Benefice Newsletter for 28th February & Local Villages Newsletter for March

Dear Congregation and Friends of St Mary,

Please find attached this week’s Benefice Newsletter and associated documents from Lucy. I would draw your attention to an update on the lockdown as it effects the Benefice which Norma has written.

I have also included a copy of the March 2021 version of the local villages newsletter.

As usual the details of the Benefice online services for this Sunday can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/shrivenhamandashbury/.  

Best Wishes,

Dennis

Church Warden St Mary The Virgin, Longcot

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Benefice Newsletter 21st February & GoFundMe Page

Dear Congregation and Friends of St Mary,

My apologies for the delay in last week’s Newsletter being sent out – it got stuck in my outbox!

Anyway, please find attached this week’s Benefice Newsletter for Sunday and the associated documents. 

As usual the details of the Benefice online services for this Sunday can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/shrivenhamandashbury/.  

For information (and possibly action) – you should be aware that the trustees for the Longcot Village Trust (and in particular Keith Reid) have been hard at work preparing for the building work to take place in St Mary from the beginning of June.  The improvements to the church will include an internal oak framed mezzanine structure with a staircase leading to a gallery at the west end of the Nave. This will provide ample storage and a partially glazed open meeting room which will overlook both the bell tower and the Nave. On the ground floor, a kitchenette, a private meeting room and a disabled toilet facility with baby changing will be installed. Work will also include updating the heating and lighting systems to reduce carbon footprint, installing super-fast broadband access and a new, distributed IT and sound system. External pathways will also be provided to create easier access for the elderly and disabled.

We have already raised a sum of £150,000 but we would love for you to make a donation to help us reach the £190,000 we need to complete the project.  The Trust has now set up a GoFundMe page to try and raise the final £40,000. How about it?  Here is the link to the GoFundMe page: https://gofund.me/c50aa054

Best Wishes,

Dennis

Church Warden St Mary The Virgin, Longcot

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Longcot Village Church GoFundMe

Longcot Village Trust has set up a GoFundMe page to try and raise the final £40,000 to renovate and improve the Church. These improvements will include  an internal oak framed mezzanine structure with a staircase leading to a gallery at the west end of the Nave. This will provide ample storage and a partially glazed open meeting room which will overlook both the bell tower and the Nave. On the ground floor, a kitchenette, a private meeting room and a disabled toilet facility with baby changing will be installed. Work will also include updating the heating and lighting systems to reduce carbon footprint; installing super fact broadband access and a new, distributed IT and sound system. External pathways will also be provided to create easier access for the elderly and disabled.

We have already raised a sum of £150,000 but we would love for you to make a donation to help us reach our goal to help the community.

Here is the link to the GoFundMe page https://gofund.me/c50aa054

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Benefice Newsletter Sunday 14th February

Dear Congregation and Friends of St Mary,

Please find attached the Benefice Newsletter for Sunday and associated documents from Lucy. 

Details of the Benefice online services this Sunday can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/shrivenhamandashbury/.  

And just for information at this time: during the past week our architect, Christian Randall, and a local building firm have carried out an inspection of St Mary’s tower with a view to quoting for work to repair the tower roof.  It is hoped that the work will be carried out during the summer.

Best Wishes,

Dennis

Church Warden St Mary The Virgin, Longcot

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Benefice Newsletter 7th February

Dear Congregation and Friends of St Mary,

Please find attached the Benefice Newsletter for Sunday and associated documents from Lucy.  After a Longcot Sunset was included in the Newsletter last week, please find another Longcot Sunset and the St Mary porch in this week’s version.   (Shirley D-M might recognise the floral arrangements around the porch!)

For those of you who are interested in the news from the Oxford Diocese, please find a link here: https://mailchi.mp/oxford.anglican.org/enews-5-february?e=51b79113fa

Details of the Benefice online services this Sunday can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/shrivenhamandashbury/.  

Best Wishes,

Dennis

Church Warden St Mary The Virgin, Longcot

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Newsletter 31st January

Dear Congregation and Friends of St Mary,

Please find attached the Benefice Newsletter for Sunday and associated documents from Lucy.

In addition I have attached a copy of the local villages newsletter for February.

Details of the Benefice online services this Sunday can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/shrivenhamandashbury/.

Best Wishes,

Dennis

Church Warden St Mary The Virgin, Longcot

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Benefice Newsletter 24th January

Dear Congregation and Friends of St Mary,

Please find attached the Benefice Newsletter for Sunday and associated documents from Lucy.

I have been asked when the new Bishop of Dorchester will take up his post, as it is now public knowledge that Bishop Gavin’s consecration at the end of this month has been postponed.  As it happens the Bishop of Oxford sent out an e-mail earlier today about the situation.  See below:

“By agreement with the Archbishop of Canterbury, I plan to license Gavin as Episcopal Vicar for the Dorchester Area on 28 January, the originally planned day of his consecration. This will be a reasonably low key licensing by Zoom. Area Deans and Lay Chairs from the Area will be invited, together with the Area Team and members of the Bishop’s Staff.  

Gavin and Christina will move to Arran House in early February and have some time to settle into their new home.  There will then be a Service of Welcome for Gavin as our Bishop-designate, as originally planned, on Sunday 28 February. If conditions allow, this will be streamed from Dorchester Abbey. Gavin will be working to a full diary from that date, meeting people virtually, leading and supporting the Area team and engaging with the wider community and Diocese.

We will, of course, keep you posted as to when Gavin’s consecration as bishop can be arranged.” 

Details of the Benefice online services this Sunday can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/shrivenhamandashbury/.   And if you fancy a change of scenery, then details of the Oxford Diocese livestreaming services can be found at: https://www.oxford.anglican.org/coronavirus-covid-19-2/livestream/

Best Wishes,

Dennis

Church Warden St Mary The Virgin, Longcot

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Benefice Newsletter for 17th January & Message from the Lord-Lieutenant of Oxfordshire

Dear Congregation and Friends of St Mary,

Please find attached the Benefice Newsletter for Sunday and associated documents from Lucy. In particular I would draw your attention to a message of support in the Newsletter from the Lord-Lieutenant of Oxfordshire, Tim Stevenson.

By now you will be aware that all the churches in the Benefice have closed their doors to both public and private worship.  This was a difficult decision to take but, given the path and pace of the pandemic, it was the only prudent thing to do.  As soon as circumstances change, I will let you know by e-mail.

In the meantime the Benefice has moved completely to the online provision of services. Please find a link to the Benefice Facebook page where you can find these services: https://www.facebook.com/shrivenhamandashbury/.

Best Wishes,

Dennis

Church Warden St Mary The Virgin, Longcot

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All Benefice Churches Closed Sunday 10th and 17th January

I am sorry that it has been necessary to close our church buildings again: we did not want to, but feel we have no choice in the current circumstances. The risks are too great. Malcolm Guite’s poem, Behind each number, one beloved face puts it better than I can:

At close of day I hear the gentle rain
Whilst experts on the radio explain
Mind-numbing numbers, rising by the day,
Cyphers of unimaginable pain

Each evening they announce the deadly toll
And patient voices calmly call the roll
I hear the numbers, cannot know the names
Behind each number, mind and heart and soul

Behind each number, one belovèd face
A light in life whom no-one can replace,
Leaves on this world a signature, a trace,
A gleaning and a memory of grace

All loved and loving, carried to the grave
The ones whom every effort could not save
Amongst them all those carers whose strong love
Bought life for others with the lives they gave.

The sun sets and I find myself in prayer
Lifting aloft the sorrow that we share
Feeling for words of hope amidst despair
I voice my vespers through the quiet air:

O Christ who suffers with us, hold us close,
Deep in the secret garden of the rose,
Raise over us the banner of your love
And raise us up beyond our last repose.

We will continue to offer our online services on Sundays and midweek. Please do contact me or Paul with any concerns or requests for prayer. Norma

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Benefice Newsletter 10th January & Temporary Suspension of Public Worship at St Mary Longcot

Dear Congregation and Friends of St Mary,

Please find attached the Benefice Newsletter for Sunday and associated documents from Lucy.

As I explained in my e-mail last week, I produced a draft risk assessment for St Mary Longcot as a result of the Vale of White Horse moving into Tier 4.  Since then the Government has imposed a national lockdown.  The Diocesan advice regarding communal worship (dated 31 December) is still as follows:

Whilst it remains permissible for churches to continue to be open for their usual worship provision, we are encouraging parishes/benefices in the Diocese of Oxford to take a very cautious approach in the weeks ahead. (….) It is entirely acceptable (and may be preferable in some cases, following a careful risk assessment by clergy and church officers) to move to online provision only at this time.”

Both this advice and the subsequent Government guidance on Tier 5 were considered by the Parochial Church Council (PCC) and a revised risk assessment was agreed today.  The arguments both for continuing and for suspending communal worship were finally balanced.  The bottom line, however, is that we have agreed to a temporary but immediate suspension of communal worship and private prayer in St Mary. The decision on private prayer may well be revisited once we have received further clarification on the Diocesan guidance from the Archdeacon.  I will send out an e-mail once I have that clarification.  These decisions will then be reviewed every month by the PCC once the path and transmission of the pandemic become clearer. 

Some churches in the Benefice have taken a different decision and, for now, are remaining opening for public worship.  This is a decision for them to make taking into account the individual characteristics of both their churches and their congregations, and the views of their congregations.   Ultimately, the views of our congregation and the PCC were that we wanted to ensure that nobody was exposed to any unnecessary risk of infection by the virus, be they congregation or clergy.

We are therefore moving completely to the online provision of services. Please find a link to the Benefice Facebook page where you can find these services: https://www.facebook.com/shrivenhamandashbury/.

As and when the Government, CofE, and Diocesan guidance on worship changes, then I will let you know by e-mail.

Best Wishes,

Dennis

Church Warden St Mary The Virgin, Longcot

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