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Dear Friends

What can I say afresh about the hopes and dreams of a New Year, that doesn't offer some promises and platitudes that you will have heard before, or indeed made yourself many times over? Well one thing I can promise in this letter is that there will be no mention of the “B....t” word. Others can try and make sense of where we are with it all, I'm afraid that I cannot.

What I can say of course is that I wish you all a very Happy and blessed New Year! The year 2019 may bring with it all sorts of things, but let us hope that at least it brings some clarity and a great deal of peace to this world of ours.

We have been blessed with making new friends this past year. The Ewelme Benefice is now a real and precious part of a new identity. Looking ahead is what we do at the beginning of each new year.  Anticipating good times and being prepared for times of uncertainty is now something we can do together with greater confidence.

Getting to know one another is such a joy and can be so full of surprises. It takes a little courage sometimes to speak to someone for the first time. Churches and their communities are full of people who are regulars, know each other well and are familiar with the services. They become comfortable in each other's company. Yet we can also at our best, be people of welcome and warmth to all comers. A kind word, a smile and a listening ear can work wonders and particularly so for those who have ventured into our midst for the first time.

How often have you been surprised to find that what you had assumed about a person, to be completely wrong and nothing like the person you imagined? That is the surprising joy and blessing of having the courage to take the first step and to speak. New friendships can blossom and a feeling of involvement and belonging will be an encouragement to all.

In our magazines The Messenger and in the Village News for Uley, Nympsfield and Owlpen, there is so much going on, that there is really no excuse ever to claim to be bored. If you wish you can involve yourself in any number of interests. Take on a role in church circles, or in the community at large. Volunteer for so much and be sustained in all the celebratory events that take place, with good food, refreshments and fellowship. You can listen to and take part in the making of wonderful music. Learn and be stimulated in learning about many things, including some biblical topics that are offered in short courses in Lent and Advent for example. All you need is the energy to give it a go!

In our still relatively new Ewelme Benefice, there is so much to discover about ourselves and our communities. So much to give thanks for and so many new friendships to make.

We have the best pattern for the way in which we might venture out into a world of new opportunities and new friendships with the words in JOHN 1. 35-39: 

The next day, John was standing with two of his followers. Jesus walked by. When John saw him, he said, `Look, see God's Lamb!' The two followers heard what John said, so they went after Jesus. Jesus turned. He saw them coming after him. He said to them, `What are you looking for?' They said, `Teacher, where do you live?'

Jesus said, `Come and see.'

Dear friends – take courage, trust and come and see.

From Ian


Dear Friends

Well 2018 was a milestone year for St Mark's. Philip finished as Chapelwarden at the end of April and I stepped down as Secretary, then on Sunday 24th June Dursley, Uley, Nympsfield and Owlpen became the Ewelme Benefice and so our services have reduced to just two per month, on the first and third Sundays. So 2019 will be a year of uncertainty. On the down side we are too close to St James and there is very limited parking, but on the plus side we do, and have had all the modern facilities, meeting rooms, kitchen and toilets since 1994 and it's all structurally sound but what we really need is a much larger congregation and, more importantly some young people, to survive.

At the end of November the Christmas Market was held in St James. We had a stall and Kath's daughter Shirley had prepared a guess the name of the Teddy Bear and the Cheeky Monkey. The Teddy was won by Diane Ansell and the Cheeky Monkey by a lady in May Lane who was very pleased with her win. Our thanks go to Shirley not only for this but also the beautiful and delicious cakes she makes for our refreshments after services.

In December we put the church to good use as Clare and I put on two Christmas Wreath making workshops on Sunday 2nd and Monday 3rd December. We started with a demonstration and then it was over to everyone to do their own thing. Seasonal refreshments were served during the afternoons and people felt that it was relaxing and a good start to their Christmas preparations.

On Sunday 13th January we will be having our Epiphany Carol service, followed by refreshments. Help with refreshments and serving would be greatly appreciated.

Wishing you a Very Happy and Peaceful New Year

From Judith

Diary for January 2019

Wednesday 2nd          2.30pm Prayer Group meet in the Omega Rooms

Sunday 6th                11.30am Morning Prayer (BCP)

Sunday 13th               4.00am Epiphany Carol service followed by refreshments.

Sunday 20th              11.30am Morning Prayer (C

Church opening

St Mark’s church will now only be unlocked on Wednesdays and Fridays.  A notice will be put on the door directing visitors to contact numbers for those who have keys.  If you want to access the church outside these days, please contact the Parish Office.


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