Seven Churches in South Oxfordshire

From the Rector: Tuesday 16th April 2024

The Thief in the Daytime

Dear friends,

One Saturday in the hot summer of 1976, my parents took my sister and I to visit an elderly great aunt in Eastbourne. It was about an hour’s drive, and, for young teenagers, these outings were always very tedious. Aunt Gert lived out of town, which meant we never got near the “seaside” proper. However this particular day would change our family life forever, as on our return we discovered that our house had been burgled. The front door had been kicked open. Almost all of my mother’s jewellery had been stolen, along with my father’s valuable sample bag from his work as a salesman. The sense of violation was intense. My father ended up losing his job over the loss, and suffered mentally for the rest of his life. My mother’s sentimental loss was equally palpable, as some of the items taken were her link to her family history, which she felt she had betrayed. Our house was subsequently turned into a fortress, with multiple locks on all doors and windows, and an unhealthy dose of paranoia. Needless to say nothing was ever recovered, whether jewellery or self confidence. The toughened bolts, new locks, and screwed down windows were all too late.

In Jesus’ parable of judgement in Matthew 24:22-24, the householder avoids the burglary by being alert to the time and prepared in his defence. Jesus’ burglar comes during the night, but in our day, right now, the burglar is kicking in the back door to Europe in broad daylight and we are arguing about who is going to pay for the locks and bolts. We’ve had almost two generations of dependence upon American dollars to guarantee our security and have become complacent. To use an analogy, we’ve been relying upon borrowing the neighbour’s pitchfork for too long, and this time we’ve rushed next door only to be told “sorry, I’ve leant it to my other friend.”  Jesus’ words would again seem apposite: “Wake Up!”

Do join us for our worship every Sunday, when we celebrate the risen Christ, who sees and knows all, folly and lawlessness included.

Worship Services for Sunday 21st April

9.30am Informal Worship at St John’s Stoke Row with Revd Romey Poston

11am Family Baptism Service at St Peter and Paul, Checkendon with Canon Kevin Davies. An informal service, with the music group, and early coffee from 10.45am. **

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

An absolute joy.

In the midst of global gloom there is light and hope; Easter services gladdened hearts and saw many guests and visitors come to celebrate alongside us. Community celebrations (whether Lydia and Mike’s wedding, or Dido’s baptism above) remind us that we don’t just make a difference to the lives of those around us by our care and our love, but also that by coming together we can really do things very well, and go beyond our wildest dreams. God blesses us with his Spirit, and we find joy in our praise, and in our togetherness.

Stoke Row and Checkendon both have their annual church meetings in the coming days (Wed 17th and Sun 28th respectvely) – please do support these, and consider standing for your church council. It is not difficult, and only a few meetings a year. You can be as involved or not as you choose. But every contribution is welcomed.

** Lastly, help this coming Sunday is urgently required! The little flock below has taken many hours to put back into their pen, but I can guarantee that by Sunday they will be lost again. Can you help me find them? There’ll also be an opportunity for you to craft one of your own to take home after the service at Checkendon.

Your Rector,  Canon Kevin

PS Thames Valley Police have a useful web page on crime prevention (including burglary). I’ve put the link here. (And to their credit, they have a section on what to do if your sheep go missing. The link to their rural crime pages is here.)


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *