Seven Churches in South Oxfordshire

From the Rector: Tuesday 7th May 2024

A Head for Heights

Dear friends

How are you with high places? The Shard in London is not for the faint-hearted; if you dare to look down you can see the roof structures and patterns of Southwark Cathedral laid out beneath you as if returned to the 2D of an architect’s plan. However, for most, the interest and detail of the all round panorama of London is sufficient distraction from any vertiginous terrors. And the Shard, at least, doesn’t seem to have as many holes in it as the Eiffel Tower, although this latter is not as tall. However both these marvels of human engineering pale into insignificance when compared to the 589 meters of almost vertical drop at the highest cliff in Europe, which, surprisingly, is not found in the Alps but a few miles west of Funchal on the southern coast of Madeira. The Cabo Girao forms part of the extinct volcanic “plug” which makes up the geology of the island, and the sheer drop is attenuated only close to the bottom, where one or two natural sea terraces have been farmed by very determined islanders for many years. In 2012 a viewing platform was built overhanging the top of the cliff, and the brave visitor can walk out onto this “balcony”, peering through the glass floor at their feet to see the farmer’s terraces and the shoreline, almost two thousand feet directly underneath you. I must confess I would struggle a bit to look down. Somehow it is harder to trust the engineering when it is both transparent, and made of glass, which we all know from experience breaks under stress. But to see the view downwards, you have to trust that the glass will take your weight.

Happily, God knows both our fears, and our hopes. He himself is the “reliable floor” and promises that, by His Spirit, he will be with us, always, in every situation. “You did not choose me, but I chose you.” (John 15:16). So, in faith we walk, eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. Sometimes we need to look down to check our footing (are we on the rock?) but mostly, in Scripture, we are encouraged to keeping looking upwards. May the Lord be with you, whatever altitude you find yourself at this week.

Worship Services for Sunday 12th May

9.30am Morning Prayer at St John’s Stoke Row with Mr Peter Ferguson

11am Holy Communion at St Peter and Paul, Checkendon with Canon Kevin Davies

Midweek service for Ascension Day: Thursday 9th May St Mary’s Ipsden at 10.30am.

Team Council

Firmly here at ground level there is a Langtree Team Ministry council meeting next Tuesday (14th May) at St John’s Stoke Row at 8pm. Please make sure your PCC is represented, and please allow extra travel time, as there may be a road closure in place at the Checkendon/Stoke Row T Junction. (If so, the diversion will run down Whitehall Lane in Checkendon, and then left to climb the hill which emerges onto Stoke Row Main St. Turn left again to reach the church.) Council members please ask your minister for the agenda and report if you have not received the,.

Please pray for all teachers and Yr 5/6 pupils at our local Primary Schools as their “SATs” tests are next week. The results of these tests make up much of the basis on which outside agencies form “judgements” about our schools.

Sunday 19th May is the Feast of Pentecost – do join us at Checkendon Church for a joyful and family friendly service to celebrate the birthday of the Church at 11am. Also for your diaries is your invitation to Checkendon School’s Pentecost service, at 1.30pm on Wednesday 22nd, followed by maypole dancing on the village green. Everyone from the community is warmly welcomed to come and hear the singing and see the dancing.

May the peace and joy of the risen Jesus be with us all.

Yours Rector, Canon Kevin






Add a Comment

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