Getting to know….

Over the past few years, our staff team has grown and changed. We want to help you get to know the St Michael’s team! So, in the first of an occassional series, we put some questions to our new Associate Vicar, Tom Benyon.

 What motivated you to come to St Michael’s?

Ever since training at Trinity College, Bristol we have felt called to the West Country and specifically Bristol, so when a friend of mine drew my attention to the post I was very interested. I had not visited St Michael’s before but had heard about it spoken of in lots of positive ways. Sara and I visited the 10.30am service ‘under the radar’ in Autumn 2018 and loved it, so it felt very natural to apply for the job. We really loved the vision of the church – to be a Christian heart at the centre of the community – and felt excited at the prospect of being in a church that is both committed to the transformation of its local area, but also with a vision to impact the wider community, Bristol and beyond.

What have been your first impressions?

The centre is obviously an amazing resource and there are clearly many things going on throughout the church, but what has struck us the most has been the warmth and kindness of everyone who has welcomed us. So, thank you for this.  A lot of people have expressed just how much they love this church community- which to my mind is always a good sign!

 What are you most looking forward to you in your ministry here?

I’m looking forward to working closely with the team, getting to know as many people as possible and generally getting ‘plugged in’. I am especially passionate about prayer and whole-life discipleship and how we can learn together to become more Christ-like. To that end, I’m particularly looking forward to working with life groups amongst other things.  

What do you do to relax?

I love hanging out with the family, going on bike rides, watching sport (rugby, tennis, football) and reading novels to my boys. Sara and I love going to see live music and theatre when we can. I’m a bit of an introvert and I like nothing better than hiking across countryside with Lottie the dog for company. 

I hear you have a bit of an am-drammer in you! What’s your favourite part that you’ve played?

Believe it or not I played King Lear at university – it took me ages to learn the lines. It was a pretty earnest, student production (I was 19 trying to play an 80-year-old!) but I think we did okay. More recently I have been directing plays rather than acting in them. I was especially proud of a Romeo and Juliet set on a housing estate and a production of Death of a Salesman, with Richard (Dickie) Attenborough’s grandson in the lead role. I have missed the drama side of things since moving into ordained ministry – perhaps new opportunities in Bristol may emerge.

What’s your favourite bible verse or story, and why?

‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him so that you may overflow with hope in the power of the Holy Spirit’. Romans 15:13

I love the exuberance of this prayer from Paul, with its focus on hope and trust in God. I want to ‘overflow with hope’!

And lastly – important information for anyone in church- what’s your favourite cake?

As someone who loves cake but now is ‘gluten-free’ that is a painful question! Quite a number of gluten-free cake options may taste okay but they have the consistency of wet sand. That said, Sara’s chocolate and coconut torte is just about perfect.

Church on the Green 2019

Each summer we hold an outdoor church celebration.  It’s an event for the whole community of Stoke Gifford, and a great chance for everyone to worship together as a whole church family at the heart of the community.

This year we’re expanding the fun into the afternoon as well!

Everyone is welcome. It all starts at 11.00am on Sunday 23 June, and takes place on The Green, Stoke Gifford.  

After the celebration the fun will continue!

11am – 12pm Church on the Green.   
Simon will be leading the service and Tom Benyon will be speaking. 
The theme this year is Let your Light Shine!

12pm Lunchtime! Bring your own, or buy a burger or hot dog from the barbecue!

12.30pm Games available on the Green.

1.30pm Choose from:  a Walk, Film in the Auditorium, Board Games or Football.

3.30pm Cream Tea is served!

 Evening Celebration

It’s a great chance for us all to be together for fun and fellowship, and don’t worry if you are coming by yourself, there will be people to welcome you!

If the weather is bad we will still go ahead – we are working on a wet weather plan.

And if the weather is good – don’t forget your sunscreen!

For this week only, Church on the Green will replace the 9am and 10.30 services.

Paper copies of the service order will be available, or you can download a copy here

Tom Benyon Licensed as Associate Vicar

In a private service today, Tom Benyon was formally licensed as Associate Vicar at St Michael’s by Bishop Viv, Bishop of Bristol.

We are delighted to welcome Tom and family to St Michael’s!

Tom will be working alongside the existing leadership team. And we’ll be celebrating as a church at the 6.30pm Celebration this coming Sunday 9 June, when Tom will also be commissioned by Bishop Lee, Bishop of Swindon.

St Michael’s Church Roof

Urgent repairs are being made to St Michael’s Church this summer.
The work involves replacing the roofs to the chancel, nave, north aisle, porch and vestry together with repairs to the chimney stack above the vestry. Failing brickwork, which has led to rainwater penetrating the walls and causing damp patches, will also be repaired.
Work will begin with the erection of scaffolding on Monday 10 June and is expected to take 16–20 weeks to complete. The roofs to the north (porch) side of the church will be completed first, with the aim that the entrance will be clear of scaffolding for an August wedding.
The poor condition of the roofs was identified in the Quinquennial Report – a five-yearly inspection undertaken by the church architect – at the end of last year. The report said areas of the roof were sagging and cited slipped, broken and missing tiles. The roof to the nave was last replaced in 1894, but it is thought the roofs to the chancel, north aisle and vestry date back to the early 1880s.
The Fabric Committee is responsible for maintaining and preserving the structure and contents of the church. The committee chair, Martin Allen said: “While the roofs are being replaced we are taking the opportunity to add insulation, which will hopefully retain heat within the building and reduce the heating costs.”
The contract for the work has been won by Mogford Prescott Ltd, who also undertook the major repairs to the church tower last year.

Thy Kingdom Come 2019

Thy Kingdom Come is a global prayer movement that invites Christians around the world to pray for more people to come to know Jesus.

What started in 2016 as an invitation from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to the Church of England, has grown into an international and ecumenical call to prayer.

During the 11 days of Thy Kingdom Come, it is hoped that everyone who takes part will

  • -Deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ
  • -Pray for God’s spirit to work in the lives of those they know
  • -Come to realise that every aspect of their life is the stuff of prayer

We are planning lots of opportunities to pray in different ways: Prayer Walks, Prayer Trail, and our Prayer Room

Thursday 30 May

  • Ascension Day Communion 10am St Michael’s Church
  • Half-Night of Prayer 7.30pm – 12am St Michael’s Centre

Friday 31 May – Sunday 9 June

  • Thy Kingdom Come Prayer Room  – Bookable 1 hour slots available 6am-10pm daily

Thy Kingdom Come Prayer Room

Our Prayer Room is for everyone. It will be filled with lots of resources to help you pray, or you can just use it as a quiet space.

We’ll be opening it from 7.30pm on Thursday 30 June, and bookable slots are available from Friday 31 May from 6am – 10pm, through until Sunday 9 June.
Book a 1 hour Prayer Room slot by clicking on the date below. You will be redirected to a new page – where you can choose your time slot by clicking on the radio button next to the time you want (it defaults to the first option, so please make sure you click on the time you want!).

Thy Kingdom Come Prayer Walks

Prayer Walking is a great opportunity to pray for the area and people within it as we walk together.  We have some walks planned which will be led by one of the prayer team.  The first walk will be done as part of the Half Night of Prayer on 30 May. Click through on the links below to find out more and sign-up.

Cheswick Prayer Walk – Saturday 1 June

New Developments – Harry Stoke Prayer Walk   –  Wednesday 5 June

Into the Community – Stoke Gifford Prayer Walk – Saturday 8 June

Thy Kingdom Come Prayer Trail

The Prayer trail will be situated in and around the entrance and balcony area in St Michael’s Centre. Please explore this trail as you stop and pray along the way.  This is for all to use who enter the building, no booking required.

Matthew 28 v 18 -20

 Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’

Philippa Hanna

Philippa Hanna

Known Tour 2019
Women’s event for all ages

Saturday 1 June 2019

Book now

St Michael’s Centre is excited to welcome award-winning singer-songwriter Philippa Hanna for a special evening especially for Women and girls, in support of Compassions Child Survival Intervention Program in Togo.

The ‘Known’ tour is a fabulous opportunity to bring together girls of all ages for an unforgettable event in support of an incredible cause. Philippa will be sharing her most well-loved songs alongside her honest and relatable stories with a sprinkling of humor.

Over a ten year career Philippa has toured with the likes of Leona Lewis, Lionel Richie, Little Mix and many more. She has played over 1000 shows in 25 countries, released 5 studio albums and visits as many as 150 churches a year. Her latest book ‘Amazing You’ aims to encourage and inspire others to overcome fear and fulfill their potential. Alongside her husband Joel, the pair share their trademark feel-good music, thoughtful songs and moving testimony in a show that is both inspiring and appealing to people of all ages and backgrounds.

It’s been a dream of mine to do a women’s event tour for some time. I love what happens when we bring the ladies in our lives into one place. You can share things with a group of girls that you normally wouldn’t, whilst making incredible memories! When Compassion told me about their Child Protection Intervention Program I knew it was the perfect cause to base this tour around. It is girls being girls, helping girls! And having a great night whilst we’re at it! – Philippa Hanna

Philippa will be joined by special guest Chloe Reynolds. Gloucester-based Christian singer songwriter Chloe Reynolds has forged a strong musical reputation since her debut, earning comparisons with Joni Mitchell, Alicia Keys and Lou Fellingham. Her music has been heard on BBC Radio 2, UCB, Premier Radio and more.

‘Known’ is the title of an upcoming single for Philippa and aims to spread the message that all people deserve to be loved, protected and ‘Known’.

Proceeds from the event go to Compassion‘s Mother and Child Intervention project in Togo

Heart of the Community Gift Day 12 May 2019

This Gift Day supports the resources and buildings for St Michael’s Church, as we aim to be a Christian heart at the centre of the community.

Living to make a difference, through discipleship, outreach and service.


  • The completion of St Michael’s Centre
  • The refurbishment and protection of St Michael’s Church
  • Upgrading the Old School Rooms
  • Mission in the UK and beyond.

Giving Thanks

  • St Michael’s Centre continues to thrive.
  • The Gift day in May 2018 has enabled work to start on the upstairs offices.
  • During 2018, we reapid £280,185 of capital off our loans, and £32,447 of interest on those loans.
  • We serve church and community groups, local and regional charities and businesses, and many more.
  • We have hosted many invitational events.
  • In 2019 we’ve donated £100,000 towards mission initiatives.
  • We’ve invested in renewing St Michael’s Church tower.
  • We’ve resources double glazing in the Old School Rooms Coffee Shop.

One Church, One Vision

  • Our vision is Living to make a difference by being a Christian heart at the centre of the community.
  • Our vision is realised by focusing on Discipleship, Outreach and Serving Our Community.
  • To make our vision happen, we hold 2 gift days a year. One in November to support day-to-day minsitry, and one in May to support our resources and buildings.

God has told us:

Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back, lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left.

Isaiah 54:2-3

Our aims

  • Develop the arches corridor, giving access to large meeting rooms, storage and kitchen to support large events and complete the Auditorium.
  • Upgrade the Old School Rooms kitchen facilities.
  • Support the refurbishments of St Michael’s Church building.
  • Continue to meet our mortgage obligations, and, if possible, repay some loans early.

What we’re asking now

  • Gift day is 12 May 2019.
  • We are continuing our journey of faith with the Heart of the Community project.
  • Please pray about what you are able to give. Together we can play our part. We can make more of a different across our community and beyond.

This appeal is an invitation

If you’re not yet giving…..

Some of us haven’t been able to support our resources and building project as yet. Could now be your time to begin giving?

If you’re new to St Michael’s…..

Maybe you’ve recently joined church and not yet grasped the vision to be a Christian heart at the centre of the community. Would you consider giving towards the development of the buildings and resources to enable the vision?

If you can give more…..

Some of us are in a better financial position than wehen the Heart of the Community project began. Please pray about increasing your giving.

What next?

Please download a pledge form here,

UK taxpayers can also complete a simple GiftAid form, which means the government will donate an extra 25% on top of your giving at no cost to you or the project.

If you would like to know more about any of the Heart of the Community project, how the money is spent, or help with ways to make one-off donations or arrange regular giving, please contact the church office.

HOTC Gift day 2019 by Laura Thomas

Parentalk: The Primary Years

If you are a parent to primary school-aged children, then this forthcoming course is for you. Starting on Monday 10 June, it runs for six Monday evenings

Parentalk is a 6 session course for parents of children aged up to the early teenage years, giving the opportunity to talk about day-to-day challenges, as well as sharing the things that are going well.

The six sessions are:

-It’s not just me

-Love them and let them know

-It’s good to talk

-Boundaries and battles

-Parenting with elastic

-Creating a sense of belonging

Parentalk: The Primary Years is suitable for parents from all different backgrounds and structures.

It’s FREE!

The course starts on Monday 10 June at 7.30pm and takes place in the Old School Rooms

Sign up here