Dear Friends

You may have seen that this week the government have given permission for churches to open for services of 30 people. That’s great news - we want our churches to be able to meet to worship together again! It’s not all that easy to work out how best to arrange things, given that we are a large congregation, with lots of children who we can’t expect to understand social distancing, and a fair proportion of people who are still shielding. When you add in the fact that we won’t be able to sing or have communion, we have to recognise that although I, like may of us, am desperate to be worshipping alongside each of you, we won’t be able to ‘do church’ in the way we want to for a while yet. 

I want you to know that we are thinking and praying and working hard to come up with ways of doing things that honour as many of you as possible, and are also manageable in this environment of constant change! As a starter, it would really help us in our thinking if we can better understand where you are coming from and how you are feeling about re-entering a greater degree of interaction again. So we’ve come up with this short questionnaire and I’d be most grateful if you would take just a couple of minutes to fill it in, before Wednesday 1st July.

Fill in the questionnaire
The time will come when we’re sitting side by side in our building again and singing with all our hearts as we worship our faithful God together, but until then, watch this space for a creative and interesting summer!

With love, and prayers for you all,

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."

Philippians 4:18


Last Friday the food distribution team hit a milestone - delivering the 2,000th bag of food from the Branch! That’s 12,500 individual portions of food since we began!

Our partners Chippy Larder also marked their 3,000th box of food delivered. This has been a great collaboration, with delivery drivers collecting a box from Chippy Larder, then a bag of Mary’s Meals and a Craft Pack from the Branch before taking to the lanes and roads of Chippy and surrounding villages to bless and encourage people who have been severely impacted by this crisis. 

To give the recipient of our 2,000th bag a smile, and acknowledge the hard work of the volunteers this represented, we made this a golden bag, with a celebratory tag attached. Amazingly, the recipient immediately phoned to thank St Mary’s for all we’re doing; what a delight to have such lovely feedback, and another sign that God is at work in these very practical and small ways of loving people.

Following on from the mums encouragement packs, we also sent out packs for Dads marking Fathers Day. It’s sobering to see that we sent 60 packs for mums, but only 19 for Dads. So let’s keep praying for each one of those Fathers and the amazing role they have to play for their families.


Joint prayer meeting with the North Cotswolds Gospel Partnership.
1 July - 7.45pm - via Zoom.

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: Jul 1, 2020 07:45 PM London
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 894 4950 9535
Password: 187837


Following the success of the family craft bags, it seems only fair that the rest of us get a chance too to try our hand at something crafty!

Taking time to practice our own creative skills can help to increase our sense of wellbeing as we take notice of detail and appreciate texture while we focus on the work of our hands.

As Psalm 90.17 says, "May the beauty of the Lord our God rest on us; and establish the work of our hands for us."

These packs are going to folk self-isolating or to any adults who have said they would like to have a go. 

If you or anyone you know would like one then please email Judith.
Email Judith


We asked Jo Graves, "If you could only take 2 songs, 1 book and 1 luxury item into lockdown what would you take?" 

Jo shares with us a few snapshots of her life, as she relives some good memories through her choices.

Click here for Jo's choices


Sometimes we just need a few minutes of space and peace from the rushing world around us. Every Wednesday you're invited to take 10 minutes out of ‘normal’ life, to spend time pressing into Jesus with these midweek reflections.

I’ve called them Close Encounters because we can’t be close to people at the moment, but Jesus always comes very close indeed, breaking every distancing rule there’s ever been, as he looks at and loves each individual he meets. We’re going to eavesdrop on some of the meetings and give ourselves a chance to encounter Him too. I hope these will be a blessing to you.
Close Encounters


Timeless practices brought to you in a modern context, from contemporary American church, Bridgetown, Portland.

This very practical website has sections on prayer, fasting, solitude, sabbath, community, simplicity and hospitality.

The website is rich with resources, including videos, questions to work through, and plenty of tips and ideas.

Practicing the Way
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What's happening soon?

Thursday worship Thu 24th Jun St. Mary's Church, Chipping Norton More info
Kintsugi Hope wellbeing course Fri 25th Jun The Parish Rooms More info
Remix Fri 25th Jun Glyme Hall More info