This week we offer huge congratulations to one of our congregation members, as well as an exciting opportunity to collectively pause and reflect over the last year, and a chance to support those who are still very much struggling with the effects of Covid.
Whatever's on your mind this week I pray that you know God's still small voice for you.
Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.
1 Kings 19:11-12
Back in March 2020, Lorraine wanted to protect the residents at the care home in which she works, by ensuring that she didn't bring in Covid infection. So she made the sacrificial decision to spend weeks away from her own home and spend lockdown at the care home instead.
She has now been nominated for a Covid Hero Award and invited to afternoon tea at the House of Lords! We can't think of anyone who deserves it more.
A huge round of applause for Lorraine and for everyone who devotes their lives to the care of others in different ways.
We definitely need some rest and relaxation! But we also significantly need to be able to reflect and review our experience of the last year so we can continue on from a place of strength and understanding for ourselves and our church family.
As things open up again it's going to be very easy to just rush on and fill life up once more. Before that happens we have a window of opportunity to just pause and take stock of where we are now, what we've come through, and most importantly what God has been trying to do or teach us through it all. So this is an invitation to come and talk, listen and process with a small group of people as we reflect and review the experience of lockdown together. It's really a version of the Examen, a spiritual practice that Christians have been using for hundreds to years to grow in their awareness of God's presence and purposes. Each session will be one hour, open to anyone at all and not heavy!
Thursday 20th May - 9.45am-10.45am - in church Monday 24th May - 11.30am - 12.30pm - in church Wednesday 26th May - 7.30-8.30pm - in the Parish Rooms
THY KINGDOM COME
We’re joining the global initiative to pray ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ between Ascension (13th May) and Pentecost (23th May).
Thy Kingdom Come is the annual global prayer event that churches from all over the world take part in. This year we're meeting via Zoom at noon each day from 13th May to 22nd May to pray ‘Come Holy Spirit’, so that friends and family, neighbours and colleagues might come to faith in Jesus Christ.
As well as this we'll be keeping up our usual pattern of Zoom prayer at 6am and 6pm.
There are lots of great resources on the Thy Kingdom Come website but we'll be focussing on the Psalms and you can find each day's reading by clicking on the button below.
If you've got little ones there are some great "Cheeky Panda" resources for you to download, including the very lovely "Cheeky Pandas Prayer Book" .Zoom info:
We’re really excited to gather together in church (in a safe and physically distanced way, obviously) to worship The Lord at Encounter on Sunday evening, 9th May. We’ll begin worshipping together at 6:00pm in St Mary’s Church, but it would probably be best to get there for 5:45pm, so you’ve got time to be ushered to your seat by our lovely welcome team.
In light of current restrictions, a few things will be slightly different to how things used to happen at Encounter:
We won’t be having our normal café beforehand or afterwards, but you might still have a little treat waiting for you in your seat!
We won’t be able to sing, but we will still be able to worship, pray and encounter our faithful God.
So come along to enjoy an evening worshipping together, hearing some thoughts from our speaker and spending time in the presence of God. We’re excited, expectant and looking forward to seeing you there!
PLEASE BRING SOMETHING YOU CAN WRITE WITH/ON. LIKE A PEN AND PAPER OR YOUR PHONES.
INDIA AND COVID
India has been hit by a huge second coronavirus wave of Coronavirus, with the surge in infections having begun around mid-March and having increased rapidly, reaching a peak of more than 400,000 recorded daily cases on Friday, 30 April.
Known to some of us at St. Mary's Church, Ian Aldersley has offered a way for us to respond to the crisis, saying:
"You know that I was on the staff of the Christian Medical College (CMC) and Hospital Ludhiana from 1969 to 1972. Last week I received an email appeal from CMC.
Giving directly to a large committed Christian hospital at the heart of an area with a high incidence of Covid-19 is a very efficient way to ensure funds are well directed and well used for the benefit of an incredibly vulnerable population."
To give to the appeal, use the details below:
St Mary’s Church Chipping Norton PCC
Sort Code 40-52-40
Account Number 00027882
What is the Electoral Roll? The church’s Electoral Roll is the register of its voting members; it is a list of those qualified to attend and to vote at the Annual Parochial Church Meeting. Electoral rolls provide an indication of the membership and strength of the church.
Who can be on the electoral Roll? Baptised adults (over 16 years) who live in the parish, or who have worshipped regularly at St. Mary’s for at least six months and are committed to being part of the life of the local Church of England congregation.
Why Join? Enrolment is a way of saying....“I belong”. For us it is an act of commitment to St. Mary’s Church and the church as a whole.
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.