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Reports for April

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This Sunday, 28 April, the focus of our Circuit Prayers is on Whitchurch,
Dear All

We hear the fascinating story of Karen as she shares her journey of faith with us. As a Christian, Karen has not found life easy, but she shares how she has experienced God's presence and support throughout so many difficult times, and how this has enabled her to offer the love of God to many young children in such need. Please pray for all those wonderful people who offer so much of themselves to bring the love of God into young lives experiencing illness and to ease their pain with love.

Karen writes;

I was brought up in a loving Methodist family, going to chapel every Sunday and never missing Sunday school.
This gave me the foundation of my being, and a faith that grows stronger as my life enfolds.
I left home at 18 to become a nurse, a career that came as a shock to all, I wanted to be a children's illustrator! Instead I became a children's nurse.
I believe I was guided down the path of nursing, the decision to do it was so quickly decided and acceptance almost instant.
I was terrified.
But I have never looked back.
There have been some difficult decisions during my career, but I have truly felt the Lord guide me through them all.Leading me towards end of life care for children suffering from cancer.
Two important factors enabled me to continue in this job for so long.
Firstly my faith,
Asking God to guide me and be with the children and families on a daily basis.
Talking to him on my way to homes in the middle of the night, asking him to show me and guide me into doing and saying the right thing for that child, and their family.
Asking for courage when teaching and enabling other health care workers in palliative and terminal care.
The list is endless, but,He NEVER let me down, the times I felt him guiding me are far too many to count.
And secondly, my husband, who has to take the credit for looking after me physically as well as spiritually, when I had doubts which would raise their ugly heads often, he always made them go away. Enabling me to face another day. I thank God for sending him to me.
Being a Christian is not easy, especially when we are asked to follow or go somewhere we are not sure, or even down right scared of.
I believe God is with us all the time,good and bad, happy and sad, difficult and easy.
Sometimes though we need that little shove in the right direction, to get us back on track.
The prayer of St Francis of Assisi
Footprints in the Sand
Have always been my go to for help.
I have been so lucky and blessed to have started my life with a loving family and wise teachers in the Christian faith, who set me off on the road to my life.

Sunday, 21 April, the focus of our Circuit Prayers was on Weedon
Dear All
We join with Sarah as she shares her story with us. Very few of us have the Emmaus Road experience, for most of us our recognition of the importance of God in our lives is a process that takes place over many years. Sarah reveals how she gradually became aware of God's influence in her life and how she slowly began to understand how important He was to her and to recognise His vital presence in her life.


Sarah writes:

When I first came to Weedon in 2000 my life became very different from the urban work environment in London where I had spent my twenties.
I grew up in a household without much faith. My Yorkshire father had spent his formative years at a boarding school in Germany for children of civilian workers and my atheist mother had grown up in a Medway town and was evacuated during the war. These experiences meant that they settled into suburban life in my childhood county of Hampshire where there was little in the way of church life, although I regularly went to girl guide and am-dram meetings in a local church hall.

I began to experience life with God whilst at university. Our chaplain regularly held tea parties and provided a good listening ear, but still God was not a driving force in my thought processes. Nor did he come to me in the turmoil of my time in London as a trainee solicitor when my days were over filled with work commitments and my evenings with friends and entertainment. Like many, I joined in the heady days of Four Weddings and a Funeral in the 1990s so my only contact with church was for numerous marriages in all seasons and across the country.
So, back to Weedon – Simon and I had ourselves got married and I started attending the services that Ralph Followell helped to organise, primarily led by Ann Varker, and later David Jenkins. And by the time I had young children, I had started also going to our partner parish church of St Mary's in Hardwick. These early years of church for me were time-out for reflection and meditation. I took in the messages that were passed on each week and began to get an understanding of how much God features in and affects my world. My life is complete sharing it with God. He guides me and gives me strength. He allows me to remain calm. He shows me how to help others and he teaches me to be patient and to seek forgiveness. He answers my prayers and speaks to me every day.

I was baptised in 2009 together with our three girls, a wonderful joyous occasion.

We're not all perfect and I don't profess to be, but I try to live my best life knowing that God is watching over me and my family. I still gain so much from just sitting in church or chapel and taking it all in every Sunday.

Thanks be to God!


Sunday April 14th
Pete writes:
Someone said to me on Sunday – gosh, it was Easter Sunday just seven days ago, and I was stuck for a moment and had to think about it. Yes, she was right, just seven short days had passed since the greatest event in our Church year. Christ is risen, Alleluia!
Where had the time gone? The Bible readings had urged us to shout that Jesus had risen, shout it in the street, shout it from the rooftops, make sure everyone hears the fantastic news.
And did we? So many of us were remarkably quiet.
We find it so difficult to talk about our faith in public – why, I ask myself?
Our Good News each week also challenges us in many ways. It used to be much easier when we could list the coffee mornings and jumble sales, but talking about our faith, now that is a challenge!
BBC television held an evening of Abba on Saturday and one of the comments made was that in the 1980s, it was not cool to admit to being an Abba fan. Yet, secretly many of us were, we just did not admit it – it just wasn't cool. Now years later we dare to come out of the closet and say how 'Actually we loved them all along'.
I wonder if our faith gets confined to that same closet, which is a shame because it does say in Matthew, Mark and Luke: "For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels".
All of a sudden it could just become cool to talk about what Jesus means to us?
It might just not turn our friends off, and it might just help them!
Oh, and by the way, I find it difficult as well!

On Sunday, 7 April, the focus of our Circuit Prayers was on Christchurch Thame.
Dear All
This week we follow the journey of Cyril as he shares his love of church music and the way it has shaped that journey over the years. Music is a natural catalyst for creating friendships and uniting people who have a common interest in music of all types.
Cyril has given so much over the years and we give thanks for all the music makers that enhance our worship every week and without whom our worship would lose the richness that enables us to express our joy in our risen Lord. Please remember in your prayers this week all who give so freely of their time and talents for our enjoyment.


Cyril writes:

Born in the East-end of London in 1936, Classical Music, particularly Church Music, has always been an important element in my life. I was a choirboy from age 7, and after we came back to London at the end of the war I joined the Parish Church Choir and took piano lessons. I started playing the organ for afternoon services when I was 15. I met my wife at Grammar School and we married and went abroad, but no matter where we have been in those 35 or so years we have been connected with various church communities and the opportunity to contribute through music has opened up so many chances to bridge between different denominations and to share music.

When we retired we initially returned to a house in a Kentish village. However as most of our family and friends were in the Oxford area, we decided to move in this direction. We got information from an Estate Agent that there were new houses being built in Thame, so we came up the following Saturday to see for ourselves. We liked the houses being built and then went into town to see what Thame had to offer. We parked in the Upper High Street, and noticed that some people were going into a church, we followed them in, only to find that they were members of the Buckinghamshire Organists Association on an organ crawl. Amongst the group were Derrick Mathews from AMC, and Norman Mann and Heather Woods from Haddenham. The Group were very welcoming and impressed on us that if we should come to Thame then we must join them. We decided that we would move to Thame and have been very happy joining the Christchurch community.

I joined the group of organists who serviced Christchurch and the village chapels in the Thame and Watlington District. The Church's vintage 1885 Conacher pipe organ is still playable. In the early days the organ was hand pumped by young men, many of whom carved their names on the organ case. Many of these were lost in WW1, as witnessed on the War Memorial.

It has been good to work with a small choir which met one evening each week to prepare anthems for seasonal services; sometimes we introduced other instruments for special occasions. Unfortunately, since the pandemic we do not have enough singers able to meet in the evenings; but one hopes that we may find more singers and a convenient rehearsal time.

Cyril Groom.

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