After 40 years’ of dedicated and much valued service at All Saints’ Joy Blake is retiring as our Organist and Choirmaster in April, when we will have the chance to thank her for all she has so willingly offered to God and His people here.
Every day the media and advertisers parade before our eyes and ears ‘must have’ gadgets, expensive fashions and accessories, luxurious holidays, new models of cars, offers of loans and credit . . . Do you feel that modern life is a maelstrom of information and news related to money, finance, economics, giving the impression that this is the most important, perhaps the only, area of life worthy of our attention? Do you ever stop to ask yourself, “How does all this relate to my Christian faith?”
In this book, his first full-length one, the Archbishop of Canterbury looks at several incidents as Jesus travels to Jerusalem towards the crucifixion. He argues against a tendency to judge success and worth purely on the basis of what can be measured financially. He feels strongly this has distorted and corrupted society and has led to a fundamentally unchristian view that a healthy bank balance or even a strong economy is “the goal”, an end in itself, rather than to be used as a means to do good. The Archbishop believes that the more interconnected the world becomes, the greater the tendency for power to be held over individuals and nations by economics, by money, by flows of finance; these are forces which he defines collectively as “Mammon” a word, derived from Aramaic, and used in the New Testament to mean the power of wealth or riches.
The book is intended mainly for individual devotional use during Lent and is a challenge to Christians—and non-Christians—about their attitude to and use of wealth. But the Archbishop also makes comments applicable to the UK in the light of Brexit, when he says: “It is essential that the new United Kingdom outside Europe is not built to a design drawn by Mammon . . . materialism is not the answer to the challenges we face. Rather we need a deep sense of the priority of the human person, whoever they are and wherever they come from. We need to remind ourselves that Mammon always deceives his followers. A campaign fought on his agenda will lead to division and despair.”
He finishes the book with a challenge to each of us: “Who is on the throne of your life: Mammon or Christ? What might God be calling you to do next?”
Definitely worth reading—hurry to the Mustard Seed and buy your copy!
Review by Keith Thrower.
Dethroning Mammon; ISBN 978-1-4729-2977-8 (Pub: Bloomsbury Continuum)
This new book by Jeff Lucas, published this year, is a commentary on the life of Elijah. One of the most important men of the Old Testament: some said that Jesus was Elijah returned from the dead, Elijah was there at the Transfiguration of Jesus, but he was no super hero, always triumphant. He had a period when he hid in a cave, fearful of death from his enemies and wishing he could die. But God was there, always calling him forward, saying, I am here with you, take courage, follow me.
This book is an encouragement to those of us who have periods when we feel disheartened or that God is far from us. The motto of the school in Uganda where I taught for a few years, was “Never give up”. That too was true of Elijah, who learned that, whatever he felt like, God never left him.
GOOD NEWS for a New Year
UK ratifies Paris Climate Agreement
In November, during the UN climate talks in Marrakech, the UK government ratified the Paris Agreement. Let’s celebrate!
A quick catch up
One year earlier in Paris, 197 countries met at the UN climate talks. They collectively agreed the Paris Climate Agreement, which was to limit the global average temperature increase to well below 2°C, although they hope to further limit that to 1.5°C.
So far 110 countries have ratified the Paris Agreement, including China and the US, two of the largest polluters. In November these nations once again gathered for another set of UN climate talks, this time held in Marrakech, Morocco. It was hoped that these talks would put action to the promises made in Paris last year.
This is an incredible achievement and presents us with a great opportunity to congratulate the UK – Theresa May and Nick Hurd, Minister of State for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – on their commitment to ratifying the Paris Agreement.
But what does this mean?
The Paris Agreement is a commitment to move faster towards a clean energy future so that the poorest communities can thrive. Our ratification is a great step in turning that promise into action.
While it is great to celebrate this achievement, the announcement also gives us a great opportunity to show we support our government in making this commitment to tackle climate change, and to stand in solidarity with those who are most vulnerable to the effects of a changing climate. We can do this by thinking about they way we live.
Is our lifestyle aligned with the commitment our government has made? How can we show love and respect to those living in poverty who are particularly vulnerable to climate change?
If you are looking for some ways to do this why not check out www.lifestyle.tearfund.org
From EARTH & FAITH (edited from Tearfund)
Wendy and I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who was involved in planning for my induction service and taking part in any way. We so grateful for the warm welcome we’ve received, for all your cards and many expressions of kindness and promises of prayer as we settle in to this new calling. Some fantastic work has been done by a dedicated band of folk who have worked so hard inside and out of the vicarage to prepare it for our coming, thank you for that labour of love which has been such an obvious sign of welcome.
Special thanks also to our churchwardens and the parish reps, not only for the great job they’ve done during the interregnum for also for the way they were so helpful in our initial discernment about coming. And I know how grateful everyone is to our dedicated ministry team and all who’ve worked alongside them in keeping on faithfully serving God through the work and witness of All Saints’ and St Mary’s during the interregnum, thank you for all you have done and continue to do in sharing the good news of Jesus.
Wendy and I look forward very much to getting to know you all and to settling in to this community. We’re delighted to be with you and we believe that God has good things in store for us to enjoy as we work together to connect new people with Jesus.
Trinity 5 BCP
8am All Saints 26 June 2016
1 Peter 3. 8-15
Today’s Prayer Book Epistle –from the 1st Letter of St Peter, chapter 3, verses 8-15 was almost certainly written for the weekend after the EU referendum!
After a bruising and divisive campaign – millions of our fellow citizens will be disappointed by the result – and I am writing this homily on Polling day before the result is known.
For whichever side wins – there will be many who will be now be disappointed. This is not a party political point – it’s a simple fact.
And the truth is that whichever way we voted – we in this small island will still need to learn to live together whatever our views, and we will need to try and heal our divisions.
I believe the Church and individual Christians have an important role in a post referendum Britain, and I think our role is beautifully summed up by these verses from the first letter of St Peter.
So perhaps you will forgive me if I simply go through them again – but perhaps allow a slightly more modern translation of the Greek original to amplify the beautiful cadences of the Book of Common prayer.
St Peter starts with these words addressed to the Christian community in our dealings with each other
8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:
The NRSV pew bibles which we use translates this in another way
8 Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind.
Whichever way you translate it – the message is clear
We are to treat each other – even our opponents – with sympathy, compassion and courtesy. That’s our starting point. And for a Christian, it’s not optional, it’s mandatory. That is what the Lord expects from us and nothing less.
But then St Peter goes on to say something even more important
9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
This is a complicated sentence – so this is what the NRSV makes of it
9 Do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but, on the contrary, repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called—that you might inherit a blessing.
As Christians we are called to respond to abuse – not with more abuse – but with blessing
We are called to be a blessing to other people
And that applies in all circumstances – when we are debating politics – when we are debating religions – when we are driving a car – when we are cross and tired and coping with our colleagues at work or our family, friends or neighbours at home.
St Peter takes this calling so seriously that he even quotes from the bible at this point – so the next 3 verses are a quotation from Psalm 34
“Those who desire life
and desire to see good days,
let them keep their tongues from evil
and their lips from speaking deceit;
let them turn away from evil and do good;
let them seek peace and pursue it.”
So let us seek peace and pursue it, so that we can bring healing to our divided land and become the Blessing for others that God has called us to be. Amen.
John de Wit
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 5th||2.00-3.00pm||Julian Meeting (18 Eastfield Court)|
|Tuesday 5th||7.15-8.15pm||Mission for Faringdon (Barber Rooms)|
|Tuesday 5th||8.00-9.00pm||Julian Meeting (Call 244 905 for venue)|
|Thursday 7th||9.00-9.30am||Morning Prayer (Lower Asset Room)|
|Friday 8th||7.40-8.30am||Parish Prayers (20 Market Place)|
|Thursday 14th||9.00-9.30am||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)|
|Tuesday 19th||8.00-9.00pm||Julian Meeting (Call 244 905 for venue)|
|Wednesday 20th||10.30-11.30am||Prayer for CMS (8 Coach Lane)|
|Thursday 21st||9.00-9.30am||Morning Prayer (Lower Asset Room)|
|Friday 22nd||7.40-8.30am||Parish Prayers (20 Market Place)|
|Thursday 28th||9.00-9.30am||Morning Prayer (Lower Asset Room)|
|Friday 29th||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
Just a short note to say THANK YOU SO MUCH for giving us such a marvellous send off – both at the Harvest All Age Service, and at the Harvest Lunch, the Confirmation Service, and the Harvest Supper at Little Coxwell. We are completely overwhelmed by your generosity and your wonderful gifts to us – we will enjoy our wonderful pictures and special treats, and look forward to finally having our own kitchen range cooker, and a brand new bicycle to get around the new parish!
We are especially moved by the way you have taken our whole family to your hearts, and your appreciation and kind words for our boys as well as us. Farewells are very hard, but be sure we will never forget our wonderful friends in Faringdon and Little Coxwell.
It has been a huge privilege to share with you in discovering more of God’s love for us and for all in Faringdon and Little Coxwell – something we know you will continue to do.
We shall miss you very much indeed.
With our love and huge thanks,
Charles and Jane
It seems ironic, that when I wrote for the July and August magazine about the many comings and goings in the churches in Faringdon, I did not yet know that I too would be part of this! And now it seems that life is moving very fast, with plans and preparations for our Farewell Services, many areas of work and ministry to hand over, at the same time as needing to start making arrangements for our new start in Wolvercote later this autumn.
Moving is always a difficult time, but Jane and I have been very much aware of God’s leading throughout this whole process, and do feel that God is calling us now to this new place. It is certainly a challenge – a parish that stretches from rural Wytham and Lower Wolvercote, right across the north of Oxford to Cutteslowe Park and all the area around the north Oxford ring road, including areas of new housing development as well!
There is much that is familiar in our new parish! Like All Saints’, St Peter’s Wolvercote is an open, inclusive church, very much part of the community, and wanting to be there for the whole community. Like All Saints’, St Peter’s has been through a major building project, building church rooms attached to the church, and is now seeking to use them both for the church and community. And like All Saints’, St Peter’s has a strong commitment to children and young people, and to including all ages fully in the life of the church. And in place of Churches Together in Faringdon, we will be part of the Summertown and Wolvercote Churches Partnership, helping and supporting each other in the challenges of ministry and mission today.
In other ways it feels the right time to be moving. At All Saints’, after the completion of the Barber Rooms, we are clearly at the beginning of a new phase of ministry and mission – a turning point in the life of our church. We have a strong team of churchwardens at both our churches, and an excellent ministry team, able to take forward the ministry of the church during the vacancy. Both churches are in good heart, and there are a number of new members and new families strengthening our congregation at All Saints’.
And there are comings as well as goings. This month we are welcoming our new minister at the United Church, Revd Fred Ireland, and we hope that he will be our preacher at our morning United Service, at 10.30am on Sunday 27th September at the Junior School. And in the Deanery, on Tuesday 29th, at Buckland Church, we will be welcoming the Revd Talisker Tracey-McLeod as new Rector of the Cherbury/Gainfield benefice.
So autumn will be a time of change on many fronts. To begin the new season, we are having a service of Holy Communion with laying on of hands at 10.30am on Sunday September 13th. This is a service at which we invite all who would like to, to stay at the communion rail for a moment after receiving communion for a very simple short prayer for the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Do join us if you can – it’s a lovely way to start the new season.
Also on the same day, we will be unveiling the memorial stone in Coach Lane for the 341 parishioners formerly buried on the north side of church. There will be a short simple ceremony at about 12.30 after coffee time on Sunday 13th. Do come and join us!
Do see below for more details on our special services through September and October. I will be writing again in the October magazine before we come to the end of our time here, with some reflections on the last few years and the way forward. Meanwhile may we all know God’s presence and God’s leading in this time of change.