This stunning photo of the church was taken during the storm on 12th August by James. Isn't the lightning just amazing?
This Sunday we look forward to having the second of our Summer Sessions at 3pm in church. Absolutely everyone is welcome and we look forward to seeing you there.
Because we're meeting physically in the afternoon, and to give the video team a well-earned break, there won't be a Sunday morning video, but you're very welcome to watch the video from Kingham and Churchill, also part of our Benefice, which you can find here.
Whether you're travelling or at home this week, we pray that you know God's presence with you and his great love for you.
The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
Psalm 121: 5-8
From 1st September, we very much look forward to welcoming Hannah and her family to St. Mary's, as Hannah takes on the role of Families Outreach Worker.
Hannah says, "Phil and I have both lived in Chippy for 15 years. We met and got married here and have two amazing children. Primrose aged 9 and Stan aged 5.
"Our family is so looking forward to joining you at St Mary's. We have felt God's guidance as we have made this move and are so excited to see what He has planned. Can't wait to meet everyone and become part of your wonderful church family."
A HUGE THANK YOU TO JONNY
It has been an absolute privilege having Jonny as our Youth Worker for the last five years. Jonny finishes his time at St. Mary's at the end of August and will be moving to Oxford to train to be an ordained minister.
Jonny has made an incredible contribution to the work here at St. Mary's, being instrumental in setting up Encounter services and Remix youth club, as well as running regular groups, organising residentials, mentoring, preaching and making visits to top school.
His enthusiasm and sense of fun has been contagious, and he will be greatly missed by the youth, the team of volunteers that he's built up and the congregation in general.
More recently we've all loved his One Way and Ignite videos, perhaps serving in a way he hadn't quite anticipated!
Thank you Jonny, and we wish you, Katie and Poppy every blessing as you step into the next adventure that God has for you.
As this email pings into your inbox we will be making our final round of deliveries of Mary’s Meals. With children returning to school the pressure will ease on most families - however we will continue to give low level support to those who are still struggling. At the peak, alongside the marvellous Chippy Larder, we delivered to 356 households each week, and Philip Sharman has masterminded a team of 80 drivers over the 24 weeks. Our final delivery takes us to just shy of 25,000 meals delivered over 24 weeks - isn’t that extraordinary, and God’s provision of funding and volunteers has been incredible.
Now we are looking forward to other doors that are opening. Working with Wild Thyme has been brilliant, and we are looking forward to partnering with them to encourage and enthuse families to cook & eat together. On our last delivery, each household received a bag of ingredients, along with a recipe card, so they can make the now legendary Wild Thyme Sausage Casserole in their own kitchen. This week also saw us trial “Branch Out & Cook” an opportunity for two mum's to join Nick in the Wild Thyme kitchen and learn some cookery skills. One of the mums has never had a cooker (we helped her purchase one during lockdown), and the other is keen to pursue a career in cookery - so is delighted to be able to get some experience. They both loved it!
Thank you to all of you who have supported Mary’s Meals practically, financially and prayerfully - we couldn’t have done it without such an incredible team effort. It was such a fantastic illustration of Romans 12 - all the different gifts being used to form one body reaching out to share the love of Jesus with our community. Thank you.
YOUTH FUN DAY
On Monday 24th August, 12 young people from Chipping Norton embarked on a walk to Sarsden Glebe Farm for an outdoor activity day. Many of the boys, aged 11-16, never get to go on days out or on a summer holiday and so this was a real treat. The journey there was a walk through beautiful countryside, enabling them to discover what is nearby. The young people were provided with drinks on arrival and then had the opportunity to build some campfires in order to cook lunch.
It began with digging out turf and collecting fallen wood from the nearby forest and lighting the fires. They then learnt some new cooking skills over the campfire and enjoyed locally sourced food including burgers.
Following this, we played some fun games using the outdoor space along with renovating an overgrown water source to provide fresh spring water, teaching the value in restoration.We then had some time to play foot-tennis, a hybrid sport of football and tennis which was amazing to see the fun had by the boys. They boys also got a tour of the farm and some animals, along with seeing produce grown in the walled garden.
The young people thoroughly enjoyed the day out and we are hoping it can develop into an overnight stay on the farm in future. The day was completely free for the young people and it was a fantastic opportunity for them to build new friendships with others which was really evident by the end of the day. It built a sense of team unity and community for the boys and allowed us to bless them. A huge thank you to Amanda Ponsonby who welcomed us to their home and treated us like Kings.
SUMMER SESSIONS - THIS SUNDAY!
Sunday 30th August at 3pm, is the second of our whole congregation Summer Sessions.This is a chance to get together, worship God, see some familiar faces, and see how church looks and works during this new phase.
It's also an opportunity to bid farewell to Jonny, Katie and Poppy as they move on to new adventures.
As you know, church is a bit more complicated these days, so please click on the button below to remind yourself what you will need to bring with you and how it will all work. We look forward to seeing you!
I expect many of us are really missing being able to sing to together. Having a way of collectively expressing our praise to God is so important.
Some churches have been experimenting with other ways of allowing people to join in with musical worship, and if you'd like to learn The Blessing song using Makaton, there is a video here that can show you how to do that.
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.