Meekly kneeling on our knees

“Meekly kneeling on our knees is no longer a bedtime habit but it is a clue to ending a day well.”

How is your Lent going? Are you able to sustain any resolutions? Are you able to hold on to any holy desires? We do have resources which may encourage us on our way, such as devotional books, sermons (check out our website), commentaries on the internet etc. Prayer is vital and to that end, please do try and commit to saying one of the daily offices. Again, you can find this with just one click on our own homepage. Common prayer, daily prayer and our opening up to a closer relationship with God become more realistic when this desire becomes habitual. 

Holy habits are beneficial in penitential seasons. In medieval times, penitence and confession was the glue by which communities, especially agricultural communities, were bound together. The locus for this sacrament was the parish church. Grace was conveyed upon the parish priest to offer absolution. To confess was/is to acknowledge a deep misgiving in order to rid oneself of the pain of guilt and terror of judgment. Perhaps we have moved away, somewhat, from the superstitious environment of pre-enlightenment belief but, I believe, there is a place for penitence and confession in a society tuned into words such as ‘wellbeing’ and ‘flourishing.’ 

A late medieval confession

If we are not prepared to exercise in a bit of self-examination, we probably will stunt our spiritual growth. Saying sorry is critical in that maturation process. By saying sorry we become aware of our own secret motivations and misdemeanors. We don’t have to wash our laundry in public but it might be helpful for our own health, and that of the community in which we live, to purge ourselves of any invisible toxins.

Meekly kneeling on our knees is no longer a bedtime habit but it is a clue to ending a day well. Try this for a Lenten exercise – at the end of each day, reflect upon your attitudes, actions and behaviours. Allow Christ to enter into your feelings of guilt, failure, ambivalence, happiness and hope and give them over as your night-time gift to God. See what you learn from sharing these deepest of deep experiences. It may well lead to a more peace-filled sleep and renewal for the new day.

Mothering Sunday – This Sunday marks the 4th Sunday of Lent, which traditionally is the celebration of Mother Church and Mothering Sunday. I hope that you can make our special Zoom service at 10am. It is an All Age offering and a profound observation of the life of Mother Mary, who characterises the marks of maternal love – patience, kindness, wisdom, compassion and faithfulness. 

A variety of familiar faces and voices will accompany us on our journey, so please do come along. If you have time, I am running a short quiz which focuses on the more bizarre elements of mothering – not to be missed! 

Mothering Sunday Service. Time: Mar 14, 2021 10:00 AM  Meeting ID: 965 2356 0501 Passcode: 551747. We start at 10am so please be on-line by 9.55am. It should only take 40 mins (if you are planning other activities).


Returning Home – We have a clear goal to return to public worship – Palm Sunday. We are opening the church for the 8am and 10am congregations with a new, up-to-date risk assessment in place. Unless we have a rapid rise in local new cases of Covid-19, I will be thrilled to see many of you in person. I also understand the reticence of those who have not received their second vaccination and continue to self-isolate. We will be continuing to livestream the 10am Eucharist for you and others who are unable to join us at this stage.

Summertown Health Centre – Talking of personal health, you are welcome to attend a Zoom planning meeting to discuss the possibility of a new health centre in Summertown. To access the meeting at 7pm on March 23rd, visit

Ecumenical Growth – St Michael’s supports the ecumenical partnership which has been an important part of its history. We will be welcoming All Saints’ Wytham to become the newest member of the Summertown-Wolvercote Church Partnership alongside St Michael’s, St Peter’s, Summertown URC and Wolvercote Baptists. We hope to celebrate our partnership in the autumn at Wytham.

St Michael’s Threshold – We will be undergoing investigations to uncover the source of the water ingress upon the new extension. The Building & Fabric team are committed to ensuring that the integrity of the new build is not compromised and lasts as long as the rest of the church!

Our Garden – The gardeners have been busy this early spring. Thank you to Suzanne and her band of green-fingered helpers. We are watchful of the wild flowers popping up and we are also hoping that the swifts, when they come, find a home this year in our nest boxes. 

Life on our planet

Attenborough, has, for me, acted like a moral compass, providing evidence of wonder and beauty, harm and degradation.

I’m writing this week about the need to become truer to ourselves. The age old way that this has been exercised in the Christian Church has been through penance or confession. We cannot begin to desire to say sorry before we understand the impact that our wrongdoing has had on others or on the created world. When we realise the consequences of our action or non-action, we are able to renounce the wrongdoing, to ask for God’s help to repair the damage, to seek a new way forwards. 

I cannot write about confession without thinking of the global context of our known world. Our relationship with creation is absolutely connected with our wellbeing and happiness. This prayer by Bishop Steven goes to the heart of this issue:

Creator of our common home,
You fill the earth and sea and sky with life
Forgive us our neglect of your creation
The choking waste of our pollution
The damage done by careless habits
And our indifference to future generations.
Help us to amend our lives
To refuse more plastic if we can’t reuse it
To lift our voice for lasting change
And to live well and gently on the earth
To the glory of your Son, the living Word
Through whom you made this fragile world. 

Rt Revd Steven Croft

Later this month, a new documentary on the life of the naturalist David Attenborough will be released in our cinemas. A book is being released at the same time as the film called, ‘A Life On Our Planet: My Witness Statement And Vision For The Future’. In his 94 years, Attenborough has visited every continent on the globe, documenting the living world in all its variety and wonder. He has said that the book records “some of the dreadful damage mankind has already wrought upon the natural world and the real and imminent danger that things could get much, much worse if we do not act now”.


David Attenborough has been, for me, someone who I have looked up to in my growing up. He has been a ‘confessor’ figure. I expect that he would blanch at the thought of being called a confessor! Many Christians have confessors as spiritual directors, someone who is able to objectively provide a moral base, a spiritual foundation. Attenborough, has, for me, acted like a moral compass, providing evidence of wonder and beauty, harm and degradation. But even in his nineties, he is still wanting to point the way to a more hopeful path. He is a realist. He shows me (and I suspect many others) a greater truth in myself and in the world in which I live and breath. What a wonderful life lived on our planet!


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News from our link parish – St Chad’s, Taung, Kimberley & Kuruman Diocese, South Africa

We are trying our best in this difficult time. We are only trusting on our God to protect and bless us. It is very tough this side. Family members, colleagues or church members have passed on. Our healing rate is good at the moment. It is only painful if a young couple passed on and young children remain alone. Fr Khubeka is busy, especially with burials.  His wife was sick but she is healthy now. Yes it is very cold and windy, temperatures dropping to -3 and we are not used to that one. We received 60% rainfall during the night. We thanked God because grass will start growing for animals. We are not yet ready to open church but I think it was a good plan by the archbishop to wait.  Our archbishop is fighting and talking about this big corruption in our country. Poor people are the one who are suffering. President has started with investigations and we hope that culprits can be sentenced and pay back the money.  We hope that one day this corona will disappear. Greet all at home. May God bless.

Coffee after Church

You are welcome to join us for a virtual coffee and a chat this Sunday at 11.30am. Please contact Clare for the invitation details:

Rainbow care networks

I hope that everybody feels included through the pastoral care network. If you read this and feel isolated or out of the loop, PLEASE contact me (details below) and I will get in touch immediately.

PCC Meeting this Sunday

Please pray for the PCC who will be discussing finances in the context of falling revenue due to Covid-19. We will also be reflecting on how the church managed during lockdown; what we could have done better and where God might be leading us as a community in the next months and years. Please consider these questions too. We will hope to share this exercise with a wider group in the near future.
God bless you and all of creation,