The Daily Office

Morning and Evening Prayer

The Daily Office is said for the parish at Saint Mary’s at 9.00am and 5.30pm Monday- Saturday. This is led and prayed by clergy and laity alike.

One of the well kept secrets of the Anglican Church is that of praying Morning and Evening Prayer in public. This pattern of prayer is one which has its roots in the mists of the history of the Church and is properly seen as a gift for all the baptised – not just for the clergy.

A vital starting point for Christian prayer is that it is one. The prayer of the Church is the total prayer of all Christians. Each member of the Body of Christ offers that prayer as part of the whole, whatever form that prayer may take. For it is Christ who is praying in his Church.

There are, we all know, lots of different ways of praying, but there are three particular strands worthy of emphasis. First, the sacraments – especially the Eucharist where the Church is most fully herself. Second, daily liturgical prayer offered either individually or together. Third, the intimate prayer of individuals.

It is daily liturgical prayer which we are particularly concerned with here. Daily liturgical prayer is a gift to the Father, covenanted and offered in its own right as part of the prayer of the whole Body, regardless of who is around or absent. As part of the prayer of the whole Body, the public Daily Office is grounded within the vocation of the whole community. In other words, those who pray the Daily Office do so on behalf of everybody.

One of the gifts of the Daily Office is that it unites the Church in time (tradition) and space (the contemporary worldwide Church) and reminds us that our prayer is part of something much bigger than ourselves. The same prayer is offered by countless Anglicans – and others – across the world as we pray the same psalms together – though apart – and are fed by the same passages of scripture.

One of the things which is indispensible to the life of the Church is finding a pattern of daily prayer. While not all Christians are called to direct participation in this classical form of Christian prayer, it is a gift to the Church and one which can enrich our lives and our patterns of prayer. In an extraordinary note of clarity the Second Vatican Council spoke of the pattern of liturgical prayer as ‘.the voice of the bride addressing her bridegroom.’ This image looks back over a rich history of connection between the Church’s prayer and the language of love, through the Song of Songs to the Lord’s word himself.

All very well you might say, but I’m no great prayer! Well join the club. But for those of us for whom this is our lot, we need to work harder. Not all of us are called to be great pray-ers, but the Church as a body is. The prayer of the belongs to each of us. The liturgical prayer of the Church in the daily office will always go on – often hidden: an offering by a few on behalf of all. And, as with all prayer, all we are called to do is to surrender ourselves so that the Spirit can cry out within us (Romans 8). Through hearing the word of God; reciting the psalms quietly together (trying to unite our voices to sound as one); through prayer; singing and silence, we express our calling as the Body of Christ and present ourselves to the Father, through Christ and in the Spirit.

So why not come and join in this small part of the life of our parish? We’re there Monday-Saturday at 9am and Monday-Thursday and Saturday at 5.30pm. A good number already share in this aspect of ministry and it would be lovely to strengthen the voice of prayer with you coming to join us.

If you would like to explore your prayer life in more detail do please feel free to contact me or one of the other members of the ministry team, or another person you trust. Such a step could be vital in the renewal of your Christian life. For there is no more necessary step to be taken in any renewal than that of taking God more seriously. Do come and join us.

Ending of WW1 commemoration

Centenary commemoration of the ending of WW1


In November this year, we commemorate 100 years since the end of the first world war. We will join with the town to remember and give thanks for the sacrifice made by many over the years. In addition to our services on November 11th there will be:

    a Concert of Faure’s Requiem at St Mary’s on Saturday November 3rd.
    a WW1 Centenary Commemoration on Saturday 10th November 2018 at Holy Trinity Church, Woodgreen, OX28 1DN to remember the ending of WW1 with readings, poetry and music. Tickets are £10, including refreshment. For details please contact Charlotte@witneyparish.org.uk or telephone 07900 456299

775 Sermon Series

Do join us as we celebrate our 775th Anniversary with a series of sermons:

2018

    Sept 9th The Rev'd Toby Wright A Christlike Church
    The sermon text is here: Feast 2018
    Oct 7th The Ven Judy French A Servant Church
    Nov 11th Rev’d Kate Bruce A Peace-filled Church
    Dec 9th The Rev'd Dr Joanna Collicutt A Pondering Church

2019

• Jan 6th Baroness Caroline Cox A Courageous Church • Feb 17th The Rev'd Helen Cameron A United Church • Mar 10th The Rt Rev'd Steven Croft A Learning Church • Apr 21st Fr Stephen Tucker A Resurrection Church • May 5th The Rt Rev'd Chris Lowson A Kingdom Church • Jun 16th Sr Stella CSMV A Contemplative Church • Jul 7th The Team Vicar A Creation Church • Aug 4th Robin Brunner-Ellis A Renewing Church • Sep 8th The Rt Rev'd Colin Fletcher A Missional Church

Witney Flower Festival 2019

Plans are well in hand for the Witney Flower Festival 2019 which takes place 5th to 7 July 2019. Full details to be posted here over the next few months.

In the meantime please do take a look at this video of the 2016 Flower Festival which reminds us all of what to expect next summer.

Witney Wonderland

Witney Wonderland will make the Advent season really special this year. From the Christmas lights switch on (30th November), right through to Christmas and New Year, St Mary's will be a wonderful place to visit.

We have teamed up with a local charity, Joss Searchlight and a number of generous sponsors to host the first Witney Wonderland festival in the church. Expect to find St Mary's full of christmas trees, each individually decorated to reflect what Christmas means to different parts of our community. There will also be a fantastic Christmas scene to delight children of all ages.

As we look forward to celebrating the birth of Jesus at Christmas, our Carol services will be extra special this year; we'll be hosting a number of local schools as well as the Mayor's Carol service on December 14th and the service of lessons and carols on Christmas Eve. There'll also be a number of special events throughout December, including concerts, bands, sing a long film nights, community vocal and dance groups and even a special visit from Santa. Find out more by visiting witneywonderland.co.uk

Praying for a new House for Duty Team Vicar

The parish of Witney is looking for a Team Vicar (House for Duty) who will work enthusiastically and collaboratively with clergy and laity across the benefice. The priest will have particular pastoral responsibility for Minster Lovell, whilst also sharing in ministry fully across the benefice and the other four churches. Click for details ML Profile 2018 here

Lord, as we enter a new stage, may you give us open hearts, Grace to grow in faith and prayer And help us to serve you in our local community. Lord, bless and equip the person you are preparing to lead here. May they have vision and insight and a prayer-fill, pastoral heart To serve young and old alike in this community. Amen.

Find out more

A successful peal of Church bells

A successful peal of Church bells to mark the 775th anniversary of Saint Mary’s


Congratulations to the team of ringers on a successful peal of church bells to mark the 775th anniversary of Saint Mary’s!

Why not find out what is invovled in a peal

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!!

Please Sponsor a Slate for £10. Your civic landmark church needs you!

Donate with JustGiving and PayPal

Please find out more

Accounts

Annual Accounts

Our stewardship enables us to fulfil God's call and share in God's mission

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 view the Witney Parish 2017 Annual Report and Accounts

Annual Review 2017