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

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

Dear Friends,

I am fairly confident that 2020 has not turned out the way any of us planned! In recent months, our lives have been shaped by the coronavirus outbreak and its effects on us, our communities, our nation and the world. Plans have been changed, weddings and family get-togethers postponed, sports events have been cancelled, or played in empty stadia. We’ve been locked down, we’ve emerged from lockdown, we’ve eaten out to help out. And now we face a tightening of the rules as fears of a second peak in the outbreak rise. In England, we all have to stick to the ‘rule of six’ yet some areas face even tougher restrictions. In the Church, we’ve managed to reopen some of our buildings for public worship and private prayer. It’s great to see people again, but things are still a long way from ‘normal’; no singing, masks worn, socially distanced and so on. We’ve also begun to think about Remembrance Sunday and Christmas, for with no relaxation of the rules in sight, those events and celebrations are likely to look very different this year! Wherever we look, the landscape has changed, yet all around us are the familiar signs of how things were just a few months ago, of how we’d like them to be again. As this crisis continues into the Autumn and Winter, with shorter, darker days and colder weather to come, perhaps it’s easy to feel despondent.

In the seventh century before Christ, God sent the prophet Jeremiah to the people of Israel. He was sent to speak to those who were in exile in Babylon – away from all that they loved and cherished. He was speaking to those who were longing for familiarity and normality.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

That is a wonderful promise, one I have reflected on many times in recent years. One I’ve taken joy in, as I’ve looked back at how God has been at work in my life, and in the life of the communities we’ve lived in. Maybe we are frustrated with the way things are, maybe we are looking back to the way things were, but whatever is going on in the present, whatever has gone on in the past, God plans to give us hope and a future.

As these challenging times continue, please be assured of my prayers. If there is anything the Church or I can do to help, support and encourage you, please give me a call.

May God bless you as we look forward with hope and expectation.

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

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

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Services for September 2020

Sunday 6th

10:00 am Holy Communion Service via the Facebook Page
11:00 am Holy Communion at Upper Stowe
06:00 pm Holy Communion at Heyford

Sunday 13th

10:00 am Holy Communion Service via the Facebook Page
11:00 am Holy Communion at Flore
06:00 pm Evening Prayer at Upper Stowe

Sunday 20th

10:00 am Holy Communion Service via the Facebook Page
10:00 am Partnership Service at Flore Chapel (TBC)
11:00 am Holy Communion at Upper Stowe
06:00 pm Evening Prayer at Heyford

Sunday 27th

10:00 am Holy Communion Service via the Facebook Page
11:00 am Holy Communion at Heyford
06:00pm Evening Prayer at Flore

As we re-open our church buildings for public worship, we follow all Church and Government Guidelines regarding social distancing, face coverings, no singing, the administration of Holy Communion etc. to ensure we keep people as safe as possible.

The Benefice Facebook Page can be found at www.facebook.com/HS9FB

During September we shall be praying for people living in Furnace Lane here in Heyford, the High Street, including the shops, the garage and the Millennium Hall 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)

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

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

Dear Friends

Deborah and I were recently blessed with a couple of weeks’ holiday in Kingsbridge, South Devon. The town sits on an estuary, and on our first day, we enjoyed a walk along the river in the afternoon sunshine. Almost every day of our holiday thereafter, we walked alongside the river to a little café/bar, where we sat outside and enjoyed a cuppa. For the first week, the tide was always out, and we found ourselves watching the seabirds on the mudflats – several different kinds of seagull, and one very beautiful little egret, striding carefully through the shallows in search of something to eat.

As we visited the café towards the end of the second week, the tide was in, and the river teemed with human activity; power boats, little pleasure cruisers, kayaks, and paddleboards. Many of the paddleboarders were taking lessons, and they set off from a platform close to where we sat drinking our cups of coffee and tea. They began very gingerly, knelt on their boards, and carefully nudging themselves out into the river, gently paddling to a quieter part of the water. As they gained in confidence, they were able to stand and paddle up and down the river. But when one of the larger boats powered past, the paddleboarders often stood perfectly still, or dropped to their hands and knees and held on tight as their boards rocked in the larger boat’s wake.

Watching the paddleboarders in that moment, as the river went from a flat calm to a choppier surface, I was reminded of the story of Peter stepping out of the fishing boat into the stormy waters, told in Matthew’s Gospel (14:22-33). Like Peter, the beginners took a leap of faith, stepping on to their paddleboards, and learning to steer them through the busy waterway. Those in family groups encouraged one another, they listened to their instructor, and when the waves came, they often held on tight until the choppy waters became calm again.

We have all been through choppy waters recently, facing the storms of the coronavirus outbreak and its effects. Even now, as the lockdown eases, and things seem calmer, there will be times when the waves rise again. How might we respond when that happens? Maybe we need to listen carefully to government guidance, and act accordingly. Maybe we need to reach out to others for comfort and reassurance, or to offer our support to them. Or maybe, like Jesus, we need time alone to get our head around the changing circumstances, time to check in with our Father God. Or perhaps, like the paddleboarders, we just need to hold on tight, trusting to hope that there are better, calmer times ahead.

As these uncertain times continue, please be assured of my prayers for all of you. If there is anything I can do to help, please give me a ring.

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

Cafe on The Green – Update September 2020

As you are aware we have been unable to open the café for the last five months. We have reviewed the situation in the light of the recent easing of some restrictions. However, due to the size of the venue, the age mix of our customers and the voluntary status of our staff, we do not feel it is safe to reopen the café for the foreseeable future.

As we won’t be holding the usual Macmillan Coffee Morning in September we will send a donation from existing café funds.

We’ll review the situation in the New Year but, in the meantime, would like to thank everybody who has supported the café in the last four and a half years.

Best wishes

Jane R and Jane W

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

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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)