The Bulletin: Latest news from the Diocese of Gloucester
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The Bulletin, 15 December 2020

Keeping you up to date with guidance and
news from the Diocese of Gloucester

For the most up to date Church of England guidance on COVID-19 click here.

Christmas trails round up now with even more trails
Redbrook Art Angels make national TV debut
From your Cathedral to you - Christmas services and events
Walk through nativity in Leckhampton
Catch up: Sunday's Children's Society Christingle service
Comfort and Joy, an original song by Timothy, year 9

Bishop Rachel's Community Christmas message

For a full transcript, click here.

A special Christmas message from Bishop Rachel to the Diocese will be coming soon...


Essential information


A Church Near You - Christmas updates

Can people in your community find their local church services this Christmas? In a year when everything's different, people want the comfort and joy that comes from Christmas.

Don't forget to update your special events and services, both online and in our churches, and use the tags so that they appear in searches. It's quick and easy to update and there are even carols and resources you can download at the same time. Take a look.

Worship and discipleship


Taking faith  out onto the sports field.  

Not many young people go to church on a Sunday, but you'll find lots of them out on a football field or in the dance studio. So, as Bishop Rachel shared in her Presidential Address, we are investing in a groung-breaking project called OneLife, to meet families where they are. Click the video below to hear Ben, a professional Sports Minister, talk about how faith relates to sport.

Find out more about OneLife part of our LIFE vision for transforming the Church’s engagement with children, young people and their families through excellent local sport and spiritual well-being provision.



Personal Shapes for Living

Have you ever wondered how to grow and develop as a follower of Christ? How to find your own way for living life to the full? Personal Shapes for Living, using some the principles of the Seeking Shapes for Living Course, offers you the chance to walk alongside a mentor or encourager to explore how you might grow in faith as a lifetime journey. Click here to sign up and in January 2021 you will be matched with a mentor/encourager who will help you look at your life through the lens of Everyday Faith. For more information please contact Pauline Godfrey on

Seeking Personal Shapes for Living Encouragers

  • Are you a good listener and someone who naturally enables others in their faith?
  • Would you like the opportunity to help someone explore their personal faith journey?
  • Would you like to deepen your own faith journey?

If the answer is yes then becoming a Personal Shapes for Living encourager could be the thing for you. Visit the page linked in the title to find out more.


Sandra Millar preaching at national service

This Sunday 20 December, the Revd Canon Dr Sandra Millar, Head of Life Events for the Church of England, and a Licensed Public Preacher in our Diocese, will be preaching. 

Resources roundup

LEGO nativityFrom the creators of the Easter LEGO story comes the LEGO (R) nativity, a gorgeous retelling of the Christmas story.

The Revd Jo Wetherall shares the next in the series of Godly Play for Advent videos. On Sunday 13 December, we remembered the shepherds. Look out for the video for advent 4 on our website.

Have you seen the brilliant Experience Christmas Together films produced by our diocesan Department for Education? You can find them all on our YouTube channel. Here is the latest one -

The Bible Society is sharing a free animated Nativity Rhyme retelling of the nativity story for 2020. 

GoChatter videos have over 90 Christmas video resources for churches to use in their Christmas services this year. These include customisable videos, Nativity service packs and carol lyric videos. 

A Church Near You Resource Hub has over 70 hymns and carols that are free to download. Your local editor should be able to log in and download them for you to use.

Community support and working together

Comfort and Joy Community meal project
Over the last few weeks volunteers from churches across our diocese have been collecting Christmas meals from the Long Table to give as gifts to people in their communities. Alongside the meals, worshipping communities have provided lovely gift bags, with crackers, cakes, toys, hot chocolate and much more. What a great way to share a bit of extra love this Christmas!

In North Cheltenham, the Revd Tom Cook partnered with the Food Warehouse supermarket to store all the frozen meals before they were delivered out to people, which included familes from all the schools in the parish.

2,000 meals have been purchased by churches and delieverd out and another 2,000 meals were provided to foodbanks. 


Helping to battle loneliness

Two's Company is a new initiative by Linking Lives UK to help tackle loneliness. They are encouraging church volunteers to sign up for a telephone befriending scheme.

The gift of hope from The Children's Society

The Children's Society's Christmas advertising campaign, A Thing Called Hope, has been running on TV, radio, online and on social media. The advert is based on real young lives.

In the media

Charities demand Tories scrap plans to cut Universal Credit

Bishop Rachel adds her voice to this expression of ‘deep concern’ over plans for the ‘lifeline’ of the £20 uplift to be ‘whipped away’ by April (printed in Left Foot Forward).


Bishop of Gloucester writes her first book

A summary of Encounters, Bishop Rachel's book, published earlier this month, was included in Gloucester Punchline.

Bill Bryson, Huw Edwards and Michael Palin are amongst celebrities headlining the National Churches Trust's online Christmas Carol Concert.

Reader information evening

Tuesday 12 January

A chance to hear more about the process of becoming a Licensed Lay Minister, or Reader. The Revd Ann Sargent, Warden of Readers, will explain the process and offer the chance to ask any questions. 

Linking Lives UK: issues around loneliness and social isolation

Tuesday 19 January, 10.30am

Church leaders and representatives are invited to this meeting to discuss issues, concerns and ideas related to loneliness and social isolation.

Engaging with Everyday Faith

Starts Tuesday 19 January, 7.30pm

Would you like to explore more about how your faith can make a difference to everything you do – whatever day of the week it is and whoever you are with? This two session course (Tuesdays 19 January and 9 February) allows you to start the journey with some fellow travellers. After the first session we hope that you will be able to find some time in the following three weeks to read and pray through the downloadable booklets and videos. Our second session will be a chance to discuss together what you have been discovering on your personal journey with others who have been on the same road. You will also have the chance to meet again six months later to find out what God has been doing in your lives since the course. To understand more, please watch

Everyday mindfulness (clergy only)

Led by Ian Bussell and John Horan, Via Zoom, free of charge, starting 6 January for 6 sessions

Research has shown that mindfulness can help with anxiety, stress, low mood and sleep disruption. Mindfulness also helps us become more aware of ourselves and our self-destructive habits. The next Everyday Mindfulness course is specifically for clergy and will be on Zoom in the New Year. Six sessions on Wednesdays 9am to 11am on the following dates: 6 and 13 January, 3 and 10 February, 3 and 10 March. There is no charge.  

If you are not ordained and would like to know when the next course will be that is open to all please email Ruth on

Is your church sight-loss friendly?

Torch Trust, the Christian sight loss charity,  is holding free 30-minute Taster sessions about becoming a Sight Loss Friendly Church (SLFC). 
  • Thursday 21 January 2pm
  • Tuesday 26 January 2pm
  • Tuesday 23 February 7pm
  • Wednesday 24 February 2pm
  • Thursday 18 March 2pm
  • Tuesday 23 March 2pm
 These interactive Zoom sessions offer an opportunity to hear about all the benefits of this free resource, as well as a chance to meet the SLFC team and ask questions. Email for more information and to book your place.  

Prayer space

This week we are praying for all those who will receive a Christmas meal from the Comfort and Joy partnership with The Long Table. We pray that the food will be enjoyed, that spirits will be lifted and that the recipients will know that they are loved and valued. 

Cathedral clergy are continuing to pray for our communities every day. Please do send your prayer requests to and they will say them on your behalf, or you can send in your prayers to Katherine Clamp at There is a need for people to offer prayer support, so please do contact us if you are able to offer this ministry.

Clergy and appointment news

We are pleased to announce that the Revd Ali Mepham has been appointed as the new Senior Interim Minister in the Diocese of Gloucester.  Until recently, Ali was the Vicar of St Thomas’ Church Fair Oak and Horton Heath in the Diocese of Winchester.  Ali will begin his new role on 1 February 2021 and will be working with us across the diocese supporting communities in transition, and to build a team of lay and ordained colleagues to support the work of interim ministry.

He says, "I am really excited about starting this new role in February. Having only moved to the diocese recently I am enjoying exploring the countryside and discovering the area. After 13 years in Parish ministry I am looking forward to new challenges and to getting to know new people and hearing what God’s been up to in our communities."

The Revd Clodagh Ingram, Priest-in-Charge of Upton St Leonards Benefice is resigning with effect from the end of December 2020.

New Canons

We're delighted to be able to share that Poppy Hughes, Area Dean for the North Cotswolds, and Rachel Howie, Diocesan Director of Education and CEO of DGAT have both become honorary Canons of Gloucester Cathedral.

Their official installation will not take place until after Easter, but they are able to use the title Canon with immediate effect.



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