In this newsletter:

St Peter’s plans for the future

Refresh logoInitial plans to help St Peter’s building to better live up to the parish vision of ‘Becoming a Christ-like community’ were published in a forum on October 13. St Peter’s architect, Jeremy Bell, talked through the plans, explaining how they could help grow our mission in the community of Caversham, while display panels and brochures walked the congregation through the aims. The leaflets are available on the parish website at and the panels will be kept on show.

The need for change

St Peter’s church is an ancient Grade 2* listed building. It has not been significantly modernised in recent times and has various shortcomings for a 21st century church: eg, wheelchair access, the different levels in the west end, the dangers serving hot drinks, cramped fellowship space and no accessible toilet.

It is on a main route into town with more than 600 people walking past every day and could be available to casual passers-by, as well as for community activities, connecting people with the presence of God.

The plans for phase 1 of the re-ordering (this is all about the west end of the building; further phases may be needed at some time) include: extra meeting space for children and youth groups; provision for other community groups to meet; flexibility of worship; circulation space at the west end of church; improved hospitality area and kitchen facilities; improved accessibility (including wheelchair access and toilets).

Central to the plans is a larger, level-floored fellowship area with direct access (no steps) to the rest of the building, toilets, kitchen and servery, improving not only accessibility and hospitality but also community space and flexibility for worship and church use. The new entrance from the porch would offer a ramp or a step down to the fellowship area, and incorporate a new position for the font, lined up between the door and the altar. Opposite the door would be the welcoming kitchen/servery, while, on the south side of the church would be a dedicated children’s area. The lower parts of the tower are intended to provide two small, self-contained meeting rooms.

The best estimate for the cost of this work is some £500,000, Various sources of income are being investigated, including finance grants and special events, but we are also inviting members of the church and the wider community to contribute towards the appeal. There is a donation form on the website should you need one.

For more information, see the website or talk to a churchwarden, the Rector, Richard Larkin or other members of the Church Leadership Team.

Steve Jenkins

Ride and Stride

2019 10 CTM news 01The Royal County of Berkshire Churches Trust annual Ride and Stride event took place on Saturday 14 September. Our churches opened from 10am-6pm to welcome participants who were sponsored to visit as many churches as they could, travelling by bicycle, on horseback or on foot.

John Short from St John’s was one of those who took part, cycling over 85 miles through West Berkshire and visiting 33 churches during the day. He raised £205 in sponsorship, half of which will be returned by the Berkshire Churches Trust to St John’s.

John said, I had quite an adventure – pedalled through some lovely countryside and saw a wide variety of churches which were incredibly beautiful inside and out. Some were expecting riders/walkers, some had no idea this was happening; the first one I think they’d swapped the postcodes and I must have gone to the wrong one – I was planning to burst in gleefully shouting “you guys are my first church, woohoo!!!” though that didn’t quite happen when I crept in on a silent yoga meditation class in the sanctuary! I did manage to get a random yoga lady to initial my sheet though! I felt a real sense of peace and God’s presence inside them and wished I could have stopped longer in a lot of cases. I met and chatted with all sorts of characters. I especially remember a delightful trio who were enjoying their noontime G&Ts in the church garden on top of a hill (St Mary, Sulhamstead Abbots) – being only a quarter of the way through the ride I declined their offer of one and stuck with a tea. I ate a few biscuits, pedalled up a few hills, and made it back to Caversham almost before the light went.


Thank you to everyone who took home a stewardship pack in September and prayerfully considered your response. The church treasurers are now compiling the responses for each church, and will report back to their CLTs and the PCC in due course on the outcomes of the campaign, which we will then publicise in CTM News when we can.

If you have been away or unable to return your form, or didn’t even get a pack of information, please do see you church treasurer who will be able to help.

Mike Smith

Advent & Christmas services

We will soon find ourselves in the seasons of Advent and Christmas. Once again we will have a full range of services to compliment our usual pattern of Sunday and midweek services. Details of all the services this year are in the Dates for your diary section of this newsletter.

We will also once again be advertising our services in a campaign using the national Church’s material Follow the Star. Please do look out for the posters, and the Christmas card which we would once again like to deliver to as many of the houses in the parish as possible.

Dwelling in the Word

All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness 2 Timothy 3: 16-17
2019 10 CTM news 02

We celebrated Bible Sunday on Sunday 27 October and St John’s received 60 new Bibles, including 10 for our new BLAZE group for our older children. That group has been thinking about some of the tough questions of faith, including ‘What is the Bible and can we trust it?’

In our three churches, we declare each Sunday after hearing scripture read, that “This is the word of the Lord” and we respond “Thanks be to God”. At the heart of our time together we listen to what God is saying to us. We believe that the Holy Spirit takes those old words and makes them into something fresh and living for each one of us. Sometimes those words chasten us, often they comfort and encourage. But through them we are drawn closer to the Lord we worship and serve. He speaks to us, if we are willing to listen.

That is the wonder of the Bible. It is composed of 66 different books, by many authors writing over a thousand year stretch. It has history, codes of law, poetry, wisdom, letters, hymns and more. The diversity is huge. That is why context is always key. We have learnt to read a Shakespearean sonnet differently to how we read a law report or a newspaper. We need to do the same with the Bible, otherwise it gets confusing. Yet, through those diverse writings, are repeating themes and a message of hope that points ultimately to our saviour Jesus Christ.

The Bible is God’s gift to us to help us get to know Him better. Let’s keep dwelling in His word.

Sarah Jones

A year of hospitality

During the last year we have been focusing together as a parish on the hospitality we offer and receive. In the spirit of telling one another good news stories where we have seen the effect of our hospitality, I want to offer you this story:

In September I received an email from someone called Pawel, who is Polish. He wrote to thank me for his experience of welcome he had received when visit St Margaret’s Mapledurham over the course of the last three years. He was an occasional visitor to Mapledurham when walking, but never as a worshipper. Pawel wanted particularly to thank us for the tranquillity and warmth of welcome, and especially the refreshments St Margaret’s offer. His email said “I believe my regular visits to St. Margaret and prayers there make me a better person, more aware of my place in the universe of God’s creations”.

The quality of our welcome, and the simple and yet generous offer we make, may have a profound effect on peoples lives going forward. For this man we have not met to reflect back to us the way he has experienced the love of God through our welcome is profound, and should encourage us all as we continue to reflect on how we welcome those not in our churches.

Mike Smith

Dates for your diary

Events are also listed on the Forthcoming Events page and the Parish Calendarwebsite editor.

3 November3pmRemembering a loved one, St John’s
3 November6.30pmRemembering a loved one, St Peter’s
7 November7.30pmSt Peter’s CLT
10 NovemberRemembrance Sunday
12 November7.30pmSt Margaret’s CLT
13 November7.30pmSt John’s CLT
16 November2pmSt John’s Christmas Fair & Fun
17 November11.15amSt Margaret’s Toy Service
20 November7.30pmPCC
24 November9.30amSt Peter’s Toy Service
1 December4.00pmCrafternoon Advent lantern making St John’s
1 December6.30pmAdvent Carol Service St Peter’s
4 December7.30pmSt Peter’c CLT
7 December10amSt Peter’s Christmas Market
11 December7.30pmSt John’s CLT
15 December4.00pmChristingle service St John’s
15 December6.30pmCarol service St Margaret
16 December7.30pmCarols in Caversham Court Gardens
18 December7.30pmCarol Service St John’s
22 December6.30pmChristmas Carol Service St Peter’s
24 December3.00 & 4.30pmChristingle services St Peter’s
24 December4.00pmNativity Live starting at C’ham Baptist Church
24 December4.00pmChristingle St Margaret’s
24 December11.30pmMidnight mass in all churches
25 December8.00amHoly Communion St Peter’s
25 December9.30amFestival Communion St Peter’s
25 December9.30amAll Age Communion St John’s
25 December11.15amFestival Communion St Margaret’s
29 December9.30amParish-wide Holy Communion St Peter’s

Other newsletters are in the newsletter archive