Cafe Alive! is open every Wednesday afternoon from 3pm - 4:30pm in term time.
Sat 11th 2.30pm - Christmas Fayre
Sun 12th 10.30am - Remembrance Sunday Worship – Ms Siobhan Antoniou
Fri 17th 7.30pm - Southcote Community Choir Concert
Sat 18th 11.00am - Advent Retreat at St Andrew’s
Sun 19th 10.30am - Morning Communion – Rev Robert Barthram
Sun 26th 10.30am - Morning Worship – Mr Mike Penny
Thurs 30th 7.30 pm - Elders’ Meeting.
Sun 3rd 10.30am - Morning Worship – Mr Scott Wheeler
Thurs 7th 2.30pm - Grange Fellowship
I hope this newsletter finds you well and warm as we get ready for winter. I’ve had a very
busy past month with various courses, including Godly Play training and conflict transformation
training for student ministers. Godly Play was completely new to me. It is an imaginative
approach to exploring faith using story, wonder, and play. Initially designed to support children’s
spirituality, it has proven equally valuable for adults seeking creative ways into scripture. I
enjoyed the training so much that I am looking forward to incorporating elements of Godly Play
into the upcoming advent retreat. I also led my first Parade Service at Tilehurst and had a
brilliant time meeting the many children and their families who are connected to our churches
through the Scouts and Brownies groups.
However, between my training courses and time spent with church folk, I have also found
myself wrestling with the news. I am sure we have all felt horrified by the loss of the lives and
the dignity of people caught up in conflicts in Israel, Gaza and Ukraine. It can be very
challenging or even overwhelming to have a 24-hour news cycle that offers us so much
information but few ideas for what we can possibly do to help.
But November is a special month. It is a time when Remembrance Day is marked, and we
remember that the hideous wars of the past have ended and that eventually peace has broken
through. Somehow God must have been at work weaving reconciliation and healing into the
fabric of the world so that now countries who were once considered enemies are now
considered friends. November is also when we enter the season of Advent. It takes time and
intention to enter a mystery as special as the very word of God becoming a wordless baby and
living among us. It is so easy to miss it in the busyness of life with our attention pulled in so
many competing directions. But in troubling times I am drawn back to the Advent story: how
could something as momentous as God’s entry into the world be so easily missed by almost
everyone, and still against all odds, define hopefulness?
I am organising an Advent Retreat on 18th November from 11am – 4.00 pm at St. Andrew's
church to offer an opportunity to prepare for Advent. It is a chance to step away from the hustle
and bustle and to focus on God's presence and promises. We will have moments of prayer,
singing, conversation and reflection as well as some time to enjoy each other’s’ company over
our packed lunches. If you would like to come along, please let me know by Sunday 10th
November by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best wishes, Siobhan
United Reformed Church, Reading