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February E-Magazine 2021

In this edition of E-Magazine we have:

  • A Tribute to Kathleen Anderson

  • Christmas Services at St Nicholas

  • Christmas Tree Trail 2020

  • Coming Together Online for a Carol Service

  • Faith as small as a mustard seed: a reflection on the Drive-in Carols

  • A Time with God - a new Mission Area initiative

  • Update from St James

  • Time with God Advert

  • Reflections on Christmas at St Peter's, Wapley

  • DailyHope Phoneline

  • Repairs to St Mary's Church

  • St Mary's Roof Repairs and Fundraising

  • Services throughout the Parish

  • Lent Focus in Yate Parish, Drops Like Stars By Rob Bell

  • St James - Wednesday Zoom Coffee Morning in February

For a full printable magazine click the file below

Feb Mag 2021 Print Ready
Download PDF • 687KB


A Tribute to Kathleen Anderson

In October this magazine carried an appreciation of all the work that Kathleen had done during the 11 years that she served as Church Warden of St. Mary’s. She retired at the APCM in September so that she could sell her home and move north to Harrogate to be close to her family. Regrettably the sale of her house was delayed until mid-January which meant that Kathleen remained in Yate for Christmas and it was there that she passed away on 28 December.

Kathleen will be remembered for her tireless devotion to the service of the church. I would frequently find her in the office counting money or working out attendance data for the various reports that we have to do. She will also be remembered for her desire to make sure we were always well fed! Her cakes were legendary, but she was also very much involved in the catering for every open day in the church and at the quiz evenings. What may not have been noticed so much was that she was also very knowledgeable and helped her team to amass significant points at every quiz. She also threw herself into community life and was a volunteer at both the Yate Foodbank and the Willow Tree Centre and was part of the Friends of the Heritage Centre. In these volunteer roles she revealed he warm heartedness towards those who were struggling with the challenges of life.

Life had not always been easy for Kathleen but she found a happy home in Yate and brought with her that Yorkshire sense of dry humour and zest for life that was determined to rise above whatever life threw at her and make the best of what God had given her. St Mary’s will not be the same without her - we will miss her.

Ian Wallace


Christmas Services at St Nicholas

Christmas was much quieter than we’re used to. With attendance restricted to 30 and no singing allowed the Christmas experience in church was very different.

The message of hope, comfort and joy was there nonetheless. The church was decorated with an artificial tree loaned by Sue Harrison, lights and stars on the windows facing the shopping centre courtesy of the two Johns and a lovely floral pedestal created by Sylvia. Lots to look at as we sat quietly at the start of the services.

The Christmas trail figures which had been around Abbotswood were brought into the church for the Crib service. The lights were turned down low as we awaited the families who had booked to attend. Most of the families who came were part of the Little Sparks toddler group run by Gail on Tuesday mornings. They are still meeting, although outside the church for now. The families were pleased to meet up and the children were very good. They would normally walk around the church hearing the Christmas Story at different stations, but this year they watched a PowerPoint presentation and listened to carols. Afterwards they enjoyed looking at all the Nativity trail figures while their parents had a socially-distanced catch up before going out into the darkness of Christmas Eve.

St Nicholas Christmas Day service was a joyous occasion even with masks covering most of our faces. We shall all be glad to be able to sing again but we enjoyed the recorded carols. Joanne and Iain took the service and it was lovely to see the final candle lit on the Advent Ring.

All of us at St Nicholas would like to thank our clergy who have worked so hard to provide comfort and joy to us all this

Christmas season. It isn’t easy to be cheerful all the time and we applaud them for the efforts they make on our behalf.


Christmas Tree Trail 2020

Tree Trail 2020 was organised in place of our usual Christmas Tree Festival – there was just no way we could manage to

Socially distance 50 trees inside St Mary’s church and as further lockdowns were likely, it was decided we should bring some Christmas cheer to local neighbourhoods by inviting sponsorship and decoration of a tree to be placed outside houses, businesses, schools etc.

Well, you did us proud – we achieved the magnificent total of sixty-four trees as widely spaced as Wickham Close in Chipping Sodbury, St James Church in Westerleigh, houses in south Yate and the furthest point of the new development at Laddon Garden Village.

We have received some wonderful feedback from trailers and local residents and hope you too enjoyed being involved. Many groups and families were spotted, trail sheets in hand, taking a close look at the trees to admire the decorations and complete the trail competition – some even completed the whole trail by bike!!

We are pleased to announce that £1,200 was raised which will be split between St Mary's Church and St Peter's Hospice to support their ongoing work in the local community. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this fabulous total.

As a team, the organisers are always looking at ways to improve our Christmas celebrations - your feedback or suggestions would be very welcome. Please send these to or leave us a message on 01454 313105.

Congratulations to the winners of the trail competition and raffle - thank you to everyone who took part.


Coming Together Online for a Carol Service

The best thing about Christmas is coming together. We see this in the carol services each year when people from across the parish read the readings and sing carols. This year we couldn’t hold carol services in the usual way so we held it online. The best thing about this carol service wasn’t the final product that we created, which was good; what was brilliant was how we put the carol service together. It was how we did it, not what we did.

The strange and wonderful thing about church is that if we set out on a calling, with a good objective, the final results speak of the goodness of those who took part. The objective of the online carol service was to involve as many people as we could. The great thing was that more people took part in the online carol service than would have if we had done a church service. We asked for volunteers for reading and ended up with so many we had to find extra poems for people to read.

Throughout December we published a different reading and carol twice a day and then on 20th we put it all together for the final service. It was fantastic to involve both the school and pre-school too. It was great to see how many people came together in a time when we were forced apart. The ministry team stepped up to be the choir as they were the only people allowed to sing.

Martin from the tech team worked his post production magic to make us sound better too. The Tech team recorded all the readers and published them online. Pam, our Administrator, made CD versions which went out to those without the internet and Bradley Stoke radio broadcast it on Christmas day. Each of us doing a little bit together, readers, singers, poem finders and the Tech Team all working together.

In lockdown we are told that we can’t do so many things, it would be easy to just give up. The online carol service showed that we, in Yate Parish, have risen to the challenge and held a carol service in a way we have never done before, showing that even in the darkest time the light can still shine.

Rev H Snook


Faith as small as a mustard seed:

a reflection on the Drive-in Carols

On the last Friday in November the council called to suggest holding a drive-in carol service. I told them we had thought about it, but couldn’t afford to do it. Then came the challenge: “If we can find the money, would you put it on?” I talked to the team and we agreed to give it a go, though still concerned about securing the funds, especially as we only had three weeks till the service. After talking to Ian, I thought “Faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains”. The most annoying thing about Jesus is that he is always right.

The next few weeks brought a series of challenges: how would we get hold of staging, sound systems, licensing from the council and Public Health England? How would we sell tickets - should we sell tickets - how would we fit the cars in? Then all the worries: what if loads of people turn up without tickets; what if nobody turns up; what if the sound system or screen crashes; what if loads of people catch Covid and blame us for it?

Christmas is often thought of as a nice story with children and fluffy bits. But the reality is that Christmas for Mary, Joseph and Jesus was scary and risky. We live in a very risk-averse society - I wouldn’t like to see the risk assessment for Jesus’ birth. Love is at heart a risky business - ask any parent, husband or wife. When Mary said yes to the angel she didn’t know what she was getting herself into, neither did Joseph. When we said yes to putting on a drive-in carol service in three weeks, nor did we. I suspect that Mary and Joseph regretted saying yes, just like we did.

In the end it was a fantastic event where the community came together in a safe way to stage it. There were 90 cars at each service, the tickets sold out really quickly, so we livestreamed the event for those who couldn’t get tickets. The service raised over £1000 for St Peter’s hospice. Our thanks go to Yate Town Council, Doddington Parish Council, Yate Shopping Centre, Esquires Coffee, Murray Hire for the wiring, Padscaff for the stage and the Churches of Yate and Chipping Sodbury.

The service really helped families and vulnerable people to celebrate Christmas in a safe way. Many people were very emotional on the night and thankful for a positive event.

I said that we were a light that shines in the darkness, showing that love and unity can overcome fear and despair. It was a brilliant event that really touched those who came and those who watched online.

Now this is an easy event to write about because it succeeded. We might think that is what made it good in God’s eyes. That is to buy into our world’s values, but it’s the opposite of the Gospel. Our world values success and achievement above all else. For some, their whole identity is tied up with what they have achieved. This is awful when you think about it because it excludes so many people, it’s an elitist idea propagated by those who, by their own definition, have achieved.

Gospel means good news: the good news of Jesus is that he is not interested in achievement, he just wants us to try. Jesus wants us to say yes to him and be faithful. If we fail or if the result isn’t dramatic Jesus doesn’t mind, Jesus wants us to be faithful and say yes. Jesus is as pleased with a yes that leads to a phone call to a lonely friend as what we did with the carols.

We live in a world full of fear, that makes it hard to take the risk of saying yes. Saying yes to love makes you vulnerable. I wouldn’t be writing this if the carols was a disaster, which it could have been. I believe that Jesus isn’t bothered about the success of the carols, Jesus is proud of us for coming together feeling the fear and saying yes. Each of us involved with faith as small as a mustard seed said yes, we had a go together and that is the story of Christmas in Bethlehem and in Yate.


Time with God – a new Mission Area initiative

During these Covid times while we are unable to get to church, we are launching a new way to feel connected across our mission area. For just 15 minutes once a week you can join with others to listen to a live reflection – all you need is a phone. See the ad on page 8 for details of how to join.

Christine Ward from St Nix was asked to test the service and said: "I was surprised at how easy it was to get connected!”

Why not give it a go?


Update from St James

The Christmas season was unlike any we’ve known before, without the usual round of fundraisers, social events and carols. However, we did our best to keep the community spirit alive with several members of the congregation and village contributing their baking and newly-acquired wreath-making skills to ensure we could satisfy all the orders we received; and we held a prize draw (you may have seen the draw live on the Parish Facebook page). Many thanks to all who bought from us – we raised over £900. We also held a socially-distanced carol service in the churchyard ably led by Iain MacFarlane, and with musical accompaniment from Mary sheltering in the church porch from the rain that soaked the rest of us and our carol sheets!

St James will continue to offer a welcome to worship at 10.30 on Sundays and be open daily from 10 till 4 for private prayer for as long as regulations permit.

Following all these months when we’ve been unable to gather socially, we are about to trial a community coffee morning on Zoom starting on Wednesday 3 February. Initially this will follow the format of a short quiz, followed by time to chat over a cup of coffee, and finishing with prayer. If you have access to a computer or smartphone you are welcome to join in. Even if you don’t have a camera, you can still see others, listen and participate. Hywel will put the invitation link on the parish website.



Reflections on Christmas at St Peter’s, Wapley

The Christmas midnight service this year was inspiring but totally different from any midnight service at St. Peter’s in living memory. Every one needed to register a place at the service, people sat together “in bubbles” and all sixteen attendees were expected to scan the app by the door. The congregation washed their hands in sanitiser, wore their “masks” and were spaced apart so that the church actually looked full. Even then old friends were missing due to “isolating”, another new term for 2020. In addition singing Carols in church was forbidden and live music had not been heard in our church for ten months.

Imagine then when Rev Joanne started playing the organ and really raised everyone’s spirits; ‘O’ Come all ye faithful’ reminded us why we were there. The decorations organised by Heather Bezer were beautiful and the star on the top inspired hope. The Communion service led by Rev Ian Wallace and Rev Joanne Hodge meant rather more this year.

One hundred years ago in 1919 after Spanish flu and the war the Vicar of Wapley said a prayer of thankfulness for “coming through difficulties entered into by reason of much quarantinable illness and other circumstances from the terrible war closed some five months ago. Thank God for bringing us safely through it all”.

As a historian this reminds me of the history of the church and all the generations who have prayed here before. One of those people, long ago, hung a blue and white painting on the wall of the Virgin and Child painted on tin. As a Christian this reminds me of the importance of celebrating the birth of a special baby. Perhaps in 2021 we too will all be thanking God for bringing us safely through it all.

Jenny Shiles


DailyHope phone line

DailyHope, a free national telephone line, offers music, prayers and reflections as well as full worship services from the Church of England at the end of the phone. A Church of England initiative in partnership with CONNECTIONS at Holy Trinity Claygate, and Faith in Later Life. The line – which is available 24 hours a day on 0800 804 8044 – has been set up particularly with those unable to join online church services during the period of restrictions in mind; to provide comfort and spiritual nourishment to the most isolated in our society.


Repairs to St. Mary’s Church

We have known for some time that the roof at St Mary’s Church is in urgent need of repair. Many of you will have been aware of buckets placed at strategic points along the north aisle below the various leaks, and the church now features on English Heritage’s “at risk register”. As a result, we have been working for some time to secure grant funding for a major repair project and have already submitted several unsuccessful applications to the Heritage Lottery Fund.

We have, however, remained persistent and are delighted to say that in November we were awarded a significant grant by Historic England and the Department for Culture Media and Sport for Phase 1 of this work, to repair the roof above the north aisle. Phases 2 & 3 involve repairing the roof above the Lady Chapel, installing a disabled toilet just off the porch, refurbishing the kitchen area and making it more accessible by resolving the problem of the steps and re-ordering the church to improve visibility and our audio-visual systems. We continue to seek grant funding for these later phases.

The current grant from Historic England comes with a challenge. The funding must be spent by the end of this financial year (i.e. by 31 March 2021) and only covers 80% of the cost. We therefore have to raise the remaining 20% of the cost for Phase 1 within the next two months. St Mary’s DCC have some funds set aside for this work, and we are seeking additional grant funding at the present time. However, we remain at least £30,000 short. Elsewhere in this edition you will see an article telling you one of the ways in which you can be involved in raising funds.

We also have to get on with the work as fast as possible and you may already have seen the scaffolding being erected. It will eventually include a false roof over the works so will be significant and unsightly for a while, but it is necessary. The contractors have also requested that we close the church for the duration of the work. This means that they can get on quicker with the job instead of having to spend much of Friday each week clearing up. It also enables them to shroud the

inside with plastic sheeting to collect the dust and debris, thus protecting the interior of the church. We have therefore moved the 10am Sunday morning service across to the Youth Centre and the mid-week Communion to St. Nix. Because capacity in the Youth Centre is restricted you will need to inform Pam (Parish Office) if you wish to attend the service so that she can book you a place – those who don’t book will only be admitted if there are free spaces.

The work will cause inconvenience, but at the end of it we will have a church in much better condition to pass on to the next generation. If you have any queries about the works then please get in touch with me.

Ian Wallace


St Mary’s Roof Repairs and Fundraising

Monday 11 January was a momentous day for St Mary’s as the first scaffolding was erected so that the roof repairs could start. This is phase one of a programme of works and will see repairs undertaken to the two main areas that have been the most troublesome over the past seven years - hopefully no more buckets to dodge as you walk down the aisle! We have been awarded a grant of £223,477 from the Cultural Recovery Capital Works Fund which represents 80% of the total cost, leaving us with around £55,000 to find by 31 March 2021, the deadline for completing this work.

  • A working group has been set up and we have an ambitious programme to raise the additional funds. Our plans include: We have secured a grant of £10,000 from the Gloucester Historic Churches Fund

  • We will be writing to every member of the Parish to ask for their help

  • We will design, print and deliver a flyer to every household in Yate

  • We are also working on a project inviting sponsorship of roof tiles – certificates will be created; a visual display will be mounted on boards outside the church showing the progress of our fundraising and a memory book created for retention by St Mary’s showing a pictorial record and names of all sponsors.

We continue to seek additional grant funding to support further roof works and work on the interior as described in the Rector’s article.

To use the words of our architect Bonnie “there are exciting times ahead and it is really happening!!”

Christine Dolton and Mary Farrell


Sunday 7 February

2nd Sunday Before Lent—GOLD

Proverbs 8:1-22, 31 Colossians 1:15-20 John 1:1-14

St Mary

10.00am Combined All Age Service of the Word

6.30pm 630Praise—follow link on website

St Nix

10.30am Holy Communion

St James

10.30am Holy Communion - live stream

St Peter

4.00pm Book of Common Prayer

1662 Evensong

Sunday 14 February

Sunday next Before Lent—GOLD

2 Kings 2:1-12 2 Corinthians 4:3-6 Mark 9:2-9

St Mary

10.00am Combined All Age Communion

6.30pm 630Praise—follow link on website

St Nix

10.30am Morning Prayer

St James

10.30am Holy Communion - live stream

St Peter

4.00pm Holy Communion Book of

Common Prayer 1662

Wednesday 17 February

Ash Wednesday—PURPLE

Isaiah 58:1-12 Matthew 6:1,16-21

St James

11.00am Ash Wednesday Service

live streamed

Sunday 21 February

1st Sunday of Lent—PURPLE

Genesis 9:8-17 1 Peter3:18-end Mark 1:9-15

St Mary

10.00am Combined All Age Service of the Word

6.30pm 630Praise—follow link on website

St Nix

10.30am Holy Communion—live stream

St James

10.30am Holy Communion

St Peter

4.00pm Book of Common Prayer

1662 Evensong

28 February

2nd Sunday of Lent—PURPLE

Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16 Romans 4:13-end Mark 8:31-end

St Mary

10.00am Combined All Age Communion

6.30pm 630Praise—follow link on website

St Nix

10.30am Holy Communion - live stream

St James

10.30am Morning Prayer

St Peter

4.00pm Holy Communion Book of

Common Prayer 1662

St Mary’s Services—Change of Venue

Due to the current works being undertaken to St Mary's Church roof, the 10am Service will be held in St Mary's Youth Centre. Please call Pam on 07708 159409 or email — to book a place due as there are limited spaces. Many thanks.

Please Note: Mid Week Communion

has moved to St Nix 9.45am on a Thursday.


Lent Focus in Yate Parish

Drops Like Stars By Rob Bell

This year we will be using Rob Bell’s book ‘Drops Like Stars’ for our Lent focus. The book centres on how, when we encounter pain and suffering, our lives are disrupted and we are forced to take a new path, to create new expectations and to evaluate our relationship with God. The course will take place over six weeks:

Week 1: The art of disruption

Week 2 The art of honesty

Week 3: The art of the ache

Week 4: The art of solidarity

Week 5: The art of elimination

Week 6: The art of failure

As well as organising lent study groups, we will be producing a sermon series based on the themes of the book and a series of podcasts which will be available on our website for you to engage with. More information will be on our website as we approach Ash Wednesday.

I have found this book really useful in thinking through the experience of the past year and if you would like to obtain a copy for yourself it is available to order online either in hard copy or as an e-book.

Rev Gail Thomas


St James - Wednesday Zoom

Coffee Morning In February

The coffee morning starts on 3 Feb at 10am and will run throughout February. We will start the coffee morning with a short agape service. All you will need for this is a piece of cake or biscuit and a drink. We will have a short quiz for 10 mins (It will be easy Hywel said no cooking questions). Then a chat for about 20 min. If lots of people come we can go into breakout rooms to make things more manageable. Finally, we will come back together for a blessing.

Meeting ID: 810 1932 8072

Passcode: 482269


Long ago, a parishioner hung this

blue and white painting on the wall

of St Peter’s Church, Wapley.

The Virgin and Child is painted on tin.

As Christians this reminds us

of the importance of celebrating

the birth of a special baby.


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