Derek Fowles
10 Lynden Close, Holyport, Berks, SL6 2LB

Tel: 01628 629538
Copy for the December 2017 issue of St. Michael's News to the Editor please, by Thursday 23 November 2017.
From the Registers
18 August
26 August
03 September

01 October
Darcy Marie Smith
Ava Ann Rutherford
Tabitha Hilda Sandra Kinloch
Ella Evelyn Rackley
Edward John James Wooderson
Emma Florence Mobey
18 August
31 August

09 September
Christopher Mark Smith and Lyn Mary Chadwick
Christopher James Caughey and Heather Audrey Richardson
Guy Dudley Luff and Kate Elizabeth Busby
The following wedding took place in Foxleigh Grove Nursing Home
14 September
Cyril Harold Vaughan and Angela Mary Palethorpe
01 September
26 September
Christine Winifred Kavanagh
Stanley George Chance
aged 72 years
aged 81 years

November 2017
Breaking News
Richard's Last Sermon
Parochial Church Council
Church Watching
Harvest Festival
Compassion UK
Macmillan Ploughman's Lunch
Four Day Normandy Visit
Hatfield House Visit
Thursford Christmas Spectacular
Summer Raffle
St Michael's Bellringers
Meetings and Events


During the Interregnum it will only be possible to have the church open from Monday-Saturday between the hours of 9.30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Should you require urgent access outside of these hours, please contact one of the Wardens.

10th SEPTEMBER 2017

A man was out walking by himself in the high mountains.  He came to the edge of a precipice and went to look at the view.  Suddenly his feet slipped from under him and he was falling.  As he was going over the edge he reached out and grabbed onto a small tree that was growing out of the cliff face.  Dangling by one arm he looked down – it was a sheer drop of hundreds of feet.  ‘Help,’ he shouted.  ‘Is anybody there?’  To his astonishment, for he had seen no-one else all day, a voice spoke: ‘Yes, it is I.’  ‘Who are you?’ said the man.  ‘I am God’ replied the voice.  ‘Help me God’, said the man.  ‘Very well my son’, said God.  ‘Just let go of the tree you are holding on to, allow yourself to fall and I will catch you safely.’

‘Is there anybody else there?’

Letting go is not easy.  It is not easy for any of us to accept a change in our situations when we are not certain what the future will hold.  People who have had to abdicate from positions of power often find it very difficult to accept that they are in charge no longer.
Mrs Thatcher, for example, made John Major’s life very uncomfortable after he had succeeded her as PM: she found it difficult to release her grip on power.

It’s not only politicians who suffer from this inability.  When Michael Ramsey succeeded Geoffrey Fisher as Archbishop of Canterbury, he was perturbed to receive a series of letters from the retired primate, criticising him and proffering uncalled for and unwanted advice.

As a humble parish priest I’m not in the same class as PMs and Archbishops, but I do understand that letting go of what has been your life for many years cannot be easy.  I now have to do the same – I have to let go.  Despite all the ties that bind me to you here, I have to tell you that I shan’t be popping back frequently to St Michael’s: not because I wouldn’t love to see you, but because it would not be fair to the man or woman who succeeds me as Vicar.  And you will have to understand this and let me go too. 

And there may be more letting go for you to do in the future. I’m certainly no prophet, but I can tell you that the new Vicar will not be a clone of me.  He or she will have new ideas, and will have different ways of doing things.  There will necessarily be change.  We may need to let some things go.

But change is not a bad thing.  Churches sometime have a negative attitude to it and I reckon it is all the fault of the hymn ‘Abide with me.’  Why so? Because one of the lines goes, ‘Change and decay in all around I see.’!  Those words have planted in our minds the impression that change is a bad thing, that it entails decay, rot, falling apart.  But change doesn’t have to mean that.  In a recent sermon preached here, Canon John White reminded us of the words of John Henry Newman, Cardinal Newman, who said ‘In a higher world it is otherwise, but here below to live is to change, and to change often is to become perfect.’  Our present life in this world is necessarily marked by change. And the fact that living things change is indeed a sign of their life, that they are alive.  ‘To live is to change.’

So we shall all need to change, and let go, and do so with confidence and trust in God’s good purposes for us.

I do have confidence in the future for you, for St Michael’s, and for the parishes of Bray with Braywood.  I wouldn’t want to be so presumptuous as to compare myself with the Lord Jesus, but I recall that he did once say to his disciples, ‘it is good for you that I go away.’  I do believe that I am leaving at the right time and that good will come out of this parting.  That will come about if you continue to work together as a team, pull in the same direction as you always have done, and support our two church wardens, who have a great responsibility on their shoulders during the interregnum. 

When I was installed as vicar the church wardens presented me with the keys to the church. Today I hand them back, together with the responsibility for the church.
Some of the best people I have ever known have been the churchwardens that I have worked with both in my previous parishes and here.  In my time at St Michael’s I have been fortunate to have collaborated with marvellous people, every single one of them, and I thank them sincerely.  Now I ask you to continue to support our two wardens – we are fortunate to have such dedicated and caring people and I thank them personally for all the support, help and encouragement that they have given me over the years.

I didn’t choose special readings for today’s service – simply those set for this particular Sunday in the church year, but it seems to me that there are good things to hold on to and not let go.  Paul’s words ‘Owe no one anything except to love one another…love is the fulfilling of the law’ reminds us of the centrality of love in the Christian gospel.

Jesus’ words in the gospel ‘Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them’ contain the promise of his presence with us whenever we meet to worship in his name.  Today there are some two hundred of us, but I imagine that on some Sundays to come the attendance will not be so great!  However, the risen Christ will be here amongst us nonetheless, whether its hundreds or just two or three.

And so we can let go in confidence and trust in God’s good purposes for us. 
Let go in the calm faith that always and at every time God is there to catch us when we fall, for ‘underneath are the everlasting arms’.  

Please pray for me and pray also that God may give us all grace to let go and to embrace what the future may bring with quiet confidence and trust.


Visit Revd Richard Cowle's Farewell Garden Party

From Lesley Burch, Hon Secretary to PCC

Members of the Parochial Church Council are elected by the parishioners at the Annual Parochial Church meeting in order to make decisions concerning the life of the church on your behalf. This is a summary of the business transacted at the September 2017 meeting. It is hoped that you will find the contents interesting, helpful and thought provoking.

This was the first meeting for many years where the Vicar, Reverend Richard Cowles, had not been in the chair.  His place was taken by our Vice Chairman, John Seymour, who will be taking our meetings until a new incumbent has been installed.

The first item was a ‘Section 11’ meeting which is a legal requirement and part of the process of engaging a new vicar.  Our Wardens, Linda Shepherd and Penny Murray, were formally selected as our ‘lay representatives’ who will liaise with Olivia Graham (Archdeacon of Berkshire) in the selection process. We are preparing a ‘Parish Profile’, which is a document for prospective candidates and shows what our parish is like and what responsibilities they will have, including the qualities we would like our new vicar to have. A meeting with Catharine Morris (Parish Development Adviser) has been arranged to discuss the Parish Profile and our requirements for the new vicar. The meeting is at 7 p.m. on 9th October 2017. It will be open to the congregation and hopefully held in the church as there will be considerable interest.

The Treasurer then gave a brief summary of our finances and explained that she was preparing a budget for next year. She also told us that the Summer Raffle had raised £1338, half of which will go to the Thames Valley Hospice and the remaining amount will go into our general find.

Summer Teas had raised a very satisfactory £1014. Unfortunately the boiler is not working properly and requires new parts or replacing- both possibilities will be very expensive.

The change to APCS as supplier of DBS checks, as suggested by Oxford Diocese, was formally agreed with Penny Murray being chosen as our named Warden.

The Toilet project has been making good progress and it should take about I month to finish off all outstanding works. Ian Murray and Jim Tucker have been working hard and were thanked by the meeting.  It was also mentioned that the building workers had been very cooperative when there was a funeral or other service for which quiet and access were required. Olivia Graham (Archdeacon of Berkshire) will be asked to officially open the new facility perhaps holding a service of thanks giving.

Cover for the Sunday Church Services during the interregnum has been arranged up to the New Year. However, Evensongs will be held only on the following Sundays: 12th November 2017 and 10th December 2017 at 4.30 p.m. In the New Year Evensongs will be held on the second and fourth Sundays in a month. The opening of the Church porch and closing times during the Winter will be Monday to Saturday 9.30 a.m. – 3 p.m. It will be reviewed in the Spring. Anyone requiring access at other times should contact the Church Wardens.


Once again, a small but dedicated team of ‘church watchers’ have kept the church open at various times during the summer, we even managed to have the church open for visitors during some of the  Sunday afternoons when cream teas were served. This was a first and hopefully it will continue next year. The general view seems to be that our visitor numbers have been less this year. Even those people coming in for a few minutes before their meal at the Fat Duck has decreased. I hope that doesn’t reflect on business at the restaurant!

However, it may seem a cliché but we really do get visitors from all over the world.   America, Canada, Middle East, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa are well represented as well as the Far East and all over Europe. Not forgetting, of course, those visitors from this country. This year, I believe that we had our first visitors from Moldova, Albania and St. Helena. Truly our visitors do come from all four corners of the world.  Some stay for a while, others just put their head around the door, confirm that they are in a church and then go! Some will visit because of family connections or are researching family history. It makes it all worthwhile when somebody comes just in just to sit in silence for a few minutes.

Whatever the reason for a visit or the length of time they stay it is an important part of our mission to keep the church open and available for as much as we can. There is always room for more ‘Church Watchers’, it is only two hours at a time, so look for the rota next year.


Thank you so much to everyone who donated food for our Harvest Festival which was donated to Foodshare, Maidenhead. Below is a copy of the response we have received from them. Clearly a very worthwhile cause.

Dear Linda,

Please pass on our gratitude for the donation of food following the Harvest Festival Thanksgiving service. It was a generous collection, which will be a considerable help to us. Foodshare is supporting well over 200 people a week in and round Maidenhead at the moment, and we need to build up our stock levels in readiness for the winter months, when demand for our support rises but a time when public donations tend to decline.

We really appreciate the support. Once again we are the happy beneficiaries of the kindness and goodwill of the congregation of St Michael's Church.

Thank you, best regards

Lester Tanner Trustee, Foodshare Maidenhead


I received a letter this week. Nothing remarkable in that you might say, but this was a very heart-warming letter, the third from my sponsored child, Libia in Guatemala.  I decided about twelve months ago that I would like to sponsor a child through Compassion UK I was able to select a child to sponsor by looking at photographs and reading a little about their background. That may sound a bit cruel but it is probably the best way. Libia, then 11 years old, was a bit older than most (I think the smiley younger ones get picked quite quickly) and also her birthday was close to mine.

0I am able to support her in her education and general life, by monthly direct debit. I can send special payments for birthdays and Christmas as well as support her village in a small way. This is all voluntary.
I send letters to her, sometimes with photos and  I receive letters from her, in Spanish, with translation.
I now know a lot about her family, her brother Denis and her pet dog. In her last letter she was telling me
of her ambition to be a doctor.

Why did I do this, when there are so many other worthy causes? For me it was the personal aspect, actually helping a named child and knowing all about them, rather than a general charity. This continues as long as I want it to, up to sixteen years old. I feel privileged to help Libia in a small way in a world so different from my own grandchildren.

PS my daughter’s church in Basingstoke sponsor sixty children between the members of the congregation in a village in Africa.


Thank you to everybody who supported our Ploughman’s Lunch in aid of Macmillan Cancercare. So many people made donations but were unable to come to the lunch as well as those that were able to attend.  We raised an amazing £773.80 . with Gift Aid this means that we raised just under £900.

As ever a big, big thank you to the team - Roy, Val Queen and Linda Shepherd who all worked extremely hard to ensure that the event went well and, of course, all those people who gave so generously. Everybody agreed that it was not only a great fund raiser but also a great social event. It was nice to see so many people attend who were not members of our congregation.


We are planning a visit to Normandy from Monday 17th to Thursday 20th September 2018. This may seem very early notice but we do have to gauge the level of interest before we confirm Our journey will begin as usual from Braywick Car Park Maidenhead at 8.00 am travelling via the Euro Shuttle to our Hotel in the  beautiful town of Lisieux in Normandy  We have booked the Grand Hotel deL’Esperance in Liseu which is situated in the centre of town.

Tuesday 18th September 2018 we visit Chateau de Vendeuvre and Garden, one of the most beautiful Chateaux in Normandy.  The Chateaux has beautifully decorated 18th Century interiors, original kitchens and also a Museum of Miniature Furniture.  The remarkable gardens are also the star of the show.

Wednesday 19th September 2018 we begin to explore the stunning beauty of Normandy, where we can expect dramatic coastal landscapes, quaint pastoral villages and picturesque Ports. Our journey will also enable us to see the beaches of the 1944 D Day landings, before arriving at the port of Honfleur, where we can spend a short time to enjoy this Medieval port.

Thursday 20th September 2018 Morning free time in Liseux. Before our departure for home.
The price for this short stay holiday is £375 per person sharing a twin/Double room.  Single supplement is £114.  (Based on 30 Passengers)

Price includes Bed breakfast and evening meal, porterage, admissions and gratuities,
Departure from Braywick Car Park is 8.00 a.m. Optional travel insurance £34,
Returning to Maidenhead around 7/8 p.m. on Thursday, 20th September 2018. To confirm your interest we need two post dated cheques, the first one for £100 deposit and insurance (£34) if required. This one by 1st February with a completed booking form.

The second cheque for the balance dated 1st June.  If you are travelling with somebody then you need cheques for each person. Both to be submitted with the booking for. For further details contact Ken or Roy The second cheque for the balance dated 1st June.  If you are travelling with somebody then you need cheques for each person. Both to be submitted with the booking for. For further details contact Ken or Roy Gardner roygardner35@btinternet.com or ‘phone 01628 773591/07979 693603


Just a reminder to those of you travelling to Thursford for the Christmas Spectacular on Wednesday 22nd November. We will be leaving Braywick car park at 8.30 a.m. sharp. Remember if you are parking in the car park there you will need to purchase two full day tickets and display both of them in your car. Don’t forget to wear your Christmas jumper.

2016 Thursford Christmas Spectacular


Hatfield House, the home of the 7th Marquess and Marchioness of Salisbury, is a store house of history, so our travellers were really looking forward to their visit. It was dry but chilly and our journey there was trouble free. We actually arrived before the house opened. An added attraction in the grounds of the house was an antiques fair and there was a large number of stalls scattered around. There was time for a coffee before we began our guided tours, for which we were divided into two groups. Both guides gave excellent tours and were very well informed about the house and its history.

The house is magnificent and has been the home of the Cecil family since 1611 and is steeped in family and national history. It was while the then Princess Elizabeth was living in the Old Palace near the current house, in 1558, that she learned of her accession to the throne.

The rooms are full of exquisite furniture and paintings spanning many centuries. Also displayed are many historical mementos collected over the centuries by the Cecil family, one of England’s foremost political families. My own particular favourites were the French ‘colours’ captured at Waterloo and presented to the family by the Duke of Wellington, although the flags themselves had been replaced, the staff and the golden eagles were original. There really is so much to take in and many of us returned to the house after our guided tour to take a closer look at various items that interested us. I particularly enjoyed the stained glass in the private chapel. After a major fire in the house the stained glass remained completely intact and the floor in the chapel is the only original floor in the house.

The grounds of the house are no less interesting. One exhibit in the grounds caused a great deal of interest and debate. In front of the house there is a modern sculpture entitled ‘Renaissance’ by Angela Connor. It isn’t just a sculpture but involves flowing water and a rising golden sphere! Whatever your thoughts about modern sculpture in such a setting, it certainly was fascinating to watch. The gardens and grounds are well worth a wander around. Those who undertook the long walk to the Elizabeth Oak, where legend has it Elizabeth was sitting when she was told of her accession were disappointed. It appeared that there was no 400 year old oak, but one planted by our present Queen in the 1950s!

Some of us wandered outside the grounds to St Etheldreda’s church just outside the gate. Here you can find the Salisbury Chapel and tombs. We couldn’t get much of a look as an orchestra were rehearsing for a concert the following day. Still the music was very pleasant.

We also encountered some large top hats both in the grounds of the house and in the church. Purchased by the house completely blank, they wanted the community to show their creativity, which they have done by painting in various forms on the hats. It was a challenge to find as many as possible.
After a successful and interesting day we had an uneventful journey home.

Photographs of the visit can be seen on the Hatfield House webpage


We have received the following thank-you letter from Thames Valley Hospice in response to our donating half of the proceeds from the Summer Raffle.  Many thanks who bought tickets – a splendid result.

“Thank you so much for the very generous donation to Thames Hospice.  Edna Wood has passed on your cheque for £669 from Bray Church’s fundraising efforts this summer.  We are most grateful for this money and I hope you will pass on our sincere thanks to everyone involved in raising it and assure them that it is very much appreciated and will put to very good use.

With thanks,

Kathy Jupp,  Maidenhead Fundraising Group”


September saw quarter peals in memory of Edmund Saunders and Ernest Darke, ringers killed in action, and to mark the retirement of the Rev. Richard Cowles.  There was also a peal to congratulate Derek and Wenda Fowles on their golden wedding anniversary - all these rung by local ringers.

Bray also won the Branch ‘knock-out’ striking competition and now has a trophy in the ringing room.




Thursday, 9th November at 7.45 p.m. in Holyport Memorial Hall. 
Speaker:  Mary Sibley - Craft Workshop.

Moneyrow Green
Monday, 27th November at 2.00 p.m. in Holyport Memorial Hall.

Music At Bray
Sunday 12 November at 3.00 p.m.

Fabricio Mattos 
Guitarist Fabrcio Mattos brings a programme
for the 19th century guitar,  with works by
Schubert and a transcription from the
Well-Tempered Clavier

Maidenhead Heritage Centre
18 Park Street, Maidenhead.
Exhibition until 17th February - The Magpies Story.

Combined Charities Fair
Saturday, 4th November in Maidenhead Town Hall.

November 16th
The Willows 11.50 - 12.35
Brayfield Road 2.50 - 3.00
Walker Road 3.10 - 3.40