Linda Fletcher, Park & Walcot

Revd Linda Fletcher was licensed as Priest-in-Charge of Parks and Walcot in Swindon on 16 July 2012.

Linda writes:

I grew up in Farnborough, Hampshire and then went to study for a degree in Politics and History at the University of Manchester. After University I began a career in Human Resource Management. I worked for a recruitment company in the City of London and a Government science laboratory in Teddington, Middlesex.

I had a Christian upbringing, but left the church in my early-teens. I came to faith in my early-30’s through an evangelical church in Kingston-Upon-Thames.

It was whilst in my last HR post, as Head of Human Resources, that I got a strong sense that God wanted me to re-train as a Vicar and so I began a seven-year journey which has brought me to Parks and Walcot!

I trained for ministry at Trinity College in Bristol and gained practical experience working for two churches in an estate parish. Since June 2009, I have been a Curate at St John the Evangelist, Coulsdon.

I am a single-parent of Arun, who is 8 years old, and we have a chocolate Labrador called Rex. Arun and I are particularly keen on steam trains and so Swindon seems to be a great place for both of us – we had an annual membership to the STEAM museum at the Outlet Centre when we lived in Bristol and we are look forward to going again regularly!

My faith has made such a big difference to my own life; even when circumstances in life are difficult, asking Jesus to come into our lives and help us can make all the difference.

I know that God wants to see St John’s and St Andrew’s thriving and growing, and so by working in the power of the Holy Spirit we will help more people to hear the Good News, we will learn to follow Jesus even better and live out our faith in all aspects of our lives; and especially in our local community.

I am really excited to be asked to lead the churches here, and I look forward to serving God, His people and the community of Parks and Walcot in the years ahead.

View a gallery of photos from Linda’s licensing service >>

Sarah Evans, By Brook

Revd Sarah Evans was licensed as Team Vicar of the By Brook Benefice and Associate Minister of North Wraxall on 12 June 2012.Sarah Evans

Sarah writes:

I was born in Plymouth, but left my Devon roots behind when I went up to Durham University to study music. There I met my husband Nigel. After university I trained as a computer programmer and worked for the AA (cars, not booze!), becoming a team leader and a senior systems analyst.

In 1999, we relocated from north Hampshire to Littleton Drew in North Wiltshire, where we still live. For a while I worked for a local small consultancy firm, and I also became Clerk to Grittleton and Stanton St. Quintin Parish Councils. I eventually gave up these roles to make time for ordination training. We have two sons: Benjamin, who is 16 and at Hardenhuish School in Chippenham, and Sebastian, who is 8 and attends Stanton St. Quintin Primary School. The newest addition to our family is our labradoodle puppy, Lilibet.

I was brought up in a churchgoing family, but in adulthood became someone of very private faith and somewhat spasmodic church attendance. That changed when we joined the congregation at Stanton St. Quintin, where Benjamin was then at school. The preaching consistently focused on everyone’s responsibility to spread the good news of the Gospel and, for the first time, I realised I was missing the point by turning up on Sunday but making little connection between my faith and daily life.

My call to ordination came out of the blue during the sermon on Vocations Sunday in 2003. That eventually led to a three-year training course with STETS (the Southern Theological Education and Training Scheme, based in Salisbury) and I was ordained in June 2008.

Since then I have served my four-year curacy in the Gauzebrook Group, working with two training incumbents and leading the parishes during the intervening vacancy. Along with Sunday services and occasional offices, I have been involved in schools work and discipleship courses, and last year undertook a six-month placement as a chaplain at Prospect Hospice in Wroughton.

I aim to be a major advocate for God through helping people to feel that they are known and special to him. I want them to experience the love of God that I feel through knowing Jesus. I am a great believer in ‘every member ministry’ and see it as a major part of my role to help others identify the gifts and talents they have so that we all serve God effectively.

And so the next phase of the adventure begins! I feel very strongly that God is calling me to a role of greater responsibility in the benefice where I live and I am looking forward to helping serve and grow Christ’s flock in By Brook.

Sarah Evans

Bill McDougall, Bradley Stoke

Revd Bill McDougall was licensed as Priest-in-Charge and Transition Minister of Holy Trinity, Bradley Stoke North on Wednesday 5 September.

Bill writes:

Old enough for Saga, four amazing adult children, grandad to three gorgeous under 5s, and married to Izzie, I am looking forward to a new challenge in Bradley Stoke. You could ask me about my first love, and my family would answer ‘cricket’, closely followed by WWII aeroplanes! I would argue, it is relationships.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been on the move. Growing up on RAF camps, we moved every two years on average, of which Germany was a highlight. All this has left me with a love of aircraft, sport, travel and the countryside. I also enjoy a wide range of music, from Eric Clapton to Bach.

I became a committed Christian in Ipswich aged 18 through some friends at school, then worked as a bus conductor and an auxiliary nurse on night duty while I thought abut what to do with my life. The following year I moved to the East End of London, and for three years was a resident at the Mayflower Family Centre, a vibrant community under the leadership of David Sheppard. This time was very formative for me as I learned about working in the City for a salary and working alongside a diverse group of people to run youth clubs, maintain crumbling buildings and building relationships in the local church.

Following four years training at St John’s Theological College, Nottingham, I was ordained to a parish in London in the Highbury/Stoke Newington area. After six months, Isobel and I were married. Izzie was a primary school teacher in Hackney, and, like me, had experienced a mobile background as the daughter of missionary parents in Nigeria.

Three years later we went to Argentina with SAMS, taking a two year old and a three month old; learning Spanish and Argentine culture, sharing with national Christians and the missionary team seeing God at work in the shanty towns and the men’s prison for three years where I was responsible for planting churches and training lay people.

This proved to be a valuable experience when we returned to England due to the Falklands War and worked first in Huddersfield and then in Tonbridge as a vicar. It has always been my aim to grow local leadership and engage the church in ‘every member ministry’.

Ten years ago, Izzie asked me what I would like to do next. To my surprise, my wish to become a tutor at Trinity College Bristol, training people for the ordained ministry became a reality in 2003 when we moved to Bristol, for the first time without our four children. I have been very happy working at Trinity and despite the challenge of working with such a gifted team of academics, have enjoyed working along students training in context in Easton, setting up the course for part-time students and teaching on a range of courses including Pastoral Theology.

Having moved so often, Izzie and I have many friends who are scattered across the world. We value their friendship and have learned so much from them over the years. We are also fortunate to have a great extended family, that have helped to shape who we are becoming, and as we get older we realise how important they are to us. Our own four children, their partners and their children are a real joy to us. We have learned more about life through them than any course or conference could ever have taught us!

Now is the time for another move. One of the aspects that I have missed at Trinity is being fully involved with a local church and working within my own community. It will be another challenge, but I look forward to working with those at Holy Trinity through this time of change and transition and anticipate seeing the churches of Holy Trinity and Christ the King unite together, each church with its own individual character, to respond to the needs of the community of Bradley Stoke and working with Christ in all that we do together.

View a gallery of photos from Bill’s licensing service >>

Volunteer Befrienders for ex-offenders and refugees

ISR is calling for and training people to become volunteer befrienders for those coming out of prison, young offenders and refugees and asylum seekers.

Coming out of prison can be a lonely journey
Could you join a team of volunteers working with the Basic Caring Communities Project to befriend people coming out of prison? A few hours a week being alongside them can help make a difference.

Young people in custody face loneliness and isolation
Many have little contact with their families and face multiple problems. We need volunteers to work with the chaplaincy at Ashfield Young Offenders Institution to befriend and support young people. Training for volunteers starts on 2nd October.

“Giving time to young people in Ashfield YOI is a gift of compassion and friendship that Christians can give that makes a lasting difference.” Revd Liz Perry – Ashfield Anglican Chaplain

Refugees and asylum seekers
The b:friend project works in Bristol to match befrienders from Bristol’s faith communities with refugees and asylum seekers who are struggling with isolation.


For more information about volunteering through ISR to make a difference, get in touch with Alison or Jon on 0117 955 7430 or

CPAS launches leadership email

Anglican mission agency CPAS is offering Christian leaders a free monthly email to resource them in their ministry.

Lead On is designed to provide Christian leaders with substantial yet concise insights, reflections and advice covering pertinent topics such as sustaining momentum, keeping mission as a priority and disciple-making in a consumerist culture.

CPAS leadership principal James Lawrence, who is overseeing the project, said: ‘We’re aware that many leaders struggle to find the time and money to invest in their leadership, particularly in an ongoing way. Church leadership is not an easy task, so we want to provide a regular boost of ideas and encouragement to keep leaders focused on the mission and ministry of Jesus.’

Based on the philosophy of resourcing ministry ‘leader to leader’, contributors to Lead On have an in-depth understanding of the environment UK Christian leaders operate in, and the particular issues churches are currently facing. Although primarily aimed at paid church leaders, Lead On is appropriate for other leaders in churches, as well as Christians leading in other environments, offering a blend of personal encouragement and leadership advice.

James said: ‘We know people really value the input they receive from other CPAS emails, so wanted to open this out to a wider audience. The response to Lead On so far has been very encouraging – it really seems to connect with people on the frontline of Christian leadership, and we hope even more leaders will take advantage of the opportunity to be equipped and encouraged.’

Lead On is available to read online or subscribe to at

Songs of Praise recording, Bristol

BBC Songs of Praise is coming to Bristol to film two separate episodes of the ever-popular BBC One programme and Christians from across the area are invited to attend.

The Producer writes to Church Leaders:

St Alban’s Church in Westbury Park will host the recordings, which will take place on October 18th and 19th. These will be ecumenical events and we hope that many people from Bristol’s wider Christian community will want to attend. With this in mind, we would be very grateful if you could extend our invitation to your church choir or worship group and also to your congregation.

We would like to invite people to attend one or both of the recordings. Anyone applying for a choir ticket will be asked to join Songs of Praise’s special SATB ‘combined choir’; please note that members of the combined choir will be required to attend both the rehearsal and the recording for that programme. Those who apply for a congregation ticket will not be required to attend the rehearsals but are more than welcome to come along should they wish to.

We will be recording a programme for the first Sunday in Advent (2nd December 2012) and another programme for transmission on Mothering Sunday (10th March 2013). The conductor will be David Ogden, a professional composer and conductor who has a long association with Songs of Praise. He conducts several choirs, including the Royal School of Church Music Millennium Youth Choir.

Details are as follows:
ADVENT Combined Choir Rehearsal: Tuesday 9th October, 19h30 – 21h30
ADVENT Television Recording: Thursday 18th October, 19h00 – 22h00
MOTHERING SUNDAY Combined Choir Rehearsal: Wednesday 10th October, 19h30 – 21h30
MOTHERING SUNDAY Television Recording: Friday 19th October, 19h00 – 22h00

word documentDownload a Combined Choir application form >>
word documentDownload a Congregation only application form >>

Church Weddings Handbook published

The Church of England has published a Church Weddings Handbook: The Seven Pastoral Moments That Matter, taking all of the knowledge acquired by the successful Weddings Project to the 44 Church of England dioceses for the first time.

The Handbook emphasises how, from the start, the project aimed to see a “measurable difference” as a “church growth project”.

Telling the full story of the Weddings Project, which trained over 3,500 vicars, and then equipped the Church with a miscellany of never-before devised resources, used to great effect, the Church Weddings Handbook preserves five years of learning and is a permanent reminder of how to make the most of a couple’s big day.

Seven sections outline the seven key opportunities the Church has to build relationships with marrying couples over the two-and-a-half year period between engagement and first anniversary: The First Call, The First Meeting, Space to Think, Reading the Banns, The Big Day, The Warm Glow, First Anniversary.

The Church Weddings Handbook by Gillian Oliver is available from Church House Publishing and from all good booksellers. A Kindle e-book is also available.

ISR News Briefing, Sept 2012

On this page:

Training programme for Swindon churches
Are you looking for funding?
ISR Volunteers Day 13 October
Walk for Peace: All Together Bristol
Environmental activity
Climate Change and The Purposes of God
ISR Website


“Community Engagement” — Training programme for Swindon churches

ISR, in partnership with the Swindon Deanery and Swindon Churches Together, is running this training programme over three Saturday mornings in the autumn (22 September, 20 October, 24 November) at the Pilgrim’s Centre. The programme is designed to give practical advice and support to local churches who wish to strengthen connections with their local community. The three sessions will cover “The Church and its Neighbourhood”, “Young People and the Church”, and “Partners, Money and Law”.

Participants can attend all the sessions or just those that relate to their particular interests. For more details and to book contact the ISR office


Are you looking for funding for a church or school project?

GRANTnet, a straightforward FREE-to-use service from GRANTfinder, can help charitable and community groups like yours to find suitable funding.

If you would like help in progressing your funding applications by finding out how to use GRANTnet and learning what makes a good application, you are invited to join GRANTnet and ISR on Tuesday 18th September, 4pm to 6pm at The Pilgrim Centre, Regent Circus, Swindon,SN1 1PX. Please contact Alison Paginton on 0117 9557430 or to book your place.

More on this training event >>


ISR Volunteers Day 13 October

We at ISR really appreciate the time and commitment individuals’ gift in voluntary hours to the organisation and the contribution they make to the work that we are able to do together in the community and in churches.

ISR now has some 105 community based volunteers–some may know each other but most you won’t. Some have been part of the ‘team’ for a good number of years; others have just ‘come on board’. Whichever they are we would like to say ‘thank you’.

In order to do this we have invited our volunteers to join members of the ISR team and Christine Froude, Archdeacon of Malmesbury, for lunch on Saturday 13th October, 12.30pm at St Michael’s Church Stoke Gifford.

This will be an opportunity for the volunteers to share stories and experiences, learn more about ISR and something of the other ISR volunteer projects that they are not directly involved in. It will also be a time for us to say a huge ‘thank you’ to our volunteers who have taken on a number of different roles but all who, through their faith, are motivated to make a difference to the lives of others.

If you would like to learn more about volunteer opportunities with ISR, or would like someone to talk to your congregation or fellowship group, please do get in touch by calling or emailing Alison Paginton, Volunteer Coordinator on 0117 9557430 or

Even better, why not come along on 13th October –please do let us know by 28th September if you wish to join us.


Walk for Peace: All Together Bristol

On 15th July 2012 around 300 people gathered together in Queen Square, Bristol, to celebrate our togetherness and care for each other. We called it a Walk for Peace, and drew together people from all kinds of backgrounds: Christian, Muslim, Sikh, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist, Baha’i as well as those of no faith, and walked, flowers in hand, over Pero’s Bridge into Millennium Square. This was the day after the English Defence League had visited the city and caused over £500K to be spent on policing. Our event — not entirely a response to the EDL, more a consequence — cost less than 1% as much and created a wonderful feeling for many people. Read more about it…


Environmental activity

Climate change continues to exercise us all — or it should! And it’s not all about the technology of photovoltaic cells and ground source heaters. They’re important, but the underlying principles matter too. To this end early July witnessed Big Green Week in Bristol, and the Cathedral hosted a week-long series of ‘Thoughts for the Day’, discussion sessions, engaging people in conversations aimed at linking the Christian theology of environmentalism with practical ideas about how to live a different life, on more in tune with the notion of stewardship. Simon Bale, Diocesan Environment Officer for the Bristol end of the diocese led the opening session with a discussion about what it means for humanity to ‘have dominion … every living thing” (Gen 1:28, 9:1).

Of course, if we are to reduce our ‘footprint’ and maintain effective stewardship of creation, we need to be aware of how much we already affect it. ISR’s benchmarking process can help with this. If you would like to know more about how you can monitor the energy consumption and greenhouse gas production in your church, please do let us know and we are very happy to help. Contact either (Bristol and environs) or (Swindon and environs).


Climate Change and The Purposes of God: 19 September, Bristol

This is a morning conference for clergy and other church leaders organised by Operation Noah. It will take place at St Michael and All Angels Church, Vivian St, Windmill Hill, Bristol, BS3 4LW, 10.00am to 12.45pm followed by a light lunch. Admission is free.

More on this event >>


ISR Website

ISR is in the process of transforming its web site, pruning old content and improving the layout and some other things to make sure it provides a useful resource for churches in the diocese.  ISR is all about working with others for common good and web-based communication is invaluable. We hope you find our contribution to engaging helpful!

We have also launched a Facebook page that we hope you will ‘like’ it and visit frequently to leave thoughts, ideas and reflections.


Back to Church Sunday tips and resources

Back to Church Sunday is on 30 September and there are a host of tips and resources to help your church develop a culture of invitation and welcome this season – including some amusing examples of how NOT to do it, produced by Revd Paul Rush, the Diocesan Growth Advisor.

Whether you are signed up for Back to Church Sunday or not, it provides a great opportunity to look at how you are welcoming those who are not regular attendees and start thinking about how you might grow in numbers as a church.

To help you think, Paul Rush takes a turn to the dark side in a new video promoting a whole variety of ways to ensure visitors don’t come back to church; or if they do, they don’t ever come back again!

Entitled “20 Ways to keep your church safe from visitors”, we are of course in spoof territory here, with tongue firmly in cheek (unless, of course, you actually want to put people off coming to your church…?!).

It’s animation meets PowerPoint meets cartoons, and it’s worth watching for the Anglican chant introductions to each tip, if nothing else. But, of course, it’s there to make you think. A print version with the tips is also available.

The Back to Church Sunday website also has a host of tips and free resources for your Church.

pdf document20 Tips to keep your church safe from visitors >>
pdf documentSimple steps for inviting people >>


New Diocesan Office open for business

The Diocesan Office has now moved from Church House and the All Saints Centre in Bristol to Hillside House in Stoke Gifford to the north of Bristol.

The address of the new Diocesan Office is:
First Floor, Hillside House,
1500 Parkway North,
Stoke Gifford,
Bristol BS34 8YU.

Our main telephone remains 0117 906 0100.

The Resource Centre, which has educational, children and youth resources, has become split site both at the All Saints Centre (open weekdays 12noon to 5pm) and at Hillside House.

The move ran smoothly with the main disruption to electronic and telephone communication limited to either side of the August Bank Holiday weekend. All departments are now full functioning and, although some teething issues are to be expected, we hope now to be offering parishes and ministers a full service.

The relocation was part of the Diocesan Strategy and places diocesan support services and staff in an accessible position for the whole Diocese. There is on-site parking, and the office provides meeting room facilities for the whole diocese and an open plan working environment all on one floor. Already it is aiding interdepartmental communication, helping foster a more efficient and joined up environment.

Hillside House is located on the Parkway North business park, 10 to 15 minutes walk from Bristol Parkway station and close to the M5, M4, M32 and Bristol Ring Road. Later in the autumn, there will be a couple of open days when those from the Diocese can visit.

The decision to relocate was progressed by the Diocesan Synod following Deanery Synod motions and costs of leasing the office will neither be funded from Parish Share nor will it affect expenditure on parochial clergy and support.

We look forward to welcoming you soon.

Find out how to get to the Diocesan Office at Hillside House >>

Clergy & Adult Safeguarding Nominated Persons – Mental Health Services Changes

Please be aware that current NHS changes include Mental Health Services. Swindon & South Glos had consultation meetings in June & July. Gloucestershire has already implemented changes – see

Bristol’s consultation continues until the end of September – do take a look – Can I invite you to make comments either individually in ways suggested on the site or send your thoughts to me. I will be responding to this one. There are some encouraging comments about liaison with faith communities.

Jeanette Plumb

Bishop Mike supports tax justice campaign

Bishop Mike joined Bristol’s political leaders when they boarded the Tax Justice Bus on Monday 3rd September as it stopped in the city as part of a 53-day tour of the UK and Ireland.

Brought to the city by Christian Aid and Church Action on Poverty, the bright red bus was welcomed by MPs Stephen Williams and Kerry McCarthy, Bishop Mike and local Christian Aid supporters. They boarded the bus to learn how global tax dodging hurts the poor in the UK and beyond.

Tax dodging is a high-profile injustice that keeps some people poor while others get richer. It robs countries of the taxes they are owed: money that could be spent on health, education, or welfare.

“It was great to hear from Christian Aid and Church Action on Poverty about how tax injustice impacts on the poorest people around the world and here in the UK,” said Bishop Mike.

“It was a great opportunity to examine this important issue in more detail and see how we might respond.”

The Prime Minister and Chancellor have condemned aggressive tax dodging as morally wrong.

Christian Aid and Church Action on Poverty are urging David Cameron to use his global leadership to end financial secrecy, so tax dodgers have nowhere to hide. They want people to sign a petition asking Mr Cameron to push for measures that would require:
• companies to report on profit they make and taxes they pay in every country in which they operate
• tax havens to share automatically with other countries information about the money flowing through the tax haven.

Find out more about the Tax Justice Bus tour >>

Arise Bristol! conference; Elim, Bristol

You are invited to join an Arise Bristol! conference at Elim@Bristol
Friday 14th September, 7:30pm -10pm and Saturday 15th 10am – 6pm

For teaching / testimony / prayer and worship to seek the Lord for transformation of our lives, homes, workplaces, region & nation.

Please contact Sheena Tranter for more information

National Day of Prayer and Worship: Wembley Stadium

Following on from the success of the Arise Bristol event which happened back in May, there is going to be a National Day of Prayer and Worship, held at Wembley Stadium this September.

The day is for all Christians; church groups, youth, prayer leaders, and intercessors. The idea is to bring Christians from across the Isles from many different backgrounds, denominations and traditions together to pray and seek God.

Find out more and book online for the Wembley event >>


The video below gives a short report, for those that missed the Bristol event in May:


Christian Aid: Tax Justice, Bristol

All aboard for tax justice

Tax dodging costs developing countries an estimated US$160bn every year – more than the annual global aid budget. So this autumn we’re taking the message of tax justice on the road – in our Tax Justice Bus. We’d love you to get on board.

Come and hear our partners from around the world talk about how tax dodging affects their lives and what they’re doing to bring about tax justice.


Monday 3rd September . Drop in 12 – 2pm on the bus. Briefing 2pm in the Chapter House.
Event poster >>

Contact: Lydia Nash 01454 415923


Bishop’s Letter: Olympic Dedication

In this month’s letter, Bishop Mike reflects on what our Olympic team might have to say to how we approach our church life. 

As I write the Olympic Games are in full swing.  Yesterday Team GB won our first gold medals.  Fantastic!

Somewhere recently I was reading about the transformation in British Cycling.  The article was basically saying that ten years ago British Cycling on the world scene was, comparatively speaking, nowhere.

Yet today Bradley Wiggins has not only won the Tour de France, but yesterday won the Olympic Time Trial gold medal.  Speaking of the British triumph in ‘the Tour’ (Brits first and second), a commentator on Radio 5 compared it to the French winning the Ashes!

The article I was reading went on to ask how the transformation had taken place.  It listed several factors.

  1. Amazing Dedication
  2. Great Preparation
  3. The best information
  4. Outstanding Coaching
  5. Teamwork
  6. Painstaking Analysis

I thought about that and then recalled that St Paul drew more than once (four times) on a metaphor from the Greek games to describe his approach to the Christian life.

“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” Acts 20:24

Recently a clergy colleague told me that he was in his local shopping mall looking at everyday people going about their everyday business.  This thought struck him. “How are we ever going to do anything that will reach people like this?”

That’s a great question and one that we should all ponder. As a convert to the Christian faith, it is a question I have wrestled with for the whole of my Christian life.  My defining question in local church ministry was always, “What kind of church would I need to lead that would have a fighting chance of creating an environment where my old friends might at least stick around long enough to hear the Gospel?”  I have rarely been to churches that friends from my pre-conversion days would stay long enough to listen.

Well what would it take?

As I looked at those six transforming factors in the life cycle (sorry for the pun!) of British cycling, I began to imagine what the application of those same factors might mean for our churches?

Of course, British Cycling had a very clear aim: to win races.  St Paul had a very clear aim: “to testify to the gospel of God’s grace”.  Such clarity is rare in churches.  It would be difficult to read the New Testament however, and not conclude that there is an evangelistic task that seems to have been relegated.  Recently looking at some informal research from CPAS on this very theme, the writer indicated that when he asked local church leaders about evangelism he met indifference and mild hostility.

Of course, these six factors don’t exactly fit – analogies are never one hundred per cent analogous!  But I wonder if we tried to take seriously the Great Commission to ‘go and make disciples of all nations’ whether some of these things are not worth reflecting on.

We are mid way through our Diocesan Strategy 2010-2015.  The Growth Programme certainly captured the imagination of many in our Diocese and even inspired some of you.  Strategies famously require refreshment mid-term.  Here is some food for thought…


August 2012


ETHICAL FINANCE Conference 2012

What does it all mean?

This one day Conference aims to cut through the media frenzy and intelligently explore key issues around how we use and invest our money and give practical ideas that make a difference.

The event will be one of the first events of National Ethical Investment Week and is being organised by leaders in the ethical finance arena, including Triodos Bank, Bristol Credit Union, Shared Interest and the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility, with expert speakers in the field.

The event is open to all and aimed at anyone interested in where their money is invested and how the often secretive world of money can be more open, honest and ethical.

Flyer & full information >>



To book go to 

CRB Disclosure Checks 2012

The document below gives the dates for CRB ‘surgeries’ at the Diocesan Office, when applicants for Disclosures may bring their documents for checking.

CRB Surgeries July-Dec 2012 >>

Dates in August (9th, 15th, 23rd and 29th) and September (6th and 12th) have, at the moment, been suspended due to the office relocation, following which surgeries will take place at the new office : Hillside House, 1500 Parkway North, Newbrick Road, Stoke Gifford, Bristol, BS34 8YU.

As with all moves, the dates suspended may change and updated version of this document will be published as necessary. During this period, we may need to alter your appointment to allow for this and will contact you if this is required. We apologise for any inconvenience caused and appreciate your patience during this time – Thank you.

Christian bookshop back in Bristol

Aslan Christian Bookshop, a new resource for Christians and churches, has opened at St Stephen’s City Church, Bristol. Central Bristol has been without a major supplier of Christian resources since January but now Aslan Christian Bookshop, like the Wardrobe gateway to Narnia, has a wealth to offer!

New and pre-loved Christian and theological books, Bibles, children’s books, devotional and study notes, church supplies and Christian cards and gifts are all available.

Manager Richard Greatrex, previously manager of Bristol’s SPCK and Bath’s Wesley Owen bookshops, says:

“It is good to be back serving the communities of Bristol and especially exciting to be working with St Stephen’s. We’ve created a completely fresh and new bookshop which fills gaps left by the closure of SPCK and Wesley Owen and reflects the St Stephen’s mission and artistic vision. The Aslan Christian Bookshop team and I are very pleased to be part of the vital work of providing a wide range of resources to share the rich diversity of the Christian faith.”

St Stephen’s is situated in this vibrant church with a lively café and an exciting ministry focussed on the interaction between faith, contemporary spirituality and the arts. Priest in charge Canon Tim Higgins, says:

“I meet large numbers of people in the city who are spiritually curious. St Stephens in the city centre aims to explore stories and experience with Christ at the source. I am thrilled that this partnership has brought a bookshop that adds strength to this mission in the city.  Now cafe, church and bookshop on one site bring hearts and minds to join the movement. Great news!”

The shop is open from 10.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday, with Saturday opening coming in the autumn. If you would like help in book selection, Richard Greatrex is there to assist. You can contact the Aslan team immediately by emailing or calling 0117 9544824.

Aslan Christian Bookshops are also at St Michael’s Church, Broad Street, Bath and St John’s Church, Keynsham. These new shops have been set up with Wiltshire-based online Christian bookseller A Great Read Ltd ( but rely on volunteer-helpers to keep them open. If you are interested in giving a few hours a week to provide a much needed service to the local community then do please contact Richard.

Ride & Stride sponsored event, 8 Sep 2012

Take part in the Ride & Stride on 8 September 2012 and raise money for our historic churches.

Does your church need money for essential repairs and structural maintenance?

Do you have a bicycle?  A horse?  A motorised scooter?  A pair of legs?

If so, taking part in “Ride and Stride” could be the answer.

Organised by the Historic Churches Trusts in Wiltshire and Gloucestershire, this annual sponsored event takes place on Saturday 8th September 2012 and will raise vital money to maintain and preserve church buildings across our diocese (the Gloucestershire Trust also covers the city of Bristol, which was originally in Gloucestershire).

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to visit as many churches as possible during the day by your chosen mode of transport. You are sponsored per church visited, or for a lump sum, and if Gift Aid is added, this can bring in an extra 25 per cent. Half the money you raise goes to your chosen parish church and the other half to the relevant county Trust for distribution in the form of grants through the following year.

You may also decide to open and/or man your church to welcome Ride & Stride visitors, perhaps even offering refreshments.

There are prizes for the most successful participants (including some for under 15-year-olds) not to mention the added benefits of fresh air, exercise (gentle or strenuous), historic architecture, and the best of the English countryside.

Many of our parishes have benefitted from grants from either the Wiltshire or Gloucestershire Trusts this year so taking part in Ride & Stride is an ideal way to ‘give something back’ as well as raising funds to meet future needs.

For more information and sponsorship forms etc, please contact:

Wiltshire Historic Churches Trust:

Charles Graham
T: 01672 514301

Gloucestershire Historic Churches Trust:

Ailsa O’Connor
T: 01285 643343

Climate Change & The Purposes of God, Bristol

Operation Noah presents a morning conference for clergy and other church leaders on 19 September at St Michael & All Angels, Windmill Hill.

Where next with the Ash Wednesday Declaration? Is responding to climate change an urgent    discipleship issue for followers of Jesus Christ? Does it matter to God and should it concern the church? The conference will explore these issues theologically, biblically and practically.  The  morning will include input from Bishop David Atkinson & Mark Letcher from Operation Noah, plus discussion, resources, and examples of local good practice & prayer.

Followed by a light lunch.

Register and find out more >>
pdf documentDownload the Operation Noah event poster >>

Bishop’s letter: Giving a voice to wonder

This month Bishop Lee reflects on the significance of awe and wonder in our relationship with God and resisting being conformed by ‘left brain’ ways of attending to the world.

I am gradually working my way through what many regard as a seminal book entitled ‘The Master and His Emissary’ by Iain McGilchrist. Its subtitle is ‘The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World’ and at its heart is the contention that we are increasingly dominated by left hemisphere ways of paying attention to the world.

People talk of creativity as ‘right brain’ and analysis as ‘left brain’.  McGilchrist makes clear that this is inaccurate and inadequate but he does draw attention to the difference.  The hemispheres may be able to ‘do’ similar things but there is a fundamental distinction in how they pay attention to the world. Put crudely, the right brain takes in the whole whereas the left brain categorises and compartmentalises.  The left hemisphere is well placed for mechanistic tasks and systems, but it is the right that handles paradox and reading emotions.  The right lacks the capacity for speech.

McGilchrist argues persuasively that though both hemispheres are critical the right is properly the dominant partner in promoting a holistic relationship to the world.  A key philosophical problem for McGilchrist is that the left hemisphere has increasingly been shaping our view of the world and is a cornerstone of Western industrialised societies.  The hemisphere which is best placed to serve (‘the Emissary’) has usurped its role and become ‘the Master’ with a host of destructive consequences.

Inevitably our culture informs, influences and potentially infects our ways of being Church and what we value and prioritise. That is an incarnational reality and we must be alert to where it is conforming us to the pattern of this world, distorting or limiting our expressions of the gospel and discipleship.

A sense of wonder and awe is one of the classical sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit.  Preparing for a sermon I discovered that the set reading of the day was from Ezekiel.  You may know Ezekiel was a man who had some bizarre visions and prophecies. This particular passage was virtually impossible to imagine or get my head around. Yet as I reflected on this it seemed to be the point.  Ezekiel’s vision was not primarily meant to be analysed and comprehended, instead it was to be received in wonder and awe. Ezekiel reminds us that though God has made himself known he is yet above and beyond us, reducing us to silence and astonishment.

In a recent conversation I was told how a visitor to church was converted during the sermon. After the service the visitor approached the preacher and described what had happened. As the minister was preaching about the Kingdom of God being close, the visitor went into a kind of trance, seeing “a beautiful land, bathed in bright light”. The visitor felt they were invited to step into this Kingdom but it seemed to ‘invade’ them, leaving them feeling cleansed from top to bottom. When the preacher was asked what this meant they could only say, “I think you have just become a Christian!”  It took quite an act of will from the minister to resist going through a more conventional approach to check the visitor really was converted.

The apostle Paul wrote that where the Spirit of God is there is freedom, echoing Jesus’ description of the Spirit blowing wherever he wills.  Wonder and awe are to be intrinsic to what we expect and nurture, in our worship and in our discipleship. If our society is increasingly being shaped by one way of paying attention to the world let us ensure we do not lose a holistic approach.  This will be both integrated and truly human, properly analytical yet open to the mystery and wonder of the Divine.

Growing Young Leaders

Do you know any young people with leadership potential? Many young people are involved in the life of the church across the diocese but are their gifts and skills being utilised? God wants them to experience life in all its fullness (John 10:10) and they are the future leaders of the church – so why waste time and wait until they are older…?

Dan Jones, Diocesan Youth and Children’s Adviser, is teaming up with youth workers from the diocese and working in partnership with Swindon Youth For Christ to lead ‘Growing Young Leaders’ - a course published by CPAS that aims to encourage, energise and empower young people

Full details and downloads >>


Bishop calls for support on global arms trade petition

The Bishop of Bristol, Rt Revd Mike Hill, has joined Oxfam in calling on people to sign a worldwide petition to control the global arms trade as a result of seeing the impact of former child soldiers in Uganda.

Through its link with the Church of Uganda, the Diocese of Bristol supports families and communities in Uganda, dealing with the consequences of civil war including the rehabilitation of former child soldiers. Bishop Mike has joined forces with Oxfam to urge local people in Bristol and across the South West to support the campaign for a strong Arms Trade Treaty as current negotiations hang in the balance.

The worldwide petition calling for support for a global Arms Trade Treaty is aiming for over one million signatures as talks take place to place restrictions on the sale of arms and ammunition. Local MPs, Kerry McCarthy (Bristol East) and Martin Horwood (Cheltenham), are representing the UK at these talks in New York until Friday 27 July.

Every day 1,500 people die in armed violence around the world and enough bullets are produced every year to wipe out the Earth’s entire population twice over. Oxfam, Amnesty International and other organisations including the Diocese of Bristol have campaigned for tighter controls on arms for many years. The Control Arms campaign ( was formed in 2003 and has now culminated in the current negotiations taking place in New York this month. Firm restrictions on who can buy and sell weapons would reduce abuses against civilians by governments, armies and gangs.

The Diocese of Bristol shares a formal link with the Church of Uganda where the consequences of a horrific and brutal civil war, hugely abetted by paramilitaries’ ready access to guns and ammunition, are still at the forefront of the Church’s work.

“Having seen nine-year-old boys carrying around AK47s in Uganda, the scandal of arms trading with unstable regimes is a curse that needs to be curtailed as soon as possible,” said Bishop Mikle. “I encourage all people to support the campaign and sign the petition.

“Our partners in the North of Uganda are actively involved in the rehabilitation of child soldiers who were abducted by paramilitaries and in the rebuilding of communities that have been shattered by years of chaotic violence. We want everyone to call on delegates at the United Nations talks to seek to ensure that such violence is less likely ever to be repeated. They must work towards the introduction of strong controls regulating the international movement and sale of arms.”

Revd Willy Akena, Information Officer in the Diocese of Northern Uganda, said:
“Small arms have made our people orphans, homeless, widows and widowers. We would strongly advocate against small arms proliferation.

“As a diocese we are trying to provide a holistic support to people as they return to their villages through psychological and practical support. We are nurturing physical healing through the provision of seed and farm implements, rebuilding roads and water points, and training the communities in modern agronomic practices. We provide trauma counselling, we are working for the reconciling of victims and victimizers and the healing of memories.”

Young people from Bristol have just returned from visiting Uganda at the moment: 18 girls from the Red Maids School in Westbury-on-Trym were with Bishop Johnson at Gulu in the Diocese of Northern Uganda, and a group from St Michael’s Church in Stoke Gifford, Bristol, were in the Diocese of Ankole.

The Church of Uganda is a major player in the country alongside international relief agencies. Its unique work is in healing rifts and resentment within communities because it is a part of those communities and a fellow-sufferer.

However vital negotiations to end the irresponsible and poorly-regulated international arms trade are at risk of failure, as negotiations at the United Nations enter a critical final week. The talks are now being dominated by sceptical governments and China and Russia are opposed to effective human rights and humanitarian rules in any deal whilst the US wants exclusions that could undermine the effectiveness of any treaty.

Jeff Abramson, director of the Control Arms secretariat, said:

“There is everything to play for this week. A strong treaty is still within our grasp but there is a real risk it could slip through our fingers at the last minute. Now is the time for action. All states that have called for a strong Arms Trade Treaty for years in the past, must now deliver on their promises.”

Sign the Control Arms petition >>
Visit the Oxfam website to find out more about the Arms Trade Treaty >>

Clergy Medical Scheme

The Diocese of Bristol, via its arrangement with Interhealth, offers medicals to licensed clergy in the Diocese.

The offer of a Christian Ministry Medical is available to all licensed clergy (SSMs, OLMs and stipendiary ministers) for free as the scheme is funded by the generosity of an external charitable trust. It is also available to clergy spouses if they do not have access to private medical care through their employer.

Interhealth is a medical agency based in Waterloo, London, with specialist knowledge and experience of serving those involved in Christian ministry. The Christian Ministry Medical provides an opportunity for those in Christian Ministry to have a comprehensive medical check-up and is recommended to be undertaken at two year intervals. It involves a thorough 45 minute examination with one of Interhealth’s expert clinicians who is sympathetic to the demands and pressures of Christian ministry.

As well as a thorough clinical examination, individuals have the opportunity to chat through any concerns, personal or work related, on a completely confidential basis. It includes standard tests – and further tests at additional charge to the individual concerned if appropriate. InterHealth can report back to doctor/GP if requested.

Travel Expenses: Clergy are encouraged to claim any travel expenses incurred via their PCCs.

To make an appointment for a Christian Ministry Medical:

1. Call Interhealth on 020 7902 9000, quoting the Diocese of Bristol membership.

2. Email Revd Ian Tomkins, Diocesan Advisor for ministerial Support, to let him know you are taking up this service. Please contact Ian if you have any questions.

To find out more about the Christian Medical ministry, follow this link:

Are you looking for funding for a church or school project?

Are you looking for funding for a church or school project? GRANTnet, a straightforward FREE-to-use service from GRANTfinder, can help charitable and community groups like yours to find suitable funding.

If you would like help in progressing your funding applications by finding out how to use GRANTnet and learning what makes a good application, you are invited to join GRANTnet and ISR on Tuesday 18th September, 4-6pm.

Full event information >>

Diocesan Synod report and documents, 26 May 2012



Headlines and Highlights

No elections for the new Synod, which comes into being on the 1st August. The Area Deans and Lay Chairs have been given lists of the number of vacancies in each Deanery and if you have not stood, but would still like to be a part of this Synod, please contact them.


Professor Julian Rivers’ presentation on “The Secularisation of the British Constitution” was well received.

 Governance Review Interim Report

  • Revised Bishop’s Council Membership
  • Revised Scheme under Repair of Benefice Buildings Measure


a)   notes that Bishop’s Council as the Standing Committee of Synod has approved the principles enshrined in this motion in accordance with the provisions of Standing Order 127;
 b)   resolves to replace with immediate effect Standing Order 79 with the Standing Order attached to this motion;
 c)   resolves to replace the Scheme made by this Synod on 11 November 2000 under the Repair of Benefice Buildings Measure 1972 with the attached Scheme subject to the approval of the Church Commissioners.


The Chairman introduced the changes to Standing orders and the revised Scheme under the Repair of Benefice Buildings Measure 1972, both of which were recommendations from the Governance Review group and were initial responses to comments about the size of the Council and the relationship between Finance Committee, Housing and Glebe Committee and the Board of Education. Unfortunately, as Synod was not quorate, and therefore a vote was not possible, consideration was given to the best way forward. It was agreed to consider motion ‘a’ and ‘b’ and refer ‘c’ to the December Synod. Members, whilst acknowledging that a vote was required by the full Synod and therefore would be taken electronically, voted on the changes to the Standing Order, as follows:


Motion ‘a’ – approved with one abstention;
Motion ‘b’ – approved nem. con.


Before closing Synod with the blessing, the Bishop bid a fond farewell to the Rev Canon David Harrex, Team Rector (Yate New Town), Priest in Charge (Iron Acton) and Chairman of the House of Clergy, who was moving to the Diocese of Bath & Wells, and Canon Professor Gordon Stirrat, as he was not seeking re-election as the Chairman of the House of Laity. As this was the last Synod of the current membership, Bishop also, expressed his gratitude for their time and commitment to the work of the Diocese over the past three years.

Vacancy: Clerk to ecclesiastical charities

The Trustees of All Saints Church Lands Charity and other charities wish to appoint a Clerk to the Trustees. 

The Clerk manages all aspects of the charity’s 6 almshouse flats including the welfare of the residents; maintains the accounts of the charity; manages the investments and the investment properties; services meetings; oversees the annual accounts and prepares the Charity Commission returns.  The post also includes acting as Clerk to three other charities.

Hours:  20 per week, based in an office in central Bristol

Salary negotiable depending on experience – starting salary £12,000

This post is subject to CRB checks


Applications in by: 14 August     Interviews 29 August

To apply for an application form please contact:
Mrs E J Wright, All Saints Church Lands Charity, 1 All Saints Court, Bristol BS1 1JN


Ex-violent gang member shares story of finding freedom. Lydiard Millicent.

Rob Joy, a 33-year-old former South of England gang member whose violence, crime and drug addiction sent him to prison, will be telling his story and sharing how he found freedom at two free events in Lydiard Millicent this month. Rob will be speaking at Lydiard Millicent Church of England Primary School on Saturday 21st July at 6.00 pm and on Sunday 22nd July at 10.30 am in All Saints Church, Lydiard Millicent.

Lydiard Millicent vicar Revd Tudor Roberts says he invited Rob to Swindon after hearing him speak last year: “What impressed me was the authenticity of his story of having come out of a chaotic life of crime, drugs and addiction and how he came to a new-found faith in Jesus.

“I invited him to Swindon because I am sure his story will resonate with many people who battle with addictions, loss of hope and just trying to live a good life in a world full of pressures,” Mr Roberts says. Speaking of his gang involvement, Rob says, “We grew up together, went to school together, went to prison together. We were so ruthless we would do anything to get the upper hand in an area. I felt this was where I belonged. It was all I knew.”

Rob has told his story in a book, Internal Revolution, published in March this year. He is founder of Storming the Nations, a Christian organisation committed to seeing social and cultural change. A friend says, “Rob has a burning desire to rescue and prevent those who are in the wrong place. His heart is particularly moved by the thousands of young people who find themselves in the bottomless pit of drug addiction.”

All Together Bristol: Multi-Faith Forum gathering, Bristol

On the afternoon of Sunday 15 July, Bristol Multi-Faith Forum is gathering the communities of Bristol together to celebrate the continuing and growing unity of all people in the city.

This will be a positive message to the people of Bristol, that we value diversity and this in turn benefits the city. It shows the way to those who seek to divide, that coming together and sharing is the way forward.

We are gathering in Queen Square at 2pm. Bring a flower. We leave for Millennium Square around 2.15pm. We conclude by 3pm.

For further information contact

Facebook page:

Men’s Worship Event with Bishop Mike: Swindon

Men’s Worship Event - ‘Going For Gold’: A chance for men to stand together, talk about sport, praise God, hear how God has worked in people’s lives and listen to our guest speaker, Bishop Mike.

Tuesday 17th July, 7.30pm St Francis School, Aiken Road, Taw Hill, Swindon, SN25 1UH





Reporting Serious Incidents advice for charities

The Charity Commission has updated Reporting Serious Incidents: guidance for trustees.

The updated guidance reemphasises the areas of potential risk:
• Fraud and theft
• Significant loss due to other causes, such as fire, flood or storm damage
• Significant sums of money or other property donated to the charity from an unknown or unverified source
• The charity (including any individual staff, trustees or volunteers) has any known or alleged link to a proscribed organisation or to terrorist or other unlawful activity
• A person disqualified from acting as a trustee has been or is currently acting as a trustee of the charity
• The charity has no vetting procedure to ensure that a trustee or member of staff is eligible to act in the position he or she is being appointed to
• The charity does not have a policy for safeguarding its vulnerable beneficiaries (eg children and young people, people with disabilities and older people)
• Suspicions, allegations and incidents of abuse or mistreatment of vulnerable beneficiaries
• The charity has been subject to a criminal investigation, or an investigation by another regulator or agency; or sanctions have been imposed or concerns raised by another regulator or agency such as the Health and Safety Executive, the Care Quality Commission or Ofsted.

pdf documentDownload the Reporting Serious Incidents guidance >>

Latest from Society of Mary and Martha

The Society of Mary and Martha in Sheldon aims to renew and support clergy, ministers and groups in their lives and ministries.

Find more about the latest on offer.

Clergy Family holiday weeks
Relaxed and friendly, religion-free and fully catered. Good food (fully catered) and children made welcome. Evening activities on site and lots to explore in the local area.
29 July – 4 August and 5 – 11 August . Adults £220 indoors, £145 camping, £50 all children. £100 2nd room. Fully inclusive.

12,000-mile Service weeks
Our flagship resources for people in ministry and/or spouses. Service yourself as well as you do your car. Led by Sheldon team.
21 – 26 October. 25 – 30 November.
£400 fully inclusive. More.

R5 – read, retreat, rest, relax, recuperate
Come for all or part. Use however you wish. Open to everyone. 1 – 8 June, 13 – 28 July, 11 – 20 August, 30 September – 5 October, 18 – 23 November, 9 – 14 December. £32 – £50/night depending on length of stay and ministry discount. More.

Lodges, Pig Pens and now Hen Runs
Lots of spaces for private retreats, open to everyone. Self-catering or stocked larder. Own front door. Grounds, chapels, library. 1:1 time for people in ministry. Emergency bolt-hole or restorative space. More

New accommodation
We’re very proud of the excellent facilities in the new Long Barn. Beautiful new meeting rooms and en-suite bedrooms for our own events and to bring your own group. More.

Clergy farewells in 2012

The Diocese of Bristol has said farewell to a number of clergy this year  as they have retired or moved to new posts in the Church of England.

In south Bristol, Revd Richard Martin and Revd Noel Hawkins both retired in January and Canon Judith Carpenter after Easter.

Richard had been Vicar of Hartcliffe since 2002 having previously been an incumbent in Scarborough and a Hospital Chaplain in the Midlands.

Judith was Vicar in neighbouring Withywood since 1999 where she was part of the redevelopment of the church building into the Withywood Centre. She was previously a curate in the Diocese and became an Honorary Canon of Bristol Cathedral in 2009.

Both Hartcliffe and Withywood are post World War II developments that have high levels of deprivation and they will be exploring ways in which they can work together and ecumenical partners.

Noel Hawkins has been a vicar in a combination of three parishes in south Bristol since 2000: St Cuthbert, Brislington, St Christopher, Brislington and Christ Church, Hengrove. Before coming to the Diocese of Bristol, he ministered as a Team Vicar in Keynsham and Billericay.

At the other end of the Diocese, Swindon has also seen two retirements, Canon Alastair Stevenson and Revd Robin Cardwell.

Alastair retired at the end of 2011 having first been a Social and Industrial Adviser for the Diocese for 10 years in Swindon and since 1997 as the vicar of three central parishes in Swindon (St Augustine, St Barnabas and All Saints).

Robin became Vicar of Lyddington and Wanborough, and Bishopstone with Hinton Parva to the east of Swindon in 2000. Robin came to the Diocese with significant experience of rural ministry in the Diocese of Salisbury and the Diocese of Winchester.

Revd David McConkey, Team Rector of Swindon New Town, has also moved but to a new post as Priest-in-Charge of All Saints, Northampton. Father David has had three parish incumbencies in three provinces of the Anglican Communion. As well as serving in Swindon since 2003, he has been Rector of a church in Harare, Zimbabwe where he also lectured in Church History at the Bishop Gaul Theological College and his ordained ministry began in the Episcopal Church of the United States of America.

In March, Revd Dr Simon Taylor, Priest-in-Charge of St Mary Redcliffe, became Continuing Ministerial Development Officer in the Diocese of Derby and Canon Chancellor at Derby Cathedral. Simon was a curate at Cotham and St Paul, Clifton before going to St Mary Redcliffe and served on Bishop’s Council for the last three years. His wife, Jacky Humphreys, also was a lay representative of the Diocese at General Synod.

In May, Revd Debbie Frazer, Priest-in-Charge of St Luke, Barton Hill, was inducted in the ancient Bow Church in Stepney as she became Rector in the parish of St Mary and Holy Trinity, Bow. Debbie was at Barton Hill for almost 10 years, during which time St Luke’s was effective in a large amount of community engagement. She was also Area Dean of City Deanery for a number of years.

Revd Dan Clark, Associate Vicar at Christ Church Clifton, became Priest-in-Charge of Shirley in the Diocese of Winchester in June. Dan had been on the team at Christ Church, the largest church in the diocese, for six years, including during the vacancy, having come from a curacy in the Diocese of Manchester. He also was a member of Bishop’s Council in this triennium.

Also in Bristol West, Revd Decia Smith, Priest in Church of Abbots Leigh with Leigh Woods, is retiring after 12 years in the parish. Decia was ordained in Birmingham in 1995 and moved to Bristol following her curacy. A former speech and drama teacher, she was highly regarded for the creative way she led worship. Andrew, her husband, a Licensed Lay Minister and Parish Administrator will also be much missed.

In Kingswood and South Gloucestershire, two priests have moved across the border to Bath and Wells: Revd Tom Webber and Canon David Harrex.

Tom was Team Vicar in Stoke Gifford for 10 years, with special responsibility for Christ the King Bradley Stoke. he served his curacy in the Diocese of Gloucester and has moved to Weston-super-Mare to be Vicar of Christ Church there.

David leaves the diocese in which he was ordained over 20 years ago to the Yatton Moor Team Ministry. David was most recently the Team Rector of Yate and Priest-in-Charge of Iron Action, but has also been Vicar of Pilning with Compton Greenfield, and curate at St Michael and All Angels, Windmill Hill. David has been an Area Dean, Chair of the Diocesan Mission and Pastoral Committee and Chair of the House of Clergy. He was made an Honorary Canon of Bristol Cathedral in 2010.

Finally, this summer sees the retirement of two of our clergy in North Wiltshire. Revd Derek Ormston and Canon Richard East have ministered in neighbouring benefices for 20 years.

Derek became the Rector of Brinkworth with Dauntsey in 1987. He has also been notable for his role as an FE Chaplain in New College, Swindon. Prior to moving to North Wiltshire, he was the Archdeaconry Youth Officer here and ministered in the Diocese of Lichfield for many years. He retires having been ordained for 45 years.

Richard moved from the Diocese of Norwich in 1993 to become Rector of Garsdon, Lea and Cleverton and Charlton. He has been Area Dean and in recent years became Priest-in-Charge of Great Somerford and Little Somerford. On his and Derek’s retirement, the Woodbridge group of parishes will be brought further together. Richard is well known for having pioneered Trinity College’s Context Based training in the rural context of the Woodbridge group and was made an Honorary Canon of Bristol Cathedral in 2010.