Seven Churches in South Oxfordshire

From the Rector: Tuesday 6th February 2024

The future of warfare

Dear friends,

One of the most memorable Dr Who adventures from my childhood was Terry Nation’s “Genesis of the Daleks”. Tom Baker, as Dr Who, complete with floppy hat and flowing scarf, finds himself on the planet Skaro, where two civilisations are locked in perpetual battle, both under huge concrete domes, hurling missiles at each other across the devastated planet. Each race is trying to develop better and better missiles. One race, the Kaleds, under their leader Davros, succeed in creating a new kind of killing machine, that is a mix of both the biological and the mechanical, and that operates independently without fear or conscience. These “Daleks” – to cut a long story short, eventually find a way to destroy both civilisations and their respective cities, and take over the planet for themselves. In a gripping scene, The Doctor finds himself in a position to destroy the embryonic Daleks, but cannot bring himself to do so, as, even though he knows the future he finds both darkness and light there. He refuses to play God, despite knowing the terrible evils that the Daleks will unleash upon the universe. The dramatist poses the question – “what would you do, if you could?”

Meanwhile, in Ukraine, drones are now being used to deadly effect. The principle defence against these weapons is currently either very accurate shooting, or to find the controlling radio frequency and jam it, rendering the drone unflyable. Research is underway to integrate an AI platform, whereby a drone is able to recognise targets – both human and material – without the need for an operator to guide it. In the very near future, these machines will be able to be flown into enemy territory, and then “set to automatic” to hunt and destroy without any human involvement at all. Jamming these weapons will be impossible, as they will be autonomous. Dealing with them will take more than a floppy hat and colourful knitted scarf, but I wonder, what will it take to ensure that our planet Earth does not become a cursed lump of blasted rock? Terry Nation’s question seems more urgent than ever.

Worship Services for Sunday 11th February

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

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

Midweek Team Service for Ash Wednesday: Service of ashing with Holy Communion for the beginning of Lent. Wednesday 14th February 7.30pm at St Peter and St Paul Checkendon.

Worship Services for Sunday 18th February

9.30am Informal Worship at St John’s Stoke Row with Revd Romey Poston

11am Family Service at St Peter and Paul, Checkendon with Canon Kevin Davies. An informal service, with the music group, and coffee from 10.45am (new!)

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


One response to the disgraceful state of the world is the humble ourselves in repentance before the Almighty. The season of Lent gives us this opportunity – as the shoots of spring begin to show, so we pray for the renewal of hope and the future of humanity. Revd Romey Poston will be leading the Team service next Wednesday evening (14th) at Checkendon. Everyone is warmly invited from across the Team to join us at 7.30pm for this quiet service of holy communion, with the imposition of ashes. Please also join with us in prayer for his Majesty King Charles, as we take in the news of his recent diagnosis for cancer.

The schools break for half term at the end of this week – lets give thanks to God for all teachers and pupils in our local schools. As it will be half term, there won’t be one of these notes from me next week – services for two weeks are shown above. Don’t miss the Family Service on the 18th – do come early if you can for a pre-service coffee! Thank you for your support and care for your churches. May the peace of the Lord be always with you.

Your Rector, Canon Kevin






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