Prayer Cycle for May

No.89 May 2020

This month our focus is on the world and the church in the midst of the Corona virus pandemic.

Please pray for:

  • The world leaders, that the advice they receive may lead them to make the right decisions to bring the spread of the Corona virus under control
  • Those in leadership in our country, Boris Johnson, his cabinet, all our MPs and local politicians and those advising them.
  • All those sick with the virus, that they will receive the expert treatment and the equipment they need to help them recover.
  • Those who are dying and those who have died without the comfort of family around them.
  • Those caring directly for the sick; doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, all hospital staff and especially at this time those from our own communities and those known to us. That they will receive the protective clothing and masks necessary to keep them safe and know how much we value their sacrificial work.
  • Those in the nursing and care homes in our area that they will be kept free of the virus.
  • All key workers, pharmacists, home carers, teachers, childcare providers, shop workers, delivery drivers, and all those involved in keeping those of us at home safe and supported. That they will be kept safe and well and that as we see them going about their work we show them our appreciation.
  • Those in all parts of the world working to find a vaccine which will protect us all and particularly the vulnerable.
  • Volunteers offering help with shopping and collection of medication.
  • Those working from home
  • Those helping to home school their children. That they will have the resources they need and patience when things become difficult.
  • All finding social isolation difficult, especially those living alone. That we will not forget them but keep in contact with them by telephone and e-mail.
  • Families separated by distance and isolation, unable to offer the care and support they long to give each other.
  • All those in leadership in churches of all denominations and of all faiths, and in our Anglican Communion, Archbishop Justin, Bishop Steven of Oxford, and Bishop Olivia of Reading.
  • Our Clergy and Ministry teams as they learn new ways of delivering worship using the internet and those using their technical expertise to make these services available to us.
  • All those who lead the worship and those who watch from home.
  • Those who do not have access to the internet that we will not forget them and find ways to share something of the services with them.
  • Those in our Parish offices sending out information and helping us to remain in touch as community although we cannot meet with one another.

Let us give thanks for:

  • The time to appreciate afresh the breath-taking beauty of nature and rediscover a simplicity of life, dwell in the present moment, value each other and the world around us.
  • The time now in our isolation to meet Jesus as for the first time, alive and present to each one of us, full of grace and truth.

Prayer

Keep us, good Lord,
under the shadow of your mercy
in this time of uncertainty and distress.
Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may rejoice in your comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us from your love
in Christ Jesus our Lord

Prayer Cycle for April

No. 88 April 2020

This month our special focus is on Parish of St Michael’s Sandhurst and prayers for the Church and for the world in the midst of the Corona virus pandemic.

Please pray for:

  • Rector:                                               Rev John Castle
  • Associate Minister:                          Rev John White
  • Associate Minister:                          Rev Jane Kraft
  • Family Worker:                                 Angela Harper
  • Youth Worker:                                   Mike Gower
  • Church Warden:                              Catherine Wilkins
  • Church Warden:                              Emma Hodge
  • PCC Secretary:                                 Dave Percival
  • Treasurer:                                          Jon Toohey
  • Church Office:                                  Sunita Mcintosh and Nicola Thompson

We at St Michael’s would like to forego our “turn” to lay our small needs before you in the cycle of prayer, and use it instead to call out to God across the Deanery, Diocese and nation for:

  • Those with a prophetic calling to lead the church in hearing what God wants to say to us through the current crisis;
  • That just as the people of Israel were stripped away from their place of worship, the Temple, when they went into exile, so we as the people of God having been stripped of our places of worship now would hear God’s call to his people to establish our homes and families as centres of worship, and to pray for our nation and our world (Jer 29:4-7).
  • For our keeping of Lent, Holy Week and Easter in a totally new way, both as individuals, through services on the radio and television and live streaming from our Churches and Cathedrals.
  • For the innovators and creators amongst us to rise up with new and imaginative ways to reach out beyond the confines of the church to speak Shalom to the anxious and frightened of our land;
  • For the pastors and carers reaching out to those who are isolated, struggling and alone;
  • For families separated by distance and isolation, unable to offer the care and support they long to give each other.
  • For the husbands and wives terrified at the thought of one or other being rushed off to intensive care; and for those grieving the loss of a dear partner or friend sometimes without the time or opportunity to say goodbye;
  • For the key workers in this land, already exhausted and stressed and knowing they have months of pressure to come, that they may know both God’s strength and his peace;
  • That as a nation God’s light will shine into all that we have done, both as a nation and as individuals by our selfishness and greed, and that we may cry out in repentance and turn once more to the Lordship of Christ;
  • For all those in leadership in churches of all denominations and of all faiths, and in our Anglican Communion, Archbishop Justin, Bishop Steven of Oxford, and Bishop Olivia of Reading.
  • For the clergy and leadership teams in our parishes that they may have great wisdom and fortitude as they lead us through this current storm;
  • For those in leadership in our country, Boris Johnson, his cabinet, all our MPs and local politicians and those advising them.
  • That we may all hear the voice of our Lord saying ”Quiet, Be still”, and may be amazed (Mark 4:39)

The Centre For Reflection

AddressSpring Ln, Aston Tirrold, Didcot OX11 9EJ

Phone01235 850423

Future  QUIET GARDEN TRUST dates which may be of interest to you – 6 June; 19 September; 28 November – 10 – 4pm.

SATURDAY 7 MARCH,  BREAD MAKING AND REFLECTIONS 10.30 – 3.30pm “Love is Come again like wheat that springs up green” Please join us for a day of bread making and reflections looking particularly at the Four Loves by C S Lewis. Materials supplied but please bring a mixing bowl and apron. Time for personal space. Bring and Share Lunch. Cost £15.

SATURDAY 14 MARCH DAY SEMINAR 10 – 4pm ST PATRICK: HIS LIFE AND LEGACY LED BY REV JOSIE MIDWINTER. There will be three sessions about St Patrick and there will be time for personal reflection and some group sharing. We will finish with a time of worship in the Celtic tradition. Cost: £15 including a light lunch.

THURSDAY 19 & 26 MARCH & 2 APRIL 10 – 1pm LENT COURSE LED BY REV RICHARD BITTLESTON – “When we know we’re helping; life is good” – Knowing how (and when) we can help is an art, regardless of what we can ‘do’. This short course explores both ancient and modern insights into being truly helpful, drawing freely from both religious and secular sources. Light lunch of soup at 12.30pm. Come to one or all mornings. Donation to the Centre for Reflection.

FRIDAY 1 MAY 7.30pm MOONRAKERS IN CONCERT (at the Church). It is very exciting to announce that these four Oxford based musicians will be making a return visit to Aston Tirrold. If you have not had the opportunity of seeing them perform live, this is your chance to enjoy their eclectic music, some from the classical and some from the folk tradition. Refreshments available. Tickets: £12 on the door or book through the Centre.

Please book any of the above events through the Centre for Reflection Email: ; Tel: 01235 850423

Festival of Prayer 2020

Festival of Prayer, Saturday 11 July
Ripon College, Cuddesdon

The Festival of Prayer, now in its tenth year, aims to enhance your spiritual life by offering different approaches to Christian prayer and spirituality. Featuring a keynote address from Gemma Simmonds CJ, thought-provoking workshops led by authors, speakers, teachers and clergy, one-to-one sessions on spiritual direction, as well as dedicated time and space for personal reflection.  
Book Promote in your community

Resources from the Diocese

Count your blessings with Christian Aid this Lent

In a world that has you counting money, calories, kilos and steps, be a rebel and count your blessings! Order or download free resources
 

Mothering Sunday resources from the Children’s Society

Mothering Sunday is on 22 March. The Children’s Society provides suggestions for readings, talks, activities and prayers.
 

Lent blog: Women of the Old Testament

Revd Clare Hayns, College Chaplain, Christ Church will be posting a short blog about a different woman from the Old Testament each day of Lent. There will be stories of courage, intrigue and adventure. There will be tales of passion, jealousy and love. Reflections on the stories draw parallels with the experiences of women and men today.

Yellow Braces

Calling all 1118 year-olds

Are you ready for some gniyllub, malarkey and shenanigans? If so, then why not sign up to Yellow Braces, our annual youth camp? Download this flyer, print it, stick it up in church and give it to members of your youth group. With the DIY Olympics, worship, reflection time and water-balloon volleyball, Yellow Braces is always a weekend to remember. Find out more by reading this photo story from last year’s camp. Now you’re ready to book!

Eco church and energy audits

Click the image to watch the film and visit oxford.anglican.org/church-energy-audits to find out how your church can get involved.

Energy efficiency can enable our churches to provide attractive places of sanctuary, fellowship and communion – with a comfortable level of warmth and illumination – at a lower cost to the planet, and sometimes with financial savings as well. One significant barrier for churches, however, is knowing what positive actions they can undertake. PCCs can now obtain and begin to act on expert advice in this area with energy audits carried out by professionals with experience of historic places of worship. The energy audit looks at a range of energy uses in the church building, from lighting to heating, and recommends the energy and carbon reduction measures available. These can include simple changes that will cost nothing – such as setting adjustments and changing practices – as well as options for renewable technologies, better controls, or changes in equipment. This short film tells the story of how one church in Wokingham has benefited from this approach. To find out more, visit: oxford.anglican.org/church-energy-audits

Oxford Diocesan Synod

A summary of the meeting held on Saturday 16th November 2019 in Milton Keynes

  1. The Rt. Revd Dr Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford, welcomed Synod members and visitors to the meeting. Following this, the meeting started with opening worship. It included Dwelling in the Word using a passage from Acts 20:17-38, led by The Revd Tim Norwood, Canon John Robertson and other members of the Milton Keynes Deanery. Special prayers were said for Bishop designate, Olivia Graham as she prepared for her consecration as Bishop of Reading taking place on Tuesday 19th November in St Paul’s Cathedral.
  2. A number of notices were read: there was a special welcome to The Rt Revd Oswald Swartz (Bishop Ossie) from our link diocese in Kimberley, South Africa. Bishop Steven paid tribute to Bishop Ossie as he prepared for his retirement early next year; this was part of his farewell tour. There were a number of other announcements: Revd Canon Stephen Pullin had recently been appointed as Archdeacon of Berkshire; The Archdeacon of Oxford had recently been nominated to be the next Bishop of Dudley; this was his final Synod and a small gift was presented to him on behalf of members. Revd Canon Sue Booys, Chair of the House of Clergy to the Diocesan Synod, announced she would be relinquishing her role as Chair in March 2020 and a replacement would be sought. Sue had been appointed as the new Chair of the Kimberley and Kuruman Link Committee.
  3. Presidential Address: Bishop Steven’s address was titled ‘How to Pray for this General Election’. He noted that by this he meant how to pray for the renewal of our political life in our nation at this present time. He noted how, over recent months, friends and colleagues on different sides in Parliament had asked him to pray for them and our Government. “So great is the rising tide of desperation, the sense that we are running out of answers, the sense of paralysis at the heart of national life”. Those requests he felt were sincerely made, and he wanted to respond to them: hence the need to give thought to how we pray, particularly as the general election will fall in the season of Advent. His full address can be found at: https://blogs. oxford.anglican.org/how-to-pray-for-this-generalelection/
  4. The Minutes of the meeting of Diocesan Synod held on 15th June 2019 were approved and signed.
  5. Questions: A member of Synod had submitted a question asking “Approximately how much has the Diocese spent on the development and production of the new Parish Planning Tool, in terms of money, resources and staff time?” A written response was given by the Diocesan Secretary outlining its purpose and details of costs. It noted that the response to the tool at the three Archdeaconry Area Days had been extremely positive and the tool had become a key resource for our Parish Development Advisors and the parishes exploring their call to become more Christ-like. A copy of the Parish Planning Tool is being made available to each parish/benefice free of charge, often at the Archdeaconry Area Day (around 150 packs were distributed at the recent Dorchester Area day alone). Additional packs may be purchased online at a cost of £10 per copy, along with additional listener cards. The Parish Planning Tool content is also available free of charge to our parishes to download and print locally.
    The full question and response can be found at https://www.oxford.anglican.org/who-weare/governance/diocesan-synod/
  6. Bishop Steven introduced the new Diocesan Secretary, Mr Mark Humphriss and invited him to address the Synod. In his speech, Mark paid tribute to his predecessor, Rosemary Pearce noting her level of knowledge and insight that she accumulated and the great team she had built in Church House. He noted his intention to spend some time getting out and about around the diocese, to gather wider views, to celebrate the life of our diocese but also to ensure that he hears where we are doing things well and where we might be able to do better.
  7. The Chair of the Board of Finance, The Revd John Tattersall, presented the budget for 2020 which had been agreed in outline at the June meeting. A number of people asked questions from the floor which led to some discussion points and the Motion to approve was later passed with one vote against and some abstentions.
  8. The Synod worked in groups to discuss two questions following a request for a wider debate on how the diocese was resourced and finances spent. A paper had been circulated to assist with this. This can be found at: https://www.oxford.anglican.org/who-we-are/governance/diocesan-synod/
    Following the group work sessions, feedback was collected and a summary of these would be available to members in due course.
  9. A Deanery Synod Motion from the Cowley Deanery was presented to members and the Synod were invited to debate the motion, asking that “In the light of the Oxford Diocese’s commitment to becoming a Christlike Church that is courageous, compassionate and contemplative we ask that this Synod:
    • I) recognise the significant level of inequality that exists across the diocese that enables some parishes to have churches that are “fit for purpose” whilst other parishes struggle to provide even the most basic of facilities such as running water, and
    • II) commission a Working Group that will propose how best to provide urgent practical support and funding to those parishes that are most in need of basic facilities so as to enable them to fulfil their mission.”
  10. After a period of debate this Motion was passed unanimously and Bishop’s Council would address how to move this forward.
  11. The Synod debated a proposal for the appointment of three full-time Associate Archdeacons in the Diocese of Oxford. Bishop Steven gave background to this item noting that currently the Diocese was significantly under resourced in this area compared to other dioceses where archdeaconries were typically much smaller. An increase in archdeacons’ responsibilities, including changes in legislation in safeguarding, Clergy Discipline Measure and Common Tenure meant that archdeacons’ workloads were not sustainable and had stretched existing resources to their limit. This proposal would seek to redress this balance and focus on our Common Vision allowing better proactive mission and pastoral support to parishes and deaneries. Following a period of debate this was voted on and passed unanimously.
  12. The Chair of the House of Laity, Mr John Sykes, presented the Scheme for approval for the Elected Lay Representation on Deanery Synods for the triennium 2020-23. This was approved by the Synod and would be disseminated to parishes in January before APCMs.
  13. Mr John Sykes, Chair of the Development Fund Panel, gave an update to members noting that the first round of funding had now closed, and the panel had met to review applications. There had been an encouraging response; it was not possible to give details of projects supported at this stage as applicants had not yet been notified.
  14. The Revd Tim Norwood and Canon John Robertson were invited to speak to the Synod on the work of the Celebrate and Bless Milton Keynes Deanery strand of the Common Vision process. With a population of 300,000 it is growing rapidly and becoming a regional centre – at the heart of the Oxford-MK-Cambridge arc.
  15. Reflection on the morning’s business was led by The Revd Richard Lamey, Sonning Deanery and Acting Assistant Archdeacon in Berkshire. Following this the Bishop of Buckingham led the closing prayers.

Future Diocesan Synod meetings: Next meeting: Venue: 17th March 2020 Green Park Conference Centre, Reading Dates of further Diocesan Synod meetings in 2020 (All Saturdays) from 0900 – 1300 (or as advised): 13th June 2020 Oxford area 14th November 2020 TBC

Elections for new Deanery Synods will be held in 2020 (3-year term of office). Notification will be sent in early January 2020.

2020 is also an election year for General Synod elections (5-year term of office)