Churches across the parish reopen for worship from Easter Day

We have been asked by the Bishop of Oxford to undertake a gradual approach to the reopening of our churches due to the continued need to maintain vigilance even though the signs are good that disease levels are reducing now that the national vaccination programme is in operation. However, we have only to look to our European neighbours to see how things can quickly change as they appear to be entering a third wave of the pandemic.

We will therefore be offering the following services until the 17th May 2021 after which we will again review the situation to see if we can then return to a normal pattern of worship on a Sunday.

4th April Easter Day:

As this is a major Feast Day for this Sunday only, we will be offering services in all four churches:

9.15am: Holy Communion Holy Trinity Lane End

9.30am: Holy Communion St Peter and St Paul Stokenchurch

11am: Holy Communion St Nicholas Ibstone

11am: Holy Communion St Mary le Moor Cadmore End

11th April:

9.30am: Morning Praise and Prayer St Peter and St Paul Stokenchurch

11am Morning Prayer and Reflection St Mary le Moor Cadmore End

18th April:

9.15am Morning Praise and Prayer Holy Trinity Lane End

11am Holy Communion St Mary le Moor Cadmore End

25th April:

9.30am Holy Communion St Peter and St Paul Stokenchurch

11am Morning Praise and Prayer St Nicholas Ibstone

2nd May:

9.15am: Holy Communion Holy Trinity Lane End

11am Holy Communion St Mary le Moor Cadmore End

9th May:

9.30am: Morning Praise and Prayer St Peter and St Paul Stokenchurch

11am: Holy Communion St Nicholas Ibstone

11am Morning Prayer and Reflection St Mary le Moor Cadmore End

16th May

9.15am Morning Praise and Prayer Holy Trinity Lane End

11am Holy Communion St Mary le Moor Cadmore End

To ensure your own safety please follow each churches covid 19 procedures and guidelines when you attend for worship. Please do not attend if you are showing any symptoms of covid 19.

Our churches will also remain open for private prayer please consult the individual church websites for opening times.

News and Resources

Our churches remain open for private prayer details of opening times can be found by visiting the individual church websites by clicking on the links below:

St Peter and St Paul Stokenchurch

St Nicholas Ibstone

Holy Trinity Lane End

St Mary le Moor Cadmore End

Scroll down this page to find our blog entries which are updated on the Wednesday each week.

Resources for Children and Families

The Godly Play website has lots of great ideas for children’s activities which can be found by clicking here.

The School Assemblies website are during the current situation with Coronavirus publishing short Pause for Thought clips and suggestions rather than their usual assemblies, these they hope will be useful for parents to use at home and for schools to utilise as a resource as they encourage home learning. The Pause for Thought sessions begin in the April lists and the website can be accessed by clicking here.

Roots at Home: Worship and Learning Resources for the whole Church

With worship services and groups of all kinds currently suspended, Roots have created two sets of resources one for adults and another suitable for families and children. These resources are © ROOTS for Churches Ltd (www.rootsontheweb.com) 2002-2020 and are reproduced with permission.

Adult resources click here.

Families and children resources click here.

Live service feeds for Sundays

Diocese of Oxford Live Eucharist 10am

All Saints Church Marlow 9.30am and 11am

St Ebbes Church Oxford 10am

Prayer during the week

Other resources from around the churches of the Diocese

  • Talks, Prayers and Worship videos including an end of term service for our school children from the team at the Church of Christ the Servant King, Booker, High Wycombe can be found here.
  • Live streaming of a daily services from St Ebbes Church Oxford can be found here.

Services on the BBC

  • The BBC have announced they will be broadcasting a live church service on Sunday mornings on BBC 1, please check your TV schedule for time of service.
  • Songs of Praise is broadcast on BBC 1 at 1.15pm on Sunday
  • BBC Radio 4 has Lent talks on Wednesdays at 8.45am, prayer for the day at 5.43am each day and Sunday worship at 8.10am
  • BBC Radio 3 broadcasts Choral Evensong at 3.30pm on Wednesdays repeated on Sunday afternoon at 3pm (times can be subject to alteration)

Upcoming Services

Please join us:-

Sunday 16th  May

9.15                    Service of the Word at Holy Trinity Lane End – Revd Mark Ackford and Revd Philip Smith

This service is also live streamed and can be joined via

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/3448751858?pwd=MDk1WG1DY1VpTWh0KzhFVFJUcnBxdz09
Meeting ID: 344 875 1858
Passcode: clare

11.00                  Holy Communion at St Mary le Moor Cadmore End – Revd Peter Viney

Living Water

WATER!  We cannot live without water, and yet how often do we take it for granted?

For drinking, cooking, laundry, cleaning our cars, for leisure activities like surfing and swimming, for manufacture of wood into paper, to produce the electricity we always assume will be there for us at the flick of a switch.

I’ve noticed a few adverts about water this past week, both on the TV, and on a leaflet that came through the door, and have been reminded of the serious fact that 785 million people in the world still do not have clean water.

Maybe if we are farmers or gardeners, we very quickly notice its absence when we have a long dry period. When we lived in Papua New Guinea, north of Australia, water for us became a very valuable commodity. We could only safely drink water that was collected in a tank on our metal roof when it rained. No rain meant no fresh water, and how happy we were when we heard the sound of water drops falling on our corrugated iron roof, for with that sound came life and health and clean water in the tank.

And equally too much rain can cause floods, devastation, homelessness and illness. We all need a reliable, dependable water supply, not too much, not too little, and water is one life’s necessities Christian Aid is focussing on this week, during their appeal for us to give aid to those less fortunate than ourselves.

Whilst we all rely on physical water I am reminded that Jesus declared in the Bible:

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (John 7 v 37)

Jesus’ words promised something incredible that we may not realise today. The time-consuming process necessary to meet with God at the temple, the ritual bathing and ceremony surrounding the living water, would soon be replaced by Jesus, the true living water,  to whom we can come direct.

Living water means a source of naturally flowing water, and Jesus’ offer, both then and now is to anyone who believes in Him to come to Him, through prayer.  The result is an inner cleansing and refreshment, and life in its fulness. We can come repeatedly to Jesus, who wants to quench our thirst, that sometimes indefinable ‘something’ that we will never find fulfilled anywhere else .

I thank you, O loving God, that I can come direct to you for refreshment, that you are accessible and include me.

Amen.

Sunday Services

Sunday 9th  May

9.30                    Service of the Word at St Peter and St Paul, Stokenchurch – Revd Mark Ackford and Revd Philip Smith

11.00                  Holy Communion at St Nicholas, Ibstone – Revd Mark Ackford and Revd Philip Smith

11.00                  Morning Prayer and Reflection, St Mary le Moor, Cadmore End – Lay Led

Love and Forgiveness

I was recently sorting through some Church Times and my eyes happened to fall on the “Quotes of the Week” in one of the editions. The first was an extract taken from a sermon on Easter Day by the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell

“God’s door is always open. The kettle is always on. The beers are in the fridge. The champagne on ice. And someone has been sent out with a very large order for curry. God is scanning the horizon for our return.”

The second was reported by the bishop of Worcester, John Inge.

Adult to a group of children  “What do you think Jesus was doing while he was in hell for three days?”  Child, after a long pause: “I think he was looking everywhere for his friend Judas.”

The words love and forgiveness immediately sprang into my mind and what a wonderful example these two quotes have to offer us. In the first, there is a sense of the Father in Jesus’ story of the prodigal son; not a fatted calf on this occasion but such a welcome prepared for us, the kettle is on – how often do we say to another, call in, I’ll have the kettle on.  It’s far more than a cup of tea or coffee, it conveys a welcome, a delight to have another in our home and then far more than that, champagne, beers and masses of curry all there for us, God’s beloved guest whom he so want to join him. I think Stephen Cottrell’s choice of beer and curry will resonate with young people and dare I say it with the chaps too?! So this God, this Father who welcomes us, meets us where we are, in this picture it is not the splendid and sumptuous palace where God is sat on a gold, jewel encrusted throne but in the everyday, in the things we are familiar with and it recognises and tells us so much about how God knows our every need.

When I read the second extract, I had one of those moments when I inwardly caught my breath, it was such a beautiful and unexpected thing to read and from a child, how often we need to hear what they have to say!  Theologians for many years have pondered and published their thoughts on the role of Judas. We know he was the instigator of Jesus’ arrest and to that end he betrayed him as stated in the Gospels.  Was the lure of 30 pieces of silver impossible to resist? Did he think Jesus would not allow himself to be captured and demonstrate his power by overthrowing his enemies? Certainly Matthew records that Judas was full of remorse, he returned the 30 pieces of silver then hanged himself (Mat 27 3-5). 

The sort of forgiveness this child believes in must be at the very heart of all that Jesus himself taught about forgiveness in his many parables and in his healing ministry also.

These two lovely accounts of love and forgiveness tell and reassure us of that wonderful passage from Romans 8 31-39 ‘for nothing… can separate us from the love of God’. We can then be sure that no matter how many times we have failed, made mistakes, let others and ourselves down, there will be such a welcome in fact there is such a welcome when God does eventually spot us on the horizon as we return to him and receive with joy all that awaits us.

Upcoming Services

Please join us:-

Sunday 2nd May

9.15                    Holy Communion at Holy Trinity Church, Lane End – Revd Mark Ackford and Revd Philip Smith

This service is live streamed and can be watched on

https://us04web.zoom.us/j/3448751858?pwd=MDk1WG1DY1VpTWh0KzhFVFJUcnBxdz09

Meeting ID: 344 875 1858

Passcode: clare

11.00                  Holy Communion at St Mary le Moor, Cadmore End – Revd Mark Ackford and Revd Philip Smith

Wednesday 5th May

10.00                  Prayer Meeting on Zoom

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81257035409?pwd=NTdIT2NwcmJaeUFUemlxY21GL2IrUT09

Meeting ID: 812 5703 5409
Passcode: 746525

I watch the sunrise lighting the sky

The Grotto at Lourdes

Thank you to Toby Long for providing this week’s blog entry

I watch the sunrise lighting the sky

I watch the sunrise lighting the sky, Casting its shadows near.

And on this morning bright though it be, I feel those shadows near me.

But you are always close to me following all my ways.

May I be always close to you following all your ways, Lord.

This hymn about God’s presence throughout life’s seasons was written by English poet, hymn-writer and priest John Glynn. It became popular for both weddings and funerals and has also been used at various memorial ceremonies including for the Hillsborough disaster and the Manchester bombing.

I first heard this worship song in Lourdes, when as a teenager, as I accompanied a HCPT group of children on a pilgrimage. Every Easter, 1,000 disabled and disadvantaged children and young people enjoy a life changing pilgrimage holiday in Lourdes in the south of France. They are supported by volunteer doctors, nurses, teachers, helpers and priests.

In the evening of 11th February 1858, a young Roman Catholic girl, Bernadette, went to fetch some firewood with her sister, when a Lady who was unspeakably beautiful appeared to her at the Massabielle grotto. On subsequent visits, the Lady revealed herself to be the Virgin Mary or “Immaculate Conception”. The Lady also told Bernadette to dig in the ground at a certain spot and to drink from the small spring of water that began to bubble up. Almost immediately cures were reported from drinking the water. And yet the water has been shown through repeated testing not to have any special curative properties. Today thousands of litres of water flow from the spring, and pilgrims can bottle it, drink it and bathe in it, me included! Although we did get up at the crack of dawn that Easter to be the first to bathe in the spring’s fresh waters, I distinctly remember it being freezing cold.

Hearing this hymn for the first time in the great Basilica of St Pius X at Lourdes was a powerful experience. Amid all the pilgrims, rows of rosary beads, hotels, the rather tacky Virgin Mary-shaped plastic bottles full of holy water… As a ‘good protestant boy’ in a group of mainly Catholic pilgrims, it was somewhat overwhelming. But the words of John Glynn resonate deeply for me. I was moved by the intimacy we have with God depicted in this hymn. A reminder that God is with us wherever we go, following all our ways. God has a plan for us, we just need to ask for His guidance and use Him as our compass to follow that path. God had a plan for Bernadette too. The path may be smooth at times or covered in rocks and boulders. That’s all part of His plan.

God is always present with us, and yet we often find it hard to feel Him. Many of us will miss worshiping through singing in church during the pandemic. We can all describe a feeling of peace when we sing or hear others in song, which is so powerful. This peace comes with the presence of God and we experience His love through this peace.

I pray that we may watch the sunrise lighting the sky, casting its shadows near us. That every morning, bright though it be, I feel those shadows near me. For you, Lord God, are always following all my ways. May I be always close to you, following all your ways, Lord. Amen.