WELCOME

 

Whether you’ve just moved to the area or have lived here all your life, we hope that our ‘Focus Notes’ will help to answer some frequently asked questions and help  you find out more about our Parish Churches. 

 

There are a number of reasons why a person decides to get involved in a parish. It could be because they will be participating in a Baptism or Marriage or a Funeral. Or perhaps they have just moved to the area. But a lot of times we join a new community because we are searching for a deeper meaning and purpose in our lives. And the best way to find that is in community with one another in the way of Jesus Christ.

 

We all ask questions about why we are here and what purposes our lives have. We need to know that we have made a difference and that our time and talents have been put to good use. That is why it’s important to try to get the tone right when someone is thinking about getting involved in their Parish community. Like a family welcoming a new member, we need to be inclusive and hospitable to all.

 

HOW CAN I GET INVOLVED? As a church family we gather in all sorts of ways - fellowship groups, study groups, ministry teams, prayer groups, administration meetings, societies: ‘church’ is the way we live and not simply what happens on one day out of seven. There are a number of ways to get involved in church life. 

 

Depending what you’re after, you should be able to find somewhere to get involved in church life.

 

WORSHIP

Services are subject to Covid-19 restrictions.  See newsletter and website for up-to-date details. 

The Sunday 10 am Eucharist is also available on

Zoom https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6931233940)

 

At the heart of the life and purpose of our Benefice is that spirit of thanksgiving and worship of God which leads naturally to varied outreach and pastoral care. And our hope is that every worshipper should go home from every service knowing they have been touched by God’s love.      

                                  

We have a full schedule of Sunday and weekday services, as well as Baptisms, Weddings, Funerals, Thanksgivings, Memorials, Reconciliation and Healing Services. Our liturgical practice incorporates the variety and beauty of our four church buildings and their beautiful spaces. Our liturgies vary from the simplest spoken services to festival services which incorporate our choir’s diverse musical offering -traditional settings and hymns to contemporary songs. We treasure the best of Anglican heritage, whilst endeavouring to foster an inclusive and progressive spirit.

 

WORSHIP MINISTRIES Worship services in the Benefice involve the participation of not only the clergy and those assembled, but also the support of a number of dedicated people. These include musicians, vergers, sacristans, altar servers, altar guild members, sidesmen, cleaners, gardeners, caterers, bell ringers, flower arrangers, who all work behind the scenes to prepare for the services. Membership prerequisites vary, but all these groups serve as a good introduction to a more involved experience of worship for newer members of the congregations and others seeking a more developed understanding of the Church’s liturgy. Key to all is the desire to enhance the experience of the worship of God for the individual and the community through service. 

 

THE SUNDAY EUCHARIST Our central act of worship is the Eucharist (also called The Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion or Mass) which is the Thanksgiving which Christians offer  in  faithful,  hopeful and loving obedience to Christ’s command. Please do join us if you can. But if that’s not possible for you now or you are not ready to cross the threshold of one of our churches please do check on our activities anyway and feel free to make contact. 
 

THE DAILY EUCHARIST Here the Eucharist is celebrated daily at different times to accommodate the needs of our people. Everyone is very welcome. We hear God’s Word and share in Holy Communion, celebrated in a simple, direct and prayerful style, which is less elaborate than the fuller Sunday celebrations. The daily Holy Eucharist is a meditative twenty minutes when we come together to hear God’s Word, respond in prayer, and share in the gifts of God in Holy Communion.

 

PARISH DAILY PRAYER is offered each weekday following the Church of England’s order for public Morning and Night Prayer. Everyone is welcome to join with the clergy and small regular congregations to take part in these services.

 

MORNING PRAYER at 9.00 a.m. on Zoom https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6931233940 - Mattins - is a short meditative service of Bible readings, canticles and prayers, based on patterns of prayer going back to earliest Christian and synagogue practices. We gather to give thanks and praise for the blessing of the new day, to ask God’s assistance and guidance for the day’s activities, and  offer prayer for the Church, the world and all in need.

 

EVENING PRAYER at 9.00 p.m. on Zoom https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6931233940 - is another meditative service of psalms, canticles, Bible readings and prayers. We gather to give thanks for the day that is past, acknowledge our blessings and shortcomings,  ask God’s protection for the evening hours, and offer prayer for the Church, the world, the sick and all in need.

 

SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION Tuesday and Thursday at 6.00 p.m. and by appointment with a priest.

 

SACRAMENT OF ANOINTING OF THE SICK “If one of you is ill, he should send for the priests of the Church, and they must anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord and pray over him. The prayer of faith will save the sick man and the Lord will raise him up again; and if he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven.” (James 5: 14-15)

The Sacrament of Anointing is for the very ill; it is for the forgiveness of sins of those who are sorry; it removes fear and anxiety from those who have faith and trust. Through this sacrament the healing ministry of Jesus Christ is continued by the action of the Church. During his ministry, nobody went away from Jesus without experiencing some kind of healing, whether of body, mind, or spirit. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, this work is continued by the Church today, allowing people to experience the healing touch and presence of the Lord Jesus.  The order of the anointing service is very simple and consists of a greeting, prayer, a reading of the Word of God, the laying on of hands, anointing and blessing. Communion or Viaticum at the end of life may follow the anointing.

 

ACCESS TO CHURCH BUILDINGS

Our four church buildings are holy places - each a local focus for the life and ministry of the Church - where prayer has been offered for many years and you are welcome to enter for peace and quiet, for prayer; to be alone or to be with God. A Bible and the Sacraments are available for Christians. If you would like to see a priest for Confession, or to talk in complete confidence, then please contact Fr Paul or Fr Derek. We welcome members of other faiths and those who are seeking, or agnostic. Please pray for the Church and for those who minister and worship here and go in peace. 

 

BAPTISMS

At Baptism we become members of that part of God’s family which Christians call the family of the Church. Baptism has been described as the door we open to begin a new life in Christ. It is for adults and for children.  Parents and Godparents who present their children for Baptism are entrusted to pass on to them their faith in Christ and at the appropriate time, to encourage them to receive the sacraments of Confirmation and the Eucharist.

 

FOR INFANTS.  If you would like to explore Baptism for your child please contact the Vicar – 01189 333704.   Baptisms usually take place within the Eucharist or at 11.45 a.m. on Sundays. We offer pre-baptism preparation sessions and a meeting with one of the parish priests provides the opportunity to talk through the issues involved and look at the order of service. Follow-up visits, to encourage and support the new Church members and their families, are offered by our team of Baptism Visitors.

 

THE PROMISE GODPARENTS MAKE. At Baptism the Church family is represented by Godparents. ‘Godparent’ is not an honorary title, but a job description. Godparents are, with the Parents or Guardians of our children, their guide at the beginning of the journey of Christian life. Godparents should come to see the need for their own Baptism commitment to deepen and for their love for God and neighbour to become ever more generous.

 

RENEWING OUR PROMISE AS PARENTS AND GODPARENTS At the Baptism of our children we, as Parents and Godparents, publicly profess our faith, and promise to bring our children up in the practice of the faith. This undertaking requires us to teach our children to pray and to know and love Jesus Christ and to join in Eucharistic worship on Sundays. Families and friends, whether Christian or not, are very welcome to attend the services. If you are not a Christian you are invited to join in the prayers and responses only in so far as you feel able.

 

BAPTISM AND CONFIRMATION If you think you may be interested in finding out more about Baptism and Confirmation for Christian life please contact the Vicar – 01189 333704. There are regular Confirmation Programmes for both young people and adults, culminating in the Sacrament of Confirmation.

 

WEDDINGS

You might wish to get married in one of our churches and wonder what you need to do. First of all - congratulations. All four of our churches are licensed for weddings and any person with a connection to a parish may apply. Prior to the wedding we offer marriage preparation discussions, and a rehearsal before the service.

 

THANKSGIVINGS FOR MARRIAGE can be organised in any church.

 

FUNERALS

Please let us know as soon as possible when a loved one or Parishioner has died and we will pray for you. Arranging a funeral for a loved one can be a stressful process. The first step in booking a funeral is usually to ring your Funeral Director who will give advice and take care of practical details for you. Funerals can be conducted in church, or at the crematorium, or a combination of church and crematorium/churchyard. A funeral in church allows a little more time for the service than the crematorium. Many people choose to come to church for the main part of the service, before going on to the crematorium or churchyard for the committal. 

 

A good funeral service will express praise and thanksgiving for the life of the deceased, offer prayers and enable relatives and friends to begin their mourning. A Church funeral will always include the celebration of Christian hope of life in some different dimension after death. The clergy always visit before a funeral to offer support and discuss the service. Follow-up support and pastoral care is always available from the parish. The clergy pray each day for those who have been bereaved and commend to God’s love those who have died.

 

PASTORAL VISITING - HEARTS TOUCHED BY VISITORS

The Pastoral Visiting Ministry of our Parishes unites the Church, in Christian fellowship, with the residents of our three villages. It provides affirmation for the lives of the sick and the elderly, some of whom do not receive many visitors. It provides an opportunity for volunteers from the Benefice to share gifts of ministry with the residents. Some of our volunteers commit themselves to regular visits with a resident who expresses a desire for this form of ministry. We also aim to organise special celebrations and services of thanksgiving and worship. The Clergy and the Eucharistic Ministers take the Blessed Sacrament for Holy Communion to those members of the Church who find it very difficult to get to Sunday Eucharist. If you would like to know more about the Pastoral Visiting Ministry please contact the Vicar – 01189 333704.

 

BENEFICE FELLOWSHIP GROUPS

We have a number of Fellowship Groups which provide an important opportunity to gather in small groups to share fellowship, to explore Christian faith and prayer, to build community and to offer support and nurture friendships.  Fellowship Groups can engage with issues of faith and justice through prayer, education and dialogue.  The Fellowship Groups recognize that Christians are called to unity in the Body of Christ and to share in the mission of His Church; they seek to enable each other to integrate Christian faith and sharing into daily living. They meet at varied times, at varied venues, and with varied regularity.

 

THE MISSION OF THE CHURCH

THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY HERE SEEKS TO:

• pray and to offer worship through the spoken word and through music

• proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ and to encourage others to be committed to this aim

• encourage a deeper awareness of God and understanding of His Church

• care for the people of this Parish and for all who come as worshippers and visitors

• help those in need locally and elsewhere

• maintain a beauty of holiness by caring for the fabric of the church buildings

• pray that God’s peace may dwell here and that all who come may leave feeling the better for their having been here

IN MISSION WE MAKE THE GOOD NEWS KNOWN AS WE:

• Witness to Christ’s healing, forgiving and reconciling love for all and build loving and transforming communities of faith.

• Stand in solidarity with the poor and needy and challenge injustice and oppression.

• Protect, care for and renew all life and be good stewards of our planet.

 

OUR UNIVERSAL MISSION STATEMENT

Our vocation as individuals and together as the Body of Christ is: To love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our mind, with all our soul and with all our strength and to love our neighbours as ourselves.       Mark 12: 29-31

                                                                                                                                             

AN OVERVIEW

There are a variety of events that happen throughout the year. What follows is just an overview of a small selection of the activities which take place. 

The new Church Year traditionally begins at Advent with the Procession Service, which tells the ancient story - in scripture, poetry, symbol and song - of mankind’s need for salvation and God’s faithfulness in opening a path for the coming of our Saviour. In the lead up to Christmas, The Nine Lessons and Carols Service takes place at St Mary’s. There are Christmas Services for our Church Schools and there is the Children’s Advent Workshop. On Christmas Eve there are the Christingle Services. And then comes Midnight Mass and the Eucharists for Christmas Day. 

There are opportunities throughout the year for those who wish to find stillness and space to reflect, including regular Quiet Days and Retreats,

Lent, with its themes of renewal, brings more opportunities to re-engage with the mission of Christ’s Church both locally and internationally, including a Lent Study Course. Each year the Altar Servers Lent Mission engages with the whole Benefice to raise money for work with children in our link diocese of Kimberly & Kuruman.

In Holy Week we celebrate the full liturgy of the Church. There is the extra opportunity of the Children’s Good Friday Workshop.

In May we celebrate St. Mary’s Festival with a range of concerts. This annual village thanksgiving service, known as the Mortimer Maying Service, has its own distinct traditional liturgy. 

St John the Baptist, Padworth has an annual festival celebration in June.

There are various Parish Breakfasts, Lunches, Teas and Suppers and other celebrations which involve the whole community.

The Benefice Garden Fellowship organizes various visits to places of interest.

In November there is a Benefice Theatre Trip to London. 

During the year the Vicar hosts several community social events including July’s Vicarage Garden Party and the Vicarage Garden Choir Concert and Barbecue. 

There are pilgrimages to the great sites of Christendom.

 

SPECIAL NEEDS If you require special provision please contact the Office or speak to a Verger.

 

DISABLED ACCESS We have ramps leading up to all the churches.

 

THE HEARING LOOP is available at St John’s if you have hearing difficulties. Please ask a Verger.

 

LARGE PRINT VERSIONS are available if you have poor eyesight. Please ask a Verger.

 

ENVIONMENTAL AND FAIRTRADE ISSUES Although we know there is further to go on this journey we believe in being ethical. All our coffee and tea are ethically sourced. We recycle our waste in order to reduce impact on the environment

 

SAFEGUARDING It is essential that we are a safe place for all and in particular for our children and young people. All our volunteers are DBS checked and all Diocese of Oxford Guidelines are followed rigorously. For more information contact our Safeguarding Officers: Mrs Elizabeth Porter and Ms Sarah Theaker through the Office

 

GIVING TO THE CHURCH Giving is part of our worship and an outworking of our discipleship. The Scriptures are clear that the way we use our money matters and is a means by which we are called to bless others. Most of the outgoings go towards supporting the parish share and most of the income comes from the direct giving of members of the church family. We invite you to play your part by making either a regular or one-off gift towards the Church’s mission and work. There are many ways to make your gift, such as standing order, bank transfer, card reader, cheques or cash. And if you are a tax payer you can complete a gift aid declaration.

 

CONTACT DETAILS

Vicar:                       The Rev’d Paul Chaplin - The Vicarage, 10 The Avenue, Mortimer.                                                                                      RG7 3QY Tel: 0118 9331718                            

Associate Priest:    The Rev’d Derek Spears

Vergers:                   Mrs Lorna Jones

Administrator:        Mrs Sara Spratt

                                    

THE BENEFICE OFFICE, ST. JOHN’S CHURCH, MORTIMER, BERKSHIRE. RG7 3SY 

E MAIL: admin@mortimerbenefice.co.uk  

TEL: 0118 9333704