Mission in the Wychwoods: What is being planned? Who will you bring along?
So far we have a whole host of ideas that have come out of conversations with people as well as looking at those things we do already. There really should be something for everyone, and it would be great if every one of us committed to inviting a friend along to something. The team can do a great deal, but unless you invite your friends and neighbours, it will all be in vain. If there is something that you think would be good that is not here, suggest it!
Our monthly breakfast group will be welcoming one of the student team to share something about their journey in faith. We hope this will stimulate some lively conversation.
Perhaps you have been meaning to ask that neighbour who comes at Christmas if they would like to come along another time. What about today?
The usual mix of story, song, fun and food but bigger. It will be a lovely sunny day and we will have a bouncy castle and BBQ. Perhaps there is a family you know who you could bring along?
God and dog
You have probably noticed, there are a lot of people with dogs around here. Sometimes conversation is much easier while you are walking along. Some of the team will be there to offer an opportunity to ask questions people have about life and faith in a non-threatening context.
The Baptist church will be hosting a craft event, during which one of the team will give a brief thought about what difference their faith makes to their lives. Do you know some crafty people who might enjoy time with others to be creative and think about their faith?
12 Years a Slave
Highly acclaimed film exploring themes of liberty and personhood showing in Chipping Norton Theatre. We will watch the film together followed by a discussion around those themes.
Our Tuesday morning gathering has re launched as ‘Coffee Club’ in recognition of the fact that the papers didn’t really feature in their previous incarnation! One of the team will be there to talk about the difference God has made in their life and will be ready to answer any questions that come up.
Great Cotswold Bake Off
With the massive popularity of the Bake Off, the concept is being used all over the place. In our school recently, the first round of their Bake Off saw nearly 80 entrants [and as vicar I am judge – cake as occupational hazard!] The Baptist church are hosting an event to see what our baking skills are like, so get baking!
God in poetry
There are so many wonderful poets inspired by their faith. An opportunity to share some of these and talk about what inspired them, and how they might inspire us.
‘The meaning of suffering’
A question Christians are asked, and ask so often, ‘If God is so loving, why is there suffering?’ Sharon Dirckx has researched this question and written a book, ‘Why’. This will be an excellent, thought provoking evening.
Hope Street fun day
We have thought of all sorts of things to do, but this will be a day where we ask the families and children what they would like to do… high risk but hopefully high fun!
Our usual Wednesday evening group are inviting the new principal of Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, Rev’d Dr Michael Lloyd, to open up the readings we will be looking at the following Sunday. As well as being an Oxford academic, Michael is very, very funny!
There are some in our communities who are just thinking about faith and what that might mean for them. This regular group will meet during our mission week, with one of the team there to answer questions and share stories of God in our lives.
Ever popular, invite a friend to come along and get creative. Knitting, food and chat about God. Who do you know who might enjoy a knit with friends in the Baptist hall?
Our growing group of friends who meet for tea on a Thursday will be joined by one of the team who will share a brief thought about life and faith. A low key, relaxed space to think about the most important things in life.
At the Baptist church. This is a lynch pin of community life, and during mission week it will take on another dimension, with lunch and a brief talk about faith. If you have a friend who might appreciate the chance to hear more about Christianity, how about treating them to lunch?
God in art
Like the space to talk about poetry, artists throughout time have had much to say about God and faith. This will be a space to look at some wonderful art and think about what they might be saying about the faith of the artist and how that might inform our own understanding of God.
Question of Sport
Henry Olonga, a former professional cricketer, and the youngest and first black cricketer to play Test cricket for Zimbabwe. His international career came to an end in 2003 after Olonga and a team mate wore black armbands during an international cricket match in the 2003 Cricket World Cup to “mourn the death of democracy” in Zimbabwe. Death threats forced him to live in exile in England. He will be here in the Wychwoods hosting ‘A question of Sport’ quiz with supper. This will be an excellent evening, and great in a community who love cricket! Tickets will sell quickly, so buy one for you and a friend soon!
Coffee morning with music
Shipton will be having a coffee morning with live music on the Saturday of mission week. As well as our own wonderful musicians, two of the team will be there who are concert musicians, so it will be a real treat. Bring a neighbour to enjoy coffee, cake and wonderful music with a chance to consider what difference faith makes to life.
We will finish off the week with a Palm Sunday service all together. An opportunity to do something a bit different and to welcome those friends and neighbours we have shared the week with.
God and Science
The final event of the week will see John Lennox visiting Chipping Norton. He is a mathematician and philosopher of science from Oxford University and has brilliantly debated with the likes of Richard Hawkins and Christopher Hitchens about science and new atheism. For those friends who claim atheism as their faith or neighbours who wonder if science removes the need for faith, this is a must.
Alongside all of this, there will be opportunities for you to invite friends, neighbours and members of the team into your home for a meal or a coffee. You may not feel you could talk about faith, but any of the team would be happy to share a couple of minutes of their own story of the difference God has made in their lives, giving a chance for people to ask their questions and share their own experiences.
In all of this, I pray that we would be bold and courageous, that we would recognise that the worst that could happen is someone says ‘no thanks’, and the best that could happen is someone finds out some more about who Jesus Christ is, and the love, peace and hope he can bring to their lives.