CHEQS churches – the wider church

The CHEQS churches are part of the worldwide church – people in every land seeking to live as followers of Jesus.

Our five churches are part of a wider grouping of twenty-three – the South Cotswolds Team Ministry, which is itself one of a number of benefices that together form the Cirencester Deanery in the Diocese of Gloucester.  We are part of the Church of England – our own national expression of the world­wide (‘catholic’) church.

The “mother church” of the Diocese is Gloucester Cathedral, where our Bishop, Rachel Treweek, has her seat (‘cathedra’).

Other churches in the CHEQS neighbourhood are St Thomas of Canterbury (Roman Catholic) church in Fairford, Fairford United Church and Lechlade Baptist Church.

 

More details, and links, will follow here shortly.

‘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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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‘Bouthrop’ is the traditional name, still used locally, for the former parish of East­leach Martin – now combined as a single parish with East­leach Turville.

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Candlemas is the last of the celebrations of Christmas, and com­memorates the ‘present­ation’ of the infant Jesus in the temple.

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The acronym ‘CHEQS’ refers to the five villages, and churches, of Coln St Aldwyns, Hath­erop, East­leach, Quen­ing­ton and South­rop.

To visit the CHEQS website home-page, click here;  and to see the CHEQS magazine, click here.

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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’.

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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).

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‘Compline’ is an ancient monastic service, the last of the day.  It’s now more often known as Night Prayer.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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On Palm Sunday Christians remember the ‘triumph­al entry’ of Jesus into Jeru­salem at the start of the last week of his life.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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‘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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Vespers is the Roman Catholic equi­valent of what the Church of England generally calls 'Evening Prayer'.

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