Royal Maundy comes to Windsor once again

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SIX people from Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes received special coins from The Queen at the annual Royal Maundy service.

2019 marks the second year that the Maundy Money has been given out at St George’s Chapel in Windsor in a tradition that began in the 15th Century. The six people from our diocese were among 93 men and 93 women from across the UK who were given Maundy Money. The number of recipients refers to the number of years of the sovereign’s life. In 2017 after her visit to Leicester Cathedral, The Queen had visited every cathedral in the UK for Maundy Thursday.

For our Diocese 2013 was the special year when Oxford’s Christ Church Cathedral was selected.

Each recipient of Maundy money is given two small leather purses by The Queen, one red and one white. The first contains a small amount of ordinary coinage which symbolises the Sovereign’s gift for food and clothing. The second purse contains Maundy coins up to the value of the Sovereign’s age. The coins are legal tender but recipients normally prefer to retain them as a keepsake.

The six people from the Diocese of Oxford who received Maundy Money this year are:

David Cooke
David (born 1931) was ordained at Michaelmas 1962 so has completed just over 56 years of ordained ministry. He was a classic country parson of the old school, but with a creative and artistic streak. He was hard working and found some of his duties gruelling, especially in the light of his own struggles with health (including a stroke) yet stuck with them faithfully. David served from 1970-2007 as Rector of Stone and Dinton. His care for parishioners was exemplary, as was his care for Cynthia, his wife in her final illness.

Christopher Hall
Canon Christopher Hall had a distinguished career in the Midlands and in Manchester before co-ordinating Christian Concern for One World in the Oxford Diocese for 10 years. He is being nominated because for almost 25 years he served as the Honorary Secretary of the Li Tim-Oi Foundation which empowers Anglican women as lay and ordained agents of change mostly in African dioceses. It is named after the first woman priest in the Anglican Communion who was ordained in China by Christopher’s father, Bishop Ronald Hall, in January 1944.

Penny Keens
Penny Keens has given a lifetime of service to the Oxford Diocese. She recently stood down after 42 years as a member of the Oxford Diocesan Synod. In addition to local engagement over the years as Deanery Secretary and Deanery Lay Chair Penny has also been a Vice President of the Diocesan Synod and Chair of its House of Laity. In addition to local community work, Penny has also recently taken on responsibility as churchwarden of a large central Milton Keynes ecumenical congregation. She is the Honorary Secretary of the Bucks Historic Churches Trust and a Trustee of the Bucks Clergy Charity.

Michael Penny
A Methodist lay preacher who has served Reading faithfully, including chairing Churches Together in Berkshire. Michael has also written and published biblical commentaries.

Judith Scott
Judith Scott has brought to her service of the church experience derived from senior roles in the IT sector and at Reading University. She has been actively involved in serving the Church both within the deanery as Lay Chair but also at Diocesan level acting as Vice President of the Diocesan Synod and Chair of the House of Laity as well as a number of its Boards and Councils.

June Vickers
June has worked as a nurse, school nurse and a community nurse. Her many roles include being a churchwarden, sacristan, server, carer of others and a Pastoral Care Co-ordinator. She takes communion to the housebound, has been a chorister and a verger. She co-ordinated Christingle for the Children’s Society for years, been a Guider and helps out with children’s and primary school activities. She is a Team Leader for Open the Book.

The Queen in Windsor on Maundy Thursday 2018 Photo: Emma Sheppard/Windsor Express

Hundreds of homeless sought winter refuge in church-run night shelters


Clients get a good night’s sleep in a warm building at the Bracknell Winter Night Shelter. Photo: Pilgrim Hearts Trust

Camp beds are assembled by volunteers at the Bracknell Winter Night Shelter. Photo: Pilgrim Hearts Trust

Winter night shelters have saved hundreds of homeless people in the Oxford Diocese from having to sleep rough during the coldest nights of the year.

The Bracknell Winter Night Shelter welcomed a record number of homeless people throughout the winter. The shelter ran for four months, providing a safe, warm, dry place to sleep for 94 people. It will re-open in December. The shelter was run by more than 200 volunteers in seven venues, one for each night of the week, across the town.

The Bracknell Winter Night Shelter was coordinated by a local charity; The Pilgrim Hearts Trust in partnership with churches and other charities. Sponsors include the Bishop of Oxford’s Outreach Fund.

Elaine Chalmers Brown, Director of the Pilgrim Hearts Trust says that although the night shelter is closed for the spring and summer, they will continue to help the homeless. “We don’t just throw these people back out onto the streets. They are welcomed at our twice-weekly drop-in centre at St Andrews’ Church Hall, Priestwood where we offer them help and advice so that they can find a solution to their problems. They can access training and we help them to find employment and  permanent homes.”

Bracknell Night Shelter from Real Time on Vimeo.

The charity has plans to expand its work to include other Berkshire towns where homelessness has increased. Next winter it will be working closely with Wokingham charities to open a night shelter there, as well as in Bracknell. The number of people sleeping rough on the streets of Bracknell has tripled since 2010 according to official figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government. There were just six rough sleepers in the borough in 2010; that has now risen to 19 in 2018. Bracknell Forest and Slough had the highest numbers of rough sleepers in Berkshire in 2018.

The picture in Bracknell has been echoed across the Diocese of Oxford, with similar shelters and provision for the homeless set up in places including Newbury, Milton Keynes and High Wycombe. In Windsor, 160 volunteers ran a night shelter that has led to some homeless people finding accommodation and others getting regular support from their local church. The Revd Nigel Richards says: “At All Saints, we are continuing to open our doors every Thursday evening providing a meal and games/DVD night, and my friend, a hairdresser is offering free haircuts and beard trims every week.

“One of the guys has become a regular congregation member and a couple of them have offered to do stuff in the church, doing music with the teenagers. The real difference, however, is in an awesome general change of dynamic in Windsor of how people view homelessness. We have managed to get local businesses to help support the meals including Pizza restaurants and chip shops.”

The Windsor night shelter will re-open in November, running for an additional six weeks and needing around 250 volunteers. “This has come together so joyfully and powerfully. My experience from other shelters tells me that a paid night-manager would bring things together even more and we hope to employ someone next winter,” added Nigel.

Meanwhile, the Oxford Winter Night Shelter has just finished its successful second year. It doubled the number of beds from 10 to 20 and served hot drinks and snacks to guests. It was run by 340 volunteers across 12 venues representing six different Christian denominations.

The Revd Mary Gurr, Oxford’s chaplain to the homeless, said: “We have been greatly blessed by our many donors, who have given goods, services and money. And finally, a big thank you to Graham Doel, our Project Manager, for gently guiding us into the technology of the 21st century. It has been a pleasure to get to know our guests and to see them relax and hopefully benefit from a respite from the streets. We have much to be thankful for, and much to celebrate.”

Distribution of food bank Real Easter Eggs begins


MORE than 700 Easter Eggs made in Oxfordshire have been donated to food banks by churches from across the UK. The donation scheme, run by The Meaningful Chocolate Company, allows donors to purchase a discounted Real Easter Egg online for delivery to food banks, including Trussell Trust distribution centres. Distribution of the eggs began in early April.

The Real Easter Egg is the first and only Fairtrade chocolate Easter egg with a copy of the Easter story in the box. Launched in 2010, following a trial involving the Oxford Diocese, more than a million Real Easter Eggs have been sold with 750,000 of these sent through the post directly to churches and schools. The popularity of the eggs meant that such a large volume of chocolate was needed that in 2016 production moved to the Barry Callebaut factory in Banbury, Oxfordshire. The Bishop of Dorchester, the Rt Revd Colin Fletcher, visited the factory to see how chocolate is made.

David McDonald, manager of a Trussell foodbank which received some of the eggs, said: “The Trussell Trust is a Christian organisation and at the most special time in the Christian calendar we are delighted to be able to carry the Easter message in such a tasty way to the people who need our help. Our visitors come from every walk of life and all faiths and none, but everyone loves chocolate eggs.  One third of the food we give out is for children and we feel that it is important that struggling parents are able to give their youngsters a treat.”

To donate an egg to a food bank click here. The eggs can also be purchased in Tesco, Morrisons, Waitrose and ASDA.

Picture by Chris Bull for The Meaningful Chocolate Company
Distribution of Food bank Real Easter Eggs begins
More than 700 Easter Eggs have been donated to food banks by churches from across the UK. The donation scheme, run by The Meaningful Chocolate Company, allows donors to purchase a discounted Real Easter Egg online for delivery to food banks including Trussell Trust distribution centres. To donate an egg visit
Present: Bishop of Warrington, Bishop Beverley Mason and Manager of the Warrington Trussell Trust Food bank, David McDonald.
Further info from –
David Marshall
The Meaningful Chocolate Company Ltd.
Office: 0845 122 2882 Mobile: 07834 320120

A never-emptying food cupboard

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Generous villagers are keeping a food cupboard in their church stocked so that anyone in need can help themselves whenever

More than 900 reports of potential modern slavery in hand car washes recorded through app


Drivers using a pioneering app to gather information on modern slavery in hand car washes made more than 900 reports of potential cases over a five-month period, according to research published today. Read more

A community choir that started with a dream


It’s well known that singing is good for the soul. Here Steve Flashman writes about his experiences of community choirs that offer Christians an amazing missional opportunity. Read more

Celebrating 25 years since the first women were ordained as priests

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AS celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the ordination of women as priests took place across the country, we had

Oakley School Dove of Peace Dedication


Oakley Church of England Combined School has celebrated the unveiling of a piece of artwork made especially for the school by fabric artist Elizabeth Brown.

The whole school attended a service of dedication led by Reverend David Kaboleh to give thanks for the very special gift which hangs in the school reception area.  Newly appointed headteacher, Caroline Witton said: “we are all delighted and honoured that Elizabeth has chosen our school for this beautiful piece of artwork.”

Oxford’s Hannah set for theology slam final

ORDINAND Hannah Barr from Oxford’s Wycliffe Hall is polishing up her preaching skills after making it through to the final of the national Theology Slam.

Hannah Barr

The new competition was launched in September by SCM Press, the Church Times, London Institute of Contemporary Culture and the Community of St Anselm, at Lambeth Palace.

Hannah, 27 is a first-year at Wycliffe and currently doing PhD research into sexual consent. Her subject for the theology slam is theology and the #MeToo campaign and the church’s response to that campaign.

“The first part of the competition involved submitting 500 words and a 90-second video introducing the topic and why I am passionate about it,” says Hannah.

The other finalists are Sara Prats, 23, from Spain whose subject is theology and mental health and Hannah Malcolm, 26, who will be speaking on theology and the environment.

“It’s been really fun. I’m looking forward to the final and hearing the other finalists as they speak on really important topics,” added Hannah.

Each finalist will speak for seven-10 minutes. There will also be the opportunity to hear short TED talks from theologian Professor John Swinton and Third Church Estates Commissioner Dr Eve Poole. Mark Greene, executive director of the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity and Isabelle Hamley, Old Testament scholar and chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury will be alongside them on the judging panel.

The final takes place on Thursday, March 7 at St John’s Hoxton at 7pm.



In case you haven’t finished your Christmas shopping…


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