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St Peter's and St Paul's

Shiplake ChurchOur church serves the worshipping needs of a thriving and friendly community, drawn from Shiplake and the surrounding areas. 

All newcomers and visitors are warmly welcome. 


All-Age Family Service
Choral Evensong
Sung Eucharist & Sunday School
Five o'Clock Slot
Family Eucharist
Lay-led Services

Shiplake Sunday Club
for Children

House groups
for small groups of about 8-10 people

Revd Robert S Thewsey
Shiplake and Dunsden with Harpsden cum Bolney
The Rectory, Church Lane, Shiplake, Oxfordshire – 0118 9403484

Times of services and other information are on the Church website

November Update from the Rectory


Dear friends

At this time of Remembrance with All Souls on 2nd November and Remembrance Sunday on 11th November always makes me wondering about this world that we live in.

We can in our lives think that the little things that get us down and upset are important, but… are they really? What would we feel if we had had a row over breakfast with our loved ones and then found that we could not say sorry to them as they had been killed? Why do we get so upset over the small difficulties in life when we can seem at times to totally ignore the bigger picture?

Jesus says ‘you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” ‘(Mark 12:30-31. NRSV)

I have been struck that we often do not seem to take these words to heart, and struggle to even like our neighbour, let alone love them. However, the open letter from Antoine Leiris, which directly addressed the terror gang who gunned down his wife Hélène Muyal-Leiris in the Paris (November 13th, 2015) shooting really hit home for me, and so I would like to share this here with you just in case you missed it, or if you have forgotten what was said.

On Friday night you stole the life of an exceptional being, the love of my life, the mother of my son, but you won't have my hatred.

I don't know who you are and I don't want to know - you are dead souls. If this God for which you kill indiscriminately made us in his own image, every bullet in the body of my wife will have been a wound in his heart.

So no, I don't give you the gift of hating you. You are asking for it but responding to hatred with anger would be giving in to the same ignorance that made you what you are. 

You want me to be afraid, to view my fellow countrymen with mistrust, to sacrifice my freedom for security. You have lost.

I saw her this morning. Finally, after many nights and days of waiting. She was just as beautiful as when she left on Friday night, just as beautiful as when I fell hopelessly in love over 12 years ago. 

Of course I'm devastated with grief, I admit this small victory, but it will be short-lived. I know she will accompany us every day and that we will find ourselves in this paradise of free souls to which you'll never have access.

We are two, my son and I, but we are stronger than all the armies of the world. 

I don't have any more time to devote to you, I have to join Melvil who is waking up from his nap. He is barely 17-months-old. He will eat his meals as usual, and then we are going to play as usual, and for his whole life this little boy will threaten you by being happy and free. Because no, you will not have his hatred either. 

This open letter also then reminded me of another great act of forgiveness:

William Ury wrote in his 1999 book The Third Side about the peace campaigner Gordon Wilson (25th September 1927 – 27th June 1995)

In an interview with the BBC, Wilson described with anguish his last conversation with his daughter and his feelings toward her killers: "She held my hand tightly, and gripped me as hard as she could. She said, 'Daddy, I love you very much.' Those were her exact words to me, and those were the last words I ever heard her say." To the astonishment of listeners, Wilson went on to add, "But I bear no ill will. I bear no grudge. Dirty sort of talk is not going to bring her back to life. She was a great wee lassie. She loved her profession. She was a pet. She's dead. She's in heaven and we shall meet again. I will pray for these men tonight and every night."

As historian Jonathan Bardon recounts, "No words in more than twenty-five years of violence in Northern Ireland had such a powerful, emotional impact."

Let us all then remember that in this world that we live in we can all make a difference, and we can and should make this world a better place to live in.

Yours in Christ


Article created / last edited: 7 December 2018

Shiplake's Live Nativity Returns


Candelit Nativity and Carols at Shiplake Church Saturday, 15th December, 11am and 4pm

Article created / last edited: 29 November 2018

Benefice Fellowship


The Fellowship groups meet at The Ark, behind Shiplake Church on a monthly basis. This provides an opportunity to meet people and make friends. It’s a rolling three monthly programme; each event has it’s own name - ‘Boys Brunch’. ‘Light lunch’ and ‘Join the Tea Set'.

Full details

Article created / last edited: 19 October 2018

June Update from the Rectory


Summer is upon us!!!!!!

I am writing this article the week before the ‘Royal Wedding.’ Having a Royal event is a really special occasion and something that can bring communities together in celebration and enjoyment, and it is good and proper that many people will be celebrating the wedding of Prince Harry and Megan Markle and I along, with many others, wish them both God’s blessing and health and happiness. Their job must be incredibly hard, being constantly on show, never having a private moment, having your diary arranged for you, being recognised where ever you go, and always moving around from place to place. Megan will certainly have a life style change to contend with.

I can really sympathise with the Royal family over their loss of privacy as some of my role as a Vicar also comes with this – we are never ‘off duty’ even when we are supposed to be as you cannot just turn a switch and say that you are no longer the Vicar, or no longer the Queen, or Prince Harry etc. I get recognised more and more about the area and about I get recognised in all sorts of places, and therefore asked many questions even when I am supposed to be ‘off duty.’ I really, really, do not mind this at all, it is part of what/who I am, it is the role that I think that God has called me for. Several years ago when I was working in Cornwall we went on a family holiday in Wales and I was even recognised when my family and I were having a pub lunch and a local person was holidaying nearby as well.

For the Queen and the other key members of the Royal family this must be a real burden, a burden that becomes more each passing year as our technology develops and media/communication develops at a tremendous pace. In times past the Royals might just have been able to get out of London and have some real time off in some far flung part of the world as they would not have been heard of – or seen on the T.V. Now, I am sure that many, many more people would recognise them.

I just wonder what Jesus will do at the second coming?

How will the media circus be used to promote the Kingdom, to bring people to faith?

We all need to prepare for the second coming by living out our lives as Jesus has taught us in the Bible, but this is incredibly difficult, especially in the modern age where EVERYTHING that we do seems to be recorded by some sort of hidden camera!!!!

Would Jesus use social networking? e-mails? texting? multi-media presentations when illustrating a parable? – the list could go on and on, but what would Jesus Do???? I do not have the answer, but I must admit that I do sometimes wonder. I think that Jesus would use whatever was at hand at the time, whatever got the message out to as many people as possible, and that is why I think that the church itself always needs to be looking at what it is doing, constantly looking at what is available to use, so that we too can speak to as many people as possible about the Risen Lord, and become ourselves ‘true disciples of Christ’. So that we all can be recognised wherever we are as a follower of Christ.

Yours in Christ


Article created / last edited: 29 June 2018