Making God's Love Known In Windsor
The current COVID-19 restrictions mean we are not currently able to gather in our churches for public worship. However, services will still be conducted online at 10 a.m. every Sunday: please email us for a Zoom invitation.
Evening prayer Monday to Friday 6 p.m. and Night prayer Sunday 9 p.m. will be live streamed from our Facebook page
Service of Lessons and Carols, 20th December at 6:00pm (live streamed on Facebook) Holy Trinity Church
Crib Service/Christingle, 24th December at 3:00pm (not Zoomed/Streamed) All Saints Church
Midnight Mass, 24th December at 11:00pm (live and on Zoom) SS Stephen & Agnes Church
Christmas Day Eucharist, at 10:00am (live and on Zoom) Windsor Parish Church
As I write this letter, our country is in the middle of a resurgence of the Coronavirus, and various parts of the country are experiencing periods of lockdown with various degrees of severity.
These are difficult times and many people are finding life tough, suffering the loss of loved ones, livelihoods, loneliness and personal freedom.
Traditionally, in November the church remembers those who have gone before us; from All Saints at the beginning of the month, loved ones on All Souls day and those who have died or been wounded in wars and conflicts at Remembrance.
It is, I think always helpful to reflect on events of the past, not least, because it puts our current situation into perspective.
Some of you may have seen the recent ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ programme about David Walliams. It had a local connection because he ended up visiting the Headquarters of Carter’s Steam Fair in Maidenhead, as one of his relatives had been a showman.
A relative on the other side of his family had fought in the First World War. The brutality of the situation then was highlighted by the fact that this man suffered shell shock and returned to the UK only to be sent out to ‘the front’ again a little while later.
Although he eventually came home alive, sadly, he never really recovered and ended up in a mental hospital for the rest of his life. Fortunately for David and the family, he was a talented artist and some of his paintings have remained in the family as a lasting legacy, and a little light from a life full of darkness.
As I write this letter I can the see the photograph taken of my ordination group outside Reading Minster in September 2001, when I was ordained priest. There are eight of us plus Bishop Dominic: five women and three men. At the end of September, I celebrated being ordained as a deacon twenty years, and reflect on this time spent in this Team Ministry.
It was Canon Andrew Bunch who re-ignited a call to ordination, that had first been asked of me in my early twenties. Dee was churchwarden while he was Team Vicar here. They had a good partnership also friendship, so it was only right that Andrew should preside at Dee’s wonderfully moving funeral service. I am so grateful that we were able to celebrate her life before lockdown. Of course, for me 2020 will always be a year of remembrance.
November is traditionally a month that has a theme of ‘remembering and giving thanks.’ It is also a good time to renew our own commitment to the Christian faith and review the importance of prayer in our daily lives. I thank the Lord for ‘zoom’ during this time!
It is, I think, worth remembering that November 11th is also the feast of St. Martin of Tours; the soldier who famously tore his cloak in half in order to clothe a beggar. Martin dreamed that he saw Christ wearing the half cloak; soon he left the army and devoted his life to Jesus Christ. He founded a monastery and later became bishop of Tours, in France.
In the church calendar November sees the change from Sundays after to Trinity to Sundays before Advent. The liturgical colour changes from green to red and the Sunday themes direct us towards the Kingdom of God. At the end of the month the church keeps the Feast of Christ the King. The liturgical year ends with the theme summed up in the words of Ephesians 1. 19-23: that God raised Christ from the dead, and has given him a position of supreme authority in the universe, commissioned to rule over all things for the church, which is his body.
Please pray for the Church, and all those who are elected to take important decisions about the future especially about the journey back to normality, once the coronavirus eventually declines. I am sure that we all hope that the Church may continue to reflect the will of the Holy Spirit and empower all the members to live out the Gospel in their daily lives.
Come join us!
You are welcome to join us at St Stephen and St Agnes, regardless of race or gender or sexuality. We are part of the Church of England and our worship style is modern catholic: this means the service uses contemporary English, but still has ritual and incense (‘smells and bells’). Due to COVID19, services do not currently finish with coffee or sherry, but we hope to restart these when possible. There is a Fairtrade stall selling a variety of goods from Traidcraft (chocolate, biscuits, tea, coffee, rice, Christmas cards later in the year, etc.)
There are areas in the church that make it easy for parents with prams or people in wheelchairs to join the worship. Our congregation age ranges from babies to 98-year-olds. On the first Sunday of the month, we have a family service with home-baked cakes. Study and discussion groups are available throughout the year with special courses run during Advent and Lent.
We are committed to safeguarding children, young people, and vulnerable adults. The parochial church council has adopted the Church of England’s policies and best practice on safeguarding which may be found on the Church of England’s website. Our Parish Safeguarding Representative is Laura Betteridge and she may be contacted at church or by email.