Seven Churches in South Oxfordshire

From the Rector: Tuesday 14th of May 2024

Tongues of Fire

Dear friends,

A few days ago the earth was bathed in glory. A (22 years) rare solar storm sent great arcs of fire in the form of solar flares far out from the surface of our sun, and the associated bursts of high energy atomic particles, after a couple of days in transit, reached the earth. These particles, funnelled by the earth’s magnetic field, battered into the upper atmosphere of our planet, smashing into oxygen and nitrogen molecules with such force that these emitted radiation themselves, giving rise to the glowing and moving colour patterns in the night sky we call the aurora borealis (or, the Northern Lights). Normally this incredible natural phenomenon is restricted to (roughly) the latitudes between 60 and 70 degrees north but, on very rare occasions when either our own magnetic field is disturbed, or the solar storm exceptionally severe, the aurora may be seen a lot further south. This was the situation overnight last Friday/Saturday when parts of southern England were treated to a sight which many of us may never see again at this latitude. Vibrant colours of green, red (oxygen) and blue, purple (nitrogen) could be seen, the glory of the solar fires coming close to home, and rendering us full of wonder at the splendour of the Creation.

There was for me a wonderful synchronicity in the display of such magnificence and true beauty, coming as it did a few days before the feast of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit of God brought glory to the church, coming not only in tongues of fire upon hearts and heads of the waiting disciples, but also in anointed speech, breaking down barriers of language and culture, and filling the faithful with power from on high. (Acts 2:1-21)

Aurora Borealis over Checkendon during the solar storm of May 2024. Photo by Tim Davies.

Worship Services for Pentecost Sunday 19th May

9.30am Informal Worship at St John’s Stoke Row with Mr Peter Ferguson

11am Family Pentecost Service at St Peter and Paul, Checkendon with Canon Kevin Davies and Revd Romey Poston. A special service for the birthday of the church, with the music group, and coffee from 10.45am

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

“Come, Holy Spirit, kindle in us the fire of your love.” Do join us, at Stoke Row, or Checkendon, as we celebrate God’s gift to us, in our wonderfully beautiful world, and in our hearts and lives. The Spirit of Jesus lives, and brings joy, and new life!

Team Council members are reminded that our meeting is this evening at St John’s, Stoke Row at 8pm. Checkendon PCC members please also note that our first meeting of the new session is a week today, Tuesday 21st, at church, at 8pm. Please don’t forget to pray for pupils and teachers at your local primary school this week – it is the annual “SATs” tests time. A different form of glory, methinks.

your Rector, Canon Kevin.



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