Seven Churches in South Oxfordshire

From the Rector: Tuesday 7th February 2023

Mercy, mercy

Dear friends,

Once again the creation reminds us that we are not above it, but that we belong to it. At high enough pressure, rock becomes fluid, and behaves in a way similar to the ocean – it ripples and waves. The forces involved are unthinkably large, but perhaps can be imagined by asking what would happen on the motorway if a small coach were to overtake an articulated truck, only to glance off it, and collide with the stationary mini van ahead of it. Slow things right down, to a timescale of thousands and thousands of years, but vastly increase the mass; the truck is now the whole of Africa, the coach Saudi Arabia and Syria, and the mini van is Turkey.  Every scrape, bump, knock, crumpling of this terrible collision sees a release of energy, the pressure accrued being suddenly undone in seconds as the faultlines tear and rupture. And as we see in Turkey and northern Syria, the result is devastation on a nuclear scale, for which we cry to God for his mercy on all people in the region, and intercede for those working in search and rescue, and those bringing relief for survivors now made homeless.

The question of “how does this happen?” is easy to answer, but the associated “why?” is beyond the scope of the few words I can offer here. In my view it helps to frame the question more broadly as “why would God make a world with cracks in it?” It is also comforting to remember that it was into this world, this broken world, that Christ was born – indeed right at the heart of the region suffering so terribly now.  We pray too, that the salvation Jesus died to effect is not merely on a healing for the human spirit, but also something which extends into the very fabric of the universe.

Worship Services for Sunday  12th February

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

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

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

Farewell to Mrs Whittle

Parents and pupils, governors and staff, gather in St John’s church this Friday to say a fond farewell to Charlotte Whittle as she steps down as headteacher of Stoke Row school. Charlotte’s love for the children, and their learning, have been exemplary throughout her time at the school. Her building and developing the Christian ethos of the school has been a model of the learning journey that all schools are aiming for as they develop and grow their vision. Stoke Row School has acheived much under Charlotte’s leadership, and I’d like to wish her the very best for the next stage of her career.  God bless you, Mrs Whittle!

Finally, 2023 marks the 400th anniversary of the English composer William Byrd. Here’s a recent version of his anthem “Praise our Lord” by Voces8 for you to savour.

May the peace of the Lord be with us all.

Your Rector, Revd Kevin


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