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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Betsy Stanley


Sunday 26th February, St. Mary’s Church was the venue for a very special tea party for Betsy Stanley. Surrounded by friends, family and neighbours, the High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire, Mrs C. R Soames DL presented Betsy with a Certificate of Appreciation in recognition of her long, devoted and loving service to Church and Community.

In the Testimonial, Rev Sharon Grenham-Thompson spoke of Betsy’s life-long service to her community: in the ATS as a lorry driver; working for the Post Office, delivering the post in Shenley and Loughton; tireless fundraiser for the Royal British Legion; and at St. Mary’s as Churchwarden for 14 years, and continues as a key member of the Choir, Sacristan and Verger.

Janet Nelsey and Anne de Broise Churchwardens

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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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Chapter Communion Brings Clergy Together

By popular request we’ve started a new monthly Deanery Chapter Communion. Once a month, the clergy of Milton Keynes will gather at St Mary’s in Shenley Church End to break bread and share a few sandwiches…

The first one took place on Wednesday 18th January. The New Testament Reading for the day reminded us of the priesthood of Christ – which defines our own priestly ministries.

It was also good to pray together – both for the churches of MK and our colleagues.

Sharing sandwiches obviously gave us an opportunity to share news (gossip?) and find out what’s been going on in the Deanery.

All in all, it felt like a worth-while hour together.

See events for future dates and times.

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Deanery Chapter Communion

Deanery Chapter is the gathering of ordained clergy in our area. It used to meet monthly but this became difficult, so we moved to having three meetings a year – one with a bishop or archdeacon, one with a speaker, and one as a summer social.

Anglican clergy in Milton Keynes have a range of different working patterns. Some are part of big teams and have weekly, or monthly, staff or team meetings. Others are on their own. Some work in ecumenical partnerships. Some are under alternative episcopal oversight. It’s hard to have Chapter meetings that suit everyone…

In July some members asked if we could try a monthly communion service followed by a sandwich lunch. We’ve looked into this and will try the idea over the first half of 2017.

We’re going to use St Mary’s in Shenley Church End – because it’s reasonably central, has good parking and we can get in easily. We’ll be meeting on (roughly) the second Wednesday of each month at 12 noon. If it works well, we may extend the plan.

Please pray for our ministers in their very different parishes and ministeries.

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