Lent is a time of reflection, when we remember Christ’s 40 days in the wilderness, and think about his journey from Palm Sunday when he entered Jerusalem, through Good Friday when he died on the cross, to Easter Day, the day of his glorious resurrection, and the start of new life for all who believe in him.
It is also a time to reflect on ourselves and our own Christian journey. Are we travelling as we should, and are we giving ourselves to God, as he would like?
During Lent, from Sunday 5 March to Good Friday 14 April, there are 6 ‘prayer stations’ set up in church, each under the banner of ‘Giving ourselves to God’, and each encouraging us to reflect on how we might do this – through our hands, our feet, our minds, our hearts and our behaviours. At each station, there are suggested Bible passages, prayers and reflective questions, to help us with our personal reflection and meditation.
You are invited to come into the church at any time during this period, outside of scheduled services, to spend time at the 6 prayer stations. You can complete the journey in one visit, or you can make several visits; you can come on your own or in a group; you can come as a believer or as someone who wishes to find out more about what it is to be a Christian.
However you choose to make your personal prayer journey, we hope that you will join the multitude who have witnessed the joys of the risen Lord, and give him thanks and praise.
What a joy it’s been to have the Revd David Bracewell with us at St Andrew’s over the last 3 weeks. David has given us inspiring and thought-provoking teaching on the book of Jonah, a mini Bible series that is well worth listening to – or listening to again!
We are delighted that David has agreed to return in April to lead our 3 hour Good Friday meditations. As always, he will be warmly welcomed.
Comments Off on Crib Service 2016 — ‘The Greatest Story in History’
The St Andrew’s Crib Service made for a fun-filled retelling of the nativity story as the church was packed like never before with over 450 children, parents, families and friends crammed into every nook and cranny. Next year we will definitely need a bigger church… (more…)
Comments Off on Women’s Breakfast – Street Pastors
As a parent, there is always something to worry about. Even when (especially when) our offspring reach the age of 18, we still worry. Like their desire to go ‘clubbing’ with their friends, to celebrate birthdays, or the end of exams, or just because it’s ‘what everyone does’.
The worries range from: will they drink too much; will they be enticed (or duped) into trying recreational drugs; will they lose their phone and not have contact; will they get separated from their friends; will they get home safely; how will they walk in those great high heels – and that’s just the boys! As parents, we do tend to dwell on worst-case scenarios.
Well, over a delicious Women’s breakfast at the end of November, many of those fears were laid to rest, when we listened to Sue Shaw of Street Pastors Kingston. This is a national Christian charity scheme where trained and uniformed volunteer ‘Street Pastors’ go out into major city centres from 10pm until 4am, armed with blankets, water, lollipops, flip-flops and love. They patrol outside the clubs to ‘scoop up’ any young people in difficulty, helping them however they need, giving them practical and emotional support, and making sure they can get home safely. They even give out flip-flops to those who have given up with the high heels, to stop them walking barefoot through the streets.
When they’re not busy with the clubs turning out, they’re busy giving out socks, gloves, hats, sleeping bags, food and love to the homeless sleeping on the streets. They work alongside the police and regularly diffuse heated situations, before they escalate into something more threatening – the lollipops appear to work wonders here. Prayer also works wonders – not everyone is physically up to the work on the streets, but everyone is able to pray, so whenever there are teams on the streets, there are at least 2 people back at base, praying for their safety.
This is a formidable force – formidable in the impressive sense – they have a truly positive impact on the safety of our city centres, and most importantly the safety of our young people. We thank them deeply for their work, their courage, their love for God’s people and their love for our young people.
Comments Off on Bishop Jo at St Andrew’s on Christmas morning
What a pleasure and a privilege it was to have the Rt Revd Dr Jo Wells, Bishop of Dorking, at St Andrew’s on Christmas morning. This was her first Christmas as Bishop, so it made her visit even more special for all concerned.
Comments Off on Unknown choir gives stunning performance!
Last Sunday at St Andrew’s church, a previously unknown invited choir gave a moving performance of George Frederick Handel’s masterpiece Unto us a Child is Born. It was met with rapturous applause and universal acclaim by the critics. It is to be hoped that this promising group of young choristers will make further appearences in the future.
First, thank you. Thank you for your prayers and all the hard work that went into making sure the interview process went smoothly and was a positive experience for each of the candidates involved.
When Bishop Andrew kindly rang to offer me the post, I was amazed and excited, and those feelings have not left me. When we visited St Andrew’s my husband, Jolyon, and I were struck in particular by two things: the warmth of your welcome and the fantastic refurbishment of the church building. I think these two things are related and are evidence of God at work, which is the most thrilling thing. It will be wonderful to join you and find out where God wants to take us together for the sake of His Kingdom.
Here are a few facts about me:
For the past seven years I have lived in Nailsea, a town six miles south of Bristol, where I am the Associate Minister in a parish of two churches. Before ordination I had a fulfilling career as a secondary-school teacher and this finds expression now in my passion for teaching, preaching and helping people grow as disciples, which I do across all the local Anglican churches here.
I married Jolyon 33 years ago when he was a barrister in the City. He has now been a Church of England priest for 26 years, including 14 as rector of a parish near Godalming. His church family in Nailsea has been informed that they will lose their Rector as he will move with me to Oxshott.
We have two married children: our son, Joshua, is married to Joanna, and our daughter, Abigail, is married to William. All are in their mid-late twenties.
Please pray for all the members of our three churches here in Nailsea and for us as we prepare to move. We will continue to pray for you too, as Mary-Beth leaves and some continue to shoulder significant burdens in the Vacancy.
God bless you,
Frances’ husband, Jolyon, writes in his announcement to his parish:
This is an amazing opportunity; the offer to Frances is humbling, unexpected and deeply affirming of her ministry and calling. The Lord has clearly thrown open this door – my reading for the day of interview included Revelation 3:7-8: ‘What he opens, no-one can shut, what he closes, no-one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no-one can shut.’
I will therefore tender my resignation as Rector of Holy Trinity and Trendlewood, and walk with Frances through this open door, trusting the Lord for my own unknown future…
Comments Off on Vacancy Update and Continued Prayers
We are very grateful to you all for your prayers over the last year, and even more grateful to God that those prayers have been answered, with the appointment of Revd Frances Trickey.
The journey to seek our new vicar to lead us at St Andrew’s has been long and sometimes challenging, in that two rounds of the process were necessary to find God’s chosen candidate. That process involved writing a detailed Parish Profile; advertisements in the Church Times; shortlisting by the panel, chaired by Bishop Andrew and including the Archdeacon, Paul Bryer, the Area Dean, Alan Jenkins, and two parish representatives; and formal interviews conducted by the same panel. The process also enabled the candidates to visit the church, have a tour of the parish, view the vicarage and meet members of the ministry team and PCC.
We were encouraged to pray for everyone involved in the vacancy process, so that the person called by God to this role would be found and appointed. Specific opportunities for prayer were also organised so that, with one voice, we could lift the prayers of our church to God, for his will and purpose to be fulfilled. These included:
Saturday 12 November 9-10.30am: Prayer session “Hear my prayer” led by Revd David Bracewell.
Tuesday 15 November 2-2.30pm: Prayers for Phillip and Ruth (our parish representatives)
Thursday 24 November 7-7.45pm: Prayers for the candidiates, and their visit to St Andrew’s
Many of our church family came along to these prayer meetings, and St Andrew’s has now been blessed with God’s provision for us.
Please continue to hold the remaining months of the vacancy in your daily prayers – for the ministry team as they continue to lead services; for Mary-Beth as she prepares to take up her new role in Hampshire; for Frances and Jolyon as they prepare to leave their current churches and move to Oxshott; for Frances as she prepares to lead us at St Andrew’s; in all things, for God’s will to be fulfilled here at St Andrew’s and in the community of Oxshott.
‘We have so much to be thankful for,’ was the opening statement in the talk given on St Andrew’s Day, the first Sunday of Advent. ‘Giving to those in need shows we care, and don’t take for granted what we have. In giving we acknowledge God’s gifts to us.’
Thank you to all whose contributions through the year have enabled St Andrew’s to work out our mission to tell people about Jesus. Your generous contributions have, so far, made it possible for us to make donations of over £20,000 in 2016 to our partner charities. Letters of thanks for the final tranche of donations will shortly be pinned on the Outward Giving notice board in the church vestibule.
Please remember that ‘Planned Giving’ makes it easier to budget for ‘Outward Giving’. If you would like to support our outward giving programme through the planned giving scheme, please pick up a reply card from the church vestibule.
52 Sundays ago we found ourselves in ‘vacancy’. As we look back over the year we can see that God, in his faithfulness, has answered so many prayers.
Yesterday we were very pleased to announce that the Revd Frances Trickey was invited to become the next Vicar of Oxshott and she has accepted. At present Frances is the Associate Minister in a parish of two churches in the Diocese of Bath and Wells. She and her husband, Jolyon, will come to live in the vicarage sometime in the Spring. The date has yet to be agreed.
She writes, “When Bishop Andrew rang to offer me the post I was amazed and excited, and those feelings have not left me. It will be wonderful to join you and find out where God wants to take us together for the sake of His Kingdom”
Frances was the unanimous choice of the selection panel. We firmly believe that God will bless us through her ministry in St Andrews and to all the parish of Oxshott. Thank you for all your prayers over the year.