Seven Churches in South Oxfordshire

From the Rector: Tuesday 2nd January 2024

Happy New Year

Dear friends,

Whether you celebrate much on New Year’s Eve, or go to bed early with a good book and a cup of cocoa, there remains, always, the feeling of a corner being turned, at least for a while. The old diary is put away, sometimes with a look through, and the realisation that, despite everything that has happened, you have clocked up another one. Some things have changed – perhaps dear family members or friends are no longer with us, perhaps patterns of work or leisure have improved – and some things remain the same, for better or for worse. Rain falls, the sun rises, and, inexorably, the days will begin to get longer despite winter being with us for a while yet.

A new year stretches ahead. There is much to be thankful for; the gift of time, in the pages of the new diary, represents many opportunities for goodness and grace to shine through, not only in your own life, but in that of those around you. There is very little that we can do about the big things, mostly, but it is possible to change the world through the smallest acts of kindness and mercy. St Paul sets us all a marker when he urges his friends: “whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Phil 4:8).  There is (and this is a good thing) more in the media recently about the need for optimism and positive thinking, especially in our national life. Optimism, however, is best when it has something intellectually (and theologically) solid at the bottom of it. In other words, there actually needs to be some cocoa underneath the froth on the top of your mug.

Worship Services for Sunday  7th January

9.30am Family Service at St John’s, Stoke Row with Mr Brian Turner

11am Morning Prayer at St Peter and Paul, Checkendon with Canon Kevin Davies

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

Thank you

…to everyone who supported the worship services over Christmas in our churches, who helped with decorations, music, publicity, hospitality, who brought family and friends, who donated time, resources, and talents. God gave us his gift of joy, and it was wonderful to share it.

Members of the Langtree Team Ministry Council are warmly reminded of our annual budget setting meeting, a week today, Tuesday 9th Jan, at Checkendon Rectory, at 8pm. (To remind you all: your church councils all elect one or two members to the Team Council, and this group, together with the clergy, are responsible for the overall ministry of the Team. Your PCCs pay a monthly contribution to the Team Council, and out of this fund all team clergy and admin expenses are met and all church requisites – communion wine, church candles etc – are supplied. The Team Council is also responsible when there is any recruitment to be done, and for staff deployment and working patterns.)

The created order in the Rectory garden had its own New Year’s Eve celebration: Peter Rabbit, (or, more likely, Mrs Rabbit) is currently on a mission to undermine the study end of our bungalow. Doubtless she believes the Rectory foundations will make a good maternity ward, although I am quite confident that the Diocesan Surveyor will not see it that way. This afternoon’s task will be  to fill back in what she dug out on New Year’s Eve, as I don’t particularly wish to play host to a wild party almost directly under my desk. Although there’s probably a story in there somewhere.

with my warmest wishes, and New Year greetings to you all

Canon Kevin



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