Seven Churches in South Oxfordshire

From the Rector: Tuesday 13th April

Freedom?

Dear friends,

There was something of an irony in the snow yesterday morning. To remind us not to take any freedoms (new or old) for granted, God threw a blanket over much of the UK. Perhaps He was saying “go easy, on this road”. Freedom is actually a two way street, being “freedom from…” war, injustice, oppression, poverty, suffering etc, and “freedom for”…. liberty, resonsibility, choice, morality, service.  Freedom is a much broader thing than the “freedom to shop”. We’ve learnt a lot in the last year about the true value of life, away from frantic consumption. Haircuts notwithstanding, we’ve mostly found that we can live without it.

The wider picture is of course continued restraint; social distancing until it is clear that the vaccination programme is supressing transmission; testing far more regularly to determine the spread of known or new variants of the virus. For each church the question is not whether to open (we can already do that if we choose) but what can offered if we do, and the level of risk that this might entail. For some just being in the building is sufficient, for others it is stifling to still be in a mask, without singing, or coffee and a chat, two metres away from each other. Each Church Council in the Team may come to its own determination in this; happily the guidance from above is to take things slowly.

Worship for Sunday 18th April

You will need the zoom app installed on your device (laptop, tablet, phone or PC) – download from https://www.zoom.us.  Just before the appointed time, run the app, click on “join meeting” and enter the meeting number and passcode below.

11am Family Worship with Revd Kevin. 636 645 195 and passcode 000162.  An informal service with songs from the music group, and an Easter theme.

It is absolutely OK to pass these details onto friends and family, who are very welcome to join us. Other online service options can be found on the Langtree Team Ministry Churches website.

You can support Checkendon church and  Stoke Row churches via dedicated and secure online card donation pages. Just click on the link. Please also Gift Aid your donation if you pay any income tax. Thank you !

The Last Word(s)

In 1987 I spent six months working as the Gofer to an american urban missiologist. His favourite strapline was to ask a congregation that although they might know the seven last words from the cross, did they know the seven last words of the church? When they said “no”, he would eyeball them and say with mock severity “We’ve never done it that way before.”  And they would laugh, because, yes, they did know these words. Probably too well.

I’ve said several times throughout this pandemic that the world and the church are going to be changed by what we have lived through. The question is – how? More pertinently, what should the church (that’s us) be doing differently going forward? What have we learned? What is God calling us to do, and be ?   It is a chance for a re-think about what we offer, how we allocate resources, and how we communicate. You are welcome to email me with your thoughts at any point. This is going to be a process –  a culture change – which will perhaps take the rest of our lifetimes. God is offering us a fresh start. This has not happened in our churches since the upheavals of the Civil War. So let’s not waste the opportunity.

Your Rector

Revd Kevin Davies

 

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