Mortimer Benefice

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If you would like to speak with a priest in complete confidence telephone the Vicar, Fr. Paul Chaplin – 01189 331718

Click here to read the Vicar's letter 4th November 2020.

Weekly Newsletter

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View the latest weekly newsletter below.

Weekly Newsletter 29th to 6th November 2020

The Sunday Link 29th November 2020

The Benefice will be live-streaming the forthcoming services

at St. John’s, Mortimer via Zoom

Sunday 22ndNovember at 10 am

The Feast of Christ the King

Sunday 29thNovember at 6 pm

The Advent Procession

Sunday 20thDecember at 4 pm

The Carol Service – Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols

Thursday 24thDecember at 5 pm


Thursday 24thDecember at 11.30 pm

Midnight Mass

Friday 25th December at 10 am

Christmas Day



Please join to celebrate and give thanks at the Mortimer, MWE & Padworth

Online Sunday Morning Eucharist for 30th August 2020 at 10.00 am - at Zoom                    `

If you have difficulties please contact the tech team - Lorna/Louis 01189333136


Our guest preacher this week will be Fr Jonathan Ewer SSM, D. MIN.


‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself, take up his cross and follow me’. MATTHEW 16.
Prayer Thought: To follow Jesus and live his way may mean derision, hardship and suffering, but dying to self centredness and learning to love as God loves brings true purpose and real direction to our lives, to our families, to our communities, to our church and to our world.

Reflections on the Gospel reading:

This Sunday’s readings warn us against making the Gospel message too cosy.

    When someone says: ‘Now, let’s make this absolutely clear’ don’t we sometimes become suspicious that the obfuscation which is likely to follow will make everything absolutely unclear? Jesus knew that whatever he taught could not be misunderstood, providing we want to listen to and grasp and what he’s telling us. This Sunday’s Gospel tells us Jesus 'began to make it clear to his disciples that he was to suffer grievously’ and when Peter heard this message he didn’t like it and his first reaction was to remonstrate vehemently. Nevertheless, Jesus went on: ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself, take up his cross and follow me’. What could be clearer than that? Yet there is always the temptation to misinterpret Jesus’ words or, more precisely, to try and adapt his teaching to what we would have preferred him to have said and cosy things down. Peter didn’t like what Christ said because the implication for him - and for us - is that if we are to follow Christ we must prepare ourselves for a life of self-denial, self-renunciation and self-giving - which seems a far cry from the more liberal way of life most of us would prefer.

    Peter had made clear that he understood who Jesus was when he said (preceding paragraph): ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ Yet when it came to reconciling that understanding with Jesus telling them that he must suffer grievously and die in order to be raised on the third day then that was just too much for Peter. And if we are not careful we fall into the same trap. Perhaps nothing stands in the way of us living Christ’s way and our own salvation so much as our own ‘cosy’ versions of Christianity - the sort that wants to be a follower of Christ on our own terms and without the ‘nasty bits’ of self-renunciation and sacrifice.  

    Bishop Tom Wright, in his commentary on this part of Matthew's Gospel, likens it to Lewis Carroll's ‘Alice in the Looking Glass’ in which he created a mirror-image world where to get anywhere you must go in the opposite direction. Christ's teaching is a bit like that: If you want to be a follower renounce yourself. If you want to save your life be prepared to lose it. The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) spells out these apparent riddles and contradictions. Our society tends to take the Peter approach: ‘You can't do that!’ To be a success you must be strong not weak; rich, not poor; assertive, not meek.  

    When Christ looks at our world today to whom does he speak - to those who have seen their loved ones killed, to those who have had their lives smashed to pieces, to rioters, to parents, to teachers, to police, to politicians? Doesn’t he speak to every one of us saying just what he said to that crowd in Caesarea Philippi: ‘When the Son of Man comes, he will reward each one according to his behaviour’ ? Isn’t that really clear enough?

    Again, To follow Jesus and live his way may mean derision, hardship and suffering, but dying to self centredness and learning to love as God loves brings true purpose and real direction to our lives, to our families, to our communities, to our church and to our world. God bless. Paul


Reflections on returning to our church buildings…

For some time now a number of us have been sustained by our benefice’s online Sunday and Daily Services. But in the last months a group of us have also been acting as stewards/assistant vergers for the re-opening of our benefice’s church buildings. There have been ‘hours for prayer’ every week at St John Baptist, Padworth, and at St Saviour's, Mortimer West End. And from September there will be a Eucharist in church on Sunday mornings for limited numbers of households.


When we stand in the strictly-cordoned and clinical environment of our benefice’s church buildings, with a clipboard in front of us and the smell of alcoholic spray in the nostrils, it can sometimes feel a long way away from the mystical Eucharistic love-feast that Jesus initiated at the Last Supper. It might even seem that we have lost the sense of the Sabbath as a resting in-between time between the week ahead and the week just past. And, thus far, no singing, no sign of peace, no sharing of the same cup, no staying afterwards for coffee, and attendance by booking only.


Of course this is absolutely necessary if we are going to ease safely back into public worship. And we are nonetheless glad to witness to this.


Rather than being a ‘haven of escapism’ it feels as if the sacred space is itself touched and affected by the global situation - wounded almost. Yet, of course, believing that God, and therefore hope, transcends this virus is not the same as believing that God is aloof to our pain. We heard a story recently about a religious Sister/nun who, as a midwife, witnesses to God’s love on a daily basis in the extreme difficulties that the coronavirus brings to women already facing in childbirth some of the most challenging moments of their lives. The Sister reflected that perhaps we can offer a kind of eye in the storm of life in which people can take refuge and realise that whilst the storm might not pass quickly God is always there alongside us to offer to accompany us through it.


Many in the Christian community are still shielding and many can’t go to church and some church buildings remain closed. And for many of those who can go to church it may be only to enter for personal prayer - subject, of course, to all the current health and safety regulations. In these strange times perhaps it can feel like our church buildings have become strange and abandoned sacred spaces. And we might be tempted to ask 'where is God in all this? Is he away on business?’


In reflecting on how these restricted, sterile environments have been endured over these past few months - not just by us, but by many of the poorest and most vulnerable people in our world as they struggle to find their daily bread - we are reminded that God’s business is with us even in the most difficult of situations. And so let us remember to pray that we may know that he is present with us and let us, with one heart and mind, pray for those in our world most affected by coronavirus. God bless,



Mortmer, MWE & Padworth Sunday Morning Eucharist 23rd August at 10.00 am


Please join to celebrate and give thanks at the Mortimer, MWE & Padworth Online Sunday Morning Eucharist 23rd August 2020 at 10.00 am - at Zoom

Mortimer Online Mission:

If you have difficulties please contact the tech team via 01189333136



Simon Peter spoke up: ‘You are the Christ,’ he said, ‘the Son of the living God.’

Jesus replied, ‘Simon son of Jonah, you are a happy man! Because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven. So I now say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church.’ Matthew 16: 16-18.


Prayer Thought: St Matthew’s Gospel tells us that the Christian Church has been entrusted with the ‘keys’ of God’s kingdom so that it may show the open doorway of salvation to all peoples. Let us pray for the Church’s missionary work of sharing the Good News of our all-loving and all-embracing heavenly Father.






If you have difficulties please contact the tech team via 01189333136



                          ‘LET IT BE TO ME ACCORDING TO YOUR WORD.’    Luke 1.38


Prayer Thought: The Christian Way holds before the world a promise of great joy and happiness. It describes a way of living and offers a mystery of life that is full and forever. And this Sunday’s Feast  - referred to variously as The Falling Asleep of the Blessed Mother, The Dormition of Mary, the Repose of the Blessed Virgin Mary and The Assumption of Our Lady - proclaims this deepest and most profound of Christian mysteries and promises.


When Mary heard God’s announcement and accepted her vocation she understood that God was entering into the human condition through her and embracing humanity in order to put an end to fear, anxiety and death and that we may live gracefully and truthfully in that fullness of life which is without end. The message of the Scriptures is that this believing young Hebrew mother experiences the realization of the Good News of what full life in God means for us all. Mary, the Bearer of God, lived this earthly life in the presence of God and was the first disciple of her Son. And this Feast proclaims that, after her falling asleep in death (Dormition), we can trust that she was assumed into heaven. And that this is the same joy which awaits all who live and die in the way of Christ. Let it be to me according to Your word. Thank you. God bless, Paul


Mortimer Eucharist

 Please join in the Mortimer Eucharist

Sunday 9th August 2020 at 10.00 am on Zoom
Tell me to come to you across the water.
Prayer Thought: Sometimes God is to be found where we least expect him.
He appears in joy and in anguish, in the mountain breeze and in the sea storm.
In our prayer we need the patience of Elijah to wait for God to speak to us,
and we need the the boldness of Peter to walk towards him when he calls.



The Feast of the Transfiguration is an annual festival in the Christian calendar that celebrates the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ. According to the three synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), Jesus and his disciples Peter, James and John went to a mountain in order to pray. Whilst they were there, Jesus was suddenly illuminated by a bright light, and the figures of the great prophets Moses and Elijah appeared beside him. A voice from the clouds declared that Jesus is ‘my Son’ to whom the disciples should listen. When the vision passed, Jesus asked his disciples not to tell anyone of what they witnessed. This event is referred to as the Transfiguration, due to Christ being changed from his earthly appearance to a heavenly one. The early Church considered it to be one of the greatest miracles of Jesus and is unique in that it happened to him rather than was performed by him. The Feast of the Transfiguration has been observed in various forms since at least as early as the ninth-century and is today celebrated by the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Anglican Churches, amongst others.

Christians perceive the Transfiguration both as the revelation of Christ’s glory and as a foreshadowing of the Resurrection. Scripture often portrays high mountains as the meeting place of heaven and Earth, and Jesus’ Transfiguration on the mountain suggests that he is the bridge that brings the two together. The presence of Moses and Elijah during the moment of revelation also demonstrates that Jesus both fulfils and surpasses the teachings of the Hebrew prophets. The Transfiguration is of particular importance to the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches, who believe that it was a moment when Christ revealed the glory of the Holy Trinity. It has often been said, a little simplistically,  that whereas the Western Church emphasises the suffering and Crucifixion of Jesus and atonement the Eastern Church emphasises the Transfiguration of Jesus meaning that the theology of Eastern Christianity is more concerned with spiritual glorification.

Let us pray that we may be like Christ and so full of grace and truth as to be fully alive human beings.



Archbishop Stephen Cottrell SCP

Archbishop Stephen Cottrell SCP

Here is the Service which introduces Archbishop Stephen as the new Archbishop of York.

When Archbishop Stephen was Bishop of Reading he was very generous in his visiting of the Stratfield Mortimer benefice: to baptise and to confirm, to celebrate the Eucharist; to lead a conference, to teach at St Mary’s school, to bless new school buildings and to consecrate St Mary’s school altar. Let us give thanks to God and pray for Archbishop Stephen’s new ministry to the diocese of York, to the Northern Province and all its communities and people, and to the whole Church of Christ.