New resources launched

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New resources support congregations to live well through the next six months.

The Diocese of Oxford has produced a suite of new resources to encourage ‘living well’ through the challenging winter ahead. As we look to the lighter days on the other side of the winter darkness, the Diocese is offering parishes a host of materials to use within their own communities.

The Rt Revd Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford, has written to all clergy, every chaplaincy and school, and the people in the Diocese of Oxford, looking forward positively to a new horizon, six months away and to Easter 2021. This may seem a long time away, so the church has devised a mixture of video, audio, print and online materials to suit everyone.

During October, the Bishop of Reading, the Rt Revd Olivia Graham, will present a new, short video focusing on our relationship with the environment. In the first Bishop Olivia says, “Environmental concern isn’t simply a fringe interest for the usual suspects, nor is it an optional extra. It is absolutely central to our Christian discipleship.”

A new weekly podcast series Comfortable Words began in September. Bishop Steven explored Isaiah 40-55 to reflect on our lives today. “Sometimes a song or a play or a film will catch a moment and speak to a whole nation, sometimes to the whole world for a few weeks or a few years. Just a small number of songs or poems in the entire history of human culture have spoken to the whole world across countless generations,” he says.

Living is Christ, Dying is Gain is a four-session study course for small groups based on reflections on the book of Philippians. St Paul was writing from ‘lockdown’, in prison, and he wrote a short letter to his friends in Philippi thanking them for their love and support and to encourage them.

The study course, available to order now, offers inspiration from Paul’s advice for a church living through a time of crisis because he has learnt from experience what truly encourages, sustains and brings joy.

Finally, in November, two Bishops’ Webinars will be available. Both sessions, open to anyone in the Diocese who wants to come, are on the theme of rebuilding different aspects of ministry in a time of COVID-19. They will help people explore how they can live well as Christians during the next six months of the pandemic.

Asked why it matters to provide resources like these, Bishop Steven said “God calls us even in the midst of this crisis to find our voice again as disciples and as a Church. This not for our own sake but for the sake of our nation and the world and the communities we serve.”