Archive for the ‘General Notices’ Category

Planned Giving to the Parish

Planned Giving – Thank you very much to everyone who has made arrangements to give regularly in a planned way.

The regularity of your gifts to church is very important to our parish. Most people who attend frequently have chosen to make gifts monthly through their bank by standing order. If you have not yet made these arrangements please do give it careful thought now. Forms are available at both SJ and SMSJ. Please ask a sides person, churchwarden, Pat Weeks or Robert Alder.

Many thanks. Robert and Pat.

St James’ Stained Glass Windows Vandalised

Four of the stained glass windows in St James’ Church have been damaged by what is believed to be an air gun on Friday 28th March.

The windows damaged in the attack are the Good Shepherd window, the North Aisle window, the Transfiguration Window and the Nativity window.

For further details and pictures please see the press release here.

Thank you letter from Andrew and Brenda Bosley

To all friends at St James’ and SMSJ

Just a short and totally inadequate message to thank each and every one of you who took part in, and those that master-minded, the send-off that you gave me on 8th September, which I can only describe as totally unbelievable.

In particular, may I thank you for all the greetings cards and for the lovely presents, not least the wonderful selection of wines and the amazingly generous cheque, and Brenda joins me in saying a heartfelt thank you for the lovely flowers. Our entrance hall and lounge looked like Dobbie’s Flowerstalk Shop! Then there was that fabulous cake – truly a work of art in itself! Bless you Karen and thank you so much for taking so much time and trouble to create such a masterpiece. Not only was it delicious, but the detail was absolutely amazing. Thanks also to all of you who “brought and shared” and made the lunch party the wonderful occasion that it was. There seemed to be a never-ending queue of well-wishers who all wanted to have a chat before I left and I’m so sorry that it wasn’t possible to talk with everyone, but I will be around from time to time so it will be good to catch up then.

It has been a great joy and privilege to serve at St James’ at a time when some exciting changes were being made. I mean, of course, the re-unification of St James’ Church with St Mary and St John’s. It has been a time of great opportunities and it remains my prayer that the relationship between the two Churches will continue to develop and deepen. On the music front, it has been great to get the choirs of the two Churches together from time to time. I do hope that this will continue and, while I’m on the subject of SMSJ, it was lovely to receive a greetings card from the choir there. Thank you so much.

None of this would be possible without the spiritual guidance of our Ministry Team and I shall certainly miss working with Revd Julie, Canon John, Revd Mark-Aaron, Revd Brynn and, of course, dear Paul Arscott, all of whom have been such sources of wisdom, spiritual direction, help and encouragement. Thank you so much.

As the song goes, I have “kept the best ‘till last” and I refer, of course, to my beloved choir (if I may refer to them as that on this occasion) whose levels of professionalism, loyalty and musicianship have been truly amazing. I’d like to keep my final thank you for them, for everything they’ve done during the time I’ve been their Director. Nobody can take away the wonderful memories that I have of our many choir activities over the years – singing the services at the Cathedrals of St Alban’s and Oxford, Magdalene College Cambridge, Dorchester Abbey and Wellington College Chapel; recording “The Peacemakers” with Karl Jenkins at Abbey Road Studios, but most important of all, the hundreds of “ordinary” services we have sung together Sunday by Sunday here at St James’. However, the one service that will stick in my memory until my dying day will be the Farewell Eucharist a couple of weeks ago. I will never forget the sound you produced – I can say nothing more than “thank you” to all of you, including Sam and Lukas, our drummers, who really added the final touches to the more charismatic songs during the service, and finally a very special thanks to the Junior Choir, especially for the lovely photo album. I will treasure this and keep it safe for the rest of my life. Thank you guys, so much – it has been a pleasure and a privilege to have been your Director of Music – keep up the good work, I am confident that the music at St James’ is in very safe and capable hands and I hope you will support Janice and Linda as you embark on this new chapter of the music at St James’ as well as you have supported me during the last chapter.

God bless you all.


Welcome to our new Director of Music and organist /accompanist

A very warm welcome to Janice Devine our new Director of Music and Linda Atkinson our new organist/accompanist – we pray that both ladies feel the welcome and support of our church family.

Pictures from the Joint Pentecost Party

We had a fantastic joint service and party to celebrate Pentecost on the field at Gorse Ride School. After the pretty dreadful forecasts all week the weather turned out to be great and everybody had a fabulous time both at the service, and at the picnic with music from Hotwire. Click here for a slideshow of many of the pictures that were taken during the event.

Neighbourhood Return – volunteers requested

Love and Return thy Neighbour.  That’s the aim of the new Neighbourhood Return scheme, which aims to act quickly to find people with memory problems, such as dementia, who have got lost.   Can you help us?  We are looking for volunteers to join searches in their immediate area, who have a mobile phone which is regularly charged and has credit on it, and who can use text messaging.   

We know everyone isn’t available all the time, so the scheme aims to sign up as many volunteers as possible.   If you aren’t available or in the area when we alert you that someone has gone missing, just text back ‘no’.   If you are free to help, our care centre will send you a description of the person and let you know where to search.   When you reach the destination, you let them know and they will provide further instructions on where to look next.  Our safe searching guide helps to give you guidance about searching and how to gently approach the person who is lost, should you find them.  Searches are conducted for up to two-and-a-half hours by volunteers, who can join or leave the search at any point during this time, if the person isn’t found by then, the search is then handed over to the police.

You can sign up to the scheme at or by phoning 0116 229 3118.  This isn’t a huge commitment. You will rarely or may never be called to help, but by registering, not only will you help carers to feel supported by their local community, but should someone in your local area go missing you could help save a life.  

If you are a carer of someone with memory problems, you can register them using the contacts above. It’s absolutely free.  Once your loved one is registered, we will send you a fridge magnet with the helpline number on, so you can easily find it, should you ever need it.   If you pre-register someone memory problems, we can get volunteers mobilised in 3-5 minutes.  You can still use the scheme in an emergency without pre-registration, it just takes 15-20 minutes to get all the details we need to start the search.  The call centre keep in touch with both the carer and Thames Valley Police at regular intervals to let them know how the search is progressing.  

Thank you very much for helping to increase our volunteers in Berkshire.

Deborah Ginns
Service Manager
Neighbourhood Return

Parish Barn Dance success

60 Members of the congregations of both churches and their friends danced to Saxon Drain with the help of their caller on Saturday 9th Feb in California Hall.
A fish and chip supper at half time allowed us to get our breath back.
The band have been playing for this social event for many years and always remark that the enthusiasm and energy put into the dancing makes the event enjoyable for the band as well as all the dancers!    Look out for next year’s Barn Dance!

Saxon Drain Parish Barn Dance Raffle Parish Barn Dance

Congratulations to John Edwards on being made Honorary Canon

On Saturday 26 January, at the 6pm Service of Evensong in Oxford’s Christ Church Cathedral, Rev John was installed as Honorary Canon in recognition of his work in the Deanery and also at Diocesan level.  A well-deserved honour!

Many congratulations to John from all of us – it’s a richly deserved honour in recognition of his service both to this parish and the Diocese as a whole.

He will continue to be Associate Priest at Finchampstead and California.

Epiphany Party photos

A social gathering to celebrate the feast of Epiphany was held in the Billing Avenue Parish Centre on the evening of  Saturday 5th January. 

Pictured here are regular SMSJ congregation members plus their friends and families joining in with Famous Faces and other mind boggling quizzes arranged by the SMSJ social group for the entire Parish.

EpiphanyParty2 EpiphanyParty1 EpiphanyParty3

With drinks and nibbles available too, this annual event was once again very successful and most enjoyable for all who attended.

Olympic Torch Bearer

Denise Gray from our parish ran with the torch on Weds 11th July in Reading on the Bath Road (A4) between Berkeley Ave and the Berks West Primary Healthcare Trust (RG302BA). If anyone would like to see her story it is on this link Or go to 11th July on the Olympic website