A church that was built 150 years ago kicked off its anniversary celebrations with the help of a very special visitor.
St Paul’s in Reading Road, Wokingham, held a special Choral Evensong on Sunday, January 19, led by the Bishop of Reading, the Rt Revd Andrew Proud.
It was the first of nine special Choral Evensong events led by visiting guest preachers. The second was held on Sunday, February 16 and saw the Revd Roy Burgess, Vicar of Owlsmoor, and formerly Assistant Priest at St Nicholas, Emmbrook, in the Parish of St Paul’s.
St Paul’s dates back to 23 July, 1864, when the then Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd Samuel Wilberforce led a service of consecration.
The church was built at the request of, and endowed to the people of Wokingham in memory of his first wife, Emily, by Mr John Walter III of Bearwood – barrister, MP and proprietor of The Times between 1847 and 1894.
A number of celebrations will be held throughout the year, starting with an open weekend on March 15 and 16. Activities include a soup lunch and an evening party on the Saturday and special Choral Evensong led by the Venerable Norman Russell, formerly The Archdeacon of Berkshire on the Sunday.
A patronal weekend will take place on June 28 and 29, a Foundation Weekend with an emphasis on Love Wokingham will be held on July 19 and 20 and a church family weekend, designed to tie in with the Big Draw Art Weekend, will be held on October 18 and 19.
Bishop Andrew was delighted to be part of the launch celebrations.
He said: “150 years of witness to the resurrection at St Paul’s and its rich choral musical heritage continues to inspire Anglican worship today and is a testament to the peace and love of God.”
He added that he looked forward to St Paul’s continuing to build “God’s Grapevine” over the next 150 years as the church, now part of a larger parish including Woosehill Community Church and St Nicholas, Emmbrook, works to bring the good news of the gospel to a wider community.
For further details, visit www.stpauls-wokingham.org.uk or call 0118 979 2122.