Some sad family news…

You may know by now but please read on for the news from Jez…

Very sad news about Revd Sonja Arnold – Friday 18 May:

I am so sorry to have to let you know that our dear friend, sister, and associate vicar at St Stephen’s – Sonja Arnold – passed away peacefully at the Princess Alice hospice in Esher earlier this morning (Friday 18 May) and has now gone to be with Christ.

As a church community we have been expecting for a while that this moment was going to come, but there is always deep sadness and grief at the reality of the huge loss that Sonja’s death is to us (and to many, many others).

At the same time, there is some relief that – for Sonja’s sake and for the sake of her family and friends most closely involved in her care – her unwellness hasn’t continued on any longer.

I was at the hospice with Sonja earlier this week and Bishop Graham prayed for Sonja at the hospice last night. Bishop Graham will be with us this Sunday morning at our services to help us all reflect on and respond to Sonja’s passing.

Once again, I’m so sorry to be having to share this news with you. Thank you for all your ongoing support and prayers for Sonja, her family and friends, and for me, the staff team and for the church. Please do pray for our services this Sunday as we come together to comfort each other in our loss, to thank God for all of his grace in and through Sonja, and to pray for the strengthening of his Spirit in us.

With my love, as ever,

Jez Barnes (Vicar)


Bishop Graham (Bishop of Kensington) had this to add in an email to clergy in the area:

Many of you will know Sonja Arnold, who has been Associate Vicar at St Stephen’s Twickenham for the past six years. As some of you will also know, a few weeks ago after some troubling symptoms, she was diagnosed with several brain tumours, and I am very sad to tell you that she passed away peacefully this morning in the Princess Alice Hospice in Esher.

I had the privilege of visiting Sonja several times during the past month or more, praying and sharing Holy Communion with her. I was able to visit her yesterday evening, say night prayer with her friends around her bed as she slept and offer her the Lord’s blessing. Throughout these last weeks, while she was still conscious, she has been calm, prayerful and full of gratitude for all God’s blessings, especially for the people God had brought into her life. As we remember her with thanksgiving, do please pray for her wider family and her close friends, many of whom have cared for her devotedly over these past weeks. Also pray for the church at St Stephen’s as they mourn their loss, a dear sister in Christ whom we will miss greatly, but rejoice that she now knows the full presence of Christ whom she served so faithfully and joyfully.

 With very best wishes,



Bishop Graham and a close friend of Sonja’s, Revd Amanda Johnson, very kindly joined us on Sunday 20 May and spoke at our morning services as we shared the news to the congregation. We would love to invite you to listen to what they had to say by clicking here>>