Our mission at St Mary's is to share the life-changing love of Jesus, serving our whole community
Sharing Jesus and serving the church community
We believe that as the Church grows in our love and understanding of Jesus then we will be better equipped and motivated to share the life-changing love of Jesus with others. As well as our regular services, we have a number of small groups, fellowship groups and youth groups which help us strengthen our faith and our love for each other. Further details of these groups can be found elsewhere on the website.
Sharing Jesus and serving the local community
Within the local community we look to share the love of Jesus through our relationships, our words and through providing practical help and support.
Sharing Jesus and serving the worldwide community
Further afield we look to share the love of Jesus by providing prayer, financial and practical support to others who share our vision. This may be those called to a specific ministry nationally or internationally or those living or working in their local communities.
St Mary’s is committed to supporting specific mission activities through our financial giving. Recognising that God blesses us more than we could ever imagine we have an annual gift day and these funds are directed towards other projects that provide opportunities to share the life-changing love of Jesus with others.
To read more about our Mission Partners, please click here.
In addition to those ongoing partnerships, the church family also supported the following other projects financially through our Gift Day in May:
Children & Families Outreach and Nurture
As many of you know so well, Chippy is a very different town to that portrayed in the media. Sadly the wealth of a few masks the experience of many families of significant rural deprivation. Until recently, our ACE Centre provided a good level of support for some of these vulnerable families, but LA cuts mean that most of their services have been axed. People are now expected to make a 30 mile round trip to access any support or advice services. Already the schools and Health Visitors are seeing the effects of these cuts, but we have been presented with an amazing opportunity to step in as a church and do something to fill that gap:
On Monday mornings we have been invited to run a ‘drop-in’ to support parents, and on Friday mornings, the school has offered us their hall to run a ‘stay and-play’ soft play session. Both of these openings will enable us to engage families who most need support, to signpost them to the support that they can access locally, and to build relationships with them.
We see that the that the levels of commitment and expertise required for this ministry are beyond our limited volunteer workforce and so recognize the need to employ a Children’s and Families worker to staff these sessions, to build a team to assist in that ministry, to continue to shape the way that we reach out to families in our community, and to coordinate our own children’s ministry.
Our vision to see families move from just-about-surviving to thriving in our community and surrounding area.
Rafiki Thabo Youth Mission Bursary
Next summer, we have a brilliant opportunity to take a group of young people to Kenya on an overseas mission with the Rafiki Thabo Foundation (which was established in our Benefice by Jon Uglow). We plan for our youth to share the love of Jesus by serving communities which don’t enjoy the same privileges as us, not only practically but also by sharing our experience of God with other young people in a totally different culture.
Overseas mission can be totally life changing for many, and our hope is that the trip will help our young people grow in their faith as they are pushed well out of their comfort zones and witness God at work. We pray that we impact the people we meet, but also that we ourselves will be forever changed by our encounters and experiences. Just imagine the results if we can bring back those life lessons and faith-building moments to Chipping Norton and impact our whole community!
Sustainability Project for Children's Ministry
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these" (Luke 18:16)
Nearly four years ago, we launched ‘OneWay’ so that families with children from 3-11 yrs-old could be served every Sunday and those children encounter Jesus for themselves in an environment specifically tailored to their needs. Quite obviously, though, the specific needs of a 3 yr-old are very different to those of an 11 yr-old and, as we’ve see more children join our church family, it’s been more and more difficult to cater for that whole age-span in the same space.
Already that limitation has started to ‘hinder the little children’ from coming (and we have also lost a couple of great leaders who found the task unmanageable). We desperately need to adapt the space in the Parish Rooms in which they meet, so that we can split the children into 2 smaller age groups, making our Children’s Ministry sustainable and ready to embrace the further growth we anticipate...
Many of the other groups who use our Parish Rooms regularly would similarly benefit from the space being more versatile, so this project will also help us to serve our community better.
Thank you from Kuluva Midwifery Training
Following our Gift Day in 2017 we sent £993.75 to help train midwives at Kuluva Hospital in Uganda.
Kate Quarell, a CMS Mission Partner, gave us this recent update:
"I’m sorry my news in the link letter was a surprise but I appreciate your understanding of the situation. It has been a difficult decision but I believe it is the right one, although I am uncertain about my future I believe God has made provision for Kuluva with local Ugandans which is good news.
I have spent the remainder of the money your church raised which I mentioned in my last link letter, the one you have just read. I have attached a statement of how all the money was spent.
Sadly the money that was previously allocated to Awang Eunice I felt was inappropriate when I discovered more information. The Principal originally contacted this student to enquire about her father and the outstanding debt. Eunice informed her that she raised 1 million Ug shillings and her father was still receiving treatment. Consequently, the Principal advised her that the remaining money would be paid by a UK church because of her father’s illness and the family’s inability to pay the fees. Therefore, she needed to come to the school with her 1 million shillings and collect her exam results. However, this student never came to the school to collect her exam results. I had to follow up with the bursar and the Principal several times over several weeks! Finally, the Bursar got through to Eunice by phone and she informed him that her brother who has a pharmacy store had borrowed her 1 million Ug Sh to buy drugs. I therefore concluded that this family had opportunities to income generate to pay the outstanding school fees. I believe it was more appropriate to transfer the money to a student with no hope of raising money. I also believe that Eunice was not being fully honest when she shared her information and showed lack of motivation. Hence, I transferred the money to Harriet whose story is in the link letter. It is amazing too see her response, she is praising God and it has been a witness to other students so I believe this deed before the students has brought honour to God (Matt 5:16).
I know St Mary’s is not one of my link churches but would it be possible for me to come and visit you and the church to thank you in person when I return to the UK.
Thank you so much for your support.
12 October 2017