News for February 2018

A Year of Mission
Lent 2018 – Lent 2019

Dear Friends,

I am writing this month’s letter in some haste (!!) as I am due to fly out to Ethiopia later today (5th January). At this early stage of the New Year, and anticipating both Christmas and Epiphany celebrations to come with Christians in Ethiopia, it seems strange to be thinking about Lent.

But the season of Lent will be starting shortly after I get back. Ash Wednesday is on 14th February. Do join us for our Evening Eucharist at 8pm in the Conference Room.

Lent will also be the start of a special Year of Mission, shared with All Saints and St Luke’s. Of course one could argue, quite rightly, that every year is a ‘Year of Mission’! What will mark out the year ahead is a series of special events, shared with St Luke’s and All Saints, to help us grow in our own faith, to grow in our fellowship with one another, to grow in prayer, and to become more ‘mission-minded’.

Back in the summer, Bishop Andrew wrote to the three clergy offering a very generous sum of money to be used for a shared mission project. Over the intervening months there has been much discussion between us, and with our PCCs. We have now set up a steering group with a few members from each church.

We agreed to use the money to fund a series of different events between Lent this year and Lent 2019. Plans are now gradually taking shape, and I feel very excited about what will be happening. I hope you will too.

Bishop Andrew will be coming to Maidenhead on Sunday 11th February for a special Commissioning Service for the three churches as we begin the Year of Mission. This will be at St Luke’s Church at 3.30pm, and it would lovely to have as many as possible from our church there for this service. I’m sure Bishop Andrew will have encouraging, challenging and enthusiastic words to say to us as we start this journey together.

The first special event will be in Passiontide – starting on Sunday 18th March and continuing until the Wednesday of Holy Week. We have invited the Christian Theatre Company ‘Riding Lights’ ( to come and spend 10 days with us. If you have never seen or experienced their work, you are in for a treat! Do try to come along to some of the services and events during their stay with us.

They will be going into lots of the local schools in all three parishes, doing assemblies and leading workshops and discussions with the children and young people on Christian themes. They are all young Christian actors – very professional, gifted, engaging and fun. Two big events during their time with us will be a dramatic presentation suitable for Passiontide on Saturday 24th March (venue to be confirmed) and a special service on Sunday 25th March for Palm Sunday at 10 am at The Desborough Suite in the Town Hall.  We needed a large venue to accommodate all three churches! There will be no 10 am Eucharist at the Good Shepherd that morning.

The service should still be a Eucharist, but will involve all the congregation in what is called ‘The People’s Passion’. We usually do a dramatized Passion Reading on Palm Sunday. This, I imagine will be a creative and dramatized version of the events of Holy Week. Hopefully this will help us all engage more fully with Holy Week.

I have experienced the work of Riding Lights several times over my years in ministry, and I am really looking forward to having them here. It is a wonderful opportunity for us – please don’t miss out on it! More details on the other services and events during their time with us will be available shortly.

Other events being planned for the year include: A day led for us by members of the London Institute of Contemporary Christianity (LICC) on living out our faith in daily life – at home, at work, in our community etc. This is likely to be in June or July.

In the autumn, we are planning a day on the Psalms with a keynote speaker, and a choice of workshops.

This will be followed in February 2019, with another of our ‘Prayer Days’. We have held two during my time here, and the response to both has been very positive. Fr. Timothy Radcliffe (the well-known writer and theologian) has been booked as our main speaker. As usual there will be a variety of workshops on different aspects of prayer and ways of praying.

This will be a lovely way to prepare for Lent, where we will also be offering, for those who wish, a time of accompanied prayer – either a week, or maybe through the whole of Lent. It is rather like doing a Retreat in everyday life. Do chat to Jill Lidstone or Glenys Collins who both have experiences of doing a Week of Accompanied Prayer.

So, a very full year ahead, with lots to feed, challenge, resource and inspire us – both in our mission and ministry as a church, and in our own Christian life. This is only made possible by the money Bishop Andrew has offered to help fund this project. We are very grateful.  Please do get involved, and make the most of the different opportunities coming up. More details to come, as our plans for the other events take shape. Meanwhile do keep this Year of Mission in your prayers.

Wishing you all a very blessed season of Lent.

With love and prayers,