Charles writes – October

So the time has come.  Farewells are always very hard, but for all of us the time comes for change and new beginnings.

We have loved our time in Faringdon, and it has been an amazingly fruitful and rewarding time.  Our boys have loved growing up in All Saints’, and enjoying being part of a church where children and young people are so strongly included and valued.  We are especially grateful for all the children’s and young people’s leaders who have encouraged them and helped them, along with the many other young people in our congregation.  As a whole family we have felt very much loved and cared for, especially in the years when we were struggling to care for our autistic son James at home.

I’d also like to thank All Saints’ congregation for such a wonderful commitment to our work together, especially in the challenging times such as when we had to face the extra cost of excavating “the 341” – it has been amazing the way everyone has pulled together!

I have also loved ministering at St Mary’s.  The small congregation at Little Coxwell have been consistently helpful, positive and affirming – facing and meeting every challenge and it has been always a pleasure to be there sharing in worship and fellowship.

There are of course many challenges ahead.  With the completion of the Barber Rooms, a new chapter has begun for All Saints’.  Faringdon itself is changing – the growth and new building is making a huge difference to the character of the town, and the task of being a church for the whole community is an ever changing challenge.  At the same time the Barber Rooms themselves are creating many new opportunities to welcome and engage with the community around us.

I am confident that All Saints’ and St Mary’s will meet whatever challenges lie ahead, trusting in God’s help and guidance.  And it’s not about waiting for a new Vicar – the work of the church will continue through the vacancy, with new initiatives as well.  For example, the second of our newly restarted “God in our Lives” evenings will happen later this month, and a new initiative is currently being planned – the PCC have invited Pam de Wit to lead Training sessions on “Welcome Everybody” in January – a very important initiative – do get the dates in your diary! Of course it will be all the more important that everything is undergirded by prayer.  A new prayer evening is planned in October and monthly thereafter.

So it’s good to know that though the Drapers are leaving, the journey for All Saints’ and St Mary’s is continuing without a pause!  It only remains for Jane and I to say thank you so much for all we have shared together and our love, prayers and warmest wishes to you all,

Charles

Home Group Meetings in October

New members are always most welcome at all Home Groups – please contact the people listed below for more details.

Day and Dates Time Place Contact Subject
Monday 12th & 19th 7.45pm 28 The Pines 240 532 Luke for Everyone
Monday 5th & 19th 7.45pm 1 Haynes Close 241 975 Women of the Old Testament
Tuesday 13th & 27th 2.30pm 2 Leamington Gate 615 009 Studies in 2 Corinthians
Wednesday 14th & 28th 7.45pm 7 Badbury Close 241 860 Studies in Matthew
Every Thursday 7.30pm 2 Ferndale Street 241 161 Acts
Thursday 8th & 22nd 8.00pm 10B Coxwell Street 242 753 Studies in John’s Gospel

Meetings for Prayer in October

All Saints’ seeks to have an active and regular prayer ministry with a number of informal meetings during the month to which all are very welcome.

Friday 2nd 7.40-8.30am Parish Prayers (20 Market Place)
Tuesday 6th 2.00-3.00pm Julian Meeting (18 Eastfield Court)
Friday 9th 7.40-8.30am Parish Prayers (20 Market Place)
Tuesday 13th 8.00-9.00pm Julian Meeting (Cancelled)
Friday 16th 7.40-8.30am Parish Prayers (20 Market Place)
Friday 16th 8.00pm Prayer for the World (Call 240 509 for venue)
Wednesday 21st 10.30-11.30am Prayer for CMS (8 Coach Lane)
Friday 23rd 7.40-8.30am Parish Prayers (20 Market Place)
Tuesday 27th 8.00-9.00pm Julian Meeting (Call 244 905 for venue)
Friday 30th 7.40-8.30am Parish Prayers (20 Market Place)

 

For further details contact:

Julian Meeting (Tuesday afternoon): 01865 820 511

Julian Meeting (Tuesday evening): 244 905 or 240 712

CMS Prayer Group (Wednesday morning): 243 388

Parish Prayers (Friday am) and Prayers for the World (Friday pm): 240 509

Prayer Calendar – October

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

Thurs 1st Mission for the Month – Bible Society.
Fri 2nd Pathfinders and Leaders with the changed programme.
Sat 3rd Little Coxwell Harvest Supper this evening.
Sun 4th For baptismal service this morning.
Mon 5th Sunday School leaders during the time of change.
Tues 6th ‘Mission Prayers for Faringdon’ this evening.
Wed 7th All who are ill or in any other kind of need.
Thurs 8th Mission for the Month – Scripture Union.
Fri 9th The Wisbey family during this time of change for them.
Sat 10th Community activities in Faringdon and Little Coxwell.
Sun 11th Charles’ & Jane’s last Sunday; Harvest Festival; Confirmation.
Mon 12th The work of the Mustard Seed and Seekers Light.
Tues 13th Ministry team: Paul, Max, Barbara, John, Helen & Graham.
Wed 14th The Music Group.
Thurs 15th Mission for the Month – Wycliffe.
Fri 16th Magazine production this weekend; Allsorts this morning.
Sat 17th Our Bishops, Archdeacons and Area Deans.
Sun 18th CTIF United Service and AGM at All Saints’ this evening.
Mon 19th Bell ringers practicing this evening, and for new ringers.
Tues 20th God in our Lives this evening.
Wed 21st The Wardens and PCCs during the Interregnum.
Thurs 22nd David & Liza Cooke, our CMS Link Partners.
Fri 23rd Continued prayer for the appointment of a new Bishop of Oxford.
Sat 24th Those recently bereaved.
Sun 25th Messy Church this afternoon.
Mon 26th All who help in our Churches.
Tues 27th Churches in Faringdon during this time of leadership changes.
Wed 28th Work of Churches Together and the Family Centre.
Thurs 29th Choir practice this evening and new members for the choir.
Fri 30th Flower Guild decorating the Church for All Saints’ Day.
Sat 31st Home Groups and Prayer Groups.

Mission News – October

David & Liza Cooke – Our CMS Link Partners in Eldoret, Kenya

Friday 4th September saw a new Ladies football match in the Borderlands.  Five teams each with members from different tribes in the area, played very competitive football in a happy spirit which added to the aim of peace building in the area.  The men were involved in organising the event and equal numbers came from the different tribes. About 1000 people came to help or to watch and teams and spectators mixed happily together.

As people came and went during the afternoon, peace messages were given throughout the event.  Sadly there were no members of the Provincial Administration attending, but the many men who were there were surprised and impressed by the standard of the ladies football!!

This may not sound what many expect to see as ‘Missionary Work’ but we are all called to show God’s Love for all in the way we live.  By showing that love to the mothers and helping them to see the results of learning to love each other across tribal divides, you influence the whole family.

David and Liza will be in the UK for a few weeks.  Their youngest daughter is to be married and their other children with their families will all be together for the first time in six years, so they will not be visiting their Link Churches on this visit. We have sent our love and best wishes from All Saints’ for a very happy time together.

More news from Church Mission Society

Share the joy of supporting our CMS Timothy partners

We hope you will feel a renewed desire to pray for CMS and support our Timothy mission partners as you discover how God is blessing their work across Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe and the Middle East.

Inspired by the Apostle Paul and how he nurtured Timothy with guidance on leading, growing and pastoring the local church, we are privileged to be partnering with churches overseas and helping them to identify, train and support Christian leaders like Rachel Karanja in Kenya.

After connecting with CMS, Rachel coordinated a project installing biogas units in Kenya and Uganda. Despite suffering a stroke in 2013, she has since founded Women of Destiny Kenya. Using CMS tools like financial freedom for vulnerable women, she is desperate to help more women start their own businesses.

£5 pays for Rachel to mentor another woman wanting to develop her own business.

Through our Timothy fund, we are also supporting Anderson Sanchez as a pastor, evangelist and teacher in Peru. Anderson is seeing doors open to share the gospel in many different places including a unit for young offenders.

£10 pays for Anderson and ex-offender Alexis to make one visit to the young offenders unit and share the gospel.

We currently support over 50 CMS Timothy mission partners, however, there are many more passionate and gifted leaders that we would love to help local churches to identify, nurture and fulfil their missionary calling.

Missions of the Month for October – Bible Society – Scripture Union – Wycliffe

Bible Society – Scripture Union – Wycliffe Bible Translators

It is appropriate that Bible Sunday (25th October) falls during the month we focus on our three Missions for the Month. All three missions are concerned with people all round the world having access to God’s word, by translation, distribution and teaching but I would like to concentrate on the Bible Society this year.

Recently, a new state of the art visitor and education centre has opened in North Wales. It celebrates the life of Mary Jones and how her journey transformed the lives of millions of people and how the Bible Society was set up because of her.

Mary was born to a very poor family on 16th December 1784, in the Welsh village of Llanfihangel-y-Pennant, at the foot of Cader Idris. A school opened which was two hour round trip from Mary’s home, so she took the trip every day, determined to become a scholar. She progressed very well. Mary desperately wanted a Bible of her own, so she visited a neighbour, Mrs Evans who allowed her to read hers. Mary earned money by doing chores for neighbours so she could afford her own Bible.

After six years of careful saving, Mary had saved enough money for her Bible but they were not available in her village. The Reverend Thomas Charles sold them in Bala, over twenty five miles away.

So in the summer of 1800, Mary set out alone, clutching her money and carrying her shoes. (so as not to wear them out). On her arrival, the Revd. Charles told her that his last Bible was promised to someone else. Mary was so devastated and disappointed and the Revd. Charles was so greatly moved by Mary’s efforts to own a Bible that he gave her his last Bible.

In December 1802, the Revd. Charles went to London and told the committee of the Religious Tract Society about the desperate need for Bibles and cited Mary’s story. Fifteen months later, the British and Foreign Bible Society was formed for “the wider distribution of the scriptures”. The Clapham Sect, a group of Evangelicals, including William Wilberforce were important in its establishment.

The governing committee was interdenominational and included fifteen Anglicans, fifteen Free Church laymen and six representatives of foreign churches.

Local groups arose throughout Britain to raise funds and distribute Bibles in their localities. Similar Bible Societies were formed in Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Russia, France, Greece and the USA. They worked closely with the growing missionary endeavours to bring the Bible to people in many languages.

Mary died at the age of 82. In her town of Llanfihangel-y-Pennant, a monument has been erected with the following inscription in English and Welsh.

In memory of Mary Jones, who in the year 1800, at the age of 16 walked from here to Bala, to procure from the Revd Thomas Charles, B.A., a copy of the Welsh Bible, this incident was the occasion of the formation of the British and Foreign Bible Society. Erected by the Sunday Schools of Merioneth’ .

The new visitor centre tells the story of Mary Jones and Thomas Charles and the impact of the world’s best-selling book on Wales and the world. There are interactive displays, videos, exhibits and activities that bring Mary’s fascinating story to life from 1800 to the present day.

The centre is located on the A494 on the edge of Bala Lake. If you are visiting that area why not call in? (see www.bydmaryjonesworld.org.uk)

Autumn

As another birthday approaches, a song from “The Yeomen of the Guard” reminds me that if you think of a life as though it’s like a year with its seasons, then I have definitely reached Autumn.

In my eighth decade I know that I have far more time behind me than I do in front. I see beauty in everything I look at, from the face of a baby to the beauty of the night sky. My perspective has changed. I now take time to look at what is around me, and I am much less disturbed by the things that used to upset me.  I’m less aggressive in many things like my driving or the way I react to the stupidity of some political decisions or in bureaucratic procedures. My family are getting more used (bored?) with me saying, “Will the world stop? No? Then relax.”

And having reached Autumn I don’t feel dispirited, partly because I have always loved this season. The brightly coloured leaves, the crisp cool mornings, the signs and celebrations of harvest, all give my morale a boost.

Nature has a particular loveliness when spring and summer are gone. So it’s not unreasonable to expect that in human nature something of the same beauty will be there when the days are drawing in and life is less active. I’m not thinking about faces, but there’s often a quiet kind of radiance in an old face that is so similar to the bright and eager faces of childhood and youth. I just wish that people nowadays let nature do her work unhindered. But we know not to ‘judge a book by its cover’. Nature may look to us as though she’s dying gracefully, but actually she’s very busy getting ready for the Spring.

So in my Autumn I can look back over my life and, and as it were, reap the harvest of my investment in time and effort in such things as family and friendships, as I see my children now grown, and grandchildren growing, and can celebrate such things as 50th anniversaries of graduations and other achievements.

Autumn too, is a season in which we don’t have the pests of spring and summer, things such as flies, mosquitoes, and rapidly growing weeds. And also it’s free from some of the problems of Spring – adolescence, when spots and acne made one so self-conscious and when peer-pressure quite often determined the people one could be seen with!

Hopefully, for you who are enjoying this Autumn maturity, you’ll tend to eliminate the trite and petty from your lives. Those of us at this stage know that life is too short to let personal vanity or the fickleness of public opinion deflect us from some of our daily joys.

And of course we mustn’t forget the harvest celebrations, a special time with family and friends when we pause to consider how blessed we are. This year we include in our celebrations the harvest brought about by the work of Charles, Jane and the boys. We hope that our work with them will also, in due course, bring about a harvest of its own in their lives. This Autumn in our lives should be the season for remembering and reflecting, a time to take pleasure in past and present abundance.

Of course, there is a chill in the air in autumn, a reminder that winter is not far away. Similarly, at this season we begin to face the fact of our own mortality. People, like leaves, die and turn to dust.

Yet with winter comes Christmas, and Christmas pre-echoes Easter. Yes, the flower fades and falls to the ground, but its seed will bloom again. And so autumn is a hopeful time.

The fact that death is approaching, when I shall leave this world, doesn’t fill me with dread. The anxiety that I see in my friends who have no faith, doesn’t exist for me. I don’t know what is to come, but I have faith in the belief that our Good Lord has some pleasant surprises for us beyond the threshold of our earthly lives. I find I draw confidence from Paul’s words, written in the Autumn of his life, in 2 Timothy 4:7-8, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day–and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing”.(NIV)

The evidence for God’s existence and His active role in our lives can be seen in many ways. The beauty of autumn is just one of them. So, please, let’s not live our lives as those who believe in naturalism, chance, and survival of the fittest. “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and all these things [what you need in life] will be added to you.”

Max Young