I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep
John 10:11



Welcome to Christchurch Abbeydale

We offer a warm welcome to all.  Christchurch is an ecumenical church which embraces four Christian denominations, Anglican, Baptist, Methodist and United Reformed Church, worshipping together as one congregation.  Whether you already belong to one of these denominations or not you are most welcome. 

We welcome children of all ages. A crèche is available for pre-school children. There is Junior Church for children aged 5 to 11 and ‘The Core’ for children aged 11 years +. Children stay with us for the first part of the service and then go with the youth leader to take part in planned activities 


This year Easter falls on 1st April for the first time since 1956. The link of Easter to April fool’s day appeals to me. Why is it April FOOL’S day? There are several thoughts around, one of the most common being to do with the historic change in the calendar. So we read that April Fools began when Charles IX, following the Gregorian Calendar, decreed January 1, 1562 as the official New Year instead of the end of March/April 1 [Equinoxes].
Individuals who continued to honour April 1st were teased, ridiculed
and played pranks upon.
I am reminded of Paul’s words in his letters to the church in Corinth.
We are fools for the sake of Christ, but you are wise in Christ. We are
weak, but you are strong. You are held in honour, but we in disrepute.
To the present hour we are hungry and thirsty, we are poorly clothed
and beaten and homeless, and we grow weary from the work of our
own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure;
when slandered, we speak kindly. We have become like the rubbish
of the world, the dregs of all things, to this very day. 1
Paul was teased and ridiculed; he suffered worse than ‘pranks’. And
he calls the church in Corinth to imitate him, to proclaim the Gospel
of Jesus Christ. I think the combination of Easter Day and All Fools
reminds us that there are more important things in life than being
thought wise.
In many stories, the literary archetype of the “fool” is often
portrayed as a bumbling, clueless jokester who lives up to his
namesake. Being a fool is not an admirable thing to strive to be; quite
the contrary, in fact. Why would anybody desire to make a fool of
themselves? Yet the entire Christian faith is founded on the life of
one man who was thought by many to be just that: a fool.
The Christian life, it could be argued, is a call to foolishness. As Elvis
Presley once sang, “If I’m a fool for loving you, then that’s just what
I want to be.” If anyone can lay claim to be a fool (and justifiably so)
for loving a particular person (or in our case, group of people), it’s
Jesus Christ. His teachings were radical – foolish, some might say –
but as the human embodiment of God the Father, loving like a fool is
what he came to teach.
I don’t know about being a fool but I have needed wisdom over these
last abnormal weeks. Since the last column Alison, thankfully, has
continued to improve. Both of us are grateful for and appreciate your
prayers and encouragements. This month the bad news came from
elsewhere. Early in February my Dad died – chest infection and
dementia was the cause recorded. I continue to be grateful for the
support from folk at church, particularly those who have stepped in
and covered for me. At the time of writing I have arranged to take
some unpaid leave (I was using up my holiday days spending time with
Alison) with the idea that a complete break will ease the strain. By
March I pray that a normal routine will be restored soon; if that is
not possible, please be patient with me.
I am looking forward to Easter and all that it means. As we celebrate
the resurrection of Jesus we remind ourselves that this life is not all
that there is. We rightly praise our God for opening the door to
eternity by the sacrifice of Jesus upon the cross. On Good Friday,
in particular, we will remember in a quiet, reflective service what it
cost to bring the salvation we celebrate. It might be worth reflecting
on now as we journey towards Easter the words of Jesus to his disciples
“Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
With my love and prayers for all. Have a blessed Easter.

Steve Crop.jpg

Steve Davies,

Minister of Christchurch Abbeydale

A year ago when I wrote my piece for the annual report I had in mind what I would be saying at the annual meeting. This year I can promise you that I have no intention of adding to the shock I appeared to cause last year when I announced a leaving date. My last Sunday here at Christchurch Abbeydale will be 29 July 2018, close to five years since I arrived. If the perceived speed of passing years increases with age then I have aged since being here! Where has the time gone?
Wheels were then set in motion to look at the future. What will happen is in God’s hands; what is right is that many people should be engaged with the process. The Way Forward Group has led this activity in preparing the Church Profile (the document that goes to potentially interested ministers) and all the other matters that have to be attended to. Prayer is – and should be – integral to the life of the church and no less so than in the process of succession. There are now regular monthlyprayer meetings at 7pm in church on a Wednesday evening – see the notice sheet for dates.
Prayer became a particular focus in 2017 when from Ascension Day to Pentecost the church was open during the day for folk to come and spend time by themselves or at the prayer stations around the church. “THY KINGDOM COME” has attracted much support in this country and around the world and there will be more this year between Ascension and Pentecost.
As I reflect on 2017 many images come to mind – the Nativity Lorry went out again albeit in rather damper conditions than the year before. The two local schools sent a year group to the church for Experience Easter and Christmas. The Boys’ Brigade and Girls’ Association continued and it was good to see more members join at the young end.
The normal ecclesiastical activities continued: Wednesday and Sunday services, baptisms and funerals both in the church and at the crematorium.
The regular activities of the church are reported on elsewhere in this report: let me express my grateful thanks to all those who give of themselves in the various activities of the church. Most groups would welcome new folk to help – please do not be shy in coming forward.
Abbeydale Joint Council
In May the Abbeydale Joint Council met for the second time since I arrived. This is effectively the reviewing body for our Church made up of representatives, often senior people, from the four denominations. The quinquennial building report was accepted and there was discussion as to how the denominations could support Christchurch into the future. The church was commended on its approach and there is a strong desire to see the church continue to witness to God’s love in this area.
Church Council
At the time of writing it is good to know that some folk are offering themselves to serve on the Church Council. The Church benefits when there is representation from all the members.
I am grateful to those who have served on the Council over the past years, taking responsibility for various areas of the life of the church. Their input and support is greatly valued; please pray for all those who serve the church.
Throughout 2017 I was regularly travelling back and forth to Leighton Buzzard where Alison has spent the majority of her time overseeing the work in the house and being able to spend more time with her mother. There has been significant progress – more remains to be done.
Many people will be aware that for Alison and me 2018 did not start well. In mid-January Alison’s appendix burst although she thought it was just a very bad tummy upset and did not get medical attention for four days. At which point the ambulance was called and she ended up with an emergency open appendectomy. Recovery continues. In the middle of this my Dad contracted a chest infection from which he did not fully recover and he died early in February. I took his funeral at Chichester crematorium a week after my Mother’s 90th birthday. Both Mum and Dad have had (different) dementia for several years – a disease that is all too common. I want to put on record my thanks for the support I have received throughout this time and for the way cover has been arranged whilst I have had extended time away.
To all: thank you for the past year; pray for the coming year. Together we continue to learn what it means to be disciples of Jesus.
Steve Davies Minister of Christchurch Abbeydale


Welcome to all the family


Alison, Steve and daughter Sian


Relocation of an earlier Christchurch Cross & Foundation Stone

The Foundation Stone was originally in the outside wall by the main entrance to the Community Centre

The Cross was kept in the small church rooms at the Community Centre and brought out into the Badminton Hall when services were held

1988 Community Centre D.JPG1988 Community Centre M.JPG

During ‘Work Week’ the Foundation Stone was relaid in the wall of the

back rooms at Christchurch with the Cross above


Christchurch’s first real ‘home’ was the Community Centre and with recent alterations there the foundation stone was made available to us

1988 Community Centre F.JPG