It has been good to collaborate with our long time mission partners, USPG – the United Society Partners in the Gospel. In the sermon this week we hear about their work focussing particularly on the people of the Philippines.
USPG attempted to re-brand itself a few years ago by ditching its long and (some thought) archaic name and creating ‘US’ or United Society. As a concept the simplifying of its name and the intimation of togetherness (US) was helpful but many of its loyal volunteers and partners felt that the charity had lost something along the way. I know that the stakes are high when we attempt to re-brand a product or even an organisation. I was involved (as a trustee) with the new image and branding of Lady Ryder’s Charity, The Sue Ryder Foundation, which became Sue Ryder Care. Many of the old guard felt disenfranchised and unsettled by a change of image and even values. Only time, income and the quality of care provided testified to whether the changes were valid and appropriate.
The Church of God has seen many changes in its 2000 year history, some for the better; some not! The Church must look again at how it is perceived by the world in the light of the Covid pandemic. At a local level, St Michael’s – with thousands of other parish churches – will also have to reappraise its mission and ministry, not least because lifestyle patterns have changed -possibly permanently. People ‘do’ church online now. Will there be such a need to return to church even after a vaccine has been discovered, tried and tested? Will church ever be the same again?
The place of church, the bricks and mortar, is still a sign of Christian witness. The stones are steeped with prayers of thankfulness and petition. The building is representative of a greater body – the Body of Christ – you and me. The people of God will need to be served as always with grace and truth. What might this look like going forward? How might we, as a fellowship of love, continue to proclaim the Gospel together? Many questions are being asked and nobody really has the answers. Perhaps this is the time, the moment, to trust in God alone. And there is nothing new in that little spiritual directive!
Question – if you were to re-brand or re-model yourself what would you look like, sound like, how would you move? How would your soul charge? How would your heart beat? How would your body knit? What if you let God re-shape you and re-form you? I have a suspicion that God is not wanting to force a makeover or even a takeover. Yet God is lovingly waiting to fashion us again and again into his own image. This source of creation and re-creation is longing for our acceptance and invitation to be changed. Take care this week to meditate on these things.
Go in peace…
THE REVD CHARLES DRAPERWe give thanks for the ministry of Charles Draper who has been a wonderful colleague and priest of St Peter’s Church, Wolvercote. I will be dropping in on Charles to share a gift from the Partnership Churches. Thank you Charles for your wise counsel and prayerful support over these last 5 years. God bless you in your deserved retirement.
IMPORTANT STEWARDSHIP REQUEST
St Michael & All Angels is losing c£2000 per month as a result of the current crisis. We have not been able to hire out the halls. We have also lost the weekly giving offering Sunday by Sunday. It costs approaching £450 per day just to keep the building and grounds going and well maintained, and we are very dependent on goodwill offerings and donations. Many of our parishioners pay regularly by Standing Order through the Parish Share Scheme or by Direct Debit. These regular payments have become a lifeline. May I ask all those who do not give in this way to consider setting up a Standing Order or Direct Debit. The instructions to do so follow here.
I fully understand that this request comes at a time when many of us are feeling the pinch. I am also aware of the sacrificial generosity of many in order to support the church’s continuing ministry and mission.
Regular stewardship Standing Orders
Transferring directly into our bank account is the most efficient for us and, by using your online banking, this is usually straightforward and leaves you in complete control. No need to give your private bank details to us or any external organisation — just give your bank our bank details. You can change the amount at any time using your online banking, or visiting your local branch. Our bank is CAF Bank:
Account: St Michaels & All Angels Summertown
Sort Code: 40-52-40
Acc No.: 00011607
Please don’t forget to Gift Aid if you are able. The Gift Aid form is attached to this message.
THE CHURCH IS OPENING UP….
Saturday – Wednesday for private prayer – 10am – 2pm. Welcomers are present at all times to help and guide if necessary.
Sunday – Contemplative 1/2 hour – 6.30pm.
I will be issuing updates about further changes soon. In the meantime, I hope you are enjoying the weekly services that we are providing online?