Seven Churches in South Oxfordshire

From the Rector: Tuesday 23rd June 2020

A time for everything

Dear friends,

As the national lockdown begins to ease we move once again into a season of uncertainty. The Covid-19 virus remains in general circulation and it remains highly infectious. Progress has been made on a treatment, and several vaccine candidates are undergoing trials. We know however that it is possible for someone to pass on the virus but be without symptoms themselves. We don’t know why some individuals with the disease are very seriously affected, and others only mildly so.

Churches nationally can re-open for private prayer, subject to local consent. Here in the Langtree Team, our Church Councils do not believe we can accomodate this at the moment. We are likely to be soon told that we can open again for congregational worship in some limited and prescribed forms. We wait to see what is possible, and again, decisions will be made locally by each church council and in consultation with the staff. Here are some of the principles we will be using to inform any decisions that we take:

We won’t rush. With an estimated 95% of the population unexposed to the virus, the risk has not gone away. We are not going to be drawn into a race, just to look good in the media, or impress the Bishop. We don’t have the resources, in either facilities or volunteers, to clean or supervise if that is going to be something required across the board.

We will put safety first. We will not expect members of our staff team or congregations to expose themselves or their families to elevated levels of risk. We will examine carefully the parameters set out by the National Church for a return to congregational worship to see if they are operable in our contexts.

We will make decisions together. Ministry team members and PCCs will jointly make the decision to open a church for worship again. Both parties need to agree before a church can open. PCCs may also choose to canvas the members of the congregation to inform their decision. The Langtree Team Council will remain responsible for the oversight of staffing.

The book of Ecclesiastes reminds us that there is a time for everything, and a season for every purpose under heaven. It is humankind’s lot to try to discern (tell) the time, and act appropriately. It has been one of the gifts of this lockdown to help us re-engage our humanity with the passing of time, whether in the wonders of the seasons, or in the rhythms of daily prayer. This is deep wisdom, and I do not intend to let it slip away as the old voices begin their clamour for our attention once again.

Worship on Sunday 28th June

Your Zoom worship choices this week are with Revd Linda and Revd John, both at 10am. Do take the opportunity to share with my brilliant colleagues. You will be made very welcome ! (The 11am zoom service will return on 5th July, whatever Boris says..)

10am Service of the Word led by Revd John         Meeting ID: 188 513 761  Passcode: 019797.                 A service with prayers and readings

10am Worshipping Together with Revd Linda             Meeting ID: 868 4589 1016    Passcode : 563588        A chance to begin your day with God, and one another.

Our zoom services remain very popular and your email feedback is very appreciative – thank you. We can’t obviously take a “collection” at our services online, but it is now possible for you to donate to Checkendon or Woodcote churches over the internet at  any time of the day or night.  Go to the “Donations” tab on this website, and follow the links there.

Alternatively you can give via the A Church Near You national C/E portal: Checkendon’s page is here   and Woodcote’s page is here.  Clicking to “Support this Church” will take you to a secure card donation page.

With thanksgiving

Thank you all for your support and care for your neighbours and for one another. There is so much to be grateful for, even in the midst of global pandemic and social upheaval. Your support for your churches is magnificent.

“Have no anxiety about anything, but in all things with prayer and supplication make your requests known unto God, with thanksgiving.” (Philippians 4:6 – a New Testament letter full of encouragement. Do look !)

Your Rector                 Canon Kevin

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