Seven Churches in South Oxfordshire

From the Rector: Tuesday 23rd April 2024

Faith found by feeling

Dear friends,

A chance conversation with a young adult visitor before a busy baptism service gave me one of those “window” moments on Sunday. This is when you suddenly become aware that you are looking through what is normally opaque, and something is revealed, either outside, or inside. In this case, it was how someone felt about their local community – quite a few miles away – and what makes it tick. “I love our local church,” the lady was saying. “I can’t imagine our village without it. It plays a really important part in making the place what it is, and in helping people to get together. I’m on the flower rota, and I love it.” Bear in mind if you will, that this was a young adult, barely half my age, who had decided that her community, and the church’s role in it, was an important thing, and worth making time for. So she was feeling her way into faith, and expressing herself with flowers, as her mark of belonging.

The season of church annual meetings is our time to take stock of the inheritance left to us by those who have gone before, and to remind ourselves of its worth. Not just of a building, but of a community and a fellowship. We have an opportunity to find our own place in the web of God’s life, to give thanks, and to offer help where we have time and inspiration. “He restores my soul.” (Ps 23:3). The Hebrew word is actually “bigger” than this, and can also be translated “life.” May our churches be places, not only for “soul restoration” but also for “works of life.”

Worship Services for Sunday 28th April

9.30am Holy Communion at St John’s, Stoke Row with Canon Kevin Davies

11am Short Holy Communion at St Peter and Paul, Checkendon with Canon Kevin Davies, followed by the Annual Church Meeting.

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

Pray Today

Please do remember in prayer your local school; pupils, staff, governors and other volunteers. Like our churches, budgets are stretched, and help is always needed. A date for your diary is Sat June 8th, when Checkendon PTA are hosting the “CheckFest” fundraising music event in the school field from 6-11pm. Early bird tickets are now available at This will be a brilliant summer evening of entertainment for the whole community.

Please also pray for all those you know who work in the healthcare sector, whether on the frontline, or in support. We all know people who are receiving care, in many different ways, and it is right that we now and then pause to thank God for the provision that makes this possible.

In the garden this week, I’m holding back on planting out lettuces, currently burgeoning in their seed tray, until it warms up a little. I’ve got three varieties in the queue – “Lakeland” – a slow growing iceberg, which gets very large indeed if you let it, a bi-coloured oak leaved variety, which is both very pretty and excellent for taking odd leaves when they are large, and the stalwart “Little Gem”, which I intend to stagger out of the tray in order to stop them all coming at once. Its almost time to pot sow courgettes, cucumbers, and squash, to be brought on indoors before planting out in June. Happily a big load of compost (actually “partially digested farm manure”) has just been delivered, so we’ll be able to give these curcurbits decent planting pockets filled with goodness when the time does come. The tulips have been magnificent this year, the cool conditions prolonging their season, with the pink, scarlet, and blush varieties in the front border mercifully for once overlooked by the deer. I had started to sand off the outdoor furniture ready for a re-oil, but the weather has taken offence at this presumption and set itself in a sulking northerly. But it does no harm to anticipate the sunshine, which makes it even better when it does finally arrive.

May the Lord bless you, and keep you in his love.

Your Rector, Kevin Davies

PS If the week gets a little overwrought, come back to this gentle and lyrical version of “Be thou my vision” from the Fountainview Academy college in British Columbia.


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