Pastures new for two priests

The Revd Richard Hoyal and the Revd Tony Knapp have both recently retired from ministry in the diocese.

Between them, at their retirement, they ministered to six different church families in three deaneries.CFC

Ordained in 1979, Richard came to Bristol from Bradford diocese in 2004 to become Priest in Charge of All Saints w St John, Clifton and All Hallows, Easton. In 2009, he also took on the role of Priest in Charge of Christ Church in the city centre.

Tony was ordained in 1989 and also came to Bristol from Bradford diocese, arriving in 2000 to be Team Rector of the Dorcan benefice, a Local Ecumenical Partnership in Swindon including St Paul’s, Covingham, St Timothy’s, Liden and the Eldene Centre.

Bidding farewell to Richard, Bishop Lee said he was a ‘team player’ who ‘engaged with the realities of priestly ministry today’ and ‘kept the needs of God’s people firmly in view’.  He paid tribute to his strong ‘focus on the things of God, the ways of God, and God the Holy Trinity himself’ and acknowledged the vital role played by his wife, Muriel, in sustaining his ministry.

Bishop Lee identified the ‘keynote’ of Tony’s ministry as love – both for the Lord and for his people. He commented on his ‘enabling approach’ which had benefitted  colleagues in licensed ministry, tony knappwhether ordained or lay, Methodist or Anglican; and the priority he gave to discipleship amongst church members. Ministry for Tony had been a partnership with his wife, Cathy, who had ‘provided her own complementary leadership’, he said.

Our Social Legacy: What do we find? What will we leave?

Churches Together in Clifton, Cotham and Redland are hosting a series of Lent Lectures which will explore how Christians can bring an active Gospel to the communities of Bristol.Good morning Bristol 10.1

Admission is free to all lectures, which will include time for discussion and questions as well as the main lecture.


Lecture 1: Thursday February 21st

Faith in the City: the Barton Hill experience

The Rev Martin Gainsborough of St Luke’s Church, Professor of Development Politics at the University of Bristol

Venue: Christ Church Clifton, Clifton Park, Bristol BS8 3BN

7.00pm for 7.30pm


Lecture 2: Thursday February 28th

The Emmaus Project

Richard Pendlebury MBE DL, CEO of homeless charity Emmaus

Venue: Clifton Cathedral, Pembroke Road, Clifton, Bristol BS8 3ED

7.00pm for 7.30pm


Lecture 3: Thursday March 7th

Street Pastors have come to Bristol

Adrian Prior-Sankey, The Ascension Trust and Eddie Wall of Redland Parish, a Street Pastor.

Venue: Cotham Parish Church, Cotham Hill, Bristol BS6 6DR

7.00pm for 7.30pm


Lecture 4: Thursday March 14th

What legacy are we leaving?     What can we do?

The Rev David Grosch-Miller, Moderator Elect of the United Reformed Church of the UK and the Rev Jon Doble, The Churches’ Council for Industry and Social Responsibility

Venue: The Friends’ Meeting House, 126 Hampton Road, Redland, Bristol BS6 6JE

7.00pm for 7.30pm

Visit for more information or phone Michael Baker: 0117 974 1339

Updates from Uganda

A team from Bristol is currently in Uganda for the second ‘Christ Centred Leadership’ Conference for Ugandan Bishops and their leadership teams, which is organised by the Diocese of Bristol in partnership with the Church of Uganda.Mike in Uganda

The group includes Bishop Mike, Bishop Lee, Chris Dobson, Stuart Taylor and the Revd David Hart, Methodist Superintendent for the greater Bristol and Gloucester circuits. They have been submitting updates on their travels and photographs via Facebook.

View the photo gallery >>


Diary updates:

13th Jan – [Chris Dobson] Wonderful welcome to Amuru for a service under the trees. Stuart Taylor received a rapturous welcome home!

12th Jan – [Bishop Mike] Last day in Gulu. Tomorrow we are off to visit one of the legacies of the days of war in N. Uganda – the huge displacement camp at Amuru. This will be a challenging day of travel and very likely a very demanding time schedule. Can’t wait to see the people there again. Last time Anthea and I were there the war was in full swing

12th Jan – [Chris Dobson] Just had a really good feedback session with church leaders in northern Uganda, some nice encouragement and lots of good ideas about what we can do better next time.

12th Jan – Bishop Mike Hill is in his comfort zone, challenging us all with 20 leadership lessons. Bishop Lee and Bishop Johnson enjoy a quiet moment while the delegates reflect on lessons learned as the conference draws to a close.

11th Jan – David Hart is making working within Church Structures exciting … Boy is this man a gifted communicator!

11th Jan – Bible Study inrerrupted by primal scream led by the Bishop of Swindon. Apparently a way to relax before speaking, must remember not to turn on the radio mic before trying it. Now on to look at how structures can help us to lead – or is that a non-sequiter?

11th Jan – About 70 delegates are enjoying a good day of teaching on leadership. Excellent Bible Study in progress as David Hart opens up layers of meaning from the story of the Feeding of the 5000. Clergy in leadership really resonating with +Lee’s call for a better balance of life, great shout of laughter as a priest confesses to being known as the ‘dancing priest’ just after the story of a 94 year old woman who spent her whole life dancing for the Lord and never used a walking stick once!

10th Jan – We’ve just arrived in Gulu and looking forward to meeting the 75 delegates at 8.30 tomorrow morning

10th Jan – Good day resting near Jinja, 390 km drive to Gulu, with a stop on the way to visit a Christian Aid project.

9th Jan – Travelling in the dark on the Jinja Kampala road, safety must be our prayer. With Mike and Anthea Hill, Lee Rayfield, David Hart, Stuart Taylor and Sheena Tranter, great company.

Expert solutions for heating churches


Keeping an historic church warm for community use while conserving its heritage features and minimising the environmental impact is a real challenge, especially at a time of rising energy prices.

However, a recent national conference on energy use in churches has generated a range of information and guidance for parishes struggling with the cost of keeping congregations warm.

Presentations given at the Heating without the Hot Air Conference suggested that twenty-five per cent of churches can make simple savings using heating controls and churches can even become ‘zero carbon’.

Other facts include:

  • All churches can make quick savings from lighting
  • Old boilers can be 30 per cent inefficient and a replacement can pay back in four to five years
  • The first Zero Carbon Church - St Michael’s, Withington – saves 12.1 tonnes of carbon per year

The conference presentations are now available to view online.

Other resources from ChurchCare and the Church of England’s Shrinking the Footprint campaign are also available.

If your parish is struggling to meet rising costs, why not consider attending the diocesan seminar on ’20 ways to save your parish money’ which is taking place on Thursday 31st January. More details here.

Archdeacon’s Visitations 2013

ChristineThe Venerable Christine Froude, Archdeacon of Malmesbury and acting Archdeacon of Bristol, will be making her annual Visitation to each Deanery in the diocese during May 2013.

The schedule has been designed to include a mixture of Sundays and weekday evenings and a variety of locations in the hope that everyone who is requested, or would like, to attend a service will be able to find one that is convenient, even if it is not within their own Deanery. Details are as follows.

Deanery Venue Date Time
Bristol West St   Peter’s, Lawrence Weston Weds   1st May 7.30pm
North Wiltshire Holy   Cross, Sherston Weds   8th May 7.30pm
City St   Mary’s, Fishponds Sun   12th May 6.30pm
Chippenham St   Andrew’s, Castle Combe Mon   13th May 7.30pm
Swindon St   Peter’s, Penhill Weds   15th May 7.30pm
Bristol South St   Martin’s, Knowle Thurs   16th May 7.30pm
Kingswood & South Gloucestershire Christ   Church, Downend Sun   19th May(Pentecost) 6.30pm

Each service will last no longer than 1.5 hours and will include light refreshments. The theme this year will focus on welcome and hospitality as we seek to make our communities and buildings places in which all can find and experience the love of God.

The official admittance of churchwardens to office for the coming year forms a key part of the Visitation service so it is particularly important that those who are elected at the Annual Parochial Church meetings in 2013 make every effort to attend a service if possible.

We also hope that churchwardens who are standing down from office this year will want to attend to reflect and give thanks on all that has been achieved during their period of service. Clergy and those who support churchwardens in their work in the parishes will also be very welcome.

Safeguarding Training 2013

Safeguarding Training 2013 – all sessions  take place at the new Diocesan offices in Stoke Gifford

  • Fri 18th Jan 1.30 – 4.30 pm – few places left for clergy on an one off mental health awareness session
  • Essential Clergy training on Domestic Violence – a new course (different from the general vulnerable adult training) – all clergy expected to attend one of these – see previous info sent out. Still several people to sign up. Fri 1st Feb, Tues 5th Feb, Tues 9th April, Fri 19th April, Tues 23rd April, Fri 3rd May, Wed 8th May. Day course with lunch provided.
  • Basic Safeguarding adults training – essential for any clergy & Nominated People who have not yet attended one of these over the past couple of years. Tues 19th March 7.15 -9.45 or Sat 8th June 9.30 -1 2.30am
  • Basic Child Protection Training -  for any clergy or Nominated People who haven’t been on a CP session in the past 2 years Fri 22ndMarch 9.30 -12.30 am or Wed 15th May 7.15 -9.45pm

Book your place by emailing

Priest-in-Charge, All Saints, St Barnabas, St Augustine, Swindon

An exciting opportunity to share your spiritual gifts and leadership skills with a group of three Central parishes close to Swindon town centre. Each has their own individual identity and yet are growing closer together with a heart for their local communities.

We seek a new leader who will love, laugh and listen with us, in order that we might reach our full spiritual potential, building bridges with the love of Christ.
We have worship teams, friendly congregations, a passion to take the Gospel into the community and three committed Licensed Lay Ministers. We play a full part in a very supportive Swindon Deanery in the missionary minded Diocese of Bristol.

Closing Date: 24 January 2013:
Interview date: 13/14 February 2013:

Download the All Saints, St Barnabas, St Augustine, Swindon Profile >>
Download the Role Description >>
Download the Person Specification >>

Word Download the Application Form >>
word documentDownload the Guidance Notes for completing the Application Form >>

Alternatively, to receive the full details and application documents by email or post, please email or phone Helen Rees on 01454 777728.
Completed applications must be received by 24 January 2013 by email ( or by post (Helen Rees, Bishop of Bristol’s Office, 58a High Street, Winterbourne, Bristol, BS36 1JQ).

Find out more about the Diocese of Bristol >>
Download “Releasing the energy”, the Diocese of Bristol Strategy >>

Retirement of Carolyn Buckeridge

After nearly 15 years with the Diocese of Bristol, Carolyn Buckeridge, Child Protection Officer, has decided to take retirement and left on 7th December 2012.

Diocesan Secretary, Lesley Farrall, said:

“We are grateful to Carolyn for all her hard work and wish her every success for the future and a happy retirement.”

For the time being, Jeanette Plumb will be the initial point of contact for all safeguarding enquiries relating to both vulnerable adults and child protection.


DBS (previously CRB) surgery dates 2013

Dates for DBS ‘surgeries’ at the Diocesan Office are now available. These surgeries offer applicants the chance to bring their documents to the Diocesan Office for checking.

Please call the Diocesan Office to book a slot with a counter signatory. Surgeries take place at the new office : Hillside House, 1500 Parkway North, Newbrick Road, Stoke Gifford,

View the DBS Surgery dates here >>


The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is the new name for the Criminal Record Bureau (CRB).

Chancellor rules on Lacock cup

The Chancellor of the Diocese of Bristol, Revd Justin Gau, has ruled at a Consistory Court held at St Cyriac’s Church, Lacock that the parish can sell a piece of silverware known as the ‘Lacock Cup’ to the British Museum.

The cup, which is believed to date from the 15th century and to have been given to St Cyriac’s in the mid 1600’s, has been on permanent loan to the Museum for the last 40 years and is described as ‘an extremely rare’ example of medieval silverware.

The parish applied for a faculty to sell the cup to the Museum on the grounds that its value and significance made it impossible that it could ever be securely returned to the church.
Following a formal objection by a local resident, which could not be resolved by correspondence, the Chancellor – in his role as the senior ecclesiastical lawyer in the diocese – agreed to hear evidence from both parties in a court hearing.

Giving his judgement on Tuesday 4th December, the Chancellor agreed that the cost and difficulty of obtaining appropriate insurance made it impossible to return the cup to the church and that, even if such insurance could be arranged, this would not be a good use of the PCC’s resources. He judged that funds would be better used for the maintenance of the church as a hub for mission.
Commenting on the outcome of the hearing, the Archdeacon of Malmesbury, the Ven. Christine Froude, said:
“Although I am aware this case has generated strong feelings on both sides, I do think the very thoughtful and sensible judgement the Chancellor has given is the right one. It not only ensures the security and visibility of the cup to future generations but also, more importantly, allows the parish to focus its energy and resources on mission and outreach, safe in the knowledge that essential repairs to the building can be covered.”

The parish must now proceed to complete the sale to the Musuem and establish the charitable trust to manage the funds. For its part, the Museum must raise the £1.3million it has offered to pay. The Chancellor has also directed that a replica of the cup (costing no more than £5,000) be created for liturgical use in the church.

ISR News Briefing, Dec 2012

ISR works with and on behalf of the Diocese of Bristol on issues related to social, economic and enivronmental justice and faith in the workplace, supporting parishes and engaging with institutions.

Taking the Good News to the Streets
ISR Climate Change Study Guide
Climate Week
Climate change and the purposes of God
Working with the death of a child
Guidance for applications to Trusts and Foundations
The Living Wage

Taking the Good News to the Streets: Chaplaincy to the Broadmead Shopping Quarter Christmas Markets.

ISR has been supporting a group of volunteer chaplains, working alongside the permanent Retail Chaplain Rev Andy Sewell, in the centre of Bristol during the busy pre-Christmas period. Find out more…

ISR Climate Change Study Guide

This study guide is designed for use by local church groups who want to explore the challenges we face due to climate change in the light of the Christian faith. The study guide includes summaries of the current science and reflection upon relevant biblical passages. The guide is available in hard copy form the ISR office or as a PDF download from the ISR website. We are also available to work through some of the issues raised by this study guide.

Climate Week

The Church of England nationally is supporting Climate Week, the UK’s biggest climate change campaign (4-10 March 2013). Congregations are being ask to take part on Sunday 10th March as part of  weekly worship. Find out more, and how to get involved…

Climate change and the purposes of God

Operation Noah has published a course which is designed for use as a Lent course – though it is also appropriate for use at any time of the year. It is targeted for use with Church and house groups and the content is based on the Ash Wednesday Declaration.

There are five sessions, each with handouts for participants and notes for group leaders. It is available for downloading now from the Operation Noah website


Could you spare an hour and a half once a week to befriend an isolated asylum seeker or refugee, and improve their quality of life in Bristol?   Sam Sayer is looking for new volunteers who would like to befriend someone from another culture and show God’s love practically to those on the margins. Befriending will involve listening, visiting interesting free places in Bristol and helping with learning English. Find out more…

Working with the death of a child

In our commitment to support our volunteers and help those in churches as they put their faith to work, ISR offers training opportunities to help them in their important role. The death of a child is a very difficult pastoral issue to deal with. Whilst those engaging with parents want to be caring and sensitive and to offer appropriate support, very often people feel out of their comfort zone. Find out more…

Guidance for applications to Trusts and Foundations

The recent Community Engagement training course organised by ISR and churches in Penhill, Swindon included a session by the professional fundraiser Joanne O’Shea. Her presentation gave practical guidance on identifying the most appropriate funds, building good relationships with those trusts and foundations and writing a funding proposal. The presentation is available on the ISR website

The Living Wage

The last General Synod has passed the following motion by a substantial majority: This Synod, recognising that the widening gap between rich and poor harms all of society and that paying a “Living Wage” lifts people out of poverty:

(a) affirms the Christian values inherent in the concept of the “Living Wage”; and
(b) strongly encourages all Church of England institutions to pay at least the “Living Wage”

Please contact ISR if you would like background documents on the living wage to help you reflect upon the implications of this decision for your particular context (email: in Bristol and surrounding area and in Swindon and surrounding area).

MP sees RE makes sense of the world

The MP for Bristol West, Stephen Williams, visited Bristol Cathedral Choir School in November at the invitation of teachers campaigning for a proper understanding of the value of RE.

It is feared that politicians and the public will see religious education (RE) as a second-rate subject since it was not included as an humanities option in the newly announced English Baccalaureate (EBacc). This could have a serious knock-on effect on the quality of RE teaching and teacher training. It could also force schools to move RE down their lists of priorities and pupils to lose out.

A group of local RE teachers, banded together by Dr Hugo Whately, a RE teacher at Redland High School, petitioned Mr Williams to go to see what good RE really looks like. Dr Whately said that RE was unique in that it is both academic and holistic:

“RE can grow a sense of confidence, cultural identity, moral responsibility, community cohesion and a richer experience of life. RE is a challenging subject in which students can also explore and discuss ideas about spirituality and purpose.”

Speaking of the MP’s visit to his class, Peter Edwards, Head of RE at Bristol Cathedral Choir School (BCCS), said: “The lesson was focused on higher level thinking skills such as analysis and evaluation. Mr Williams was struck by the difference between modern RE and his own experiences of the subject at school.”

BCCS values the wider benefits of the subject to pupils and society and has developed innovative non-examined RE lessons which can be taught to pupils who are taking other exams.

Bristol Diocese’s Schools Advisor Katy Staples says: “Because of Church of England schools’ Christian foundation, pupils have an entitlement to RE as a core subject. Matters of faith should be given serious attention. The National Society recommends that 5-10% of curriculum time is given to RE  so that pupils access a full education about belief and how it motivates people. This equips them to make sense of the modern world.”

Global Aware Conference 2013

Keynote Speaker: Rev Joel Edwards, International Director of Micah Challenge

Saturday, January 26, 2013 from 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM. Workshops on: Tax, Transparency, Land, Investment. Led by experts from Christian Aid, Tearfund, CAFOD, Oxfam and more. The event is free to attend and includes lunch but you must book a place

Visit event website >>

Diocese and parishes strengthen links with Uganda

As Bishop Mike prepares for his next trip to Uganda to attend the enthronement of Bishop Stanley Ntagali as Archbishop of the Province on 16 December 2012, parishes back home in the diocese are also establishing new partnerships and building links with Ugandan churches.

Photo: W Dirks

Photo: W Dirks

Stanley will be enthroned as the 8th Archbishop of Uganda during a service at St Paul’s Cathedral, Namirembe, on Sunday 16th December. Bishop Mike will be supporting him at this special occasion along with the Revd Chris Dobson and the Revd Canon Stuart Taylor.

One of the new Archbishop’s first engagements in January will be to attend part of the second ‘Christ Centred Leadership’ Conference for Ugandan Bishops and their leadership teams, which is organised by the Diocese of Bristol in partnership with the Church of Uganda.

Building on the work of two conferences held in November 2011, the 2013 event will continue to explore and deepen the theme of Christ centred leadership with participation from Bishop Mike, Bishop Lee, Chris Dobson, Stuart Taylor and the Revd David Hart, Methodist Superintendent for the greater Bristol and Gloucester circuits.

Here in the UK, deaneries and parishes are now working with Tearfund towards establishing links with Ugandan parishes which aim to deliver mutual benefit to both parties. Whilst the UK parishes fundraise to support Tearfund’s work in equipping local communities in Uganda to regenerate and lift themselves out of poverty, there is also the opportunity to create direct links whereby the parishes can talk and pray with, and for, one another.

The UK parishes also have the option to take part in the Tearfund Discovery Course which aims to achieve regeneration in deprived areas of this country and to share the learning of communities in Uganda.

In the Diocese of Bristol, parishes in the Bristol South deanery are now in the early stages of developing their partnership whilst Christ Church, Clifton are having advanced discussions about work in Kitgum, northern Uganda. Malmesbury Abbey is also supporting a water project in Kigezi diocese.

Representatives from Bradley Stoke and Downend will be travelling with the diocesan team to Uganda in December to research and prepare for youth trips from their churches next summer.

If your church would be excited by the prospect of this sort of link, please contact Chris Dobson or Andrew Doarks for an initial discussion to find out more.

Find out more about the Bristol-Uganda Link >>

DAC says goodbye to Jane Holmes

After over four years of service in the role, Jane Holmes is to retire as the Bristol DAC Secretary on 31 December this year.

It has been agreed that she will be replaced by Janet Saxon. Janet is a solicitor who has played an important role in the matrimonial law department at Harris & Harris for many years as well as acting as Deputy Registrar.

In order to provide the DAC and the parishes with additional support, in place of the 2 days each week which Jane has provided, Janet will work on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings and all day on Thursday but not on Friday.

During the week of the DAC meeting Janet will work on Friday morning instead of on Monday so that she is in a position to field the enquiries received following the DAC meeting.

Diocesan Registrar, Tim Berry, said:

“We very much hope that the additional working hours and the new arrangement will prove beneficial to the DAC and the parishes. It is being provided at no additional cost to the DBF or to the parishes.”

Download DAC meeting and agenda closing dates for 2013 here.


Diocesan Synod tells Bishops to effect the will of the Church

The Bristol Diocesan Synod has passed a vote of no confidence in the ability of the General Synod of the Church of England to effect the clear will of the majority of Church members in relation to women bishops.

Members of the Diocesan Synod also reaffirmed its strong conviction that women should be Bishops and called on the House of Bishops to explore every avenue to move this forward with great urgency.

51 members of Synod voted in favour of the motion which was proposed by the Revd Mat Ineson, Vicar of St Matthew’s and St Nathanael’s, Kingsdown. Three voted against and there were no abstentions.

Speaking at the meeting, the Bishop of Bristol, the Rt Revd Mike Hill, said:

“There have been no ten days in my ministry quite like the last ten days. To make a masterful understatement, the current situation does not feel good.

“I wholeheartedly believe that the ministry of the Church of England will remain underdeveloped until we get women bishops. We would get a new and different perspective within the episcopate and I believe that new and different perspective would be a gift to the present House of Bishops and to the wider Church. It is certainly a gift I, personally, would love to receive.”

Proposing his motion (video above, full motion at the bottom of this article), the Revd Mat Ineson made it clear that, in passing it, the Diocesan Synod would not be stating a lack of confidence in the individual members of the General Synod but rather in the ability of its systems and processes to reflect the will of the wider Church on this issue. He said:

“In voting for this motion, we are expressing our frustration and disappointment that the clear support of 42 out of the 44 dioceses in this country for the women bishops legislation – including our own, where not one vote was recorded against it – has not been reflected in the national decision-making. The system has failed the people and urgently needs fixing.”


At a national level, the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England decided at its meeting this week that a process to admit women to the episcopate needed to be restarted at the next meeting of the General Synod in July 2013.

There was agreement that the Church of England had to resolve this matter through its own processes as a matter of urgency. The Council therefore recommended that the House of Bishops, during its meeting in a fortnight’s time, put in place a clear process for discussions in the New Year with a view to bringing legislative proposals before the Synod in July.

The Diocesan Synod also debated and agreed the 2013 Diocesan Budget and a proposal to allow greater participation in budget setting and discussed and noted how it would consider its business and responsibilties over the next three years.

pdf document Read Bishop Mike’s Diocesan Synod Address on Women Bishops >>
Youtube Watch Bishop Mike’s Diocesan Synod Address >>

The full text of the approved motion:
In the light of the recent failure of the General Synod to pass the Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) measure at its sessions of November 2012, despite overwhelming support for this legislation by this and other diocesan synods of the Church of England, Bristol Diocesan Synod:

1. Reaffirms our strong conviction that it is God’s will that women be ordained as bishops in the Church of England.
2. Has no confidence in the General Synod’s ability to transact the clear will of the majority of the Church with the urgency required to further the mission and witness of the Church.
3. Calls on the House of Bishops to explore, as a matter of great urgency, every possible avenue to effect the will of the Church on this issue.

UK Church Administrator Network (UCAN) Bath Area Training Day

You are warmly invited to join us for this UCAN Area Training Day on: Developing our role
A valuable opportunity for Church Administrators to think through their roles, increase their effectiveness and network with others in similar positions

Monday 25th February 2013 from 10.00 am. until 3.30 pm.
at St Swithin’s Church, The Paragon, Bath
Cost: £35 (includes training, lunch, materials)
Leader: John Truscott
The day is designed for members in the South-West Region but open to any UCAN member. Non-members may attend for a £45 fee. Reductions for multiple bookings.

Tel 01225 310575
The aims of our Area Training Days are
1 To offer quality training input for Church Administrators to improve our effectiveness as church workers and develop our own skills and enthusiasm for our areas of responsibility.
2 To provide opportunities for networking with others in similar specialised church roles within a limited geographical area for encouragement and future contact.

The cost
The fee for area events is designed to cover UCAN’s time/costs in organising the days, venue and catering costs, and a fee for training input.

Booking form and details >>


CYP Newslink Winter 2012

Youth and Children’s Advisor, Dan Jones’ winter edition of Newslink is now available online here.

As well as resources for Advent and Christmas there is news of a big event coming to Bristol run by the Kids’ Leaders Network (click here for more), an article by Bishop Graham Cray on team-building and leadership, and advice on children’s spiritual growth.

Get your church’s Christmas events online!

The first week in December is a great time to make sure your church’s Christmas events are updated on the A Church Near You website.

The website is setup so you can easily upload your events information and many churches are already doing this. Events relating to Christmas will automatically populate the very popular national website A Christmas Near You – helping people who may not be familiar with what’s going on but who are asking questions about faith and the season find nearby church services.
Church Near You website >>
Christmas Near You website >>

How to upload events:
- Go to the ACNY website
- Find your church (putting in your postcode is the fastest way)
- Click ‘Update this church’ on the right
- Follow the instructions

Highworth Choral Society, Stratton St Margaret

Come and listen to Highworth Choral Society at St Margaret’s Church, Stratton  St Margaret on 1st December 2012 at 7.30pm

Christmas refreshments will be served during the interval

Tickets are £5 and can be bought from the Church Office or just turn up on the night

Proceeds in aid of St. Margaret’s Church

Advent Resources

Read Bishop Lee’s message
Prayers and readings for Advent
Podcasts to reflect on the sounds of Advent
Christmas resources from Christian Aid

In his message for Advent Bishop Lee highlights the challenge of the season for our discipleship.

For Christians hope is not about wishful thinking but the conviction that an alternative future is being birthed, playing our part by a commitment to see it realised. This Advent I will be asking myself how I can be a more effective sign and instrument of that hope…


Read the message in full:Bishop Lee’s Advent message
See also: Operation Christmas Child

Bishop’s Letter: Is there any hope for Advent?

In his message for Advent Bishop Lee highlights the challenge of the season for our discipleship.

This is the time of the year I find most challenging to be a follower of Jesus.  Advent feels to me the season in which the clash between modern life and Christian discipleship feels most acute.  According to tradition, Advent is a season for Christians to dwell upon the four great themes of heaven, hell, death and judgement.  It is a period for restraint, self-reflection and penitence as we prepare to celebrate God’s coming among us in Jesus and contemplate the future completion of God’s purposes.

All of this sits rather awkwardly beside how society blows through Advent and indeed how I normally experience the season.  As my wife Liz has just reminded me (not knowing I am composing this message) I now have about a month to write the annual Christmas letter.  We shall be buying and sending cards, deciding what gifts we would like to give to family, friends and colleagues, getting out the Christmas decorations and wondering whether any need replacing.  There will be invitations to attend parties or special events, some of them personal and others related to our roles and work.  Having hosted Christmas celebrations for the wider family for almost 30 years there will be the usual need for liaison and logistics (after all having 12-16 people stay for between 3-7 days requires some advance planning!)

All the above are significant and worthwhile activities and we enjoy most of them. Yet I can’t help feeling I am forever in danger of going off at a tangent from what Advent is meant to provide.  For as long as I can remember Advent has felt like one of the busiest periods of the year.  That may be exacerbated by being in a clergy household but I hear others expressing similar feelings, including those who have little connection with the Church.  The lead up to Christmas feels stressful and pressurised for many if not the majority of people, even if those pressures come from differing quarters: inducements to over-spend, tensions in family relationships, an increased sense of loneliness or isolation, worrying about what the coming year might hold.

In the midst of this I want to ensure that being a follower of Jesus enables me to subvert these cultural realities rather than the reverse.  One year my parents went so far as to reject Christmas as being too pagan, somewhat in the manner of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, but that has never felt appropriate to me.  And I don’t believe reclaiming Advent is best done by refusing to sing Christmas Carols before midnight on 24 December or by banging on about how rampant commercialisation has highjacked Advent.  What I believe we shall be best doing is to refocus on the Advent keynote of hope.

For Christians hope is not about wishful thinking but the conviction that an alternative future is being birthed, playing our part by a commitment to see it realised.  This Advent I will be asking myself how I can be a more effective sign and instrument of that hope. I will be reminding myself it does not have to be about grand gestures – small ones count and can gather momentum.  Look at Matthew 25: 34-40: what Jesus commends does not involve heroic acts of faith or self- denial.

If like me you have become increasingly aware of the gap between what Advent is and what it might be perhaps you will join me in endeavouring to close it.  With the Holy Spirit’s help the gap can be narrowed and hope ignited.


Podcasts to reflect on the sounds of Advent

Inspirational Bible reflections join a festival of seasonal music in the Reflections for Advent series of 10-minute podcasts, available from the Church of England website and iTunes.

In his introductory video the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Willams, describes Advent as a time to journey towards “something better, something fuller, and something more joyful”. He adds that “the invitation for us, in these Reflections for Advent, is to embark on that journey – that opening up towards the light – knowing confidently that there will be a bursting through into light, into fresh air, into the newness that Christmas brings”.

In the podcasts, the Revd Canon Angela Tilby reads reflections on Revelation 19 to 22, while the Revd Prof Jeff Astley looks at passages from 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, Jude and 2 Peter – all of these reflections taken from Church House Publishing’s popular Reflections for Daily Prayer book, Kindle eBook and iPhone app.

Musical contributions include River of Heaven by Jennifer Bell, a song for voice and 12-string guitar inspired by Revelation 22.1-3. It was sourced following an invitation on the Church of England website asking musicians to submit Advent-themed compositions for use in the podcasts.

One of the pieces specially recorded for the project is an a capella plainsong solo performed by Fiona Musson, a music student and member of the RSCM Millennium Youth Choir. New music from contemporary composers includes items composed by Judith Weir and John Tavener for the new critically acclaimed Advent at Merton CD (Delphian Records) from the Choir of Merton College Oxford. Theme music arranged by Rob Stroh and based on the popular Advent hymn “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” opens the podcasts, and they conclude with a Collect of the day from Common Worship.

Full details of the music and musicians featured are available on a specially published Reflections for Advent webpage: 

Reflections for Daily Prayer is available from:

Bristol Cathedral: A Quiet Evening

“A Pilgrimage to the Light”

Join us as we begin the Advent Journey


Wednesday 5 December 2012

7.15 – 9.15pm

7.15pm       Coffee and biscuits in Coffee Shop

7.30 – 9.15pm  A guided journey using words, music and silence

Please enter the Cathedral through the back door in the Cloister Garth.

 (sponsored by Affirming Catholicism)

Reactions to the Women Bishops vote

General Synod vote on Women Bishops - Diocese of Bristol
Here’s a quick roundup of the reactions and information relating to the General Synod vote:

General Synod rejects Women Bishops legislation

Bishop Mike “This week has been the most difficult…”
Bishop Mike “Many of us are still reeling…”
Bishop Lee “We are going to need to do…”
Bishop Lee “I felt this was not a time to hide my feelings…”

Revd Emma Ineson “I am sorry, disappointed and ashamed…”
Revd Chris Dobson “In truth the decision had probably already…”
Ian Yemm “Well this was quite a week to be…”

Vote results:
Vote results from the Synod
Full statement from the Church of England

Join us:
Open Diocesan Synod, 1st December
Diocesan Synod tells Bishops to effect the will of the Church >>
Our General Synod representatives



Legal changes to the publishing of Banns of Marriage

Important changes to the statutory procedure for publishing banns of marriage take effect on 19 December 2012.

The Church of England Marriage (Amendment) Measure is due to receive the Royal Assent on 19th December 2012. Section 2 of the Measure, which comes into force immediately when Royal Assent is given, makes some important changes to the statutory procedure for publishing banns of marriage. The clergy and others responsible for publishing banns need to be aware of these changes given the importance of banns being properly published.

The two changes that will take effect on 19th December are –

  • there will be statutory authority for the use of the form of words for the publication of banns contained in Common Worship: Pastoral Services (as an optional alternative to the form of words contained in the Book of Common Prayer)
  • banns must be published on three Sundays at the ‘principal service’ (rather than as at present at ‘morning service’) and, as an option, they may additionally be published at any other service on those three Sundays

Full information:
Legal changes to Publishing of Banns of Marriage >>
Section 7 of the Marriage Act 1949 as amended >>



General Synod rejects Women Bishops legislation

The General Synod has failed to agree legislation that would have enabled women to become bishops in the Church of England.

The legislation required a two thirds majority in all three Houses of Bishops, Clergy and Laity but failed to achieve that majority in the House of Laity by a mere six votes.

Rt Revd Mike Hill, the Bishop of Bristol, expressed dismay at the outcome:

“I regard the outcome of today’s debate as disastrous. Whilst I have never believed it necessary for anyone to leave the Church on the basis of the Measure before us today, others clearly took another view.

“It will be very difficult for those of us who have supported the ordination of women bishops to process our disappointment in the days ahead. My prayers are with the many people who are hurting, particularly women in our churches and those within and outside the Church who are bemused and disillusioned by such a failure.

“It is amazing to me that the decision to ordain women as bishops that the Church of England agreed in principle several years ago has now been undermined for the foreseeable future. In a culture that celebrates democracy, it does seem strange that a clear minority has managed to influence the debate and elected representatives in such a way.

“However, we will have to come to terms with where we now are and somehow learn to live together with the serious ramifications this failure to move forward creates.”

Revd Emma Ineson, a Diocese of Bristol General Synod representative added:

“I am sorry, disappointed and ashamed that this Synod couldn’t find a way to echo the view of the vast majority of the church who wanted to see women bishops. Now, yet again, we will have to wait – we don’t know for how long – which will be painful and tedious. But I hope we will get there eventually”.

Having failed to agree the legislation over the course of the last three years, the legislative process starts again and it is unclear when it might be able to be brought back.

Read the response of Rt Revd Revd Dr Lee Rayfield, Bishop of Swindon >>
Read the full statement from the Church of England >>

Prayers and readings for Advent

The readings and prayers in this little booklet are designed to be promptings to us, to aid us in the task of growing in faith and understanding.

In our preparations during this season may we be prepared for Christ’s coming to us in a personal and real way in the context of our everyday lives.

Download the Advent booklet here >>

Daily Prayer – A short service for daily prayer, to be used either alone or in groups, is included in this leaflet.

Readings – The readings listed in this leaflet are the regular readings used daily in many Christian churches for this season. The Sunday readings this year (‘Year C’ in the three-year Sunday cycle begins on the First Sunday of Advent) focus particularly on the gospel according to Luke.

Download the Advent booklet here >>

Open Diocesan Synod, Bristol, 1 Dec 2012

The Bristol Diocesan Synod was held on 1st December 2012 at City Academy, Bristol, at 9.30 a.m.

What happened? >>

This Diocesan Synod was now open to non-members as the Bishop of Bristol addressed the Synod in the aftermath of the Women Bishops debate at General Synod.

The Synod also considered the budget for 2013, a motion from City Deanery and a programme for the three year term of the Synod and how we pray and plan for the future as a Diocese.

View the full agenda >>

Download all the Synod papers in one zip

Follow General Synod developments

As the General Synod progresses, you can follow our representatives using Twitter and there will be Guest Posts added to the  Bishops’ blog. You can also follow the public discussion using hashtag #synod.

Revd Janet Marker, 1963-2012

Revd Janet Marker died last month after a struggle with illness that had been a constant presence though her ordained ministry. Revd Julie Bradley remembers a beautiful and generous life.

Janet was born and lived most of her life in north Bristol. Her chosen career of medicine had to be cut short just two years into training after she was hit with severe rheumatoid arthritis. She went on to develop a most exquisite and extraordinary talent for calligraphy and water colours, specialising in wild flowers and becoming a member of the Society of Botanical Artists and an Associate of the Royal Miniature Society.

It was during her time as Church Warden of St Mary Magdalene with St Francis in Lockleaze that Janet began to discern a call to ordination. She embarked on training with WEMTC and, despite being constantly in pain and dependent on a wheelchair for mobility, she was ordained Deacon in her own church at Lockleaze in July 2006.

Reflecting on the frustration and sense of helplessness she felt at not being able to ‘do’ many of the normal tasks of ordained ministry, she came to recognise the hidden value of being and not doing, both for her personally and for the Church as a whole.

Just two days after her ordination as a Priest, Janet had major surgery following a cancer diagnosis. She found herself entering into and sharing in the sufferings of Christ in a way few are called to do. Janet lived her priesthood, her gentle presence with and faithful prayerfulness for others coming out of a deep inner well of wisdom and peace. Janet’s increasingly fragile body was home to a beautiful and generous spirit, which reflected the glory of God and was an inspiration to all who knew her.

The hymn that started Janet off on her Christian journey was ‘O Jesus, I have promised to serve Thee to the end’. She remained faithful to this promise – right to the end. Like the Apostle Paul she has fought the good fight, she has finished the race, she has kept the faith. Now there is in store for her the crown of righteousness which the Lord will take great delight in placing on her head.

Revd Janet Marker, 30th June 1963 – 28th October 2012