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The churches of Beech Hill, Shinfield, Spencers Wood & Swallowfield serving the community
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The churches of  Beech Hill,  Shinfield,  Spencers Wood  &  Swallowfield serving the community
logo
The churches of
Beech Hill,
Shinfield,
Spencers Wood
& Swallowfield

serving the community

Welcome to the Loddon Reach Benefice Website

We are a group of four Anglican parish churches who enjoy working collaboratively in serving the people and communities of Beech Hill, Farley Hill, Grazeley, Riseley, Shinfield, Spencers Wood, Swallowfield and Three Mile Cross. Our four parish churches are delightfully different in history and character, each offering a different take on what it means to be active, forward-looking, community-focussed churches of the 21st century. Each church also has its own style of worship, weekly activities and pattern of services that continue to evolve. You should find all you need to know about us as you engage with our website, but if you’d like to meet and talk something through in person… don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Christian Viewpoint

Thursday 25th May 2017 - There will be a Vigil held at 7.30pm at St Mary's Church, Shinfield for all those caught up in the events of Monday evening. This will take place before the 8.00pm Ascension Day service. The Team Ministry willl lead us in prayers, all welcome.

A prayer for the victims of the bombing in Manchester

Almighty God,
We pray for the people of Manchester.
For all those affected by the brutal bombing; For those who have died, and for those who are injured.
We pray for families who are searching for loved ones.

We give thanks for the emergency services, for doctors and nurses, paramedics, police, fire brigade, and members of the public who freely offer any kind of help.

God of compassion and love; God of peace, a peace that the world cannot give, be a comfort to the people of Manchester in this time of distress, may they know your loving presence.

Amen

General Election 2017: Archbishops highlight the place of faith in British life

Please see attached link https://www.churchofengland.org/media-centre/news/2017/05/general-election-2017-archbishops-highlight-the-place-of-faith-in-british-life.aspx 

Travellers, Culture, Love and Understanding


The opportunities that present themselves to experience a different culture when living abroad are truly wonderful. To be able to immerse oneself in different traditions and customs, is an education that can truly broaden the mind and lead to an understanding of the incredible diversity of the human race.

I lived in Germany on two separate occasions while serving in the Royal Air Force; the first as a single man from 1975-1978, the second with my wife, Gill, and our growing family from 1985-1994. We loved our time there and made many friends, aiming to integrate ourselves into German culture, through trying our best with the language and participating in local traditions.

The second tour embraced a time that saw the slow disintegration of Communism, culminating in the dismantling of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. These events heralded the end of the Cold War, and the Peace Dividend was quickly taken by the UK Government of the day, who implemented the drawdown of our military presence in Europe. An outcome of this was that I, along with thousands of servicemen and women, was posted back to the UK.

With the end of the Cold War, the free movement of people from east to west, and vice versa, became possible again, and this was particularly true of the people known as Roma. They began to travel their historic routes around Europe, something that had been impossible throughout the Cold War.

I remember a group of Eastern Block Roma arriving at a farm not far from the RAF base at which I was stationed in West Germany. They lived on the land as itinerant workers and, although given a hard time in some quarters, generally received a warm welcome after so many years of enforced absence. Roma are known as people with strong Christian faith and, in my experience, this has proved to be true. The church I belonged to on the RAF base in Germany built up a connection with them, supporting them in various ways, but more importantly extending the hand of welcome.

It is now more that 500 years since the first Roma arrived in the UK. Over time they have become what we now call English Romany Gypsies - the word Gypsy is a corruption of the word Egyptian, as that is where people originally (and erroneously) thought that the community had come from. It’s been a delight to get to know a family of  English Romany Gypsies at St Michael and All Angels’ Church, Spencers Wood over the past couple of years. The connection has become strong and friendships have developed. A daughter was married in the church, Mum has become a volunteer at Caf’Active, the children attend local schools and the family is very supportive of the various fairs and events at the church. They are making great efforts to integrate into a culture that has shown itself to be accepting of theirs. They still travel, that’s a part of their culture and an expression of who they are, but it’s always lovely to see them when they’re in our neighbourhood.

The family has recently received tangible support from across the community regarding some issues with planners, over use of land which the family own. This support is a positive outcome of a relationship with neighbours based on mutual love, respect, understanding and acceptance, rather than suspicion and uninformed, blind judgment.

In his book The Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer has this to say;
“Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating.”

Jesus said, “Love your neighbour as yourself.” To the question “Who is my neighbour?”, the answer has to be “Who isn’t your neighbour?”

Blessings & peace.

Revd Paul Willis

Read more here.

  • Bible Study Course
  • Knights Children's Holiday Club in Shinfield
  • Music at St Mary's
  • Swallowfield Church Fete
  • Beech Hill choral evening
  • St Mary's Church Fete
  • Benefice Hereford Cathedral Trip
  • St Michael's Summer Fete
  • Dads & Kids

Read more here.

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