Newsletter for May 9th 2021

Dear friends,

the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. …he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. (John 10:3-4)

Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. (Matthew 7:27)

“Bad listeners do not make good disciples.” So said the well-known Christian writer John Stott, whose centenary we celebrate this year. And Stott’s ‘listening ear’ still remains at the heart of what disciples are called upon to do, today.

We listen to God because God speaks, and He speaks to us primarily through Scripture. Through the Spirit’s inspiration, these ancient words remain living and active, addressing our contemporary world. Listening to this living Word is to receive life itself; to ignore it leads to death.

Such high stakes explain why our Bibles are packed with urgent reminders and stark warnings to listen to what God is saying. If we turn away from His Word, our hearts, speech, and actions follow.

But when we listen, we discover nothing less than Christ’s love transforming our everyday lives. His words will inform our minds, reform our hearts, and transform our actions. That’s why for Hebrew writers, hearing God was inseparable from obeying what He said – to hear and NOT obey is as ludicrous as building a house on a beach in hurricane season.

So, what does it look like for us to be obedient hearers of the Word?

First, we listen to God for our frontlines, prayerfully carrying our workplaces, our families, and our streets with us to Scripture, seeking wisdom for how to live gospel-soaked lives in ordinary places. As we read the text, and let it read us, the way we go about our day – from replying to an email to greeting a shop assistant – should look different as a result.

Then, we listen to God on our frontlines, sensitive to where the Good Shepherd is at work in the everyday. Where might His voice lead us if we expected to hear Him not just in our morning quiet time, but on the bus, in the pub garden, at the supermarket? What might He say to us, and through us, for the places we go and the people we meet, if we’d only make time to pause, and hear? What starts as a gentle whisper to us could lead to Him working powerfully through us to demonstrate the kingdom to those around us.

Because, as Stott reminds us, often being the hands and feet of Jesus first requires us to simply use our ears.

Yours with much love in Him,

Jonathan.

Rev Jonathan Widdess.

vicar@cumnor.org / 01865 863702

Here is this weeks news….

This Sunday @ St Michael’s

Join us at 10:30am on Sunday morning in St Michael’s for Morning Worship.

You do not need to book – just turn up as usual! You do need to wear a face covering unless you are exempt, and social distancing rules are in effect in church.

Eve will be leading and Chris Scruby preaching on John 15:9-17.

This service will also be live-streamed at https://cumnor.org/sunday-service-online-9th-may-2021/

The service will be available via telephone by Sunday lunchtime, on our parish worship line – 01865 920993

This Sunday @ St Andrew’s

Join us at 10am on Sunday morning in St Andrew’s for Holy Communion.

Jonathan is leading and Helen Azer preaching on John 15:9-17.

Reading and Collect for 9th May

John 15:9-17

9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

Collect for Easter 6

God our redeemer,
you have delivered us from the power of darkness
and brought us into the kingdom of your Son:
grant, that as by his death he has recalled us to life,
so by his continual presence in us he may raise us to eternal joy;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen.

Ascension Day (13th May)

On Thursday 13th May at 7:30pm there will be a service of Evening Prayer in St Michael’s to celebrate Ascension Day. Eve Lockett is preaching. The service will be live-streamed at https://cumnor.org/ascension-day-2021/

The Bible Course

Big, complex, old … just some of the words people use to describe the Bible. Sound familiar? That’s where The Bible Course comes in. The course will increase your confidence, equip you to read the Bible better and help you to see its relevance to daily life. The course provides a birds-eye view of the world’s bestselling book.

Running on Zoom, over eight interactive sessions, it combines video teaching, group discussion, personal reflection and daily readings.

The course is free and open to everyone, whether you’re just beginning to explore the Christian faith or want to take the next step in growing as a follower of Jesus.

Join Jonathan, at 1:30pm on Thursdays as we explore the Bible together.

The zoom link is: https://zoom.us/j/91435565757?pwd=VzZqS2tsYWtUTkZLbCtvZ0JKV01NUT09

Free book

On Easter Day, Jonathan mentioned “Amazed by Jesus”, the brilliant new book by Simon Ponsonby. We now have 10 free copies to give away to anyone who will read them and pass them on to friends if you find them helpful. Please email vicar@cumnor.org or ring 01865 863702 if interested and we will arrange delivery.

Faith and Art

The latest in David Lockett’s superb series of reflections on Faith and Art, in which he explores the Ravenna mosaic, “The Transfiguration”, is now available online. You can watch it at: https://cumnor.org/david-lockett-on-the-ravenna-mosaic-the-transfiguration/

The previous episodes are still available at https://cumnor.org/faith-and-art/

Parish Vision Consultation

On Wednesday 19th May at 7:30pm, you are invited to a meeting for everyone who cares about the future of our parish. We want to hear what you think about the way forward through the next few years as we emerge from the pandemic.

To prepare for the meeting please would you prayerfully reflect on these questions:

  1. What is God calling you to do?
    1. What is our parish for?
    2. What do we want our church community to be like in 5 years time?
    The zoom link for the meeting is: https://zoom.us/j/99816583584?pwd=MW0zZU9XMTRudDVqNXlyS3plUDNtZz09

If you can’t make the session, please send me your thoughts anyway. You can contact me on vicar@cumnor.org or by letter to the Vicarage. Thanks, Jonathan.

Zoom Weekly Prayer Meeting

Our weekly prayer meeting continues every Monday at 10am.

Join us as we gather together online to pray for one another, our families, friends and neighbours, our parish, our nation and the world.

For more details on how to connect, see this web page.

Worship Services in May

St Andrew’s

23/5 – 10am – Morning Worship

St Michael’s

Thurs 13/5 @ 7:30pm Ascension Day

16/5 @ 8am Holy Communion (1662)

16/5 @ 10:30am Worship Outdoors in Churchyard

23/5 @ 10:30am Big Story Sunday

30/5 @ 10:30am Morning Worship with speaker from Tearfund

Weekdays

Continue to open for private prayer on Monday’s and Friday’s.

Bellringing

Recommencing from May 23rd.

Live-Streaming

We will live-stream the service from St Michael’s each week and you can access this on our YouTube channel or the parish website, https://cumnor.org/
The service will be available via Telephone from lunchtime on 01865 920993.

Apple Pies for St Andrew Rebuilding

Margaret Scruby still has some frozen apple pies and crumbles for sale at £3.00 in aid of the St Andrew’s rebuild. Please e-mail her at margaret@scruby.com to purchase and arrange collection!

Taizé Service for May

The May Taizé service is now available. With readings, prayers and meditative sung worship, it’s the perfect way to find some peace and space in the stresses and strains of life.

https://cumnor.org/taize-service-may-2021/

Worship for Seniors

The Easter edition of our online series of Worship for Seniors is still available at https://cumnor.org/worship-for-seniors-easter-2021/. William Cutting is speaking about “Life after death”.

Worship for Seniors is a new, monthly series of devotional videos for seniors and those in care homes. Each episode lasts about 15 minutes. Worship for Seniors is also available by phone on 01865 920993, and then choosing option 2 from the menu.

Listen to Jean Pryce-Williams on the radio

Jean Pryce-Williams will be interviewed by Revd Hedley Feast for the BBC Radio Oxford Weekend Breakfast on Sunday programme “Faith Place” item on May 9th, sometime between 7.30am and 7.45am. She will share some ideas about a few possible ways forward after the pandemic for the Church in general and St Mary’s Farmoor in particular. If, after listening to the programme, you feel you might like to help turn ideas into action, please get in touch with her on 07927 236961.

Can you help Jean get mobile?

Jean Pryce-Williams is looking for a second-hand automatic car (she can not afford a new one) to keep her ministry mobile. Her beloved 20 year old car has said ‘enough is enough’! If you know of anyone who is about to part with a reliable automatic (for up to £5,000), please contact Jean on 07927 236961. Thank you.

Donating to help fight Covid around the world

Most if not all of you will have been vaccinated by now, which is brilliant news, but those in other parts of the world are not as fortunate as we are, lacking access to vaccines and a free, modern healthcare system. We can make a difference to the lives of others during the ongoing pandemic by donating the cost of our vaccine to help them. See https://www.unicef.org.uk/donate/coronavirus/ for one way to help.

Please Continue To Pray For…

  • Staff, and pupils at Cumnor C.E. School and Matthew Arnold as the Summer Term continues.
  • The families of Maureen Moore, Pam Gee and Madeleine Lund in their grief and loss.
  • Our CMS mission partner Bia.
  • The St Andrew’s Rebuilding Project.
  • All those who remain anxious for their jobs or their future.
  • All those who are continuing to struggle with the effects of lockdown.
  • Those who are homeless or struggling with food poverty.
  • People to find a living faith in Jesus.
  • Everyone who leads worship, preaches or teaches in our parish.

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