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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Christmas 2018 Services

Christmas 2018 Services

Mayoress's Carol Service, St Mary's, 14th December, 7pm

    Carol Service, St John's Hailey, 16th December, 6pm
    Candlelit Carol Service, St John's Curbridge, 16th December, 6pm
    A Traditional Service of Lessons & Carol, Holy Trinity, 22nd December, 6pm
    Crib Service, St Mary's, 24th December, 3pm
    Carol Service, St Mary's, 24th December, 6pm
    Midnight Mass, All churches except Curbridge, 11.30pm
    Christmas Day, St Mary's and Holy Trinity, 10.45am
    Christmas Day, St John's Hailey, St John's Curbridge and St Kenelm's Minster Lovell, 9.15am

775 Sermon Series

Do join us as we celebrate our 775th Anniversary with a series of sermons:

2018

    Sept 9th The Rev'd Toby Wright A Christlike Church
    The sermon text is here: Feast 2018
    Oct 7th The Ven Judy French A Servant Church
    Dec 9th The Rev'd Dr Joanna Collicutt A Pondering Church

2019

• Jan 6th Baroness Caroline Cox A Courageous Church • Feb 17th The Rev'd Helen Cameron A United Church • Mar 10th The Rt Rev'd Steven Croft A Learning Church • Apr 21st Fr Stephen Tucker A Resurrection Church • May 5th The Rt Rev'd Chris Lowson A Kingdom Church • Jun 16th Sr Stella CSMV A Contemplative Church • Jul 7th The Team Vicar A Creation Church • Aug 4th Robin Brunner-Ellis A Renewing Church • Sep 8th The Rt Rev'd Colin Fletcher A Missional Church

"The Son of God"

He was born in a barn, his father a carpenter, and his mother a decent woman. but they were of no significance, and certainly couldn't have afforded to give the boy a private education.
And yet, as a teenager, he was arguing the toss with his elders and betters in the council chambers.
He never got a proper job, just roamed around the countryside, unshaven, and living off bread and water and the occasional fish.
while offering his opinions to those who cared to listen.
He became the manager Of a football team known as The Disciples, not one of them a Star,
in fact, the twelfth man rather let the side down by accepting a transfer fee of thirty pieces of silver to play for the opposition.
The authorities eventually arrested him as a rabble-rouser, but couldn't decide what to charge him with,
other than the fact he claimed he was the Son of God.
They strung him up with a couple of criminals, and when he finally gave up the ghost,
rather assumed that would be the last they'd hear of him.

by Jeffrey Archer

The Disciples were relegated at the end of the season,
in fact, the captain denied on more than one occasion that he'd ever been a member of His team.
When He died at the age of thirty-three, there were no obituaries in the local press reporting his achievements,
no glossy supplements highlighting his colourful career,
no radio programmes to discuss his legacy, and no box sets recording any of his miracles.
But then, He'd never relied on focus groups to advise him on current trends,
or advertising gurus to spend millions promoting his brand,
or spin doctors to sharpen his image, and he didn't require social media to keep his followers up to date,
so you could be forgiven for assuming he'd be forgotten in a few days.
So how can one explain that over two thousand years later, Jesus Christ is still the best-known celebrity on earth?
Could it just be that He was the Son of God?

Witney Flower Festival 2019

Plans are well in hand for the Witney Flower Festival 2019 which takes place 5th to 7 July 2019. Full details to be posted here over the next few months.

In the meantime please do take a look at this video of the 2016 Flower Festival which reminds us all of what to expect next summer.

Witney Wonderland

We have teamed up with a local charity, Joss Searchlight and a number of generous sponsors to host the first Witney Wonderland Festival in the church. Expect to find St Mary's full of christmas trees, each individually decorated to reflect what Christmas means to different parts of our community. There will also be a fantastic Christmas scene to delight children of all ages.

As we look forward to celebrating the birth of Jesus at Christmas, our Carol services will be extra special this year; we'll be hosting a number of local schools as well as the Mayoress's Carol service on December 14th and the service of lessons and carols on Christmas Eve. There'll also be a number of special events throughout December, including concerts, bands, sing a long film nights, community vocal and dance groups and even a special visit from Santa. Find out more by visiting witneywonderland.co.uk

Raise the roof

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

Please find out more

Accounts

Annual Accounts

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

Click here to view the Witney Parish 2017 Annual Report and Accounts

Annual Review 2017