Our mission at St Mary's is to share the life-changing love of Jesus, serving our whole community
Sharing Jesus and serving the church community
We believe that as the Church grows in our love and understanding of Jesus then we will be better equipped and motivated to share the life-changing love of Jesus with others. As well as our regular services, we have a number of small groups, fellowship groups and youth groups which help us strengthen our faith and our love for each other. Further details of these groups can be found elsewhere on the website.
Sharing Jesus and serving the local community
Within the local community we look to share the love of Jesus through our relationships, our words and through providing practical help and support.
Sharing Jesus and serving the worldwide community
Further afield we look to share the love of Jesus by providing prayer, financial and practical support to others who share our vision. This may be those called to a specific ministry nationally or internationally or those living or working in their local communities.
St Mary’s is committed to supporting specific mission activities through our financial giving. Recognising that God blesses us more than we could ever imagine we have an annual gift day and these funds are directed towards other projects that provide opportunities to share the life-changing love of Jesus with others.
To read more about our Mission Partners, please click here.
In addition to those ongoing partnerships, the church family also supported the following projects financially through our Gift Day in May:
Kuluva Midwifery Training
Nearly 1600 Ugandan women died in childbirth each year.
Kate Quarell, a CMS Mission Partner, recently wrote, "I believe avoidable deaths in childbirth do not glorify God. The lives of women and babies are precious to Him". Kate trains midwives at Kuluva Hospital in Uganda.
Students have to pay fees of £1500 for a 2/12 year course. Many come from poor families of subsistence farmers or labourers, whose income is about £300 per year. In her last letter, Kate wrote about Agnes who was robbed of the money she had saved by selling her produce in the market and Emmanuel whose family had to use his fee money to pay for urgent medical treatment for his mother. In both these cases, Kate was able to help with money given by supporters in the UK. The students witnessed to their families of God's provision and continued their training to help the women of Uganda
Children & Families Outreach and Nurture
As many of you know so well, Chippy is a very different town to that portrayed in the media. Sadly the wealth of a few masks the experience of many families of significant rural deprivation. Until recently, our ACE Centre provided a good level of support for some of these vulnerable families, but LA cuts mean that most of their services have been axed. People are now expected to make a 30 mile round trip to access any support or advice services. Already the schools and Health Visitors are seeing the effects of these cuts, but we have been presented with an amazing opportunity to step in as a church and do something to fill that gap:
On Monday mornings we have been invited to run a ‘drop-in’ to support parents, and on Friday mornings, the school has offered us their hall to run a ‘stay and-play’ soft play session. Both of these openings will enable us to engage families who most need support, to signpost them to the support that they can access locally, and to build relationships with them.
We see that the that the levels of commitment and expertise required for this ministry are beyond our limited volunteer workforce and so recognize the need to employ a Children’s and Families worker to staff these sessions, to build a team to assist in that ministry, to continue to shape the way that we reach out to families in our community, and to coordinate our own children’s ministry.
Our vision to see families move from just-about-surviving to thriving in our community and surrounding area.
Rafiki Thabo Youth Mission Bursary
Next summer, we have a brilliant opportunity to take a group of young people to Kenya on an overseas mission with the Rafiki Thabo Foundation (which was established in our Benefice by Jon Uglow). We plan for our youth to share the love of Jesus by serving communities which don’t enjoy the same privileges as us, not only practically but also by sharing our experience of God with other young people in a totally different culture.
Overseas mission can be totally life changing for many, and our hope is that the trip will help our young people grow in their faith as they are pushed well out of their comfort zones and witness God at work. We pray that we impact the people we meet, but also that we ourselves will be forever changed by our encounters and experiences. Just imagine the results if we can bring back those life lessons and faith-building moments to Chipping Norton and impact our whole community!
Sustainability Project for Children's Ministry
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these" (Luke 18:16)
Nearly four years ago, we launched ‘OneWay’ so that families with children from 3-11 yrs-old could be served every Sunday and those children encounter Jesus for themselves in an environment specifically tailored to their needs. Quite obviously, though, the specific needs of a 3 yr-old are very different to those of an 11 yr-old and, as we’ve see more children join our church family, it’s been more and more difficult to cater for that whole age-span in the same space.
Already that limitation has started to ‘hinder the little children’ from coming (and we have also lost a couple of great leaders who found the task unmanageable). We desperately need to adapt the space in the Parish Rooms in which they meet, so that we can split the children into 2 smaller age groups, making our Children’s Ministry sustainable and ready to embrace the further growth we anticipate...
Many of the other groups who use our Parish Rooms regularly would similarly benefit from the space being more versatile, so this project will also help us to serve our community better.