Partnership for Missional Church (PMC) documents now available

In the summer of 2018, the Parish started the ‘Partnership for Missional Church’ programme.

Partnership for Missional Church is a three-year journey that sets churches free to join in with God’s mission in their local community.  You can find out more about the programme here.

A web page has been set up as a repository for publicly available documents produced by the parish.  It can be found here.

Greyfriars Bookshop

We’ve been asked to highlight this appeal from Greyfriars bookshop …

Dear Sir/Madam,

Greyfriars Bookshop

You probably know that Greyfriars Bookshop is now the only Christian Bookshop in Reading, very much part of a dying species.

Due to the competition they face from online stores and eBooks, it is a real battle for physical bookshops to keep going, and this is particularly true for Christian bookshops. Yet as Christians we know that the presence of a Christian bookshop in a town is important. We firmly believe that Christian books impact communities and change lives!

“More than half of the born-again Christians in the world testify that literature played a part in their conversion.”  – Patrick Johnstone, Operation World

Christian Bookshops can be welcoming ‘outreach’ centres that the general public can visit if they are in need of prayer, have questions about something that they are struggling with, or perhaps are just looking for a relaxing place to catch their breath. This is an important part of our work here at Greyfriars.

Christian bookshops are also an important provider of resources for the local Christian community. Christian books and study materials are key to our discipleship, both for us as individuals and as groups, as well as an evangelistic tool to help bring people to Christ.

We at Greyfriars Bookshop are keen to maintain this ministry to Reading and would ask, if you feel it appropriate, that you encourage your congregations to use and support the bookshop to enable us to continue to do so.

General shopping habits have changed, but it is so important to still have a place where customers are able to come and look inside resources and discover books both new and those that have stood the test of time and have become classics. It is also important that customers are able to receive good input and advice from knowledgeable staff. We will often recommend books that are genuinely good reads, having either read them ourselves or received recommendations from other committed Christians. Places like Amazon cannot provide you with a vague title you can’t remember, but we offer a personal service and will always attempt to find the book that you are looking for.

We can often recommend a great present for your church member or friend and we also offer a great selection of very competitively priced cards for all occasions. At Christmas and Easter, we stock seasonal items such as Christmas and Easter cards, the Real Easter Egg and the Real Advent Calendar as a Christian based alternative to those available in other shops.

Where possible, we will attempt to match prices with Amazon for you so please give us the opportunity to match where we can. We understand how important it is to keep costs down and so want to do our best to help you to serve your communities and congregations, whether you need materials for your church or home groups or for you personally. We will offer Pastors a 10% discount off the retail price of books, CDs and DVDs to help support you.

As well as selling lots of great books and CDs, we offer many Fairtrade goods and gifts. Please consider committing to buying one or two items per week as this makes a big difference for farmers who produce food all around the world and are often living at subsistence levels. We sell beautiful Christian gifts and treats for yourself and others, including ethically sourced sterling silver jewellery made by a small fair trader. Physical bookshops, especially Christian bookshops, are disappearing from our high streets and it saddens us to see this, so please think of us in future and get in touch to see what we can do for you.

By helping us to stay open you are helping to support a ministry where people can come and receive prayer and encouragement in the town centre during the week, as well as helping Christian resources to be available to the people of Reading and surrounding areas.

Do come down and help us to stay part of the high street and please share this with your congregations and ask them to like us on Facebook and recommend our website ( We would also appreciate your prayers for us and our ministry.

Thank you for all of your support.

Kind regards,

The Greyfriars Bookshop Team

Greyfriars Church, Friar St, Reading RG1 1EH

T: 0118 951 6710

Charity Registration no 1129381

Project Update – end of April

I am writing this article four days before the Bishop of Reading comes to open our new premises, so I am trusting that much of it will happen.   On reflection, this has been the story of the project from the time when it was first conceived, nearly thirty years ago, and that is how it will develop and grow over the years to come.

If March was a month of steady progress, then April has been more like a Keystone Cops caper, although I am assured that the vehicle was never actually out of control.   Nonetheless, it has felt that way sometimes, as queries piled in about details such as what name do we want for each room, where are the plaques going, and who connects up the cooker.

The gas meter did eventually get installed on 6th April and the central heating has been on for over a week now (with no complaints).   I am already forgetting what it was like to come into a cold building and am secretly hoping that it is really cold on our first few Sundays back in church, just to see how good the new system is.   All those miles of pipes and cables have been tucked away behind neat panels and painted over, and all the loose ends now have something attached, in the right place.   It really has been a miracle happening before our very eyes, but, unlike most miracles, we have photographic proof to reinforce our frail memories.

Kitchen fitting started on 14th April and proceeded in fits and starts as we worked out exactly what we wanted, where it would go, and where the holes in the expensive worktop actually had to be.   Suffice to say, Ian and Garry and Paul from Wincombe Kitchens, and Roland and Darren from Kingdom Coffee got us there in the end.  That is good because a week before opening we appointed Angela Robinson as our Cook/Café Manager and she brings her enthusiasm to the project.

On the funding front, we are still some £30,000 short of our target but we have high hopes that AllChurches Trust and West Berkshire Community Trust will bridge the gap.   And don’t forget to pop down to ASDA in Honey End Lane to post your green token – the scheme goes on to the end of May.

In the final week of work, LST brought in both Ian Legg and Dave Lavender to finish off all the myriad items that were left to do.  As I have written before, we owe them both a huge vote of thanks, along with Shaun and all the members of our professional team.

Richard Canning
Project Treasurer

Official Opening Friday 29th April at 3pm.

The official opening of St.Catherine’s Church, Centre and Café will be on Friday 29th April at 3pm.

Friends, Neighbours, Supporters and Benefactors will be attending and viewing the new facilities and hearing of our future plans.

There will be a short service of blessing led by the Right Revd Andrew Proud, Bishop of Reading, after which tea and cakes will be served in the new café space.

Project Update – end of March

March has been a month of consolidation after the impressive growth spurts earlier in the year.  We have learnt to be patient while boilers and pipework and other bits of plumbing are installed and all those electrical wires hanging out of the walls and ceilings get stuff attached to them.

We are more or less back on programme but the installation of the new gas meter is causing a few flutters, because without gas we cannot test the new equipment and get it all set up right. The kitchen layout has been finalised and the order placed with Wincombe Kitchens whose Paul Prankard has been helping us from the start to arrive at what we need.

On the funding front, we have received awards from Tilehurst Parish Council (£600) and Berkshire Churches Trust (£4,000) and are still waiting to hear from nine funders including Greenham Common Trust and the Englefield Trust.  Allchurches Trust has invited us to discuss our application in more detail and we are one of ASDA’s three chosen charities in March so we are encouraged to think the Lord is ensuring we’ll be able to pay back our loans sooner rather than later.

We continue to work well with our builder – Ian Legg has returned to take back the helm from Dave Lavender.  He has been busy avoiding clashes between the different elements of construction BEFORE they happen.  Many people think building is simple because they can understand the component bits like electrics, plumbing, bricklaying etc – the clever part, however, is fitting them all together and we are blessed to have Ian around to do this.

We are nearly there now, with only a few decisions left about carpets and lighting. However, please don’t stop praying for the safety of all our builders and their managers and remember particularly the fundraising efforts which will not stop.

Richard Canning
Project Treasurer

A Welcoming Message

From our Vicar – Rev. Denis Smith

680WiNPaThis is a time of great change and challenge for the Church of England.  It is no longer just sufficient to be there and wait for people to come in. Together we are searching for and finding new ways of being church.

Here are some pointers to our thinking:

  • It is important that the church is for all ages and abilities
  • We don’t have to do everything together nor everything apart.
  • We want to encounter a God who is alive and active in the world, a healing God who seeks to transform us through his Holy Spirit.
  • We want to embrace, develop and encourage all the talents that are around us.
  • We believe in a God who does make a difference, a God who still brings us, through Jesus, a full and whole way of living.
  • We want to encourage emerging ways of being church.
  • We want to be as much “out there” as we are “in church”.
  • We want to pray for, listen to and respond to the community.

Maybe we could join you on your journey and we could support and encourage each other.


October 2016 edit : While Denis has now moved on from our parish, and is no longer our Vicar, we thought it worth keeping his welcoming message here as it is still valid for the whole parish.