Fellowship of St Birinus

Firstly I would like to thank Steve and our Churchwardens for nominating me for this Award, and to the all those who travelled to Dorchester for the service.

On Sunday 24thSeptember , a service of Evensong was held in Dorchester Abbey for the Fellowship of St.Birinus, when I was made a Fellow and presented with the award by the Bishop of Dorchester, the Rt Reverend Colin Fletcher.

The citation states:
‘The Fellowship of St Birinus. To our beloved in Christ We welcome you into the Fellowship of St Birinus Joy Blake With thanksgiving for your service to God and the Parish of All Saints’ Faringdon in recognition of your faithful service as Organist and Choirmaster and for your love and service in all that you do’.

The service of Evensong was a wonderful occasion with the Abbey full, with about four hundred persons, including new Fellows, previous recipients and their supporters.

The service consisted of hymns:
Hymns – ‘Praise to the Lord’ and ‘Father hear the prayer’;
Psalm 145 v1-8 sung by the Abbey choir;
Canticles – Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis,
Anthem – Rutter’s ‘I will sing with the spirit’.

A brief address was given by the Bishop after the presentations of the Awards.

For me the whole service was brought together by the singing of the last hymn ‘Sing of the Lord’s goodness’ – He has been good to me, and the last verse ‘Praise him with your singing, praise him with the trumpet’ – our Church Choir and the Organ at All Saints’.

With many thanks.


Home Group Meetings in November

New members are always most welcome at all Home Groups – please contact the number listed below for more details.

Day and Dates Time Place Contact Subject
13th &27th
7.45pm 28 The Pines 240 532 Real Security

Real Treasure

14th & 28th
2.30pm 13 Fernham Road 240 848 Ephesians
7.45pm 2 Leamington Gate 615 009 Book by Judy Hirst
9th & 23rd
8.00pm 10B Coxwell Street  

242 753


November Prayer Calendar

Please continue to pray for the life and work of our parishes

Wed 1st “Life & Mission of God’s Church” prayer meeting this evening.
Thurs 2nd “Open the Book” at the Infant and Junior School this morning.
Fri 3rd Second Science & Faith talk this evening.
Sat 4th Mission of the Month – TearFund.
Sun 5th “Saints Alive” this morning.
Mon 6th Bell ringers practicing this evening.
Tues 7th Worship and music at All Saints’ and St Mary’s.
Wed 8th Steve, Graham, Helen, Barbara, Dick, John, Max & Paul.
Thurs 9th Margaret Townsend taking over as Church Administrator.
Fri 10th Festival of Remembrance event this evening.
Sat 11th Leaders for our young people’s work.
Sun 12th Remembrance services today; United Service this evening.
Mon 13th For all Prayer and Home Groups in our church.
Tues 14th Our continued search for a Director of Music.
Wed 15th Paul Walker, our appointed Curate, his wife and family.
Thurs 16th “Open the Book” at the Infant and Junior School this morning.
Fri 17th Mustard Seed AGM this evening.
Sat 18th  Magazine preparation this weekend.
Sun 19th Families bringing children for baptism this morning..
Mon 20th All who are ill, recently bereaved or in any other kind of need.
Tues 21st Lynn Treneary following her return to South Sudan.
Wed 22nd Our witness to friends and neighbours.
Thurs 23rd Flower Guild decorating the Church tomorrow.
Fri 24th Allsorts this morning.
Sat 25th Wardens, Vergers and Welcomers, Intercessors and Readers.
Sun 26th Our Bishops Steven and Colin, and our Area Dean David.
Mon 27th For all who help run our Churches.
Tues 28th The Wisbey family.
Wed 29th Concluding preparations for the Town Nativity.
Thurs 30th “Open the Book” at the Infant and Junior School this morning.

Meetings for Prayer in November

All Saints’ seeks to have an active and regular prayer ministry with a number of informal meetings during the month to which all are very welcome

Wednesday 1st 9.00am Morning Prayer (Lower Asset Room)
Wednesday 1st 7.30pm Life & Mission of Church (Church)
Friday 3rd 7.40-8.30am Parish Prayers (20 Market Place)
Tuesday 7th 2.00-3.00pm Julian Meeting (18 Eastfield Court)
Tuesday 7th 8.00-9.00pm Julian Meeting (call 244 905 for venue)
Wednesday 8th 9.00am Morning Prayer (Lower Asset Room)
Friday 10th 7.40-8.30am Parish Prayers (20 Market Place)
Wednesday 15th 9.00am Morning Prayer (Lower Asset Room)
Wednesday 15th 10.30-11.30am Prayer for CMS (8 Coach Lane)
Friday 17th 7.40-8.30am Parish Prayers (20 Market Place)
Friday 17th 8.00pm Prayer for the World (Call 240 509 for venue)
Tuesday 21st 8.00-9.00pm Julian Meeting (call 244 905 for venue)
Wednesday 22nd 9.00am Morning Prayer (Lower Asset Room)
Friday 24th 7.40-8.30am Parish Prayers (20 Market Place)
Wednesday 29th 9.00am Morning Prayer (Lower Asset Room)

Life & Mission of God’s Church (1st Wednesday evening):
Steve Bellamy (240 106)

Julian Meeting (Tuesday afternoon):
Pat Tylee (241 039)

Julian Meeting (Tuesday evening):
Beryl Begg (244 905)

CMS Prayer Group (3rd Wednesday morning):
Bob & Joan Plumptre (243 388)

Parish Prayers (Friday am) and Prayer for the World (Friday pm):
Graham & Margaret Scott-Brown (240 509)

Mission of the Month for November: TearFund

Tearfund’s mission continues, working with its partners world wide they are seriously involved in South Sudan, and the whole of East Africa where a shortage of food, has, according to the United Nations brought about a humanitarian crisis, the largest since the Second World War.

Unfortunately like all charity and mission funds they are overwhelmed with requests. The latest is from Myanmar, where Tearfund is in contact with COAST, supplying water, sanitation, food, shelter and medical aid for the thousands of refugees coming into Bangladesh.

However for every pound we give for the Christmas Appeal, up until the 31st December, the UK Government will match pound-for-pound.

So PLEASE PICK UP A LEAFLET AND PRAYER DIARY from the Mission Table in Church and use during NOVEMBER.

Many thanks,
Audrey Jefferies

For more information visit www.tearfund.org

Missions News

News from The Children’s Society , CMS and the Wisleys

The Children’s Society

November is the month when the annual Box Opening of The Children’s Society House Collection Boxes takes place. If you have a Box could you let me have this during early November so that it can be emptied and returned to you.

I shall be pleased to receive your box at Church or could collect it from you if you contact me.

Thank you for your continued support for this worthwhile Charity in its work with vulnerable children and young people.

If you don’t have a box at present but would like to support the work of The Children’s Society please let me know.

Very many thanks.

Hazel Catling (242 355)

Editor’s Note: Hazel has been looking for somebody to take over responsibility for the Children’s Society in our Church for some time. If you feel you could  help in this way, please contact Hazel. 


Lynn Treneary, our Link Mission Partner, returned to South Sudan at the end of October. The exciting news is that MAF (Missionary Aviation Fellowship) are hoping to buy a new plane, to be based in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, and more exciting, the first South Sudanese pilot will be flying it! This plane will be a vital help to Lynn and all in Maridi to be able to travel in South Sudan and to take them into Uganda.

It is a pleasure for MAF to introduce you to this special member of their Juba team.

“Hello, my name is Dut Agwang. God willing, I will qualify as MAF’s first South Sudanese pilot later this year. This is the fulfilment of a vision I had 10 years ago. The vision of a plane delivering food to the starving people of my country. And I am the pilot.

I was a war baby – born to Christian parents in 1985 during the second Sudanese Civil War. My grandfather was also a Christian, having turned from black magic to embracing Christ’s love and spending the rest of his life preaching the Gospel and baptising converts.

Life has been hard. In 1989, we had to flee our home town of Bor, in southern Sudan. Along with my parents, four brothers and an older sister, I escaped to Ethiopia to take refuge from the horrific violence, famine and disease that claimed two million lives. That tragic death toll included our father and the youngest of our brothers.

After years of moving in and out of countries and camps, I passed my secondary school exams at Kakuma Refugee Camp in northern Kenya. But I had no money to continue my studies, so I returned to my home country in 2007.

Not knowing where the future would take me, I hitched a lift on the back of an army truck to get to the city of Juba. It was then I had the vision of me flying a plane!

It’s a vision MAF believes you will turn into a reality because we know how much you love my country.

Ten years ago, God placed me in a job next door to a pilot recruitment agency. I was one of only 11 people chosen to go to South Africa where I qualified as a commercial pilot.

While there, I met MAF pilots Adrian Rose and Mike Dupuis. Back in Juba, I joined the MAF team – first as a bookings clerk, then later as Ground Operations Co-ordinator. I waited patiently and prayed for the opportunity to continue my training with MAF, believing with my whole heart that God wants me to fly for Him.

After six years of refresher courses, licence revalidation, ground school and – finally – acceptance on to the programme, I am now qualified as MAF’s first South Sudanese pilot!

I am one of them now, and we need your help to buy a new plane for the South Sudan fleet.

Please give whatever you can towards this much-needed aircraft because it will transform lives. My people’s need for friends like you is immense right now.

They face war, disease and famine. Your love – the love of God – has kept a light shining through the darkest times. My faith in God’s love has kept my vision alive, just as He has kept my country alive.

God bless you, Dut Agwang
MAF’s first South Sudanese pilot!”

We would like to be able to help raise some money towards this plane and it’s pilot, Dut.

We are aware that there has been a lot of fundraising recently, so we are asking that those who feel they would like to support the fund, could give something to say thanks for their free cup of coffee, after the 10.30am services in All Saints’ during November.

We continue to pray for Lynn and hope she will soon have internet connection with the money we and others raised while she was in UK. Remember that we pray for her on the third Wednesday every month from 10.30 to 11.30am, do join us if you can, but also pray for her at home, and pray for the college where she works and the Mothers Union in Maridi.

For more information about CMS contact:

Joan Plumptre (243 388)

Update on the Wisbeys

Here we are in a new academic year! Levi has started Year 1 at school and, unbelievably, Anya only has two years till she starts school! If they go by anywhere near as quickly as the first two years of her life, she’ll be in that uniform before we know it! Liz has been reminded recently to be thankful for the stage of life we are in since it will soon pass and we will all be looking back and wondering how it passed so quickly!

We had a good summer, with a mix of time away as a family (a week in Sweden with one of Matt’s ex-colleagues and family, and a week at Liz’s parents in Devon) and Liz with the kids in Gloucester. There is such a lot to do around the city that we didn’t even manage to finish our ‘to do’ list for the holidays!

Now we are back in the routine of school. Levi’s transition up from Reception hasn’t been the smoothest with his new teacher being off sick for several weeks so far but he is gradually adapting to the demands of more work and less play. After school both kids enjoy a play on the trim trail to work off some energy!  Anya is talking more and more, mostly in full sentences now and is able to communicate very clearly her likes and dislikes! She has a fondness for puzzles, sticker books and drawing pictures.

Autumn is a busy time for Matt, teaching a new cohort of students while also preparing for the next community of practice learning event in Asia. This balance of ‘home’ and ‘away’ continues to provide a healthy mix of work, one morning sitting in exam board meetings here in Gloucester then later that afternoon collaborating with colleagues around the world to plan for the Asia event at the end of November! This event will be in Singapore (Matt’s first visit there), a particularly appropriate location since this time it will focus on the topic of multilingualism, urbanization and migration.

While many of the teams with whom Matt and his colleagues work are primarily focused on rural non-dominant language communities, these communities are of course impacted by the increasing global movement of people to cities. Be it for jobs, welfare or safety, this movement of people is changing urban and rural communities dramatically, making life in both places more challenging than ever before. Wycliffe staff and partners are grappling with what it means to support these communities, responding in innovative and sensitive ways.

Thank you for your ongoing support of us and our work – you are in our thoughts and prayers.

Love Matt, Liz, Levi and Anya

St Mary’s News

Our Harvest Festival Thanksgiving Service was held on 24th September and the Church looked beautiful. Thank you to all those who worked so hard creating such pretty autumnal arrangements, and also to those who provided produce and flowers.

The Harvest Supper was held the evening before in the Village Hall, and the evening was a great success and raised over £400 for the Church. Many people worked incredibly hard for the evening and we would like to thank all who made it such a success.

The Remembrance Service at St Mary’s will be held on Sunday 12th November at 10.45 am and Pippa Regan will be going round the village selling poppies over the next couple of weeks.

The St Mary’s Carols by Candlelight Service will be held on Saturday 16th December at 6.00pm and we will be Carol Singing around the village on Thursday 21st December, meeting at 6.00pm at Gorse Cottage.

Local historian Ann Preston has continued her work on men who died in the Great War, and a copy can be found in the Church for anyone wishing to have a look.

Good news of a Curate

I was delighted to announce recently that Paul Walker will be joining us as our curate from next July. Paul is training for ordination at Trinity College Bristol. He is married to Sheree and they have two daughters Charlotte (6) and Harriet (4) and are expecting another baby early this month.

Paul sends us this message: ‘Sheree, Charlotte, Harriet and I are very excited about coming to Faringdon and Little Coxwell next summer. We’re currently living in Bristol while I train at Trinity College and we expect another small member of our family to arrive very shortly!

‘Life has changed quite a bit over the last few years, and we’re learning to trust Jesus more as we see him at work in and through our lives and the lives of those we meet. We look forward to joining in with the things God is doing with and through you as well, and pray that you’d be blessed as you join in where you see him at work!

‘Lastly—and most importantly, please pray that as a family we’d remain close to Jesus and continue to seek him in all we do throughout this period of change. We will be praying that very much for you as well. Every blessing, Paul’.

So as we thank God for his call to them to come to Faringdon and Little Coxwell, please be praying from hereon for the Walker family as they prepare to come and join us.

Steve Bellamy

News from All Saints’ PCC

The parents of our Sunday Special and Pathfinder children met together in the Barber Rooms one Friday in September. They enjoyed a meal, a quiz and an interview with the Vicar. They were asked how All Saints’ can best help them and their children. Following on from this we now have a Bible Study evening for young parents and lots of new ideas for the children’s groups on Sundays.

Parents and children will again be able to enjoy a Messy Nativity on Thursday 21st December (4.00-6.00pm), just after they break up from school. We hope that the crafts, food and Nativity they enjoy together will get their Christmas holiday off to a very happy start. The Christingle service will be at Epiphany on 7th January, when we celebrate the coming of the Wise Men. Information on all the Christmas services and activities will be detailed on a card to be handed out in December.

The first of the Church Prayer meetings was also extremely well attended, and more chairs needed to accommodate everyone. We discussed and prayed in small groups, and together, and found the evening and the handouts very helpful. It was good to get a full picture of all that goes on in our church and community and be able to pray about it together. The next meeting will be on Wednesday 1st November.

Our new Church Administrator, Margaret Townsend, started on 2nd October, and her office in the Barber Rooms is almost ready for her. Thanks are due to the newly formed Fabric Group, who has driven this, and many other necessary jobs forward.

The PCC, at their last meeting, spent some time discussing the Deanery Mission Action Plan (MAP). This is a five year programme, and aims to look at where we are now, what progress we have made, and set goals for the future.

Next year, 2018, sees 100 years since the end of World War 1, and the town is planning to celebrate this with a number of events. All Saints’ will join in with this by staging a Flower Festival during the August Bank Holiday weekend. We also hope to ring the bells and serve teas to those visiting the flower festival.

Finally, a reminder to put Friday 8th December in your diary for the Town Nativity in the Market Square at 6.00pm.

We believe in Catholicity of the Church (Exploring the Nicene Creed)

In this article we shall think about the Catholicity of the Church, a term that requires careful analysis, for it is often misunderstood; and “catholic” is understood differently by several Christian denominations.

The basic meaning of ‘catholic’ is simply universal or world-wide, or wholeness. It is not a biblical expression and was introduced in the very early Christian centuries as the Church grew and developed. As explained in earlier articles the Nicene Creed was formed to clarify the Church’s true and essential beliefs about God and his Christ at a time of serious debate and disagreement. Hence the use of ‘catholic’ in the Creed was to stress the received New Testament Faith the true Faith – the whole Faith as established from the beginning, and universally held across all local churches by practically all Christian leaders and people. So when in various places disputes and disagreements over some elements of that Faith occurred, Church leaders appealed to the Catholic Faith” to settle controversies. They looked to the beliefs and teachings that from the first days were held in common; the Faith entrusted to the Apostles and enshrined in Holy Scripture (Jude verse 3).  Our Anglican formularies refer to the catholic creeds because these were clearly defined statements of Faith held from the very first days, drawn up by Christian leaders from all worldwide local churches (i.e. truly Ecumenical Councils); thus representing all the People of God. I will now quote part of an official statement of how we who are Anglicans understand our Church.

“The Church of England is part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, worshipping the one true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It professes the faith uniquely revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the catholic creeds, which faith the Church is called upon to proclaim afresh in each generation”. Hence we Anglicans affirm our real, true and full belonging to the world-wide Church of Christ, and that we are catholic. We acknowledge of course that there are other Churches also truly and fully part of this large international Christian Family but do not specify them.

As Anglicans we have always claimed and will continue to assert our genuine legitimate authenticity; our full rightful place in the universal Church of God. We affirm strongly the absolute validity of our Ministry of Bishops, Priests and Deacons, our Gospel Sacraments with the God-given graces of sanctification, our fullness of saving truth, and the right to teach with authority the Faith revealed in Holy Scripture. Our basis is Ephesians 4:3 “There is one Lord, one faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all”. And as I wrote in a previous article, “the Church is apostolic”, and we as Anglicans are also most certainly apostolic.

We should also note that the large (Eastern) “Orthodox Churches” equally claim to be authentic Churches of Christ; indeed fully true, without any variation from the original teachings of Christ, and the way he meant his Church to develop and grow. Hence these strongly traditional Churches consistently use the meaningful title Orthodox.

Furthermore, other Christian Churches also rightly claim to be truly part of the One Church of God, having strong New Testament faith, full baptismal and sacramental life, ministry and teaching, witness and service.

The very large Roman Catholic Church however actually claims uniquely to be The Catholic Church, asserting that it alone has complete sacramental fullness, truth and teaching authority with its ministry and appointed head. Some consider it has given the term catholic an emphasis beyond that of its initial meaning and usage. From the Reformation period onwards the Roman Catholic Church has shown an exclusivist attitude towards the reforming Churches (Lutheran, Presbyterian, Anglican etc), regarding them as partial or deficient Churches. However, since the huge changes made by the Roman Catholic Second Vatican Council of the 1960s, the essential baptismal and Christian foundation of all these Churches has been fully acknowledged.

Praise God, in these better ecumenical times, despite still some differing understandings of some aspects of our Faith, most Churches do work together in a host of good ways, often worshipping together also. In Faringdon there is real closeness now between all Churches, with common projects like the Mustard Seed, the Family Centre, Summer Holiday Clubs, Clergy Fraternals, etc; regular times too of joint worship, prayer and study.

Our earnest hope and prayer must be that this will grow and flourish until we are all truly and wholly visibly one as Jesus longed and prayed, according to his will, and in his good time, and for all his people everywhere (John 17:19-23). Steady progress is being made, especially between Anglicans and Methodists; or with United Churches (as in Faringdon), and some other Churches. We pray that it will continue embracing all the Churches of Christ.

Although in popular parlance many folk do refer to the Roman Catholic Church as “The Catholic Church” (and certainly Roman Catholics almost invariably do so), many Anglicans will always use the full title. Formal Anglican documents, and all official discussions with the Roman Catholic Church always do. This is not to make for argument or point scoring but to say again that we as Anglicans are also catholic! If we are not, there is no point in reciting that part of the Creed with its strong affirmation on ‘catholicity’.

The Anglican Communion and its Churches have of course many differing emphases, usually called ‘churchmanship’; evangelical, Anglo-catholic, modernist, radical, liberal, etc. All these make for a rich diversity almost unique amongst the Churches of the Christian world. And this surely is a sign of strength, for our real unity in essential truths with wide harmonious diversity, is also part of what ‘catholic’ ought to mean. Unity in essential truths of faith does not mean or require absolute uniformity of worship, theological emphases, local practice or organization.

“In all essentials unity, in unessentials freedom and diversity, and in all things love” was a slogan frequently used in the Church’s early and later centuries. It should be our slogan and aim too as we seek to follow our One Lord and help build his Catholic Church. And above all we must remember that ‘catholic, world-wide or universal’ also means embracing all nations; all races, colours, social groups, ages, abilities, gender and sexuality. No one is excluded from the universal Gospel of Christ and the universal Christian Family. (Galatians 3:27-28).

Praise and glory be to our common Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

George Abell