News from the Archbishop of Canterbury

You can view news from the Archbishop of Canterbury on the official Facebook page.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Ray Valley Benefice Services August 2021

Sunday August 1st Trinity 9

Islip Holy Communion (Said) 9.0am

Oddington Family Service 10.30am

Merton Holy Communion 10.30am

Noke Tea Party in churchyard (4pm) followed by Songs of Praise 5pm

Sunday August 8th Trinity 10

Woodeaton Family service 9.15am

Islip Morning Praise 10.30am

Charlton Holy Communion 10.30am

Ambrosden Family Service 10.30am

Piddington Evening Prayer 6pm

Sunday August 15th Trinity 11

Noke Holy Communion 9.15am

Oddington Morning Prayer 10.30am

Merton Family Service 10.30am

Ambrosden Holy Communion 10.30am

Islip Songs of Praise (Hymns & Pimms) 6pm

Sunday August 22nd Trinity 12

Piddington Holy Communion 9am

Islip Holy Communion 10.30am

Ambrosden Morning Prayer 10.30am

Charlton Evening Prayer 6pm

Sunday August 29th Trinity 13

Islip Benefice Communion 10.30

Zoom online worship 10.30am

Posted in News | Tagged | Leave a comment

Services in Islip in July

Do come to one or all – please wear a mask.

Sunday July 4thTrinity 5 
IslipHoly Communion (Said)9am
OddingtonFamily Service (Pilgrimage Theme)10.30am
MertonHoly Communion10.30am
NokeEvening  Service5pm
Sunday July 11th  Trinity 6 
WoodeatonFamily service9.15am
IslipMorning Praise  (Sea Sunday)10.30am
CharltonHoly Communion10.30am
AmbrosdenFamily Service10.30am
PiddingtonEvening Prayer6pm
Sunday July 18thTrinity 7 
WoodeatonHoly Communion9.15am
OddingtonMorning Prayer10.30am
MertonFamily Service10.30am
AmbrosdenHoly Communion10.30am
IslipEvening Service6pm
Sunday July 25th  Trinity 8 
PiddingtonHoly Communion9am
IslipHoly Communion10.30am
AmbrosdenMorning Prayer10.30am
CharltonEvening Prayer6pm
Posted in News | Leave a comment

Services in Islip and the Benefice June 2021

Sunday June 6th

Islip Holy Communion (Said) 9am

Merton Holy Communion 10.30am

Oddington Family Service 10.30am

Noke Family Service 5pm

Sunday June 13th

Woodeaton Family Service 9.15am

Ambrosden Family Service 10.30am

Charlton Holy Communion 10.30am

Islip Morning Praise 10.30am

Piddington Evening Prayer 6pm

Sunday June 20th

Noke Holy Communion 9.15am

Ambrosden Holy Communion 10.30am

Merton Family Service 10.30am

Oddington Morning Prayer 10.30am

Islip Evening Service 6pm

Sunday June 27th

Piddington Holy Communion 9am

Islip Holy Communion 10.30am

Ambrosden Morning Prayer 10.30am

Charlton Evening Prayer 6pm

Posted in News | Leave a comment

This year’s electoral roll

The electoral roll for St Nicholas is open for all baptised CoE members to join – this year’s closing date is 11 May. Why join? It shows a commitment to the life of the church in Islip and as a whole. And – like anything – the more the merrier! Forms available from the church, Johanna Stephenson, or send a message via this website.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Services in Islip and the Benefice – May 2021

Sunday May 2nd5th of Easter 
MertonHoly Communion10.30am
IslipHoly Communion (Said)9am
NokeSpring service4pm
Sunday May 9thRogation Sunday 
AmbrosdenFamily Service10.30am
PiddingtonEvening Prayer6pm
CharltonHoly Communion10.30am
IslipMorning Praise10.30am
WoodeatonRogation Walk and service9.15am
Sunday May 16th7th of Easter 
AmbrosdenHoly Communion10.30am
MertonFamily Service10.30am
OddingtonMorning Prayer10.30am
IslipEvening Service6pm
WoodeatonHoly Communion9.15am
Sunday May 23rdPentecost 
AmbrosdenMorning Prayer10.30
PiddingtonHoly Communion9am
CharltonEvening Prayer6pm
IslipHoly Communion10.30am
Sunday May 30thTrinity Sunday (United Benefice)  
PiddingtonHoly Communion10.30am
ZoomMorning Praise10.30 am 
Posted in News | Leave a comment

Remembering HRH The Duke of Edinburgh

At midday on Sunday 11 April, the Rev Lucy Thirtle led a short service of thanksgiving for the life of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh on Cross Tree Green.

Thanksgiving for the life of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh

Attended by over thirty, with the flag flying at half mast (Tower Captain, Teresa Carter had tolled the tenor bell 99 times the day before at noon) we sang ‘The Lord’s my shepherd’ and ‘Praise my soul, the King of heaven’ with prayers and finished with the National Anthem played by David Goodfellow on the trumpet.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

National Day of Reflection – 23 March 2021

Rev Lucy Thirtle records a reflection for the National Day of Reflection in St Nicholas on 23 March 2021.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Easter Services

On Palm Sunday (28 March) there will be an outdoor act of worship on Cross Tree Green at 10.30am. If you would like to bring a small branch from your garden to wave please do so and if you received a palm cross in a Lent bag, please bring that along (there will be some available for those who didn’t get one) as well.

On Maundy Thursday (1 April) there will be a service of Holy Communion in St Nicholas at 6pm and an online Seder meal (introducing the symbolism of the Jewish Passover celebration) at 7pm. Please ask for the zoom link if you’re not on the regular mailing list.

On Good Friday (2 April) there will be a service near the Calvary on Cross Tree Green at 10am. The Red Lion have generously offered to provide coffee and hot cross buns for those attending after the service. The church will be open all day for those who wish to pray or reflect quietly. During some of the time, some appropriate music will be played.

Finally, on Easter Sunday (4 April), there will be a 10.30am service of Holy Communion in the church but, weather permitting, this will begin with a short outdoor ceremony for those that wish to mark the festival in person but do not yet feel comfortable about indoor gatherings.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

This month’s Diocese of Oxford’s Prayer diary

On Monday 15 March in the Diocese of Oxford’s Prayer diary:

The Ray Valley: Steve Hayes, Lucy Thirtle, Lisa Holmes, Glenys Edwards. As we feel our way forward and try to keep pastoral links a priority, pray for wisdom, insight and for God’s guidance to help us avoid overlooking anyone. For several couples hoping to get married with all the associated anxiety and uncertainty due to COVID. Give thanks that our Zoom services are being well attended, for our small groups on Zoom and that our radio service is very well received. Charlton-on-Otmoor CE Primary School, Dr South’s CE School.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

March services – 2021

In view of current restrictions, services in March will be by zoom at 10.30am although we hope that we may be able to hold services either in church or outside before too long. Login details for zoom services from Rev Lucy.

For those in Islip, trumpets at 10am!

The church is open for private prayer through the day and anyone is welcome.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

February services – 2021

In view of current restrictions, all services in February will be by zoom at 10.30am – 7, 14, 21, and 28 February. Login details from Rev Lucy.

For those in Islip, trumpets at 10am!

The church is open for private prayer through the day and anyone is welcome.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Join in a games evening online!

As part of #LightingUpLockdown, this is an invitation for anyone who’d like to join (on Tuesday 2 February from 6-7pm) a social evening online, playing board games! It’ll probably be something like ‘Just One’ or a similar word game following the expertise of James Carter! Contact Kathryn Grant on 01865 373972 or if you’d like the zoom code for the evening’s fun. And, depending on enthusiasm, we’ll run another later in the month!

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Jazzing up January 2021

The crib figures on Cross Tree Green have started their onward journeys, leaving things looking a little bare. At the suggestion of the Rev Lucy Thirtle, Johanna Stephenson (07881 953711) and Jane Currie (07879 648383) now have a wonderful project to help us all get through the next phase of lockdown: an Islip tribute to essential workers.

Everyone is invited to make half-size figures, up to 3ft tall, of the wonderful people keeping things going and looking after us while we’re in lockdown, from doctors to busdrivers, firefighters and paramedics to shopkeepers, refuse collectors, postmen, vets, farmers, nurses and teachers – and lots of others! Please let us know if you’d like to ‘repurpose’ an existing crib figure – or if you’d rather make your own, please do!

We’ll start putting figures out round the village from Saturday 23rd January – and will continue to add more throughout lockdown. Let us know if you’d like any help or advice on how the crib figures were made (chicken wire, bubble wrap & tights – although they don’t all need to look the same), fixed to the ground (stakes & tent pegs), or if you have any questions at all.

And if you have any suggestions, we’d love to hear them!

Posted in News | Leave a comment

January services – 2021

In view of current restrictions, all services in January will be by zoom at 10.30am – 3, 10, 17, 24 and 31 January. Login details from Rev Lucy.

The church is open for private prayer through the day and anyone is welcome.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Raffle draw

The Three parishes fair raffle was drawn on Cross Tree Green on 19 December. Here are the prizewinners. Many thanks to all involved, especially Madeline Dandridge and Jane Currie, which raised £1,268 which will be shared equally between the village churches of Noke, Woodeaton and Islip.

Raffle prizewinners 2020
Bottle of champagneJustin and Lindsay Stead
Bottle of English champagneMerlin and Rosie Smith
Village Shop voucherPenny Smeaton
Quality StreetPhyllis Cook
Woodeaton HamperLisa and Alex Fraser
£20 Coal voucherKidlington Joinery
Homemade luxury Christmas cakeMaco Bryan
Pile of muckSami and Emily Cohen
SalmonHugh, Beckley Manor
Noke HamperIsobel Fisher
Case of wineJane and Peter Atkinson
BottleKaren and Ian Stevens
Posted in News | Leave a comment

Advent windows and Cross Tree Green

St Nicholas Church invites you…to decorate and light up a window in celebration of Advent, Christmas, Hanukkah and making January jolly! Any time from, 1st December.

  • The Old Barn
  • Monks Cottage

Free to enter. For more information and to let Emily Cohen know, so that we can keep track of where the windows are in the village, email emilycbcohen(at) light in the darkness

And on Cross Tree Green an Islip Nativity is being set up during December – Christmas characters are arriving and the story is unfolding with the finale on 6 January (Epiphany).

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Pop-up stall

Congratulations to all who helped with the pop-up stall from Wednesday 25 – Saturday 28 November outside Confessor’s Gate in aid of the Three Parishes (Islip, Noke and Woodeaton). The final total is £1,707! Special thanks to Johanna Stephenson and Jane Currie who ‘manned’ the stall for much of the time.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

December services – in church and by zoom

Sunday 6 December – 10.30am Holy Communion for St Nicholas Day/Advent 2.
Sunday 13 December – 4pm – Christingle Service of Light for young and old and every one in between!
(Christingle kits in a bag available to collect from 25 November from pop-up stalls around the villages – for this service or zoom service –see below).
Maximum limit of 40 likely.
Monday 21 December – 4pm – a Quiet Christmas service designed for those for whom the season is overshadowed by a bereavement or other sadness this year.
Thursday 24 December – 11.00 pm – Midnight Eucharist with music from the choir (NOTE slightly earlier time)
Friday 25 December 9am – Holy Communion (said) for Christmas Day

Zoom services too throughout December and Christmas
Sunday 13 & Sunday 20 December – Morning Services at 10.30 am
Mon 14 December – 5pm – Christingle by Zoom (for anyone not attending the service in church)
Christmas Day –10.30am Family Christmas celebration –gather your household around the computer while the turkey is cooking. Please contact Lucy for a link if you don’t currently receive her regular emails

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Forthcoming November services

Nov 1stNov 8th (Remembrance)Nov 15thNov 22thNov
10am Charlton-on-Otmoor
Morning Prayer 
11am  Islip at War Memorial (limited numbers)10.30am Zoom (SH)10.30am Zoom (LT)10.30am Zoom (LH)
10.30am Ambrosden Holy Communion  
10.30am Zoom   
5pm Noke Evening Prayer  

These services are subject to revision as government guidelines change, but we are hoping to be able to meet at these times on these dates.

The Piddington Radio service is available through their village website for a couple of weeks after each Sunday. Please check with Lisa ( before joining the phone-in service.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Forthcoming October services

Oct 4thOct 11thOct 18thOct 25th
9am  Ambrosden Holy Communion  9am   Charlton Morning Service9am Merton Morning service  10.30am   Piddington Holy Communion
11am Merton Harvest9.15  Woodeaton Harvest Charlton Holy Communion    10.30  Islip Morning Service  
5pm  Noke Harvest  10.30  Islip Holy Communion  10.30 Ambrosden Family Service   
6pm Charlton Harvest  6pm Harvest Piddington    
10.30am Zoom   6pm Zoom  10.30am Zoom  

These services are subject to revision as government guidelines change, but we are hoping to be able to meet at these times on these dates.

The Piddington Radio service is available through their village website for a couple of weeks after each Sunday. Please check with Lisa before joining the phone-in service.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Forthcoming September services

Sunday 6 September
10am Morning Service – Charlton
10.30am Holy Communion – Ambrosden
5pm Evening Service – Noke
11am Phone-in – Piddington Radio

Sunday 13 September
10am Morning Service – Merton
10.30am Holy Communion – Islip
5pm Zoom Service
11am Phone-in – Piddington Radio

Sunday 20 September
9am Morning service – Woodeaton
10am Holy Communion – Charlton
10.30am Morning Service – Ambrosden
5pm Zoom Service

Sunday 27 September
9am Holy Communion – Merton
10.30am Morning Service – Piddington
10.30am Harvest Festival Service – Islip
11am Phone-in – Piddington Radio

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Forthcoming August services

Sunday 9 August
9.15am Family service – Woodeaton
10am Holy Communion – Merton
10.30am Family Service with Baptism – Islip
5pm Zoom service

Sunday 16 August
10am Morning service – Charlton
10.30am Holy Communion – Ambrosden
5pm Zoom service

Sunday 23 August
10am Morning service – Merton
10.30am Holy Communion – Islip
6pm Evening service – Piddington

Sunday 30 August Benefice Sunday
10.30am Holy Communion – Charlton-on-Otmoor
5pm Zoom service

Posted in News | Leave a comment

2 August – 10.30am zoom service

On 2nd August in the benefice there is a service of Holy Communion in St Mary’s, Charlton at 10am and a zoom service at 10.30am. At the zoom service, we hope, providing the technology works, to have the Bishop of Oxford as our visiting preacher! 

At Noke in the afternoon at 4pm in place of the usual Tea party in the churchyard, we are inviting Noke residents to bring a picnic tea to enjoy in the churchyard instead in socially distanced groups with recorded music, sacred and secular as accompaniment. 

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Sunday 26 July

Zoom service at 5pm led by the Rev Lucy Thirtle – usual login details apply. Please contact her if you haven’t already received them.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Sunday 19 July – 10.30am Holy Communion

The church service will be held in St Nicholas – with social distancing in place please.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Islip Scarecrow Show 10 – 12 July

A staggering 47 scarecrows were on display over the weekend. With the wonderful ‘Jack Lumber’ flying high in the oak at Cross Tree Green, under which all those who came could buy a variety of things – all contributing to St Nicholas and the NSPCC.

The winner of the public vote was Woodie (7), second place What Ho, Jeeves (15) and third place Sozzled Sid (3).

(Left to right): Organiser Emily Cohen and judge Izzy Nicolson (Assistant Designer, RSC) hard at work, joint first prize awarded to Bob (11), Boris and Dominic, Lockdown Special (42) and Obi-Wan Scarecrow-bi (43) with third placed public vote winners for Sozzled Sid (3).

Here are the winners of all categories – Joint First Prize, Zany, Sweetest, Seriously Smart, School Skills, Scariest Scarecrow, Most Swagger, Happiest, Gave a Giggle, and Best Dressed.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Evening service 12 July in church

At 6pm the Rev Lucy will lead a short evening service of prayers and readings with a very short reflection, some recorded music in St Nicholas, Islip.

Those attending will need to arrive in sufficient time to avoid crowding at the entrance, use hand sanitiser and sit in marked seats in order to maintain distancing, etc.  It will however hopefully be an appropriate way to round off an enjoyable weekend of community fun provided by the Scarecrow festival.  The service will be videod so that we can experiment with live streaming or simply sharing it online.

Next Sunday 19th the Rev Lucy will be leading a Holy Communion service in St Nicholas at 10.30am and the Rev Steve will lead a zoom service for all in the benefice at 5pm. 

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Service on 5 July (Proper 9A)

Around 34 came to the Sunday zoom service which is popular for many during this time. There was a short discussion on the ways in which church life might change following the return to less challenging times – all views welcome.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Village questionnaire

Following the Open Meeting on Saturday 7 March when around 30 people came to give views on the three aspects of St Nicholas Church in Islip – heritage, hospitality and hope, we have the attached questionnaire for everyone to fill in and return.

Email completed forms please to Lucy Thirtle or deliver hard copies to the box in the church porch or Foodbank crate at Church Key Cottage, The Walk or 3 The Rise.

All comments will be useful.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Pet Service – Sunday 28 June

On Sunday 28 June the Zoom church service was a celebration of our pets.  Around 40+ adults introduced their pets, followed by a couple of prayers and a hymn.  Among those taking part – and being extremely well behaved – were 6 cats, 13 dogs, 2 ducklings, a three-legged tortoise, a chicken and a guinea pig – all were welcome. 

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Church open for private prayer from Wednesday 17 June

The Rev Lucy Thirtle writes that the church will be open now on

Wednesdays 1pm – 5pm

Sundays 9am – 1pm 

The door will be propped open and all those who wish to come in for a time of quiet reflection and prayer are asked:

–  to  use the hand sanitiser on entry and exit

–  not to touch anything unnecessarily

–  to use only the pews which are not cordoned off

–  to keep 2m of physical distance with others

–  to respect the peace of the building and churchyard during these times

At present we are not sure if and when the church will reopen for gathered worship but in the meantime, all are welcome to join the online Sunday Zoom service at 10.30am.  Email Rev Lucy for the link if you need it.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

St Nicholas’ YouTube channel

See the latest videos by clicking here – from Good Friday 2020 to VE Day and Ascension Day.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Reflection by Rev Lucy 24 May

  • Today is a somewhat strange day in the church calendar.  It marks an interlude – neither one thing nor another reflected by the fact that the church offers two alternative names for it. It’s called the 7th of Easter and yet, in the tradition, the season of Easter came to an end after 40 days with the Ascension which we celebrated last Thursday.
  • The alternative option is to call it the Sunday after Ascension Day.
  • It is just that – an in-between day. It falls during the interlude between Ascension and Pentecost, the period of waiting, recalling Jesus words to the disciples in Luke’s Gospel account of Ascension just before he disappears from their sight:  See I am sending upon you what my Father promised, so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high!
  • The disciples duly return to their base in Jerusalem and wait.  How this power from on high will manifest itself, though, they do not really know.  How long they would wait they do not really know.  We know that the gift would be given 10 days later. They did not.  All we are told is that they devoted themselves to prayer.
  • But what I wonder were they doing when not praying? I can imagine that some of them would have grown bored and listless.  Some would have felt restless, impatient and felt the need to get away from the upper room to roam about in the city; others might have found it easier  to wait quietly, happy with their thoughts or in quiet conversation with one another.  Perhaps some invented games or composed music as a way of passing the time, some might have entertained the others with a song or a comic turn. 
  • Does this sound familiar? 
  • Well yes, why wouldn’t it – there may have been some similarities with our situation.  We too find ourselves in a similar time of interlude.  We are waiting.  Though things have ever so gradually beginning to ease – we do not know for how long we must wait or even for what.  We are waiting for more freedom, for a life which enables us to see our loved ones, gather together in some way again but we don’t know when any of that will be possible and we don’t yet know what that will look like.
  • How are we doing?  Are we getting bored and listless?  Are we getting impatient, angry, and restless?
  • Or have we more easily come to terms with the new normal, getting accustomed to and actively enjoying the slower pace of life? 
  • Are we using the time creatively?  Have we sewed, painted, composed, blogged, redesigned our gardens etc?
  • And what has the waiting taught us?  What have we learnt about those we are locked down with?  Our spouses, children, pets?  What have we learnt about our neighbours?  Our village community?  What have we discovered about the wildlife in our gardens and surrounding fields, the changes in everything that grows as the seasons change?  What have we discovered about those whose services we are currently having to rely on?  What have we learnt about ourselves?
  • What have we learned about God?  Are we taking advantage of the time we have to pray, to read the Bible, to look for God at work in our world, in nature, in other people?
  • The disciples had been told to wait for God’s power to come – they couldn’t know quite what that would be like.  They were almost certainly unprepared for the dramatic events of Pentecost. 
  • The spirit when she came blew through them and  changed them in ways they couldn’t imagine.  So that, although the waiting came to an end, nothing was quite the same afterwards. 
  • These last two days we have experienced strangely powerful winds, unsettling winds, the kind of winds which upend things.  That is sometimes how it is with the spirit.  The spirit doesn’t always come with the gentleness of the dove. 
  • And it’s hard not to feel that the spirit which is moving in these times is not going to reshape things dramatically, in our church life as much as in every other walk of life.
  • What I noticed as I watched things being blown in the wind of the last few days was that the things that remained upright are those which were able to bend and sway in the wind, things that have spaces which let the wind blow through them. Those things that are rigid or solid are the things that got blown over.  So, it is with the wind of the spirit.  Not to be upended by God’s Holy Spirit, will require us also to be flexible, to bend, to allow ourselves to be reshaped.  Just as we sang last week …
    Spirit of the living God, melt me, mould me, fill me,
  • This is more difficult for some of us than others; for those of us who like certainty, who like to be in control … but a key element of the journey of faith is learning to let go of that need and discovering that God can be trusted.
  • As we continue to wait, like the disciples, we will do well to devote ourselves to prayer and in particular, prayer that we might be able to be open to the spirit, prayer that we will be ready to be changed, that we might not resist the Spirit but go with her flow. 
Posted in News | Leave a comment

Forthcoming services

• 10am Sunday 31 May, the Feast of Pentecost – a benefice zoom service led by Rev Steve.

• 10.30am Sunday 7 June, Trinity Sunday. Rev Lucy will celebrate the Eucharist at home and invites all to join in an act of spiritual communion via Zoom. More details to follow.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Christian Aid week 10 – 16 May 2020

We raised an astonishing £2,300 via the Christian Aid JustGiving page from the villages of Islip, Noke and Woodeaton which was open during Christian Aid week. Not only was that about £700 more than last year but also we were 30th in the list of fundraisers throughout the UK for the online appeal this year – at the time of writing they’d raised 42% of their £1m target.

Thank you so much to all for supporting this cause which really will make a difference to those who need it most.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Sunday service 10 May at 10.30am

The Rev Lucy writes: Dear Friends
All welcome to join in a Zoom act of worship celebrating spring – lambs, beauty of creation – using this link.
Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 836 7205 6442
Password: 170354

When you join tomorrow, you may hear only the ringing of church bells – a recording but an attempt to get us into a good frame of mind.
I will lead the service and will put up an order of service on the screen so that you can follow and join in the words in bold when appropriate (hence the muting so that there isn’t too much feedback).  We will also endeavour to sing – i.e. I will put words up and David will play some kind of instrument – and you can sing along (to your heart’s content – or not!) in the privacy of your home.
I am also hoping to share some photos too.
At the end of the service we will unmute everyone so that we can chat informally – over a coffee as usual!
Do pass this email on to others in your community.
Looking forward to ‘seeing’ you tomorrow.

Posted in Events | Leave a comment

Sunday 3 May – the Rev Lucy writes:

Dear All
Another week of lockdown has passed and we are into May. Time feels like it is taking on a whole new perspective ….It seems like an eternity since life was last ‘normal’ and yet some predictions suggest things will be far from normal for many months yet. We are, I guess, all developing new routines and it is important especially for those who have no work to structure their time to find ways of differentiating the days. Well, tomorrow is Sunday and we will continue to keep it as a day to begin with worship.
Once again all are invited to a Zoom service – just click on the following link.
Join Zoom Meeting…

Meeting ID: 836 7205 6442
Password: 170354

It would be lovely to see some new faces. The form is we try to begin as soon after 10.30am as possible, once we think most people have joined, keeping the chat if possible til after the service. During the service, Kathryn mutes everyone except those who are reading/leading prayers, etc. Then at the end of the service we unmute and, in some cases, get a coffee (although one of the advantages of zoom is that you can have coffee and worship at same time if you wish!) and chat and exchange news as people wish – or leave if we have to.

While writing, another new resource launched by the church this week is a free phone line of hymns, reflections and prayers – called Daily Hope and available on 0800 804 8044. It runs 24 hours a day and is already proving popular having received more than 6000 calls. Why not give it a try if you are having a low moment or need reassurance during any sleepless moments of the night?

A reminder that Friday 8 May is a special bank holiday to mark 75th anniversary of VE day. There will be some things happening in Islip and I am looking into offering a short act of prayer/commemoration – watch this space for further details.

Finally, for those within hearing of the trumpets from Islip gardens, the hymns to be played tomorrow are these (not necessarily in this order though):

To God be the glory
All heaven declares the glory of the risen Lord
Guide me O thou great Redeemer
There is a Redeemer.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Sunday 26 April – the Rev Lucy writes:

The Rev Lucy writes: Dear Friends
For the last two Sundays, a good number of us have joined together using Zoom for a time of reflection and prayer.  In these experimental times, it has worked reasonably well from my point of view and been well ‘attended’ – 40+ on Easter Sunday, 20+ on Low Sunday.  I really enjoy being able to see and hear those of you who join from your homes.  It enables some kind of interaction in a way that recording or livestreaming a service does not.  For that reason I plan to continue and here is the link to join this Sunday at 10.30am.
Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 775 687 5567
Password: 128890

I do recognise there are some limitations however so I am exploring how to improve the experience.  For example, this week we wilI record it so that it can be either watched or, probably preferably, listened to at a later time which is helpful for those who may not be able to access the technology themselves or are unavailable at the time we meet.
I am also keen to include some kind of music.  The inclusion of pre-recorded music has copyright issues but we can include live music so, this week, the intention is for David or William to play a familiar hymn tune (How Great thou art) on the piano and those that wish to sing along can do so with microphone muted (!!)   The words to the hymn are on the attached sheet but I have also discovered how to display the necessary words on the screen.
Clearly anything I can offer at present is probably of poorer quality than the weekly provision from a) the Church of England website (9 am)  and b) the Oxford Diocese livestream (10am) , so I completely understand if some of you opt to follow these or other acts of online worship.  I realise that setting the time for 10.30 overlaps with the diocesan service.  If a lot of you wish to watch this as well as join in with Zoom then we could consider making our gathering later in future weeks.
Another question in my mind is whether, occasionally, the  Zoom service should take the form of a Eucharist.   There are a number of issues here which I will try to summarise briefly but which spring from the Church’s long established theology and doctrine of the  Eucharist which, it must be said, have not possibly ever until now had to take account of the kind of conditions we are currently living through.
One principle is that a Eucharist cannot be celebrated by a priest on their own whether in church or at home.  At least one other person has to be present for it to be valid which is why, if you have followed any of the Eucharist services broadcast from a priest’s  or bishop’s home, they often make it clear that a family member is present.  This of course is not a barrier for me, having both David and William to join me.  However, since a prayer of consecration is not deemed to be effective over a geographical distance, only the people immediately present with the celebrant can receive the sacrament.  At present, the Church is discouraging those joining remotely in their own homes from having their own bread and wine at home since, according to canon law, this does not have sacramental validity.   The idea of a Celebrant receiving the sacrament is that they do so in a representational capacity on behalf of the church community.   This is an idea valued by some Christians but, for others, a Eucharist without a gathering of the faithful does not carry the same significance.  As on many things, there is a breadth of opinion within the Church of England.
My own position tends towards the latter view and while it is a great sadness and leaves a big gap for me not to be able to celebrate Eucharist physically with the faithful of Islip, Noke and Woodeaton, especially at this time when we all need to be assured of God’s grace and living presence with us, I am satisfied that the Eucharist is being celebrated  by our Bishops and feel that a fasting from the Eucharist is an unfortunate but necessary part and parcel of the experience of exile in which we find ourselves. Christ, after all, comes to us through, Word, Sacrament and Spirit and I personally sense Christ’s presence through Word and Spirit – and not least at present also through the beauty and life force of creation.
What is more, the Church of England has since 1662 had an understanding of ‘spiritual communion’  which is described in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer which sets out how it is possible to experience communion even when for whatever reason the physical elements of bread and wine cannot be consumed.  You can read more about this here.
However if there is a sufficient desire from you for me to celebrate it, I would be happy to consider doing so on an occasional basis either via Zoom or as a recorded act of worship.
All that being said, whichever options we pursue in the coming weeks, I think it’s important that, as far as we are able, the offering of worship becomes something to which as many of us as possible can contribute.
So, I would like to hear from anyone  who is willing to offer a reading or prayers or even a musical contribution.   Indeed, with enough volunteers, I shall organise a rota to give us all some sense of normality returning!    It doesn’t need to be the roles you usually fill – but it would be lovely if those who are, for example, on the intercessions rota would be willing to compose and lead prayers – and others too – this may be the spur you need to have a go.
For Sunday, I would like 2 volunteers to read the Gospel – in two parts as indicated on the attached, also one or two people to read/lead prayers.  And if anyone has something else to offer, eg a suitable poem or something musical, do let me know.
Apologies for another lengthy note but as it looks increasingly like this may have to be the new normal for several more months, I am keen to explore how best to keep our common worshipping life and fellowship alive.
I attach a sheet for Sunday but as always, don’t hesitate to let me know if you’ve got your own ideas for improvements or innovation, particularly if you can offer your own skills to enable those to happen.
Finally, we will all, I am sure, be very aware of the impact our current way of life is having on our own mental wellbeing and that of others.  The Church of England has produced this resource which you may find of help for yourself or to pass on to others.

With love and best wishes.


P.S. There will be trumpets (and possibly other brass)  playing as usual between 10am and 10.30 am.  Thank you to all those who are bravely helping to lift people’s spirits in this way.

Posted in Events, News | Leave a comment

Sunday 17 April – an invitation for all parishioners

From the Rev Lucy –
Dear Friends in Islip, Noke & Woodeaton
After the success of last week’s Zoom ‘service’ I plan to have another one tomorrow at 10.30am.

The link to join in is as follows:
Join Zoom Meeting…

Meeting ID: 775 687 5567
Password: 128890

This would be the usual time of the Islip service and allows for those that wish to follow the weekly Church at Home live service broadcast from the Church of England website ( at 9am.

There will be two readings, some prayers (from others – volunteers please) and a short ‘thought for the day’ from me.  Attached is a sheet with the readings (and a psalm to use at home during this week).  I will be lighting the ‘Paschal candle’ lit last week and I would like to invite all of you to have a candle to light too which can symbolise the light and hope we are all holding on to until we can meet again in our churches. If you don’t have one or would like a dedicated candle to light during these coming weeks, let me know as I have dug out my candle making paraphernalia and would be glad to make and deliver one to any households who request one over the coming days.

For those in Islip the trumpets will play in The Rise at 10am and others in other parts of the village up to 10.30 – do listen out!

Other resources
As the lockdown continues, it is important that we find ways to keep our faith and prayer life refreshed and alive. Fixing regular times for prayer – however brief – can make it easier and helps to give us that important routine during the day. Some of you will have already got resources for doing this. I will try each week to point to some that I think may be helpful.

The Church of England has now produced an attractive little booklet with special prayers for this crisis, prayers to use with children and short, accessible forms for Morning and Night prayer. You can download or see online here…/Prayer%20Book%20Digital%2…

Another website I strongly recommend is that for The Bible Society. It offers many resources including for children, but, for now, a short daily Bible reading, point for reflection and brief prayers.…/…/daily-lyfe/

The Archbishop of Canterbury publishes topics for prayer each day on his facebook page.…/Prayer%20Book%20Digital%2…

If you already have resources you are finding useful and would like to recommend, please let me know so I can share them.

I hope to see as many as possible tomorrow morning.

Continue reading

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Worship for Easter 2020 – Rev Lucy writes

At the end of this strangest of holy weeks, we face celebrating Easter Sunday tomorrow in circumstances which would have been unimaginable only a few weeks ago and which for many will feel emotionally and spiritually more in tune with the grief and desolation of Good Friday.

Yet celebrate we must for we believe in a God who is not defeated by the darkest of situations and Easter is the assurance of that hope.

I have decided for many reasons not to record a service myself as there are a number of other options available including some listed below.

However, I am inviting all those who wish to join me for a Zoom gathering at 11.30am during which an Easter candle will  be lit, the Easter acclamation proclaimed, the Gospel read and prayers spoken –  hopefully by others of you who volunteer to do so (please email me, I will supply texts) and concluding with us sharing together in a glass of something festive which I invite  you to have ready by your computer!  I recognise not everyone will be able to join in for a variety of reasons but even if you haven’t  Zoomed before please try – just by clicking the link below just around 11.30am tomorrow – it really is easy and surprisingly effective way of feeling joined to others in this crisis.  I anticipate we would not be online together for more than 30 mins.  For practical reasons to do with the way Zoom works, I don’t encourage response during the time of prayer and worship except the response (Christ is risen indeed!) to the Easter acclamation.

Here is the link.  Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 111 755 523

Password: 483116

For those in Islip, another Sunday trumpet relay is planned starting in The Rise at 10.30am and moving to two or three other spots in the village.

Worship Possibilities

This evening

  1. 7.0 pm TV – BBC2 Easter from King’s – readings and music from King’s Cambridge
  2. 8.0 pm – live stream from  the traditional vigil has been reimagined and remixed with fifteen short acts of worship online, each lasting 10-15 mins to last throughout the night

Tomorrow – Easter Sunday

  1. 6.35 am R4 – Sunrise Service with music from a gospel group
  2. 8.10 am R4 Easter Sunday Worship led by Archbishop of Canterbury
  3. 9.0 am a live streamed service from the Archbishop of Canterbury’s kitchen (available here
  4. 10.0 am a live streamed service from the Bishop of Oxford’s home available here
  5. 11.25 am BBC1 (TV) Sunday Worship from Bangor Cathedral with music from Songs of Praise 2018
  6. 3pm R3 Choral Evensong – from Norwich Cathedral (recorded 2017)

With prayers that the hope of Easter may encourage and strengthen us all and with my love.

Posted in Easter, Events, News | Leave a comment

Good Friday 2020

Today is Good Friday – a reflection of some symbols of the passion to be listened to alongside John 18:33 – 19:30.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Maundy Thursday 2020

Today is Maundy Thursday, the day when we remember how Jesus washed the feet of his disciples and commanded us to do the same.
Today we remember all those who carry out personal care for those unable to do it for themselves especially in these risky times.

Lover of humanity,
you call your people to be their brother’s and sister’s keepers. Hear us as we pray for all who carry out the work of tending to and caring for the bodies of others as family members, as live in-carers or working in our hospitals, care homes and community services. Strengthen them when it is tough, protect them from sickness and grant them to know your blessing and presence in all they do, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Bicester Foodbank

During Covid-19 parishioners in Islip have been donating items for the Foodbank

Foodbank 2020– here’s the latest delivery on Maundy Thursday 2020.

Thanks to donations from Islip, Noke and Woodeaton (collected through the churches) these Christmas boxes (December 2019) are ready to be delivered from the Bicester Foodbank.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Holy Week in Islip – the Rev Lucy writes:

Rev Lucy writes: Dear Friends
We are journeying through Holy Week and looking ahead to the most solemn days in our Christian calendar. This year, as never before, the seriousness and darkness for many of the days we are living through enable us to identify more powerfully than ever with the solemn narrative of the events of Holy Week.
However, with no opportunity for gathering or entering our churches, we need to find ways of engaging with this narrative in other ways. Just as we will also have to think of ways of celebrating Resurrection hope on Easter morning.
There are a host of ideas out there – almost too many – so I’m trying to sift through and pass on those I think might appeal or work best.

Continue reading

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Trumpets on Sunday

The sound of David and William Goodfellow playing trumpets on Passion and Palm Sunday has lifted spirits in Islip during the coronavirus lockdown. We now have a YouTube channel – do subscribe!

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Sunday 5 April – Palm Sunday

Rev Lucy writes: Dear Friends
Another week has passed and we are approaching Palm Sunday, the day when traditionally we would have gathered outside churches to begin our services and hear the reading of the Palm Gospel before processing into church waving branches and receiving a palm cross. Although the weather promises to be perfect for the occasion, it’s not to be this year. Nevertheless, for those in Islip, David & William will once again be playing some seasonal hymn tunes on their trumpets from our garden at 9.45 am as that seems to be appreciated by those who can hear it and, once again, you can hear it here.

Once again there will be a diocesan service led by one of our Bishops, live-streamed at 10am on the diocesan website (and of course many other live streamed services at the same or different times from other churches with which you might have connections).

I’m planning to record a service (with readings, music, prayers and reflections) which, technology permitting, will be available on the St Nicholas website and here by tomorrow morning. You might like to watch it at whatever the usual time of your parish’s service would have been but it will remain available through the day and beyond.

Thinking about the palm crosses, I have considered different possibilities for distributing these but, in view of the directives, have decided to eliminate all risk of transmission by not doing so. However, the diocese is encouraging everyone to take some time before Sunday to make their own cross for the occasion. Ideas and simple suggestions are here (and this page also has details should anyone wish to send a photo of their cross for display during the diocesan live streamed service ).

I would encourage you to have some kind of cross with you for holding during the service I am offering, if you can, (whether a palm cross from previous years or one you have made as suggested above).

Perhaps, after the service, you could display it in a window with a note to the effect that it is Palm Sunday to remind those passing your house.

This leads me on to look towards this coming week which is Holy Week, during which the church remembers Christ’s final days in Jerusalem as the tension between him, his disciples and the authorities mounts before culminating in his betrayal, arrest, trial, and crucifixion.

Again there will be live-streamed events throughout the week, offered by the diocese as listed here.

I am hoping to offer something for Good Friday and my colleagues in the benefice team may have other resources to offer.

However, even as we have to go without many of the usual opportunities for worship this week, let us not overlook the opportunities for witness. Why not, instead of inviting people to come into the church to experience Holy Week, think of ways we can bring Holy Week to our community? Maybe with a notice, picture or creative display in our windows/porches/gardens to draw attention to the events we are commemorating during the week (Palm Sunday – entry into Jerusalem; Wednesday – anointing of Jesus by woman with alabaster jar of ointment; Thursday – last supper, footwashing, agony in Garden ‘Lord, take this cup from me’, arrest; Friday – trial, purple robe, crown of thorns, flogging, crucifixion). I am sure you can come up with your own creative ideas.

Whatever you can do, let not the solemn significance of this week go unnoticed, at the very least, by ourselves – as I am certain there will regrettably be many occasions for reflecting on how the events of Christ’s passion are resonating with the events we are witnessing and experiencing all around us.

And whatever happens, we will find ways to mark and even celebrate Easter Sunday next week since it is the Easter story which provides the ground of Christian hope in this darkest of situations.

With my love and prayers.

Continue reading

Posted in Events, News | Leave a comment

Sunday 29 March – some possibilities

8.10 am Sunday service broadcast on BBC R4

9.30 am Trumpets from 3 The Rise

10 am Service live-streamed on Diocese of Oxford website

1.15 pm Songs of Praise – TV – BBC1

3.0 pm Choral Evensong – BBC Radio 3


Posted in News | Leave a comment

Thought for the Day – the Rev Lucy Thirtle – Sundays 22 and 29 March (Passion Sunday)

Lucy is recording a short ‘thought on Sunday’ each week

Sunday 22 March

Sunday 29 March – Passion Sunday

Posted in News | Leave a comment

From the Rev Lucy Thirtle

Today is Mothering Sunday, a day traditionally for relaxing the Lenten abstinence and instead enjoying some small indulgences. With one of its origins being the practice of people being encouraged to visit their ‘mother’ church it is particularly poignant that, tomorrow, there can be no public gathering for worship at any of our churches. Some churches are using modern technology to live stream an act of worship led by only a priest. Others have recorded a message that will be accessible on a website.
We at St Nicholas are not yet at the point of being adept with this technology. However, what we do have in Islip is an ‘old-technology’ brass group (Grand Islip Parp Band) who practise weekly in the church building. Three or four members of the band, observing the requisite social distancing guidelines, will be on Cross Tree Green from just before 10.30 am on Sunday morning to play some rousing hymn tunes. We encourage those in the vicinity to open their windows or go out into their gardens to listen (and sing along if you can!) Please do not gather on the green as this would be in breach of guidelines but if you want to venture into a place sufficiently near to hear, providing you are observing social distancing that should be fine. We hope that hearing the sound of a joyful noise will help to cheer our spirits in these days (much like the Italians who sang from their balconies).
Furthermore, this being Mothering Sunday, one or two wonderfully kind and thoughtful individuals in the village have offered to make up posies of spring flowers for others to collect. These will be left in a basket in the church porch from 10.30am. You will appreciate that there may not be sufficient for everyone who wants one and, in contrast to what is happening in our shops, we urge people not take more than they need. Many of you indeed might have spring flowers in your own gardens – and might even be minded to contribute some posies of your own (please ensure you gather and deliver them using gloves).
For those who would like to listen to some led worship, the Archbishop of Canterbury is leading a service which will be broadcast across local radio including Radio Oxford at 8am.
Nearer to home, Bishop Steven will preside at the Eucharist and offer a brief reflection to the whole Diocese from Christ Church Cathedral at 10 am. In keeping with the restrictions only a handful of people will be able to be present. This service will be live streamed – go to the Christ Church Cathedral website for more info.
Bishop Colin, our area bishop, will also be offering a reflection on Radio Oxford at 7am on Sunday morning. This and other reflections from our area bishops will be recorded and shared on the Diocese of Oxford website.
Finally the Archbishops have called for Sunday to be a day of prayer. There are online resources here…/coronavirus-covid-19-litu… but for those who are able we do encourage you to pop into St Nicholas Church where there are now also sheets with prayers for you to use and take away. Please observe the rules about social distancing and hygiene here too. The Archbishops have encouraged all who can to place a light (a candle if safe to do so) in your window for 7pm tomorrow as a visible symbol of the light of life, Jesus Christ, our source and hope in prayer.
With my continuing prayers and best wishes.

Liturgy and prayer resources on COVID-19, also known as Coronavirus.
Posted in News | Leave a comment