In this newsletter:

Holy Week and Easter services

With Holy Week and Easter soon upon us, we have agreed the following pattern of services. We have produced an Easter card for congregation members to give out to neighbours. Please collect them from church.

Since the three-column format of the Easter card cannot easily be shown here, please refer to the Forthcoming Events page – website editor

Greetings from our new Curate

Judith Ryder, our new Curate joining us in July writes to introduce herself:

Judith Ryder March 2016Mike has asked me to write a few words for CTM News to introduce myself as your prospective new curate. I will be moving to Caversham with my family at the end of May, so we can be properly settled by the time I am ordained deacon on 2 July at Christchurch in Oxford – God willing.

I studied theology originally in the mid-1990s, at St John’s in Oxford. I also met my husband, Simon, then – he was studying engineering, two years ahead of me. At the time, I ran away from theology and from Simon – but just about kept in touch with both. I taught English in Athens for a year, then spent a year temping in Edinburgh, before going back to Oxford in 2000 to do a masters and then a doctorate in history, specialising in the medieval Eastern Mediterranean. Simon and I got properly reacquainted in 2001 over a visit to Istanbul then a conference in Paris (I invited myself to stay with him), and we married in December 2002. He came back to the UK, having worked as a transformer engineer for Alstom in Paris for 5 years. He continues to work in the same field, and travels a lot for his work. Our first child, John, was born in 2006, and since then 3 more children have joined us: Elizabeth (Lizzie), born 2008; Peter, born 2010; and Stephen, born January 2013.

When we moved to our current home in Kidlington, in 2009, we thought we were nicely settled for the duration. I was a Roman Catholic, and we lived a combined Roman Catholic and Anglican life. Ordination was not something I was considering. I had plenty to do with family responsibilities and part-time academic work, as well as getting thoroughly and happily involved in life in Kidlington. Unexpectedly, however, it became very clear that this was not how things were going to continue. The upshot of this has been that I joined the Church of England in November 2009 and started ordination training on the Oxford Ministry Course in September 2013. The OMC is run by Ripon College, Cuddesdon, and offers part-time training to a very diverse and interesting group of mostly older ordination candidates. It has been a fantastic way to train.

Leaving Kidlington for Caversham is going to be a big move for us, but while we will be sad to leave, it really does seem that we are being sent to the right place – for the family, for me to continue my ministerial training, and hopefully for the parish of Caversham as well! When the Diocesan Director of Ordinands first phoned me about the possibility of a curacy in Caversham, she commented that there were a lot of similarities between Kidlington and Caversham. Certainly, when visiting Caversham we have felt very welcome and at home and that we could thrive in the parish.

I am really looking forward to working with Mike and the wider parish team, and to getting to know you all, and to know the area and its hopes and needs. It will be a pleasure to be in a parish with such a strong musical tradition, with different churches with different roles, and which is seeking to engage in mission in the local area. At the moment I am feeling rather nervous about quite what to expect as a curate, but I trust and pray that I will be able to play an effective part in the parish over the next few years. Please keep me and my family in your prayers over the next few months, as we prepare to move and I prepare for ordination.


Judith will be living in our parish owned house in Caversham Park, and will hopefully move in with her family in May half term. We will be holding a service of welcome for her on Sunday 3 July, and details about this will follow in due course.

Annual Church Meeting

Once again our Annual Parochial Church Meeting will soon be upon us on 10 April. Again, we will hold this meeting at St John’s Church during the main Sunday worship at 9.30am, as all three churches are invited to come together to worship together, give thanks for the life of our parish and to look forward to new endeavours.

For the last two years I have encouraged those attending to ensure they have read the annual report and accounts in advance of the meeting, as we will not be reading them out at the meeting. The report and accounts will be available on the APCM page at the parish website shortly, or you can request a paper copy from Caroline Smith.

Do please try to come to this service and meeting, both to elect Churchwardens, PCC members and other officers, but also to share in our common life together and give thanks to God for his bounteous care of us.

Mike Smith

Transition Minister recruitment update

Following the advertisement for a Transition Minister for St John’s Church in January, I am pleased to report that we have had 6 applications for the post, of whom we have invited 4 to come for an interview. These will be held on Friday 18 March at St John. Do please hold the candidates, and those involved in the interview day, in your prayers that we might together discern the call of God to the right person.

Mike Smith

O God, we thank you for the life of our churches in this parish. Send us your Holy Spirit at this time of uncertainty and change, and guide us and all those involved in seeking a new Priest in our parish; may we, and the person you have chosen to be with us, be ready to hear your call to worship and serve you here for the growth of your Kingdom. We ask this through your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.

Prayer card

Many people come to the clergy in the parish asking for guidance and help with their prayer lives, and we have responded in a number of way in the early part of this year. John has been leading a study group on the Ten Commandments, called Just 10 which I know has been enjoyed by many.

Marion has offered a time at her house each Wednesday daytime and evening to Gaze on God. The numbers attending have been wonderful to see, and I know how much those attending have been getting out of these occasions.

From Sunday 13 March we will be handing out to our regular congregation a small plastic card with a version of Prayers in the Daytime, a new resource we have put together to encourage one another to pray each day. Structured prayer is something many of us find challenging, and this card is an attempt to invite you into finding five minutes each day to stop and be with God. Ideally this would be at the same time each day, at a time to suit you – it could be first thing in the morning, or at lunchtime, or in an evening. But whenever and wherever you find yourself with a few minutes, might you learn to pause and dwell with God? We hope the prayer card provides a framework for you prayer life, and it shouldn’t be a straight-jacket. Do let the clergy know if this is a helpful resource or not.

Mike Smith

Dates for your diary

Some forthcoming dates for you diary:

10 April, 9.30amSt JohnAnnual Parochial Church Meeting
21 May, 2pmSt JohnSt John’s May Fair
22 May, 11amSt JohnChurch Forum
22 May, 12.30pmSt MargaretChurch Forum
5 June, 11amSt PeterChurch Forum
24 June, 7.30pmSt JohnSt John the Baptist’s patronal service
3 July, 9.30amSt PeterParish wide service to welcome our new curate, Judith Ryder
3 July, 11.30amRectory GardenParish lunch to welcome Judith Ryder
3 July, 6.30pmSt PeterSt Peter’s patronal service
9 July, 1pmCaversham CtCaversham Church fete
20 July, 6.30pmSt MargaretSt Margaret’s patronal service
31 July5th Sunday but not a parish-wide service, replaced by 3 July.

Other newsletters are in the newsletter archive