Hyde Park UMC Chancel Choir

Great to have the Hyde Park UMC Chancel Choir with us on Pentecost Sunday – many thanks for your contribution to our worship!

‘Born for This’ rehearsals

The rehearsals for our passion play ‘Born for This’ are in full swing and proving to be very moving. The music and drama are coming together really well and we are set for a beautiful performance of this musical version of the Stations of the Cross. We hope you can join us at 8pm on Good Friday (19 April) or Easter Saturday (20 April)!

Michael Etheridge Book Collection

Following the death of Michael Etheridge in February 2016, his wife, Helen, kindly made Michael’s extensive collection of books (there are about 680 in total!) available to Vic and the Bristol & South Gloucestershire Circuit. The books have now been sorted and catalogued and you can browse a searchable catalogue of the collection here. The page also includes instructions for how to borrow books from their location at Vic.

We are grateful to Helen for making this collection available to us and hope that it will enrich the lives, faith and learning of many in our congregation and circuit.

Music Scholar Vacancy

February 2019
(pdf version for download)

Introduction: Victoria Methodist Church desires to develop its already rich music life as an expression of our worship and as a means of growing the church. To this end we wish to appoint a Music Scholar. We envisage the role as an opportunity for the Scholar to develop skills and experience in church music.

Support and Supervision: The Music Scholar will work under the supervision of the Music Facilitator and in collaboration with the Musical Accompanist(s). Regular line management will be undertaken by the Minister.

Work Outline: To work alongside the Music Facilitator, Musical Accompanist(s) and planned Preachers, during local university term time, to enrich and develop the worship of the Church through music.

In particular:

  • to be available for at least two morning and two evening services per month, during term time to accompany congregational singing on organ or keyboard, as appropriate;
  • to rehearse with singing and instrumental groups, conducting, accompanying and contributing as agreed;
  • to support a wide range of music in worship, from the traditional to contemporary, and including music from the world church, Taizé and Iona.
  • to perform as an accompanist in concerts and rehearsals for the same, as agreed with the Music Facilitator.

Hours of Work: It is estimated that the role will require 20 hours each month.

Remuneration: The Music Scholar will be paid £422 per term (see below*) with all agreed expenses incurred in the course of the role reimbursed, not including travel to and from the church.

Access to the Church: Within the role, the Music Scholar will be given access to the Church for their own music practice, as long as this does not contravene Church Safeguarding Policy.

Duration of Appointment: The appointment is for one academic year, this being understood as three terms*: mid-September to mid-December, mid-January to April, May to early July. Involvement in the Carol Service, and in Holy Week and Easter will be by mutual agreement, as will any possible extension.

Manner of Appointment: Applications to be received no later than Sept 1st are invited in the form of a CV, and a paragraph expressing what applicants would bring to the role. Informal visits and conversations are welcome.

Please contact/reply to:

Rev Richard Sharples, 38 Northumbria Drive, Henleaze, BRISTOL BS9 4HP

Tel: 0117 962 9679; Email

Background: Victoria Methodist Church has a rich music life and we want to enrich this further as an expression of our worship. We are committed to social justice and to being an inclusive church, and rejoice at a diversity of ages within the congregation, including children, young people and young adults, some of whom are students.

The vision of the church is to be “a Methodist Church which seeks to share the Gospel through encouraging lifelong learning and engaging with and through media and the creative arts”.

As part of our ambitions ‘Faith in the Future’ programme, we have transformed the sanctuary into a space which allows for a range of worship services; including traditional preaching services, Cafe Worship round tables, Messy Church along with food and creativity, and smaller more reflective evening services often using music from Taizé and Iona.

The space is also used for a developing programme of exhibitions, concerts and drama, and is regularly used by a choir as rehearsal space. We have recently performed Mozart’s Requiem, with singers and musicians from within and beyond our own Church.

The Church has recently refurbished its splendid pipe organ and acquired a concert grand piano. There is also a good quality electric piano, together with multiple music stands and music books.

Regular Sunday services for worship take place at 10.30am and 6.30pm. Organ and piano provide the most regular accompaniment, with occasional singing and instrumental groups. The latter usually meet to rehearse on a Sunday evening before or after the evening service.  Musicians range from beginners violin to Grade 8 and beyond, and from age 6 through to their 80’s.

The Music Scholar will work alongside the Musical Accompanist(s), under the supervision of the Music Facilitator. Worship services are generally led by the Minister, Richard Sharples, and by a range of Local Preachers, who have overall responsibility for the service. The Church has two Worship and Welcome Coordinators, who liaise with planned Preacher, Musicians and others to ensure worship takes place to everyone’s satisfaction and to the glory of God.

OneSound Concert

It was great to have OneSound visiting Vic this week-end. After a couple of days of fellowship and rehearsal, the group performed on Saturday evening and then lead our worship on Sunday morning.
Their new summer school at the start of August looks to be a great event for young Christians interested in getting involved with singing and performing worship music.

A Bristol Pilgrimage

In July, Richard, our minister, led a group of 15 pilgrims on the first ‘Bristol Pilgrimage’.

The idea was born after the Richard’s daughter returned from a year in Savannah, Georgia. He wanted to pick up the story from the failure of John and Charles Wesley’s time there.

With the encouragement of George Whitfield, John Wesley came to Bristol in the spring of 1739. In his own words, he ‘submitted to be more vile’ in adopting the practice of preaching outdoors. He preached to 1500 people at Hanham Mount, on the east side of Bristol which is where the pilgrims started their journey into the city centre.

They stayed overnight at Parkway Methodist Church, then set out from there on the second day to walk from the New Room to Pill. Their first stop was ‘the Nails’ on Corn Street. Here, the pilgrims reflected on the binding commitment Boaz made to marry Ruth.

“I’ve led a number of pilgrimages in the past, and my concern is always to see pilgrimage in the context of mission,” Richard says. “I always try to place a story from scripture alongside the story of the place through which we are walking, and allow the two to throw light on each other.”

The final seven miles of the pilgrimage lay along Bristol’s waterfront, out under the suspension bridge and along the Avon Gorge to the small village of Pill. It was from there that first Francis Ashbury, and later Thomas Coke, set sail to make Methodism into a world Church, and in ships probably not much bigger than John Cabot’s Matthew – a replica of which fired a salute to the memory of those early Methodists (and to today’s pilgrims) as it sailed past.

Hazel, a pilgrims who had come from Wrexham, commented: “What impressed me was the sense of fellowship amongst the group, especially around the meal table in the evening.”

Grains of Truth Exhibition

In June 2018 we hosted an exhibition of sculptures by Smith & Moore, Santiago Bell and Arun Weys. Here are photos from the exhibition and some of the comments left by visitors:

“Wonderful to see David Moore’s work once again – and a first opportunity to view Santiago Bell’s archive. They sit so well together.”

“What a range of work. Excellent – I like the bits of controversy. The venue is such a real treasure and links into the prayer of the Iona Community (of which I am a member) ‘seeking new ways to touch the hearts of all’ – including our own hearts – i.e. hearts of those within church who think they have it all taped.”

“Sculptures that move on, irrespective of faith or lack of it.”

“Inspiring and moving – and thanks for the lovely hospitality.”

“Astounding craftsmanship – conceptually brilliant too. Touches ones heart and spirit.”

“A wonderful and moving exhibition, especially the wood carvings. Politically challenging and religiously questioning.”

“Powerful visionary work, brave, bold, sensitive and deeply compassionate.”

“I liked the plain wood sculpture best – also the Tower of Babel.”

“Absolutely amazing. It made us think about things in a different way. It has a lot of interesting sculptures to look at. Thank you.”

“And the last will be first! Amazing – all of it. Thank you to everyone involved in putting this together and making this happen.”

“I loved having such skilled creative work in our church  – it grave great pleasure.”

“Magnificent work, touching and tragic. So glad I’ve seen it.”

“Wonderful, deeply spiritual and inspiring images despite the human pain.”

“Good to see such and open minded church.”

“So thought provoking and great skill and thought in the sculptures.”

“Intriguing, beautiful and poignant exhibition. Thought provoking, too. Thank you.”

“Fantastic exhibition. The wood is alive, figures and colours put forward the story. Pain loss, love etc.”

Wednesday Open Church

Since the start of June we have begun opening up the church on a Wednesday lunchtime from 12pm-2pm. The idea is to provide people with a quiet place for prayer and contemplation (with our new cross and votive candles as a possible focus) or a space to eat their lunch or study. Twice a month there will be a short communion service from 12.30-1.00pm (see here for dates) and on other days during term time there may be short chamber concerts given by Music students at Bristol University. At the moment it is of course also an opportunity to see the Grains of Truth sculpture exhibition. We’re very exited about opening up the church  more to the community and hope many people will find it a place of rest, beauty and nourishment.