Graham Scott-Brown writes

The Interregnum . . .

 The expectancy, nay more, certainty that spring is on the way and will be followed by summer, life, growth and fruitfulness.

Over the years I have seen muntjac deer in my garden only twice but recently there has been a visitor on a regular basis. It comes almost up to the window at the back of the house and has a special penchant for mowing the violet patch there. Margaret loves it but I can’t help thinking “what will happen this summer?” If this brazen intruder comes right up to the house to browse on my violets what will it do to my peas, beans, lettuces, courgettes and spinach out of sight at the bottom of the garden. (Can anyone lend me an air gun, but don’t tell Margaret!) So, expectancy is tinged with anxiety.

What will the New Broom do? What will they not do that I think they should do? The parish profile says that “We need someone who can think strategically and work with the congregation to implement necessary change”. Will I like it or will it move me out of my comfort zone? Also we need someone who will “challenge us to take the good news of Jesus to the residents of Faringdon more effectively”. What will that involve?

I have enormously appreciated the variety in worship that the interregnum has brought us (Barbara chanting the Te Deum antiphonally, so many people rushing forward in the Church to proclaim their allegiance to Jesus and other unusual events). I look towards the end of the interregnum with great expectancy not untinged with anxiety.

One thing gives me courage. In heaven they have never heard of interregnums. Jesus is king of kings, unchanging, for ever and ever. Just as in the first three chapters of Revelation he knew exactly what was happening in each church, their strengths and weaknesses, and what their especial needs were, so he knows us both individually and corporately and what our special needs are now.

“Lord Jesus send us the person of your choosing, the one fitted to bring life and blessing to Faringdon.”

Graham Scott Brown

Home Group Meetings in March

Home Groups will be not meet in March except for the Thursday Group that will continue to meet weekly at the home of John & Dee England (241 161)

Members of all Groups are encouraged to join one of the Lent Groups—see weekly notice sheets for details.

Prayer Calendar – March

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

Tues 1st Mission for Faringdon prayer meeting this evening.
Wed 2nd Mission of the Month – Faringdon Family Centre.
Thurs 3rd Thanks that an organiser has been found for Christian Aid week.
Fri 4th Women’s World Day of Prayer today.
Sat 5th The Wardens and PCCs during the Interregnum.
Sun 6th Mothering Sunday Services today.
Mon 7th Planning for the Wave this summer.
Tues 8th Community activities in Faringdon and Little Coxwell.
Wed 9th The Music Group.
Thurs 10th Visit of “Open the Book” team to Faringdon primary schools today.
Fri 11th David & Liza Cooke, CMS Link Partners, as they return to the UK.
Sat 12th Faringdon Singers concert this evening.
Sun 13th Ministry team: Paul, Max, Barbara, John, Helen & Graham.
Mon 14th Bellringers as they practise this evening.
Tues 15th Interregnum prayer meeting this evening.
Wed 16th Mustard Seed and Seekers Light.
Thurs 17th Choir practice this evening.
Fri 18th Allsorts this morning.
Sat 19th Magazine preparation this weekend. Spring cleaning in Church.
Sun 20th Palm Sunday services today.
Mon 21st All who are ill, recently bereaved or in any other kind of need.
Tues 22nd For the appointment of a new Bishop of Oxford.
Wed 23rd All who help in our Churches.
Thurs 24th Maundy Thursday with communion and foot washing service.
Fri 25th Good Friday joint service in the Market Place this morning.
Sat 26th Flower Guild decorating the Church for Easter.
Sun 27th Easter Day Services—He is risen indeed!
Mon 28th For all on holiday today.
Tues 29th Work of Churches Together.
Wed 30th The Wisbeys as they continue to consider their future.
Thurs 31st Vergers and Welcomers.

Meetings for Prayer in March

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 7.15-8.15pm Mission for Faringdon (Barber Rooms)
Tuesday 1st 8.00-9.00pm Julian Meeting (Call 244 905 for venue)
Friday 4th 7.40-8.30am Parish Prayers (20 Market Place)
Friday 11th 7.40-8.30am Parish Prayers (20 Market Place)
Tuesday 15th 7.00-7.30pm Interregnum Prayers (Lower Asset Room)
Tuesday 15th 8.00-9.00pm Julian Meeting (Call 244 905 for venue)
Wednesday 16th 10.30-11.30am Prayer for CMS (8 Coach Lane)
Friday 18th 7.40-8.30am Parish Prayers (20 Market Place)
Friday 18th 8.00pm Prayer for the World (Call 240 509 for venue)
Friday 25th 7.40-8.30am Parish Prayers (20 Market Place)

 

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 (3rd Wednesday morning): 243 388

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

Interregnum Prayer (3rdTuesday evening): 358 394

Mission of the Month March: Faringdon Family Centre

Faringdon Family Centre – under Churches Together in Faringdon (CTIF) – runs a number of projects in the town.

The Breakfast Club, held five days a week at the Junior School, is running well under a paid team leader with the help of a number of volunteers. A new member of staff joined recently on a six week probationary period and it is hoped that she will become a permanent part of the team. Extra volunteers would always be very welcome!

Faringdon Foodbank has found local needs to be slow at the present time and no contributions are needed at present.

Debt Advice, the counselling service through CAP (Christians Against Poverty) in Highworth is going well with enough volunteers at the present time.

Dementia Support is being looked into with Age UK as it is thought there is a need for this in Faringdon.

The Family Centre AGM will take place on 27th April at 7.30pm in Blessed Hugh Hall. Anyone interested in our work is welcome to come along and find out more!

Jeni Summerfield (All Saints’ representative)

Missions news

News from Church Mission Society

Joan Plumptre

A Kenyan man called Enoch, who had both of his legs amputated after an accident, received a wheelchair and urgent medical treatment, thanks to generous supporters, mission partners David and Liza Cooke and partnering organisations.

In May 2015, as part of their community based rehabilitation (CBR) work, the Cookes were involved in wheelchair distribution with Wheels for the World.

They take up the story: “After the team left, we received an anonymous donation from the UK to assist two of the wheelchair recipients with hospital fees for much-needed treatment. One of these was Enoch. He’s a highly independent character but he was struggling to care for himself and had open wounds which needed urgent treatment.

“After the funds arrived we found Enoch and had to persuade him to allow us to help him. By the time we succeeded in getting him to hospital he had a life-threatening infection. However, two weeks later he was discharged fit and well.

“Enoch’s wider family, whose help he had refused, saw the timing and intervention we were able to offer (as both CBR and Wheels for the World) as a clear answer to their prayers. There is something special about working in partnership across cultures to see people’s lives transformed.”

David and Liza are again giving life changing wheelchairs this February/March to those who need help. Then, in April they will be returning to the UK, leaving behind a capable Peace Group of Christians in the Borderlands and a capable group of Kenyans to continue  delivering wheelchairs. They will still be associated with CMS from their home in UK but will no longer be our Link Mission Partner.

Please make a note in you diary for Sunday 29th May when David and Liza will be taking the 10.30am service in All Saints’, and we will be able to say goodbye over coffee and lunch.

New Link Mission Partner

As we need to find another Link Mission Partner to support, we have been in touch with CMS and have agreed to support Malcolm Pritchard. At the moment he is waiting to see where God wants to use him, but it is likely to be in Africa where he already has contacts. Once we know his placement we hope to be able to invite him to All Saints’ so that we can get to know each other. Meanwhile, please remember Malcolm in your prayers.

CMS Community Vision Day, Saturday 19th March

The Community Vision Day will be held at the CMS offices in Watlington Road, Oxford on Saturday 19th March.

This is an opportunity to spend the day with the CMS Leadership looking together at the vision for the year ahead.  The day lasts from 10.00am to 4.00pm and you can go to any part of the day or the whole day.

Bob and Joan Plumptre will be going for the whole day and can take 2 extra persons in their car. (243 388).

Details of the day can be seen on the Barber Rooms CMS noticeboard.

You need to tell CMS before 7th March that you are going.

If you have questions please phone Joan Plumptre.

Some of a ‘young’ man’s thoughts in Spring

I don’t know about you, but I feel this Spring started in December last year when I saw primroses in bloom before Christmas! A whole range of shrubs and flowers have appeared much earlier than normal – a very confused magnolia grandiflora in Coach Lane flowered three times last year. Before Spring’s all over, I thought I’d better write about this glorious season, because it makes me think that God’s will is the same for all creation.

What on earth do I mean by that? Well, I think God’s will is the same for, say, the primrose and the daffodil, as it is for us. That is, to somehow bring something beautiful out, to ready us through the dark days of our lives for a good that we can’t predict, and to produce in us, in spite of all the difficulties we have to meet and contend with, or maybe perhaps through those very difficulties, the best that could possibly be. That’s quite a thought isn’t it? Someone once said that Mother Nature was God’s oldest evangelist, and she can preach a cracking good sermon, a sermon that speaks to us of courage, determination, patience and hope.

Go outside your home and spend some time contemplating the lovely things of springtime. Maybe because we pass them every day we miss their beauty and their meaning. Familiarity often breeds indifference. In my walks with Jennifer round our town’s streets, I feel blessed by God, and those hard-working gardeners, who provide us with so many lovely sights – we do try to let the gardeners know we appreciate the gardens they share with us.

We shouldn’t drive our cars blindly along country roads with an eye only on the speedometer or satnav. Let’s drive a bit slower and take in a bit more of our surroundings. Maybe we should try to stop for a minute or two by that copse over there, where in a few weeks we’ll be able to see the sheen of blue and breathe in lungfuls of perfumed bluebell air.

Stop somewhere, anywhere, where something of all this beauty is, and when you’ve stopped, think. Think with a reverence for this surrounding natural beauty and that will quietly bring us closer to our Creator God.

Think! Think about the great magic and variety of nature that we see and experience in springtime. We might suppose that primroses are lovely little things when we find them just dotted about here and there at the bottom of a hedge. But if they were the only flower there, it would be rather boring, wouldn’t it? The daffodil is beautiful too, but in quite a different way. And what about violets, or my favourite, harebells? They have an almost unique delicacy and gracefulness that are all their own. The glory of each flower is in being itself, in becoming perfectly what God designed it to be, and then in blending with all the other flowers into that great harmony of beauty which somehow includes and transcends them all.

And what about us? Does something similar apply to humans too? Well, to put it bluntly, if you’re a primrose, don’t worry because you’re not a daffodil. If you’re a daffodil, don’t wag your head condescendingly over the violet. We, you and I, are meant to be unique, each of us a new individual creation. We do ourselves no good at all if we waste our energy trying to be the spitting image of ‘celebs’ or ‘stars’, or try to reshape our bodies so that we are the wrinkle-free, ‘right’ proportion of flesh to fat with a well-defined ‘six-pack’ or ‘hour-glass’ figure.

I think human life is meant to be a blend – a blend of colours, a blend of varieties, a blend of individualities. The value of each doesn’t diminish, but is enhanced by the value of the others. Each one is different, but each adds to each just that little touch of human excellence that was lacking. All blend together into that great harmony of many separate chords that I’m sure is the symphony that is God’s will for human life.

For the beauty of the earth, for the beauty of the skies,

for the love which from our birth over and around us lies,

Lord of all, to thee we raise This our sacrifice of praise.  FS Pierpoint