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.

Praying for victims of terror



'In the midst of life we are in death.'

Lord, in a place of pleasure, terror struck, in a place of life, death came. Hold us in our shock and grief, comfort the distressed, heal the injured, calm the anxious, reunite the separated, console the bereaved, and give rest and everlasting peace to those who have died, for your love never fails and through the darkness your light always shines. Amen.

Team Vicar

2016 Accounts and 2016 Review

The accounts were approved on 24 April by the PCC and signed off


Please click below to find the Accounts for 2016 and the 2016 Review
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

Parish of Witney 2016 Approved Accounts

2016 Review

Annual Accounts

Raise the roof

An opportunity to invest in a major Witney landmark

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!

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St Mary Find out more about this project

Inspiring Change

Creating a Community Space for the 21st Century

As part of our wider commitment to serve the people of Witney, we have formed a vision for renewing St Mary’s Church, our town’s landmark civic church: to enhance the ways the spiritual, community and cultural life of Witney people in the 21st century is served by St Mary’s church.

St Mary Find out more about this project

Latest Witney Way

You can read the latest edition of the 'The Witney Way' by clicking Here

Remember Dale Carnegie’s bestseller, How to Make Friends and Influence People? Well he also wrote, ‘Today is the tomorrow, you worried about yesterday.’ Mindfulness is currently a popular method of temporarily ridding oneself of extraneous stimuli, emptying and calming the mind, and concentrating on the Now. Of course metaphysically, Now can never exist; even as you read this sentence, the beginning is already in the past, and the end is still in the future.

The following pages are full of Yesterdays; accounts, reminiscences, recollections, memories and history; but also hope for our Tomorrows. Bishop John Pritchard helps us to look forward when we may be struggling or have lost our way, John Wesley reminds us that ‘faith is a journey not an end’, and Bishop Steven invites us to ‘come and see’.

Our Team Vicar Neil has left for pastures new, our curate Alastair is planning his departure, and we are looking forward to welcoming Ross as he prepares to join us as curate, on the next phase of his ministry. Pray for them all.

The 40 days of Lent – Ash Wednesday to Easter Saturday, minus the six Sundays – commemorate Jesus’ temptations in the wilderness, prior to his ministry. For us, it is a time of reflection and preparation, looking back at our lives; but also looking forward to our Lord’s glorious Resurrection. It is a time of spiritual discipline, reading, prayer, self-denial, charitable giving and actions. What are you doing?

Love and prayers,
Toby Wright
Team Rector

Staffing News

We are delighted to announce the appointment of a new Team Vicar

The Rev'd Ness Whiffin has been appointed to serve as Team Vicar in the Parish of Witney. Ness will be licensed in S. Mary's on 6 September 2017 and all are welcome to come and pray for her as she begins her new ministry here in Witney.

Please pray for Ness as she prepares for this move and the next step in her priestly ministry.

New Curate appointed


We are delighted to announce the appointment of Ross Meikle to serve his curacy in the parish. Ross will be ordained on Saturday 1st July at Christ Church Cathedral. Please pray for Ross as he continues his formation. you can read more about him HERE.

Almighty God, the giver of all good gifts, by your Holy Spirit you have appointed various orders of ministry in the Church:
look with mercy on your servants now called to be deacons and priests;
maintain them in truth and renew them in holiness,
that by word and good example they may faithfully serve you to the glory of your name
and the benefit of your Church;
through the merits of our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Amen

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Holy Week Addresses

The Rev'd Canon Dr Joanna Collicutt led Holy Week 2017 on Remembering.
The text of her addresses is available Holy Week 2017 here

Holy Week

Oxford Diocese

Seven days a week, more than 50,000 Anglican disciples are dispersed across the Diocese of Oxford and the world, serving God in a huge variety of contexts and making a difference in the world. Together as a Diocese we support an enormous range of voluntary projects serving the local community often in partnership with others: these include food banks, children’s centres, support for the homeless and refugees, community groups, parent and toddler groups and many more. Over a thousand church buildings and church schools are centres of life and hospitality in their communities. There are around a hundred stipendiary chaplains working across the Diocese in prisons, hospitals, the police, universities and schools. We have three formal overseas links with Kimberley and Kuruman (South Africa), with Växjö (Sweden) and with Nandyal (India) and many other links at parish level.

The Diocese of Oxford