Images of Christ

This year for Holy Week, we asked you to share your favourite image of Christ and perhaps a little info on what the image means to you. These have been posted on Facebook and Instagram throughout the week but in case you missed any, here’s the full set.

In some cases, it has been tricky to credit the original artist but our aim is that, with or without their name, sharing their work is a continuation of their evangelism through art.

Pam Blewett chose Thomas Blackshear’s “Forgiven”  

“I have one of these cards now rather crumpled on my desk under my pc screen. There is a poster in the chapel of HMP The Mount where I help on the Alpha course and I was given the card in the early days of joining the team.  The description of the scene is very moving as you look closer. Jesus clutches the man and is not going to let go even though he still holds the mallet and nail.”

The artist has painted several versions of this with people of different genders and races in Christ’s embrace.

The Last Journey of Christ – a series of scenes in Agrigento, Sicily, photographed and nominated by Richard Beckingsale.

Both Alison & John Wheatley and Tina Edwards nominated the stained glass window at Buckfast Abbey. “The picture doesn’t do it justice – it’s REALLY big!” said Tina.

Photo from

Heather Homan suggested two images:

Heather says “I don’t know whether this image of Christ by Charlie Mackesy had been given a title but I have called it “Such love”. To me there’s such a strong image of that love in Jesus’ embrace of a repentant or grieving believer. The cross in the background signifying His finished work.”

You may know Charlie Mackesy from his recent bestseller “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse” and if you’ve read it, you’ll know that, without mentioning Him by name, he conveys the love of Christ so beautifully in words and sketches. What you may not know is that, until 2016, Charlie was an atheist! Since discovering Jesus, he has created many emotionally resonant Christian paintings and given talks for HTB (have a look on Youtube)!

About this second picture, Heather says: “I don’t know the artist but just love the joy that shines out of the picture. It makes me happy just to look at it.”

I couldn’t find the artist either but it seems to have a Spanish title “Jesus rie ninos”

Gaynor Houghton-Jones nominated Velazquez’s “Christ on the Cross”, which hangs in the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid. There’s a fascinating talk by one of the museum’s curators about the painting on Youtube

Ann Sibley has fond memories of Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Last Supper” from Sunday school

Simon Edwards and Pat Hegarty chose William Holman Hunt’s “Light of the World”. This very famous painting (of which there are also several different versions) almost needs no introduction, but if you would like to know more about it, visit the website of its home:

Janet Cottrell nominated this painting of Jesus at Mary and Martha’s house. It illustrates a theme we have revisited many times during our Lifegroup sessions and Janet says “Here is my image of Christ. I’m Martha in the background, too busy to sit at Jesus’ feet and listen!”

The artist is Simon Dewey b.1962 in London who had a career in commercial illustration until “breaking through” with his Christian paintings in 1997. He now lives in Alberta, Canada.

Lastly, my own choice “The Lamentation of Christ” by Andrea Mantegna, painted about 1480.

The first time I saw this painting, I was in an art history talk. I had been going to church for a few years but was still finding my feet with the whole “Jesus actually died and then came back to life” thing.

The room was dark, this image came up larger than life on the projector screen and I shivered. Jesus looks really dead and all I could think was “It’s all true!”

Thank you to everyone who shared these images and their thoughts about them. Also the artists who created these amazing works. As part of the Live Lent study, we have been exploring what counts as “evangelism”. The thing that all of these images have in common is that they are an act of worship and evangelism in themselves. Through these images and no doubt many others dear to you, something of the Good News has been passed on and they were created to glorify God.

What do you like to create that could be your evangelism?


Big apologies to Deb Whittaker for omitting her selection from the series in Holy Week. Her choice is Country Garden with Crucifix by Gustav Klimt. Deb says “I like this because He is present, although almost hidden, in all the tangle and beauty of life.”

Signs of Spring

As Easter draws near, the evenings get lighter and the vaccine rolls out, it feels like we can all breathe a little easier. Our traditional calendar might look a little different but there is still plenty of activity in the life of the church to share.

Firstly, thank you to the posy makers for preparing the flowers for Mothering Sunday and to Natasha for the delivery. Although a second lockdown Mothering Sunday was a sobering thought, it gave a little lift to everyone who received a posy to know that they are still being thought of.

At St Giles’ (as everywhere) the grass has started growing and that means it’s time for our annual lawnmower maintenance round. Five mowers and a chainsaw were ambulanced to Wexham Mowers, who did a sterling job. One mower, sadly, didn’t make it, however Wexham Mowers have very generously donated a refurbished replacement. Big thanks to them! If you have a petrol mower that you no longer need that is in working condition and would consider donating to the church, please get in touch via the office. Even better, if you can wield a petrol mower, or strimmer and would be able to give an hour or two on some Saturday mornings during the growing season, The Reapers are always looking for new members. A fortnightly stint is ideal but not essential and enthusiasm trumps experience!

The Store Cupboard, having helped so many people in all three lockdowns, is winding down this week. Ann and Julie were awarded the Jubilee Cup by the Parish Council for their services and accepted it on behalf of all the people who have donated homemade cakes, groceries, money and even clothing and books and made it such a success for the village.

Ann gave me some facts and figures to share about their activity in third lockdown.

Our Live Lent Lunchtimes are proving popular, getting 70-100 views apiece as time goes by. Natasha and Nigel are getting used to talking to themselves on Facebook Live (because they can’t see or hear the viewers as they can on Zoom!) and two of the Lifegroups are following through with the accompanying book “Living His Story” which has videos and discussion topics.

The videos by themselves are really interesting and accessible – two Archbishops, a Bishop, two Canons, an author of theology books and a really enthusiastic pastor of an inner city church all talk to the author of “Living His Story” about how they started to share their experience of faith with other people and how us “ordinary folk” can tell our ordinary stories too.

If you’d like to catch up or dip in to a couple of the sessions, Natasha and Nigel’s 20 minute services can be found here and the Living His Story interviews, which are each around 15 minutes, can be found here.

Lastly, although we are remaining online for all other services until further notice, our Easter Sunday service will be in person at St Giles’ at 10.30am on 4th April. We have to make a seating plan, so tickets are required and all the now familiar covid precautions will be in place. At the time of writing, there are only a few places left but you might get lucky – book at or call the office.

There will even be an Easter Trail at St Giles’ (though no chocolate, sorry) which will be available from Easter Sunday throughout the school holidays with a “virtual” version you can play on our website too! Check the website, Friday email, facebook or instagram for updates.

We look forward to seeing as many people as possible!

World Leprosy Day 2021

Following World Leprosy Day last Sunday, we thought it would be a great time to update our church family about Adika, whose education is sponsored by the Coffee Shop through NLT and the Lydia Children’s Fund.

Adika is 6 years old and lives with her leprosy-affected parents and four older sisters in Khokana on the edge of Kathmandu.

All of them are living in one room. Her father has a small street shop where he sells nail cutters, handkerchiefs, key-rings, etc. for the family income. Her father’s shop has been closed as the Government banned the opening of street shops due to COVID. Her family is getting food from the Leprosy Centre in Khokana. (The Lalgadh Leprosy Hospital in our videos is over 5 hours away from Kathmandu).  All her sisters are studying at school. Having a big family, it is very difficult for her parents to afford education for them all, as well as manage house expenses.

Adika likes playing with her friends and she likes drawing very much. She sent us this lovely picture just before Christmas. When asked about her future aim, she said she wants to become a fruit seller because she likes mango and banana very much.

Whilst her school was closed as a result of the pandemic, she was attending school via Zoom. We wondered how this was possible, given the level of poverty of the household, but our contacts at NLT told us that it is not unusual, even for a very poor family to have a smart phone between them in Nepal. Very cheap phones come over the border from China and there is a big second hand market for phones in Nepal too. In some ways, phones are a critical way for getting business in the developing world, especially for daily labourers as that is how they now get to be told about work rather than the ‘old days’ where they would hang around on a street corner daily, waiting for someone to pick them up if work was available.

Those of us who have been home schooling in privileged circumstances, can only imagine what it has been like for this family. Probably only a small amount of interaction with her school/teacher/class via zoom and limited by the demands on the phone within the household – and Adika is the youngest!  There are national TV shows offering classes for different year groups but clearly that will not be so targeted or personal. Online, I found some photos of Adika’s school in September, showing teachers in their empty classrooms, teaching their class online and it also said that they had been allowed to have children in school who had no technology at home.

Adika’s father comes to the NLT office in Kathmandu for her monthly support and in January, the office staff had a conversation with him about Adika’s studies. He said Adika and her sisters’ school has re-started and she is regularly attending her classes. She is very happy to be in the school after a long time! She is studying hard. 

Most of the schools have opened, though the COVID threat/fear is still there.  The students are using sanitiser, mask, face-shield and maintaining social distance (as much as children can!)

Please pray for her studies, safety from COVID as well as for her family.

In the Ladies’ Lifegroup we often touch on the subject of feeling powerless to help people in extreme poverty or other disadvantage and tragedy – that the challenge is so huge we feel paralysed and do nothing.

Child sponsorship, especially when we have a personal connection through our church family with people directly in touch with the children themselves, is a way of changing the life of one child. Except of course it is not just one child. By supporting Adika with her education, we are bringing hope to the whole family. With knowledge and access to a better future, Adika will have opportunities that her parents never had – and isn’t that what we all want for our children? How wise to want to work with things that you love – mangoes and bananas! But who knows, her ambitions may grow to wanting to become a teacher or a doctor and change lots more lives.

So, are there any children waiting for sponsorship through NLT? At the moment, a number of children have recently finished their schooling/sponsorship and those donors carried on their sponsorship, picking up those who had been on the waiting list for sponsors. However it is a good position to be in – if a child is identified and there are sponsors waiting, NLT can help them straight away. So if people would like to sponsor a child, it is definitely worth letting Mike in the NLT UK office know and he will inform you as soon as a child is added to the scheme.

We also understand that COVID restrictions have made it hard for the NLT community team to discover and verify new potential sponsorship children, hence no current waiting list, but it is likely that several will be identified, as soon as travel and communications become easier.

People are very welcome to support NLT in other ways – they certainly appreciate our prayers and we receive regular email updates with prayer requests for patients, families, hospital and office staff and leadership team. You can sign up to receive this newsletter specifically – it is a separate mailing list to our church Friday Newsletter.

If you would like to give financially, there are several ways to do this. A direct link to the donation service used by NLT is but if you would like to read more before you donate and see other ways to support them, they have an excellent website

We look forward to being able to support NLT with more “hands on” fundraising in the near future, but in the meantime, let’s do what we can.

A Christmas to remember

The Sibley crib found room on the piano

I’ll be frank, Christmas planning this year was a bit like herding cats. No sooner had we organised something, it was tweaked, rejigged or completely cancelled. Disconcerting if you don’t like last minute changes, frustrating if you’ve put lots of effort in, embarrassing if on the nth time of changing some information, it still ends up wrong.

But we stumbled through and emerged blinking into 2021, the current situation looking worse but the prospects brighter.

We hope you enjoy our photo round up of Christmas 2020 at Stoke Poges Church…

Our first event was the Senior Citizens’ Christmas Lunch, reformed for 2020 as the Senior Citizens’ Christmas Hamper. Instead of 120 people sitting down for lunch in St Andrew’s Hall, there was a socially distanced production line of turkey sandwiches, homemade cake, other edible goodies, a knitted angel, cracker and a CD and booklet of our podcast of lessons & carols. The whole hamper was carefully wrapped and given a little decorative flourish. As always, the event was funded by the Mobbs Memorial Trust which also provides a small financial gift to each recipient if they wish.

These were then doorstep delivered, with a friendly greeting, to over 100 addresses by volunteers from the church and parish council.

The full production line

Our Service of Lessons and Carols would have been difficult to pull off with a diminished choir and no congregational singing, so this was transformed into a podcast, which you can still listen to on our website. It features music kindly shared via the Church of England by St Martin-in-the-Fields and our own choir members reading the lessons.

We did however attempt a Christmas party atmosphere at St Andrews with upbeat carols, cabaret seating and a game or two.

Next on the calendar was the sadly cancelled Wassailing – although we weren’t in full lockdown, it just seemed too risky to expect large numbers of guests to keep their distance in the dark whilst walking and singing. It will be all the sweeter next year.

And then it was Christmas Eve.

St Giles’ was beautifully decorated with flowers and our familiar crib, there were extra candles everywhere to make up for not being able to hand them out, and a torchlit path. The fact that we stuck it out and had three live services plus Communion on Christmas Day, all safely organised, warmly personal and fun to boot, was a huge testament to the hard work put in by Natasha and her family and everyone else who contributed to the proceedings… our church family.

This Sunday, Natasha is taking a break and so there will be a link to the Diocese “Church at Home” service on our website, Friday email and here. For junior church, there will be a link to a new episode of Virtual Sunday School in all the same places. We’ll be back with a home grown podcast and Zoom church on 17th January.

Another birthday, Remembrance and a new adventure on Zoom

Last Sunday, 1st November, in what turned out to be our last service in church for the next month or so, we rediscovered the story of Jonah, who disobeyed and finally submitted to God and and saved a city of thousands from a smiting. We pondered on what we might be ignoring that God is asking us to do (or not do!) and how we could listen to him with more courage and obedience. If you missed it, you can listen again here.

At the end of the service, we wished John a very Happy Birthday, including luring him out of the tech box with cake, for a covid-safe candle blowing.

No, John’s not on the naughty step!
That’s not much of a cake? Hang on, just blowing out a candle
Now THAT’S a cake!

We said goodbye at the end of the service, to arrive home to the News…

Now here we are in Lockdown 2

After so much angst and worry over the last couple of months about whether to have Remembrance outdoors or indoors, at the flagpole, in the church, all or none of the above, eventually the decision was taken for us. Our preparations and careful covid planning were put to one side, and we were left with the essence of the day – remembering in our thoughts and deeds those who have fallen so that we might live freely.

St Giles’ was still beautifully dressed and wreaths were laid on behalf of local organisations but without a congregation.

Did you hear our church bells at the end of the two minute silence? Many thanks to Anne and Ralph for ringing at St Giles’ on behalf of our whole community and Richard for manning the reply at St Andrew’s.

We hope you managed to mark the occasion, either by watching the Oxford Diocese “Church at Home” Remembrance Sunday Service, the BBC coverage at the Cenotaph, by displaying a poppy at the window or standing outside your house for the two minute silence.

So to the new adventure…

I’m sure you’ll agree that, whatever your circumstances and whatever you think of the rules, this lockdown is not like the first. As a church, we want to build on what we were able to offer before, so today (8th November) we embarked on a new Zoom adventure: Prayer and Peace, this week on the theme of Remembrance.

Instead of meeting in person, we gathered online at 4pm in little windows. It was so lovely to see people we haven’t seen for more than six months and, in addition to being fed via podcasts, actually talk to one another, share thoughts about the bible reading and join in with prayers. We even sang along with the worship music, though thankfully muted from each other to avoid sounding like daleks in a biscuit tin!

With a few minor tweaks, we’ll be back next week and hope to see even more people “there”.

We’d really appreciate your feedback. If you joined us, how did you find it? If you didn’t, let us know if you had difficulties joining or if you have questions about the format. Just email

Join us next week using the link, which will be available on the Friday Email and podcast page. Remember, don’t try joining with the link until 4pm on Sunday or listening again later because it is a live service! There will be a service sheet to download in the same place as the link:

See you there!