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From The Rev’d Brian Wood – Sept. 2018

Brian Wood

When does Autumn start- has it already? Has ‘summer’ ended?- at least this year we can feel we have had some summer. According to the Met Office the ‘meteorological autumn’ runs September  1st to the end of  November.  The equinox (equal day and night lengths- 12 hours each) occurs September 22nd/ 23rd– a date significant to astronomers, and astrologers too. What about ‘quarter days’?- Lady Day, Midsummer, Michaelmas (29 September), Christmas Day. What about Harvest?

According to that post-modern oracle Wikipedia: ‘Harvest festival is traditionally held on the Sunday near or of the Harvest Moon. This is the full Moon that occurs closest to the autumn equinox (22 or 23 September). The celebrations on this day usually include singing hymns, praying, and decorating churches with baskets of fruit and food in the festival known as Harvest Festival, Harvest Home, Harvest Thanksgiving or Harvest Festival of Thanksgiving’. Look out for dates for harvest thanksgivings and suppers for our parishes in the ABC!

Time- where does it go? Where does it come from? Is there a start of time? … an end? I’m hoping that you have managed some time off/ out/ away over the summer. With seasons and calendars in mind, the church marked 6th August as ‘the Feast of the Transfiguration’ when some of Jesus’ disciples (Peter, James and John) went up a mountain and had a ‘mountaintop experience’- seeing Jesus as he is- the son of God. They descend to the plain transformed, refreshed. I hope you will have had some time of refreshment, recreation, re-minding, regaining perspective, seeing new horizons, maybe from as clifftop, or on the beach.

Apparently the autumn is a time people think about new jobs, or about giving up jobs, maybe to ‘find themselves’ or pursue new or long-held ambitions, aspirations, ideas, dreams, plans, freedom from plans. John Henry Newman, the priest, poet and hymn-writer (‘Praise to the holiest in the height’) was pilloried (and unforgiven) by some for leaving the Church of England for ‘Rome’, following his conscience. Whatever we may think about ‘church’ and our preferences for or against new hymns, old hymns, ‘traditional’ language, incense, vicars, vestments, investments, … we can easily be distracted from the important things- like loving our neighbour, doing the right thing.

A quote attributed to Newman (‘feast day’ 11th August):

“God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons.
He has not created me for naught. I shall do good; I shall do His work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it if I do but keep His commandments.
Therefore, I will trust Him, whatever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him, in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him. If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about.”

Autumn: a time for starts and restarts at school, college, uni … let us think of and pray for our young people that they too may be encouraged in their dream and ambitions, not just grades.

Rev Brian Wood

Chesterton Rectory
01869 369815

Three churches walk

A small but intrepid band of walkers trudged in warm summer weather between the three churches under the patronage of St Mary.

We were greeted on our way by bemused parishioners and fortified by coffee and cakes (not to mention hymns and prayers!).

Confirmation service

The Confirmation service was held at St Mary’s, Weston on the Green, on 22 April, when the Bishop of Dorchester presided.

It was a very happy day.

Congratulations to Becca Jones who was baptised and confirmed, and to Joe Charlesworth who was confirmed.   

Ascension day

We have had a great Ascension Day service at the beautiful church of Weston on the Green, where a good number of people were present.

We  had the pleasure of welcoming the Sub-Dean of Christ Church, Canon Edmund Newey, as our preacher.

Please see below some pictures of the evening.


If you weren’t able to attend the service there is an opportunity to catch up and listen to a resume on the link below.



If you would like to know more details about this service, please contact The Rev’d Gareth Miller on 01869 350224 or


Lent Lectures on Prayer

A series of addresses, with time for discussion and reflection.


































Please click below to listen the first of a series of addresses, with time for discussion and reflection.


21st February – 19:30 pm. – Kirtlington


The Rev’d Dr Megan Daffern

Chaplain, Jesus College, Oxford

Author, “Songs of the Spirit”



Please click here to see some pictures of the evening.


28th February – 19:30 pm. – Kirtlington


The Rev’d Georgie Simpson

Director, The Oxford Centre for Spiritual Growth

Priest and Spiritual Director



Below some pictures of the evening.


7th March – 19:30 pm. – Bletchingdon


Father John Farrell OP

Blackfriars, Oxford; formerly Prior Provincial

Dominican preacher and teacher



Please click here to see some pictures of the evening.


14th March – 19:30 pm. – Kirtlington


The Rev’d Dr Jonathan Arnold

Dean of Divinity, Magdalen  College, Oxford

Author, “Sacred Music in Secular Society”



Below some pictures of the evening.


21st March – 19:30 pm. – Kirtlington


The Rev’d Dr Sally Welch

Vicar of Charlbury and Area Dean of Chipping Norton

Author, “Pilgrim Journeys”


Below some pictures of the evening.


Visit to New College, Oxford

Over twenty people from our benefice enjoyed a visit to New College, Oxford, recently to see the archive relating to its connection to Chesterton.  We also had a very nice tea and attended Evensong.  We are very grateful to the college archivist and to the Chaplain, The Rev’d Erica Longfellow, for making this possible.


Prayer Spaces

Prayer Spaces in Bletchingdon School this term will be on an Easter theme, and we will be following through the events of that week, in the garden of Gesthemane, at the foot of the cross, then thinking about the implications of the resurrection, and the great commission to go out and tell the good news… in Bletchingdon. It will be during Holy Week itself, on 27th and 28th March.

Prayer Spaces are wonderful to be part of, for the helpers as well as the children. Do find out about it, if you haven’t helped before, by emailing Joanna on

To give you inspiration, here is a description of the last Prayer Spaces, in Kirtlington, during Advent…

The children were all invited to think afresh about the story of the first Christmas.

At the scene of the Annunciation, we thought about Gabriel’s statement that “Nothing is impossible with God”, and reflected on the apparently insoluble problems across the world, by writing them on a ‘feather’ and attaching it to Gabriel’s wing.

In the stable of the nativity we were reminded that Joseph and Mary were turned away from places and thought about times when we have rejected other people by not playing with them or being kind. This was a place to say sorry and think about God’s forgiveness and new start.

On the dark hillside, (inside an exciting black tent with fairy lights) the sky shone with the angels appearing to the shepherds, sending them to the stable, so we thought about how God guides and leads us. We prayed ‘please’ prayers for his help for us, by decorating a star.

The gifts brought by the wise men were our last theme: a time to thank God for gifts he gives to each of us, by modelling in playdo.

A few comments from the children:
“I like the feathers because you can talk about what you are upset about in the world without actually talking”
“I liked it because it was a time to say sorry and to think about countries that aren’t as lucky as us”
“I liked the sand because it helped me to remember not to be worried”
“I liked the stable especially because it helped you get things off your chest”

Please click below to see children comments…

Kirtlington prayer spaces 2017 comments 1

Kirtlington Prayer Spaces 2017 comments 2

Jerusalem Joy is a lively children’s Easter musical…

Jerusalem Joy is a lively children’s Easter musical which we are putting on, on March  24th.

We are looking for lots of children aged 7 up; there will be just a few rehearsals in advance, the songs are easy to learn and it will be wonderful to be part of, or to come and see. See the poster for details.


From The Rev’d Gareth Miller – February 2018

Brian Wood

The Rev’d Gareth Miller

Dear friends,

To pray or not to pray? Or “how to pray?” That’s the question we’ll be thinking about in our series of Lenten addresses beginning on 21 February.

Praying is something I find hard, and I guess that is not an uncommon experience. As a priest I promise to say Morning and Evening Prayer each day (known as “the daily office”). Monks and nuns can have up to seven offices a day. I must say I find it hard enough to squeeze in two! The mornings are easier – I am an early riser and I like to spend some time in silence and finish that with Morning Prayer. The evenings are more difficult – I try to say Evening Prayer at 5pm, but, you know, the meeting goes on longer than expected, there are 99 emails to answer, someone comes to the door… Yes, sometimes it gets missed, though I do try to catch up later if I haven’t fallen asleep.

Prayer, like life, is about relationship – mine with God, his with me, mine with others. If I close myself off from spending time with God (or with my partner, my children, my friends) I am saying “I am self-sufficient. I don’t need you. I don’t need to change or learn or grow.” It is so easy to put all kinds of blocks and excuses in the way of going deeper and allowing ourselves to be challenged.

Prayer, like relationships, is hard work. But, as with relationships, there isn’t a blueprint for how to do it. There are all kinds of ways of being open to God and of learning to be receptive and attentive – silence, contemplation, using art, singing, walking; Catholic, Evangelical, Quaker, Celtic, and so on. Other faiths also have much to teach. That’s why we’ve organised a series of Lent Lectures on this topic on Wednesday evenings. Don’t be put off by the title – to be honest I chose it because I like the alliteration! Each evening will begin with a talk by a guest speaker, lasting about twenty minutes. There will then be a chance for questions and reflection, and this will be followed by an opportunity to experience a time of prayer using the idiom described. Please see the notice elsewhere in this magazine for full details. I hope many of you will come along, whatever your beliefs or faith tradition.

It is said that the Curé d’Ars, a French saint of the 18th century, once asked an old peasant what he was doing sitting for hours in church, seemingly not even praying. The man answered, “I look at him and he looks at me and we are happy together.” Another ‘saint’, the 20th century Archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple, once said, “When I pray coincidences happen.”

Warmest good wishes


01869 350224

Remembrance day 2017


11th November 2017, the Rector, accompanied by parishioners, walked to the Kirtlington war memorial in a parade in memory of the men of the village who gave their lives in the two world wars.



On 11 November the Rector, accompanied by parishioners, dedicated a very handsome memorial bench in Wendlebury in memory of the men of the village who gave their lives in the two world wars.