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From the Vicar - April 2020

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These are worrying times for us all, as the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic brings changes to the way we normally live our lives.

The situation and guidance have changed rapidly over the past week, and may well have evolved again by the time you read this article.

The Coronavirus pandemic, and the government health guidance in response to the pandemic, has had serious consequences for all of us.

Our Bishops – Steven, Colin, Olivia and Alan – wrote to all clergy, churchwardens and lay chairs on 18th March, with the message that “we are undoubtedly living through one of the great crises of our lives.”  Public worship has been suspended and our usual pattern of Sunday services and midweek gatherings has been put on hold.  This was followed by a further announcement, on 23rd March, that our church buildings must close completely, until further notice.  We must no longer open our churches for private prayer. Clergy must no longer use our church buildings to pray or to worship for and on behalf of our communities. This is painful and difficult news for all those who gain solace and support from their faith, from communal prayer and worship or, indeed, from the other activities which take place in our church buildings from time to time.

We do not know how long this situation will endure, but an initial time frame of at least three months before we return to ‘business as usual’ seems likely, and it may well be longer.

Many in our village and wider community are no doubt in shock. Some may be afraid, or suffering from anxiety. Some may feel lonely, and others confused. However, you are not alone. Christians believe that God created us for relationship, with him and with each other. We believe that God is love, and that those who live in love, live in God, and that God lives in them. Wherever love is, God is there also. And – over the past few weeks, since I moved to the village – I have seen a lot of love in Cuddesdon and Denton.

You have probably been visited at your home by a parish councillor or myself - before more stringent regulations on social contact were brought in on 23rd March - as we sought to establish who in our community is most vulnerable and who might need additional support.  You may have been invited to neighbourhood WhatsApp groups to help you stay in touch with others in your street, and with your parish councillors. Please do keep this newsletter, with contact details of your parish councillors, by your phone.  

As a church, we are keen to help too.

We can no longer offer our church buildings for prayer and worship – but the church is not only a building. We are God’s children, called to pray; to worship; to love and to care for one another; and to shine as a light in the world.

Our Bishops have urged all Christians to join them, each day, in praying the Lord’s Prayer and 23rd Psalm, at 11am. Please do join in with this daily routine if you are able. I will also be praying daily for the world, the nation and for our villages.

If you have any prayer requests, you can email them to me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or telephone 01865 361 146. If I don’t answer, please leave your requests on the answerphone.

Over the next few weeks, we will be looking at further ways of supporting the village and local community, working with the Parish Council to support the most vulnerable in our society.

In these challenging times, we must all look after our spiritual and mental health, and general wellbeing.  Please make time to pray, meditate and read your Bible or other spiritual/sacred texts, if that is your normal practice. Try to spend time each day in your garden or outdoors, if you are able. And if that is not possible, open your window to get some fresh air and perhaps watch the birds in your garden, or overhead.

Try to keep in contact with family and friends by telephone, Skype, or social media, as we must no longer meet face-to-face.  You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @BeneficeGCH, and visit our website: www.gchparishes.co.uk for regular updates, prayer and worship resources, etc.

This might be a good time to take up a new hobby – or to rekindle an old interest – jigsaws, model-making, painting, gardening, embroidery, knitting … 

If you can knit, I wonder if you might consider knitting prayer blankets, or prayer shawls for the local community?  These would be blessed, and then distributed to those who are sick, housebound or recently bereaved.  You might like to pray for the sick, the housebound and the bereaved while you knit.  Please contact me if you would like to learn more about prayer blankets.  They can be any colour!  It would be great to have some suitable for both men and women.

If you are feeling isolated, and would like a chat, or would like someone to pray for you, please do contact me on 01865 361146, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

I would like, if I may, to close with one of my favourite verses from Scripture:
“Do not be afraid, for I have redeemed you, I have called you by name.  You are mine.
When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you.
When you walk through fire, you will not be burned.  I have called you by name.  You are mine.”  (Isaiah 43:1-2)

I wonder, what are your favourite passages from Scripture for these troubled times?  Perhaps you might find some of the Psalms helpful?  My favourites are Psalms 23, 121 and 139.

God bless

Revd Karen