Pastoral Home Groups
How can we understand the Word of God without study, community and commitment? Regular meetings currently take place across the Parish on a weekly basis for fellowship and bible study. The second chapter of second Timothy invites us to: “work hard so (we) can present (ourselves) to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.” And that’s what we aspire to do through Home Group: study, fellowship and share together over cake and hot drinks. All who are interested are free to join us.
We are blessed to have the following experienced Pastoral Care Group leaders coordinating Home Groups within the Parish: Paul and Clare Morrison and Russell Shipton.
Themed Bible Studies for the whole Parish will be introduced each year around the following study material: “That the World May Know”, used by Reverend Rickey Simpson-Gray as a past Home Group Leader. The Parish is resourced with the full suite of 16 DVDs.
The opportunity to still indulge in other personal studies personally and in small groups remain. This page will be regularly refreshed with available resources in order to pursue deeper knowledge of the Word of God, with which comes deeper spirituality, greater discernment and theological insight. In the meantime, please find listed available resources referenced through the Diocesan website:
Growing on the Frontline is an eight-session small group course from London Institute for Contemporary Christianity ( LICC) that helps people to become more Christ-like within their everyday contexts, with the aim of transforming the places we live and the people we love, and to enable us to live authentically for Jesus.
Making Disciples is a holistic model that provides small group sessions, individual resources and church resources. It has a focus on reflection on personal discipleship to aid participants as they grow in their relationship with Jesus.
Being with is an increasingly popular new course from St Martin-in-the-Fields that describes itself as ‘an invitation to invest in becoming the type of person who knows how to be with yourself, others, the world around us and through this to be with God. It is an invitation to discover faith in the context of discovering friendship.’
Discipleship Explored is an eight-session course with a focus on the love of Christ. It follows Paul’s letter to the Corinthians and involves real-life stories and brand new documentary films that build on the weekly Bible readings.
The Bible Project is a growing website based in America which provides exceptional audio-visual Biblical learning resources. It is mostly aimed at personal use by people seeking to grow their knowledge and understanding of Scripture but many of the resources can be downloaded and used within a small group.
The Bible Society offer a huge array of resources for individuals and groups to engage with Scripture including podcasts, books, daily reflections, videos, and maps of the Holy Land. Their very popular eight-part Bible Course which looks at the whole story of the Bible is available for individual and small group use.
Discovery Series contains a wealth of material that seeks to make the Bible more accessible. There are many courses on different books and stories and characters from the Bible such as the Sermon on the Mount, Christmas, Mary Magdalene etc.
Everyday Witness is produced by the Church of England. It’s a ten-week course focusing on evangelism and can be used in tandem with a 50-day series of daily reflections which allows individuals to explore what it means to be a witness and to share faith.
The Firepit (Encouraging One Another)
The Firepit is way of creating the space for a small group to talk about daily life and sharing issues about everyday faith. Some groups have been meeting online using the Firepit model to provide fellowship, encouragement, support and accountability. Firepits work for established groups but are also great to use at the beginning of a new small group by sharing stories of how God is active and present and working for good in your lives. Download and print out this leaflet for each person in a Firepit.
Who told you?
The journey to faith is a unique experience, rarely is it the same as other persons discovering their new engagement with the Lord. This section of the website will be a new opportunity for members of St Sebastian’s to share their personal testimonies as a witness to those exploring their faith. Thereafter, we would be happy to have a chat as part of journeying together on this road of faith.
Below are encouraging examples from across Diocese of Oxford where members were helped along the way, which we hope will inspire your thinking. Please watch this space for future updates.
Parish of St Sebastian’s Church
Twenty-five years ago, a knock on the door from the local priest saw the beginning of Lisa’s faith and ministry journey.
Teenager Ben shares his first experiences of faith at Spring Harvest aged 13.
The Revd David Saunders shares the start of his faith journey months after being ordained deacon.
The Revd Ruth Harley shares how Patricia’s warm welcome meant far more than a great proclamation of faith.
Derek Walker shares his story of the influential people who helped his faith journey take an unexpected and transformational turn during his early teens.
Coming into middle age saw Greg wondering what life was all about. A simple invitation from a friend started him on a journey of faith.
When the Board of Finance chair went through a difficult patch it took time to recover. Abbot Stuart offered a route through.
Stepping out of the familiar gave Matthew something he could truly feel part of.
Nour shares her experience of talking about Jesus with a stranger at a festival.
Dom and Katie share their powerful testimony as part of the Come and See series.
The Revd Professor Andrew Gosler shares Richard Dawkins’ unwitting role in his journey to faith.
Paul Armitage talks about Lee Abbey and his journey to faith.
The story of how Anita Saunders, who co-runs the JOY place, was introduced to faith.
Prayer ministry is usually available at most Communion services at St Sebastian’s Church from one or more of our Prayer Ministry Team members. Many people come forward for prayer on these occasions. According to the 5th chapter of the Epistle of James, we believe in the power of prayer: “Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises.”
From time to time we hear wonderful testimonies to healing in answer to prayer. If you have a testimony, please do share it with us as it encourages us and builds up our faith. Sometimes people may require a longer period of prayer ministry than is possible at main services, and prayer ministry continues to be available, by appointment, at other times.
In our aspiration to locate in the heart of the community, we are open to accept prayer requests via the Contact Box on this website. Our Pastoral Home Group Leaders can assist you too. You can also contact Reverend Rickey Simpson-Gray direct via the same Contact Box. We will hold your disclosure in confidence and pray for you in our regular intercessions as well as when the Parish Prayer Group come together.
Little Angels is a small group that meets in St Sebastian’s Church Hall weekly during school term time, with the aim to support and nurture each other along the journey. It is no coincidence that we call it a “Coffee Morning” as well as a “Toddler Group”. It is as much for the parents as for the children.
Whilst our ‘Little Angels’ play with toys, enjoy story time, eat model the playdough, sing and dance during the music session, savour some snacks, and engage with some basic, bible-themed activities, you can sit back on a comfortable chair, enjoying a well-earned cuppa and some homemade cake. We meet between 10:00am and 11:30am on Fridays, but feel free to drop-in at a time that suits you and your routine.
All are welcome into our church community.
Cancer Support Group
This small, friendly group, co-ordinated by Anne Bone, meets in the Parish Centre on the second Tuesday of every month from 10:00am to 12:00noon. We support each other through every stage of cancer, including treatments, recovery and also bereavement. We can also arrange for home visits or encouragement over the telephone. The group’s heart is to offer a listening ear, friendship, support and encouragement.
If you would like to join us or to know more about the group, then please contact Anne Bone on 01344 775192 or the Parish Office.
Did you know that our Youth Leaders run a fortnightly Friday Youth Club at St Sebastian’s? It’s a friendly place where teenagers meet to socialise, explore basic bible truths, with food and plenty of fun for all.
We communicate the love of Christ in a way that is relevant through the range of activities offered. Maybe, one or more teenagers in your home (or who you know of) are interested in visiting one of our events. If so, please consult the Parish Calendar for next available date.
All events are appropriately supervised and work within Church of England Safeguarding rules.
The Church has a ready-made network of communities, buildings and pastoral contacts that can be utilised in helping to design and deliver appropriate and accessible services in collaboration with local communities.
The effects of mental health problems on both sufferers and those who care are huge. Nearly nine out of ten people with mental health problems have been affected by stigma and discrimination.
During a time of heightened anxiety, with fears around health, prospects with employment and finances, it’s important to be as open and honest as possible with how you’re feeling.
The Mental Health Foundation is a charity specialising in research and policy development, with a focus on preventing mental health problems. They are not able to advise people directly on their personal circumstances.
Below are details on services and organisations that offer help and support directly to people with mental health problems:
Talk to Samaritans
The Samaritans offer emotional support 24 hours a day – in full confidence.
Call 116 123 – it’s FREE.
Or email ku.gro.snatiramas@oj
For free, confidential support, 24/7, text SHOUT to 85258.
If you are struggling to cope and need to talk, trained Shout volunteers are available day or night.
Shout can help with urgent issues such as:
- Anxiety and stress
- Depression or sadness
- Loneliness or isolation
- Panic attacks
- Suicidal thoughts
Find out more at https://giveusashout.org/get-help/
Anxiety UK was established in 1970 and is run by and for those with anxiety, offering an extensive range of support services designed to help support those affected by anxiety disorders, anxiety and anxiety-based depression.
Services available include:
Helpline services – 03444 775 774, open from 9:30am to 17:30pm Mon to Friday, along with a text service 07537 416905 and ‘Ask Anxia’ chatbot service, available 24/7 for all anxiety queries at anxietyuk.org.uk. See Helpline services for more information.
Anxiety UK also offer fast access to a range of psychological therapy services, including counselling, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT), clinical hypnotherapy and Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, with appointments available in person, online and by telephone. See Therapy services for more information.
Rethink Mental Illness
You can call the Rethink advice and information line Monday to Friday, 10am to 2pm for practical advice on:
- different types of therapy and medication
- benefits, debt, money issues
- police, courts, prison
- your rights under the Mental Health Act.
Call Rethink on 0300 5000 927 (calls are charged at your local rate).
The Mind infoline
Mind offer an information line to answer questions about:
- types of mental health problem
- where to get help
- drug and alternative treatments
Call the Mind infoline on 0300 123 3393 (UK landline calls are charged at local rates, and charges from mobile phones will vary considerably). Or email ku.gro.dnim@ofni.
The Mind Legal Advice service
If you need legal advice, you can speak to Mind about:
- mental health
- mental capacity
- community care
- human rights and discrimination/equality related to mental health issues.
Call the Mind Legal Advice service on 0300 466 6463 (UK landline calls are charged at local rates, and charges from mobile phones will vary considerably). Or email ku.gro.dnim@lagel.
CALM Helpline and webchat
The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is leading a movement against suicide.
You can talk to CALM about anything.
Call the CALM helpline on 0800 58 58 58 or use their webchat here.
The helpline and webchat are both open 5pm to midnight, 365 days a year.
Connect Counselling Service
Connect Community Church Counselling service offers short, medium, and long-term counselling, which they endeavour to make accessible and affordable to all.
They provide help and support to adults experiencing a range of personal problems, such as:
- Relationship issues
- Low self-esteem
- Bereavement and loss
- Addiction and many other mental health diagnoses.
The team is also able to offer online sessions if preferred.
Tell someone you can trust
You may find it helpful to talk to your partner, a relative or a friend about your problems. They may be concerned about you and welcome the opportunity to hear what you have to say. If this is not possible, you may prefer to talk to someone else you can trust, like a faith leader or a tutor.
You can find out more about friendships and how to tell your friends on our friendships page.
Talk to your GP
Your GP may be the first person you talk to about your mental health problems. If you have a good relationship with your doctor, you may find it helpful just to know there is someone you can talk to about the feelings you are having. Your GP may refer you to specialist services if he/she feels they will help you. You can find information about talking to your GP about your mental health in our guide.
If you are unhappy with your own doctor, you can ask to see another doctor at the same practice or make an appointment with a different practice in your area. If you are unsure where to find other doctor’s surgeries, look in your local Yellow Pages or try the NHS Choices website.
Specialist Mental Health Services
Most people recover from mental health problems without needing to go into hospital. There are a number of specialist services that provide various treatments, including counselling and other talking treatments. You may also need help with other aspects of your life – for example, claiming benefits or dealing with housing problems. Often these different services are coordinated by a community mental health team (CMHT).
CMHTs are usually based either at a hospital or a local community mental health centre. Some teams provide 24-hour services so that you can contact them in a crisis. If you are already in contact with a CMHT you may find it useful to keep their number by your phone in case you need it. Otherwise you should be able to contact your local CMHT via your local social services or social work team.
Other kinds of community mental health team include Crisis and Home Treatment teams, which provide you with help in your own home and can come out to see you in an emergency or help you get into hospital if you need inpatient treatment.
You may also find it helpful to contact your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau for advice about benefits, debt problems, legal issues and local services. The Citizens Advice Bureau website has a directory listing its local offices.
Crowthorne is located in the Royal County of Berkshire close to the Hampshire and Surrey Borders.
The village of Crowthorne is split between the Unitary Authorities of Bracknell Forest Borough Council and Wokingham Borough Council and even those who live in the Wokingham Borough will tell you that they actually live in Crowthorne. There are few retail facilities within the Parish a small parade of shops in the east...