Amazing donation of fudge for each family on the delivery list!
The purpose of local churches is sometimes described like this; “promoting in the parish the whole mission of the Church; pastoral, evangelistic, social and ecumenical.” As a worshipping community we look to support one another as family, share God's love with our neighbours, work for a better society and be united with the churches around us.
I think we can be encouraged! Because despite the obvious current obstacles our work goes on...
This coming week small groups will share life over WhatsApp; phone calls will be made to those needing hope and encouragement; families will find out that they are loved, as much-needed food and equipment arrive at their doors; our local churches will bear each other's joys and concerns; people of all ages will meet as family for tea, chat or craft, and through it all our rhythms of prayer will continue, connecting us to the one who directs all of our efforts and blesses them.
Perhaps this week we feel as if we have "little strength", but God sees all of our deeds, however small, and he gives us his name and his promise.
I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name...
The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name.
Sunday services in church are on pause until further notice.
Each Sunday we'll be posting a Virtual Sunday video on our website and YouTube channel.
On pause until further notice
Setting a Watch
Continues daily at 6am and 6pm, via Zoom (link below)
Building to Serve Prayer Meeting
Continues every Monday at noon, via Zoom
12 noon every weekday via Zoom (link below)
WELLBEING PACKS: PATIENCE
This week's wellbeing pack is themed around "goodness" and includes news and a delicious recipe from the incredibly wonderful Wild Thyme; as well as a fun button craft that you can do, either on your own, or at the Saturday Crafting session.
As we continue to focus on reaching the goals for the Building to Serve project, the Lord continues to bless us through his provision. Our fundraising total is now sitting in excess of £2.4million and with further grant applications in the pipeline. We are waiting to hear from a local family's Trust concerning a major donation towards our emergency response and corresponding mental health and DA work with young people and families, and have further conversations with local trusts planned in the coming weeks. We are in also in communication with a number of large grant funders to explore funding for the major construction work on The Branch and will be approaching the Diocesan Development Fund next month for funding towards the church's vital youth and children's work. As Covid restrictions begin to relax we anticipate further conversations with local philanthropists over Easter and are looking to lay on an event to promote further local fundraising in early summer.
We continue to be extremely thankful for the generosity of the church family in all the different ways that you are supporting this project; for the continued efforts of our ambassadors in promoting the work of The Branch to local philanthropists who've been moved to give generously; and for the volunteers who are making our Covid-19 emergency response possible by stepping in as drivers and packers each week at The Branch. As news of what is happening through The Branch spreads, each week brings new donations. Last week we received 10 hampers from Soho Farmhouse to give to 10 lucky households, full of wonderful treats, and The Cotswold Fudge Company has donated bags of fudge - one for each household!! As Emma wrote a few weeks ago, it is such a joy to be in a position to pass the Lord's blessing onto others through these gifts.
We hope to be able to bring news concerning the proposed planning submission for The Branch in the next few weeks and further feedback from the Diocesan Advisory Committee. In the meantime thank you for your continued prayers
SATURDAY CRAFTING - EVERYONE WELCOME
Grab a cup of tea and some crafting materials and join us on Zoom for a laid back hour on Saturday morning, tomorrow, 27th February at 10.30am catching up and making something crafty together.
We’ll be making the button craft in this week's wellbeing pack. The crafts are easy, so you don't need any particular skills or experience! Whether older or younger, well known to the church family or still feeling new, you’d be so welcome.
(Source your own materials from home or collect from the church porch.)
Topic: Craft Along
Time: Feb 27, 2021 10:30 AM London
A huge thank you to everyone who has donated a laptop to Thrive. You can be sure that your gift has made a huge difference to a family in our community:
The 'digital divide' highlighted by Covid-19 has been widely reported nationally and here in Chipping Norton the impact this has on children and young people has become increasingly evident.
This issue was picked up by Thrive North Ox, a local charity that we regularly partner with, who immediately set about taking action. They have done an incredible job of gathering and repurposing devices for remote learning and, working with the primary and secondary school to identify those in need, the Outreach Team has now delivered more than 50 devices.
It has been a real privilege to turn up to a family with a laptop ready to go. Following one delivery a Mum texted:
"It was such a struggle for [my daughter] to settle to work before. She was getting more and more anxious about it. Now that she can join the live lessons and feel part of school she is really enjoying learning again."
Another family had not been able to get to school to pick up paper-based learning resources because they live in a village with no car. They had not done any homeschooling over lockdown, but since receiving the laptop they are submitting work every day.
These are just two stories of many which reveal how essential being able to deliver devices for remote learning has been to families. It has also provided a good opportunity for us to check-in and find out if there are any other ways we can help, or simply provide a chance for parents and children to off-load. "It is so nice to talk to someone in person!" has been a frequent refrain!
NCGP/1st PRIORITY PRAYER
Joint prayer meeting with the North Cotswolds Gospel Partnership.
3 March - 7.45pm
It's always so uplifting to meet with other local churches and feel a sense of being part of something bigger. We'd love you to join us via Zoom to pray for our wider communities and give encouragement to our neighbouring brothers and sisters.
Topic: NCGP Prayer Meeting
Time: Mar 3, 2021 07:45 PM London
We'd like to offer the opportunity, for anyone who would like to join us online, to pause at midday of every weekday in Lent and engage in 15 minutes of Lectio Divina. We'll listen to a passage of Scripture being read slowly two or three times, taking note of any specific words or phrases that God spotlights to us as being particularly relevant to our lives in that moment.
Do join us as often as you would like. There’ll always be someone leading a session, Mondays to Fridays from Ash Wednesday (17th February) up to the Easter weekend itself.
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.