Newsletter for Sunday 14th February 2021

Dear friends,

As we mark Valentines’ Day this weekend, I thought it would be good to ask the question: “What does real love look like?”

The Apostle Paul wrote: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8).

Love is unconditional:

At heart, love is not just feelings but action!

Paul is speaking here about unconditional love, using the word agape, which is best demonstrated in God’s love for us, sending Jesus to die for us. “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

Love is forgiving:

According to the film Love Story, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” This is rarely true in my experience! The closer we get to others, the more we have to forgive and the more we need to be forgiven. Someone once compared love to being like a group of porcupines huddling together on a cold night. The closer they get, the more they jab and hurt each other. “To love at all is to be vulnerable.” (C S Lewis). According to Paul, love is being ready to forgive others and ‘keeping no record of wrongs’ (5). Forgiveness is hard. We can only forgive others from the heart if we know God forgiveness in our own lives and there’s a link between our willingness to forgive and God’s forgiveness of us.

Love is sacrificial:

“Real love is not afraid to bleed” – The Cost by Rend Collective

Paul says that agape love is not selfish or self-seeking, but selfless and self-sacrificial, putting the needs of other people first. This is demonstrated supremely by Jesus giving His life for us on the cross.

May I suggest you take the words from 1 Corinthians and instead of the word love, substitute your own name. I find it hard to read to the end without hearing the hollowness of some of the phrases and perhaps you do too. But now, substitute the name of Jesus. He is perfect love. He loves you and me perfectly, and his love covers our imperfections. More than that his love redeems our failures. This is the Jesus who is available to us to make our love for others grow and flourish.

So, to answer the question I posed at the beginning, “What does real love look like?” It looks exactly like Jesus. He is love incarnate. My prayer for each of us this Lent is that we would come to know His love more deeply and richly than ever before.

Yours with much love in Christ,

Rev Jonathan Widdess / 01865 863702

Here is this weeks news….

This week’s service – Morning Worship – watch the live-stream

Join us at 10:30am on Sunday morning as we stream Morning Worship from St Andrew’s, Dean Court. Eve Lockett is leading and Helen Azer will be preaching on Mark 9:2-9, Jesus’ Transfiguration. To join in with the service online, visit

The service will remain available afterwards to watch on demand via our website.

You can also phone on 01865 920993, and then choose option 1 from the menu. The service will remain available by telephone until the following Sunday.

Zoom Weekly Prayer Meeting – with our mission partner Bia

Our weekly prayer meeting continues every Monday at 10am.

This week we will be joined by our mission partner Bia.

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.

Come and See

Here is this week’s e-card for Come and See. Why not share this image on Social Media or send it to friends who might be interested in Jesus? There’s also some great faith stories available to watch and share at


There will be an online service for Ash Wednesday available at 10:30am on Wednesday 17th February with Chris Scruby preaching. You can find it here:

We are not running a parish Lent Course this year, but I (Jonathan) will be running The Bible Course after Easter using Zoom.

If you’re looking for a Lent book I would recommend “An Ocean of Grace: A Journey to Easter with Great Voices From the Past” by Tim Chester.

Faith and Art: David Lockett on “The Annunciation” by Fra Angelico

The sixth in David’s informative and heartwarming series of reflections on Faith and Art is now available. This time he is exploring The Annunciation by Fra Angelico. Find it on the parish website at

Jane Impey’s Funeral

Jane Impey’s funeral will be held at St Michael’s on Tuesday 16th February at 2pm. The funeral will be immediate family only, but if you would like to pay your respects to Jane the hearse will leave Cumnor Place at 1.45 and the family will process to the church.

A memorial service, which will be live-streamed, will be held at a later date.

St Michael’s Church Closed All Day On Monday 15th February

To reduce the cleaning needed next week with funeral’s on Tuesday and Thursday St Michael’s will be closed on Monday. It will be open on Friday 19th for private prayer.

COVID Vaccinations

Botley Medical Centre are having great difficulty getting in touch with over 70s/80s who have not already been vaccinated despite phoning and sending letters.

If you know a friend, relative or neighbour in this age group who has not yet been vaccinated then PLEASE ask them to contact the practice ASAP.

Please Continue To Pray For…

  • The families and friends of Jane Impey, David Millard and Ron Kerridge
  • Others who have lost loved ones recently.
  • Staff, pupils and parents at Cumnor C.E. School and Matthew Arnold as they reach half-term.
  • Our CMS mission partner Bia.
  • The St Andrew’s Rebuilding Project.
  • People to Come and See!
  • All those who are 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.