Church Activities

Home groups

Are you interested in joining a home group? Have you found yourself questioning things or wanting to learn more about the Christian faith? These home groups are for anyone living in or near the Goring Gap. If you would like to develop your knowledge and love of God, we encourage you to join a home group. Contact the Vicar via the web editor.

The Monday Faith Group

This small group was moved from an evening to the day time to enable people who find it hard to get out in an evening (eg. for babysitter reasons, driving at night etc) to meet together for friendship, Bible Study, prayer and support. We meet on alternate Mondays from 1.30 – 3.00pm in order to fit in with end of school times. New members are most welcome.

Bible study group based in Goring
This Bible Study group is the oldest of the home groups. It has been meeting every fortnight in Goring on Tuesday evenings in term-time since 1985. Light refreshments at 7.45pm are followed by the meeting proper at 8.00pm.

The standard form is to read and then discuss a Bible passage or theme chosen by the members. Our basic assumption is that the Bible, although more a library than a book, and written by many hands in many styles over many centuries, is the inspired and living word of God for all time. We take advantage of biblical scholarship to ensure that we understand the contemporary significance of the passage at the time it was written. That is the means. The end is to enrich and inform our understanding of what the passage is teaching us as 21st century Christians.

We have derived enormous benefit from sharing our individual insights and experiences. We have also occasionally used video and audio recordings for the same purpose. The meeting is normally over by 9.30pm.

Bible study group based in Streatley
The second Bible Study Group meets in members' homes in Streatley on alternate Wednesday evenings during term time. Numbers vary between about eight and twelve. The meeting start at 7.45pm with coffee, and usually ends by 9.15pm. Leadership rotates amongst those willing to lead; there is no compulsion to do so. Our approach to study is basic rather than "academic" and there is an emphasis on the practical applications of biblical truth in our own life situations. Examples of study have been two epistles of Peter, and also the book of Jude. We have also been viewing and discussing an attractive series of DVD presentations entitled "The Christ Files," made for Australian Television. We have social events too: a firm fixture is pancake night on Shrove Tuesday.

Monday home group
We meet on alternate Mondays at 8.00pm at different venues. Our main focus is to explore our faith in a relaxed atmosphere. We aim to increase our knowledge of the Bible; share our questions and answers on aspects of faith with the help of commentaries and examples of our own and other peoples' experiences. We just enjoy fellowship with one another and give time for any prayer requests we might have. We watch occasional DVDs, such as, Prom Praise and various relevant TV programmes. We enjoy the odd meal out and have a lot of laughs!

Thursday night home group
The Thursday evening home group meets roughly every fortnight during term time. We have followed various courses of study, but particularly like materials that come with a DVD we can watch. We learn from each other as well as the course material and the meetings give us an opportunity to grow in faith. At the end of term we can often be found enjoying a shared meal together in someone's home.

Advent and Lent groups
Advent and Lent courses are attended by a number of people from every church in the local area. That is, the Anglican churches of Goring, Streatley and South Stoke; the Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady and St John, and Goring Free Church. Several other people come from surrounding parishes too.

Everyone meets in small, friendly, house groups (usually five sessions) to share their journey towards Easter and Christmas. Each Group Leader uses a set Course Book to help and guide group members. The culmination of each of these courses is an Easter or an Epiphany celebration, giving everyone an opportunity to meet together. One of the most valuable aspects of each course is meeting with fellow Christians from different churches. Many new friendships have formed as people come to know and understand each other through their discussions and fellowship.

Please join a group when they are being advertised. Everyone is welcome. Advertising for the Advent Groups begins during November. More information to follow: details will be found in all the churches, on this website and on the calendar. For any other queries contact Judy Crawford here via the web editor.

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St Andrew's United Benefice Prayer Group

The St Andrew’s United Benefice Prayer group meets on the first Tuesday of the month in St Andrew's Church in South Stoke from 2.30-3.30pm.

The group meets to pray together for matters of concern and thanksgiving. In particular prayers are offered for the St Andrew's development appeal; for the local community and for those who are ill or in need. Prayers follow an established pattern but are informal in nature. Everyone is welcome to come to any of these meetings.

Check for any change to the normal pattern on the calendar.
Contact Sally Baker via the web editor.

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St Thomas' Choir is a robed four-part choir, currently numbering twenty enthusiastic adults and nineteen trebles. The adult choir sings at three morning services and one Evensong each month, and the trebles join them at least once a month for services and festivals.

Choir members participate in the Royal School of Church Music's award scheme ranging from white through to gold award holders.  In addition to our regular Church services, we venture further afield; recently we joined the massed choirs for Prom Praise at the Royal Albert Hall, and have sung Evensong at Romsey Abbey, Christ Church Cathedral and St Paul's Cathedral.  We sing at a number of weddings each year, sometimes uniting with the choir of St Mary's, Streatley.

Under the leadership of our Director of Music, Michael Howell, our repertoire includes many of the English Cathedral favourites in addition to larger scale works such as The Messiah and the Fauré Requiem, to which we often invite other local singers to join in as part of St Thomas' musical outreach programme.

Our social life is not neglected either. At various times during the year we gather for tea parties, garden parties, meals out and visits to the theatre. Choir life is never dull!

Choir practice is on Friday evenings from 6.30 - 7.30 for trebles, and from 7.00 - 8.15 for adults. For any change to the normal schedule, check the calendar. We are always interested in knowing of singers, adults or young people (age 8+, boys and girls), who might like to join the choir -- contact Elizabeth Parkinson via the web editor.

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Church orchestra

St Thomas' Church Orchestra play for the 9:30 family service several times each year. There are players of all ages and experience. We are keen to encourage those who have recently started to learn (or re-learn) instruments, as well as experienced musicians. We rehearse for about thirty minutes before the service although we can provide music earlier in the month for those who wish to do extra practise at home.

Instruments in the orchestra include the violin, viola, cello, flute, clarinet, recorder, saxophone, cornet, trumpet, trombone and piano. If you play one of these instruments or have a different one you can offer, we'd love to hear from you. Contact Elizabeth Parkinson here via the web editor.

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Coffee and cake

On the last Saturday of each month between 10.30am and noon, coffee and delicious homemade cakes are served in The Canterbury Room at St Thomas'. Everyone is welcome. (Note: there is no Coffee and Cake session in November or December).

It is an opportunity for people to come together for company, conversation and to browse through a selection of second-hand books. Occasionally there are informal recitals by local musicians and a chance to buy something from table-top sales.

Check the calendar for changes to the normal schedule or, for any other queries, contact Rev. Liz Dowding here via the web editor.

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Pick-a-Flick is a sociable monthly filmshow event, much enjoyed by the retired people of Goring, South Stoke and Streatley.

Pick-a-Flick is held on the third Thursday of every month (except August) in The Canterbury Room of St Thomas' from 10.30-2.00pm. A wide variety of films is shown, often ones requested by the audience. Subtitles are used wherever possible. Delicious homemade soup, crumble and custard are served after the film by a lively band of volunteers. Pick-a-Flick costs £3 and transport can be arranged if required. This is a United Benefice initiative.

Newcomers in the area are always welcome to come along. Check the calendar for changes to the normal schedule or, for any other queries, contact Jenny Boyd here via the web editor.

Click here for forthcoming films.

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Letter writing group

A small group of people come together at various venues from 10.00 to 11.00am every two months on a Wednesday to write notes and cards to persecuted Christians around the world.

The group looks at some case histories and guidelines from the charity "Open Doors UK", before writing their own messages. If you have any postcards or notelets that you can spare, please bring them along. Do join this group if you can. This is something practical we can do and it does make a difference.

"Open Doors UK" provides Bibles, Christian literature, training and practical support to the persecuted church worldwide. It is the world's largest outreach to persecuted Christians, working in the most high-risk places.

Check the calendar for the next meeting and venue; for any other queries contact Judith Aguda here via the web editor.

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Children's Church Trail


St Thomas’ has recently launched a Children’s Church Trail, designed by members of the Goring Decorative and Fine Arts Society (GADFAS). The Trail is aimed at children aged between 8 and 12 years, but is of interest to people of all ages!

Children and families of our own congregation and families visiting the church will find it a rewarding and enjoyable activity. The questionnaire is fun to complete, simple in layout, is in a child-friendly design and leads the child around the church exploring the history, architecture and furnishings. There is an answer sheet with interesting and well researched information for accompanying adults. We very much hope that lots of families will take part; it could be a cheerful occupation for a wet day in the summer holidays!

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Flower arrangers

We are a team of ten who arrange flowers in church throughout the year and come together to decorate St Thomas’ for the major festivals. As well as taking part in these very cheerful occasions, we derive particular pleasure from being invited to decorate the church for weddings.

We would welcome new flower arrangers to join our team. Contact Jenny Boyd here via the web editor. You do not need any particular experience, rather a love of flowers. If you need help to get started we shall be happy to provide it. Do join us in this very enjoyable and satisfying activity.

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