Summer celebration as St Leonard’s receives funding boost


A  Buckinghamshire church is to receive a £20,000 National Churches Trust Cornerstone Grant for repairs to its roof, masonry, guttering and downpipes.

St Leonard's, Grendon Underwood

St Leonard’s Grendon Underwood. Photo: The National Churches Trust

The Grade II* listed St Leonard’s Church, Grendon Underwood, will be watertight and its historic fabric will be preserved by the work. The lead roof will be replaced with slate tiles.

Broadcaster and journalist Huw Edwards, Vice President of The National Churches Trust, said: “The UK’s historic churches and chapels are a vital part of our national heritage, but to survive, many need urgent repairs and modern facilities. The cost of this work is far beyond what most congregations can pay for themselves. I am, therefore, delighted that St Leonard’s, Grendon Underwood is being helped with a £20,000 National Churches Trust Cornerstone Grant. The work will help to secure the future of an historic building and may also help to remove the church from the Historic England Heritage at Risk Register.

Records about the church date back to 1223. Part of the nave is probably from the 12th Century and the chancel dates back from the 14th Century. The tower was built around 1460. There are wooden panels on the side of the pulpit which date back from the 1620s and there are three marble monuments commemorating local dignitaries dating back to the 18th Century.

The Revd David Hiscock, the team rector, said: “We are delighted to receive this support from the National Churches Trust. The church continues to be the focal point of the village for worship. In recent years we have organised live entertainment, public meetings, breakfasts and hot lunches in winter and afternoon teas in summer. It is fantastic to know that once this work is complete, we will have a building for future generations to enjoy.”

The latest National Churches Trust grants will benefit 46 churches and chapels in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The charity supports the maintenance of church buildings of all Christian denominations across the UK.

Last year, the National Churches Trust helped support 202 projects with grants of £1.2 million. 23 churches and chapels were removed from the Heritage at Risk Register in 2018 with the support of the Trust’s grants.
Churches and chapels open for regular public worship (i.e. more than six services a year) and in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands can apply for a grant from the National Churches Trust.

Revd Jen joins the College of Preachers


THE Revd Jen Brown says she is excited to have been appointed Director of Training for the College of Preachers.

Jen, who was until recently Science Missioner in the Diocese of Oxford, says: “I am hopeful that the connections I made in that work might lead to some creative partnerships as I work with the College of Preachers’ trustees to develop our curriculum. Science and technology are, and will continue to be, central features of our modern world, and so I think that developing training for preachers in how to incorporate science into their preaching and how to preach about some of the ethical and social challenges presented to us by developments in technology is something very valuable that I and the College of Preachers can offer.”

Jen’s new role, which starts in September, includes working with the College’s network of regional tutors to deliver courses and workshops on preaching across the country. One of the most exciting parts of the job will be looking at how the existing programme of courses and events can be developed and expanded and building partnerships with other organisations to explore new options for training for both new and experienced preachers.

The role is part-time and Jen will continue in her teaching post at Ripon College, Cuddesdon and as an associate priest in Abingdon.

Jen says: “I hope that I will be able to use my experience in theological education to develop fruitful partnerships between theological colleges and the College of Preachers, and of course being someone who is regularly in the pulpit means that I can both draw on my parish experience to inform my work with the College of Preachers, but also make use of the insights that I’ll gain as this role develops to inform my own preaching ministry.”

Jen’s first official engagement will be at Oxford’s Festival of Preaching in September. “I’m very much looking forward to having that opportunity to meet and talk with others who are passionate about good preaching, and getting launched into my new role,” Jen added.

Read a God in the Life Of we published when Jen took on the role of Science Missioner.

The Revd Jen Brown. Photo by Jo Duckles.

It’s time to limber up for the Ride and Stride

Ride + Stride is the major annual fundraising activity for  Historic Churches Trusts across the UK.

Yet again thousands of people will walk, cycle or ride their horses around as many churches or chapels as possible on Saturday 14 September.

The funds raised are split equally between churches nominated by the participants and the Historic Churches Trust in the relevant county. Each year the Buckinghamshire Historic Churches Trust alone gives grants totalling £60,000 to help to preserve the fabric of churches and chapels.

The trusts offer ideas for cycling and walking routes in most areas of their counties and will have a number of guided walks on offer, enabling walkers to relax and enjoy the company of others. Some routes are suitable for pushchairs or wheelchairs, comprising smooth paths winding through beautiful green spaces. The Berkshire Historic Churches Trust has a route that includes a ‘hunt the animal’ quiz for participants.

This year the Oxford Historic Churches Trust organised a publicity event for the Ride + Stride, inviting clergy from across the Diocese to have a go at riding penny farthings. The fun event culminated in a ride into the centre of Oxford.

More details about taking part in Ride + Stride email







Shenanigans and malarkey at Yellow Braces

Where can you find a concept as amazing as Gniyllub combined with DIY Olympics, water volleyball and a host of other fun shenanigans and malarkey?

Come and Meet Each Other


Raised voices and raucous laughter show that people who go to CAMEO at St Mary’s, Thatcham, are having a great

Church goers Go 4th each month


TAKING communion to a care home, litter picking and a 6km charity run have all been part of Go 4th

Church growth in Childrey

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With rapidly expanding communities and a rapidly changing society, it’s vital that we reach out to people who are untouched

Christian Aid Week: The baby bishop in the kitchen drawer


The Rt Revd Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham had a strange entry into the world: “When I was born, dad put me straight in the kitchen drawer.”

Bishop Alan with a picture of himself and his brother as children

“My mother had been for a check-up at the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh, where we lived.  ‘You have plenty of time,’ the doctors assured her. ‘Just go home and wait.’ Suddenly, she went into labour and gave birth to me right there in the kitchen. I was put into a kitchen drawer as my dad called an ambulance,” says Bishop Alan.

Fortunately, we only lived about two miles down the road from the hospital – so my mum and I were soon receiving essential post-natal support from trained, well-equipped staff. My dad was so grateful, he gave the ambulance driver a bottle of Scotch! That was in 1955. But today, every mother deserves this level of service – from trained staff with all the equipment they need to provide a great level of care.

“That’s why, this Christian Aid Week I’m encouraging supporters to raise funds for the situation in Sierra Leone, where 10 mums a day die giving birth. Sierra Leone is the most dangerous country in the world to give birth in, by a long margin. It was still recovering from the civil war when the Ebola crisis hit. The Ebola outbreak killed one in 10 health care workers and left the country with significant debt.

“These can seem like impossible situations to tackle – but it is remarkable what can be done when we stand together. Over 20,000 churches take part in Christian Aid Week to support their global neighbour and we are delighted to be part of that movement.”

Bishop Alan (left) with his brother

Churches across Buckinghamshire raised over £100,000 for Christian Aid Week in 2018. This year supporters will be organising door-to-door collections, hosting Big Brekkies and holding a range of other fundraising activities.

If there is no clinic in their village, pregnant women in rural Sierra Leone can wait up to eight hours before an ambulance arrives. Others travel to the hospital on the back of a hired motorbike, but the poorest have no choice but to walk for hours on foot. Many women and babies do not survive the journey, particularly from May to December, when food is scarce.

Christian Aid is helping remote communities come together to build health clinics as well as training nurses to provide urgent care in communities and improving hygiene, so mothers and babies are more likely to fight off diseases.

Bishop Alan added: “Christian Aid Week is an amazing celebration to change the world, through generosity, solidarity and action. We are grateful to everyone who is making this event possible. We passionately believe that, when we come together, the almighty power of people can make a world in which dignity, equality and justice are experienced by everyone – and it can be fun at the same time!”

Heavily pregnant Jebbeh Konneh is checked by Nurse Judith in the temporary clinic in Sawula village, Sierra Leone. This clinic, which receives support from Christian Aid, has no electricity and only two delivery beds. Photo Christian Aid

  • £15 could buy a stethoscope or a bucket of paint for a community health clinic.
  • £60 could buy a starter kit for community health workers, which includes a bicycle, torch, raincoat and rain boots.
  • £2,500 could buy solar panels for a new clinic.

To find out how to get involved or to donate, click here or call 08080 006 006, or text ‘GIVE’ to 70040 to give £5.* Donations will support communities such as those featured and wherever the need is greatest.

Christian Aid is also inviting supporters to join its campaign to drop Sierra Leone’s debt incurred during its fight against Ebola, in 2014-2016. The worst outbreak of the disease in history killed around 10 per cent of the country’s health care workers. Debt repayments are taking money away from desperately needed improvements to healthcare services.

The drop the debt petition can be found here


Christians and Muslims stand in solidarity at Brookes University


CHRISTIANS and Muslims at Oxford Brookes University have been standing in solidarity with one another following recent global disasters and atrocities.

The Revd Shemil Mathew, Anglican chaplain, sent in these photographs of Christian students stood outside the Muslim prayer room as Islamic students prayed following the attacks on the Al Noor and Linwood mosques in Christ Church, New Zealand.


They are holding up signs which read: “Christians standing with our Muslim friends. We will watch while you pray,” and “I am not a Muslim, but I care for you and will keep watch over your prayers”.

Meanwhile, this photograph shows Muslims holding a prayer vigil with Christians following the Easter Day attacks on churches in Sri Lanka.

Shemil has been working with the Brookes Christian Union and the Islamic Society to encourage members to get to know each other and foster positive interfaith relations. “They have been eating together and in November the Archdeacon of Oxford has invited the Islamic Society on a tour of Christ Church Cathedral. Some of the members have never been in a church, let alone a cathedral.”

Shemil is also partnering with churches in Cowley, Oxford for an event to break the Muslims’ Ramadan fast in the next couple of weeks.

Pathways Live brings you this story after the Diocese has posted on social media encouraging people to pray for global events and disasters. These include a story about helping those impacted by cyclones in Mozambique.
And prayers held in Milton Keynes for Sri Lanka.