July 2018
Men's Breakfast
Picture, men at Breakfast
The guest at our breakfast this month was Canon Ben Preece Smith, the Gloucester Diocesan Secretary. After a Full English Breakfast he told us that his childhood was influenced by family involvement in the church, politics, and social activities. Despite having Protest parents, he was sent to a Roman Catholic School where he noticed that the laity - ordinary members of the congregation - had little involvement, leaving it all to the priest, and this would affect his later choices in life. (Return to top)

Being good with numbers he lodged in Baptist accommodation in Bristol whilst he qualified as an accountant and went to live in Fairford, South Gloucestershire. He first job was with one of the 'Big Four' accountancy firms. Whilst the pay was good he felt something was lacking so went to work for Christian Aid, where he could give something back to the community, and this enlarged his outlook to involve the 'global' church. (Return to top)

When his first child was born, he realised that commuting to London took up much of the day and he would miss his daughter's childhood so took a job as Director of Finance for Gloucester Diocese, from where he later moved to become Diocesan Secretary. In that role he's responsible for overseeing much of the diocesan activities, staff and departments, with specific responsibility for come activities, which he described. (Return to top)

His past circumstances and interest in the global church, together with his current Diocesan responsibilities, has brought his interest in the wider church to the fore and he described something of a vision for the church of the future, with less focus on church buildings, used for not much more than an hour on a Sunday morning, to his experience and vision for more community-based church run by Christian laity taking their Christian ideals into the local community. (Return to top)
School Leaving Service
picture, School Leavers 2018
As usual, we were pleased to welcome the pupils and parents of Ann Cam School into church at the end of the summer term (June 20th) for their end of term Service and award ceremony. The Head Teacher first presented a gift to the teacher of years 5 and 6 before giving merit awards to several pupils from each year to recognise their academic achievement or effort in various ways during the year. The Service included two hymns and prayers led by year 6 pupils. (Return to top)

The emphasis was on the unusually large group of year 6 leavers who would be going on to Secondary Education when school starts again in the autumn. The18 pupils of year 6 sang a song they'd written about their time at the school and were presented with personalised 'hoodies' and mementos of their time. (Return to top)
'Rays of Sunshine' Concert
Picture, Dymock Choir
A sizeable and appreciative audience enjoyed a varied and entertaining programme of music presented by over thirty young musicians from the community plus members of St Mary's Choir.  Some performers were making their first public debut, others were older, experienced musicians who had returned specifically for the occasion.  The evening raised nearly £300 for the Gloucestershire Historic Churches Trust who have recently awarded a £2,250 grant towards our new heating and lighting upgrades for the church; much needed for the majority of the year but thankfully, not necessary on this occasion held on a delightful warm summer evening! (Return to top)