This week we have some great news about The Big Give, and lots of info about services and activities over the Christmas period.
Looking forward to seeing lots of you back in church on Sunday!
A verse which resonated during The Big Give campaign:
Instead of your shame
you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
and everlasting joy will be yours.
Sunday 13th December 10.30am - service in church with livestreaming Sunday 20th December 10.30am - service in church with livestreaming Sunday 27th December 10.30am - no service (We'll be making recommendations of things to watch instead.) Sunday 3rd January 10.30am - Sunday service video on our website, for everyone to watch, led by the youth. (No service in church.) Sunday 10th January 10.30am - service in church with livestreaming
Thursday 17th December 11am - service in church Thursday 24th December 11am - service in church with Communion Thursday 31st December 11am - no service Thursday 7th January 11am - service in church
Setting a Watch
Everyone is so welcome to continue to use the link to pray for half an hour each day at 6am and 6pm. However, between Thursday 24th December and Friday 1st January there will be no-one officially "leading" the prayer session.
Sunday 20th December 4pm - 6pm - Carol-Vanning around Chippy Thursday 24th December 2pm - 4pm - Christingle Nativity Trail around Chippy Thursday 24th December 11.30pm - midnight service in church Friday 25th December 10.30am - Christmas family celebration in church
What a week the Big Give proved to be. The Lord was certainly at work. Whilst writing my last week's article for Mary's Matters, 3 days into the 7 day Campaign, we had raised just 25% of our target with less than 40 donations. At this stage I thought we would be extremely fortunate to reach half our targeted £40,000. The weekend continued slowly but steadily so by Sunday night, with a total of £16,500, the half target outcome of £20,000 over the whole campaign looked more possible. Monday however brought an extraordinary change of pace with donations literally doubling in the space of that day. The total raised by the end of that day was an amazing £32,000!
On Tuesday morning, with the campaign due to end at midday, we still had a long way to go - £8,000 still to be raised, so £4,000 in donations that would be matched - in only a few hours. The prayer hotted up considerably from the 6am Watch onwards. One pray-er left the meeting saying they would contact all their friends across the world and ask them to donate £1! As the staff team sat in our weekly staff meeting that morning, we kept an eye on the total and could see it continuing slowly upwards - £34k...£35k...£36k... As we studied the words of Isaiah 61 together we realised that the Lord was at work, there and then, through the Big Give. By 11.30am that morning 30 more people had donated an astonishing £6,000 (£12,000 doubled), and we had exceeded the target with a whopping £41,500 (£44,000 including Gift Aid).
So we praise the Lord for his goodness and grace, and thank all of you for the support and energy you have put behind this venture. Of the 128 donations made at least 50 came through the congregation and their extended families. We have been truly blessed!
BACK TO CHURCH
It's great that we can be back in church this Sunday morning at 10.30am.
Please click below to remind yourself of the guidelines. In particular;
This year we're bringing Christmas to the streets of Chipping Norton with two amazing outdoor festivities!
Carol-Vanning . Sunday 20th December . 4pm-6pm
Our very own St. Mary's Christmas band will be touring Chipping Norton on the back of a seasonal lorry, bringing you all your favourite traditional Christmas carols.
Sing along from your doorway, or just listen in!
Christingle Nativity Trail . Thursday 24th December . 2pm-4pm
Experience the Christmas story in a new way. Walk through the town, finding scenes from the Christmas story depicted by live actors (and live animals!) Follow the star, meet the shepherds and finally come face to face with the baby Jesus!
At the end of the trail we have a gift just for you, which will include everything you need to make your own Christingle.
More info to follow...
SETTING A WATCH
We'll be continuing to meet to pray via Zoom at 6am and 6pm daily for our world, nation, community, church and each other.
Everyone has questions about what life is all about. We believe that everyone should have a chance to share those questions, explore the Christian faith and give their point of view.
Alpha is a place where you can ask those questions in an honest, friendly and open environment.
In recent months at St Mary's, God has been extending our vision to serve the town in an exciting, ambitious and creative way at a time of substantially increasing need for many within our community...
So many people in our community feel the weight of debt, and we are passionate about helping to release anyone we can from a life sentence of debt and poverty. At St Mary's we are working with Christians Against Poverty to bring good news, hope and freedom. If you need support, we'd love to hear from you.