‘Advent’ means ‘Coming’. At this time of year Christians look back to the coming of God to us in the birth of Jesus; and we look forward to his ‘coming again’ at the end of all things, to bring in God’s kingdom of love and justice.
Every parish must by law have an Annual Meeting. Technically in fact it consists of two separate meetings, the one usually held immediately after the other: first an Annual Meeting of Parishioners, at which all church-members and local residents are invited to elect the parish’s churchwardens; and secondly the Annual Parochial Church Meeting for church-members only, at which other business (such as the election of PCC members and approval of financial accounts) is done.
Christians believe that the end of Jesus' earthly ministry came forty days after Easter, with his 'ascension' to heaven – not so much a physical journey as a return to the presence of God, his Father and ours.
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent (the forty-day season of preparation before Easter). Its name derives from the custom of sprinkling ashes as a symbol of penitence.
Baptism, also known as ‘Christening’, is the official way of joining the Christian church. Adults and teenagers who come to faith are baptized in our churches, as are the children of parents who pledge to bring them up as Christians.
The Book of Common Prayer is a revision, made in 1662, of the original Church of England prayer books of 1549 & 1552. Still highly valued for the beauty of its prose, we use it in the CHEQS churches at least once a Sunday: details here.
‘Bouthrop’ is the traditional name, still used locally, for the former parish of Eastleach Martin – now combined as a single parish with Eastleach Turville.
Candlemas is the last of the celebrations of Christmas, and commemorates the ‘presentation’ of the infant Jesus in the temple.
The Feast of Christ the King is a relatively recent addition to the church’s calendar, having been instituted in 1925 by Pope Pius XI. This was in response to growing secularism, and the rise of fascism, in Europe; and reminds us that our allegiance as Christians is not primarily to party or nation or to any human institution – but to Jesus, the ‘Servant King’.
We have five churches in regular use in the CHEQS group (St John the Baptist’s in Coln St Aldwyns, St Nicholas’ in Hatherop, St Andrew’s in Eastleach, St Swithin’s in Quenington and St Peter’s in Southrop); and also a redundant church building (Stt Martin & Michael’s in Bouthrop, now part of Eastleach parish).
‘Compline’ is an ancient monastic service, the last of the day. It’s now more often known as Night Prayer.
Easter is the climax of the Christian year. God's love is stronger than death itself, and the grave couldn't hold the crucified Christ.
Epiphany means "revelation". The old Prayer Book name for the festival is the "Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles" – the wonderful fact that God's love is for everyone, not just a chosen few.
While children are welcome at all our services, the reality is that some of them are quite difficult for younger children especially. At 'Family Services' we make an extra effort to make the worship accessible to all ages, including children.
Good Friday is the solemn day on which Christians remember the death of Jesus on the cross. At one level a tragic event, the church calls it ‘good’ because the story didn’t end there, but on the cross Death itself was defeated through the triumph of the Resurrection that followed.
Harvest Thanksgiving is a relatively modern addition to the church calendar. Its origins are usually traced to the adaptation in 1843 of Lammas Day by Rev RS Hawker, a parish priest in Cornwall. He chose the first Sunday in October as a Christian response to coincide with the traditional but largely secular ‘harvest home’ celebration, but there is some evidence to suggest that a thanksgiving for the harvest was already a relatively widespread practice. An annual church celebration of the harvest certainly established itself rapidly with great popularity and was first recognized officially in the Church of England in 1862.
During the reign of Constantine (the first Roman Emperor to profess the Christian faith), his mother Helena went to Israel to look for the places that were especially significant to Christians. Having found what she believed to be the sites of Jesus’ crucifixion & burial (at locations that modern archæologists think may be correct), she then had built over them the Church of the Holy Sepulchre – dedicated on 14 September 335. That date has become a day for recognizing the Cross (in a festal atmosphere that would be inappropriate on Good Friday) as a symbol of triumph – a sign of Christ’s victory over death, and a reminder of his promise “When I am lifted up I will draw all people to me.”
Christians commemorate the last days of Jesus' life as 'Holy Week' – the days leading to his death on Good Friday and the glory of his resurrection on the first Easter Day.
Some correspondents believe that this poor creature is kept in the Vicarage wine-cellar without a cork-screw; the more sceptical, however, think that it’s merely an e‑mail autoresponder.
John Keble was the instigator of the Oxford Movement, a nineteenth-century revival in the Church of England. He served as curate in the CHEQS churches.
Keble College, Oxford, was founded in honour of John Keble, instigator of the Oxford Movement and one-time curate in the CHEQS churches. Once a year their choir lead a service of Choral Evensong for us.
Lent is the forty-day period leading up to Easter. Traditionally observed as a time of spiritual reflection and self-discipline, its name comes from the fact that the days are lengthening at this time of year.
The word 'Maundy' probably comes from the Latin 'Mandatum', the first word of Jesus' saying "I give you a new commandment: that you love one another, as I have loved you" (Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos). On this day we remember Jesus' 'Last Supper' when he washed his disciples' feet, and spoke of his imminent death.
In times gone by, Mothering Sunday was a day when domestic servants were given a day off to visit their mother church, usually with their own mothers and other family members. The children would pick wild flowers along the way to place in the church or give to their mothers. Eventually, the religious tradition evolved into the Mothering Sunday secular tradition of giving gifts to mothers.
On Palm Sunday Christians remember the ‘triumphal entry’ of Jesus into Jerusalem at the start of the last week of his life.
‘Passion’, in its old sense, means ‘suffering’ – and the fortnight leading to Easter is a solemn period in which we remember the last days of Jesus’ life. During this time he went to Jerusalem where he was betrayed, captured, tortured and executed.
Pentecost, sometimes known as ‘Whitsun’, celebrates the coming of God’s Holy Spirit on the first followers of Jesus – the event that in effect heralded the beginning of the Christian church.
Recharge is an occasional informal service at Fairford United Church "offering an opportunity to worship through modern songs as well as to pray and reflect on God's Word". Recharge starts at 7.30 pm for about 1¼ hours following refreshments from 7.00 pm. Details of these services in the next few months can be found on our Youth & Children's page.
The Pilgrim Course is a Church of England initiative for nurturing Christian faith & discipleship. We are exploring the the possibility of using it in the CHEQS churches in 2016.
To marry in a church, you need to have a specific connexion with it. (This is the law of the land, not just a church regulation.) Typically you must live in the parish and/or attend the church regularly, though some other connexions are possible full details can be found here.
‘Readers’, sometimes known as ‘Lay Readers’, are authorized lay ministers in the Church of England, especially responsible for preaching and leading worship. Our Readers in the CHEQS churches are John Exelby and Hanmer Webb-Peploe.
Originally, the Christian observance of Rogation was taken over from Græco-Roman religion, where an annual procession invoked divine favour to protect crops against mildew. The tradition grew of using processional litanies, often around the parish boundaries, for the blessing of the land. The poet George Herbert interpreted the procession as a means of asking for God’s blessing on the land, of preserving boundaries, of encouraging fellowship between neighbours with the reconciling of differences, and of charitable giving to the poor. In more recent times, the scope of Rogation has been widened to include petition for the world of work and for accountable stewardship, and prayer for local communities.
Hatherop church is dedicated to St Nicholas, Bishop of Myra in the fourth century. Traditions about St Nicholas form the background to the modern myth of Santa Claus (his name in Dutch).
Quenington church is dedicated to St Swithun (known locally as "St Swithin"). – Bishop of Winchester from October 853 until his death (on 2 July) in about 862.
SNAP is our "Youth Service for All Ages" – organized and led largely by our teenagers but open to all. Details of services in the next few months can be found on our Youth & Children's page.
The Team Council is the governing body for our South Cotswold Team of Parishes – twenty-two churches, of which the CHEQS churches are five. It meets three or four times a year to discuss matters of common concern.
During the summer months we meet for Evening Prayer at 5.00 pm every Wednesday in a different village church across the South Cotswolds Team. Venues for the next few weeks are detailed here.
God is One, Christians believe ... but not a singularity. There is relationship within God, a three-fold community (a ‘Trinity’) of love. Specifically the One God became involved in the contingencies of human experience, in Jesus Christ; and continues involved in the world and the church through the Spirit.
Vespers is the Roman Catholic equivalent of what the Church of England generally calls 'Evening Prayer'.
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