Following the long period of services being suspended during COVID19, we are pleased to announce that public worship in our Benefice begins again on July 19th.
The rector is still sending out regular emails to those on the parish email list to help us remain a community together. If you haven't yet received an email, do go to the contact page and ask to be included.
Our website homepage will continue feature a new Worship at Home video each week as an ongoing focus of our Benefice worship life.
Our church buildings open for personal prayer during the day on Saturdays from July 11th. (Though when a Benefice service is happening in a parish on the Sunday, the church will not open on the Saturday.)
We also offer two short videos to help with Daily Morning and Night Prayer:
This is where you can find details of extra events byond our usual Sunday Services.
Church Building Projects
The Diocesan Advisory Committee on church buildings gave us a sort of amber light on the project nearly two years ago - and then we had some kick back from a couple of the national amenity societies that comment on historic buildings. That left us three basic options - 1. Do what the amenity societies want (essentially, not enough to make the building useful through the week) 2. Do what we had planned anyway (but we’d risk ending up in a long drawn out court battle to get the permissions we need, and all that would cost time and money) 3. Find a compromise that gives us enough to make it worth doing the project, while at the same time keeping the amenity societies happy. This is what we are currently working on …
Through it all, we started with six principles, and we are not letting go of them.
Access - we want anybody and everybody to have good and easy access to the whole church and across the churchyard.
Better heating - a warm church shouldn’t be rocket science in this day and age, and if we can do something to introduce renewable energy, so much the better.
Toilets - whether you are young or old or somewhere in between, it’s perfectly reasonable to expect a public building to have decent toilet facilities.
Hospitality - we want simple hospitality facilities so we can foster fellowship after church, put on decent concert interval drinks, host a small cafe midweek. A church is about loving God and caring for people; hospitality somewhere near the centre of church life.
Children - we need a specific space for our children’s church within our own building so that children know they matter here.
Flexible space - much loved as our victorian pews are, the lives of people in our village today matter more. We want space so we can worship in different ways, have more concerts, welcome the school regularly, find a place where the PCC can meet or watch a midweek cafe thrive. Maybe Sustainable Steeple might make use of the building; maybe we’ll have a Heritage Corner with a permanent display about the Steeple Aston Cope bringing visitors to the village.
We hope to work with the amenity societies and reach agreement on our new plans before long. And when we do - there’ll be an exhibition so everyone can see. And then we will be able to really get moving…
We do need your help, so if you would like to donate to our project in Steeple Aston, please send a cheque made payable to "Steeple Aston Church" to The Steeple Aston Church Fund, c/o The Rectory, Fir Lane, Steeple Aston, OX25 4SF.
One project has become three. St Mary's For Everyone is our over-all heading, with three separate aims:
1. To renovate the windows in the Anne Chapel, so our building is sound
2. To renovate the lichgate and put in a new, step-free path so that access is easy for everyone from car park to church door
3. To introduce a new servery and toilet into the church, bringing facilities which will enable the church building to be better used by the whole community - from Sunday worship and concerts through to midweek groups. Also, we are improving some liturgical furniture at the same time.
We are very grateful to all those funding bodies and to everyone locally who helped us reach our first target and successfully complete the renovation of the windows! It has been wonderful to achieve this goal. Now we progress to the second part.
If you would like to donate to the North Aston projects, then please send a cheque made payable to "St Mary's North Aston" to St Mary's For Everyone, c/o The Rectory, Fir Lane, Steeple Aston OX25 4SF.
Our church buildings will re-open for personal prayer on Saturdays from July 11th, and public worship resumes with open air services from July 19th.
Even when the buildings were closed - the Church itself has always remained open. God is always with us, and His people never stop caring and loving, and trusting that the One who gave Himself for us stands with us whenever we call upon Him.
So please be aware that some in our villages may be unwell, and some will choose to self-isolate; everyone is very precious to God and to all of us. Why not ring a neighbour and chat on the phone? Check that people you know are OK. See if there's anything you can do - being very careful not to impose on anyone, and being very sensitive about washing hands and using every possible precaution.
For the time being, weekly 'Worship At Home' videos will still be posted on our website homepage so that we can all continue to feel connected as we worship, whether we gather together or stay home.
If you don't feel well - stay at home. If you do come to our public services, bring a chair or a rug to sit on, observe social distancing, and please wear a face-covering or mask. Masks in worship will feel strange at first - so let's make a positive out of this, and offer a prize to the most colourful and creative each week!
If you are lonely or under the weather or grieving or struggling, let the rector or the churchwardens know, so we can make sure you are prayed for.
Steeple and Tackley have their own websites with details of all sorts of community activities. North has an excellent and informative Wikipedia page. Click the relevant box for details.
United Benefice Services:
These joint services usually happen around four times a year.
Our final service together for 2019 will be on the final Sunday of 2019 - a time to come together and thank God for all his blessings through the last year and to pray for his peace and joy in the year ahead as we give thanks for Christmas together.