Parish Church of St. Peter & St. Paul – July 2019

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

Dear Friends.

On what is another wet and overcast day, it’s hard to believe that, as I write this, Midsummer’s Day is less than a week away, especially after all the rain we’ve had in recent days! I’m pleased to say, that despite the rain, plenty of cricket matches have been played in the Cricket World Cup, providing many hours of Test Match Special cricket commentary. For me, the soothing tones of the TMS commentators are a sure sign that summer is here, and a reminder of long summer holidays past, watching and listening to the cricket. Listening to snippets of cricket commentary has recently provided moments of rest and relaxation in what has been a busy few weeks. And there is more cricketing excitement to come as the culmination of World Cup is followed by the Ashes. With summer holidays looming, there is the chance of longer periods of rest and refreshment, and more TMS commentary!

Hopefully, the quieter days of the summer holidays also offer opportunities to
experience more of God; in the brightness of blue skies and sunshine, in the warmth of the sun, and even in the refreshing summer rain. In praising our Creator God, the psalmist writes: ‘God is my King from the very start; he works salvation in the womb of the earth… With your finger you opened up springs and creeks, and dried up the wild floodwaters. You own the day, you own the night; you put stars and sun in place. You laid out the four corners of earth, shaped the seasons of summer and winter’ (Psalm 74:12, 15-17 – The Message). We know God through his works, through the things he has made, and here are a few suggestions of ways we might know God through the summer.

The summer is, for many of us, a time of holidays and exploration; visiting new
places, taking the scenic route, finding time to turn aside and satisfy our curiosities. And as Moses discovered at the burning bush, God is often encountered as we turn aside, as we explore the hidden nooks and crannies, and enjoy the open spaces of hills, forests and beaches. Summer is also a time to set aside our busy schedules, a time when the momentum of life slows, and we can find God in relaxation. We can set aside the pressure and busy-ness of work and school and find time to reflect and think. And as the Book of Genesis reminds us, God is the God of the Sabbath. Just as God rested on the seventh day, so he encourages us to rest. The summer holidays are great opportunities to stop and recharge our batteries.

I pray that this summer, you will indeed meet God; in curiosity and exploration, and in reflection, relaxation and rest.

Yours in Christ,

Stephen – 01327 344436

Parish Church of St. Peter & St. Paul – Services – July & August 2019

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August Services – During the summer we shall be holding just one service each Sunday morning and moving around the benefice. I do hope that everyone who is not on holiday will also move around with us. The services will all be at 10am.

Midweek Communions are held weekly on Wednesdays, 9.30am at Heyford (not 14th or 21st August) and Thursdays, 10am at Flore – all welcome

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, Rolfe 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 – June 2019

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

Dear Friends.

Evidence of the divisions in our world seem to have come to the fore in recent days. There has been the controversy around the death of a participant on The Jeremy Kyle Show – ‘entertainment’ that seemed to depend on exploiting divisions within families – resulting in the termination of this programme by ITV. Elsewhere, the Institute of Fiscal Studies has launched a major enquiry into equality in the UK, suggesting that there are widening divisions between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’ which threaten our democracy. Politically, the issue of Brexit is again highlighting divisions not just in the country, but also within the two major political parties themselves. And internationally, rising tensions between the USA and Iran again reminds us of the divisions that exist between nations. Human history would suggest that we are very good at division. It seems as though we need to choose sides, to identify ourselves as ‘us’, and have a ‘them’ to oppose. Our social inequalities and power structures somehow suggest that division is an intrinsic part of our humanity. Sadly, religions are not free from this tendency towards division. Differences in dogma, interpretation or emphasis create divisions within religious groups. In Christianity, for example, different denominations and opposing viewpoints on some of the major talking points of our day demonstrate that the Church is not immune to division. This is nothing new, for in the earliest church, deep divisions existed between believers from Jewish and Gentile backgrounds.

And yet, in Chapter 11 of The Acts of the Apostles, St Peter is told and shown that there is no place for division in the Kingdom of God, when God’s Spirit descends on a Gentile family, and they begin to worship God. Indeed, the Holy Spirit ignores all human divisions – social, cultural, religious and so on – and falls on all who believe. God’s Kingdom is all about removing divisions and creating one new community.

At the beginning of June, churches across the world will come together in praying ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ in a global prayer initiative started a few years ago by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York. I will be taking time to add my prayers to those of people around the world, praying that we might see more of the unity characterised by God’s Kingdom; in our families, our society, our churches, our politics and the world. In the Kingdom, there is no place for division, and we are all offered the same identity, as the children of God.

Yours in Christ,

Stephen – 01327 344436

Parish Church of St. Peter & St. Paul – May 2019

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

Dear Friends.

My Lenten highlight was working with the children of Flore Primary School to create
a prayer chain cross, which was later added to by parents, grandparents and
members of the various church congregations. The installation is made up of
hundreds of paper links, some cut from red paper, and some cut from various
newspapers. The newspaper links represent our prayers, thoughts and concerns for
the world. The children cut some of these strips from the ‘First News’ paper they
read in school, representing the news stories that particularly caught their eye, and
other strips were added from local and national newspapers. Were you to look
closely at these links, you would see stories about Brexit, climate change, and the
terror attack in New Zealand, alongside more local concerns such as the shortage of
teachers.

In the midst of all our cares and concerns for the world are the red links that make
up the cross itself. On the inside of each link is a little prayer of thanksgiving that
begins “I am thankful to God for…” Each child completed a couple of these strips to
get the cross started, and the cross beam completed. Other people then added their
thanksgivings to the bottom of the vertical shaft of the cross.

The completed prayer/art installation measures one and a half metres across, and
over two metres deep, and hangs behind the glass screen at the back of Flore
Church. It’s very striking, catching your eye as you enter the church. The red links of
the cross remind us that whatever is going on in the world, there is always
something to be thankful for; family, friends, teachers, good food to eat, clean water
to drink, a beautiful part of the world to live in, and so on. More than that, the red
cross reminds us of God’s love; the horizontal beam stretching out to embrace the
whole world, the vertical shaft going down and down, reminding us that God’s love
reaches down to lift us up, however far we might have fallen.

God’s love for us – demonstrated in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus – is a
love that is beyond measure. It’s an extreme, self-giving love that is not sensible or
contained, but it is, I believe, absolutely, dangerously compelling. Whatever our
faith, we need more of this kind of sacrificial love. For we live in a world that is
becoming meaner and less generous; more suspicious of difference and less
tolerant; more divided and less able to take the bold steps that are required to make
peace. We need to know and share this self-giving love in our lives, and we need to
demonstrate more of it in our families, our churches, our communities and our world.

Yours in Christ,

Stephen – 01327 344436

 

Meet Christian Aid – Sunday 14th April

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Meet Christian Aid!  

Sunday 14th April 6.30 pm
Nether Heyford Village Hall

The Parish Church invite you to come and hear more about the work of Christian
Aid from visiting speaker Wendy Wheeler.

Wendy will talk about some of her experiences working with Christian Aid, visiting
places such as India, Mali, Ethiopia and Malawi, and describe how the money raised
from Christian Aid Week can really make a difference to people’s lives.

Cheese, wine and nibbles will be provided, and there will be a chance to win some
tasty fair-trade chocolate.

The evening is free of charge – please save your donations for the May collection !

With thanks again to all who support Christian Aid.

Shirley Waterhouse