An Update from Frances

As we enter the four weeks of the second lockdown, I wanted to write both to encourage you and to inform you about the new government restrictions and the way they will affect church activities.

The first, difficult news is that in this period, we are no longer permitted to allow anyone to attend services in church.  A few of us can be in church to lead and broadcast services, which we will continue to do on Sundays at 10am.  You will find the links to join in on our home page.  If you have any difficulty accessing these – or have any other issues around using your device to join in – there are people who would love to help you, so please ring the office (01372 842071) in the first instance.

Additionally, any meetings planned need to be held virtually, rather than in person.  This applies to everything from PCC meetings to Life Group socials.  Many of you have told me how much you dislike zoom (or its equivalents).  However, if we can regard it simply as a helpful tool to enable us to gather in ways that otherwise are not possible (especially important for those of us living alone) then I hope many of our vital group gatherings can continue.  Again, if you have the technology but are worried about using it, please contact the office to seek support.

The good news is that we can continue to visit the church building for private prayer on Wednesdays from 4-5.30pm, so please do continue to book for that via the church office or the booking page. Let’s use this opportunity.

I end with the encouragement of this verse, used in previous pastoral letters:

‘Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.’     (Romans 12.12)

Our hope is not just about the end of the pandemic or the invention of a vaccine. It is based on Jesus and all that he has done for us on the cross, opening the way for an intimate relationship with our loving heavenly Father, beginning now and lasting into eternity.  When this hope feels distant may I suggest you turn to the Psalms?  They are wonderful verses containing every raw human emotion.  Peace is found as the psalmist acknowledges afresh that God both knows how he feels and is in control. And this applies to us too.

The pastoral assistants, members of the bereavement and ministry teams and clergy are all still available to help you or someone you know who may be struggling, so please get in touch so that we can support one another in any way over these next few weeks.

Blessings,

 

 

 

 

StAks@home: Light Up the Dark & Remembrance

A message from our curate, Patrick…

Just to let you all know that our Light Up The Dark resources for StAks@home are now available.  We particularly encourage any of you who have grandchildren, near or far, to take a look. The activities, especially the ones this weekend for Light up the Dark, can easily be done with grandchildren, even if it has to be on Facetime, WhatsApp or Zoom. We hope that these resources give you an opportunity to talk together about the themes of Light and Dark.

In addition, our Remembrance@home resources will be available from Wednesday 4 November, which you can use in preparation for, and alongside, our Act of Remembrance Online at 10.45am on 8 November. These, too, give you the opportunity to involve your wider family with Remembrance in a positive and meaningful way; grandparents or grandchildren can be involved in preparing the personal Remembrance garden and explaining via a video or phone call who they want to remember this year.

For both Light Up The Dark and Remembrance@home you will find a short video introducing the theme, and some resources to download which help you prepare and guide you through a family activity together.

As ever, if you have any questions, or would like to be in touch for any reason, please do email or call: , or 07780 125127.

Patrick Davies

Annual Memorial Service

Each year at St Andrew’s we hold a Memorial Service to remember the lives of all those who have died during the last year, especially those with any connection to St Andrew’s, Oxshott.

This year the service will be on Sunday, 1 November, at 4pm.

As you might imagine, this year’s service will be slightly different, as it needs to conform both to the Government and Church of England guidelines, intended to keep us all safe during the pandemic.

We are only able to accommodate a maximum of 35 people in the church service (excluding those leading the service and choir) and these people have now been invited. To enable many more to join in, the service will be ‘live streamed’ so that people can participate from the safety of their own homes. You can join the live stream on YouTube here.

Please download and print your own copy of the Service Booklet.

If you would like to have the name of a loved one read out in this service, please complete the form below stating the name clearly, exactly as you would like it to be read.  Or if you would prefer, you can call the office number 01372 842071 and give the details to Rowena or Claire.

If anything is unclear, please do not hesitate to call the office team.

Blessings,

    Please complete this form by Monday 26 October,
    or please telphone the office on 01372 842071

    Notes from Andy Atkin’s talk

    What does it mean to follow Jesus Christ in relation to the Environment- what the Bible calls ‘His Creation’?

    If you prefer, you can download and print this as a pdf.

    Reading from Colossians 1.15-20

    Over recent years theologians have realised that scripture is filled with references to the Environment which perhaps we have not noticed so well in the past.

    Biblical foundations for care for the Environment:

    1. Genesis 1: God created the world, including us.  We have a powerful creator God.
    2. Genesis 1: God loves the world and pronounced it ‘…very good’ (not just average!).
    3. Genesis 2.15: God wants us to love Creation too. Mankind was instructed by Him to ‘till it and keep it’ (other translations – ‘take care of it’).  Christians are called to serve and preserve Creation.  Christian ‘dominion’ is therefore absolutely not ‘domination’.
    4. Human sin created a breach with God.   We have treated creation very badly.
    5. Good News: we have reconciliation and redemption through Jesus.  But so has Creation.
      • John 3.16 : ‘God so loved the world’  The word for world here is GK. Cosmos.  Jesus is good news for the cosmos, for everything, not just for humankind.
      • Colossians 1.20 : Jesus reconciles ‘all things’ to himself on the cross.
      • Mark 16.15 : We are told to ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.’As Christians we have a powerful mandate and obligation to care for God’s Creation because He made it and because He loves it.
    6. Critical additional point:Matthew 22.26-40, when Jesus was asked what is the greatest commandment, his reply is first to love God and then to love our neighbour.
      Loving our neighbour is evidenced by how we treat the vulnerable, the marginalised, the poor, the migrants and the refugees among us.  We now know that these groups are affected ‘first and worst’ by environmental damage (such as air pollution) and climate change.
      Andy cited the example of air pollution in inner cities causing the deaths of between 28 000 and 36000 deaths annually in the UK ( according to a report published in March 2019 by Public Health England).  We know that it is generally poorer people who live in inner cities.

    Therefore, we have a double mandate to care for all God’s Creation because:

    • God loves it and He made it
    • People, whom God also loves, depend upon it.

    How can we put this love into practice as individuals, or as Life Groups?

    Enjoy                                             Nurture                                          Protect

    We will automatically do all three of these for people whom we love.  But these also apply to God’s Creation – the Environment.

    Some practical ideas:

    1. Try actively to enjoy God’s Creation every day by walking in it, for example.  If you are not able to do this, use television programmes, or poetry to give you the same sense of wonder and enjoyment.  Allow God’s Nature to speak to, encourage you and to point you back towards our creator God.Consider the following:
    2. Energy supplier: Switching your household energy supplier to a firm that generates electricity from renewable resources.
    3. Transport: Reduce your use of fossil-fuelled transport.  Cycle or walk locally when you can.  Use trains rather than planes if possible.  If not, offset your carbon emissions with a reputable company (Andy mentioned Climate Stewards, a sister organisation to A Rocha UK.
    4. Investments: switch as much of these as you can to ethical funds which are not invested in companies which continue to explore for fossil-fuels or which damage nature through deforestation, and so on.
    5. Your garden: try to create nature and wildlife friendly areas with lots of pollinator-friendly plants.
    6. Your diet: can you eat less meat and dairy produce- perhaps becoming what Andy called a ‘flexitarian’ – someone who eats meat only at weekends or on alternate days alongside vegetarian options?
    7. Your voice: can you sign the petition or write to your MP about local environmental issues?
    8. Sign up to the Wild Christian e-bulletin produced by A Rocha for further ideas.

    Andy’s tips:

    • Many of these considerations are made easier if we approach them with others, eg our Life Groups.
    • Start with things you can do easily and leave the harder things till later.
    • Celebrate what you achieve and don’t be put off by what you fail at.

    What can we do as a church?

    • 2. and 3. above are applicable (including the provision of cycle racks at church).
    • Car-sharing scheme.
    • If embarking upon a major piece of expenditure (eg a new church boiler), plan to make it as environmentally- friendly as possible.
    • Put pressure on the UK government to keep to its pledges with regard to the Environment in preparation for COP26, the UN climate conference to be held in the UK in Nov 2021.
    • Hold a Climate Sunday- sign up for this via the A Rocha website.

    See also A Rocha resources from Andy

    Patrick’s Ordination!


    Saturday 10 October is a special day when our curate, Patrick Davies, will be ordained. The service will take place at Holy Trinity, Claygate, for the candidates and their families, and it will be live streamed so that anyone else can watch at home.

    Watch the live stream at 5pm on 10 October.

    More details are available on the Guildford diocese website.

    We encourage you all to encourage Patrick by joining the event online.

    St Andrew’s @ Harvest

    There’s a lot happening at St Andrew’s this Sunday to celebrate Harvest!

    • There’s our usual Listen & Pray, and this week we welcome Andy Atkins from A Rocha speaking about the importance of caring for God’s creation
    • Some of you will have booked into church for our 10am service of Listen & Pray with Holy Communion – and this week the choir are making their first appearance back in church – a very exciting next step! You can still book a place here for the repeated service at 10am on Wednesday 7 October.
    • On Sunday there will also be a new online video, Harvest@home, with lots of harvest activities that families can do together to celebrate all the good things God has given us, and to share some of those things with others.
    • And we are still collecting food items and donations for the Cobham Area Foodbank – details can be found here.

    Despite the difficult circumstances we are still having to face, there is much to celebrate and we hope that Sunday will be a day of joyful praise and thanks to God for his goodness.

    APCM arrangements

    I am writing to you this week primarily about the APCM (the Annual Parochial Church Meeting) which is to be held, as many of you already know, on Sunday 4 October at 7.30pm.

    I am sorry we were unable to send this letter last week, as intended, but we have had to wait to receive the go ahead from the diocese of Guildford in light of the government’s latest guidelines which came into force on 14 September.

    Priority Booking

    Given that we need to accommodate the various church ‘officers’ (the two churchwardens, myself and the treasurer), plus those involved in enabling the APCM to run, we are limited for spaces in the church. Therefore, the wardens and I suggest that, as with our first services in church, we give priority to those who cannot easily access the meeting via the internet (we have a list of these members of our church) to book in for the meeting. Therefore, if this applies to you, we would be glad if you would please ring the church office (01372 842071 between 9am and 1pm, Monday to Friday) by Monday 28 September to book your place. If any places remain there will be a booking form on the APCM information page from Tuesday 29 September listing the number of spaces available on a first-come, first-served basis. If this does not appear, this means there are no spaces left.

    Zoom Booking and Signing-in

    Please join the zoom meeting at 7.30pm on Sunday 4 October.

    To join by audio only from any phone, dial 0203 481 5240 (charged at local rates) and when prompted enter the following:

    • Meeting ID: 853 6541 1762
    • Passcode: 578360013

    Annual Report and Meeting Agenda

    The agenda and annual report will be available on the APCM information page. If you require a paper copy of either of these, please contact the office team, who will print them and arrange to deliver them to you.

    Other presentations made during the course of the meeting will be shown on the church screen and on zoom.

    Nominations

    Nomination forms for both a new churchwarden and up to 6 members of the PCC will be available on the APCM information page. If you wish to have any of these posted to you, please ring the office.

    All nomination forms should be returned please to the PCC secretary, Mrs Sue Procter: 

    In theory, nominations are accepted right up until the meeting itself. However, as they require both the nominee, plus a proposer and seconder to sign them, in practice this takes a little time and preparation. (Please note that we have decided that scanned signatures are acceptable this year.)

    Please pray carefully about who to nominate and give your nominee the time to prayerfully reflect upon whether this is the right step. The wardens and I are happy to receive enquiries from anyone considering standing for the PCC.

    Voting

    Voting is an integral part of any annual meeting and so we are making careful preparations for counting votes both from those physically present in the meeting and from those at home on zoom. Please rest assured that this will be a ‘real’ meeting in all respects and voting will be explained clearly on the night.

    Questions

    It would help us enormously if you could please submit questions in advance of the meeting. To this end, please send them by Thursday 1 October to Sue Procter, the PCC secretary, using the email address for her given above.

    The Churchwardens, Treasurer and I are really looking forward to being able to celebrate with you all that God has done in and through Your Church – St Andrew’s Oxshott over the year from April 2019 – April 2020, so please do join us if you possibly can.

    Blessings,

    Services of Holy Communion at St Andrew’s

    It has been so wonderful to see a good number of you in the past month in church, either at private prayer or for Listen & Pray. I think many of us have been surprised by how unexpectedly moving and emotional these simple gatherings have been.

    Building on this positive experience to date, I am glad to write that (unless anything untoward happens between now and then) we shall resume holding services of Holy Communion at St Andrew’s, starting on 6 September. This letter is to inform you of the details, so please do take note and pass the news on! I shall set these out as a list to make referring to them straightforward:

    1. Identical Communion services 10am on Sundays and Wednesdays from September

      From the first Sunday in September we shall hold two identical services of Holy Communion each week at St Andrew’s until further notice. Both will take place at 10am.  One will be held on Sunday and the other on Wednesday morning. This is because current capacity in church due to observing the Covid-19 guidelines is limited to somewhere between 25-35 at any one time. Listen & Pray will still be available to everyone via the website and will be screened during both Communion services.

    2. How do I decide which service to attend?

      The wardens and I strongly suggest that if you are at work during the week you should come to the service on a Sunday. Conversely, if you have flexibility over how you use your weekdays, please would you attend the service on Wednesday mornings. If in doubt, please ring the office.

    3. Booking

      We need to ask you to continue to book for these services, as previously. In summary, please go to Bookings for Listen & Pray in church or ring the office (01372  842071) between 9am and 1pm, Monday to Friday.  There will always be some spare capacity for visitors.

    4. What will it be like?

      Things will remain much as they have been during August, with everyone required to wear masks and seated 2m apart during the services (except for those sharing a bubble, who can sit together). As you book a place you will be sent (via email or post) a document giving further information about what to expect. Please contact the office if you have any concerns or queries.

     

    I know that these arrangements still fall far short of what we would all prefer. However, let us do as Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5.11

    Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.

    Blessings,

    Listen & Pray in church

    St Andrew’s church building has been open now for four occasions for private prayer, and although numbers attending remain small, I know it has been a real comfort to some. And so we move to the next stage: opening the church for a ‘service’. This will first happen on 9 August and will continue through to the end of the month, by which time we are planning further opportunities to worship together, including celebrating Holy Communion.

    These summer ‘services’ will simply be Listen & Pray screened in church. We had planned to have the preacher and pray-er deliver their parts ‘live’ but the obligation to wear masks in church has meant a change to our plans as these will make it more difficult to hear people speak (and impossible to lip-read), especially for those of us who have hearing difficulties. However, I hope that some of the disappointment will be assuaged by the fact that myself and Patrick, our new curate, will be present in church to welcome you in person, as well as the assembled group of around 25 people (depending on how many ‘bubbles’ there are): it really will be good to see a few of our church family. 10am has been chosen as that is also when it is suggested that internet-users watch Listen & Pray online so there will be quite a community of us gathered simultaneously!

    Sadly, we need to ask you to continue to book to attend anything happening in the church building, in order that we are abiding by all the rules and guidelines sent to us on a worryingly regular basis from the government, the House of Bishops and the diocese of Guildford. The wardens, office team and I long for the day when we can just let everyone come! However, please rest assured that everything we are doing is for the safety of everyone, including the most vulnerable among us.

    For the first Listen & Pray in church we want to give priority to those (around 20 or so) whom we are acutely aware have been unable to join in with anything posted on the website as they have little or no access to the internet. The office will be sending invitations to these people on Friday. If you receive one, please ring the office by 1pm on Tuesday 4 August to confirm whether you are able to attend, otherwise, it will be assumed that you do not intend to come.

    From Wednesday morning 5 August, can I encourage everyone else who wishes to attend to book themselves and their family in, either using the booking form on the church website or by ringing the office between 9am and 1pm up to and including Friday. The list will close on Friday at lunchtime. Booking enables us both to track and trace and also to set out the chairs in the correct configuration for the particular combination of ‘bubbles’ of people attending for that particular week.

    For the following Sundays in August, all are welcome to book for this short service of Listen & Pray, so please be in touch via the website or by phone. It will only be possible to book for the following Sunday and (if booking by phone) during office hours from Monday to Friday lunch-time, when the list for that week will be closed. If you are in any doubt, please ring the Church Office on 01372 842071.

    Everyone attending is asked to follow the instructions of the Welcomers and is strongly advised to wear a mask, please. Wearing these is not for our own sake but again to help protect the most vulnerable among us.  Please bring your own mask if possible, although a small supply of them will be available. Similarly, please bring your own Bible with you.

    Finally, I want to thank all the Warden, Office, Welcomer and Publicity teams (especially Mike Shand), for working so hard to complete these arrangements to enable more of us to meet in church again; it really has been a huge task and I am so grateful to them all. Perhaps you could encourage them too if you see them!

    I am very aware this is rather a detailed letter so please, if you are confused, do ring the office, where Rowena will be very glad to help you.

    Blessings,

    Families & Children’s Worker Vacancy

    Are you someone who wants to love, engage, and disciple families and younger children?

    We’re a lively church. We’re growing and looking for great people to join our team. We’re seeking a visionary and creative person to help us build and develop fruitful relationships with the many young families in our community in Oxshott, Surrey.

    You’ll be someone who:

    • Is passionate about bringing families to Jesus and nurturing them
    • Has experience with children aged 0-11
    • Can lead teams of volunteers in building and executing an integrated programme of activities
    • Is a prayerful Christian, open to God and the work of the Holy Spirit

    Hours can be flexible by mutual arrangement (from 25 to 37.5) but will need to include Sundays and some evening commitments.  Salary £22,000 plus possible further help towards transport or housing. There is a genuine occupational requirement for the postholder to be a Christian and an Enhanced Plus level DBS is also necessary.

    For an informal chat about the role, please ring Frances (the vicar) on 01372 802316. The job description, application form and more information about us are available below.

    Please complete the application form and email it to:

    by 12 noon on Friday 18 September 2020.