Category Archives: Prayer

Pray for the Climate and COP23

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It is nearly two years since the highly significant Paris Agreement on climate change, signed by 195 countries*, and so far ratified by 169 governments, making their commitments legally binding.  This month, from Nov 6th to 17th, the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will meet in Bonn under the presidency of Fiji for the annual ‘Conference of the Parties’.  COP23, as the shorthand has it, will focus on developing guidelines for the implementation of the Paris Agreement, essentially how to keep rising temperatures globally below 1.5 degrees. Continue reading Pray for the Climate and COP23

The Sacrament of the Present Moment

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‘The sacrament of the present moment is the doorway to the eternal and universal’, says Sally Welch, vicar of St Mary’s Charlbury, in her recent book How to be a mindful Christian (Canterbury Press, 2016).  It is an experience that we try to cultivate at our regular Mid-Month Meditation in the Chase Benefice (3rd Tuesday, 6.15pm). The joy of a midsummer meditation at Holy Trinity Ascott is that we can have the door wide open and tune in and out of the sounds of the village and the valley of the Evenlode. Continue reading The Sacrament of the Present Moment

Lent Supper – Praying the Jesus Prayer

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Lent Suppers 2017

Our second Lent Supper on the theme of Prayer was held last Thursday. This time we concentrated on the ancient Jesus Prayer used in the Eastern Orthodox tradition. We touched on many fascinating topics, including the Desert Fathers and Mothers, praying through icons, and worship practices in Ethiopia. We finished the evening with a session of the Jesus Prayer.

The Jesus Prayer is a wonderful way of centring oneself, particularly when you need to find calm and focus at times of anxiety or disturbance. It can be used to pray for oneself and also for others. You can say the prayer at any time, whatever you are doing. If you would like more information, try here or here, or read The Jesus Prayer by Simon Barrington-Ward. If you would like to borrow the book, please contact Ilona or Mark. There are also some prayer ropes left over! If you would like one, please let Ilona know.

This week [23 March] we look at the use of music in prayer and next week [30 March] Ignatian Spirituality. Please join us if you can. If you haven’t already signed up, please let Mark know [01608 676572 or online here.]   

Dwelling in the Word

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Lent Suppers 2017

We had our first Lent Supper last Thursday on the theme of Prayer. The main activity of the evening was the reading of Luke 18: 9-14: the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax-Collector. We used a method of study called Lectio Divina – an old monastic tradition of reading and rereading of a passage, looking for words or phrases that particularly call out for attention and spending time reflecting on why they feel significant. It allows us to find different layers of meaning even in familiar passages. We did this as a group exercise, but it also works when reading the Bible on your own. If you’re interested in exploring further, information can be found here

We finished the evening with Compline, a night service which is a peaceful and prayerful way of bringing our day to a close. If you would like to know more about this kind of service and other daily prayers, try here.

Over the next few weeks, we will be continuing our exploration of different ways of praying through the ancient Orthodox Jesus Prayer, music and the Ignatian practise of Daily Examen.  Please join us 7 – 9 pm on Thursday evenings.  To book, please click here.

Socrates or Buddha?

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Sharing our worship, our space and our contemplation

We may or may not go to church and we may lead examined or unexamined lives, but we all have our own beliefs and priorities, doubts and loves, and probably also our own scepticism and agnosticism. When in church we may put such rational processes to one side and attend to the liturgy and the beauty of the building or the music. Church is largely about sharing that space and participating together – however we conceive it – in worship. Continue reading Socrates or Buddha?