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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.”

 

Podcast

Church at home – full service

We are no longer offering telephone dial in. Church at Home is available to watch, or listen to in higher quality, each Sunday at 10am through to Pentecost. You’ll find full details on the website at https://www.oxford.anglican.org/livestream

 

Church at home – short service

We are no longer offering telephone dial in. Church at Home is available to watch, or listen to in higher quality, each Sunday at 10am through to Pentecost. You’ll find full details on the website at https://www.oxford.anglican.org/livestream

The seventh day (week 3)

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Every seven days in this series of podcasts we’ve invited you to think about how we can become a more contemplative, more compassionate and more courageous Church. You may wish to use today to reflect on the material with a small group, or you may want to reflect on your own.

18: A grain of wheat – investing for life

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This Abundant Life episode, written and read by the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, the Bishop of Oxford, explores John 12.20-26

17: Mary, the model disciple

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‘Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard…’ This episode is reflection 17 of  21 podcasts in the Abundant Life series, written and read by the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford

16: From life to death

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Jesus was about to die for the nation, and not for the nation only… Jesus’ mission is nothing less than the renewal of the whole earth. It is greater even than the salvation of his own people. It is to gather into one the dispersed children of God, born again from above into his kingdom. The great Passover has come.

This episode is reflection 16 of  21 podcasts in the Abundant Life series, written and read by the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford

15: Unbind him and let him go

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Every faith journey is different. but this call to life is not meant to be a once and for all experience. Christ calls us continually back to a new and abundant life.

This episode is reflection 15 of  21 podcasts in the Abundant Life series, written and read by the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford

14: The prayer of life

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The English word courage comes from the Latin word cor, which means heart. To be courageous is to be whole-hearted in our lives and in our faith. to encourage someone is, literally, to put the heart back in to them. In the language of Jeremiah, to be given a new heart.

This episode is reflection 14 of  21, the beginning of week 3 of Abundant Life.

13: From compassion to courage

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Jesus shows us life in all its fullness. That abundant life is first contemplative and second compassionate. You might think that love of God and neighbour says everything there is to say. But we also need to look and find in the story the Christ who is courageous.

This episode is reflection 13 of  21, the beginning of week 3 of Abundant Life.

The seventh day (week 2)

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Every seven days in this series of podcasts we invite you to think about how we can become a more contemplative, more compassionate and more courageous Church. After each week of daily reflections you may wish to use today to reflect on the material with a small group, or you may want to reflect on your own.

12: Following the compassionate Christ

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Pope Francis has one of the most challenging vocations in the world. His calling is to lead the largest Christian Church, stretched across every continent, a Church which is full of challenges and problems. His calling, like ours, is to articulate a fresh vision of what it means to be Church in the 21st century: a Church bearing witness to the love of God in a globalising, secular, pluralist, sometimes dehumanising culture.

This episode is reflection 12 of  21. Tomorrow we reflect back on week 2 of Abundant Life.

11: Open hearted, tender hearted…

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This picture of Jesus before the tomb of Lazarus gives us the picture of how the Church is to be in the world: the foundation of God’s mission is compassion: feeling with and suffering with others. Weeping with those who weep.

This episode is reflection 11 of  21. Written and read by Bishop Steven, each reflection accompanies the booklet Abundant Life.