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From the Vicar - February 2021

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I last wrote to you from my study, on a wet, miserable morning in ‘lockdown 2,’ wondering what would be permitted in the way of church services and family gatherings during Advent and Christmas.

I now write to you from my study, on a snowy afternoon in ‘lockdown 3,’ wondering what will be permitted, and what will be safe, for lent and Easter.

On the one hand, it seems that little has changed. On the other hand, though, much has changed. (It was wonderful, this morning (24 January), to see photos and videos on Facebook of children and adults playing in the snow, building snowmen, snow dogs and, even, a snow cat. We all need a bit of fun and light relief, and today the rare snowfall has brought joy and laughter to many in our villages).

Winding back a few weeks, as I hoped, we were able to safely gather outside. All Saints for an Outdoor Crib Service on Christmas Eve, and were able to sing some carols together as part of that service. It felt wonderful to be able to sing together, after so many months without communal singing, and to be able to offer some worship that was easily accessible for young children, after being unable to offer many services and events that were particularly ‘child-friendly,’ over the past year. Then we were able to gather again, in All Saints, for Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, and again on Christmas morning, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, the light of the world.

After Christmas, news began to reach me that several in Cuddesdon and surrounding villages had received the first dose of the coronavirus vaccination, and the continuing roll-out brings hope and light in these dark times. However, between Christmas and new year, the COVID-19 infection rates, hospital admissions and death rates also rose alarmingly; and we made the difficult decision to once again close our church doors and stay home to help our NHS to save lives.

I expect many of us know somebody who has died of, or with, the coronavirus, and that reminds us that the rising figures we see on the news aren’t merely statistics – they are people who are much-loved and, sadly, many now, sorely missed. I believe we must all play our part in trying to keep each other safe, and for that reason I believe it is only right that our church building is once again closed for public worship and for private prayer (though if you have a strong desire to pray in All Saints, do please contact Robert Wilson, or myself, and we will try to arrange safe access).

Our church building might be closed, but we continue to worship on-line, to pray, and to seek new ways of loving and serving our neighbours here in Cuddesdon and further afield. Elsewhere in this newsletter, you will find details of our ‘Telephone Church Coffee and Chat’ which seeks to enable people from our village and surrounding areas to chat together from the safety of our own homes. We hope that you will join us for regular ‘Coffee and Chat’ sessions, and also join in our initiative to brighten up our village and love our neighbours on Valentine’s Day and throughout lent, by decorating our village with hearts, and baking biscuits or cakes for neighbours.

Our church building might be closed, but we have moved much of our activity on-line, and we are seeking to develop the support we can offer over the telephone. As lent approaches, we invite you, along with many other churches across the Oxford Diocese, to ‘Come and See,’ how God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit continue to speak to us today.

Christians believe that God calls each of us by name, loves us unconditionally, and longs for relationship with us. Why not ‘Come and See,’ our on-line worship, or our lent Course, or join our ‘Telephone Coffee and Chat,’ (Fridays at 11am, initially) and see if you can hear God calling to you. Give me a ring, or drop me an email, if you’d like to learn more about following Jesus, and if you’d like to be baptised or  confirmed, when it is safe to re-open our church.

God bless – stay safe

Karen x