Parish of Caversham, Thameside and Mapledurham Parish Info St Peter St Margaret St John Contact Us

June 2018

In this newsletter:

Keeping in touch – protecting you by protecting your data

This week I received an email entitled “We want to keep in touch with you!”. I wonder if you too have received emails or letters from companies and organisations asking you to keep in touch with them?

On 25 May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force throughout the UK. This is a new piece of law updating how your and my data is stored and processed, and grants each of us as citizens new rights on how our data is stored, processed and accessed by us.

The GDPR affects every organisation, including churches. We are now ready to ask you to work with us to ensure we can keep in touch with you, about events, services, the money you donate, and a whole host of other things. The only way we can do that is if you grant us consent to contact you.

Data consent formTo help with this we have constructed a new Consent Form, which we are now asking you to complete. This form is available on our parish website (at and also available in paper form in each church from today (we prefer you to use the online version, but if you find the paper version easier, then that is fine).

The form asks you to grant us broad consent to stay in touch for a whole range of purposes, split into four categories. The four categories of consent we are asking for are:

You are free to decide which, if any, of the consents you grant us.

Each person will need to complete a form, rather than one per couple or household, because individual consent is needed. Anyone 13 years old or over can complete the form. For us to process data about children under 13, we need parents to grant us permission. Sadly without you completing one of these forms, we will not be able to stay in touch with you – and you will not receive any invites, emails and letters from us about anything, including emails containing the weekly pew sheet, neither can you appear in the parish directory.

So please do take the time to complete the new Consent Form on the parish website (via a link on the opening page), or use a paper form.

Paper forms should be returned to Caroline Smith or one of the clergy.

Those in our churches who help process people’s data (including clergy, church officers, and those responsible for rotas and events) will need to consider how, going forward, we only hold and process data according to the permission that we hold. I will ensure we help those who manage such data think through how they do this. We need to be clear with one another that, in the future, we cannot use someone’s data in ways for which we are not entitled. So, for example:

  1. It now becomes illegal to share a parish directory, or the details of someone within it, with someone not in the directory. So if you are not in the directory and you ask Caroline or me (or anyone) for someone’s telephone number or email address, we will have to politely decline.
  2. Whilst creating and holding a rota that contains a list of people and telephone numbers or email addresses is fine, putting it up on a church notice board now becomes illegal because we are effectively distributing that information to anyone who chooses to read it, which is beyond the consent we have gathered.

A number of other examples exist where we need to think carefully together about how we operate differently as churches.

This might seem a burdensome regime. But long ago I learnt to try to embrace new Government regulations instead of fight them. The GDPR is here to stay, and we need to make it work for us. At the end of the day, these rules are here to protect you and me, which is a good thing, but it does in turn require us as churches to behave differently. Please do talk to one of the clergy if you have a question.


Parish Vision: Becoming a Christ-like Community

I wrote in the February CTM News about the PCC’s desire to revisit our vision as a parish. Our third year of the PMC process invites us to construct a new vision and long-range mission plan.

In March the PCC agreed to test out the parish the vision statement: Becoming a Christ-like Community. We have consulted you about this at the Annual Parochial Church Meeting, and at a PMC morning. We are asking the Church Forums to discuss this vision statement too. I hope we can all join in a conversation about what we make of this vision.

At its July meeting the PCC will consider the feedback from this consultation, and discuss how to proceed. If we are able to agree a vision statement, then the PCC will begin work on what this vision might look like for us in more concrete terms over the next 3-5 years as we write a mission plan.


Palm Sunday review

Thank you to everyone who took part in our Palm Sunday service entitled ‘Journey with Jesus’. About 180 in total took part in the day, either walking from Mapledurham to St John’s or joining us in one of the churches. There was huge positive feedback after the day with people commenting how good it was to be seen out celebrating our faith; how good it was to have Bishop Andrew with us; and how wonderful to see our young people involved in the worship. I was extremely grateful to a team of 13 people who helped me plan and deliver the day – they worked incredibly hard in a short space of time, to plan the route, write the worship and drama, advertise the event and organise the logistics. God was truly with us on the day – the sun shone, and people we met on the way were touched. Some even came with us on part of the journey and worshipped with us.

Can we give thanks in prayer to God that we were bold and courageous in our planning, and that God responded to this by blessing us. Those reviewing the event agreed that we have plenty to be pleased about from this event, but that we shouldn’t rush to repeat the event. It was a lot of work, and we should return to it in another year, but not next year!


Mike’s sabbatical

As my sabbatical start date of 21 July fast approaches, I wanted to remind everyone of the key information about how the parish will continue to operate.

Penny will take over the leadership of the parish in all matters except the PCC, where Steve Jenkins as PCC Vice Chair will have that role. Penny will oversee Judith’s ministry as curate, and be the person to contact about all matters as they affect the parish. She will have pastoral and worship oversight of St Margaret’s during my absence.

Judith will have worship and pastoral oversight of St Peter’s during my absence. She will be assisted by Marion, and all new pastoral matters should come to Judith in the first instance. As Judith does not have the experience or authority of an incumbent, she will meet regularly with Nigel and Steve as Churchwardens, and they will ensure she is able to make the decisions necessary.

Please do hold the parish and three churches in your prayers during my time away. And please do pray for me and the family as we take this time away from parish life. Nearer the start date of my sabbatical I shall issue a pamphlet I have written that explains in more detail what I will be up to.


St John’s update

It’s three months since the commissioning service, when we welcomed eight adults and seven children who had sensed God’s call to leave Greyfriars and join St John’s. At the same time several others from our local community joined St John’s, including a local family whose two young daughters had told their parents they wanted to get baptised. Their baptism service was a delight, and they have continued to come along most Sundays. There is definitely more of a buzz at St John’s on Sunday mornings, and I think a new optimism.

Our Sunday Club – with fifteen children on the books – now meets in Caversham Hall. Georgina Laverick continues to head this up, with Cath Dunford and Alison Spencer also on the leadership team, assisted by a number of other helpers. The highlight of our 9.30am service is often when the children tell us what they have been doing in the hall and show us the things they have made. They bring life and energy to our church family, and are keen to be involved in the worship life of the church.

The newcomers to St John’s felt it was right that we should all worship together, even though they are used to a very different and more informal style of worship than St John’s traditional 9.30am service. Being in a family that has widely divergent taste in worship can be challenging, and there are bound to be things that we all find difficult at times. So we need to keep seeking God, asking him to show us how he wants things to develop in terms of music and liturgy. We tend to love the things that are familiar and comfortable to us, but we need to be willing to surrender our own preferences to God, asking him to mould and shape us to become the worshipping community he wants us to be, worshipping in a way that honours him and draws others to him as well.

In addition to our 9.30am service, we have started an informal Contemporary Worship Service at 7pm on 2nd Sundays. This follows a similar pattern to most Anglican services – welcome, praise, confession, word, intercession, praise, blessing – but is not Eucharistic and has no set liturgy and no paper handouts on entry. The words to songs appear on a screen, and there are some times of open praise and prayer for our community. So far about twenty people have come each time, some who also attend at 9.30am, but others who only come to this service.

We have also launched Café Church at 4pm on 4th Sundays. The church is set out like a café, and on arrival people are encouraged to get a drink and something to eat – fruit, muesli bars, cake – then find a seat, and chat around tables, maybe looking at a quiz or some other activity designed to get people of all ages talking together. There is a biblical theme – the first one just after Easter was ‘new life’. There is some optional worship, a mix of traditional hymns and contemporary worship, and a talk or testimony on the theme, followed by a question to discuss on tables. Our hope is that this will be a warm and welcoming environment to which it is easy to invite un-churched friends of any age, where they can hear something about Jesus Christ and have space in which to explore questions of faith.

In a time of transition and experimenting, the key to growing together as God’s family is to build strong relationships, and we have been working quite hard at getting to know each other better, over coffee on Sundays, at occasional socials, and perhaps most effectively, by being part of small groups. In Lent four groups ran, three daytime and one evening, all studying a course called ‘Everybody Welcome’ which helped us examine together how we might become a much more welcoming church, not just in terms of at the door on a Sunday morning, but through the way we present ourselves to, and engage with, our wider community. In total 40 people took part in those groups, a huge percentage of the congregation, and most have opted to continue to be in a small group this term, as we study Mark’s gospel. Four groups now meet, two on a Tuesday evening, one on Wednesday afternoon, and one of Friday morning. The Mothers Union still meets regularly in Caversham Hall.

There is much about which we can be encouraged, but there are also plenty of challenges ahead. Our organ is in need of substantial repairs and we need God’s guidance as we seek to develop our worship and work out the direction we should be taking with our music and style. We need to be outward-looking, engaging effectively with our community and developing in ways that make church relevant and accessible to them. We have advertised and interviewed for a Children and Families Outreach Worker but we have not yet been able to fill this position – please keep praying for the right person to come forward for this role. And keep praying that God would grow us, in spiritual depth and in number, and that we would become the Christ like Community he is calling us to be.


Dates for your diary

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

3 June 12.30pm St Margaret’s Church Forum
3 June 4pm Sunday @ 4 Community prayers at St John
3 June 6.30pm Evening Eucharist with prayers for healing, St Peter
10 June 11am St Peter’s Church Forum
10 June 6.30pm Choral Evensong at St Peter
10 June 7pm Contemporary worship at St John
12 June 7.30pm St Peter’s CLT
13 June 7.30pm St John’s CLT
17 June 4pm Sunday @ 4 Community prayers at St John
24 June 4pm St John’s Day community event
1 July 9.30am St Peter’s Day parish-wide service.
1 July 4pm Sunday @ 4 Community prayers at St John
8 July 7pm Contemporary worship at St John
10 July 7.30pm St Peter’s CLT
11 July 7.30pm St John’s CLT
14 July 1pm Caversham Church Fete in Caversham Court Gardens
15 July 4pm Sunday @ 4 Community prayers at St John
15 July 6.30pm Choral Evensong at St Peter
16 July 7.30pm St Margaret’s CLT
20 July 7pm St Margaret’s Day service, and Mike’s final service before sabbatical
21 July Mike starts his sabbatical, returning on 28 October
22 July 4pm Cafe Church at St John

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