Willen Church Sleepout to Help the Homeless: Saturday 14 September 2019

The church of St Mary Magdalene is hoping others will join them in highlighting the problem of homelessness in our city with the Big Sleepout event which will take place overnight NEXT SATURDAY, 14 September outside Willen Pavilion.

Please email willensleepout19@gmail.com for registration and sponsorship forms. You can read more on Facebook on the bussheltermk page and the Willen Sleepout page on Virgin Money Giving is available for making donations.

Rev Dr Paul Smith, Team Rector of Stantonbury and Willen parish LEP will be taking part himself in support of the MK Bus Shelter, both to help raise awareness, as well as to offer some financial support. He says,

“I would like to invite you to sponsor me. Any amount, however small, will be welcome. It is very easy, as you can go online and pledge your chosen amount. Just go to: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/PaulSmith385.”

If you could download the Willen Church sleepout poster and display it in your church too, that would be really appreciated!

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In the past couple of weeks there has been a run of graffiti attacks on churches and monuments in the Milton Keynes area. They seem to have been focussed on the eastern edge of MK, from Newport Pagnell, through Willen, to Wavendon. The police are involved and stories are appearing in the local news.

Local people are understandably upset and feel personally attacked. It can be particularly difficult for people visiting the graves of loved ones. It’s really important, however, to take proper advice before attempting to remove graffiti from stonework. It’s possible to cause more damage.

Please be aware of the possibility of an attack on your church or churchyard. If there is an incident, please report it to the police and to Archdeacon Guy (Archdeacon.Buckingham@oxford.anglican.org).

In the meantime, please pray for those affected and, as Matt Trendall says “for the love of Christ to change the hearts of those who are doing this”.

All the best,



St Mary’s Wavendon has become the latest church affected by the recent spate of graffiti vandalism on Friday 9th March – following attacks in Newport Pagnell, Willen and Broughton, the artist(s) in question sprayed aggressive messages on the outer back wall. All the graffiti has the same tag: ‘NU Gambian Manz’.

Whilst we are sad at this outbreak, and encourage all to be especially vigilant at this time, at a church prayer meeting on Monday night we felt strongly that this is a moment to follow Jesus’ example and ‘pray for those who persecute us’, that we may be children of our Father in heaven. So can we urge our fellow believers in MK not just to pray for justice and protection but also for the love of Christ to change the hearts of those who are doing this? With our love, blessings and grateful thanks.

– Matt Trendall



On Saturday morning 3rd March I was getting ready to clear snow from the steps at Willen Church in readiness for church services on Sunday. A member of the local community who knows me, phoned to say that she’d discovered the church had been defaced with graffiti of an incitement to racial and religious hatred nature and had already alerted the police. Since then we have been subject to two or three more attacks, all of which have been reported to the police, and which have evinced considerable feeling amongst local residents. I gradually learned that we were not alone – a number of other local prominent and public buildings have also been violated in this way. The graffiti is more than simply youngsters doing damage for kicks – it would appear to have some political or vengeful motivation from some quarter that feels impugned.

My feelings, some of which will be reflected in other’s reactions are a mixture of anger and feeling violated; shocked that such an assault has happened in what has previously been a graffiti-free area; wanting to protect the sensitivities of my flock from obscene language on entering a place of worship; vulnerability and helplessness not knowing how to prevent such a thing due to the churchyard being a public thoroughfare; frustration at not being able to remedy the mess immediately; feeling responsible as a guardian of a local piece of heritage; wanting the perpetrators to be apprehended and possibly punished; wondering what the heck some of the words and phrases actually meant (!); trying to work out the mindset of the perpetrators; being practical and dealing with what I could straight away (ie dealing with the police).

I have been able to communicate with the wider local public via social media – mainly something called “Next Door Willen” which I’d already signed up for late last year. I have appealed for restraint, especially as I think the perpetrators were trying to stir up an aggressive reaction against perceived enemies. But also social media has helped keep the local community informed about what was happening “behind the scenes”. The incident(s) have demonstrated how much affection and good will there is in the local community for Willen Church and how incensed they have been over the vituperative defacement of an important part of the local heritage. This is a sentiment that encourages me and reassures me that we may be able to draw on this as needed (eg to make a financial appeal for ongoing maintenance needs). The police were initially very responsive and supportive and I imagine they are working in the background with all of these local incidents.

Finally, dealing with all of this has taken a great deal of time and part of my frustration is that I have had to be diverted from what is more important such as caring for my flocks and providing spiritual leadership. The aftermath of the incident entails much communicating and chasing of support agencies including our insurers, architect and conservation companies. It seems out of proportion to the amount of time it must have taken to perpetrate the crime in the first place!

– Paul Smith

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Enhancing and Resourcing the Rural Church

An implementation Steering Group has recently been established to take the above programme forward.  With Glyn Evans as Chair and Charles Chadwick as Executive Secretary, the team is also looking to recruit 3 new lay members, one from each of the 3 rural Archdeaconries.  The Steering Group has therefore asked us to draw your attention to 2 events to unveil the work of the project, and encourage you to consider attending.  These will be held on Saturday 17 June in Buckinghamshire, and Saturday 24 June in Oxfordshire. Posters will be sent out shortly to all rural benefices and parishes and the events will also appear on e-news in due course, but do make a note of these dates now.

As we know, the Diocese of Oxford is one of the largest dioceses in the country. 30% of its parishes have a population of under 500.  If the Countryside Commission’s definition of a rural place, where the population is under 3,000, is used, 50% of parishes qualify as rural. Since late 2014 a small working group, set up by the Board of Mission, has been considering many of the facets of how the rural church expresses itself, how it is experienced, and how it may be enhanced and resourced for the future.

At the start of 2017 the Board of Mission endorsed the report of the working group which has a series of recommendations that address nine identified areas which impinge on the life and flourishing of the rural church:

  • Addressing the environment, context and well-being of those who serve in a rural context
  • Raising vocations
  • Ensuring the future of church buildings
  • Exploring different models of governance in Multi Parish Benefices
  • Strengthening finance
  • Supporting rural schools
  • Engaging with the changes new housing brings
  • Training for people in leadership roles
  • Replenishing the rural church for the future

These recommendations are not intended to be a ‘top down’ programme, rather they are designed to offer thinking and resources for the rural church across the diocese. To that end we are calling the ongoing work The Enhancing and Resourcing the Rural Church programme.

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Quiz In Aid of The Food Bank: Saturday 11 March 2017 at 7.00pm

Pat Hodges (‘Miss Quiz’) and her husband Neil do a wonderful job in organising quizzes in support of different charities.  Although they usually take place at St Thomas’s, Simpson, or Simpson Village Hall, the next two are at different venues.  The first one – for the benefit of the Food Bank – will take place at THE HOLIDAY INN in Central Milton Keynes, on Saturday 11 March 2017, starting at 7.00pm.

The cost will be £8.00 per person.  A selection of savouries will be available on each table.  Please Note: You cannot bring your own drinks to this event!

If you would like to come along, please contact Pat at missquiz@sky.com or call 01908-644785.  Maximum 8 per table, but don’t be put off coming even if you’re on your own.  Pat does a great job of  putting people together.

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Christian Healing Mission Day at Whaddon Way Church: 4 November 2017

Want to know more about God’s healing?

Then ……


“Letting the Kingdom Come”


From 10am to 4pm

At Whaddon Way Church, Bletchley

Milton Keynes


A great day of teaching with the

Christian Healing Mission.

Please put this diary. Further information to follow.


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