Dear Church member,
This weekend sees the longest day, the summer solstice, midsummer, the first day of summer... name it what you will. Solstice literally means "sun stand still" and reminds me of the story recorded in Joshua 10, which is about a time over 3000 years ago during a key battle soon after Joshua and the Israelites entered the Promised Land, when the sun is said to have 'stood still'. A plausible alternative translation with scientific credibility, though, is that the sun stopped shining, i.e. there was an eclipse. The Lord, through Joshua's prayer, helped his people in their battle against overwhelming odds. No foe is too strong for the Lord of the universe, the One who promises never to leave or forsake us, and who hears and responds to the prayers of his people.
The time when the Earth’s poles are at their maximum tilt towards the sun marks a welcome milestone in our journey through this long season of lockdown. We are pleased from this weekend to be able to open St Matthew's and All Saints' to individuals and households for private prayer. In order to meet hygiene requirements, hours of opening are restricted, and are currently between midday and 7pm on the following days: All Saints’ Chilton: Saturdays & Tuesdays; St Matthew’s Harwell: Sundays & Wednesdays.
Do check our website for updates on opening hours and information about online services and other activities and support.
As lockdown is gradually eased, and more activities are becoming possible, we are wanting to develop the activities already being provided, and make plans for the medium to long term. To do so, it would be really helpful if as many people as possible were able to share their thoughts and ideas using this link to a short online survey. You can write as much or little as you like, and do so anonymously if you prefer. All feedback is most welcome!
The link to this week's online service, which continues our exploration of the life of the early Church in Acts, and what it shows us about being Church today, will be available in the usual place from 9am on Sunday.
Yours, in Christ,
Revd Dr Jonathan Mobey
Rector of Harwell with Chilton
P.S. Chilton parish owns a funeral bier (a wooden hand cart which was used to push coffins to funerals). It was presented to Chilton in 1931 by a Mrs Harris and has been stored in the village by kind residents for a number of years, but it is currently needing a new home. If you or someone you know might have a sheltered place to store this piece of parish history (2.08m long x 0.7m wide x 1m high), please be in touch.