Seven Churches in South Oxfordshire

From the Rector: Tuesday 9th July 2024

Exam Season

Dear friends

For a lot of young people we are in the waiting period of tenterhooks that comes after the examinations are completed, but before the results are published. There is a strange combination of uncertainty, perhaps even self doubt, along with the trepidation that comes with the unknown future. Did we give as good an account of ourselves as possible? Should we have answered the questions in the order that we did? Will our grades be good enough for the place we’ve been offered? The Langtree Team ministry finds itself in a similar situation at this time; the associate Archdeacon has just concluded an eight month review of the Team, and we are awaiting her report, due in August. I wonder if our grades will be good enough? Mercifully for us all, in the world of national politics, the gap between examination (election) and results was over in just a few hours, and we learnt in a very short time that the previous Government’s paper was so thoroughly covered in red ink that it was not deemed worthy of a pass mark. And in the world of sport, the qualifiers, rounds, and finals move ahead in tennis and football. Cricket, of course, goes as far as to call its competitions “tests” and, like Governments, the batsmen are “in” or “out”.

There is happily for us all only one judge whose opinion really matters: “Wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time, each will receive his praise from God.” (1 Cor 4:5). The cricketing umpire raises his finger to the heavens when your time at the crease has ended and you are declared “out”. Some footballers, on scoring, also do the same, as an acknowledgement of God’s help and gifting. It could be said that both are in some way “deferring to God”. We can hope and pray that our new Government, in their corporate judgements and policy making on our behalf, will also do the same.

Worship Services for Sunday 14th July

9.30am Morning Prayer at St John’s Stoke Row with Canon Kevin Davies

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

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

News from the churches, and the garden

Your churchwardens were charged by Bishop Gavin and instituted by Archdeacon David in the splendid setting of Dorchester Abbey last Sunday afternoon. The nave was packed with wardens, clergy, and supporters, the bishop beamed, the organ boomed, the liturgy mercifully brief, and the sun was even spotted, barely, for a few minutes after the service. Give thanks to God for the work of your wardens, who care for our churches, support the clergy, and have the great job of being some of the few people who can “tell the Bishop like it is”.  The wardens of the Langtree Team ministry, are, without exception, some of the finest people you might ever wish to meet – faithful, friendly, and fun to be with. Treasure your churchwardens!

In the garden, the gooseberries are underway, with green ones fully picked, and the dessert variety as yet undiscovered by Mr Squirrel, so I am hanging fire with a full picking in the hope (perhaps vain) that a little more sunshine and warmth will turn these from their present rather elegant green with a pink blush to a deeper hue that drifts towards purple. They are sweet enough, just, so every extra day is a gamble. Plus, it is no fun picking from the wickedly thorny bushes when they are wet, either. Lettuces of all varieties are romping away thanks to the rain, but, of course, that means that the massed armies of slugs are also on the march. All the broad beans are picked and the plants cleared, but I’ve left the stumps in the ground because that is where I want the nitrogen fixing bacteria in the bean root nodules to remain, for a while longer at least. I have come rather late in life to the realisation that gardeners should tend to their soil as much as they tend to what they plant in it. Perhaps this too is a lesson for life?

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Your Rector, Canon Kevin

PS If the rain, politics, and global news are all a bit much for you just now, lose yourself for five minutes in this beautiful rendition of an extremely early prayer of protection (c 4-5thC). The music is by the 14thC composer Brumel. You can find details of the prayer itself here.





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