Steve writes … Moving forward

As we officially enter meteorological autumn there’s lots going on within the life of All Saints’ and St Mary’s. Not only does our children’s work start again in earnest, we have a special evening in the Barber Rooms on Friday 22nd September for parents who have children linked with All Saints groups. This includes a meal and quiz and the chance to let us know how we can best help both parents and children to grow in their faith. Let Helen Wilson or Kate Crebbin know if you have children at All Saints’ but don’t get an invitation.

A good way to grow spiritually is to be part of a small group which learns more about Christian discipleship, and these get going again this month. If you’d like to join a group please let me or one of the wardens know.

If you’d like to play a part in the Town Nativity, we’re invited to come along to the casting session on Tuesday 5th September in the Jubilee Room at the Pump House at 7.30pm.

I especially want to invite you all to come to the Barber Rooms on Wednesday 4th October at 7.30pm as we begin a monthly Church Prayer Meeting on the first Wednesday evening of each month. It would be great if a good number will come to pray for the life and mission of God’s church here. This is a great opportunity to thank God for all his provision for us and to immerse all our activities and events in prayer – you don’t have to pray out loud but your being there will be a great encouragement in our work for Christ!

St Mary’s Little Coxwell will be celebrating Harvest towards the end of the month with a Harvest Supper in the Village Hall on Saturday 23rd September followed by the Harvest Festival Service the next morning at 9.00am.

Hopefully we will know very soon if we have a new administrator. Work is proceeding on making the store room in the Barber Rooms into an office with the addition of a window and wifi for the Church building and Barber Rooms. We’ve been given permission to look for a curate, who would be ordained in June 2018. We are also seeking a Director of Music to encourage us in our music in worship. Please be praying for the right people to help us move forward in these important areas of ministry.

Yours in Christ,

Steve

Home Group Meetings in September

New members are always most welcome at all Home Groups – please ring the number listed below or just turn up.

Day and Dates Time Place Contact Subject
Monday 18th 7.45pm 28 The Pines 240 532 Real Truth
Tuesday 12th & 26th 2.30pm 2 Leamington Gate 615 009 Ephesians
Wednesday 13th & 27th 7.45pm 2 Leamington Gate 615 009 Book by Judy Hirst
Thursday 14th & 28th 8.00pm 10B Coxwell Street 242 753 TBA

Prayer Calendar for September

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

Fri 1st Super Sibilant Supper this evening.
Sat 2nd Mission of the Month – Scripture Union.
Sun 3rd Saints Alive this morning.
Mon 4th Bell ringers practicing this evening.
Tues 5th Casting session this evening for Town Nativity.
Wed 6th Community activities in Faringdon and Little Coxwell.
Thurs 7th All who are ill, recently bereaved or in any other kind of need.
Fri 8th Our search for a Director of Music; .
Sat 9th For all participating and supporting Ride+Stride today.
Sun 10th Visit of Lynn Treneary. United Service TBA
Mon 11th Home Groups restarting this week.
Tues 12th Our Bishops Steven and Colin, and our Area Dean David.
Wed 13th The work of the Mustard Seed and Seekers Light.
Thurs 14th Open the Book at the Infant and Junior Schools this morning.
Fri 15th Flower Guild decorating the Church this morning.
Sat 16th Magazine preparation this weekend.
Sun 17th Family bringing child for Baptism this morning.
Mon 18th Publicity distribution for “Science & Faith: Big Questions” talks.
Tues 19th For all who help run our Churches.
Wed 20th For all starting college this month.
Thurs 21st Wardens, Vergers and Welcomers, Intercessors and Readers.
Fri 22nd Meeting with parents of children linked with All Saints’.
Sat 23rd Steve, Graham, Helen, Barbara, Dick, John, Max & Paul.
Sun 24th St Mary’s Harvest Festival. Messy Church this afternoon.
Mon 25th For all Prayer Groups in our Church.
Tues 26th The music at All Saints’.
Wed 27th The Wisbey family.
Thurs 28th Open the Book at the Infant and Junior Schools this morning.
Fri 29th Allsorts this morning.
Sat 30th The work of the Fabric Group.

Meetings for Prayer in September

Meetings for Prayer in September

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 1st 7.40-8.30am Parish Prayers (20 Market Place)
Tuesday 5th 2.00-3.00pm Julian Meeting (18 Eastfield Court)
Wednesday 6th 9.00am Morning Prayer (Lower Asset Room)
Friday 8th 7.40-8.30am Parish Prayers (20 Market Place)
Tuesday 12th 7.15-8.15pm Mission for Faringdon (Barber Rooms)
Tuesday 12th 8.00-9.00pm Julian Meeting (call 244 905 for venue)
Wednesday 13th 9.00am Morning Prayer (Lower Asset Room)
Friday 15th 7.40-8.30am Parish Prayers (20 Market Place)
Friday 15th 8.00pm Prayer for the World (Call 240 509 for venue)
Wednesday 20th 9.00am Morning Prayer (Lower Asset Room)
Wednesday 20th 10.30-11.30am Prayer for CMS (8 Coach Lane)
Friday 22nd 7.40-8.30am Parish Prayers (20 Market Place)
Tuesday 26th 8.00-9.00pm Julian Meeting (call 244 905 for venue)
Wednesday 27th 9.00am Morning Prayer (Lower Asset Room)
Friday 30th 7.40-8.30am Parish Prayers (20 Market Place)
Mission for Faringdon (2nd  Tuesday evening) John Coleman (244 223)
Julian Meeting (Tuesday afternoon) Pat Tylee (241 039)
Julian Meeting (Tuesday evening) Beryl Begg (244 905)
CMS Prayer Group (3rd Wednesday morning) Bob & Joan Plumptre (243 388)
Parish Prayers (Friday am) and Prayer for the World (Friday pm) Graham & Margaret Scott-Brown (240 509)

 

Mission of the month for September – Scripture Union

How can they hear if nobody tells them?  (Romans 10:14)

Estimates suggest that 95% of children and young people in England and Wales don’t have regular contact with a church. Scripture Union believes that every child should have the opportunity to explore and respond to the good news of the Bible.

Scripture Union was established as a charity over 140 years ago and now works in more than 120 countries with children, young people and families. The purpose is to encourage people of all ages to meet God every day through the Bible and prayer, with the goal of helping people to grow in Christian maturity and become not only committed church members but also servants of a world in need.

Today in the UK they respond in innovative and exciting ways to encourage younger members of society to explore what a faith in Jesus might look like for them. For example, they organise a wide range of holidays throughout the school break and they estimate that this year over 1,400 children and young people will attend – they ask that we pray for them all, and the leaders and volunteers, that they will have fun in a safe environment and feel God’s presence.

Another example of the outreach in the coming months is the annual Light Party, an alternative to Hallowe’en celebrations. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:5)

The organisation also offers us suggestions about how to talk to children about Jesus: be yourself, keep it short, pray, stick to your theme, keep it simple and just do it!

We can support Scripture Union physically by holding activities or using any of their resources, financially through donations and prayerfully each day.

Kate Butcher

For more information visit www.scriptureunion.org.uk

Missions News September

News from the Church Mission Society

The situation in South Sudan has improved a little, partly due to the recent visit of our Archbishop, Justin Welby, who visited Sudan and the refugee camps in Northern Uganda, for people who have fled South Sudan. He encouraged the people of different tribes to make peace with each other.

As a result, the African Development Bank has released 43 million dollars to South Sudan to provide, food, water, medicines, and fodder, and to assist the basis for longer term resilience. There has also been appointed a special envoy to South Sudan , Ismail Wais, to work with all parties to bring about eventual democratic elections.

We tend to disbelieve in government envoys, but read Isaiah 51 when the people of Israel were in captivity in Babylon and felt they would never be free to return to their own country. God spoke to the captive Israelites: “Listen to me, my people, hear me my nation. The law will go out from me, my justice will become a light to the nations. My righteousness draws near speedily, my salvation is on the way, and my arm will bring justice to the nations.”

Our God is in charge and our trust is in Him, not in the political envoys. So we must pray faithfully to our God for the people of South Sudan and it is our God who will bring peace and reconciliation.

Meanwhile, we are looking forward to the visit again of Lynn Treneary, our CMS Mission Partner in South Sudan. Before her visit, on 1st September, we have an ‘event’ to raise some money towards a satellite connection for Lynn in Maridi. (see below).

Then, on Sunday 10th September, at the 10.30am service in All Saints’, Lynn will be preaching and possibly showing some photos of her work in Maridi. After the service there will be a Bring-&-Share lunch in the Barber Rooms for any who can come. Drinks will be provided. There will be a chance to talk to Lynn and it means a lot to her to meet those who pray for her. There will not be a stall this year as CMS have closed their shop, but there will be a chance to give some money towards the satellite connection in Maridi, which will enable Lynn to keep in internet connection with us. Please contact Joan Plumptre if you are able to come to the lunch

As well as supporting Lynn in her work, we must also pray for the organisation of CMS. All the Mission Partners have to raise their support from churches or individuals, but the offices and staff in Oxford rely on personal donations or grants. A few years ago they moved all the staff into half of the building, hoping to rent the other half to a suitable organisation to give a regular income. So far they have not received any offers to rent that half. Please will you pray for this situation to be resolved.

For more information about CMS contact Joan Plumptre (243 388)

 

News from All Saints’ PCC

All Saints’ has been successful in gaining a Grant from the Templeton Trust which will be used to stage a series of talks, over the winter months, by eminent speakers, entitled ‘Science and Faith: Big Questions’. The first will be on Thursday 12th October in the Corn Exchange, commencing at 7.30pm, Sharon Dirckx, from the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics will speak on ‘Has Science killed God’.  The lecture on 3rd November will be ‘Creation or Evolution – do we have to choose’. There will follow further lectures on 11thJanuary and 8th February  (see the advert elsewhere in the magazine for details). There are free refreshments each evening and the chance to ask a question of the speaker. All evenings are free of charge and suitable for everyone, whether or not they have any science background. We are encouraged to bring friends along and make the events widely known. It is hoped we may be able to establish an annual Science and Faith lecture in the town.

As a PCC we are anxious to keep up to date with the needs and opinions of our young families, and with this in mind, have organised an event for young parents in September, when they will be able to enjoy a meal and a quiz but also tell us how we can help them and their children in their spiritual lives.

A working group will also be reviewing our monthly pattern of Sunday worship. It is hoped that we will be able to run an Alpha course this Autumn. And, a monthly Church Prayer Meeting will start on Wednesday 4th October  at 7.30pm in the Barber Rooms, and thereafter on the first Wednesday of each month.

On a Saturday morning in November, the PCC will be meeting with members of our Lead Academy group who are attending a group for churches from market Towns. The aim is to help us set a vision for All Saints’ in the coming year.

The Fabric Working Group, recently set up, are now prioritising, and working their way through the jobs needed to keep our church building in good repair, and implementing any improvements too. You will notice the results of their endeavours over the comings months.

Finally, don’t forget to put 8th December at 6.00pm in your diary when our town Nativity will get the Christmas period off to a lovely start.

Quarter Peal of All Saints’ Bells in memory of George Haynes

George Haynes was a bell ringer at All Saints’ who learned to ring when Queen Victoria was still on the throne. He lived at Elm Tree Cottages in London Street with his wife Fanny and their five children. George was nearly 40 when war broke out but he enlisted with the Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry to serve his king and country. He was killed at the battle of Passchendaele on 22nd August 1917 and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Wall (see picture below) which means that his body was never recovered.

The bell ringers of Great Britain commissioned Roll-of-Honour books. These are kept at St Paul’s Cathedral, and the Custodian alerted us to the centenary of George’s death. On 15th August we rang a quarter peal in his memory and were very pleased to welcome three generations of his descendants to the belfry before we began.

We placed the following notice in the Ringing World, the bell ringers’ newspaper:

Tuesday, 15th August 2017

1288 Grandsire Triples

1    Kay Chamberlain (Faringdon)
2    Elaine Baber (Uffington)
3    Paul Coad (Uffington)
4    Cheryl Watson (Faringdon)
5    Alison Merryweather-Clarke (North Leigh)
6    Andrew Baxter (Uffington)
7    Jon Chamberlain (C) (Faringdon)
8    Julian Watson (Faringdon)

In grateful memory of George Haynes, a ringer at this tower, killed at Passchendaele, 22nd August 1917

Jon Chamberlain

Introduction to the Fabric Group

The Fabric Group was formed a few months ago to help manage the range of building matters facing the church. The group is chaired by Bruce Garfield, with the other members being Andrew Sargent, Geoff Edgington, Jon Chamberlain and myself.

One of our first tasks was to list all the ongoing building issues (including those raised in our last Quinquennial inspection) and arrange them in priority order, with our intention being to focus on the top six or seven – other topics will be added when we’ve completed some of the highest priority items.

We’ve outlined this approach to the PCC and we’ve agreed that the high priority areas that we will focus on are as follows (with the highest priority at the top):

  • Additional screen on pillar (to increase visibility for Music Group)
  • Adapting Barber Rooms store area into Church Office
  • Roof / rainwater goods repairs (with work phased over a couple of years)
  • Installation of wifi in Church & Barber Rooms
  • Extension of Pye Chapel dais
  • Additional lighting on main platform (under tower crossing)
  • Installation of speakers in Barber Rooms

Even this list of “high priority” items is a long list!  Some of this work will require approval by the Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC) – which is effectively a dedicated “planning permission” system for the Church of England, but some of the more minor items can be done without this consultation process – which should enable us to achieve some quick wins.

Thank you for your ongoing support and if you have any questions or comments about building matters in the Church over the coming months, please speak to myself or any of the other members of the Fabric Group.

Jim McGowan

“We believe in the Holy Spirit . . .” (Exploring the Nicene Creed)

We now come to the closing sections of the Creed expressing our faith in how God has revealed himself, his very nature and purposes, through his Holy Spirit; and continues to work through him. Next we look at the nature of the Church itself; and finally the fulfilment of all in the life of heaven.

In several earlier articles we saw how the Holy Spirit led and guided the Apostles and first Christians of the New Testament Church, making clear the full implications of Christ’s life and teaching. When explaining the origin of the Nicene Creed I wrote “The Bishops in Council believed that the Holy Spirit would guide them, just as Jesus had promised, to lead his Church, and so us also, to a better understanding of saving truth in Christ (John 16:13). They followed the pattern of those first Apostles who had wrestled with major issues concerning the very existence, meaning and purpose of Christianity (Acts 15:28). They believed God would speak through them and confirm their conclusions”.

Writing about Jesus’ Ascension to heaven I wrote “The day had now come for Jesus to say good bye to his loyal friends firmly promising his continued presence in a new and different dimension. They would have the very presence and power of God’s Holy Spirit, a charisma and dynamism that would continue century after century until the end of time…”. Hence our strong belief is that the Holy Spirit gives and confirms to believers, a new baptismal life in Christ, one which he also makes truly real, by the very presence of Jesus as we receive the Sacrament of his Body and Blood. That he still guides his Church into the fullness of truth in Christ, empowering us for Christian living and witness with the Fruit of the Spirit and the Gifts of the Spirit. He is, I believe, the inspiration and source of all that is genuinely good, beautiful and true, in all peoples of all faiths. The Creedal statement “the Lord the giver of life” sums all this up. (John 14:25-26; Galatians 5:22-23; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11).

The Holy Spirit has of course been at work from the very beginning of Creation, and through all the Old Testament centuries, steadily patiently preparing the way for Christ’s Incarnation in God’s chosen appropriate time. (Genesis 1:1-2; etc.)  It meant unfolding to several prophets, priests  and kings (and many others), a growing understanding of the very nature and being and loving purposes of the One Eternal God. “Who has spoken through the prophets” is how the Creed sums up this first phase of the work of Revelation; a glorious Creative-Redemptive task of divine Love, fully and finally completed in Christ Jesus. (Hebrews 1:1-2; Romans 15:4).

And each one of us, in the personal journey of faith and common life together in Christ, must never forget that the Holy Spirit’s life-giving guidance and empowering is forever ongoing and unfailing. That in the confusions and divisions of today’s world and church he does not leave us; and that a greater fullness of truth, unity, harmony, love and peace, is close at hand.

Our daily prayer to Him should be to keep us faithful to the task, truly grateful for our dear Saviour’s sake. Expect great things from God and attempt great things for God! In all his good creative work and gifts the Holy Spirit never ceases to bring comfort and consolation, forgiveness and healing, enlightenment and renewal, warmth and light and fire of love. He is the One who in all situations and needs ‘stands by us’, the Paraclete, a Greek word for this. It’s a name for the Holy Spirit used by the Church over many centuries.

The Creed also stresses the Unity of the Father with Jesus the Son, and with the Holy Spirit. The word “Trinity” is not used. That name is not found in the New Testament. In all of its books however, its truth in essence is clearly evident. It was not until the 3rd or 4th Centuries that the One Supreme God, who is also three distinct Persons, is actually called The Holy and Undivided Trinity. The Creed affirms that we worship and give glory to the One and Only God who has actually made himself known to us at our human level, as the Father our Creator, the Son our Redeemer, and the Spirit who brings divine life and holiness to us. In using these expressions the first Christians were employing ordinary language and everyday human concepts (for they had no other) to convey the mystery of eternal truths, gleaned by real living experience, and understood within the mind and the heart by faith.

Worship and prayer is always of course to the Father, through Our Lord Jesus Christ his Son, and in the very life of the Holy Spirit. This is its liturgical or theological order. But it doesn’t matter whether we actually pray to God the Father direct, to Jesus direct, or to the Spirit direct, for they are always together and always One. It’s largely a matter of upbringing, local church custom or personal choice. And I want to emphasize that the Holy Spirit is not an ‘It’ but a He’, or a ‘She’ if you prefer. The Holy Spirit is personal and real just as the Father and Jesus are personal and real to us. All that we have come to learn about the sheer mind-blowing mystery and wonder, greatness and majesty of the Eternal God does not make our personal communion with him any less real or important. The essential nature and power of God is Divine Eternal Love. It means breathtaking living relationship, warm, personal and wonderful, with and within the very life of the Trinity, and with each one of us. (1 John 4:16).

In his earthly ministry Jesus patiently explained to the disciples that he would pray to the Father to send the Spirit (John 14:16 & 26). He kept that promise fully. And the Creed affirms it by the statement “who proceeds from the Father and the Son”.  The words “and the Son” did not occur in the original Nicene Creed. They were added many years later by the Western Latin part of the Church. The Eastern Greek part of the Church continued to follow the original wording, as do the Orthodox Churches to this day. This line of the Creed asserts how the Persons of the Trinity always work together in love, unity and harmony. It also means that the prayer and promise of Jesus is fulfilled now and everyday and forever, in the ongoing saving and sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. Praise be to God.

Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on us.
Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on us.
Melt us, mould us, fill us, use us.
Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on us. Amen. (D. Iverson)

George Abell