Are you feeling this is for you? Brilliant. There are limited places so do let us know if you are.

The Door’s Challenge: 100k in May

The Door continues to offer vital support to young people and families at this time, and more so than ever as the impact of social isolation kicks in. These are challenging times for all of us, and The Door reports that amongst young people they are in contact with their mood is lower than they’ve ever seen before, and parents are telling them that their anxiety levels are rising. They have adapted quickly, moving all their support services to phone and video calls.

However, with their charity shop closed, and various events which they had fundraisers taking part in cancelled, they are losing around £500 per week.

So, the whole clergy team; Simon, Mathew, Graham and I have decided to step up to their challenge of 100k in May! That’s to run or walk 100km in the month of May to help to raise funds for The Door.

What can you do to support?

They say; ‘It’s going to be a challenge, but together we can
and keep providing vital mental health support to local vulnerable young people and their families.’

New from the Rector

This is our weekly communication to remind us that we may be in isolation, but we are not alone.

Since I last wrote we have been told that we are going to be in lock down for a while longer. I hope that you are finding healthy ways of being, and enjoying the opportunity to connect with people in your congregations in new ways; be that by phone, by letter or by video call. If you are feeling lonely, pick up the phone and call someone – you will probably make their day, and make yours brighter too.

Simon and I have Open Vicarage from 10-11 on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and are loving catching up with people during those times. Do ‘drop in’!

On the website there is also a little video preparing for our Agape meal together on Sunday, and an update about our curate, Helen Hill. 

You can also read about the challenge that Simon and I have accepted on behalf of The Door [will we live to regret this?!] and you can take a moment out to reflect on our wonderful earth through a video made for Earth Day by people in Slad.

Alongside these news items we have our worship; continue to offer Morning Prayer daily, Compline is always there as are the services we have shared.

Our virtual prayer board is there for you to ask for prayer, and our wonderful prayer team are faithfully praying for all of those people and situations.

Stay safe and well, and may you know the peace of God which passes all understanding.

Grace, love and peace, Kate

Welcoming Helen Hill Curate for The Stroud Team from 28 June 2020

Helen, along with her husband Peter, will be joining us in June as Helen begins her curacy in the Stroud Team. Helen is a Self Supporting Curate and will be with us for two days a week plus Sundays.

Helen and Peter will be staying in their home in Charfield, and Helen will be travelling to Stroud on the days she is ministering amongst us.

As a part-time curate, Helen will be with us for 3-5 years. Many of you will have already met Helen, and will have already recognised what a huge asset she will be to our team, while she was with us on placement last summer.

Of course, this is an extraordinary year to be ordained, and it is looking, at best, uncertain as to when the actual ordination will be able to take place. However, we have been assured by our Bishops that all curates will be able to start at the time they were expecting to and will, in the first place, be licensed as Pastoral Assistants until such a time as they are able to be Deaconed, and this allows wide-ranging ministry practice comparative to the world of a Deacon.

Helen has been training on the Cuddesdon, Gloucester and Hereford Programme for the last 2 years. Helen is an active member of the lay ministry team in Wickwar Benefice where she lives, establishing new areas of mission and ministry.

What can we do to help support and train Helen Hill, our new curate?

A curate is placed in a training parish for two reasons:

  1. There is a minister suitable to be a training incumbent
  2. The group of churches is healthy and able to provide a variety and range of opportunities for the curate

Alongside these,  you as the Stroud Team will pay Helen’s expenses in full, and will allow Helen and Kate to spend time training as part of her development. As well as this, there are other things that you, the congregations, can do that will play a vitally important part in Helen’s training:

  1. Tell her when she’s got it right. Affirm and encourage Helen. Tell her why it helped you and how it built up the people involved [be as specific as you can – that was a lovely sermon is great, but doesn’t give anything to build on]. If you have more negative feedback, offer it to Kate who can decide what best to do with it.
  2. Try new ideas. Helen will come with lots of new ideas. Some may sound mad and are in fact brilliant. Some may sound really challenging but will transform the life of the church. Some may just be bad ideas. We won’t know which are the brilliant and transformational ones unless you try them!
  3. Share your jobs and wisdom. Helen needs to do things. Please give her a chance to do stuff, even if that is normally your role. And share the wisdom you have accrued from the ministries in which you are involved.
  4. Be generous with your time. Both Helen and Kate will need your patience as they take on new roles as curate and training incumbent. Please support them in this.
  5. Value mistakes. Mistakes are vital to learning. If Helen never takes risks or makes mistakes she [and we] will never learn. Mistakes are important things, they should be valued.
  6. Learn with Helen. Having someone in training is a chance for the whole community to reflect and learn from one another, and from the Spirit of God calling us out and on.
  7. Pray! Do this regularly. Pray for Helen, and for Peter, for the leadership team and for one another.
    God has many gifts to give us and many lessons to teach us. Pray that we might all be open to receiving and learning. 

Top tips for supporting a Curate.

  1. Praying for Helen and her family.
  2. Don’t expect Helen to know your name – each time you meet her introduce yourself. 
  3. Offer local information to Helen and Peter – they are new to the churches and the area.
  4. Invite Helen to your home, but not just in the first couple of weeks!
  5. Respect the days when Helen isn’t on duty – we will make sure these are well publicised.
  6. Take risks in mission and ministry with Helen.
  7. Be ready to learn yourself, as an individual and as part of a congregation.
  8. Don’t compare Helen to anyone else.
  9. Allow Helen to show you new things – she brings a whole host of riches to share.
  10. Enjoy having Helen as our curate. 

A prayer to keep somewhere where you will be reminded to pray for Helen.

God of all wisdom, whose Son Jesus Christ calls us to be his disciples; form and teach us through the places and people to whom you call us. Help us to learn from one another and from you, that we may grow in discipleship, serve your church, and ever be renewed as ministers in your Kingdom. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, our teacher, shepherd and Lord. Amen.

Earth Day 2020

To mark Earth Day 2020 some residents of Slad have put together this video.

Take a moment to watch and be inspired to think about our impact and relationship with the world around us.

With thanks to Amanda for giving us permission to share.

Worshipping together during a time of isolation

These are unprecedented times and we are trying to be imaginative in our response as we work to sustain pastoral care and a rhythm of prayer and worship in our Team.

Sometimes things will go well: people connecting where they hadn’t before, requests for prayer coming from many different people…

Sometimes we will, with the best intentions, fall short. And it seems this is the case with our provision for communion.

Whilst I have heard from many of you who were delighted to receive the packs through the post, sadly, someone was so upset that they felt they had to contact the bishop. The resulting conversation means that we are unable to share communion in the way we had intended – by all sharing reserved sacrament together, in solidarity with one another and with Christ.

If you have received a parcel of wafers, please keep them ‘in a seemly manner’ or consume them.

I have prepared a new Order of Service, which will be the basis of our time together. This will be available on our website, the words that we all join in with will be on the screen during our services, and for those who do not have access to the internet, a mailing will be going out next week.

Kate Stacey

Team Review by Revd Andrew Braddock

This review has been carried out by the Revd Andrew Braddock, the Director of Mission and Ministry in Gloucester Diocese.

Over a series of weeks, Andrew held informal discussions with various groups within the life of the team, including the Team Council, LMTs, clergy and readers.

Andrew gave the report on the 22 June 2019. Over 40 people attended that meeting and there was some representation from nearly every church.

You can read the report here. Or you can see the presentation slides here.


Celebration of our wonderful Church Wardens

On Thursday 9th May most of our Church Wardens were admitted to office, encouraged and celebrated in a wonderful service led by our new Archdeacon Hilary Dawson.

Our Churchwardens are vital to the health and wellbeing of our worshipping communities, and this service was a fitting charge for them.

This is a good moment to remind us of what is the Church Warden’s responsibility, and what is not!

Churchwardens have a leadership role within the church community, and share with the Clergy its vision and mission.

“The church is called to be pastoral — to look after individual people:
to be evangelistic — to tell people the Good News and invite them to accept it;
to be social — to help… those suffering from racial, economic and other forms of injustice; and to be ecumenical — to encourage good relations with other Christian denominations.” (p32 & 33, Practical Church Management by James Behrens)

But, of course, this is the call of the whole church, not just our Church Wardens!

Specific responsibilities include;


Ensuring our buildings and churchyards are kept in good order. How this is done will vary hugely from Church Wardens who are more than happy to climb ladders and mend broken slates to others who have someone they know who knows a great builder. There is no right or wrong way of doing it, just someone who has an eye on things.


Ensuring that our buildings are ready for worship, that there is a system for getting supplies of consumables, that there are rotas for different responsibilities and that a proper record of monies is kept. If the person expected to lead the service doesn’t turn up, the Church Warden is recognised as someone who can step in.

Again, I would say that in a healthy church, working as the Body of Christ, it would be better if there was someone taking care of ordering supplies, another sorting out rota’s, and someone else recording monies, with the Church Warden just checking that everything is covered – not doing everything!


The Church Warden should take care of the Clergy and their family, their expenses and their time off. Having someone there who is asking, ‘how are you doing?’, ‘have you booked a holiday?’, ‘could someone else do that instead of you?’… makes all the difference to Clergy who do not otherwise have that day to day collegiality.

Of course, that care extends to the congregation and community as well. The Church Warden will be committed to praying for those they serve.

Other than those key areas of Property, Worship and Care, they are to;

  • Attend PCC meetings
  • Attend the annual Archdeacon’s visitation
  • Attend Church Warden and Treasurers meetings
  • Produce an annual fabric report for the APCM
  • Produce an annual Articles of Enquiry report for the Archdeacon
  • Ensure the record of services book is correctly filled in with congregation numbers and details of the collection, president and preacher

Again, whilst responsible for the above Churchwardens do not have to do them all themselves: indeed it is good practice if others share in these areas. Churchwardens can delegate!

Our Church Wardens are so important, and, just as we hope they will care for the Clergy,
I hope that you will care for them. Ask them ‘how are you doing?’, ‘have you booked a holiday?’, ‘could someone else do that instead of you?’… and, whenever you can, thank them for their service to us.

Left to right [with apologies for quality of photo taken on my smashed phone!]:Deirdre [Church Warden of St Laurence], Cyril [Church Warden of Whiteshill with Paganhill], Archdeacon Hilary, Iris [Reader Emeritus, St Laurence], Joy [Church Warden of Holy Trinity, Stroud], Amanda [Church Warden of Holy Trinity, Stroud]
Rob [Church Warden of Slad with Uplands] was there too but managed to sneak out before I nabbed him. Deb [Church Warden of Slad with Uplands] and Dick [Church Warden of St Matthew’s] will be sworn in by Archdeacon Hilary in the coming month.