Spring Projects in the Coffee Shop

The Coffee Shop team at St Andrew’s want to thank everyone who bought Christmas items last term, we were able to send a fantastic £250 to the Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice!

The Knit, Natter, Sew group meet every Tuesday from 10-12 in the Coffee Shop.  If you’ve every fancied trying your hand or have a project that needs an expert why not drop in?  They would be happy to help.  No need to bring any materials – a starter pack for either crochet or knitting can be supplied. This term we have started to look at crocheted octopusses (octopi?!) for premature babies as part of octopusforapreemie The octopus tentacles remind babies of the umbilical cord and are being used in many neonatal intensive care units around the country. If you don’t fancy that, then we will soon start on items for Easter. Watch the Coffee Shop Facebook page for more details.

PastedGraphic-1We have loved providing an outlet for Bellaroo Bakes.  Started by local entrepreneur Beth, Bellaroo Bakes make special occasion cakes.  Beth has created a small range of cakes & bakes especially for us. She has been developing some new items for 2018 so please pop in and give them a try.  We have also been able to source fair trade healthy snacks and they will be available very soon.

Opening Times

Tuesday & Wednesday   9am – 12.00pm and 2.30pm – 5pm

Thursdays                         9am – 12.00pm and 3.00pm – 6pm late night

Fridays                              9am – 12.00pm and 3.00pm – 6pm late night

Saturdays                          9am  – 13.00

Sunday & Monday           Closed

Our aim is to be open for all these advertised times but occasionally we run out of volunteers so we apologise if you find us closed.

Please note we will be closed during half term – last day Saturday 10th February, re-opening Tuesday 20th February.

Contemplative, Compassionate, Creative

Perhaps many of us come to church each week, unaware that we are part of a bigger picture? The Church of England (just in the UK) has 16,000 churches and 42 cathedrals and all of these will have some form of service each Sunday. Imagine all those people joining together in prayer towards a common goal – it’s a powerful image!

In our little corner of England, Stoke Poges Parish is part of the Deanery of Burnham and Slough, in the Buckingham Area of the Diocese of Oxford, led by Bishop Steven Croft.

Bishop Steven has written a 3-part course, Exploring the Beatitudes, a three session course for small groups across the Diocese of Oxford. He says:

‘I’m hoping churches will use this specially written resource to help them study and understand the Beatitudes. For me the Beatitudes have eight beautiful qualities, but eight is quite a lot to remember so I’ve been keen to capture what they mean in three words: contemplative, compassionate and courageous. ‘I want people to be asking what do these words teach us and tell us about Jesus, what do they tell us about being human in the 21st century and what do they tell us about what kind of Church we’re called to be.’

It sounds like a tricky job, to develop study materials, relevant to this distracted and multi-tasking age, enabling small groups of us to lead ourselves in a deeper understanding of God’s word, so it’s great to have something designed especially for this corner of the world.

As well as TJ running this course with two groups over the last few weeks (plus or minus snow days!), each of our Life Groups have decided to take up this challenge this term. That means a good proportion of our congregations will have heard and discussed the same material – what will you make of it? Do send me your comments (to heather@stokepogeschurch.org) as the experience unfolds and I’ll collate them for a future post.

For more opportunities to join in small group studies, look out for our Lent course, to be advertised around the churches soon.

What are the Beatitudes? You’ll know them when you hear them… the blessings listed by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew Chapter 5: Verses 3–11.

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.”

Tots’ Praise swings back into 2018

Our baby and toddler group swung back into action for the new year on Monday. This great community resource was started by Harry and Tracy 18 years ago and continues to be a boon for new mums, dads, grannies and carers around the village.

TJ & honey bear
Story time with TJ and Honey Bear

It is now ably run by TJ, with help from a grand team who put out all the toys & chairs, welcome and register everyone, lead song and story time, prepare and serve coffee (and drinkannabiscuit for the little ones) and provide valuable moral support on those tricky days; not to mention clearing up afterwards! From personal experience, it was also a great source of practical advice and perspective from other mums and the helpers, who are often grandmas and great-grandmas!

Anne holding the baby
What better way to spend a Monday morning?

We kick off each session at 10.30am with general play and chat time, then put the toys aside and have singing and story time, before rounding up at 11.45. It is open to anyone bringing pre-school children, we charge just £2 per family a session and we are here every Monday in term time (except Bank Holidays).

Tots’ Praise always needs volunteers and we have a rota so helping now and then would be great. If you would be able to help with any aspect of Tot’s Praise, please contact TJ or Tara via the church office.

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Happy New Year!

On Sunday we united with our friends from Stoke Poges Free Church for our first All Age Service of 2018.

We heard from Lewis Fry, Pastor at the Free Church, about choosing wisdom over riches (or a red Lamborghini!) and that we should listen to what God says we should do; not be bullied or persuaded to do the opposite.20180107_112957 (3)

We learnt a memory verse with TJ…

  1. TRUST in the Lord
  2. With ALL your heart
  3. NEVER rely
  4. On what you THINK you know.

(Proverbs 3 verse 5)

… and came up with some sayings of our own to help us to live as God asks (on the flip chart).

With beautiful worship music and fab bacon sarnies, we put in our best team effort. Great work everyone!

P.S. If you can help with bacon sarnie cooking at a future All-age Service, please get in touch with us at the church office. Make a date with a mate – thanks!

published 9th January 2018

Christmas 2017

Well another Christmas in Stoke Poges has flown by! We lit the Advent candles, rehearsed our singing, decorated the church and then all was set for a magical Christmas Eve and joyous Christmas Day!

From the cuteness and chaos of the Pre-school Carol Service, the bustle and hum of the Family Service (just about 400 people in St Giles’!) to the ceremony of the Midnight Communion Service in which we welcomed Christmas Day, continuing at 10am on The Day Itself.

Huge thanks to everyone who had a hand in the preparations and smooth running of the services and to our midnight guest, the Bishop of Buckingham, the Rt Revd Dr Alan Wilson.

published 30th December 2017

Ladies’ Lifegroup Round up

This term has been busy for the Wednesday ladies’ lifegroup, now meeting mostly at Heather’s house since the Vicarage is now out of bounds (we considered hiding out there on a Wednesday evening but it wasn’t very comfy without Harry & Tracy’s sofas!)

We started the term by “popping” over to Walton to see Tracy and family settled in to their new house, complete with puppy!

We then embarked on an ambitious study by Beth Moore on the book of Daniel. Twelve weeks later, we certainly feel we have done a thorough job, after looking at one chapter of Daniel a week, including an hour-long DVD segment and five homework sessions each week!

We also held a Daniel session in the coffee shop to celebrate Heather’s pop-up art gallery (the gallery will continue in the New Year) and of course we are looking forward to our Christmas social – food, bubbles, and prayers on the menu at Kate’s house.

Next term, we are planning a movie night featuring “The Shack”, which is out on DVD, an outing (when the restaurants are less busy and expensive!) and using the Advent course material Contemplative, Compassionate and Courageous as our next study.

If you would like to join a Lifegroup, please speak to Andrew about which one might be right for you.

published 18th December 2017