Centenary celebrations at Caversham Heights Methodist Church, Reading, continued with a very joyful day with the return of a number of former members of 30 years ago for the visit of former minister the Revd Terry Harris, who took as his theme ‘Rising to the occasion’. Other visiting preachers will be the Right Revd Bishop Crispian Hollis, Roman Catholic Bishop of Portsmouth on May 24th at 10.30am and The Revd Jackie Case, Superintendent Minister of the Methodist Portsmouth Circuit on June 7th at 10.30am.
Bishop Crispian Hollis was born in Bristol in 1936, educated at Stonyhurst College in Lancashire (1946-54). He was then in the Somerset Light Infantry for National Service, after which he went to Balliol College Oxford to read history, though more cricket than history! After that, he went to the seminary in Rome to study for the priesthood and was ordained in 1965. After a year in Amesbury (Wilts) as a curate, he went back to Oxford as chaplain to the Catholic students and stayed there till 1979, when he went to the BBC as Roman Catholic Assistant to the Head of Religious Broadcasting. That lasted until 1981 when he went to Clifton Cathedral (Bristol) as Administrator and stayed there till 1987 when he became Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham, resident in Oxford. He left that post in 1989 to become Bishop of Portsmouth where he is to this day. In the Bishops’ Conference, he has been in charge of communications, ecumenism, and European affairs and currently is Chair of the Dept for International Affairs. Recent visits overseas have included Iran, Iraq, Zimbabwe and South Africa. He have also been a member of the Pontifical (Roman) Council for Social Communications.
The Revd Jackie Case grew up in Caversham and in the Caversham Heights Methodist Church, where she gained high marks each year in the annual Scripture Examination, won a long-service medal for JMA (Junior Missionary Association), taught in the Sunday School and became a Local Preacher.Educated at Caversham Primary School, Kendrick School and Bristol University, Jackie went on to teach at the Cox Green Comprehensive School, where she was Head of Religious Studies for many years, Head of Year with pastoral responsibility for the care of 150+ students and is remembered for an eventful trip to Russia! When called to the Methodist ministry, Jackie trained at Oxford University before ordination in St. Asaph’s Cathedral, North Wales, in 2003, and spent several years in ministry in Eastleigh before becoming Superintendent Minister of the Portsmouth Circuit.
Jackie's ordination at St. Asaph's Cathedral, 2003
The climax of the Centenary Year is the actual Centenary Anniversary that falls on the weekend of June 20th and 21st, with a display of ‘Items of Interest’ of the church over the 100 years in the church vestibule throughout the month, a Flower/Art Exhibition from 10am to 4pm on June 20th when the Church will be open to the public and coffee/tea and biscuits will be served. There will be an opportunity to buy Fair Trade goods from the Traidcraft Stall.
The visiting preacher at 10.30am on June 21st will be the Revd the Lord Leslie Griffiths of Pembrey and Burry Port. An Anniversary Cake will be cut in the Hall during coffee after the service and a Celebration Lunch (including a Hog Roast) for the church family (by tickets purchased in advance) will be held at the home of Ken and Barbara Macrae. Lord Griffiths was ordained in Haiti and his first British appointment was to both Caversham Methodist Church (Gosbrook Road) and Caversham Heights Methodist Church, where he served from 1974-1977 before being recalled back to Haiti to deal with a severe crisis there. Back in Britain, he was elected President of the Methodist Conference for 1994-1995. He returned to Caversham to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of his Ordination at the Gosbrook Road Church on 21 January 1998. For many years now he has been Minister of Wesley’s Chapel, his house and the Museum of Methodism in City Road, London, with a multi-cultural congregation and many visitors from all over the world to this treasured Methodist site.
The last visiting preacher in this month of celebration will be the Revd Canon Brain Shenton, Rector of St. Mary the Virgin Church in Reading at 10.30am on June 28th. Canon Shenton needs no introduction to
Caversham people because of his role in many civic ceremonies in Reading and, in particular, those relating to the town’s twinning with Dusseldorf.