Seven Churches in South Oxfordshire

From the Rector: Tuesday 3rd November 2020

We can do this

Dear friends,

On Thursday we will be entering another national lockdown, ostensibly for four weeks, but this very much depends upon how quickly Covid hospitalizations can be brought under control, and the measure of transmission of the virus reduced again. Our Churches have had once more to suspend live worship services, but I have been expecting this for many months. It is one reason why we did not rush back the moment we could do so. Checkendon and Woodcote Churches remain open for individual private prayer on Wednesdays and Sundays; other churches in the Team may well close up again. Decisions will be taken locally.

We go into lockdown facing shorter days and less opportunity to be outside. People are tired, anxious, economically and mentally stressed, and fed up with living with uncertainty. However there are significant differences in the situation compared to March. We are already experienced with coping at home, communicating with friends, family and neighbours, and meeting and worshipping “online”. So the wheel does not need to be re-invented in this department. There have been significant improvements in the care offered to Covid patients, and in the testing capacity available. We know how serious this virus is, and how easily it is caught, and so are more accustomed to assessing the risks that we are comfortable with, or not.

The winds this week have been stripping the last glorious colours from the trees. Leaves that shone with orange and gold are now brown and sodden in porches, and corners of walls. The oaks and beeches are baring limbs and hunkering down, drawing into themselves for the winter that approaches. On the face of it, there is nothing to look forward to. But stop a moment. There is a squirrel, hastening a few last hours of labour. You know he has treasure nearby. There is a cock pheasant under the hedge, vibrant with colour. He thinks you haven’t noticed him, but his glory has not escaped you. The quiet, shy trees, normally overshadowed, re-emerge from the crowd, for it is their time. Holly, yew and pine show us that they have not lost their colour and we remember just how many shades of green there are. It is the season for the evergreen, both in nature, and, I would suggest, in our lives, when the bright and the brash is cleared away, and we can reconnect with the eternal that holds and loves us. (Psalm 1)

Online Worship for Remembrance Sunday 8th November

Join us online this weekend to remember and give thanks for those who fought and gave their lives for our communities in past conflicts.

The Union Flag flies at Checkendon

Our main worship options on a Sunday remain via Zoom. You may join the service hosted by your local minister, or another of your choosing. You will need the zoom app installed on your device (laptop, tablet, phone or PC) – download from  Just before the appointed time, run the app, click on “join meeting” and enter the meeting number and passcode below for the service you wish to attend.

Remembrance Worship with Revd John  10am        188 513 761 and 019797         The fallen of Ipsden and North Stoke are honoured.

Remembrance Worship with Revd Linda   9.45am  (Note time!)   885 8064 0545 and 670064       The fallen of Woodcote are honoured.

Remembrance Worship with Revd Kevin  10.55am    (Note time!)   636 645 195  and 000162.     The fallen of Checkendon and Stoke Row are honoured.

Family and friends are welcome to join us. It is a great way to stay in touch.  There are also midweek online service options available on Wednesdays and Fridays in the evening. Do check out the worship pages on the Team Ministry website for full details.

Live worship in all of our churches has been suspended for the current national lockdown. Should the Government or National Church make any further pronouncements that affect us – check the Team website first of all:

To help keep your church’s bills paid, please support Woodcote or Checkendon or Ipsden  or North Stoke churches via their dedicated and secure card donation pages. Just click on the church you wish to help. Please also Gift Aid your donation if you pay any income tax. Thank you !

Another remembrance; the Cathedral (Magnifi)Cat.

We’ve shared a lot over the past months how important our animals are to us, and how they help us to live well. Southwark Cathedral has recently said farewell to their cat, a stray, who moved into the Cathedral in 2012, made herself at home, and, over the years, famous. The Cathdral received media attention last week for giving the animal a small “funeral” service; however the Dean did himself, the Church, and our faith proud in the face of sceptical interviewing on Radio 4. “The cat probably attracted more people to this Cathedral than I ever could,” he humbly said. The service was, for a Cathedral, very simple, yet some profound thoughts and emotions were shared. It has been uploaded to youtube; if you have a spare 40 minutes I commend it to you, in particular the Dean’s opening remarks, the verger’s eulogy, and the Dean’s sermon. You can also find elsewhere on youtube an earlier TV news item, which has footage of Miss MagnifiCat as she was in 2018.

I look forward to seeing many of you at our zoom remembrance service this Sunday. There is much grief and pain abroad at the present. Let us find a collective voice to express it and offer it humbly to God, who alone can bear it. Look for the evergreen tree.

Your Rector                Revd Kevin Davies


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