I don't imagine anyone failed to notice the sunset last night. It was all over the sky and then all over my social media just afterwards as everyone shared the free gift!
It's possible that if we take certain church traditions to the extreme we can shy away from the beautiful and the tangible - both in worship and in our lives. In our church we love the Bible and we love music, but sometimes focusing on other types of creativity, or maybe taking time to make our houses lovely and welcoming, or taking time over our appearance can make us wonder if we're being extravagant or unspiritual.
From the Creation Window in St. Mary's church - on the right as you go in.
And yet God made flamingos and mountain ranges and the aurora borealis! So much extravagance! As well as this the Bible is full of beautiful things celebrated by God - from a golden temple dramatically blessed by God (1 Kings 6:14-38) to Jesus taking a bit of pride in his own handiwork with flowers (Matthew 6:28-29) to appreciation of physical form (Song of Songs 4:1-7) and all the glorious descriptions of creation in the Psalms.
It's been lovely to be able to be able to use creativity to bless our neighbours during Covid; perhaps showing God's love and care in a way that, for some people, speaks louder and more memorably than words. Only by employing our diversity of God-given gifts will we connect adequately with a diversity of people. So whatever our gifts, let's use them all for the Lord Jesus!
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
ST. MARY'S APCM
What does "APCM" stand for?
APCM stands for "Annual Parochial Church Meeting". Most charities have an "AGM" (Annual General Meeting) and for parish churches this is the equivalent.
What happens at the APCM?
There are various things we have to do each year in order to comply with the rules for Church of England churches. In particular:
Vote in new PCC members (PCC is the committee of clergy and congregation members who make decisions about how the church is run)
Approve the accounts and annual report
Elect the churchwardens
That doesn't sound very exciting. What else happens?
This is our big chance to look back at the previous year and celebrate everything that has happened. If there was ever a year to make us take stock and consider all that has been achieved then 2020 is it! It's a bit like a harvest celebration for our church. Usually there's something bubbly to drink too, but this year you might have to wait until you get home...
Can anyone come along?
Yes - everyone is welcome, but in order to vote you need to be on the Electoral Roll, which is like a register of members. If you'd like to join the Electoral Roll for next time then please drop us a line.
St. Mary's APCM . 6 June 2021 . in church after the service
You'd be so welcome to join us for our APCM!
A celebration of all that God has done through us during the last year, and a chance to say thank you to everyone who has worked so hard to make things happen.
We look forward to seeing you there.
TWO EASY THINGS YOU CAN DO TO HELP THE BRANCH
(Thank you so much if you already have! It's great to see all your lovely comments on the WODC portal.)
Nominate The Branch for an award
Insurance company Ecclesiastical will shortly be launching their Movement for Good awards for 2021 – a programme designed to give £1million to charities.
Each charity will receive a £1,000 donation. Anyone can get involved by simply nominating an eligible charity, and we'd love for you to nominate The Branch. You can nominate between Monday 24 May and Sunday 13 June.
Click the button below to find out more on the Ecclesiastical website.
(If you'd like to nominate The Branch , the full charity name is The Branch Trust, Chipping Norton (CIO) and the charity number is 1191055.)
Support the building plans by leaving a comment
The planning application for the redevelopment of The Branch has now been submitted to WODC.
During the next phase of the planning process any member of the public can go to the WODC website to comment on the plans and say whether they think the plans are a good idea.
Cheerfully Given is a marketplace website made up of a community of over 130 Christian designers and makers who have a desire to share the Lord Jesus through great design and contemporary craft.
Their aim is to worship the Divine Craftsman with excellence in all kinds of creative ways. Creative arts have been at the core of Church life since the tabernacle was constructed, so Cheerfully Given want to encourage and share that great treasure.
Not just a place to buy more stuff on the internet. It's a community of people who are passionate about reflecting the life of the Triune God and wanting to encourage thoughtful, fair gift-buying and a new way of sharing Jesus in our homes.
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.