The annual mission partner barbecue took place recently at St Mary’s. Read on to find out more about what happens from the different perspectives of some of those who attended, including the mission partners themselves.

Mission partners who were able to attend in person this year were: Wayne & Joyce (Christian Connections in Schools), Angy & Jon (Reading Women’s Football Club Chaplain and advisor to national women’s FC chaplaincy), Bronwen (SAT-7), Jason, Laura & Cory (community outreach) and Neil, Sharon & Anna (Crosslinks).

Francois: My involvement at the Mission Barbecue (or braai if you’re from South Africa) was supporting Brian Jones so that nobody went hungry or received an underdone burger or sausage. Brian has years of experience with this sort of thing, so he had the timings perfected. While we were waiting for the go-ahead to light the charcoal, Brian and I got a little better acquainted and swapped a few anecdotes. Johan Schoeman made the mistake of walking by and was roped in to man one of the barbecues.

Soon we had four barbecues on the go and in addition to me, Brian and Johan, Mark Stylo, and Chris and Andrew Jobson joined us, and we made light work of dozens of sausages and burgers. It was great to get to know Brian, Andrew and Mark better and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to talk to them in an informal and relaxed environment.

Once all the food was prepared and cooked and I managed to grab a burger myself and make my way to the hall. Marisa and I enjoyed meeting Tim and Liz Raymond who go to the 11am service at St Mary’s and used to live in the Congo where they translated the Bible into the local language and also trained locals to do the same. It was lovely talking to them and to be humbled by the important work people of St Mary’s do and have done in the past, and the sacrifices made, in sometimes dangerous and hostile environments, for the glory of God’s word.

Marisa: This year, our whole family attended the Mission Barbecue. Like Francois, I was helping behind the scenes in the kitchen with four or five other ladies linked to the Mission Partner Support Group to get all the food ready and out so people could help themselves after Jon Drake had introduced all the UK based Mission Partners. It was good to hear a little bit about the Mission Partners’ work and their prayer points. This was also a great event to not only meet the Mission Partners but also people from other St Mary’s congregations, which is something my Growth Group also commented on, and get to know others from St Mary’s a bit better while enjoying our food. Our children enjoyed the great food, speaking to others and also helping out with setting up before the barbecue started.

Francois and Marisa


The St Mary’s Mission Barbecue is a good opportunity to hear about the great work God is doing through our Mission Partners across the world; the impact they are having spreading God’s word and love in different communities and the challenges they face, and also to meet many of them face to face!

It was very informal and laid back. After grabbing a tasty burger, I wandered around and spoke to Jason and Laura Swain to hear how God is using them to reach out into the Maidenhead and High Wycombe communities. I also spoke to Wayne Dixon from CCIS, it was exciting to hear about the interactions he is having across schools in Slough, Windsor and Maidenhead, and the impact his ministry is having. Wei also got to meet up with an old friend.

Andrew and Wei


The mission partners enjoyed catching up with the church family. Comments from the mission partners themselves were:

  • Thank you! Those who served, cooked, prepared, bought the food, put out and put away the tables and chairs and anything else. Thank you for your SUPERB care and ministry. It was GREAT to be with you and see and hear the heart for mission oversees and elsewhere.
  • I want to thank you so much for hosting such a wonderful BBQ event on Sunday. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting people and it was a great opportunity to put faces to names and share with people a bit more.  Please pass on my gratitude to all the Mission team and those working hard behind the scenes to make Sunday BBQ possible – I was made to feel very welcome and I thought Jon did a fabulous job of remembering and interviewing all the different mission partners you support!