The Rev'd Mark Thomas

Associate Priest

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I was born in Somerset and went to Durham university to read Economics and Sociology.  The plan was that I would join the family Business in Bristol, but God had other ideas and after a brief foray into marketing and six months travelling, I was accepted for ordination training and started at Ripon College Cuddesdon in 1976. 

I decided that I needed to go north and so accepted the offer of a curacy in a mining parish in West Yorkshire in the Wakefield diocese.  A second curacy followed in Seaford, East Sussex, where I met Keri.  I proposed three weeks after that first evening and we married in Gomersal back in West Yorkshire in 1984 where I served my first incumbency.  Keri had recently qualified as a GP and started work in Cleckheaton.  We had three children there, Megan, Ben and Bethany, before moving to Almondbury near Huddersfield where I was appointed Team Rector and Rural Dean and became Canon of Wakefield Cathedral.  

Sophie and Imogen, our identical twin daughters, were born in Huddersfield.  In 2001 I was appointed Vicar of St Chad’s and St Alkmund’s, the town centre churches in Shrewsbury in the Lichfield diocese.  My final six years in Shrewsbury were very happy ones, with a good team; I loved town centre ministry and St Chad’s had a strong civic and military role. 

I am a Prebendary emeritus of Lichfield Cathedral.  Meanwhile Keri had started The Gold Standards Framework CIC, a not for profit Social Enterprise training health and social care professionals to give better end of life care.  This was very successful and I left stipendiary parish ministry in 2013 to become executive director of the Company, and among other things developed a spiritual care of the dying programme.  I finally retired at the end of 2016.  We have moved to Black Bourton to be nearer our family, and especially our eldest daughter Megan, her RAF pilot husband Kurt and their two year old son Monty. 

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Praying for victims of terror



'In the midst of life we are in death.'

Lord, in a place of pleasure, terror struck, in a place of life, death came. Hold us in our shock and grief, comfort the distressed, heal the injured, calm the anxious, reunite the separated, console the bereaved, and give rest and everlasting peace to those who have died, for your love never fails and through the darkness your light always shines. Amen.

Team Vicar

2016 Accounts and 2016 Review

The accounts were approved on 24 April by the PCC and signed off


Please click below to find the Accounts for 2016 and the 2016 Review
Our stewardship enables us to fulfil God's call and share in God's mission

The Church is the new creation, it is life and joy, it is the sacramental fellowship in which we share the ultimate purpose of God, made real for us now in our hearing the Word and sharing the Sacrament.
Rowan Williams

Parish of Witney 2016 Approved Accounts

2016 Review

Annual Accounts

Raise the roof

An opportunity to invest in a major Witney landmark

Severe winter frosts have destroyed the limestone slates on St Mary’s Roof. We need to replace them before winter sets in. Local Witney people have already sponsored 2,200 slates. Only 1,800 slates to go!!

Please Sponsor a Slate for £10. Your civic landmark church needs you!

Donate with JustGiving and PayPal

St Mary Find out more about this project

Inspiring Change

Creating a Community Space for the 21st Century

As part of our wider commitment to serve the people of Witney, we have formed a vision for renewing St Mary’s Church, our town’s landmark civic church: to enhance the ways the spiritual, community and cultural life of Witney people in the 21st century is served by St Mary’s church.

St Mary Find out more about this project

Latest Witney Way

You can read the latest edition of the 'The Witney Way' by clicking Here

Remember Dale Carnegie’s bestseller, How to Make Friends and Influence People? Well he also wrote, ‘Today is the tomorrow, you worried about yesterday.’ Mindfulness is currently a popular method of temporarily ridding oneself of extraneous stimuli, emptying and calming the mind, and concentrating on the Now. Of course metaphysically, Now can never exist; even as you read this sentence, the beginning is already in the past, and the end is still in the future.

The following pages are full of Yesterdays; accounts, reminiscences, recollections, memories and history; but also hope for our Tomorrows. Bishop John Pritchard helps us to look forward when we may be struggling or have lost our way, John Wesley reminds us that ‘faith is a journey not an end’, and Bishop Steven invites us to ‘come and see’.

Our Team Vicar Neil has left for pastures new, our curate Alastair is planning his departure, and we are looking forward to welcoming Ross as he prepares to join us as curate, on the next phase of his ministry. Pray for them all.

The 40 days of Lent – Ash Wednesday to Easter Saturday, minus the six Sundays – commemorate Jesus’ temptations in the wilderness, prior to his ministry. For us, it is a time of reflection and preparation, looking back at our lives; but also looking forward to our Lord’s glorious Resurrection. It is a time of spiritual discipline, reading, prayer, self-denial, charitable giving and actions. What are you doing?

Love and prayers,
Toby Wright
Team Rector

Staffing News

We are delighted to announce the appointment of a new Team Vicar

The Rev'd Ness Whiffin has been appointed to serve as Team Vicar in the Parish of Witney. Ness will be licensed in S. Mary's on 6 September 2017 and all are welcome to come and pray for her as she begins her new ministry here in Witney.

Please pray for Ness as she prepares for this move and the next step in her priestly ministry.

New Curate appointed


We are delighted to announce the appointment of Ross Meikle to serve his curacy in the parish. Ross will be ordained on Saturday 1st July at Christ Church Cathedral. Please pray for Ross as he continues his formation. you can read more about him HERE.

Almighty God, the giver of all good gifts, by your Holy Spirit you have appointed various orders of ministry in the Church:
look with mercy on your servants now called to be deacons and priests;
maintain them in truth and renew them in holiness,
that by word and good example they may faithfully serve you to the glory of your name
and the benefit of your Church;
through the merits of our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Amen

Latest film

Watch the latest film from the Witney Parish team.


See more films here

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Holy Week Addresses

The Rev'd Canon Dr Joanna Collicutt led Holy Week 2017 on Remembering.
The text of her addresses is available Holy Week 2017 here

Holy Week

Oxford Diocese

Seven days a week, more than 50,000 Anglican disciples are dispersed across the Diocese of Oxford and the world, serving God in a huge variety of contexts and making a difference in the world. Together as a Diocese we support an enormous range of voluntary projects serving the local community often in partnership with others: these include food banks, children’s centres, support for the homeless and refugees, community groups, parent and toddler groups and many more. Over a thousand church buildings and church schools are centres of life and hospitality in their communities. There are around a hundred stipendiary chaplains working across the Diocese in prisons, hospitals, the police, universities and schools. We have three formal overseas links with Kimberley and Kuruman (South Africa), with Växjö (Sweden) and with Nandyal (India) and many other links at parish level.

The Diocese of Oxford