StAks@home has arrived!

As the school holidays approach, we thought it would be great to get all our StAks and their friends together online to have some fun!

Under normal circumstances, StAks (St Andrew’s kids) meet at church from 11am-12noon on Sundays for fun, games, songs, bible stories and crafts. But as that isn’t possible at the moment, StAks@home is a new opportunity for children and young people to enjoy songs, actions, bible stories and prayers.

You will find videos and other resources specially developed for school age children, older children and young people, and pre-schoolers.

And here’s the difference… We want you to have the chance to take part in future videos! So how creative can you be? When you’ve watched the videos, why not tell us what you liked about them, and how you might like to take part next time. Maybe you and your family could sing a song together, or show how to make something, or record some family prayers. Or you might want to read the bible story for us. Whatever it is, we’d love you to get in touch.

We would also like to be able to let you know when the next video or activities are posted on the website. Please just fill in your contact details on the keep in touch form and we’ll do the rest.

 

Black Lives Matter

I wonder how you respond to this headline: with frustration, anger, approval, exasperation?  You may even be cross with me for bringing this subject up. But as it has featured in my email communication with members of the parish recently, I wanted to reflect publicly about it.

Recently, a black friend of mine told me the story of how, shortly before lockdown, she was walking through a local shopping centre when she was approached by a man of approximately 20–30 who walked straight towards her. At the last moment she swerved to make way for him only to hear him mutter, ‘Ooh, ooh, ooh!’ and raise his arms in imitation of a monkey as he walked past her.

We may believe that racism is a thing of the past in a civilised society, but, sadly, my friend’s experience in 2020 shows that it is still alive and kicking, whether overtly or perhaps even more likely covertly in our unconscious biases and stereotypes.

We may want to counter by saying that, ‘All Lives Matter’. And clearly they do, for God both created and loves everyone.

‘But just at the moment, it is vital that we acknowledge how Black Lives Matter – in our words, deeds and imagining,’  

 as Bishop Jo, Bishop of Dorking wrote to all Guildford clergy on 18 June. I commend her whole piece to you – you can find it here.

In a tweet on 8 June, Archbishop Justin Welby wrote this:

‘The racism that people in this country experience is horrifying. The Church has failed here, and still does, and it’s clear what Jesus commands us to do: repent and take action.’

I wonder if and how racism has affected you? I do hope that if you are from a BAME background that you have been made welcome at St Andrew’s or in any of the Oxshott community activities. Perhaps we could all take the opportunity to do what the archbishop says. First, to examine ourselves (including in prayer, asking God to help) and, if necessary, repent of our attitudes or actions (or even our inaction). Secondly, we might consider what actions we as a church or as a community might need to take to be welcoming to everyone, because ‘All Lives Matter’ to God and to all of us. This is a huge subject and we will return to it but do please let me know if you have any reflections on this.

Blessings,

 

Bishop Jo – Black Lives Matter

Bishop Jo, Bishop of Dorking wrote this to all Guildford clergy on 18 June.

All lives matter. Of course they do, most obviously because our Creator God has intended, invested and takes interest in each and every one of us. But just at the moment it is vital that we acknowledge how Black Lives Matter — in our words, deeds and imagining. This is not knee-jerk, even though awareness is provoked by recent events that are unequivocally (even or especially if unconsciously) racist. The problem is not confined to particular incidents: if it were it would be much easier to address. The problems are deep-seated: buried in egregious problems of history which continue to shape attitudes in the present and the future. That’s why the need is far-reaching: to revisit our history, understand our assumptions and uncover our biases. We all have them — it’s how we survive in a complex world! But BLM prompts us to discern what they reveal about our power and prejudice in relation to race and ethnicity — what we see and don’t see, what we say and don’t say, what we think and what we don’t even realise — so that we may learn, and be empowered to address the problems, and build a better world. The problems are individual and institutional, and therefore we must address them personally and corporately. That will involve repentance and change, two features that are surely foundational to us as Christians and as a Church, thanks to the transforming love of Christ.I’m eager for this journey. Even though it may be hard and will demand determination, it will be productive and inspiring… because it leads us toward the glorious destiny described in the book of Revelation in which the saints of every tribe and tongue are united in worship around God’s heavenly throne. A magnificent picture of diverse harmony! How are your steps on this journey I wonder? I urge you not to depend on BAME friends or badgering bishops to urge you on your way (though you should expect them/us to do some of that!). Allow this time of lockdown to enable some reading, listening, lamenting. Can you plan some steps — actions — that make sense in your context? And in the spirit of Eph 3:20  I’d invite you to imagine — to dream — what God might wish to address and enable that lies beyond our current capacity and community.

Meanwhile let me propose two small steps for this weekend:

  1. Watch Reni Eddo-Lodge for 12 minutes talking about her recent book on racism
  2. Take 2 mins this Monday 22 June on Windrush Day at 11am for lament, remembering the suffering of the Windrush Generation, and praying for a better, fairer world.

Bishop Jo

Copyright © 2020 The Diocese of Guildford, All rights reserved.

Thy Kingdom Come

Due to lockdown, we gathered on zoom every morning for TKC prayers, using ‘The Father’s Love’ Prayer Journal, and it was wonderful to see 42 different people taking part. There were also two virtual prayer walks, giving thanks to God for all those who serve our village community, and praying for strength and perseverance for all of our shops and institutions as they prepare to re-open in the coming weeks.

Christian Aid Life Groups Quiz

A big thank you to the Life Groups who participated in the quiz and made donations to support Christian Aid. Congratulations to Jo Eccleshall’s Life Group, who now hold the prized trophy for the next twelve months.

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

This role could be either full or part-time, with hours by mutual arrangement, but will need to include Sundays and some evening commitments.  A minimum of 25 hours is required. 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 26 June 2020.

 

 

 

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.