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From the Vicar - May 2021

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I hope you are well and enjoying the sunny and slightly warmer weather.

There have still been some frosty mornings, but the afternoons have been lovely!  Last Monday, I enjoyed my first meal out this year, outside the Nag’s Head in Abingdon, just beside the river, and it was a glorious sunny afternoon – my first time outside the house this year without a jumper or coat!

As I write this on a sunny Sunday afternoon, having just conducted my first baptism of 2021, I feel quite optimistic.  Spring has come.  The sun is shining.  The blossom on our large cherry trees has finally appeared, and leaves have appeared on our apple trees.  I wonder if you’re familiar with the A.E Housman poem, which begins:

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now

Is hung with bloom along the bough,

And stands about the woodland ride

Wearing white for Eastertide.

 It’s a helpful reminder, for me, that we are still in the Easter Season – still celebrating the resurrection.  Holy Week and Easter is, for me, a very significant time of year – more important, in some ways, than Christmas.  And yet, this year, our Easter celebrations have been muted a little - interrupted by the death of, and period of mourning for, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh; and still impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, and the need to restrict numbers at our in-church services and refrain from congregational singing.  Nevertheless, it was wonderful to observe Holy Week, and celebrate Easter, back in our churches and to be able to sing ‘Thine be the Glory’ together, outside church, on Easter Sunday.  The blossom on our cherry trees is a timely reminder that we are still wearing white for Eastertide.

Easter is a season for joy and celebration – though of course we must celebrate sensibly, and with consideration and care, so that we minimise the risks associated with the coronavirus pandemic.  But it does feel as though we have cause to be optimistic and hopeful.  COVID-19 infection rates and deaths continue to drop.  The vaccination roll-out is going well, in our country at least, with more than half of the population having now received a first dose of the vaccine.  Our government also recently vowed to help India in its battle with the virus, sending much needed medical equipment there.  

The roadmap out of lockdown appears to be going to plan.  It’s great to see that the Bat and Ball has re-opened, and I hope to enjoy their hospitality soon!  Services in All Saints seem to be appreciated by many, and we are getting used to worshipping together in church again, having been unable to worship in church during January, February and early March.  We have recently welcomed the college community, from Ripon College Cuddesdon, back into All Saints – it’s great to know that the church is being used regularly again for worship and prayer.  Although our bell-ringers can’t yet safely ring in Cuddesdon, I hope that bell-ringing and congregational singing will be safely re-introduced later this year.  We also have a number of wedding bookings for the summer months.  It’s good to see that – although, sadly, many families and individuals are mourning the loss of loved ones – couples whose wedding plans have been on hold for almost a year are now able to plan optimistically for 2021 weddings.

I hope many of you are enjoying being able to travel a little further afield now and, perhaps, meet family members or friends you haven’t seen for many months.  One of the many challenges and sorrows of the past year has been our separation from family and friends and, for some, the inability to meet and hold grandchildren or great-grandchildren born during the pandemic.

Let’s continue to do all that we can to keep each other safe, whilst also looking after our own well-being and need for contact with others.  I was able to enjoy a short self-catering break in Devon, when self-catering accommodation was permitted to re-open; and I hope many of you will soon be able to safely enjoy holidays too.  I particularly enjoyed seeing the sea for the first time in many moths!

Now that the weather is warmer, and small outdoor meetings (rule of six or two households) are permitted, I hope to begin meeting more people – in gardens, outside the pub, or for a short walk in our beautiful countryside.  Please do get in touch if you would like an outdoor meeting or visit.

God bless

Karen x