Silent Prayer - Saint Mary's Wednesday 1630

We read in St Luke’s gospel that before Jesus named his apostles ‘he went out to the mountain to pray; and all night he continued in prayer to God’. He must have spoken of his hopes and fears, asked for wisdom and strength for himself and for the chosen ones since he did not know how God’s plan for man would work out. But the night is a long time. In Matthew 6.vv 7, 8 in his teaching on prayer Jesus says ‘do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think they will be heard for their many words ... Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him’. Surely that night of prayer must have included many silences as Jesus recognized and rested in His Father’s presence.

In Luke 10, we have the story of Martha and Mary. Martha is busy with the necessary preparation for her visitor while Mary sits at Jesus’ feet apparently idle. Upon Martha’s complaining about the injustice of the situation Jesus comments ‘Mary has chosen the good portion that shall not be taken away from her’. Not a condemnation of action, I think, but rather a commendation of silence before action.

I think it, therefore, not unreasonable to believe that from the very early days after the resurrection of Jesus and the coming of the Holy Spirit men and women have sought to know the Lord in the silence and this form of prayer is not some new fangled bright idea or just an idea borrowed from the practice of other great faiths. It has a truly Christian origin as is testified by many writers throughout the Christian era.

Meditation is very simple. It is letting go and letting God be God. It is acknowledging our helplessness and trusting ourselves to the mercy of our loving Creator. Our minds are a constant babble overloaded with a myriad of images and ideas and meditation calls for the discipline of a quiet mind. The meditator chooses a sacred word or phrase (known as a mantra), stills his body, sits upright and alert, and then slowly repeats his word throughout the period of meditation thus keeping the mind from wandering. If it does stray, simply return to the word. It is a discipline we have to learn and daily practice. We are not asking for anything or seeking any reward, simply being who we are called to be, people of love and compassion.

 

'In contemplative prayer we seek to become the person we are called to be, not by thinking of God, but by being with God. Simply to be with God is to be drawn into being the person God calls us to be'   John Main

Over time, months and years, we do find that we are being changed; more loving, less judgmental, less concerned about having to be right, more trusting in the love of God who has promised that we will never be forsaken.

Some find it encouraging and helpful to meet and meditate with others from time to time. Such a group meets at St Mary’s each Wednesday at 4.30pm. You would be very welcome whether you are a beginner or have been on the way for some time.

Exploring Spirituality Programme 2019

Exploring Spirituality Programme 2019

Click here to download The Exploring Spirituality Programme 2019 booklet ESP 2019 v2






#Everyday Faith

The Church of England invites you on a journey to discover God throughout your everyday lives. Find out more information here.

There are also apps you can download to assist in prayer:

Benefice YouTube Videos now online

The Benefice has a new YouTube channel. Please do take a look at two online videos



Thursday 31st October: Israel's Prophets: Telling the truth - fearlessly, 2.30 - 4 pm, Holy Trinity. The first of 3 sessions looking at several Old Testament prophets.

Sunday 10th November: Holy Trinity Choral Evensong 6 pm

Friday 15th November: Lights of Remembrance 5 - 7.30 pm, St. John's, Hailey. Come along, and light candles in memory of loved ones. Mulled wine and hot dogs will be served.

Festival Dates 2019-20

S Augustine said ‘In the house of God there is never-ending festival’. Here are upcoming festivals being celebrated at St Mary's

2019

    Witney Wonderland Friday 29th November 5 pm
    Witney Wonderland Christmas Stalls Saturday 30th November 11am - 4pm
    Witney Wonderland Gala Ball Sunday 6th December

2020

    Beer Festival Saturday 9 May
    Food Festival Saturday 16 May
    Oktoberfest Saturday 12 September

Festival Dates 2019

The Witney Feast: Saturday 14th - Tuesday 17th Sep. The programme includes

    The Oktoberfest: Saturday 14th Sep, 12noon
    Civic Service followed by Gallopers Service: Sunday 15th Sept, 6pm

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Raise the roof

Severe winter frosts have destroyed the limestone slates on St Mary’s Roof. We need to replace them before winter sets in. Local Witney people have already sponsored 2,200 slates. Only 1,800 slates to go!!

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The Church is the new creation, it is life and joy, it is the sacramental fellowship in which we share the ultimate purpose of God, made real for us now in our hearing the Word and sharing the Sacrament.
Rowan Williams

Click here to download the 2018 Annual Report and Accounts

Safeguarding: who to contact in an emergency

If a child or adult is in immediate danger or requires immediate medical attention, call the emergency services on 999. If there are concerns about their immediate welfare, don’t delay: call Children and Adult’s Social care on 0345 050 7666 or the MASH Out of Hours Emergency Duty Team: 0800 833408

Also please inform your Parish Safeguarding officer, Alison, on 07884 074812 or her Deputy, Ness, on 07774524756 or Pauline on 01993 648136 that you have contacted them.

Safeguarding: who to contact with concerns

For all safeguarding concerns please immediately inform your Parish Safeguarding Officer, Alison, on 07884 074812 or her Deputy, Ness, on 07774524756 or Pauline on 01993 648136. You can also email concerns to safeguarding@witneyparish.org.uk

If you are unsure or worried about how serious a situation is, contact one of the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisers, Stuart Nimmo, on 01865 208290 or Sophie Harney on 01865 208295.