© 2013 Banbury Circuit - Reg Charity No:  1135376

Contact webmaster Banbury Methodist Circuit Pastoral Letter from Rev Lin Francis

Dear Friends,


Look after yourself. Know for yourself!


Here is the advice of the Methodist Church in terms of the Coronavirus spread.


The Methodist Church: Coronavirus Guidance

The Methodist Church is monitoring the situation around COVID-19, which at the time of writing, is considered a moderate risk by the UK’s Chief Medical Officer.  The following updated guidance has been issued to ensure the risks are reduced, recommending practical precautions to prevent the spread of infection.  Should advice from the UK government change these guidelines will be updated, but please check regularly for the latest information.  Good hand hygiene is vital in reducing the spread of the virus.  Wash hands with soap and water often or use hand sanitiser gel.  This is particularly important for servers at Holy Communion.


Should I go to Church?

If you’re feeling ill and/or displaying the symptoms of a cold, please consider staying away from the service.  If you are leading the service and are unwell, please don’t struggle through but stay at home and get well.  Remember Church doesn’t stop because we don’t meet and there are other ways of joining in with worship.  Even if you would normally go to church with a cold, the words of 1 Corinthians 8:11 may be useful here: “Think of your weaker (brother/sister)”


Welcoming people into Church

Welcomers might consider refraining from using a handshake to welcome people. If welcomers do shake hands hand gel should be available to both parties.


Leading Worship and Holy Communion

During Lent the Methodist Worship Book does not invite people to share the peace.  Ministers may wish to use alternatives to sharing the peace with handshakes.  For instance using the British Sign Language version of the peace - there is a video on The Methodist Church website showing how to do this.  


Those administering Communion must wash their hands or use hand sanitiser immediately prior to distribution.  If the Common Cup (chalice) is used for Communion, only the Minister should receive the wine, and communicants only the bread.  The practice of ‘intinction’ (dipping the bread into the wine) should be avoided as this may spread the virus.  If individual glasses are used for wine, the communicant should pick up their own glass rather than servers handing it to them.

Bread should not be passed around via the ‘tearing and sharing’ method but should be prepared by a single user who has thoroughly washed their hands before cutting the bread into small pieces and ideally who wears disposable gloves.  It is probably a good time to remind Communion Stewards that communion wine, once poured out, should never be returned to the bottle to be reused later.  Any remaining elements should be reverently consumed or put to ground.


Ministers should refrain from shaking hands with people as they leave.


Pastoral concerns

Churches may want to consider carrying out pastoral ‘visits’ by phone.  In any case it may be worth calling the person you are due to visit to check they are comfortable with you being there.  Now is a good time to be thinking proactively about who in the Church might need extra help should they decide or be required to self-isolate.  Is there the need to create a plan for shopping for more vulnerable members of the community for example?


Remember that many people are anxious and a reassuring phone call and an offer to pray might be very much appreciated.


Look after yourself and look out for others is the message.  In this Lenten time we are required to reflect on who we are and who we are with God.  I hope that your deliberations are proving to be fruitful and that you are coming to know yourself as a true follower of Jesus.  As we journey in uncertain times know that you are loved.  Know that you are valued.  Know that God is with you always.  Take care.


May the joys of the Easter season be with you all.                                                           

God Bless,




Celebrations and Welcomes


You will be aware that from 1st September 2020 The Chipping Norton and Stow Circuit will be divided and two of the churches, Shipston-on-Stour and Wigginton will be joining our circuit.  We have received three invitations to join in the celebrations of the life at the Chipping Norton and Stow Circuit and both of these churches.  These dates:


Sunday 17 May -  Shipston Celebrations – timing to be confirmed

Sunday 7 June -  Wigginton Open Air Service – timing to be confirmed

Saturday 11 July - Chipping Norton Circuit Celebration at the Chipping Norton High School at 4.00pm

We will be having a Welcome for our two new sister churches and this will take place on Sunday 13 September at our Marlborough Road Circuit Service.  There will be a buffet lunch following the service.  Please come and join with us, say hello to new friends and share with food and fellowship.   





Marlborough Road, every Thursday (10am to 11.30am)

Hinton on the first Saturday of the month (10am to 11.30am)

Hornton weekly on a Friday (10.30am to 12 noon)

Cropredy have a coffee bring and buy every 2nd Friday

Easington on alternate Wednesdays (local blue bin day), starting at 10.00am

Grimsbury on the last Saturday of the month  (10.30am-12 noon)


List of books in the Circuit Library, kept in the Marlborough Road foyer.  



From The Methodist Church website “Coronavirus guidance

Updated 17 March 15:00

It is with sadness that we recommend that worship services in Methodist Churches are suspended for the time being in line with Government guidance.”

So across the Circuit, all activities, INCLUDING Sunday worship, are cancelled.


Live-streamed services

Wesley’s Chapel in London will continue to live-stream worship, adapted for no physical congregation.

Service times;

Wednesday 12:45

Thursday 12:45

Sunday 9:45 and 11:00.

All these services will be available at: www.youtube.com/channel/UCUAUqhmhevz5sqhh72LIMxA