Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Helen Bence is appointed to Thurnby

The Bishop of Leicester announced last Sunday that The Revd Helen Bence is to be licensed as Associate Minister in the parish of Thurnby cum Stoughton.

Helen has been Team Vicar in the parish of Oadby for five years and has been instrumental in the growth of the thriving 8.00am congregation at St Peter's, in supporting St Peter's home groups and developing the Friends of St Peter's, as well as in many other significant ways.

Helen will continue as Convenor of the Gartree Mission Partnership of churches, so we will continue to benefit from her ministry and to see her regularly.

The date of the licensing has not yet been announced and it is likely to be early in the autumn term. We wish Helen every blessing in her new appointment and are grateful for all that she has done in Oadby.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Colin Chettle selected for Reader training

Just before going away, I was delighted to announce to the church that we have a new Reader-in-training. Colin Chettle is well known to everyone at St Paul's and has been exploring Reader ministry for some time. He's currently taking the Certificate in Christian Discipleship Course and will work towards being licensed as a Reader in 2010.

For more information about Reader ministry, see the Church of England's pages.

We wish Colin well in his studies and look forward to his leading worship and preaching in the coming months and years.

Bishop of the Arctic visits St Paul's on 7 August

On Thursday 7 August the Bishop of the Arctic, The Rt Revd Andrew Atagotaaluk, will be visiting the Barnabas Centre for a meeting of the Fellowship of the Diocese of the Arctic. If you're interested in meeting Bishop Andrew and hearing more about the church's work in one of the remotest dioceses of the world, call Revd Canon R. J. Tonkin – 0116 281 2517 for details.

Bishop Tim blogs the Lambeth Conference

I've decided that I'm insufficiently near to the action and have too much to do, to try to relate the developments at the Lambeth Conference. But Bishop Tim has started a blog of his own - Do keep up with his insights and pray for the bishops of the Anglican Communion as they listen and discuss the issues which are dividing the Church.

Returning from holiday

What an adventure! The Harvey family have flown, sailed, rode, driven, flown again, driven lots more, and flown home again. Our holiday of a lifetime was packed with astonishing sights, sounds and leaves us thankful and tired. Expect more from the blog in a few days.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Stewardship Appeal 2008 – Final Results

David Foulds, our stewardship recorder, sent me a note this afternoon, to be included in our church notices and newsletter. I'll let you read it in his words,
Thank you all for the fantastic response to our Stewardship Appeal. All the forms have now been processed and the results are:
13 new people joined and 4 left resulting in a net gain of 9 members. Those people and the existing members pledged to give £51,704, an increase of £6,749 (15%) over last year. This is an amazing result. Congratulations and enormous thanks to you all. This amount of giving will enable us to claim £10,922 tax back from the HM Revenue & Customs.
We have received a congratulatory letter from the Archdeacon which is displayed on the notice board.
This is a marvellous result and we should be thankful to God for his provision and to thethe church fellowship for their great generosity. Last autumn the DCC faced a difficult choice. We were determined that we shouldn't budget for a deficit and we were also keen to avoid the kind of cost-cutting that would restrict our investment in the Alpha Course and other mission opportunities. So we committed ourselves to a budget that included a significant increase in giving. And we prayed.

With this wonderful result of our stewardship campaign, a rise in the amount of income tax we can recover, and a better than predicted income from our lettings, we should cover our commitments and move forward in 2009.

We seem to be celebrating good news quite a lot just now. Praise God for all that is good.

Our own rocket man appears on telly

It's always fun when someone you know appears on telly. David Boyce, a member of St Paul's, recently made his Blue Peter debut. He was part of a team launching a huge rocket from a remote part of Scotland. Here's the video (you can glimpse David at 24 seconds and 30 seconds).

Home groups thriving

I was thrilled to hear two very significant pieces of good news at the home group leaders' meeting last night. Graham Woodard, who co-ordinates our home groups, has visited all leaders and shared the results of his conversations.

Graham reported that there are now 74 members regularly involved with home groups and a further 15 'social members' who keep in touch. This is a very high proportion of our church's membership and I'm sure that opportunity to develop supportive friendships, to learn and study, and to pray together is a significant part of the life of St Paul's. I'm really grateful for the gifts and work of the home group leaders, who pastor, teach and encourage so effectively.

Another piece of news to rejoice over is that the group of thirteen who participated in the Alpha Course and formed a follow-on group have now decided to continue together in the Autumn. So we now have another home-group, that's eight altogether.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

More wordling

I'm a fan of Wordle. Since last week's post I've been playing with passages of text and seeing how Wordle cleverly creates a piece of word art, taking into account the frequency of the words that are used. The more frequently a word appears in the passage, the larger it is rendered in the picture.

Here's what happens if you input the address of the Bishop of Leicester's Presidential address to the May 2008 Diocesan Synod:
Click for a bigger view. Good, isn't it? And interesting how un-synod-like it looks. Great words here.

Just for fun, here are the minutes of the St Paul's DCC for May:

From the size of the word "Simon", it looks like I say too much.

Controlling bad behaviour through the dog-collar

When I told my family that a range of recently-introduced dog-collars was about to be banned, they got the wrong end of the stick altogether.

I explained that the collars contain a radio receiver that, when activated by remote control, cause the wearer to receive a mild, but painful, electric shock. The manufacturers promote the device as a training aid, allowing indiscipline to be instantly corrected.

Perhaps because I was wearing a dog-collar of my own at the meal table, my family jumped to the conclusion that these were clerical collars, not for pets. I think they're still just about legal if the churchwardens want to follow this up.

Find me a place!

Through the serendipitous way that the internet works I've just found a link on the twice-weekly diocesan email bulletin to Help2Park's web page that shows Leicester city centre's car parks with (this is the clever bit) an up to date report on how full they are.

It's now 9.34pm and I see that should I want to venture "up town" I can choose any of 834 places that are left at The Shires, or one of the only 180 left at St Nicholas Circle.

What about trying this for churches? Hover your mouse over St Paul's at 09:58 on a Sunday and find that there's only 14 places left... Better drive on then to St ----- , where there's a good 198 spaces in the pews! (I'm making this up).


Some of you will have noticed that I skipped church this last Sunday morning. Well, not quite, I swapped the wonders of St Paul's for the attractions of St Martin's Cathedral for this year's ordination of deacons. I knew some of those being ordained, in particular Jane Wood, who came to St Paul's on a placement in 2007.

The cathedral was packed and the service went with a sparkle. Jane is going to serve as curate in the parish of Kirby Muxloe and we wish her well and pray for her ministry.

Here's the news from the Diocese of Leicester website:

New Priests ordained

Ordination of new Priests and Deacons

The Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Tim Stevens, has ordained eight new priests and seven new deacons into the Church over the weekend of June 28th and 29th.

Leicester Cathedral saw large congregations for both occasions as family and friends, and members of the congregations where they serve attended alongside the Bishop and diocesan clergy and staff. The Revd Alison White, CuratesTraining Co-Ordinator in the Diocese of Peterborough, preached at both services after having led the ordination retreat at Launde Abbey.

Pictured with Bishop Tim are the Reverends Steve Delaforce, Jane Kennedy, Emma Davies, Hazel White, Julia Hargreaves, Linda Shuker, Christine Coldicott, and Phil Hughes who were ordained Priest, and the Reverends Stephen Gamble, Trevor Parkerson, Liz Angell, Andy Cain, Jordan Ling, Alison Booker, and Jane Wood who were ordained Deacon.

Bishop Tim commented, "This is a wonderful occasion for the Diocese of Leicester as we welcome into the ordained ministry of the Church these new Priests and Deacons. Many in our society want to suggest that the Church of England is in decline, but these ordinations and the enthusiasm of those who offer themselves for ministry refutes that."

Where can I get married?

There's a lot of uncertainty among the public about who can marry in which church. And it's getting more complicated.

An important change in the regulations which govern who may marry in a parish church are about to come into force. I've spent most of the afternoon working my way through the 40-page guidance notes and the 8-page form that couples are asked to complete if they have a "significant qualifying connection" with the parish. I've updated our basic information leaflets to reflect the new situation.

The changes mean that couples will find it possible to marry in more than the church in the parish in which they live or worship. So if someone has previously lived in Oadby, or if they parents did, or if their grandparents were married here, it might be possible to marry here. The rules and regulations are pretty complicated and there's a whole lot of questions to work through each time, so we'll see how we get on.

I would be sorry if the opportunity to get to know those whose weddings we are conducting will be lost. I really enjoy weddings ministry and it's an awesome privelege to be with a couple as they pledge their commitment and make their vows to each other. I try hard to make each wedding personal, and that's really only possible if we've had the chance to meet on several occasions.

If we get more enquiries from far away, or if we 'lose' local weddings to other churches, this kind of personal touch will be harder to maintain. And the opportunities for evangelism that come from the requirement of couples to regularly worship with us in order to qualify for membership of the electoral roll might also be harder to find.

Still, our enquiries for weddings are quite buoyant just now and I'll look forward to seeing how the new system will work in practice.

An introduction to the new Church of England Marriage Measure is on the CofE website.

Penny Russell joins the Parish Team

We're delighted that Penny Russell is now working part-time in the Parish Office, bringing her very significant adminstrative experience (she was PA to the Bishop of Leicester until recently) and organisational skills to bear.

Penny will be working from 0930 to 1230 on Tuesdays and Fridays and 0930 to 1630 on Wednesdays.

The Parish Office can be contacted on 0116 272 0080 or by email to

We congratulate Penny on the recent announcement that she is to be made a Lay Canon of Leicester Cathedral.