Author Archives: St Patricks Church

Vacancy for an Accounting Officer

Clifton Diocese: Accounting Officer: Full-time (35 Hours Per Week)

This vacancy provides an opportunity to join the Curial team based in Alexander House, Bristol as an Accounting Officer.

Reporting to the Diocesan Financial Administrator, this role is based in the Finance Office.  The team is small and friendly, but also very busy.   The key components of this role are purchase ledger, sales ledger and banking administration.  The role also covers a wide range of other tasks related to maintaining the nominal ledger and general bookkeeping.

As well as bookkeeping or finance experience, flexibility, attention to detail, a high level of accuracy and the ability to prioritise effectively are all essential skills required for this role.  Experience of an accounting software package e.g. Sage or working in a charity would be useful, but not essential.

Salary and other benefits: £23,500 pa depending upon experience. 33 days holiday per annum including public holidays and a 5% matched contributory pension scheme.

For full details of this vacancy and an application form visit:

For an informal discussion about this role please contact Janet Parker, Diocesan Financial Administrator, Clifton Diocese on 0117 902 5591.

Closing date for receipt of applications: Friday 9th March 2018

Interviews will be held in March.

1st Sunday of Lent (B) 2018

The first part of today’s Gospel reading is totally symbolic in nature.
I paraphrase it.
Soon after his nomination by John the Baptist as ‘The One Who Was To Come,’ Jesus needed to think and pray about this new calling. So he went off by himself for a while.
He was well aware of the dangers attached to this calling and the many enemies he would make.
He was sorely tempted to just forget about it and disappear back to Nazareth and the quiet life there. But he realised that if he did that he would forever be plagued with regrets and guilt for failing to respond to God’s calling. So trusting in God’s goodness and help he made his decision and went back to join John the Baptist at the Jordan.

The second part of today’s Gospel reading is a very brief synopsis of the public life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.
Soon after John was arrested and imprisoned, Jesus went to Galilee (his home province). There he spent most of the rest of his short life moving about in the towns and villages doing good and speaking of the Kingdom of God.
If I do not grasp something of the meaning and reality of the Kingdom of God then I have missed what Christ’s coming and his message is about.
The Kingdom of God is here. I am in the Kingdom of God. Those yet to be born, we now alive on this earth, and those gone before us into Eternal Life, are all part of the one reality – the Kingdom of God. Call it God’s family, call it the Mystical Body of Christ, call it Eternal Life, call it the Communion of Saints, call it the Holy Trinity family, call it the Life of God. In the Kingdom of God we are all brothers and sisters. In the Kingdom of God there is no Jew or Gentile, no black or white or brown, no male or female. All are Gods children sharing in God’s Eternal Life. The Kingdom of God is God looking with delight on his beloved children, all different, all loved, all cherished.
The same is true for the whole of creation. All things, great and small, belong to the Kingdom of God.
The message, the invitation, is to live out our lives here on earth as members of, as part of, the Kingdom of God.
Why not let our parish be the visible embodiment of the Kingdom of God.
Why not live here and now as we will live when we rise with glorified bodies.
Why not go about doing good and speaking of the Kingdom of God when the opportunity presents itself.

Fostering in Wiltshire

The following letter has been received and demonstates the need for more foster carers in our area:




Dear Churches                                                                                          

Recruiting foster carers in Wiltshire

Every year we need to recruit more than 30 foster carers to look after Wiltshire children who need loving and safe foster homes.  Where appropriate, Wiltshire Council wants to offer a foster home to every child who can no longer live at home and so comes into our care. 

We would be delighted if your church could work together with Wiltshire Council to help in our fostering recruitment drive. We need to recruit foster carers to look after our children so that they are not moved out of the county, have less placement breakdowns and disruptions and can maintain a sense of continuity in their lives.

To support this, we would welcome the opportunity to meet with you to discuss how we can work together.  Perhaps we can plan a presentation/small talk to your church on fostering, and how your parishioners/members can contribute to improving the lives of Wiltshire children who need foster care. To take the next step, please contact Sarah Gray, Assistant Team manager, who leads on fostering recruitment – 01225 716510 or

Thank you for taking the time to read this and we look forward to hearing from you.

Your sincerely,

Matthew Turner
Service Manager – Placement Services

6th Sunday of the Year (B) 2018

I did mention last weekend that the Mass is the official, and symbolic act of gratitude, of God’s family in a particular area.
I also mentioned that down the centuries this official act of thanksgiving has accumulated various additives and accretions. The latter did have meaning and relevance at the time. However this relevance faded with time but the accretion remained. ( For example the official opening of parliament while being colourful, is for most people largely unintelligible). The power of symbols tends to be lost as time passes. Then new relevant symbols are needed but rarely initiated.
The original Mass was simply a meal of bread and wine shared together in someones home. The sort of meal shared with family and friends.
This shared meal was in direct response to the meal of bread and wine shared by Jesus of Nazareth and his disciples on Holy Thursday evening just before his arrest and execution. After this meal he asked them to do this in memory of him.
This memory of him is, that he was sent by the Father to bring us the Good News and all that this entails (as we saw for the last few weeks). This memory includes God’s total commitment to my welfare even if it requires the ultimate sacrifice – execution on a cross.
So Mass is remembering what God has done for me and us and saying thank you.
This shared meal expresses our unity as God’s family here in Corsham and our shared sense of gratitude.
This is simple, straightforward, crystal clear and effective. Or should be.
Some of the historical and outdated accretions were removed after Vatican 11 but quite a few still remain. These continue to obscure the essential nucleus of the Mass which is a simple shared meal.
Of course we human beings, both laity and clergy, become attached to our out of date, historical, and now irrelevant customs. Down the centuries laws and regulations are formulated as to the clothes that must be worn, what the bread must be like, what strength the wine must be, approved suppliers, what the make up of the candles must be, what the Ash Wednesday ashes must be like and how produced, Mass vessels, altar cloths etc etc must be this way and that way.
What the Mass is and what it is about gets lost in the dense vegetation and verbiage. How much more out of touch can one get than having a get together meal with your family and insisting that you speak in Latin throughout the meal; a language which none of them know!!
For the time being we are more or less stuck with what we have as regards the Mass.
The trick is to train oneself to see through all the shrubbery and recognise the simple meal of bread and wine shared together in grateful remembrance of our God’s goodness to us.

Traidcraft Sales

Sales last weekend amounted to £83. Many thanks.

Next Traidcraft  will be on 3rd & 4th March. Hospitality after both services will be part of the BIG BREW event – could we have some cakes please?

5th Sunday of the year (B) 2018

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast.”
This means that salvation is not and cannot be a reward for good works.
Catholic teaching is that faith or justification or salvation is a free gift from God.
Catholic teaching also requires good works for salvation.
This does not mean that by good works I can merit or gain or win eternal salvation.
Faith is a free gift from God. By faith in God I realise and believe in the many gifts which God my Creator has freely given me. I am free to accept or reject these free gifts. Believing in and accepting these free gifts will inevitably bring about a response from me. This response can only be gratitude. Gratitude naturally gives rise to respect and liking. This will naturally lead me to seek to please the giver of the gifts. This seeking to please the giver of the gifts leads to what we call good works. Therefore in this sense only do we understand the phrase ‘faith and good works are necessary for salvation.’
It is a natural progression. They are part of one and the same thing.
This understanding is widely overlooked, but it is a huge and all important difference.
Consider the following carefully;
1) I believe in God and in the free gifts of God. I understand and accept these free gifts. Out of gratitude to God for his goodness and generosity I strive to please God in every way I can.
2) I believe in God and the gifts of God. I want these gifts very badly. I believe that I have to obey God if I want to gain these gifts. My motivation is self interest. I am in constant fear that I will offend God and thus lose these gifts.
The first is the ‘Good News of great joy for all the people’ brought to us by Jesus of Nazareth. The second is the Old Testament belief and understanding of God.
The key here is a sense of gratitude. Gratitude to my God for His many free gifts.
To feel gratitude to someone I must have an understanding of what that person has done for me. I must regularly remind myself of, and think about, what that person has done for me. I must fan this flame of gratitude in my heart until it becomes the principle motivation in my life. This constant recalling of and increasing understanding of God’s free gifts to me must be the principle ingredient of all my prayer. Surely this was why Jesus ‘went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.’
All the above is just common sense. Something we are all aware of in our everyday relationships with people. Do you want your marriage partner and your children to like you and enjoy your company or do you want them to fear and obey you? Do you want your friends to accompany you on your holiday because they enjoy your company or because they are hoping that you will pay for them? Do you want to receive Christmas gifts because of the gratitude the givers feel towards you or because they are expecting much greater gifts in return? You be the judge.
Our weekly Mass is all about gratitude for gifts received.
It recounts to us, it reminds us – we God’s family here in Corsham – of God’s many gifts to us and expresses our gratitude, in an official and symbolic way. It is the act, the official act, not of individuals, but of a whole congregation together.
This is expressed together as a congregation when, led by the presider (the Priest), we all respond with one voice at the beginning of the canon of the Mass; The Lord be with you. And with your spirit. Lift up your hearts. We lift them up to the Lord. Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. It is right and just.
In all things relating to God and religion it is not what I do that matters. It is why I do it.

Diocesan Summer Camps

The Living Your Faith camps take place every August and and are a chance for the young people of the Clifton Diocese to grow in their faith, make friends and have fun during the summer holidays.

Each day is different on Summer Camp and for 2018, they have moved venue to the Viney Hill Christian Adventure Centre in the Forest of Dean. This provides the opportunity to offer a wider variety of activities in a beautiful part of the world.

They are held over two weeks: the first week for 7-11 year olds (Years 3 to 6) and the second week for 12-16 year olds (Years 7 to 11). The weeks are really aimed at Catholic young people but, should they be interested, people of no faith or any faith are welcome to attend.

Cost: £195 per person. In order to secure a place on the camps, you will need to send a completed booking form and a deposit of £50 to Stephen Spurrell.

Application Forms can be found here: Summer Camps Application Form 18

The weeks are underpinned by a sharing and living of our Christian Faith. We are treated to input by our cheerful chaplain everyday, followed by small group sharing and Mass. The young people are encouraged to contribute and actively participate in different areas of the Mass (Penitential Rite, Bidding Prayers, Offertory, Thanksgiving, Music). Young people respond well to this invitation to think a little deeper about their faith and why we do what we do during Mass.

As well as catechesis and Mass, the young people on camp will participate in some of the outdoor activities that are on offer at Viney Hill such as archery, climbing and biking. There will also be a range of other activities such as a quiz night, camp fire, craft activities, woodland walks and messy games night.

Each year the children and young people leave after our final Mass full of life, full of confidence for who they are and what their faith means to them. Living Your Faith means so many things, and to live it is a challenge we enjoy and fully participate in during the weeks at camp.

Find out more about the Summer Camps here


4th Sunday of the Year (B) 2018

Today I continue with what I said last weekend.
Jesus of Nazareth was sent by the Father to bring us ‘Good News.’
The Good news is that I am a child of God. God is intimately involved in my everyday life. God is totally dedicated to my physical and spiritual welfare. As a child of God I will inherit the Kingdom of my Father. This involves resurrection from death and sharing in the Eternal life of my God.
This is good news.
But that is not all. All the above is a free gift. It is not necessary to win or merit or gain it. It is a gift given to, or offered to, every human being by the Creator, with no strings attached.
Like every gift ( big or small ) it can be accepted or rejected by the intended receiver.
This is the teaching of Christianity. This is the Good News brought to us, from the Father, by Jesus of Nazareth. It is crystal clear. It is transparent. it is straightforward. it is unambiguous.

Today we speak about acceptance or rejection of the Good News. We speak of my response to this Good News. Whether I accept or reject the Good news, the consequences for me are basically unknown and unknowable in any detail.
At this stage we find that what is crystal clear and transparent becomes muddied and opaque. This is the result of human imagination and casuistry. Human beings, be they the authors of Scripture or theologians, try to second guess God. A typical example is the idea of Heaven and Hell. We human beings demand reward for what we consider as doing good and punishment for what we consider as doing bad. We transfer or attribute our own attitudes and biases to God. This is called anthropomorphism. Another example is the attributing to God, in the Bible, of the characteristics and outlook of medieval monarchs and rulers. Hence eternal life with God if you obey Him and the fires of hell if you disobey him. This is all very understandable concerning us human beings but must not be attributed to Our God.
If you want to cling on to the idea of heaven and hell as places of reward or punishment then at least try to understand it as accepting or deliberately rejecting a precious gift.

God is totally free. Because we are made in the image and likeness of God we too share in this freedom. This demands that we have choice. We can accept or reject.
Recently there is a lot of talk about robots especially human like robots or androids. Imagine a marriage partner who is an android. There would be total obedience, total compliance, total dependability. There would be no rows, no inconsistencies, no surprises, no resistance, no compassion, no concern, no love.
God does not want androids. God wants the hurly burly of human relationships. The joy and sorrow of love and rejection. The heat and cold of human interaction.
If I exercise God’s gift of free will to accept God’s gifts then I am using the gift which God gave me. If I exercise the gift of free will to reject God’s gift then I am also using the gift which God gave me. So why should God punish me for using his gift of free will?

I hope I have given you some idea of the futility of trying to second guess God. Once we leave the crystal clear waters of the ‘Good News’ we just stir up mud and have no idea where we place our feet.
So I recommend that rather that wondering about and questioning the ins and outs of the Good News ( Which will only leave you as wise about it as you are now) we concentrate on our response to the Good News. This is the heart of the matter. This is what religion is about.
This again is very simple and crystal clear. It is what my normal, everyday, natural response to any gift is – gratitude. Gratitude gives birth to respect, appreciation and affection which can grow into love. And who knows what delights love will lead to.

3rd Sunday of the Year (B) 2018

Jesus of Nazareth did not come to start a new religion.
He did not come to bring us new doctrine.
He came to bring us ‘Good News.’
What is ‘good news.’
( Imagine you are in a dead end job. You and your family are struggling to make ends meet. You constantly fear eviction from your house because of arrears in rent. Then you get an official letter from an attorney in America informing you that a far out relative, of whom you have never heard, has died leaving three million dollars. After a long search you are found to be the nearest living relative. After costs you are due two million dollars and sixty five cents.)
This will certainly qualify as good news. This well certainly change your life. It will involve a change in attitude.
(Imagine you are diagnosed with cancer. Tests suggest it is very aggressive with a very poor prognosis. You are operated on with little hope of success. Post operatively you are informed that it is nothing as aggressive as feared and was successfully removed in its entirety and there is no reason why you should not live to a ripe old age.)
This will certainly qualify as good news. This will change your life. This will involve a change in attitude.
What ‘Good News’ did Jesus of Nazareth bring me?
For me the Good News is that we are all God’s children. We are all brothers and sisters. My Creator is intimately involved in every aspect of my life. My God is totally committed to my physical and spiritual wellbeing.
This situation is not and cannot be merited, achieved, gained, or earned in any way, no matter what I do. It is pure gift. Given freely with no strings attached. The only input I have is to accept the free gift or reject it.
I think that this is great news.
This Good News has the added perk of involving resurrection from death and sharing Eternal Life with God.
To be authentic the motivation for all religion must be gratitude.
Unfortunately religion is often presented as the way to merit or gain or win Eternal Life.
This is false religion and is insulting to God.
All theology and Scripture must be interpreted in the light of the above facts. If theology, doctrine, or scripture does not seem to fit in with the above then these discrepancies must be reappraised and reinterpreted.
Basically prayer must be contemplation of, thinking about, these gifts from God so that our hearts might overflow with gratitude.
Irrespective of what my life is like, the very fact that I live, have being, exist, am conscious of myself and of things around me is, in itself a fantastic gift.