St Mary’s Wardens write – December 2015

We are now in the season of Advent, a time of waiting – waiting for Christmas, waiting for God’s kingdom to be established. The Church has traditionally seen Advent as a time of reflection and a time of waiting for God. Of course, for most of us it is a busy time of getting ready for Christmas, and that pushes out any chance of quiet waiting. December at St Mary’s and All Saints’ is a busy month too, fitting in special services and anticipating large congregations. We all need to make time to wait for God, especially this year when we are seeking a new Vicar.

Then January is a time for new beginnings. New Year Resolutions are usually forgotten by the time we go back to work. What we need is to put into practice the thoughts we had during our Advent waiting. New ideas, new energy and new commitment – if they are from God – will help our churches to be a stronger witness in our communities.  This is something for each one of us, not just the wardens or the PCC or the retired clergy who are so generously stepping in and taking services.

We must also thank God for giving us the strength, the knowledge and his wisdom to guide us on our path to find a new Vicar. We do believe that God already knows who will be our next Vicar, and with His help and continuing prayer we will be led to the right person. We are holding an Open Meeting on Saturday 5th December at 2.00pm in the Barber Rooms, led by the Revd Charles Chadwick who is a Diocesan Parish Development Advisor. We have invited guests from the local area and businesses, and we would be delighted to welcome as many as possible from either congregation or community to come and listen and have a chat about the recruitment process.

Part of the role of being church warden is to ensure that services run smoothly and that cover is available to take services. Sometimes you have to think laterally. The Remembrance service was a first for St Mary’s as we had no organist. However, with the use of modern technology we had organ music played via a smart phone and Bluetooth speaker. As the saying goes, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way!” The only minor incident was when the wrong button was pressed, interrupting Paul Winchester mid flow with “Abide with me”.

With our prayers for all at St Mary’s and All Saints’ for a happy Christmas and a blessed New Year.

Gill Hudson & Julie Bathe

Home Group Meetings in December

New members are always most welcome at all Home Groups – please contact a number listed below for more details or just turn up.

Day and Dates Time Place Contact Subject
Monday 14th 7.45pm 28 The Pines 240 532 Luke for Everyone
Monday
14th
7.45pm 1 Haynes Close 241 975 Women of the Old Testament
Tuesday
8th
2.30pm 2 Leamington Gate 615 009 Studies in 2 Corinthians
Wednesday
9th
7.45pm 7 Badbury Close 241 860 Studies in Matthew
Every
Thursday
7.30pm 2 Ferndale Street 241 161 Acts
Thursday
10th
8.00pm 10B Coxwell Street 242 753 Studies in John’s Gospel

Prayer Calendar – December

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

Tues 1st Mission for the Month—The Children’s Society.
Wed 2nd Faringdon Peace Group meeting this evening.
Thurs 3rd David & Liza Cooke, our CMS Link Partners as they return to Kenya.
Fri 4th Posada visiting homes during Advent.
Sat 5th Open Meeting this afternoon about the new Vicar.
Sun 6th Toy Collection this morning for NSPCC.
Mon 7th Bellringers as they practise this evening.
Tues 8th Appointment of Parish Representatives for selection of new Vicar.
Wed 9th Home Groups and Prayer Groups meeting this week.
Thurs 10th Choir practice this evening as they prepare for Christmas services.
Fri 11th Community activities in Faringdon and Little Coxwell.
Sat 12th Earth & Faith Prayer Walk this afternoon.
Sun 13th Christingle Service – morning; Faringdon Singers concert – afternoon.
Mon 14th Mustard Seed and Seekers Light.
Tues 15th Work of Churches Together and the Family Centre.
Wed 16th The Music Group.
Thurs 17th Carol Singing in Little Coxwell this evening.
Fri 18th Allsorts this morning.
Sat 19th Our Bishops, Archdeacons and Area Deans.
Sun 20th Carol services in All Saints’ and St Mary’s this evening.
Mon 21st Flower Guild as they decorate the Church for Christmas.
Tues 22nd The Wisbey family as they consider their future.
Wed 23rd Ministry team: Paul, Max, Barbara, John, Helen & Graham.
Thurs 24th Midnight Communion Service tonight.
Fri 25th For all who attend our services this Christmas time.
Sat 26th Families and friends as they meet together over Christmas.
Sun 27th All who are ill or in any other kind of need at this time.
Mon 28th All who help in our Churches.
Tues 29th Continued prayer for the appointment of a new Bishop of Oxford.
Wed 30th Those recently bereaved.
Thurs 31st Thank God for his love and blessings during the past year.

Meetings for Prayer in December

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.

Tuesday 1st 2.00-3.00pm Julian Meeting (18 Eastfield Court)
Tuesday 1st 7.15-8.15pm Mission for Faringdon (Barber Rooms)
Thursday 3rd 9.00-9.30am Morning Prayer (Lower Asset Room)
Friday 4th 7.40-8.30am Parish Prayers (20 Market Place)
Tuesday 8th 8.00-9.00pm Julian Meeting (Call 244 905 for venue)
Thursday 10th 9.00-9.30am Morning Prayer (Lower Asset Room)
Friday 11th 7.40-8.30am Parish Prayers (20 Market Place)
Wednesday 16th 10.30-11.30am Prayer for CMS (8 Coach Lane)
Thursday 17th 9.00-9.30am Morning Prayer (Lower Asset Room)
Friday 18th 7.40-8.30am Parish Prayers (20 Market Place)
Friday 18th 8.00pm Prayer for the World (Call 240 509 for venue)
Thursday 24th 9.00-9.30am Morning Prayer (Lower Asset Room)
Thursday 31st 9.00-9.30am Morning Prayer (Lower Asset Room)

 

For further details contact:

Mission for Faringdon (1st Tuesday evening): 241 975

Julian Meeting (Tuesday afternoon): 01865 820 511

Julian Meeting (Tuesday evening): 244 905

CMS Prayer Group (Wednesday morning): 243 388

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

Missions News – December

This Christmas, look on the CMS website (www.cms-shop.org.uk) for some more unusual cards and crafts for those little extra gifts. Read the stories of those who make these crafts to give your gifts meaning.

Kit gum Crosses that carry the story of a people’s tragedy and hope

For over two decades the population of northern Uganda was terrorised by the ‘Lord’s Resistance Army’ (LRA). Over the years, more than 1.6 million people were displaced and some 30,000 children were abducted to be child soldiers or ‘wives’ to LRA fighters.

The Kitgum crosses were first created  to help these people with funds. The crosses carry the story of the tens of thousands of abductees. They are made from Cwa wood, favoured by the LRA for its flexibility and used to whip and torture those they abducted.

Since 2006 northern Uganda has been increasingly free of the fear of the LRA. The last few hundred LRA fighters now roam the border districts of the Central African Republic, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, still causing havoc and death among local populations.

So our prayers are still needed today. Pray that the LRA may finally cease their activities and for those thousands still living with the deep trauma of what happened to them.

By buying a cross (costing £1.25 each) you are helping CMS to fund peace and reconciliation work in northern Uganda

Traditional African crafts made by people living with HIV in Uganda

Over 2,000 people are registered with Kiwoko Hospital’s HIV department as HIV-positive. The majority are women. Many are excluded from their communities, unable to find employment and widowed. They are now left to bring up many children alone.

The Resource Centre Craft Project at Kiwoko brings together around 20 women every Wednesday to make traditional African crafts. It provides an income for the women and the hospital. (As a not-for-profit private hospital Kiwoko barely breaks even, so income generating projects like this are vital for its survival and the ability to treat those who can’t afford it.)

Most importantly, this project gives these ladies a sharing community, dignity and the ability to provide for their families.

All work to make purses from maize leaves and each has their own speciality: Rosemary and Joyce make paper bead jewellery; Sarah, Grace and Agnes make mats; Betty, Dariah and Meridah make bags; Olivar and Jesca make a range of baskets and pots; and Resty and Josephine make coasters and place mats, They all work with a perfectionism and resourcefulness that defies their illness and makes them a true inspiration to everyone who visits.

CMS mission partner Dr Corrie Verduyn currently leads the women’s health, obstetrics and gynaecology work, which includes prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV.

Buy online or see Joan Plumptre before 13th December

Mission of the Month December – The Children’s Society

Throughout the year many deserving Charities have been supported by our caring, generous Congregation and this month it is the worthwhile UK based organisation which is the Charity of the Month – The Children’s Society, a leading national children’s charity. The Society works for many thousands of vulnerable children and young people in this country and assists street children, disabled children, runaways, helps families with debt problems, supports young carers, children in trouble with the law as well as refugees, and works to stop exploitation of children.

The Church of England Children’s Society has helped change children’s lives for the better for well over a century since it was formed in 1881 by a Sunday School teacher, Edward Rudolf, when he found two of his Sunday School pupils begging for food on the streets. Despite being in the twenty-first century today, sadly such a Charity is still greatly needed and it really values your support. It works hard to ensure the money it receives is used efficiently and effectively to support their programmes of work to improve children’s lives.

Many children and young people in Britain today are still suffering extreme hardship, abuse and neglect and their problems are ignored and their voices unheard. The Society campaigns hard to fight childhood poverty and aims to help them all to have a better chance in life. It runs local projects helping them when they are at their most vulnerable and have nowhere left to turn.

The Society also campaigns to change the laws affecting children and young people to stop the mistakes of the past being repeated in the future. Influenced by the Children’s Society, policy changes have brought changed attitudes and life-changing support to children and young people in this country. In the UK there are 3.7 million children living in poverty and during 2014/15 the Society worked with 34,000 vulnerable children through its direct services.

The Campaigns and services of the Society are changing and transforming children’s lives. The Children’s Society continues with its Fair and Square Campaign and the following, published in “The Teacher”, the publication of the National Union of Teachers, states: “The Children’s Society’s Fair and Square Campaign aims to ensure all children in poverty can get free school meals. Currently in England 1.2 million poor schoolchildren do not get free meals. About 700,000, from poor working families, are not even entitled to this key support . . .” (for more information see www.childrenssociety.org.uk/fairandsquare.)

Serious problems at home and family breakdown lead runaways from difficult home situations, to become caught up in drugs and alcohol abuse and at risk of exploitation. Many say they are under pressure and forced to make choices they are not comfortable with and which may jeopardise their future. It is known as an awkward age, but for the most vulnerable 16 and 17 year olds the challenges can be seriously awkward.

The Society’s Seriously Awkward Campaign calls on the Government to ensure that young people who are in danger are offered appropriate protection and support to thrive and stay safe. Young people are not recognised as victims of child sexual exploitation so are not getting the help they need. Huge numbers of the reported cases of these crimes against 16 and 17 year olds result in no police action against the perpetrators. Only a tiny proportion result in a successful prosecution.

The Society wishes to put this issue at the top of the Government agenda. It is vital that the law is strengthened so that young people who are suffering these crimes are protected from harm, and receive the help and justice they deserve. The Society aims to protect young people and wants to double its efforts to help very young people stay safe through specialised services across the country. Current laws mean the police cannot step in and protect older teenagers in the same way that they can protect children under 16.

The Society is calling on the Government to strengthen the law so that all 16 and 17 year olds experiencing sexual exploitation are protected from harm and get the support they need and the justice they deserve. Policy changes are needed to bring life-changing support to more than 1.8 million children and young people.

The Founder envisaged a charity that gave poor, homeless children a loving, secure family environment. These child-centered values and intentions remain the same today. The Society is genuinely committed to helping the most needy children and young people in the United Kingdom and its direct help fights childhood poverty, harm and neglect.

The Christingle Service this year is being held on Sunday, 13th December at 10.30am. To make a contribution please take a Christingle envelope from your pew and return it at our Christingle Service.

If you would like to have a House Collection Box please let me know.

Very many thanks.

Hazel Catling   242 355