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From the Vicar - April 2021

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Last month I wrote about Lent as a season for drawing closer to God.

I suggested that, instead of self-denial and abstinence, this year we should perhaps focus on love and kindness – love of God (and God’s greater, unconditional love for us); love of neighbours; and love of, or kindness towards, ourselves.  I wonder how that has worked for you?  I suspect I have not loved and cared for myself as well as I could, pushing myself to do too much.  But I’m still fairly new to the role of Vicar, and was so eager that we should observe Holy Week and celebrate Easter in our churches after being unable to do so last year, that it’s perhaps understandable that Lent hasn’t been as restful as I’d hoped.  Perhaps I’ll learn, and manage a gentler pace next year?  And I’m looking forward to some rest after Easter.

I reminded us of Jesus’ words: “Do not worry about your life … Look at the birds of the air … Consider the lilies of the field …” (Matthew 6.25-29); and I encouraged us to take time, each day, to watch the birds, and to observe the flowers.  Despite missing the mark with some of my other hopes for Lent, I have enjoyed watching the birds and mammals which visit my garden, and observing the flowers.  Bird highlights include the redwings which visited in large numbers just before Lent, but dwindled to one or two visitors most days throughout Lent; a male and female greater spotted woodpecker; a couple of long-tailed tits; a sparrowhawk seen while walking past Cuddesdon Mill one day; and, of course, the red kites which often swoop overhead

Although, before Lent, I hadn’t seen any badgers at all this year, they have been almost nightly visitors throughout Lent, and much more confident than the foxes who also visit.  The muntjac, too, have learned that they are safe feeding outside my study window even while I am visible, working at my desk; and I have enjoyed watching a fox and muntjac gradually gaining confidence to eat side by side on my patio.  I’ve seen several roe deer while out on walks – in Shotover, Little Wittenham and, of course in the fields around Garsington, Denton and Chippinghurst.  Although I am unable to identify many flowers, the primroses in my garden, and the daffodils around our villages and roadsides have also brought me joy and gladness.

It was wonderful to re-open All Saints for public worship from Mothering Sunday, and so lovely to see so many people there.  I don’t think I’d fully registered that I hadn’t seen many people (other than on Zoom) since Christmas Day, and I hadn’t realised how much I was missing human contact and worshipping in our church buildings, until we gathered together on Mothering Sunday.  I am delighted that we can observe Holy Week and Easter in All Saints, and the other churches in our Benefice.  We are also continuing to offer services on Zoom for those who are shielding, or unable to attend worship in our church buildings.  All are welcome to our services around the Benefice.

I look forward to seeing you at our services or, as we begin to emerge from lockdown and follow our roadmap, out and about around the village and – before too long, I hope – outside the Bat & Ball!

Wishing you all a happy and blessed Easter, and health and happiness as we journey through spring and towards summer.

Stay safe, take care, and do contact me if you’d like a chat, a garden visit, or to join me for a gentle walk and talk.

God bless

Karen x