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Encouraging February Local Annual Meeting

local annual meetingWe had a good turn out for our service and our  LAM this Sunday following a Communion Service with the Revd. Tony Lomas, despite the freezing weather . It is always a pleasure to welcome Tony and Ingrid to our Church.  All the posts were filled, apart from Environmental and Stewardship Officers, to be sought following this meeting. 

Our thanks goes to David Jackson for the enormous amount of work he did in 2017 helping to raise wareness of the plight of the refugees in France, and collecting van loads of clothing and household items and delivering them to the distribution centres. This on top of his work with our book barn, a popular place of outreach, as people are often introduced to our church through a vist to the barn. David has managed all of whilst being our Stewardship Officer. Enjoy a rest David in 2018!

We thank God for willing volunteers who have accepted the important posts of Wardens, following the necessary resignation of Mike Duncan, who has been our Warden for 6 years, has worked tirelessly and selflessly for our church, and has been interim Treasurer also since the early retirement of our previous Treasurer.  Rosemary Robinson and Steve Long have accepted the posts of warden, and Peter Robinson is to be our new Treasurer. Very important also was the retirement of Mary Eldon who has been our Committee Secretary for 11 years! Her efficiency and dedication has been immense and we are so grateful for her self-effacing service to our church. Mary’s work will be taken over by Jenny Long, thank you Jenny.

The LAM was followed by our monthly Bring and Share lunch, in the Upper Room, delayed this month to coincide with the LAM. As most will remember, it was an extremely cold day, and we were all very grateful that many friends thought to bring hot food, which we could keep hot thanks to our excellent kitchen.


Lovely Lenten Lunch and Valentine's Day dinner

A lovely Lenten Lunch and our Valentine’s Dinner held in the Upper Room ! This was a little bizarre, as some of us went to the first Lenten Lunch hosted by Pam and Mike Duncan at their home, it being Ash Wednesday of course and then went on to the Valentine’s Dinner. The Lenten Lunch raised 110 € for the Bishop's Appeal.

The Valentine's Dinner was wonderful, and a sincere thanks goes to the cooks, Dave and Ann Knight, and the organisers, Kathy and Mark Carter, as this was not intended to be a fund-raising event but purely a social event, and thanks to those who support the fund-raising events throughout the year. Congratulations for beautifully decorated rooms and tables, and gourmet food on a tight budget! We are so blessed to have such dedicated and nice people without whom we would not be able to raise the money we do, for our church and charities.

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Wonderful Christian Unity service in Ribérac

‘Your right hand O Lord, glorious in power’ - ‘Ta main droite Seigneur, éclatante de puissance’ inspired by Exodus 15:6, with liturgy prepared by the different churches of the Caribbean. This was the theme of the annual ecumenical service for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, held in the chapel of Ribérac hospital.

The symbolic chains of slavery brought home the message of a plight still suffered by countless thousands across the globe today.

The message was mirrored in music, songs, readings and prayers. Our Chaplain, Tony Lomas delivered a thought-provoking sermon in French, with a short resumée in English, stressing the ways slavery still manifests itself in today’s society. The service was led by Rev'd Tony Lomas, Père Philippe Doumenge, Pasteur Pierrot Munch, Diacre Marc Lafargue and Sheila Marshall, with musicians Keith Lowe, Pascale Courmont, and Vincent Drouot.

Ministers and congregation held hands in a human chain of solidarity and unity, as the service drew to a close, singing ‘Notre Père’ – a very moving moment.

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Festive Christmas Carol service with 'Variations' choir

On Thursday 7 December at 18.00h at the church in Ribérac, the Rev'd Tony Lomas, together with Sheila Marshall led a wonderful service of Christmas lessons and carols. This annual celebration was led by the choir of Variations, organ played by Keith Lowe. After the service mince pies and mulled wine, all made, prepared and served by members of our Dronne Valley Church, was enjoyed by the congregation. It was good to see some French people amongst our gathering. With love and peace for this Christmas and, and wishing you God’s blessings on you all this coming year.


Great November Christmas Market

Great day on Saturday Nov 18th for our Christmas Market fundraiser. We were blessed with a bright sunny day and many visitors. A lot of hard work over a long period by a handful of people, but thanks especially to Marie Rickets for all the organising of the event. She invited other appropriate stall holders to join us and, because of the past success, we had more requests that we had room for. The overflow went to the Upper Room, resulting in many stalls bursting with Christmas goodies, many of which were cooked or handmade by our members, ranging from crackers, puddings, cakes and gifts. Refreshments and mulled wine added to the festive ambience, and the bacon butties, well, they’re always a treat. Pam Duncan made many Christmas cakes for sale, and one beauty, already iced, for the "guess the weight” competition.

An enormous contribution to the overall warm and festive atmosphere unfortunately cannot be shown in pictures, as it was the music provided throughout the day, by Steve Long. Such a great choice! An eclectic mix of Carols and Christmas songs to put us all in the right mood.

The success of the day was measured in shared fellowship with church friends and especially with visitors and friends from further afield. At the end of the day there was a mellow satisfied feeling and a further 1,860€ to be contributed to the work of our church in ministry and mission here in Aquitaine. Well done everyone and heartfelt thanks to all.

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Terrific Trivia Quiz Night!

quiz nightThe Trivia Quiz Night, was organised by Kathy and Mark Carter, with the enormous help of Ann and Dave Knight in the kitchen, as usual! The sum of over 400€  was raised for church funds, whilst a great time was had by over 40 participants. Fortunately for most of us, winning was not important as was having a sociable evening with friends, of course. Kathy did a brilliant job as the quiz master. One of the other draws had to be the supper, the ubiquitous English sausages and mash, beautifully cooked and followed by a fruit sponge and cream.
Congratulations to the winning team, who were each presented with a medal and a small bottle of wine, whilst the table at the bottom of the leader board each received a dunce's hat. To save anyone’s blushes, of either pride or embarrassment only the trophies themselves were photographed!


Treasures at the September Jumble Sale

You either loathe them or love them. You either need to be enticed with promises of bacon butties, coffee and cake or you're champing at the bit till the doors open and the treasure hunt can begin. Treasure hunt? Have we had a treasure hunt recently?

One person's rubbish is another person's treasure. Whatever your feelings, the recent Jumble Sale in the Upper Room at Bertric Burée was undoubtedly a great success. The great delight of a Jumble Sale is that you never know what to expect or what you might find, an item of clothing, a book or some bric-a- brac, all for the price of a few euros. Okay, you didn't know you needed it, but you love it at first sight!

That is the joy of a jumble sale: nothing better than sitting in the sunshine drinking coffee, eating squidgy chocolate cake and all in a companionable ambiance. For those whose blood pressure doesn't rise at the thought of rummaging amongst cast offs, the delights of bacon butties and delicious cakes were there to enjoy.

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Blessed August bring and share lunch

bring and share lunchWhat a wonderful Bring and Share this last Sunday the 13th August. It was the first time we had been able, with certainty, to enjoy it in our garden at the Upper Room. The marquees were a brilliant second hand buy, and were used for the first time for our Summer Fete on the 23rd July.

We are so blessed to have the Upper Room and garden, which is in great part due, originally, to the faith our Warden Mike Duncan had in the project, followed by the overwhelming generosity of our church members in giving both their money, buying items needed and, if able, using their talents to produce what is now a facility with everything one could want, to enjoy Church events and to welcome non-church goers and further friendships in an effort to Spread The Word. Our Upper Room Committee, chaired by Ann Knight continue to do a brilliant job of keeping it charged with supplies and spotless.


Super July Summer Fête and Hog Roast

The words ‘Summer Fair’ bring up all kinds of different thoughts and experiences: mostly about all ages having fun and eating well in the sun. It is not easy to cater for all ages but this year we had a really good go and the event was well received overall. New this year were aprons with 'Bertric Buree Summer Fete' printed on them, an imaginative way to identify all those working for the church that day.

The carnival games were a real success, for the young and the old, with laughter, cheers, and some healthy competition going on too. Winners enjoyed spending their tickets on the prize table where there was an array of toys, games and sweets to choose from.

The cream teas and hog roast were also a big hit and very very tasty. All the stalls did well, in particular the cakes and clothes stalls. A big thank you to everyone who helped, especially Marie Ricketts, and everyone who came to enjoy the day with us. We raised over 1,700€ which is brilliant.

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'Thank you' lunch for church welcome team

welcomer's lunchHelen and James Gray hosted a 'thank you' lunch for the 'welcomers' who've provided a greeting for people arriving at the services at Bertric Burée church in recent years.  A great lunch and afternoon was spent in convivial company and much appreciated by those who had 'welcomed' at our church over the past year. Thanks to all of our important welcome team, and to Helen - not only for the lunch but for the time put in over the year ensuring that a warm welcome was always received by those entering our church. Peter Robinson has taken over the responsibility for the welcomer's rota.


American tour group visits Bertric Burée church

If we could have bottled the wonderful noise of chat, exchanges of experiences and of friendship that was palpable during our coffee time following the service, it would have warmed your heart!

Retired minister, Rev'd Don Cornell, explains how his group of American travellers to Turkey came to attend the service at Bertic Burée and writes:

"While serving as Protestant pastor of a congregation in the Middle East, my wife JoAnn and I began organizing a series of tours to Turkey in 1986, titled the 'Christian Church in Asia Minor.' After returning to the United States these tours continued and now total 21, all of them led by our Turkish guide, Halit Uçan. Halit’s wife Brigitte was born and raised in Saint Privat des Près where, in addition to a flat in Istanbul, they have a home that originally belonged to Brigitte’s grandparents. Through the years Halit and Brigitte have become close family friends. They have visited us in the U.S. and we have visited them in Saint Privat and Istanbul as well. This year Halit and Brigitte put together the 17 day tour to France we are on. When we had the tour plans completed I sent out an email to people who had been on one of the tours to Turkey. In addition to the Cornells, among those who joined us were 12 others who had been on one of the tours to Turkey. They in turn encouraged family members and friends, bringing our total group to 22 who come from the states of Washington, Arizona, Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, and Texas. 
Sunday afternoon, Halit and Brigitte planned a wonderful luncheon in the garden of their home in Saint Privat, served by family members and friends.
On the tours to Turkey, Halit and I always made sure our schedule called for us to be in Izmir on a Sunday so we could worship at St. John the Evangelist Church, another Chaplaincy of the Diocese in Europe. The experience in Izmir is what caused me to “go looking” on the internet for Anglicans in France. And … there in God’s providence I found Dronne Valley Church, just a half hour away from our early afternoon goal on Sunday. That is the story behind how we arrived, though a bit late, for church.
We were overjoyed with the warmth of the welcome by your congregation. Your hospitality was a wonderful expression of the love of Christ we all share. Continued blessings in your ministry."
- Don Cornell, pastor-retired, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Delightful June Vinyl and Art cultural morning

A Cultural Morning took place in the Upper Room, including the sale of the Vinyl records in aid of Médecins Sans Frontiers, and the proceeds from the refreshments and the books from our Book Barn to support the Church. Also several pieces of artwork, how blessed we are with such talented artists in our congretation.

We all enjoyed lovely music whilst browsing amongst the records and books. David Jackson did a great job itemising all the records and printing a list for everyone to study and to choose from. He also set up the audio system both in the Upper Room and in the Book Barn. We are so blessed that the barn is completely dry, and the books, thanks mostly to David, are in alphabetical order by the authur’s name, just as in a library, except in fruit boxes! I do not think many people who have not visited it, realise that we have thousands of books all at 50 cents each. As usual, our ladies excelled themselves with the cakes and great cookies they made. Tea and coffee was offered free, we just requested a small sum for the cakes and cookies.

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Trinity Sunday service followed by bring and share lunch

Jill Stephens writes, "We were very happy to welcome once again, the Rev'd Tony Lomas and his wife Ingrid to our church for Trinity Sunday. Tony took the Communion service and my personal understanding of the Trinity was certainly helped by his talk.

Using the few biblical references to The Holy Ghost and the Trinity he acknowledged that it was difficult to understand, within purely earthly terms, the meaning of the Trinity. He spoke with some humour that he felt it was like trying to explain quantum physics! Nevertheless I for one,  was left with a clearer understanding of a difficult subject, that is so important to our daily lives."

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Entertaining Musical Quiz evening

Our Musical Quiz evening plus supper, held on Friday April 21st in Bertric Burée Salle de Fêtes, attended by 51 church members and friends, raised a profit of 508 Euros, which are to be shared between Church funds and Water Aid. Thanks for a great social evening go to David Jackson, who’s idea it was and who compered the evening, together with Steve Lowe on the music system, for producing all the scraps of music we were all supposed to recognise!

In the interval a splendid supper was served, the first course of Chilli cooked by our Anne and Dave Knight, and the puddings supplied by the ladies. Thank you also to Julie-Ann Jackson for making sure we didn’t get in without paying our dues!

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Glorious Easter Sunday celebrations: sunrise, breakfast, and service!

Easter Sunday began with a sunrise service followed by breakfast, and our Easter Service led by the Revd. Tony Lomas and Sheila Marshall. The Sunrise service was an informal celebration and, 31 people gathering in a circle in the garden of the Upper Room.  Ann Knight led the service, Keith Shave played his guitar accompanying the hymns, and we were all invited to take part in the thanksgiving prayers. The sun decided to hide it’s light until just at the end of our Sunrise Service, when it appeared in all its glory. How well timed!

We all enjoyed a complete English breakfast, cooked by Dave Knight with sterling help from Ann and their friend Phil. We all needed a run afterwards, but instead walked across the road to our church, to complete the morning’s Thanksgiving for the Risen Christ.  

Our local warden Mike Duncan had asked if we would like to buy lilies in memory of loved ones, to decorate our church on Easter Sunday. He was able to buy 147 lilies, which were carefully arranged for our altar by Glynis Bogardis and Carol Sapsford. The result was magnificent. We welcomed over 100 to our Easter Sunday Service. The organ was played by Keith Lowe as usual, and was accompanied for a Bach Adagio, by Jill Balfour on the flute. What a wonderful morning!

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Good Friday/Vendredi Saint with our Christian brothers and sisters

A bright sunny evening, with a cool breeze. How good it was to worship together, English/French, symbolic of many Nations yet with One God.

The Good Friday Ecumenical service at Tocane, led jointly by Père Philippe and Sheila Marshall, was a service of deep reflection, that brought home the sadness of that day when our Lord was crucified. The atmosphere of that awful scene was welded into our minds by the reading of the Passion according to John 18,1-19,42, played out by Pere Philippe, Cathy Wheatcroft, Janis and Roger Adams  and members of the Tocane and Riberac Congregations.

Michel sang Psalm 30 in a beautifully clear voice, that made one’s spine tingle, and the choir was absolutely magnificent. Music that entered the very soul. The brief homely in French and English given by Père Philippe and Sheila reflected Jesus’ sacrifice and death on the cross. God’s mission completed – the greatest example of determination, perseverance and obedient love the world has ever seen.

After the Veneration of the Cross, and during the sharing of Communion, that magnificent hymn,"O Sacred Head Surrounded" was sung in English and in French. What words are they....'Beneath thy cross abiding for ever would I rest, in thy dear love confiding, and with thy presence blest'. They were ringing in my ears and heart after the benediction, and leaving the Church in silence, and all the way home, on a God given sunlit evening. I even hear them as I write this after the Glory of Easter-tide. Christ is Risen. Alleluia.

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Joyful Spring services

We had a full church for Mothering Sunday, with lovely little posies made up by Cathy and Brian Wheatcroft. They were distributed to all the ladies present,  following a lovely service with the Revd. Barry Green.

The Palm Sunday service was taken by the Revd. Tony Lomas. It was a pleasure to welcome once again Tony and his wife Ingrid, both of whom we have grown very fond in the relatively short time we as a congregation have known them. The service was followed by our usual Bring and Share Lunch, which is held on the second Sunday of each month, in the Upper Room. Over 30 people joined together for the lunch, which is always a great way to get to know and to integrate new members of our congregation, and to welcome back our visitors.

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Wonderful March Barn Dance!

On Friday 31st March, 70 people met at the Foyer in Bertric Buree for a great Barn Dance! Ingrid Lowe taught us the dances and called to try and keep us in time. Keith Lowe ensured the music could be heard. Ann and David Knight with their team produced a wonderful supper of pulled pork in a bun with potatoes and coleslaw plus delicious deserts. David Jackson ran the bar and Marie Ricketts oversaw the fund raising. Thanks to everyone for making the evening so enjoyable!

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Worship with Father Meurig, Archdeacon of France

On Sunday 12th March we were very pleased to welcome the Archdeacon of France, Venerable Meurig Williams, the Rev'd Tony Lomas, and his wife Ingrid to our morning service.

The Ven. Williams gave the address, concern our journey through life, with all is uncertainties and doubts, comparing these to the problems of the refugees from war-torn countries and from countries suffering from other disasters. The Ven. Williams reminded us that every new path we were called to take, God had gone there before us, and would welcome and help us.

The Communion Service was followed by  refreshments and then by a very enjoyable Bring and Share lunch, when we took the opportunity to celebrate the birthday of one of our members. We are blessed always with great participation in all our church events, both worship services and social.

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Successful Wine Tasting Dinner

The Wine Tasting Dinner was the brainwave of,  and organised by, Kathy and Mark Carter and was a huge success. It was planned whilst two of their friends, also from the USA, were visiting. One friend, Jeff, is a wine expert, and during each of the 6 courses he gave a short talk about the wine served and we were invited to mark the various qualities of each wine from 1-5 on a sheet provided. Under each plate was a number, and a draw followed each course, at which the winner was given a bottle of the wine served during that course. All the wine was supplied by a very good wine merchant, Thiery, based in Mareuil. 

The other good friend, Scott, an interior designer, offered advice to make the tables look so inviting, and helped during the evening. The excellent dinner for nearly 40 people, was prepared and cooked by six volunteers, one for each course. It was a lot of work by all of the volunteers, but the money raised for church funds, over 1100€, made all the effort worthwhile. It was a very happy social event.

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Reconciliation: Prayer for Christian Unity service in Ribérac

A fragment of the Berlin wall, in the shape of a cross, was used as a symbol of the need for reconciliation during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

A particularly ‘special’ Ecumenical service took place in the Hospital Chapel in Ribérac, underlining the warmth of friendship and fellowship with our brothers and sisters from the Roman Catholic and Eglise Réformée congregations. The service was led by Rev'd Tony Lomas, Père Philippe, Sheila Marshall and Pasteur Pierrot Munch who gave a moving and thought-provoking homliy.

This year’s theme ‘Reconciliation – the Love of Christ Compels us’ (2 Cor. 5.14) focused upon the main concerns of the churches marked by Martin Luther’s Reformation and a recognition of the pain of the subsequent deep divisions that afflicted the unity of the Church. As well as looking back 500 years, a more recent symbol of division was used - the Berlin Wall - to reflect on the meaning of reconciliation.

During the service a symbolic wall was constructed, and as each sin was named ‘lack of love’, ‘hate and contempt’, ‘false accusation’, ‘discrimination’, ‘persecution’, ‘broken communion’, ‘intolerance’, ‘religious wars and conflicts’, ‘division’, ‘abuse of power’, ‘isolation’, ‘pride’, a ‘stone’ was brought forward. Following a prayer for reconciliation the wall was dismantled, and the ‘stones’ were laid in the shape of a cross. The Berlin Wall was brought down by ordinary people lighting a candle and saying a prayer. May we be compelled by the love of Christ to live reconciled lives and to break down the walls that divide.

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Blessed Advent and Christmas: Carols, Jazz, and Worship!

jazzWe started Advent with a traditional service of Advent Carols lead by Sheila Marshall and Rev'd Tony Lomas followed by a time of fellowship over refreshments in the Upper Room.

Our Service of Lessons and Carols was rather earlier than usual this year, on the 9th December, at Riberac church and lead by Rev'd Tony Lomas and Fr Philippe Doumenge. The Variations Choir were accompanied at the organ by Keith Lowe and on flute by Jill Balfour and lead us in our singing of traditional Christmas Carols. The congregation was made up of folk from our own church and from the Roman Catholic and Eglise Reformée churches. A wonderful opportunity to share worship and fellowship with friends old and new, and of course, followed by mince pies and mulled wine.

jazz eveningAfter many years of Shirley and Brian Cook providing us with an opportunity to sing Carols and enjoy afternoon tea at their home, for which we thank them, sadly, they have decided not to continue and enjoy a well earned rest. Quite by chance, though, we were able to accept an offer by Dan Jones to arrange a Jazz Carol event.

Our thanks are due to Helen and James Gray who made their home available to us, to the St Laurent Jazz Quartet for the music, and to all those who provided delicious food and wine. About 60 of us enjoyed an entertaining, fun filled evening on the 17th December and proceeds from the event were donated to the Bishop’s Advent Appeal along with the offertory from the Riberac Carol Service.

On Christmas Day we had a full church and enjoyed meeting friends and relatives visiting family living in France. Revd Brian Davies presided at the Eucharist.


Joyful Harvest Celebration

We had a joyful harvest celebration on October 9th with Rev'd Brian Davies and Sheila Marshall leading the congregation with familiar and new harvest hymns. The church was beautifully decorated by our flower ladies to which the congregation added their gifts which will be donated to Secours Catholic. After the service we met for coffee in the Upper Room and many stayed on to enjoy our harvest bring and share lunch.

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Holy Spirit Day held at the Echourgnac Abbey - Alpha Course

holy spirit dayWe received a very warm welcome from the nuns at 9:30, who provided us with excellent meals and on-going refreshments throughout the day.After attending Vespers, the day finished with supper at 18:30. A long, sunny and spiritually refreshing day! 

We at Bertric Burée are blessed with people who think of, and help organise, such events. We owe a special thanks to our own Suzanne Reason and Steve Long, who organised our ALPHA course, and a big thank you to Rev'd Deacon Charlotte Sullivan for giving us such a wonderful insight into the meaning of The Holy Spirit. She is such a wonderful communicator.

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Blessed 10th Anniversary weekend: 9th/10th July

We celebrated the joining of our two Dronne Valley congregations in the Church of St Peter and St Paul, Bertric Burée. Saturday was a beautiful sunny day for the stalls and refreshments in the Upper Room gardens. The kitchen helpers worked hard to keep up with the demand for cream teas in the Upper Room kitchen.

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The Sunday morning service was decorated with a colourful banner featuring handprints of many of the congregation – One in Christ Jesus. Rev'd Brian Davies, who had been Priest in Charge for five years until the end of 2015, gave the homily at the service.

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Member of the church Laurie John writes, “We were blessed with music from Kirsty and Dan Jones, Annie and Keith Shave and Keith Lowe on the organ - not to mention a full throated choir and congregation. Stories were told of how it all began and what it has meant to several. As so often with me, one particular offering stood out. We have among us a very fine sculptor and artist, Roger Adams. Roger had painted for us as a memento of the day a beautiful scene of a silhouetted figure standing offshore in a limpid sea, backlit by the hint of a sunrise or sunset. The figure could have been wading out or coming back. As Roger later said to me, he was taught that a good painting should not be too explicit; there should be room for the viewer to add something of his or her own interpretation. During the service Roger gave us in his burnished mahogany baritone voice the story of the Good Samaritan. Roger was once in the police force, so it was with the stern tones of A Copper that he intoned the final words of that story: “Go thou and do likewise!” I fancy we all sat up a bit straighter! So many blessings and so much to be thankful for. ” The service was followed by a delightful bring and share lunch, and the Celebration Cake was delicious!


Successful April Music Quiz and Supper Evening

quiz night

A hall full of enthusiastic quiz team members made 1st April’s Music Quiz and Supper evening in the Salles des Fêtes in Coutures a great success. Tremendous thanks to David Jackson and his team for making it all possible.

The evening raised a total of 594€, which has been divided equally between Water Aid and church funds.


Sunrise Easter service

Before 7:30am on Easter Sunday morning, 25 of us met in the Upper Room, despite the clocks going forward that night! It was all a wonderful experience and a time to talk after breakfast - before our Communion service at 10.30 in the church.

It was chilly but dry in the garden where we had our sunrise service organised by Ann Knight, assisted by Mike Duncan. Although we didn't see the sun by the time the time the service ended, we were tantalised by the aroma of bacon as Dave Knight had started cooking a delicious breakfast, leaving the window open to hear us in the garden.

Our cross, which had been in purple with a circlet of thorns was changed to this wonderful white for our service in church on Easter Sunday.

We welcomed over 100 to our beautifully decorated church on Easter Sunday. Janis Adams and Madeleine Holmes led the service, a celebration with Holy Communion by extension with rousing Easter hymns lead by the choir.

The choir were seated behind the altar to make sure there was space for the congregation. After communion the children showed the Easter gardens they had made and we joined them in singing an extra song - we were in good voice by then. We joyfully and loudly concluded with the response 'He is risen indeed, Alleluia!’

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Palm Sunday procession

palm sundayOn Palm Sunday, we processed round the church carrying our palms and singing the hymn 'Make Way'. In the service the story of Palm Sunday was told through two dramas.The first enacted the events of that day, and the cast stood in their places as we heard again how the donkey was found and Jesus rode in triumph into Jerusalem.

Our second drama 'We, the Witnesses', gave the Passion Narrative as fifteen characters involved in those events each came forward and gave a short statement about their part in it. It was an emotional account.


Blessed Ash Wednesday service and lunch

Rev'd Barrie Green led an Ash Wednesday service, with the imposition of ashes, which was followed by a simple Lenten lunch of soup and bread in the Upper Room. A reflective and meaningful way to begin this time of preparation.

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Aglow with candlelight at Christian Unity Service in Ribérac

wpcuThe taste of salt and the flickering of candlelight reminded us all of the words of Jesus as French and English gathered for the ecumenical service of Christian Unity in  the hospital chapel in Ribérac. (Vous êtes le sel de la terre - Vous êtes la lumière du monde - You are the salt of the world - You are the light of the world, Matthew 5.13-16).

As Sheila Marshall, one of the Chaplaincy Readers, reminded us in her bilingual address, we need each other for our mission and ministry, to be a visible sign in a divided world of the unity God wills for humanity, together to be salt and light in a world being transformed by Christ.

Music, Bible readings and prayers in both languages, again underlined the feeling of friendship and fellowship between both sections of our two communities. Among the prayers we were reminded of the plight of the migrants seeking safety as they flee their own countries, a poignant reminder of the plight of others.

We shared bread and salt as baskets of both were passed among us, and towards the close of the service the chapel was aglow as nightlights were lit amid the congregation.



christmas prayer tree

Christmas Morning Service

Our church was full and there was a great atmosphere of joy, friendship and thanksgiving. Many of the congregation who did not have family to care for, were joining together afterwards for Christmas Day lunch, which continued the sense of festivity.

It was Brian Davies’s last service as Priest-in-Charge. He is taking a 3-month sabbatical; after which he wishes to concentrate on church outreach programmes.

We also featured a Christmas Prayer Tree, on which people wrote on the labels the names of people they wished to be remembered in prayer before God. There was also a basket underneath for the same purpose. A lovely thought on Christmas Day.


Festive afternoon of tea and carols

An afternoon of Carols and tea party was held chez Cook on the 8th December. We enjoyed a joyous sing-a-long, and a bountiful spread of desserts and mulled wine: a veritable Feast. Many thanks to the many helpers in the kitchen, and to our kind hostess, Shirley, and to Music Master Keith!

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Christmas Fair: much generosity and fellowship!

christmas fairOur Christmas Fair, which was held for the first time in The Upper Room on the 21st November was a great success and grateful thanks are due to Cilla Pickett and all those who helped through the Craft Group and on the day. A credit to all involved in providing refreshments, including very popular bacon butties and mulled wine, Christmas cakes and puddings, jams, chutneys, mincemeat, Christmas cards, crackers, gifts, Christmas songs sung by Sandra Claus (alias Jeannie Hunt) and a terrific raffle including a Christmas Hamper.

A great day of fellowship, outreach and Christmas cheer, Oh, and 2300€ raised. Say that again, yes 2300€ for Medecins sans Frontières to help with their work in supporting refugees.

Incredible generosity shown by all and lots of hard work, but so worthwhile. A great big thank you to everyone.


Nov 7th: Official Opening of the Upper Room (Acts 1:13)

upper room openingAfter nearly ten years in Bertric-Burée we sensed that we could grow more into the local community and this developed into us to acquiring a lease on a house in the centre of Bertric-Burée, not 50m from the church. We have called the project/building the Upper Room (Acts 1:13) and the aim is to provide community facilities such as a community drop-in facility, for coffee, chat, prayer, etc. as well as mid-week Sunday School activities, Messy Church, social events, shared lunches, classes, meetings, art and craft groups, etc. We also have a large library and study room and a ‘Book Barn’ with hundreds of books for sale. There is a wonderful garden with easy access which provides opportunities for outside activities such as fetes, barbecues, etc. Ann Knight is heading the management team.

We do a large amount of fund raising for local and international charities, and provide pastoral care for any one in need.

Sue Gamon, the driving force behind this project opened the building on Saturday afternoon 7th November and we celebrated with a glass of fizz. Lovely food was provided by the restaurant, Aux Petits Oignon, which is opposite the Upper Room and we were pleased to welcome our church family and our neighbours in the village.

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Calais and Beyond

help in CalaisDavid Jackson, from the Bertric Burée congregation,and a team of ladies from the Ribérac area* have been organising supplies of donated items for the refugees in the ‘Jungle’ in Calais. Margaret Scobie has been using her premises in Ribérac town centre as a depot for the supplies, which range from warm clothing and tents to food and cooking equipment – everything which people who have lost all their possessions will need to keep them alive and healthy in the open as the season turns to winter. David has used his double horse trailer to take the first load to a storage and sorting hub just north of Angoulême and is planning further trips in November and December.

*”Calais - People to People Solidarity”, a Facebook Group

If you would like to help, contact David for more information (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). Click here for a list of needed items.


Harvest Celebration and Environmentally-Friendly Lunch

harvestThe church was full for the Harvest service on Sept 27th, and the congregation were very generous with their donations of non-perishable food to be given to Secours Catholique in Ribérac. We delivered a large car boot full of goods the following week, and the ladies in the charity shop were most appreciative. They said they would be writing to thank our church members.







The service was followed by a Harvest lunch. The theme was Harvest and Support for the Environment. People were asked to bring dishes made from their own home-grown produce, foraged food and, if purchased, to include something grown or produced locally or organic. Everybody entered into the spirit and an amazing spread was provided.

Roasted vegetable soup and homemade bread, wonderful salads, curried freerange eggs (a 4k walk to purchase), pork and sausages (free range and local) and a nettle and walnut quiche.

This was followed by a number of delicious of fruit crumbles and pies. The only interloper was a naughty carton of cream from Tesco !


August Music and Picnic fundraising for environmental charity "A Rocha"

a rochaMusic and Picnic for the Planet - raised 850 € in aid of A Rocha - ‘What a Jamboree!’  Click here to visit the A Rocha website.

The weather threatened the fundraising event, but did not materialise, save for a few spots of rain. After our morning church service we convoyed to Chez Vignas, home of Rick and Cilla Pickett where, mingling with other music lovers, we all enjoyed our picnics. A bar with wine, coffee and the most delicious (I am told) cakes stood proudly in the Barn/Music Hall.

a rocha fundraisingAt about 3pm the music started with Dan Jones and Classical Guitar, including a 'Deuxiemere' of his own composition, Cavatina and many other favourites. Then followed a trio of drums ,keyboard and guitar, a great mixed salad from Chris, Rainer and Pete, including 'Tambourine man' and other well-known standards.

A sing-a-long with AJ Weber brought, for me, memories of the separation endured by many Service families, bitter/sweet, but such memories. Keith and Annie Shave excelled as they usually do, bringing Love, Love of Music and God's Love to us in abundance. 'Broken Biscuits', with guitar and violin made a terrific impact.

At 6pm or so an excellent barbecue was served with bangers, burgers, coleslaw and salad. - A treat that was lubricated with that delicious Jango Reinhardt style of Matt Guez, and the musical performances rounded off with Rick and his group.

What a true Smorgasbord of music. What reminders of yesteryear and yesterday. I personally can't wait for next year, and another helping of Rick and Cilla's hospitality, and their amazing organisational gifts.

Thank you Cilla, Thank you Rick...I know I speak for us all. A ROCHA has benefited, but what pleasure you gave to us all.

- Tony Stephens

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July 4th: Annual Summer Fête held in the Upper Room

For the first time, the Summer Fête was held in the building and grounds of the Bertric Burée called the Upper Room, our new home. A large team, organised by Cilla, worked incredibly hard in the heat, putting up marquees so we could sit in the shade; they also organised a splendidly entertaining afternoon.

Roy and Elizabeth provided succulent and spicy hot dogs to supplement our Saturday lunch. Earl and Mike ran the bar to quench our mounting thirsts on a very hot afternoon. Tony ran the bottle stall with lots of prizes, Helen had plenty of plants for sale, Pauline and Suzy sold some really delicious cakes and preserves, made by hard-working friends of the church and the raffle had wonderful prizes: a holiday, champagne, and lunch for two at the nearby restaurant.

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The pirates ran a coconut shy and Kill the Rat game. Rick's band played some '60s music. Later, we all ate the 100 scones Pam made, and delicious they were too with cream and jam. We also enjoyed cups of tea provided by Sue's team in the upper room where we were able to sit at tables covered with pretty cloths and chat to our friends.

Thanks for the hard work of many unseen hands preparing for this the first Summer Fête at the new Upper Room.


Mothering Sunday at Bertric Burée

Mothering Sunday











Mothering SundayWe gathered for a delightful service on 15th March led in music and words by Dan and Kirsty, Alexandra and Michael, and the children of the Sunday School.

Artist members of the church Linda and Roger were given tubs of playdough and challenged to produce small sculptures appropriate for Mothering Sunday, which they did – sharing the colours with scarcely any fighting.

Alexandra and the children quietly made playdough sculptures too.

While Michael spoke to the adults, the children made prayer hearts, which were later read out and then threaded together to make a mobile. Three of them also wrote poems on the theme of peace.

And at the end of the service they distributed flowers to all the ladies in the church.



Successful First Christmas Tree Festival!!!

tree festivalOver the weekend of the 20th and 21st December we had our first ever Christmas Tree Festival. Local clubs, organisations and individuals were invited to decorate and exhibit a Christmas Tree.

We ended up with twelve trees and the ones by The Interesting Gardening Club and our church Sunday School were judged the best by those visiting the Festival.

Refreshments including mulled wine, mince pies, bacon sandwiches, tea and coffee were served all day in the newly-available Upper Room across the road and we had a good number of visitors.

There was a raffle, with Brian Wilkinson winning the hamper and Ian Jameson a duck. The sale of refreshments raised 245€ for the Upper Room project. Our grateful thanks to Sue and Lionel Gamon for this great initiative and to all of the team who sorted out the details.

tree festival

The Festival ended with a glorious telling of the Nativity Story in the Crib Service. The church was full and there was a 'cast of thousands' of children (-of all ages, as can be seen from the photo of the Magi), ably lead by Cathy Wheatcroft and Madeleine Holmes.

This was a truly memorable occasion and our thanks are due to everyone involved in its production. We give glory to God for blessing us with this great opportunity to reach out to the community.

And to bring the event to a colourful end, an enthusiastic collection of angels, wise men, shepherds (and Christmas trees) assembled at the front of the church in the Crib Service.

- Mike Duncan


Congratulations Worship Leaders

worship leadersOn Sunday 24th August our Chaplain the Rev Paul Vrolijk led an uplifting communion service during which Steve Long and Trevor Hodgkiss where presented with the Worship Leaders Certificates.

Our priest-in-charge, Rev Brian Davies congratulated them on the work they have done and how we are looking forward to hearing more from them. They are a welcome addition to the Worship Team in the Northern Sector. 


July Garden Fête chez Vignas

Perfect weather, everyone enjoying themselves and over 1800€ raised for WaterAid, HG1000 and the Chaplaincy! The boutique was full of ladies buying new outfits and plants and cakes were in great abundance on their stalls. Toys, books and crafts too had well-stocked stalls and the tombola sold out within an hour. 

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Pirates and Mermaids were seen in the pool area, coercing people to part with their money by fair means and foul!!! The sales pitch on the Bric-a-Brac was so good that many a person nearly went home buying what they had donated ! Games including Splat the Rat and Coconut Shy proved popular with young and old alike. 

And of course no Garden Fête would be complete without delicious Cream Teas and the Beer and Wine Tent. Customers were entertained by live performances on piano and harp. Many thanks to all who helped to make this such a good event.


Witness at the So British Weekend in Brantôme

brantome witnessWe took advantage of the ‘So British Weekend’ in Brantôme on the 22nd June to witness to our faith by promoting the Chaplaincy of Aquitaine and in particular our churches at Bertric Buree, Chancelade and Sorges.

A number of us from all three church centres were on hand to give away homemade cake and refreshing cold drinks (it was a gloriously hot and sunny day) and to tell visitors about our churches and to invite them to worship with us.




Make Way...Easter Week celebrations

palm sundayA sunny Palm Sunday morning, and the congregation are in procession around the church singing.............  
“Make way, make way - for the King of kings; 
Make way, make way - and let His kingdom in!”

 Palm Sunday





Then the children made their own palms and heard the story. We also said a sad farewell to Liliane Cook (front left) and her parents as they move back to England. 




pastor BK

Prayers for Pastor BK in Kazakhstan 

We had a great service of Thanksgiving this morning - here is a photo of us all which we are sending with a letter to Pastor BK who is imprisoned in Kazakhstan, to tell him we pray for his release and that he is not forgotten.

Our prayer is for all Christians who are being persecuted for their faith.




World Day of Prayer in March 

jmpBertric Burée and Chancelade/Sorges joined with our Catholic and Eglise Reformee friends on Friday 7th March in Ribérac Hospital Chapel. The service was devised by the women of Egypt, 'Des eaux jailliront dans le désert' (Streams in the Desert) with strong symbols of their life in history and modern times. It is a pleasure to worship with our Christian brethren.







Christmas celebrations at Bertric Burée

carolsOur celebrations began with the much-loved Christmas tea and carols at the home of Shirley and Brian Cook. A wonderful time of fellowship – a scrumptious tea, delicious mulled wine – what more could we ask for?

Our Carol Service held at Ribérac church was another very special occasion. Paul Vrolijk and Brian Davies led the service (sadly at the last minute Père Robert was unable to be with us) and the service was greatly enhanced by the joyful singing of the church and Variations Ensemble choirs. A wonderful atmosphere and our grateful thanks to everybody involved in the service preparation.


August Lectio Divina Workshop led by the Chaplain

lectio divinaAs if by divine hand the clouds cleared away as we all assembled at Chez Duncan for the workshop. What a warm welcome awaited all comers, we were about 26 in number and we were greeted with coffee and biscuits in the garden.

In his introduction, Paul explained that we were to explore a way of opening ourselves up to God, involving a slow and gentle reading of a chosen text from the Bible, allowing it to wash over and through us, to lead us to truly understand Gods words to us. The steps we were to follow were: - Reading a biblical passage, - Reflecting on this, - Expressing the thoughts that arise from the passage to God in Prayer, - Resting still and silently in thanks for Gods grace.

Just before lunch, we adjourned to the garden for a meditative reading from Paul, on the feeding of the five thousand...We closed our eyes and imagined ourselves back there with Jesus, witnesses to this miracle. It was a most profound moment, in that peaceful garden, as Paul retold the story. I think we totally forgot about lunch in that time, but then it was time for us to eat and eat we did!

After a superb lunch and coffee, we wandered back for the afternoon session and more illumination from Paul. Then it was time for us to do some work, to exercise our very own Lectio Divina. Each went to a quiet place, to sit and go through the four steps of Lectio Divina, stilling our minds, reading, pondering and reflecting on the passage each had chosen. It was not difficult to peacefully reflect in that beautiful garden and the time passed in an instant it seemed.

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I felt drawn to write a small prayer, may I share this with you?

Sometimes I am not expected to understand.

Sometimes it must be enough that you're at hand.

Please Lord give me peace of mind,

That your hand is behind,

All that happens in my life.

The good, the bad that gives me strife.

Oh Lord, please bear with me,

Give my heart the grace to see,

That by my side you'll always be.Amen

We all returned to the house, quietly filled and Paul rounded off the workshop eloquently. The workshop has made me, for one, re-access my Bible study and contemplative times and I think I can speak for all in saying that we came away with so much more than when we had arrived. Thank you Pam and Mike for your hospitality, Lemon Mousse and Lasagne. Thank you Paul for your inspirational leadership and thank you to all those who attended, it was a day to remember.

- Linda Fisher


songs of praise

April songs of Praise 

32 people attended the joyous celebration of Songs of Praise at Bertric Burée on April 11th, including newcomers and a French lady who loves hymns! 


songs of praise




We all sang with gusto and had to recognise that our favourite may not have been chosen but they were all well loved hymns and enjoyed talking in the foyer afterwards with a glass of wine and nibbles.  Many thanks to those who made it possible. 



Ecumenical Women's World Day of Prayer/Journée Mondiale de Prière

jmp 2013Thirty-five members (men and women) from the congregation of Bertric Burée, the Roman Catholic and Eglise Réformée churches gathered on Friday 1st March to celebrate a bilingual service, held in the hospital chapel in Ribérac.

This year’s time of prayer was prepared by Christian women from France, based on the theme, ‘I was a stranger and you welcomed me’, ‘J’etais étranger et vous m’avez accueilli’.

A particularly beautiful service with guitar and flute accompaniment, which was very well supported by our own congregation, many of whom played an active part.

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Joyful Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Service in Riberac

wpcuA well-supported service for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity was held in the hospital chapel in Ribérac with leaders, Père Robert, Pasteur Munch, and Revd. Brian Davies.

Sheila Marshall gave the homily (in French and English) on the theme ‘What does God require of us?’ (Micah 6.8) and representatives from the respective churches also took part.

The memorable service ended with the rousing gospel hymn ‘Oh when the saints go marching in’.









Carols in December

carols 2012At our All Age Worship service on Sunday 16 December our children showed us the story of the Nativity as we sung carols and heard readings. The children did very well, with no opportunity to rehearse. It was great to welcome some of their friends as well.

Most of them were also able to join us at the carol service in Riberac on Wednesday 19 December which made that event even more special.

Many thanks to the ladies in our Craft Group for making most of the costumes with help from mums and a nan!

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Christmas Market on Dec 2nd

bb christmas market

A great day was had on Sunday 2nd December at the Christmas Market held at the golf club near St Severin. It is six years since we first took a table and we have seen it grow immensely.

For us it is an opportunity to meet and chat to many people who don't come to church, to let them know where we are and inform them of our Christmas services while at the same time sell our hand crafted items and home baked goodies to raise some money for our Chaplaincy.

This year we made about 350€.  A big thank you to all who supported us in any way.





Remembrance Day service: November 11th

BB Remembrance DayVillagers from Bertric Burée and the church congregation joined together in a Remembrance Day ceremony. We then adjourned to the Salle des Fêtes for a Vin d'Amitié - the village providing the wine and members of the church canapés, for this much-appreciated social occasion.

September Family Fun Day

BB family fun dayThe Family Fun Day held on the 22nd September at the home of Julie-Ann and David Jackson was a very happy and successful occasion.

The weather was perfect and we enjoyed a great barbecue thanks to all the chefs and helpers.

There were games for the children and David did a 46 lap sponsored swim in his pool which was a chilly 200. Some of the children were not put off by that and joined him in the pool after his ‘marathon’.

A raffle and tombola added to the excitement throughout the day. It was great day of fellowship with lots of interest for children and adults alike.

Oh and incidentally, we raised over 800€ to be divided between Emmaus-France and our work with children’s church.

A big thank you to all involved, to Julie-Ann and David, Sue Gamon and her team, and sponsors which included Intermarchѐ at Chalais.

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A Feast of Holy Week services

Here are some photos from Palm Sunday and Good Friday services:

palm sundayThe Jones family – with Karla’s help – lead our Palm Sunday procession around the outside of the church with our palms.

Good Friday was commemorated at Bertric Burée with a meditation, At the Foot of the Cross, with Rev'd Brian Davies.

We were blessed to have this cross, commissioned by Ann and David Knight to focus on during the service. The photo of the Good Friday cross was taken on Saturday after some Easter flowers had been arranged.

easter cross

Also, an ecumenical service was held at Tocane on the evening of Good Friday.

Rev'd Brian Davies and Père Bouygues led the service and we took an active part in reading the Passion Story, the Prayers of Intercession and singing in the choir.

Thirteen members from Bertric Burée joined with the Roman Catholic congregations from Ribérac and Tocane to celebrate the Liturgy of the Passion.

Easter Sunday was a joyful service with 134 in the congregation and the cross to focus on the risen Christ. Alleluia!!

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Women's World Day of Prayer: Friday March 2nd, Riberac Hopsital Chapel

wwdpWe gathered on Friday March 2nd to celebrate the Women's World Day of Prayer service which took place at 1700 hrs in the Hospital Chapel at Riberac.

This year‘s time of prayer was proposed by Christian women of Malaysia, based on the theme "Let Justice Prevail".

We all enjoyed the service with guitar and flute accompaniment. A special thanks to Sheila Marshall for all her work liaising with our French friends.

View the embedded image gallery online at:


A Week of Prayer for Christian Unity service in Montpon for the first time!

christian unityRevd. Brian Davies and myself were invited to take part in the Ecumenical service (arranged at short-notice) at la Salle Paroissiale in Montpon.

We were made so very welcome by Père Bruno and Pasteur Munch and members of their congregation. The celebration was informal, and memorable. There were about 25 of us and as this was the first time a service had been held in Montpon, we were invited to introduce and tell the group a little bit about ourselves. The three clergy gave a résumé of their individual churches, followed by a very interesting ‘question and answer’. This took up most of the evening, but we learnt so much from each other.

We finished with a short service and the rousing hymn ‘A Toi la Gloire’. Certainly an evening not to be forgotten and we look forward to meeting again next year.

- Sheila Marshall




Christingle Service and Christmas Carols

christingleBertric Burée church welcomed several families to their All Age Christingle service on December 18th.

Janis Adams lead the service with Richard Shreeve preaching while Janis, Roger and Becky took the children into the vestry.  There they talked more about the Angel Gabriel’s visit to Mary and practiced a sketch to perform, which the congregation enjoyed.  The highlight of the service was the ceremony of lighting the candles in the Christingle oranges and singing the Christingle song to help us all understand the symbolism.

Many thanks to Lorna, Becky and Roger for helping to prepare everything on Friday 16th and the helpers who distributed the so carefully.  There were enough for children of all ages to have a Christingle.

Another big thank you to the Whellem family for decorating the tree after the service.

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Our Christmas Carol service held later that day at Notre Dame de la Paix in Riberac was also well attended, with lovely decorations and joyful singing!


Garden Party: June 22nd

garden partyThe Garden Party held on 22nd June in the church grounds was a great success. There were plenty of stalls and good things to buy and the weather stayed dry in spite of the rain that was forecast.


garden party







I had no difficulty in spending my cash on some lovely fresh veg, all from Beth’s own garden, home made pasties from Shirley and a delicious date cake again made by Beth. The plant stall saw some more of my money in the form of a healthy looking lupine.

garden party




garden party






After a hard afternoon shopping it was good to put my feet up and enjoy a very welcome cream tea and chat to friends. Many congratulations and thanks to everyone involved and 1360 euros was raised.

Di Harris-Evans



Come, Dine with me - in the country!

Our names are David & Julie Ann Jackson and we live about 50 km from Bertric Burée Church. Our Sunday mornings have become a very important part of our life here in France, along with house group meetings at Steve Long’s every Thursday evening. Other members of the church have hosted ‘Come Dine With Me’ events and a few months ago we decided that we would like to do one as well.

Well the idea started small but quickly grew as new suggestions were added to it. Our ‘Come Dine With Us’ evening changed to include other events starting at 1.00pm. Some people said they would like to come early to fish in our lake, other wished to participate in a walk to see the local countryside while the children were keen to see and spend time with our animals.

Our organisational skills were tested to the full and without help from family and friends on the day, the event would not have been as successful. We hope we speak for everyone when we say a good time was had by all who came.

come dine with mecome dine with me








come dine with me

come dine with me








A big thanks must go to Intermarché in Chalais for providing free games for the children to play on the day as well as children’s raffle prizes. Intermarché in Montguyon gave 3 bottles of fine wine, the florist in Montguyon provided a very lovely floral display, Weldom’s gave a power sander, Brico-Marché Chalais – an electricians tool set. The nursery at Aubeterre a lovely large flowering Begonia, The Green Paraqueet Café Chalais donated a 10 Euro gift voucher. With other bottles of wine, this all made for a very fine tombola.

M. Pascal Boor, Mayor of Le Fouilloux, made available for us tables and chairs and Steve Long came over early to erect a marquee.

A big ‘thank you’ must go to Dan & Kirstie who gave of their time and musical talents to entertain us all.

The meal started with aperitifs and Julie Ann’s home-made punch. It was quite potent but proved to be popular! Anglo Foods provided the meat, cheeses and desserts for the BBQ at a very reasonable cost, and church members and friends provided a fine array of salads and side dishes.

There was much laughter, eating and drinking during the event, and the last of our guests left about midnight.

The very good news is that the event raised 645 € for charity of which 325 € has gone to Fields of Life and 320 € to Chap-Aid. A very big thank you all round for all who helped and supported this event.

David & Julie Ann

And a BIG thank you to Julie Ann and David for all they did to make this such a success.