The Great Western Park Church newsletter is circulated each Wednesday, and periodically uploaded below. If you would like to be added to the weekly mailing list, please contact Mark Bodeker

Great Western Park Church Newsletter – 15th July 2020

Welcome to our Weekly Newsletter 

Each week in this Newsletter we share something which has made us think, something which then raises questions and challenges us and our faith. This week, Josie, in her reflection questions how we are living our lives as Christians. What is our motivation, our faithfulness to simply live and share the good news of Jesus Christ?

I hope you enjoy this week’s edition.

Mark Bodeker    

A prayer for the Church

Lord of the Church, 

enable your people to be the Church:

a redeemed people,

a holy people,

a united people,

a missionary people:

and in all things a people gladly submissive to the truth

as it is found in Jesus in whose name we pray.


Michael Saward – parish priest and hymn writer


Josie Midwinter, our retired church minister writes;

When it comes to pomp and ceremony there is no-one who can do it better  than the Church of England – from Royal weddings to the Enthronement of Bishops. From the Queen’s Jubilee to a Remembrance services. For the big events we have the magnificent buildings, the clergy in their colourful vestments, a fully robed choir and not forgetting a full peel of bells. Splendid!

In 2006 John Sentamu became Archbishop of York and the enthronement service was held at York Minister. With African singing and dancing alongside the more traditional elements it was Christian ceremony at its very best. 

Then on 9 June this year he retired. This was signified by the simple ceremony of him laying down the Braganzia Crozier on the High Altar at The Minister ready for his successor to take it up.

That successor is Bishop Stephen Cottrell, but with all the lockdown measures in place he would not be able to have such a service as his predecessor. However the Church of England rose to the occasion.

First there was all the legal ‘bits’ to be done and this was achieved by a zoom service which could be watched on the website by people like me who interested in that kind of thing!

Then a YouTube service which gave Bishop Stephen the chance to preach his first sermon as Archbishop. This he did  outside the parish church in a village called Lastingham. He reminded us that the bedrock of the CofE is the parish church. This parish church also has links with St Cedd who in the 7th century was instrumental in spreading the gospel in the Northumberland area of what is now England.

The finale was to me the most challenging of the three-part ceremony. It was now Bishop Stephen’s time to take up the crozier. He began by walking through the streets of York to the Minister. He entered the empty church and walked up to the high altar and knelt in prayer. Reverently he lifted up the crozier, the badge of office of all archbishops since the 17th century and walked down the length of the Minster to the main west door. He  knocked on the door three times with the crozier (think of Black Rod at the opening of Parliament) and as the doors were opened, he stepped out to a cheering crowd: 

This is what he said: “I don’t quite know how I ended up becoming the Archbishop of York. Somehow it seems to have happened. I started off simply wanting to live and share the Good News of Jesus Christ.”

It is those final words I think are a challenge to us all: I started off simply wanting to live and share the Good News of Jesus Christ. 

It is not where we go in our life journey that counts, but how we live as Christians.

(Note: All three parts of the ‘Enthronement’ of Bishop Stephen can be watched on the Church of England website. It is well worth listening to his sermon and watching the ceremony of the crozier)


Puzzle activities for everyone to try

Prepared by Beth Doel, one of our children’s leaders;

Parable Puzzles

Here are some Parable themed puzzles. It’s okay if you need to check your Bible for help!


Parables Crossword


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Church Address
Great Western Park Church
UTC College Café, Greenwood Way
Harwell, Didcot
Oxfordshire OX11 0DL
The Vicarage
The Vicarage
1 Holly Lane, Didcot
Oxfordshire OX11 6DA