It is good to see activities continuing to start up again and the Community Choir every Wednesday evening sounds really good. Do come along and sample the fun and fellowship that can be shared through the gift of music, I know there will be room for you. Do check the website for more details on other activities where you would be very welcome. Please support the lovely people at Waddesdon in your prayers this Sunday and do join them if you can.
We are having a United Service at Wingrave on 29th January which we are looking forward to.
Every Monday morning we have a Coffee Morning in the Chapel from 10 am – 12 pm. Everyone is very welcome. We also have our Stay and Play every Monday, 9.30 – 12.30, which is situated in the Methodist Hall. Donations are welcome.
Our lunches will be restarting on Tuesday 24th January at 11.30 am and will then be every two weeks.
We have our Friendship Club which is on the first Friday of the month. Our next Friendship Club is on 3rd February, 2.30 – 4.30.
I was really impressed when I looked at the Christchurch Website to find that there are multiple events held on the premises on every single day of the week. Along with regular hiring by clubs and organisations, there are many community events throughout the week, aimed at offering God's love to everyone who enters or passes by the front doors. This is truly a loving caring fellowship that places a high value on outreach to the vulnerable amongst us, and we offer our support to them in our prayers this Sunday.
Our Advent Celebrations started early in December as we had a Christening. It was a lovely service with friends and family of the baby filling the Church to its capacity. Then we had our Carol Service, and enjoyed the fellowship afterwards in the hall, where we had drinks and festive food. A short service celebrated Christmas Day.
The New Year has arrived with hopes of a happy, healthy one. Sadly two of our loyal, long serving members have died. It is always sad to say "Goodbye" to friends, but it is great to remember their life's work within the Church. We hold their families in our prayers.
The World Day of Prayer will be held in Christchurch on the 3rd March at 10.30am. It has been written by the women of Taiwan this year.
We thank the clergy, lay preachers and our worship group for taking our services throughout the year.
We wish all the Churches in the Circuit a peaceful New Year, and we remember you all in our prayers.
As we start a new year, Ken has some wise words for us about exactly what our aims and objectives are for our 'Church' in this place at this time. If we do not have a clear destination in our minds, our journeying could easily become ineffectual and misguided, and our message unclear. But do not panic, because help is coming in the form of a Lent Study Course that will be available to all of us who have access to Zoom on our computers. More on that shortly!
Please do pray for the lovely people at Swanbourne this Sunday, that the Holy Spirit will continue to work through them in sharing their clear message of the good news of Jesus!
When we last shared our 'Good News from Swanbourne', we were looking forward to the arrival of Rev Noreen Daley-Lee. Since her arrival here, together with her husband Lafton and son Emmanuel, she has already made a big impact. Her friendly though challenging manner is going down well with everyone here. But we are also enjoying getting to know Lafton and Emmanuel.
Swanbourne has also seen the arrival of another woman, Rev Yvonne Mullins, as the new Anglican vicar, a role which has to be shared with 4 other parishes in the Mursley Benefice. A woman filling this position is a first for the Anglicans, but Yvonne is also being well received by our Anglican friends. So with two women in leadership roles, both of whom come from other countries, we are looking forward to our Annual Covenant Service, which has been put back to the first Sunday in February. This is a time when we invite the Anglicans to join with us in our shared work for God. We pray that this will be a time when we commit ourselves afresh to this work in our small community, and take forward our spiritual partnership in a creative way.
Now that it is official that Christians are a minority, even if the largest minority, in the country at large, we need to be clearer what it is that we have to offer to those who seldom, if ever, step across the threshold of our two church buildings. We claim to have Good News, and in a time when there seems so much darkness around, we need to shine more brightly for all to see and not hide the light away behind uninviting walls. That is the challenge ahead of us – a challenge we pray we will rise to in the months and years ahead.
The fellowship at Stone sound as if they had a really good time over Christmas, with Carol services and turkey lunches – what a party, and quite right, so it should be! We meet together as followers of Christ to celebrate his coming amongst us again, and if that is not a cue for a party I don't know what is. This is a wonderful season of the year and it is right that we should share it with as many people as we can. Please celebrate with and support the fellowship here in your prayers this Sunday, as they lead us rejoicing into a new year full of great opportunities.
We enjoyed a busy Advent and Christmas season here at Stone:
Two Saturday Soup Lunches for Action for Children saw our Hall full to bursting with village and Circuit friends enjoying home-made soups and mince pies.
The Thursday Club for the Over-60s had a Christmas meeting, singing carols and attempting Keith Edwards' Christmas Quiz – some surprising answers there!
Fourth Tuesday Fellowship enjoyed a turkey lunch followed by a quiet time with readings, poems and prayers around the Advent candles.
We were thrilled with the support and enthusiasm for the Christmas Crib Exhibition: more than twenty-five nativity scenes of all shapes, sizes and materials were arranged around the Church amid festive decorations by two of our members for a steady stream of neighbours and Circuit friends to enjoy.
Donations from the Exhibition and Soup Lunches meant we could send several hundred pounds to Action for Children.
Still surrounded by all those Nativity scenes, we enjoyed our Carol Service led by Keith: how wonderfully those familiar words come alive with meaning each year.
Now we're looking forward to 2023; whatever it may bring in the way of challenge we know that in the words of the well-loved poem by Minnie Louise Haskins – if we go into the future putting hands into the hand of God, that will be better than light and safer than a known way.
May all our Circuit friends enjoy a blessed and fruitful 2023.
I shall never forget the first time I walked into the chapel here. I was struck with the beauty and peace of the building, mingled with a feeling of awe at being in the presence of God. The atmosphere is one of quiet reflection and prayer, within a setting that says I am loved and special. This really is a beautiful chapel and is a tribute to all those who built it and have had a hand in its upkeep through the years. That the building is loved and special is plain to see if you look on the Circuit Website at the list of regular activities that take place in the building, with something for everyone to take part in, and enjoy.
But, as is usually the case, things do not just happen, they are created and enabled by a small, willing band of lovely volunteers who are prepared to work hard behind the scenes for the Lord they love.
Please ensure that the Lord's name may be praised here and that through them the good news may reach to the whole of the community, by adding your prayers to those of this faithful fellowship this Sunday.
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