Seven Churches in South Oxfordshire

From the Rector: Tuesday 2nd April 2024

The end of the consensus

It seems to be a feature of contemporary life that the truth has become subjective. And so, in Tolkein’s words, written during the dark days of Nazism, “what should not have been forgotten has been lost.” Arising from the carnage of the second world war the international community could agree on one thing; we can’t let that happen again, and so we are going to work together for world order and peace. It is this spirit of collaboration and the framework of order that it brings which are slipping, as nations go their own way, either dragged by despots or slumping into selfishness. The result is that the concensus of an international moral order which has been in place since 1945 is fading away and we are returning once again to a world where power and lies seem to be the sole currency.

This is a profound shock for western European culture, where the post war belief that “the only way is up” – either in moral, or economic terms – is being roundly denied in fact. For the Christian, however, this is not really a surprise. The whole point of Easter, of God’s incarnation in Jesus, his death and resurrection, is that (i) the world is in a mess beyond our capacity to solve (ii) nevertheless God loves it, and cares to save it (iii) In Christ the wickedness of the world is redeemed. The cross reveals the blackness of the human heart, and Easter Day the astonishing power of God to heal and to give life.

Worship Services for Sunday 7th April

9.30am Family Service at St John’s, Stoke Row with Mr Peter Ferguson

11am Morning Prayer at St Peter and Paul, Checkendon with Mr Brian Turner

Midweek zoom service: Wednesday Evensong at 5.00pm  410 935 129

Worship Services for Sunday 14th April

9.30am Morning Prayer at St John’s, Stoke Row with Canon Kevin Davies

11am Holy Communion at St Peter and Paul, Checkendon with Rev Romey Poston

Midweek zoom service: Wednesday Evensong at 5.00pm  410 935 129

Close to home

It is relatively easy to complain about the state of the wider world, and the moral decay of governance in our own country. However institutions needs our help closer to home if they are to thrive. Both St John’s Stoke Row and St Peter and St Paul, Checkendon, will be holding their annual meetings in the coming weeks; St Johns on 17th April at 7.30pm, and Checkendon on 28th April after a short service at 11am. Both church councils have vacancies, and both need your help to support and guide your church. Please consider standing for election – effective governance should be local, if it is to be anything at all.

Maybe it was the gloomy global backdrop which made the joy of our Easter worship if anything brighter than ever, or maybe the grace of God is even more abundant among us. We are not downcast, for as Paul says “this light and momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure.” (2 Cor4:17) There is goodness to be found, and treasure in the field. Thank you to everyone who laboured – flowers, bells, music, refreshments, sermon, eucharist – for a special day.

Special Days are a happy note on which to end this missive; please pray for Lydia and Mike, to be married at Checkendon on Saturday, and for Dido Smith, who will be baptised at Checkendon on 21st April, and all their families and friends as they gather. See, good things do happen.

Yours, in the faith of Christ, the Risen One.

Revd Kevin Davies


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