August Prayer Calendar

Please continue to pray for the life and work of our parishes

Sat 1st Mission for the Month – Innovista.
Sun 2nd Continued prayer for the appointment of a new Bishop of Oxford.
Mon 3rd David & Liza Cooke, our CMS Link Partners.
Tues 4th All on holiday and visiting other churches.
Wed 5th All helping with and attending Christian holiday clubs, etc.
Thurs 6th Choir practice this evening, and for new choir members.
Fri 7th Flower Guild decorating the Church.
Sat 8th Our Bishops, Archdeacons and Area Deans.
Sun 9th United Folly Fest Service in the Market Place this morning.
Mon 10th Bell ringers practicing this evening, and for new ringers.
Tues 11th New clergy in Uffington and Gainfield & Cherbury benefices.
Wed 12th For all waiting exam results and deciding about their future.
Thurs 13th Work of Churches Together and the Family Centre.
Fri 14th Wardens, vergers, welcomers, readers and intercessors.
Sat 15th Songs of Praise at All Saints’ tomorrow.
Sun 16th Animal Blessing Service at Little Coxwell this afternoon.
Mon 17th For those recently bereaved.
Tues 18th Prayer Groups as they continue to meet during the summer.
Wed 19th The Music Group.
Thurs 20th All who are ill or in any other kind of need.
Fri 21st Ministers and congregations of the Vale Deanery Churches.
Sat 22nd Magazine preparation this weekend.
Sun 23rd Church sitters today and throughout the summer.
Mon 24th The work of the Mustard Seed and Seekers Light.
Tues 25th New families moving into the area and the CTIF Welcome Team.
Wed 26th Sunday Special and Pathfinder leaders preparing for a new year.
Thurs 27th Community activities in Faringdon and Little Coxwell.
Fri 28th All who help run our Churches.
Sat 29th Ministry team: Charles, Paul, Max, Barbara, John, Helen & Graham.
Sun 30th Baptisms today at All Saints’ and St Mary’s.
Mon 31st All on holiday today.

Mission of the Month for August – Innovista

Innovista exists to see more people in Europe, Russia, and Central Asia experience the hope of Jesus. To this end we identify local missionaries in their 20s and 30s who are presently engaged in mission through the local church, before training them to bring lasting change to their communities through their churches, ministries and community initiatives.

This is the group who know the language, culture, history and unwritten rules of their context the best. They’re the group for whom investment now will have the biggest impact: on them, on the ministries they lead, and on those who they witness to, both now and in the future.

Closer to home, our Thrive initiative seeks to help young people bring hope to life in their disadvantaged communities. The first Thrive team was launched in Barton, Oxford, and consists of a core team of five, including two full-time staff and a placement student who live on the estate. Living in the community provides the opportunity to engage relationally with the most disadvantaged and disengaged young people and to provide positive role models for them, many of whom are from chaotic households.

Ben Smith

See www.innovista.org for more information.

Holidays – Time to “Still out”

Do you ever feel like Crocodile Dundee in New York, greeting people in the town and getting no response? People with their hand-held devices, headphones and that glazed expression, unseeing, inward-looking, on their faces? They ignore your cheerful “Good morning” and seemingly go through life with two of their senses switched off.

We complain so often, and rightly, that the pace of life nowadays is frantic and frenetic and everything is so noisy, isn’t it? But isn’t increased noise part of the price we pay for progress?

Take grass-cutting, I remember hearing the regular gentle swishing noise of ‘the Swinging Sisters’, as they wielded their bamboo poles cutting the grass in our camp in Malaysia. Cylinder mowers were next with their regular whirr-whirr, but then the modern petrol or electrically powered mowers with their own particular din, together with strimmers, hedge-trimmers, blowers and shredders that took the place of shears and rakes.

But then, don’t we like noise? Can we live without the radio on in the background, our I-pods and Musak and those car stereo systems that, when on full volume, seem to alter the car’s suspension? And don’t we like to appear busy – in constant contact by phone, e-mail and social media with our business colleagues or family members?

If there is a reduction in numbers of people attending Church services, I don’t think it’s because people have come to any reasoned conclusion against the Christian faith. Convinced sceptics, agnostics and atheists are a tiny minority. The real reason is that in the midst of all the hustle and bustle there’s no quiet space left for thinking out spiritual matters. God is just crowded out. We give ourselves no chance at all of knowing God, because we don’t, deliberately, allow time to be still.

Here we are, approaching the peak holiday time when we ought to be thinking of ways to recharge our batteries and relax – remember that phrase from Psalm 46, “Be still, and know that I am God.”? It was originally aimed at Israel’s enemies, telling them to back off from attacking Israel and to realise that the God of Israel was the only true God to be worshipped by everybody. Nowadays we understand the phrase to be more of a command to us to emulate Elijah and go to a remote cave to find God, not in earthquake, wind and fire but in the still, small voice.

So, is your holiday going to be one at the end of which you’ll be looking forward to coming back to Faringdon’s normal life for a rest?

I do hope not! Jesus gave us all an example in making time to get away from the crowds to recharge his soul’s batteries in the presence of God. We too should do the same, whether it’s an hour at a service on a Sunday or a few minutes for prayer here and there in our normal day, set aside to spend solely with God, to give ourselves the chance to ‘hearken’ to that still small voice.

I used the word ‘hearken’ because my dictionary tells me it means, ‘to listen with compliance or sympathy,’ or, even better, ‘to listen as an eavesdropper.’ So please do give yourselves the chance to be really with-it in the holiday period, and thereafter, by ‘stilling-out’ and eavesdropping on God.

Max Young