St Peter's Wolvercote & All Saints Wytham e-news
A message from our Vicar, Revd Charles Draper
Welcome to our second week of email newsletters. This Sunday coming, Passiontide begins, the season when we remember Jesus being “obedient unto death”. Our calling at present is the opposite – to be obedient unto life. And obedience is our watchword at this time. There is no longer any need to say how important it is to follow all the guidelines from the government very strictly. But remember, as you keep yourself safe, you are also keeping safe those who would have to care for you if you became sick.
On Monday morning we took the hard decision to close all our church buildings, except for essentials. After Monday night we have no choice in this anyway. However this does not mean that the church is closed. Remember that the church is not a building – the church is the people. So our churches in Wolvercote and Wytham are still very much alive and open for business, loving one another and loving our neighbour through prayer, phone, and emails - all wonderful ways that the virus cannot touch. So in those ways, do please continue to keep the church open!
One or two practical notices. Obviously our APCMs (Annual Meetings) are all postponed until further notice. And Stewardship...The Stewardship letters of course were prepared before the virus struck. Some of you will be taking a financial hit as a result of the virus. If this is the case, either ignore the letter or review your giving as you need to. Others of you may be financially protected. If this is you, then we hope that in spite of the virus, you may be willing to consider the future of the church and its financial needs and respond in whatever way you feel is right. But be absolutely sure, we are not putting any pressure on anyone at this time.
So in conclusion, keep safe, keep others safe, do not grow weary of phoning each other up, and if you’re aware of any needs amongst your neighbours, do let us know.
With love and prayers
A message from Bishop Steven
The Diocese, supported by the Church of England, are doing an amazing job creating a virtual church in response to an ever-changing situation. If you haven't already done so, explore the special resources for our time on oxford.anglican.org and churchofengland.org
Yesterday, Bishop Steven wrote a guidance letter to all clergy and churches in which he said (redacted):
"Regular patterns of prayer and worship are absolutely vital for every disciple. We cannot live by bread alone.
Make sure you say your prayers daily. We all now are asked to pray in our homes and not in church buildings. There are various online helps and patterns of saying prayers through the daily office and we will make these known here:"
He encourages livestreaming of services which we're investigating. If this isn’t possible, we're asked to encourage you to join in elsewhere.
The Diocese will provide a single diocesan live-streamed Eucharist each Sunday and on principal Holy Days. This will be offered by a range of different people who will be offering prayers and reflections. The first of these services will be this Sunday, 29 March by the four bishops working together, each from our own homes (God willing). The link for this coming Sunday is here
Plans for principal services on Maundy Thursday evening at 8 pm, for Good Friday, the Easter Vigil and Easter Day are in preparation - full details later.
On our mission in the wider community he writes:
'Work with others in this wherever you can especially in your care for the vulnerable. Continue to support foodbanks and care for the homeless. Donations to foodbanks can be financial as well as through giving food. Do what you can to support our teachers and chaplains. Encourage them and remember them in prayer.'