November 2021

We are trying to encourage our church members to reconnect with each other as well as invite all to our services. We are aware some have concerns about attending the church services and so we are trying to be sensitive to the variety of people’s views as well as be as safe as possible. In the light of a new Covid Variant, we strongly request people are masked – though at the time of writing the government have not made this compulsory. Our overall desire is to be as considerate to one another as possible.  If you have specific concerns do contact one of the churchwardens of the particular church you wish to attend since the different buildings and circumstances mean we have slightly different practices.  We still offer a livestream or Zoom version of the service at Grove – whatever your situation may God bless you.

September 2021

You no longer need to book to attend a service. It is also no longer mandatory to wear masks, but please feel able to wear a mask while in church if you wish to.

If you want to keep distanced whilst sitting in church, please talk to a sides-person or take a sign when entering the church, which will ensure space is left beside you.

You are encouraged to sign in on entering the church, and that you sanitise your hands on entering/leaving church. The clergy will sanitise and wear masks while bringing the bread around for Communion.

We ask worshippers to be sensitive to the wishes of others.

SUNDAY REFRESHMENTS AFTER CHURCH – TO RESUME AT GROVE: We are looking forward to restarting serving refreshments after the Sunday 10am services. We have missed the opportunity to chat and catch up with you all, and hope that staying behind after the services with a drink will enable us to all reconnect with each other. We would encourage you to bring your own mug in order that we can reduce the transmission of Covid. We are looking at purchasing some St John’s mugs that you can buy and have ready to bring on Sunday mornings. We will serve drinks for the children too, and hope they have the chance to reconnect with their church friends.

July 2021

We will continue to maintain our current COVID-19 precautions until September, hopeful we can reduce some restrictions when we review our plans for the Autumn. Not all our current precautions will be mandatory, but we ask worshippers to be sensitive to the wishes of others, respecting the more vulnerable whose suffering is our suffering (1 Cor 12:12-27). We will keep everyone updated as we move forward with caution and consideration, so that we can once again come together in person to worship the living God.

May 2021

We thank the LORD that our churches are now permitted to be open for corporate worship, although to continue to operate safely, and within the guidelines, we only hold one live service a week at St John’s. If you wish to attend a service physically, please ‘book’ a place with the church office.

We are continuing to hold 10 am Sunday services via Zoom. Everyone is welcome! If you would like to join, please contact the Church office for details.

January 2021

There will be no physical Sunday Services in the Benefice in January, however, this will be reviewed in early February. Thank you all for your patience & understanding.

November 2020

New National Restrictions from 5 November means that places of Worship will be closed, unless they are being used for:

  • Funerals
  • To broadcast acts of worship
  • Individual prayer
  • Formal childcare or where part of a school
  • Essential voluntary and public services, such as blood donation or food banks
  • Other exempted activities such as some support groups

St John’s 10am Sunday services will be held via Zoom. Everyone is welcome! If you would like to join, please contact the Church office for details.

If you wish to make use of the church for private prayer please contact one of the clergy who will arrange this to happen. In the meantime, for safety reasons and to allow for funerals to take place, the building will be closed.

Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people, and it is advised that only close friends and family attend. Linked ceremonial events such as stone settings and ash scatterings can also continue with up to 15 people in attendance. Anyone working is not included. Social distancing should be maintained between people who do not live together or share a support bubble.

Weddings will not be permitted to take place except in exceptional circumstances.

Re-opening of the church

We thank the LORD that our churches are now permitted to be open for corporate worship, so we are considering how we can do this safely, within the guidelines. In the meantime, we continue to be alive and active by practical care, supporting neighbours and above all praying.

Churches have permission to open for private prayer as long as there is provision for the building to be constantly cleaned to be free from any risk of passing on infection.

The details of our Benefice churches are as follows:

St John the Baptist, Grove – if you wish to make use of the church for private prayer please contact one of the clergy who will arrange this to happen. In the meantime, for safety reasons and to allow for funerals to take place, the building will be closed.

St James The Great, West Hanney is open from 9am – 5pm. Please read the notice to ensure everyone is kept as safe as possible.

St Nicholas, East Challow is open between 9am and 5pm for private prayer. Please ensure you are free from infection.

St James, Denchworth is closed due to extensive re-plastering and decoration – sorry for any inconvenience. This will be monitored and reviewed as situations change.

Virtual Church

Since we cannot meet in person we would like to meet together online/by phone using Zoom. You can join these services by computer/smartphone/tablet (best as you can see the others present) or by landline – calls should be charged at the local rate. We hope this will be a time we can worship our Lord together as a family, as well as a time to connect with and encourage each other.

We meet every Wednesday nights 730pm and Sundays at 10am (best to join a few minutes earlier!)

Everyone is welcome.

If you would like to join, please contact the Church office for details.

Note Ascension Day is 21st May and we will not be meeting on the 20th Wed but at 7pm on Thursday instead

Letter from the Vicar


On the first Easter day Jesus burst through the confinement of fear and anxiety, he destroyed the power of death and overcame the chaos of ignorance and despair.

We live in days when there is lots of information but little certainty and true knowledge; we are unsure of what is happening and might happen, we are aware of an unseen and hidden danger, we feel locked in and restricted.

Yet on this day, we celebrate that the one, who was locked down for us on the cross to rescue us from sin and death, rose again and lives forever that we might live with him. So we gladly proclaim that Jesus Christ is risen! Hallelujah!

He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!

08 April 2020

As we enter Holy week and recall the death of Jesus which happened over the Passover and celebrate his resurrection we think about how Passover was set up to celebrate God’s rescue of his people.

Exodus 12 v 23 says “…the Lord…. will see the blood ….and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down”.

What a wonderful promise at this uncertain time.

At that Passover meal Jesus shared with his disciples he said Love one another.

Church Closure

As Christians may I encourage you to offer help to your neighbours or suggest someone who will benefit from support. See the back page for more details on loving actions.

For the time being, we have been told to stop gathering for public worship.

For your information, the letter from the Archbishops may be found here.

In the letter from the Archbishops announcing that “Public worship will have to stop for a season. Our usual pattern of Sunday services and other mid-week gatherings must be put on hold” they also ask us to:

  • Look for ways to share the love of Christ in this situation especially the vulnerable
  • To place a lighted candle in our windows at 7.00 p.m. as a sign of solidarity and hope in the light of Christ that can never be extinguished.

How to maintain your faith when the options of public worship and fellowship are denied to us:

  • Continue to read the bible and pray daily in your private devotions.
  • Search the Internet for Live streaming of sermons, prayers and activities.
  • Use your artistic gifts to create areas of beauty and reflection
  • Seek to be a good neighbour in offering help to the vulnerable
  • Encourage others by suggesting other ways
  • Keep in contact with other people

Guidelines from the Church of England and Diocese of Oxford

To see the current guidelines from the Church of England and Diocese of Oxford, please click the following links

Church of England guidelines

Diocese of Oxford guidelines

Digital resources

The Church of England has many digital resources you can use, click here to see these.

They also have a page created for Prayer and liturgy for coronavirus. Click here for more information.

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty…. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.

— Psalm 91:1, 5-6

Why not wash your hands to these verses in Psalm 91? Or to the old chorus ‘he has washed us with His blood…’

Last updated 2 November 2020