Seven Churches in South Oxfordshire

From the Rector: Tuesday 17th October 2023

God’s brown bin.

Dear friends,

Autumn is usually a very busy time. Everything is in full swing in the working world, in the voluntary sector and with social events. There are meetings, projects, appraisals, reviews, articles, parties – and the DIY that you started in May is nowhere near finished. Teachers and parents start to look weary and mentally tick off the days to half term. Marketing mentioning Christmas gets thrown in the bin, with a mental note never ever to buy anything from THAT retailer again.

As ever the garden gives a helpful visual aid. Autumn is a season for slowing down, clearing away, for planning and for taking stock. Harvest is over, and whilst there is plenty to do, nevertheless it does not need to be rushed. Pruning, tidying, cutting back, dividing, digging out, composting. All vital for the cycle of the seasons and all important. But not urgent. What is important is that we care for both soil on the outside and soul on the inside, taking time for reflection and thankfulness, appreciating what has done well, and why, and learning the lessons from what has not. The creative journey will be better served with attentive reflection, and giving the season its space.

It is so in our inner lives. The over-stuffed diary in the end reduces our capacity for proper attention, and by so doing reduces our humanity. Our souls need space, and time, so that the “autumn debris” they accrue can be acknowledged, and “put on the compost heap” or, if noxious and intractible, put in the Lord’s brown bin, for his merciful attention.

Church is a good place to examine the garden of the soul; either a quiet space to reflect in on a weekday, or a service of worship, where one’s own thoughts and prayers are free to roam, to be honest with God, and to discover (uncover) your own heart again without the pressures of the clock. It is a place to find who you are, underneath the leaves.

Worship Services for Sunday 22nd October

9.30am Holy Communion at St John’s Stoke Row with Rev Romey Poston

11am Holy Communion at St Peter and Paul, Checkendon with Rev Romey Poston

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

Sunday 29th October

10.30am Team Service of Holy Communion at St Mary’s Ipsden. Celebrant: Rev Canon John Blair. Preacher: The Revd Dr James Leach

Do make a note of the team service above, as there won’t be any other services in the Langtree Team area on that Sunday. Looking further ahead, Remembrance Sunday this year is 12th November. Please support your church as we gather to remember those who have died in war. This year at Checkendon I will be talking about the day in  October1943 when the war came to the Langtree Team, with the crash of the Stirling Mk III four engined bomber at Ipsden which killed all seven members of its crew. How did this happen, and why? Recent research has thrown more light on this terrible tragedy.

Please continue to pray for the victims of war in our own day, and that there will be peace with justice, and reconciliation, in both the middle East, and Ukraine. May the Lord have mercy on all the children of the light. (1John 1:5-7)

Your Rector, Canon Kevin.

PS The next one of these notes will land on Tuesday 31st October, as next week is half term.


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