Pastoral Letter — 1 June

Our new grandson is now a full 3 months old, which means we have been in lockdown for over 9 weeks. Communication — whether through letters, hand-written notes, emails, the internet or phone calls — has been so important in helping us to keep going.

However, the significance of being able to see each other face-to-face was underlined for me yesterday when an elderly member of the St Andrew’s family made it onto an online gathering for the first time. Not only was she extremely pleased but the effect on the rest of us was amazing: we were absolutely thrilled to see her smiling face!

We now know that there is the potential for those who are not shielding to meet with up to 6 others (providing they keep to the government’s guidelines): praise the Lord! However, with ‘normal’ services and gatherings in church still a distant hope, we are concerned to help anyone who wishes to gain access to all the good things that continue to take place as part of St Andrew’s online.

Do you have an internet connection but are anxious about using your computer? Do you find navigating our website a challenge? If this describes you, or someone you know, then please let us know, as we are thinking of offering group tutorials to help people learn to do this. Alternatively, you might like help to investigate using a device (such as a mobile phone). Again, please let us know how we can help.

Of course, some of us are thrilled that we cannot easily be contacted for this time and are enjoying ‘time out’, so no one need feel under any pressure to join in! The important thing is that no one should feel alone. As the apostle Paul writes in several of his letters, we are members of Christ’s body together and when you hurt, the rest of us do too.

But God has so arranged the body… that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another.  If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together with it.  

(1 Cor 12:24-26)

So please allow us to help you if we can.

Blessings,

Covid-19 — work or money worries?

The economic impact of the coronavirus is going to be very significant; it is already making life really hard for some people.

We know that having access to information and guidance is both important and reassuring, so we have added a new page to this website, with links to organisations who can help.

 

 

Frances’ Pastoral Letter – 14 May

How have the last two weeks been for you?  I wonder if, like me and several friends, you have found yourself at a low ebb recently (some have described it as ‘hitting a wall’)?  I certainly had a couple of days a week or so ago when it was ridiculously hard to motivate myself to do anything.  I am certain this is a normal phase; the result of the realisation that the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic are both here to stay for some time and will affect almost every part of our lives.

For me, the VE Day Bank Holiday with its beautiful weather and uplifting sense of celebration and thankfulness for peace was timely in helping me overcome this feeling.  I hope that you were able to join in with something which lifted your spirits too.  It also happened that this was the time when a YouTube video of The UK Blessing was released.  I have written about this for the next magazine so will not write much here.  However, it is a wonderful setting of some words from the book of Numbers in the Old Testament:

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and give you peace.’

I do suggest that you watch it below and join the 2 million or so people for whom it has been a real inspiration.  It reminds us that the only true peace we experience – whatever our circumstances – comes from God as a gift.

One of the many effects of Covid-19 upon the life of St Andrew’s, Oxshott concerns the long-awaited replacement of our ancillary buildings.  As many of you in the community are aware, these spaces (the kitchen, the hall and so on) currently leave a lot to be desired.  In fact, they were last renewed almost 50 years ago and have served us well.  Some of you will also be aware that the Parochial Church Council (PCC) has been looking at plans to improve these.  To this end, the Building Your Church (BYC for short) project has begun and is being led by Jill Mengham.  Over the next couple of weeks, Jill will send out a report to keep us all up to date with what is happening and to inform our praying.

Blessings,

Watch the UK blessing

My ChurchSuite – What’s it all about?

Some of you are already My ChurchSuite users; others have recently received an invitation by email to ‘login’ and start using My ChurchSuite; others of you will receive an invitation in the near future. Eventually, we hope that everyone in the church family will join My ChurchSuite, so that we can connect with each other and make use of the many useful features that it offers us – as individuals and as a church.

The benefits include having access to contact details of church family members; being able to see dates when you are on a particular rota; being able to show your unavailability; being able to arrange swaps, and over time, more features will be added.

As this is new to many, we have written some FAQs to help guide you through the early stages of logging in and using My ChurchSuite. We trust that these will get you started, but there’s no doubt that the best way to learn is to practice! And we also trust that you’ll be only too pleased to do so, once you realise how useful it is.

Thy Kingdom Come 21-31 May

Reflecting, gathering, praying, walking, but all with a difference!

As in previous years, we will once again be joining the global call to pray Thy Kingdom Come. But this year, we will be doing these things virtually via zoom or online, rather than in person. The details of how to join each event can be found by clicking the particular event in the ‘Coming Events’ section on the homepage.

At St Andrew’s, the TKC activities start at 8pm on 21 May, Ascension Day, with a service of reflection, music and prayer.

Then, each morning, we will meet for prayer from 9-9.30am, using the Prayer Journal – The Father’s Love, which is available online, through Life Groups, or by emailing Jolyon Trickey if you would like a copy by post.

On Wednesday 27 and Thursday 28 May, there are virtual prayer walks for our local shops, businesses, schools and community groups, and we would encourage everyone to pray for the homes, people and places you see as you take your daily exercise.

The 10 day event reaches a crescendo on Sunday 31 May – Pentecost – with Listen & Pray online at 10 am and the Guildford diocese Beacon Event at 6pm. See Frances’ Pentecost letter for more details.

For more TKC information and prayer activities, you can also personally register at www.thykingdomcome.global/lightuptheworld and the whole family can get involved using online family resources, so that everyone of every age can join the voice to pray Thy Kingdom Come.

Pentecost 2020

Pentecost for 2020 falls on Sunday 31 May.  This is a red-letter day for the Church worldwide.

Why?  Because it’s the day on which we celebrate the fact that God fulfilled his promise to send the Holy Spirit upon the disciples (see Acts chapter 2) in order that everyone – whether Jew or Gentile, slave or free, man or woman, saint or sinner – might hear the Good News of Jesus for themselves.

It is also the day when we celebrate God’s presence within us, guiding us and making us more like Jesus by that same Holy Spirit.

It is also the final day of Thy Kingdom Come for 2020, the culmination of all the prayer and activities organised locally, nationally and internationally.

So, there are at least 3 reasons to make 31 May a day of celebration!

In past years I have encouraged everyone to wear red to a service on Pentecost Sunday, which is not possible this year. Of course, in Listen & Pray we will mark Pentecost. Why not therefore simply wear red wherever you are on that day?  If anyone asks why, you can tell them any of the reasons given above!

You could also be creative and hold your own celebration lunch or tea physically (according to Government guidelines) or virtually (using zoom, the telephone, etc) on the theme of God’s Holy Spirit? Symbols for the Holy Spirit include a dove or flames of fire as well as the colour red.  Can you include these in your celebration somehow (and in the case of the flames of fire, let’s be careful not to be too literal!)?  Please note: Guildford diocese is also holding a Pentecost Beacon event online at 6pm on Sunday 31 May – more details will follow as soon as they are available.

Blessings

A Sponsored Challenge for Christian Aid


Jolyon writes: “I am seeking sponsorship to run a mile for every year of my age, 63 miles, between Sunday 17 & Sunday 31 May! My work at the Anglican Communion Office makes me painfully aware that the poorest are beginning to suffer most from the physical & economic impacts of Covid-19. Christian Aid already works with such people, but urgently needs more resources. Will you ‘join me’ by being extra-generous in sponsoring me. Find out more & donate at JustGiving or contact me directly. Pray my knees hold up!”

Further information on Christian Aid Month.

An Invitation to Life Groups

Dear friends,

This is a difficult time for all of us. Not only are we anxious about our health but also we may be wrestling with many other challenges – getting food, schooling children, protection at work (especially for those in the NHS and in care homes), working from home, job security, finances, isolation, and more. SO, why not consider Zooming in to a Life Group meeting? “What!” I hear you say, “why on earth would I want to do that?” Well, you may be surprised. Life Groups are an integral part of St Andrew’s. They consist of 10 to 15 people meeting to support each other, worship, explore the Bible, pray and reach out to the Oxshott community. Some Groups meet weekly and some fortnightly and now, thanks to technology, it is easy to participate, even in lockdown.

I confess that, when I was in my twenties, I was a sceptic and I avoided such groups like the plague! I felt that (a) I didn’t need them and (b) I had other things to do. But over the years, mainly thanks to my wife, I learned that I was wrong! They are a great way to be part of a community that cares, a great way to learn more about the Bible and a great way to deepen one’s faith. But it is not only a journey inward, it can also be a journey outward, ie participating in activities to help others, for example helping at the recently launched Cobham Soup Kitchen. Yes, of course one can do that without being in a Life Group. But how much more fun to do it with others? They say that converts are always the most zealous and I guess that applies to me. In fact, I’ll give you a money back guarantee that you’ll enjoy being part of a Life Group if you try it with an open mind. Actually Life Groups are FREE so I can’t give you any money back – but I’ll buy you a cup of coffee at Munch & Wiggles! SO why not give it a try – you have much to gain and nothing to lose because there’s no obligation to stay if you don’t like it. If you would like to take up the offer, please email or phone the church office on 01372 842071.

 

Blessings

Patrick

Life Groups Co-ordinator

 

 

An Easter letter from Frances

Maundy Thursday

For all of us, not being able to meet physically and worship, sing, pray and listen to God’s Word together or to share the Peace and Communion together with one another at this most important time of the year is really hard.  Celebrating Easter will not be the same without our brothers and sisters within the church family nor our biological families or friends.  I think we will all come to Easter 2020 with a sense of loss.

Read moreAn Easter letter from Frances