Parish Church of St. Peter & St. Paul – Services – July & August 2020

nether-heyford-parish-church-april2020

Services for July and August 2020

We are planning to re-open some of our churches for private prayer at the beginning of July. At present, we are airing and cleaning our churches, putting up signage regarding social distancing and establishing hygiene and cleaning stations to make our buildings as safe as we can for any visitors. Please look out for details of which churches will be open when on the Benefice Facebook page and local notice boards.

Whilst we cannot meet at present, the Church is still alive and at work, doing all we can to pray for, care for and support our communities.

If you need prayer, if you need spiritual support, if you just want someone different to talk to, please give me a ring on 01327 344436

There is now a Benefice Facebook page at www.facebook.com/HS9FB

If you are able, please visit that page for reflections, prayers and encouragement, as well as a live-streamed service at 10:00AM every Sunday morning.

We may be able to begin public worship services in July, but it will be some time before we can get back to anything like ‘normal’. The ‘next normal’ will involve smallscale services, social distancing, restricted numbers, possibly mask-wearing in church buildings, possibly bread but no wine at communion, no congregational singing, no handshakes, no coffee, no books or service sheets – and all this might persist into next year! We will keep you informed as things become clearer.

Whilst we hold all our villages in prayer, for during July we shall be praying for people living in Upper Heyford; Capell Rise, Collins Hill, Sears Close, Muscott Close and John Campbell Close in Flore; Francis Row in Upper Stowe and the Stables and Coach House in Brockhall. And during August; Rolf Crescent, Western Avenue and South View in Heyford; Chapel Lane and The Green in Flore; The Manor in Church Stowe and The Gate House and The Old Dairy in Brockhall.

Rev Stephen Burrow (Tel. 01327 344436)

Parish Church of St. Peter & St. Paul – July & August 2020

Nether Heyford Parish Church of St. Peter and St. Paul

Dear Friends,

In ancient Greek, the language of the New Testament, there are several words that we translate as ‘time’. The most common one is chronos, the basis of English words like chronology and chronometer. This refers to sequential time, the seconds, minutes, and hours on our wristwatches. But there is also kairos. This refers to a particular event or opportunity, a moment in time when everything changes, because it is the right time. Kairos moments mark events that make us stop and pause and reconsider our lives. They are often moments when normal, sequential time – chronos – seems to stand still. They may herald an event that disturbs us, that shakes us up, that moves us out of our comfort zone, that takes the loose ends of our life and reconnects them in new and exciting ways. Kairos moments signal opportunities for change and for growth, at an individual level, and at a communal level. They can be prompted by changes in leadership, by a word or message, or by an event.

Perhaps the gradual emergence from lockdown is one of those kairos moments, for individuals, for the Church and for society as a whole. As we look to the next and the new normal, as we reflect on the way things were, we will need courage, resourcefulness and hope to re imagine and create a new and better future. For the Church, the last few months have changed the way we do things, moving services, meetings, and Bible study groups online, ‘visiting’ via telephone and so on. As we gradually reopen our buildings, we will face many challenges. How do we combine an on-line presence with our traditional, physical presence? How do we face our financial worries, both individual and corporate? What does the aftermath of coronavirus mean for our giving, our serving and our church buildings?

But as a nation, as a wider society, we face similar challenging questions. In a recent bulletin to parish clergy, the Bishop of Peterborough contrasts the changing messages from the government, from a concern for peoples’ health to a concern for the economic health of the nation. He suggests that we need to seek a middle ground between ‘health and safety at all costs’ and ‘maximum productivity and wealth creation’, that we seek ‘the common good’, the ‘just and caring society’. “We could,” he writes. “be using this horrid crisis to be dreaming and planning a better future, rather than either hiding in our caves and refusing to come out, or rushing headlong back to the madcap past from which we have come”.

As we move towards a post-pandemic world, I pray that we might seize the opportunities offered by this kairos moment – as individuals, communities and churches – to seek that middle ground, to re-imagine and create a better, fairer, safer future where all can flourish. I wonder what that might look like for our homes, our workplaces, our villages, our nation and our world?

With every prayer and blessing in these uncertain times,

Stephen 01327 344436 Mobile: 07511 544375 Email: s_p_burrow@yahoo.co.uk

Parish Church of St. Peter & St. Paul – June 2020

Nether Heyford Parish Church of St. Peter and St. Paul

Dear Friends,

The recent celebrations of the 75th Anniversary of VE Day sparked much reminiscing about the generation that saw the country through the challenges of global war, and its ‘wartime spirit’. Several programmes and news articles focused on members of that generation, reflecting on their stories of life during the war. Inevitably, the experiences of that generation were compared to our current experiences of live in lock-down as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. On its news website, the BBC asked what we might learn from the wartime generation, in which one elderly contributor advised, ‘don’t panic, smile and pray’. Elsewhere, people have suggested that robbed of the ability to gather physically with friends and family, denied human contact outside our immediate household, our present circumstances are worse than wartime. Still, we are seeing a real ‘lock-down spirit’ as we all play our part in combatting the coronavirus and hope that the outbreak and its effects will come to an end soon. That ‘lockdown spirit’ is demonstrated in an increased neighbourliness, in care for the vulnerable, in support for those who are selfisolating and shielding themselves, and in increased communication, as we strive to keep in touch with family, friends and neighbours by telephone and social media.

The Gospel reading set for last Sunday speaks of a different Spirit. Jesus promises his followers, “I will ask the Father to send you the Holy Spirit who will help you and always be with you” (John 14:16 CEV). In the original Greek, the word for ‘help’ can also mean comfort, encourage and defend. What a wonderful thing to say! God’s Spirit will be with us always, creating a spirit, a resolve within us that will help, comfort, encourage and defend us, whatever trials and challenges life might throw our way. This Spirit that Jesus promises – which will be in us and alongside us always – is the Spirit of this and every age.

In these exceptional times, if you need spiritual support, prayer or someone to talk to, please give me a ring – my telephone number is below. You can also visit the Benefice Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/HS9FB for reflections and prayers, for words of encouragement and reassurance, as well as a live-streamed service at 10:00AM every Sunday morning.

I leave you this month with these words from the English spiritual writer, Julian of Norwich, which have helped and encouraged me in recent weeks, “Christ did not say, ‘You shall not be perturbed, you shall not be troubled, you shall not be distressed,’ but he said, ‘You shall not be overcome.’”

With every prayer and blessing in these uncertain times.

Stephen 01327 344436 Mobile: 07511 544375 Email: s_p_burrow@yahoo.co.uk

Parish Church of St. Peter & St. Paul – Services – June 2020

nether-heyford-parish-church-april2020

Services for June 2020

Following advice from our Archbishops and bishops, all public worship in churches has been suspended, and our church buildings are locked for the foreseeable future, to facilitate social distancing.

Whilst we cannot meet at present, the Church is still alive and at work, doing all we can to pray for, care for and support our communities.

If you need prayer, if you need spiritual support, if you just want someone different to talk to, please give me a ring on 01327 344436

There is now a Benefice Facebook page at www.facebook.com/HS9FB

If you are able, please visit that page for reflections, prayers and encouragement, as well as a live-streamed service at 10:00AM every Sunday morning.

We hope to be able to begin the gradual process of unwinding the lock-down in our churches in July, but it will be some time before we can get back to anything like ‘normal’. The ‘next normal’ will involve small-scale services, social distancing, restricted numbers, possibly mask-wearing in church buildings, possibly bread but no wine at communion, no congregational singing, no handshakes, no coffee, no books or service sheets – and all this might persist into next year! We will keep you informed as things become clearer.

Whilst we hold all our villages in prayer, the streets we shall be praying for during June are Middle Street, Manor Park and Parsons Close in Heyford, Brockhall Road and The Crescent in Flore, The Green in Church Stowe and in Brockhall, The Old Rectory, Rose Cottage, Western Cottage.

Rev Stephen Burrow (Tel. 01327 344436)

Parish Church of St. Peter & St. Paul – May 2020

Nether Heyford Parish Church of St. Peter and St. Paul

Dear Friends,

We received a couple of interesting cards last Christmas. One, from my training incumbent and his family, included a seed from one of the Christmas trees in their garden, with the invitation to plant it in the spring. The other card, from our daughter, Sarah, included a little sheet of paper, full of wildflower seeds, with similar instructions regarding planting. A few weeks ago, we planted both in little plastic plant pots, and placed them on the kitchen windowsill, where they would catch the morning sunshine, and we would be reminded to water them. We did this, and we checked for shoots every day, having faith that in the darkness, under the soil, the miracle of growth was taking place.

After Christmas, the next big Christian festival is Easter, and we have just had the most unusual and unexpected of Easter weekends. Our church buildings are closed, and we are unable to gather physically, but the Church remains alive and well. In our isolation, we are finding new ways to worship together on-line, new ways to pray for and care for our communities. With time to reflect, I frequently find myself wondering what new things might grow and emerge from the darkness of these days of crisis, not just for the Church, but for our society as a whole. We are already seeing a strengthening of community spirit. We are finding new ways to keep in touch with family, friends and neighbours. There is greater appreciation for workers in the NHS and other public services. We are seeing nature recover, with cleaner air one of the benefits of the greatly reduced levels of air and road travel. What can we do to keep these good things alive and growing as we come out of these difficult times?

At Easter, we celebrate Jesus rising from death to new life. The Gospels tell us that Jesus appeared to his disciples and filled them with his peace. But this is not the peace of the ‘old normal’, this is a new and different and exciting peace, because Jesus is risen from the dead. This is a peace full of the promise of life transformed. In the days after Easter, back on our kitchen windowsill, shoots appeared in the plant pot containing the wildflower seeds. Underground, in the darkness, the miracle of growth occurs, and new life bursts forth. At Easter we celebrate, and we remember that Jesus defeated death, that he came through suffering and darkness to bring new life, joy, peace and hope.

This present darkness will pass. New life hope and joy will emerge. Hold on!

With every prayer and blessing in these uncertain times,
Stephen 01327 344436 Mobile 07511 544375

Parish Church of St. Peter & St. Paul – Services – May 2020

nether-heyford-parish-church-april2020

Services for May 2020

Following advice from our Archbishops and bishops, all public worship in churches has been suspended, and our church buildings are locked for the foreseeable future, to facilitate social distancing.

Whilst we cannot meet at present, the Church is still alive and at work, doing all we can to pray for, care for and support our communities.

If you need prayer, if you need spiritual support, if you just want someone different to talk to, please give me a ring on 01327 344436

There is now a Benefice Facebook page at www.facebook.com/HS9FB

If you are able, please visit that page for reflections, prayers and encouragement.

Whilst we hold all our villages in prayer, the streets we shall be praying for during May are Watery Lane and Brookside Place in Heyford, Bricketts Lane and Springfield in Flore, Main Street in Upper Stowe and the Brockhall Hall apartments.

Rev Stephen Burrow (Tel. 01327 344436)

Parish Church of St. Peter & St. Paul – Services – April 2020

nether-heyford-parish-church-april2020

Services for April 2020

Following instructions from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, all public worship in this church – on Sunday and in mid week – has been suspended for the foreseeable future, to facilitate social distancing.

Whilst we cannot meet at present, the Church is still here to offer our prayer and care.

If we can help you in any way, please contact us on: 01327 344436

The Streets we shall be praying for during April are: Bugbrooke Rd and Wakefield Way in Heyford, Bliss Lane and the Nursery, Meadow Farm Close and Brington Rd in Flore, Main St in Church Stowe and Manor Farm, The Old Coach House and Manor Cottage in Brockhall.

Rev Stephen Burrow (Tel. 01327 344436)

Parish Church of St. Peter & St. Paul – April 2020

Nether Heyford Parish Church of St. Peter and St. Paul

Dear Friends,

We are living in unprecedented and unpredictable times. Following the spread of the coronavirus, the Archbishops of the Church of England have suspended all public worship in our churches. We are not permitted to gather to worship either on a Sunday or during the week, and our bells will not ring, in order that we safeguard the wellbeing of our communities. We will endeavour to open some of our churches in order to provide space for peace and quiet, for private prayer and reflection, or to leave things for the local food banks. St James’ Church in Upper Stowe is always open. Once the roof repairs are completed at Heyford Church, it will be open during daylight hours. Flore Church will open for an hour at 10:00AM on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. If you choose to visit, please remember the need for social distancing at all times.

Our church buildings have stood for many years, through plague and pestilence, famine and war. Their walls are soaked in the prayers of countless generations. They are a reminder that God is always with us, through all the storms and uncertainties of life. But they are not the Church. The Church, its people, the Christian community is still ‘open for business’ and ready to help and support our villages in whatever way we can. Our bishops have encouraged us to seek new ways to pray, and to find ways to offer practical care and support for people. If we have to isolate or shield ourselves, we will pray for you, fervently and frequently. We will pray for our villages, our nation and our world. We will pray for the leaders of our community, at institutional, local, regional and national levels.

If we are able to get out and about, we are ready to help and support you in whatever way we can and many of our church members have already signed up to help their communities support the isolated and the vulnerable. If you need prayer, if you need spiritual support, if you just want someone different to talk to, please give me a ring on one of the numbers below. We have set up a Benefice Facebook page at www.facebook.com/HS9FB. If you are able, please visit that page for information, prayers and encouragement. We are also developing ways we can reach those who don’t use social media and will let you know how that is going as the days and weeks progress.

I’d like to leave you with some words from St Paul’s Letter to the Church in Philippi,
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you
need and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace,
which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and
minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:6-7, NLT)

With every prayer and blessing in these uncertain times,
Stephen 01327 344436 Mobile 07511 544375

Parish Church of St. Peter & St. Paul – Services – March 2020

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Midweek Services Midweek Communions are held weekly on Wednesdays, 9.30am at Heyford (not Wednesday 4th March) and Thursdays, 10am at Flore – all welcome.

The Streets we shall be praying for during March are: Close Rd, The Pound and The Peak in Heyford, The Avenue and The Glebe in Flore, The Old Dairy Farm in Upper Stowe and the outlying farms around Stowe and the Mews Houses in Brockhall.

Rev Stephen Burrow (Tel. 01327 344436)