Dear Friends

Having completed the Bournemouth Half Marathon in 2022, I decided to do the Swindon 10K on Saturday (4/5).

In light of the weather we’ve been having – all seasons in a single day – I was careful about packing all that I needed. In my small rucksack: water bottle, snack, change of clothes and shoes, raincoat. I wasn’t keen on being soaked through but I decided to be positive about the morning and race ahead. Incredibly, we had beautiful weather for the run.

I completed the race in just over an hour, and I was pleased to get round with minimal difficulty (although the 2 loop trail at Lydiard Park was quite different underfoot from the road running around Gorse Hill and Ferndale). My shoes and leggings were covered in mud. Nonetheless, the atmosphere was great as the community of runners, joggers and walkers achieved their own personal goals, many raising money for charity.

Reflecting on the joy of being outdoors, I was reminded that the beauty of being a follower of Jesus is that there is no requirement for “achievements”, “goals”, or “targets” to enter the kingdom of God. We are invited to be in relationship with Jesus and to live out our friendship with Jesus with others in our community. You see, Jesus loves us just as we are and wants us to live lives that are flourishing – being God’s laughter, light and love in our communities.

Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mountains of God;
your judgments are like the great deep;
man and beast you save, O LORD.
How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. (Psalm 36:5-7)

May we be assured of God’s abundant love for us this May as we share Jesus in our communities of Gorse Hill and Ferndale.

Every blessing,
Revd Catherine Okoronkwo

Weekly Activities

  • Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 9 am — Morning Prayer: Why not come along? It’s a fantastic way to start your day/week!
  • Wednesdays at 10 am, Coffee Mornings in Barney’s (St Barnabas) at 10.00am. Why not come along and join in the chat?
  • Wednesdays at 7 pm, (Fortnightly) — Contemplative Service: An opportunity for a quiet reflective service. Our next scheduled services are at All Saints Church on: 1/5; 15/5, 5/6, 19/6  All are welcome.
  • Saturdays 10-12 noon: St Barnabas Church is open on Saturdays. Refreshments offered. All are welcome!
  • Saturdays 10-11 am: Choir Practice at St Barnabas choir. Why not come along and join in! All are very welcome.
  • Sundays at 10 am — Public Worship: All are welcome to our act of worship on a Sunday mornings at All Saints Church and St Barnabas Church.

Dates for your Diary

  • Monday, 20th May: 3.00-5.00pm – Cuppa at the Vicarage: Pop into the vicarage anytime between 3 and 5 pm for a cuppa and chat. I look forward to seeing you then. All are welcome :))
  • Sunday, 18th August 12 noon: Benefice ‘Bring & Share’ Picnic Lunch (Vicarage Garden). It would be great to fellowship together. All are welcome.

Autumn “knitting” Projects

  1. Hearts: Ferndale School have requested double green heart (connected) for the September intake of students. For more information, please speak to Revd Barbara.
  2. Harvest: We will focus our knitting project this autumn on ‘Harvest’. You are invited to knit a sun (for a brooch or fridge magnet). This will go out in the October benefice magazine. For knitting patterns, please speak to Revd Barbara.
    The bible verse for this project: “The LORD will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest.” (Psalm 85:12)


Life Events: Please pray for weddings, baptisms and funerals across the benefice. Pray for all the couples/families, and for the ministry teams involved in preparation sessions and visits.

Prayer Ministry: If you know anyone who would like to go on our Prayer Circle list, be prayed for at our Sunday services, and/or would like a phone call for a prayer — please contact Brenda Young (, our Lay Minister. Please note we do need express permission from people before they are put on any prayer lists. Thank you.

Pastoral Ministry: Please let Revd Cathy or Revd Barbara know if anyone would benefit from receiving a phone call or card from the ministry team (they do not need to attend church on Sundays, but should reside in the parishes of Gorse Hill and Ferndale). Many thanks.

Extended Home Communion: If you know anyone who would value receiving Holy Communion at home, please let Revd Cathy or Revd Barbara know. Thank you.

Healing Ministry: Are you interested in a ministry of healing? If so, please send Revd Cathy an email. It would be good to gather interested people for a conversation and to pray. There are many passages in the Bible that encourage us to pray for healing, including: “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well” (3 John 2). Let us ask God for wisdom, direction and leading.

Out of Parish:

  • Retreat: Revd Cathy will be on retreat Tuesday, 11th June to Saturday, 15th June (inclusive). Please uphold me in your prayers… for God’s replenishment!
  • Holiday: Revd Cathy will be on leave Tuesday, 9th July to Wednesday, 31st July (inclusive).

For prayer support please contact Brenda Young (, our Lay Minister. For pastoral support please contact Revd Barbara.

Notices for May 2024