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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

New year, new start

2020. A new year, a new decade.

Since this is the first magazine of the year, let me wish you a happy New Year.

At the start of a every year, the talk is all of new year resolutions. One in four of us will have made one. Interestingly, surveys suggest that only a quarter of those managed to keep them all year with a bigger percentage (nearly a third) saying they failed to keep any!

Word on the street (well another survey) indicates that an even higher proportion will try to make and keep a resolution this year with young people more likely to try than those of us more long in the tooth.

The top five things we committed to in 2018 were:
1. More exercise
2. Losing weight
3. Improving diet
4. Saving money
5. Taking up a new hobby

It seems to me there is a bit of a theme; we’re all trying to improve ourselves!

However, thinking a bit deeper and looking at the motivation, there is an underlying current of guilt in many of these resolutions. We’re all worried about our lack of exercise, our weight, our diet, our finances…

I thought it might be worth a few moments to think about this. While it is good to take stock and review how we can improve our health and wellbeing we need to be careful. Society puts a lot of pressure on us to be ‘more’ than we are, sometimes with huge consequences. The problem is we’ll never have the perfect body, the perfect life. It simply doesn’t work out that way. And there is cost; stress and anxiety among our population is at a terrifying level. Day after day, I find myself in conversation with someone who wants to talk to me about their feelings of inadequacy or guilt.

I’d like to give you a different perspective to consider. You see, as Christians, while aware of our many shortcomings (!) we know we can never be enough if we try to measure ourselves against perfection. There is only one perfect being – God himself. However, he doesn’t require us to be perfect. He recognises that we’re going to struggle, day in day out, trying to live up to things beyond our reach. He knows we’ll mess up time and again. BUT he doesn’t want us beating ourselves up or feeling guilty.

This is what is at the heart of the Christian faith. It’s the ultimate new beginning. Every day is a ‘new year’. God invites us to come to him with our inadequacies and be restored. Our only resolution can be that if we mess up we will ‘fess up and let God help us to start again.

God also doesn’t want us living with guilt and inadequacy. That does nothing for anyone. He wants us to be a new creation in him, restored and forgiven. So, if you’re feeling weighed down by life, let me invite you to take a look at what we believe or perhaps renew a long-held but flagging faith. Drop in and see one of the ministers or come and meet us at one of the services. We’d love to share the message of forgiveness and hope with you. We’d love to tell you that you are a much-loved Child of God, an heir to the kingdom of heaven. Now that sounds like a really good start to the year.

Revd Cath Spence

 

Read more here.

  • Snowdrop Sunday
  • Dads & Kids Play Group
  • Benefice Tea Service - St Marys
  • All Saints - First Sunday Services
  • Cafe Service at St Michaels
  • Music at St Mary's
  • Quizz Night at Beech Hill
  • Shinfield Weekly Kids Club

Read more here.

Benefice Calendar
Newsletter (not currently available)

Loddon Reach Safeguarding Policy

Please click in the circle below to see the Safeguarding Policy for each of our churches.

The Church of England is called to share the good news of God’s salvation through Jesus Christ. The life of our communities and institutions is integral to how we address this task. The good news speaks of welcome for all, with a particular regard for those who are most vulnerable, into a community where the value and dignity of every human being is affirmed and those in positions of responsibility and authority are truly trustworthy. Being faithful to our call to share the gospel therefore compels us to take with the utmost seriousness the challenge of preventing abuse from happening and responding well where it has.’

From ‘Promoting a Safer Church’, The Church of England’s Safeguarding Policy Statement

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