Prisons Week: By Revd Tricia Roberts, Chaplain at HMP Bristol

First published 12th October 2021

Revd Tricia Roberts writes about HMP Bristol, and makes suggestions on how to pray for the prison. Resources for Prisons Week are also included.

Covid-19 Update: adapting in times of adversity

First published 22nd January 2021

Since the most recent lockdown was announced, some churches have made the difficult decision to close their buildings and offer digital services only until restrictions ease

Life on the ocean wave

First published 2nd August 2016

The Revd Martin Gainsborough reflects on two weeks at sea with the Royal Navy:I have recently returned from a fortnight at sea with the Royal Navy in my capacity as a chaplain in the Reserves.I was shadowing a regular chaplain in one of the final pie

Dean's Sermon: After the Primates Meeting

First published 28th January 2016

Sermon preached in Bristol Cathedral on Sunday 24th January, 2016 by the Very Revd David Hoyle, Dean of Bristol CathedralLuke 4:14-21Just over a week ago, the shadow leader of the House of Commons, a man called Chris Bryant, left the Church of Englan

Breaking the cycle

First published 12th October 2015

Once I started, the words just came. There was no anger. I kept my voice really calm and I actually felt calm. If you've got faith, it does give you the words.Earlier this year the leadership team and congregation at St Andrews Hartcliffe had to deal

All this beauty is of God

First published 15th September 2015

Theres a sense in which, if you spend time struggling with something, you then hold onto it and its worthwhile. There are steps in our faith journey which are probably like that.The rural church is very important to me. My role as a Rural Schools and

Mayday Mayday

First published 9th June 2015

I would have described myself as a Christian, the type of good God fearing chap who worked hard, rarely went to Church other than Christmas and the odd Sunday. I had a firm belief in there being a God but very much intended to put off meeting him as

Reverend Mum

First published 9th June 2015

I've always wanted to be a mum. That's all I've ever wanted to be. And all my life, the way I've been led has been about caring for people, being with people, journeying with people. I thought, I can do that. I can bring these two callings together.

The desire for meaning

First published 4th April 2015

While the story of Jesus has been there in the background, it was never anything more to me than a story. I guess thats not altogether surprising as the daughter of an agnostic and an atheist.When I think about it, the story of Christ has been a fain

Uniting our sufferings

First published 3rd April 2015

It was the realisation that they were both potty about God that brought them to a new and wonderful place in their own relationship. For 'God is Love, and those who live in love live in God and God lives in them.'Can there be a point to suffering? Wh

Follow me - but where Lord?

First published 2nd April 2015

How does it feel for a wife with two young boys, recently moved house and well settled in a community, to hear her husband say God has spoken to him?This is my third go at producing a piece for 10,000 Voices.

Hope and doubt

First published 1st April 2015

Doing this helps me ask some of the questions that Ive had in my own mind for a long time.Faith has always been part of the landscape. I was brought up in a family of faith, went to church, Sunday school, wed quite often have clergymen round for brea

Wilderness times

First published 31st March 2015

Throughout all of his illness, he never lost his faith, his confidence in God, his desire to serve God, or even his sense of humour. When his physical strength had gone, he remained a strong man; finding his strength in God alone.Growing up in a Chri

With Jesus beside, before and behind

First published 30th March 2015

It's not easy but underneath it all I can keep an optimism. I'm working to try to give back a little of what I've received, especially to those whom society tends to ignore.

A hound of heaven

First published 28th March 2015

Finally, in despair, I phoned a retired teacher friend saying I was going mad. Her response was simple: she chuckled, saying, You have a hound of heaven on your trail...I had survived the stormy waters of adolescence as an adopted child and had sudde

I looked back and realised

First published 27th March 2015

One day I looked back over the previous few weeks and realised.Having grown up in a non-churchgoing family in the Midlands, church was not something that impinged on my life at all until we moved to Bristol in my late 20s. Peter, my husband, had been

When I am weak I am strong

First published 26th March 2015

But one day it hit me how much I was loved by God - in a personal way, warts and all.I grew up in a loving Christian family. My father is a priest in the Church of England and we moved to several parishes in the Chichester Diocese when I was young.I

Be still, my soul

First published 25th March 2015

My favourite hymn is called Be still, my soul. It points to the fact that we all, whether we like it or not, most of us, have crosses to bear. There are things to deal with that we carry throughout our lives.Its been there ever since childhood, as lo

Seeds were sown

First published 24th March 2015

At that very moment it was quite clear, like the proverbial bolt from the blue, that I was being called.My teenage years were spent in the 1960s and so I was greatly influenced by the huge changes to society, the do as you like, never had it so good

Dedicated to the cause

First published 23rd March 2015

All the pain, betrayal, hate and everything else that I had bottled up over the years vanished like a popped balloon.I was raised in a Christian family and although my childhood was happy I was incredibly shy. In my teenage years, my closest friend m

Spritz of destiny

First published 21st March 2015

I realised once you accept the blessing you can understand God's rest, his peaceA few years back I was mega stressed and basically refused to let God talk to me. I got into the mindset of hating myself and this quietly spiraled over a few months to t

Stop, just breathe

First published 20th March 2015

My world of thought had taken me back to my pressing questions of the time. I had been ordained for some years and I had been reflecting deeply on purpose and place, both big and small questions about life. My life. Questioning my vocation. Thinking

The barrel of the spear gun

First published 19th March 2015

I certainly believe that God is sovereign and knows whats going to happen and has a plan. But I dont think Ive ever really felt strongly "that is a thing I should do or a place I should go." Yetwith hindsight I can really see how God has used past ex

Quietly, bringing peace

First published 18th March 2015

I have never felt such joy and peace and I know that God was truly in my life and that I was filled with His Spirit.A few years ago I had the most amazing experience. Two people from another church were praying over me that I would be filled with the

Making the jump

First published 17th March 2015

The chance to have a home cooked meal was a great help for making the initial jump, as student food at our flat was as bad as you might think!I am from a non-practising Christian family - Christmas, Christenings, weddings and funerals were as much ch

Made welcome

First published 16th March 2015

I had attended the local Congregational Chapel until my my teens and then, like so many young people, gradually drifted away. Work and a busy social life had squeezed out any thoughts of church.It all began with a marriage proposal, where it will end

A member of the family

First published 14th March 2015

As most of us find, life has not been easy. Hardship, divorce, loss of loved ones - all proved difficult to cope with and my prayers often contained the question why? and tears often accompanied prayers. But my faith was like a crutch, and I never fe


First published 13th March 2015

I have experienced both God's healing and felt His power in my life. I trust him.Some years ago I developed a bad back. I prayed, tried physio and a chiropractor in vain. A very good friend suggested that I went to Harnhill, a local centre for Christ

A mid-life crisis?

First published 12th March 2015

It was a confusing time. Its a big decision, it changes ones life completely. Its a sacrificial calling; I knew that it was my calling but my family would be the ones to make the sacrifice.I think we were what would be called nominal Christians my p

An opened door

First published 11th March 2015

And I thought, What am I waiting for? This is the opportunity I want, this is the way to step forward.I was born in the fifties when everyone always went to Sunday school but my journey into faith began in about 1989 when the good Lord God in his inf

A place of belonging

First published 9th March 2015

The sharing of experiences and learning about other peoples stories has helped me and, I hope, others too.My journey to rediscover my faith started just under two years ago after the unexpected loss of my youngest son. I was lost and not sure where t

Rocking the boat

First published 7th March 2015

Why would I want to rock the boat? Why would I want to change things now? Why, when everything seemed to be going so well, would I possibly want to consider becoming ordained?It's been a long road to travel, and I won't lie, at times it's been really

The deep joy of knowing Him

First published 6th March 2015

My prayers of despair to God included a complaint that if this was the job He wanted me to do, then perhaps he could have prepared me better.My wife and I have been Christians since the age of 16. We were both brought up in loving but non-church goin

A loyal and trusted friend

First published 5th March 2015

Because of some past experiences I always felt guilty and not a very good person although I tried hard to be nice and please people. But God knew what I needed was encouragement, love and acceptance.Back in the 1950s most children went to Sunday scho

Swimming in deep mystery

First published 4th March 2015

For me, faith is all about asking questions. Its not a kind of house you build and then you move in and there are the walls and the door and it all feels safe. It's much more like swimming and not knowing where the bottom is...its constantly mysterio

The big pang theory

First published 3rd March 2015

Life was good to me well, until I turned 15. I left home and started this journey of discovery, trying to find the true meaning of our existence. I was born in the 60s and maybe it was something to do with the time did the people that spoke of peace

Voices: God's outstretched hand

First published 2nd March 2015

I realise now that not everyone has to go through a marriage breakdown like me to come to know God - but I do know that if you truly turn to Him, He will be there for you.Id like to think that the hand of God was on me from the beginning. I was born

Taking refuge under His wings

First published 28th February 2015

Some six years on from diagnosis, the pathology results suggest the cancers are still there, but to me and I am not in some false denial they have just become numbers.I set my heart on becoming a doctor at the age of 12 years. I missed a lot of the

Changing priorities

First published 27th February 2015

I now realise that real faith is a transformation - I now look at everything in a different way.I have always had some faith but I didn't used to really understand what that meant. I occasionally attended church but always felt a bit out of place and

The reality of Jesus Christ

First published 26th February 2015

A new heartwas given to me and have been following Jesus ever since. That does not mean I am always happy, but day to day I know a joy that no suffering or circumstance can take away.I happened to walk into a church one sunny September morning and he

The spark

First published 25th February 2015

I resigned from my job which was making me thoroughly unhappy. I had nothing lined up but I knew I had to take a leap of faith. People thought I was reckless, but when I answered with my leap of faith explanation I knew in my heart it was the right d

A tough choice

First published 24th February 2015

So we ended up sitting in their service, singing songs that were alien to me, a communion service, body and blood whats all that about? But he preached a message and the message was that in Christ you can have a new start. I thought, I so badly need

An eye-opener

First published 23rd February 2015

For a fleeting instant I had a feeling of warmth, peace, welcome and belonging. It was so brief that afterwards I wasnt sure I had actually felt it, so I soon dismissed it from my mind, assuming Id imagined it.My wife Wendy joined our local church, S


First published 21st February 2015

But God was not finished with me; he sent a man called Paul to be His physical, supportive presence with me.So where do I begin to tell the story of my faith? I dont remember a time when I didnt go to church, even at the age of 12 I felt called by Go

The whole armour of God

First published 20th February 2015

I decided to pray and ask God, if He existed why did I feel so down and what did I need in my life to take away all the negativity that was surrounding me?Even though I believed in God, I didn't have any trust or faith in Him, and experimenting with

Shiny, happy people

First published 18th February 2015

The first time I went to church... It was full of young people and they were kind of shiny and I felt very threatened indeed. They were clapping and happy and I wasnt happy and didnt want to clap.If I ever came across a Christian, Id be as unpleasant

God has taken care of the past and the future

First published 16th January 2015

On the day I was baptised, I was in the privacy of my room, speaking aloud to myself saying How do I really know I am forgiven?Suddenly I heard a voice speaking with authority.Do you forgive your father?I come from a broken troubled family with a vio

#ChristmasMeans 2014: Expect the unexpected!

First published 21st December 2014

The Ven Christine Froude, Archdeacon of Malmesbury, brings us our final #ChristmasMeans reflection. Don't forget toshare your thoughts on Twitter on 24 and 25 December using the #ChristmasMeans hashtag!He was born as a babyTo an ordinary teenage girl

#ChristmasMeans 2014 : God in human form

First published 20th December 2014

Our #ChristmasMeans seriescontinues today with this reflection by Matthew Rushton from Chippenham. It is loosely based onIsaiah 7, particularly verses 11-14.The world is a complicated place. Some days, it shows off with breathtaking beauty a perfect

#ChristmasMeans 2014 : Ssekukkulu… Amazaalibwa…

First published 19th December 2014

During December, different people arereflecting on what Christmas means to them. Here,Martha Nakiranda tells us about Christmas in Uganda.I would like to say that everything I do at Christmas is centred on celebrating Christs birth. My mother tongue

#ChristmasMeans 2014 : Giving  

First published 18th December 2014

Throughout December, we are sharing different people's reflections on what Christmas means to them. Today youth worker Ysica Savage shares her thoughts.I remember as a child getting so excited about birthday parties. (Didnt we all?) Especially when i

Rome wasn't built in a day

First published 18th December 2014

God loves you the way you are, but He loves you too much to leave you that way. (Quote from an ordination service)I fell in love with Jesus at the age of ten, and I have always had a strong awareness of His presence in my life.Approximately 20 years

#ChristmasMeans 2014 : Happy birthday Jesus!

First published 17th December 2014

Our #ChristmasMeans series of reflections continues with this piece written by Steve Jones, aLay Assistant at Holy Trinity Church in Westbury on Trym.For me the season really starts with the fresh Christmas tree being collected and then spending the

#ChristmasMeans 2014 : Enjoying life at its simplest

First published 16th December 2014

Throughout Decemberdifferent people are reflecting on what Advent and Christmas mean to them. Here, Patience Busingye tells us aboutChristmas celebrations inUganda,with whom the Diocese of Bristol enjoys strong partnership links.When I think of Chris

#ChristmasMeans 2014 : In the bleak midwinter

First published 15th December 2014

This month we are asking people across the Diocese to reflection what Advent and Christmas mean to them. Here, Dan Jones, Diocesan Youth & Children's Adviser, tells us about his favourite Christmas carol.

#ChristmasMeans 2014 : All I want for Christmas…

First published 8th December 2014

This month we are askingpeople across the Diocese to reflecton what Advent and Christmas mean to them. Here, Chris Priddy, Director of Swindon Youth for Christ asks us to think about and pray for those whoseChristmas will not be a time oflove and joy

#ChristmasMeans 2014 : Christmas lights

First published 4th December 2014

During December, people across the Diocese arereflecting on what Advent and Christmas mean to them. Here, Rev Mat Ineson, Vicar of St Mary Magdalene in Stoke Bishop, reflects on the meaning of light for the Christian faith.Im constantly amazed at the

#ChristmasMeans 2014 : Advent reflection: following threads

First published 2nd December 2014

During December, different people across the Diocese of Bristol arereflecting on what Advent and Christmas mean to them. Here, Rev Nicola Such, a curate inWroughton, considers how four women'sstories in the Gospel of Matthew set the scene for the sto

#ChristmasMeans 2014 : It will all be over by Christmas

First published 1st December 2014

During December, different people across the Diocese of Bristol will reflect on what Advent and Christmas mean to them. Here, Rev Dan Tyndall, Vicar of St Mary Redcliffe in Bristol, shares his thoughts.The expectation that It will all be over by Chri

#ChristmasMeans 2014

First published 1st December 2014

The Church's successful twitter campaign,#ChristmasMeans will be running again this yeargiving congregations and individuals across thecountry a chance to show what Christmas meansto them, with image, videos and 140 characterreflections.To get the bal

Yes, I have cancer

First published 13th November 2014

This is a video ofDoreen Bull from Shirehampton, recorded from her hospital bed for her friends at St Mary's Church. Doreen has suggested we include it here to allowher message to reach a wider audience.Yes, I have cancer. So what? I've said it. It d

Giving something back

First published 13th November 2014

Its easy to make assumptions but until you meet someone whos been inside, its unlikely you have any real understanding of just how difficult it is to get your life together when youre released from prison.As part of ourPrisons Weekfocus, we spoke tot

To be continued…

First published 3rd November 2014

With my track record if I make another 12 years Ill have done well. It annoys me I wanted to do a parachute jump on my 80th birthday. There is a song by Rumer that starts, Is there a place where all I have lost will be returned to me? I get that. I w

Prioritising God in my life

First published 28th October 2014

Around the time I was 18 or 19 I became very sick with anorexia and depression. At my lowest moments I felt very angry with God. My memory is quite hazy of this time, but I do remember searching out churches trying to find answersI think I have alway

Ian's reflections on reaffirmation and confirmation

First published 10th October 2014

Ian Dony was one of the candidates reaffirmed and confirmed by the Archbishop of Canterbury at the wonderful baptism celebrations outside Malmesbury Abbey on 13 September 2014.Here are his reflections.Ians Re-affirmation and ConfirmationWhere do I st

Prayers from a friend

First published 9th October 2014

I had been a Christian for over 25 years so I trusted God to stay with me, even if healing wasn't to be the plan for me.

A story about a nice bloke

First published 1st October 2014

To my horror, my wife had started going to church and had decided to become a Christian. I refused to talk to her about church or her faith because I thought she had been taken in by the "cult"I was raised a Catholic in a Roman Catholic family.

Seeds of faith

First published 29th September 2014

Prayer for me is simply talking to God, and because of that it can happen anytime, anywhere and with anyoneI was just as surprised as my family and loved ones when I came to faith earlier this year. Yet looking back over my life I can see how the see

Second chances

First published 28th August 2014

There seemed to be scepticism about God everywhere and when I went to university I decided that my beliefs where largely inherited and decided to drop church, prayers and Bible reading.God has been a major part of my life since childhood.Sometimes he

A lifelong adventure

First published 18th August 2014

I didnt know what was happening. I shed tears of joy; I did not know if I was coming or goingThe progress of my faith in Christ has been a gradual journey over many years.The seeds were sown when I was a small lad of about eight or nine years old. I

One step at a time

First published 12th August 2014

Hospital became my second home and I began to question if my trust in God was one I could justifyI was brought up in a Christian family but did not myself go to church or want want to have anything to do with Christianity. That was until I went to ch

Take delight in the Lord

First published 10th August 2014

Take delight in the Lord,and he will give you the desires of your heartI am amazed at what God has done in my life since I took the verse from Psalm 37:4 literally.I began to practice it by spending a day just doing what it says, delighting myself wi

Restore to me the joy

First published 6th August 2014

...knew I was forgiven and felt a wave of peace flow through me.I had just left my secondhusband and thinking how I could ever feel good about myself again.A friend loaned me a bible and I read Psalm 51 and knew I was forgiven and felt a wave of peac

Called to service

First published 5th August 2014

It felt amazing that I could do something, not for myself, but in the service of ChristWell, I believe that I have always had faith in God but it really became apparent when I was 13 and felt that I wanted to turn to Christ as Lord and have a relatio

Trying to be good

First published 24th July 2014

I could not believe in a vengeful God and it was only gradually that I came to know Jesus as a real person and friend.Death is something we all face. As an 8 year old, I faced my mother's death knocked off her bicycle by a car. We attended a modern


First published 16th July 2014

...this basic conviction that I was here because I was a mistake ran very deep in my life.For most of my life my fundamental conviction about myself, deep down, was that I was an accident. I was adopted at a very young age. I knew I was an unplanned

Aligning actions and lifestyle

First published 10th July 2014

I knew I had changed when I next met with the man I had been committing adultery with.It seems to me that before I was baptised I was quite narrow and self interested and had few outside interests or concerns unless there was some benefit to me.I had

Grace, peace and trust

First published 7th July 2014

I had a Christian background but a few years later, God showed me that there was moreI was 11 years old. For some reason, unknown then (but known now), I wanted to read my Bible.At this age, I was sitting at the back of the class listening to the Eas

Learning to Forgive

First published 3rd July 2014

I felt terribly guilty and anxious, and suddenly found myself unable to cope ... I had to learn to forgive others, and to forgive myself, and I think only by the grace of God was that possible.Share your story! is the message we keep being told at th

A journey of faith

First published 1st July 2014

I was not ashamed of it or frightened what others might think.It always was. It was like wallpaper. You see it every day, but you do not really notice of it. That piece at the edge which is peeling off - you hardly ever notice. You live with it.That

When one door closes, another opens

First published 27th June 2014

Every time I came out of church, tears fell from me. It was impossible to stop it; it was almost as if my heart was screaming out at me. I was inconsolable.I had worked long hours to give the children everything they wanted; I just did not show enoug

A post-modern refrain

First published 17th June 2014

When I got together the courage to walk up the hill, and actually go to church, it was better than I could have imagined. Since I let Jesus into my life, and have asked God what he wants from me (rather than the other way round), everything has chang

Hearing God on the M4

First published 13th June 2014

If someone had asked me if I believed in God, I would have said probably not, but it was the last question anyone would ask anyway, it would have been so irrelevant to my life experience and the people I knew.My story began about 18 years ago when I

The nudge of a breeze

First published 3rd June 2014

I didn't know God and so didn't know how to ask. Instead, I prayed asking God to help me find Him.I was born. I grew up. The world was dark and cold and hard. I was lonely in a, literally, soul-deep way.I always knew there had to be a God (to explain

Then I let him in

First published 21st May 2014

...he used the example of the Rolling Stones' song, I Can't Get No Satisfaction, and I thought, that's me: wandering the world, living in different countries, exploring different belief systems, always looking for something to fill the void...Sonia s

Faith strengthened through bereavement

First published 16th May 2014

As I face the challenges that life andsociety throw at me I try really hard to hand them over to God saying "Father, please do this in me because I can't do it alone!"Alison recalls the surprising effect of death on her faithI watched my step-father

I came back transformed

First published 10th May 2014

Clare Jefferis reflects on her trip to Uganda in October 2013.My trip to Uganda last year was transformational.

Why have I got tattoos?

First published 8th May 2014

The tattoo reflects my life journey; no matter what paths I have taken, or what people have come and gone...Some Christians might believe that having tattoos goes against the Bible.Now, obviously as a tattooed Christian, Im bound to say I dont agree.

Guided back to my faith

First published 6th May 2014

I had achieved success in many areas of my life but my soul was restless and hollow.My husband David and I came toBristol back in December 2012 from Melbourne Australia to be closer to Davids daughter, grandchildren and great-granddaughter.We had gre

What's the meaning of it all?

First published 1st May 2014

I found that for me lots of religions had good things to say, but I kept being drawn back to the stories about Jesus; I found them and the things he taught really compelling.I didn't grow up in a religious family, none of my friends or family went to

One Born Every Minute

First published 4th April 2014

Last month Sheona Beaumont and husband Revd Adam Beaumont, Assistant Curate ofHoly Trinity, Westbury-on-Trym, appeared on the popular Channel 4 show,One Born Every Minute, sharing with the nation the arrival of their second child into the world.We ca

Giving me hope

First published 29th January 2014

The beauty, seriousness and fellowship of church was melting my heart, giving me hope, and feeding me spiritual sustenance.Mine is a journey back to Christianity from nowhere.I was a regular churchgoing Anglican until about 14, when my mother allowed

Dean's Letter: Politics and Peace

First published 1st January 2014

The Very Revd Dr David Hoyle, Dean of Bristol Cathedral, writes to the diocese at the beginning of the new year.2014 is the Chinese Year of the Horse. It is the European Year of the Brain, the UN Year of both family farming and crystallography. Latvi

No longer journeying alone

First published 20th December 2013

It's scary to travel a long way from home to a strange, unfamiliar place; but God does not want His people to journey alone.To travel is a part of life, more so than ever in the modern world. Whether, like me, you are a student going to university in

My life changed at a carol service

First published 18th December 2013

I was burdened with misconceptions. Without Carols in the Park, or a service like it, I'm not sure I would ever have felt able to walk into a church.A year ago, at an open air carol service, my life changed.I had been brought up in a Christian househ

Learning to live with the questions

First published 7th November 2013

There are questions, particularly about death, which we will never be able to answer in this life because we dont yet have the benefit of that heavenly perspective.The single date on the headstone is always a stark reminder to me of the day, seven ye

Coming to terms with bereavement

First published 14th October 2013

This intense feeling of peace came up over me. It was quite extraordinary. I then came to terms with my bereavement.I was widowed very suddenly. I never lost my faith I had been confirmed for 50 years but you feel that youre being tested. It took m

A difference to everyday life

First published 13th October 2013

My faith in God makes a very real difference to everyday life. The Alpha Course set my entire life on a new course and I wake up each morning and thank God.

Starting a journey

First published 1st October 2013

I started a journey, of understanding who Jesus is, and who I am. Knowing Jesus has truly transformed my life.

A peace that passes understanding

First published 1st October 2013

This is what has been missing from my life, this is the way that I want to live my life.

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