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From the Vicar - July 2022

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I hope that you all enjoyed the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Celebrations and the long Bank Holiday weekend.

I certainly enjoyed all the community events and celebrations I attended in Cuddesdon, Garsington and Horspath.  It was wonderful to be able to join together to celebrate this momentous occasion and the remarkable reign of Her Majesty the Queen.  As well as the sense of history, I really enjoyed the community spirit, and I hope we will all feel inspired to organise and celebrate more community events together.  After the isolation many of us experienced during the pandemic, I’m sure many of us really appreciate opportunities to get together and build relationships.

I recently attended a workshop on rural housing, and was struck by a comment that, “we need to build homes, not houses, and communities, not estates.”  In small villages like Cuddesdon, I believe churches, pubs, village halls and other amenities have a crucial role in providing safe and welcoming spaces where people can come together for friendship and conversation.  In All Saints, we’ve been considering the welcome we extend as a church, and how we can ensure that everyone knows they are welcome to attend worship and other church events.  We recently welcomed a speaker from Inclusive Church, and learned more about barriers to inclusion, and heard painful stories from those who have felt excluded from churches in the past.  I hope that everyone reading this article knows that you are welcome to join us at All Saints for worship, and are welcome to pop into church during daylight hours to pray, to reflect, or just to appreciate the peaceful atmosphere and the beautiful building.  We would also like to extend a warm invitation to all in the village to join us for a drink and chat, in the church and churchyard, before lunch on Sunday 14th August, from 11:30 – 1pm.  Do please come along.

I’d like to end with a poem-prayer by Stephen Cherry, Hospitality, which seems to pick up on my themes of community and welcome:



Never take from us that vaguely anxious 

curiosity we feel when we 

behold a new face, 

hear a new name, 

when we give attention to someone unknown. 


Give us keen interest 

in whatever stories and storms lie 

within the one who is new to us, and 

let that interest become respect, 

and the respect flower as



Let us bow before whatever triumphs and wounds, 

hurts and guilts,

mistakes, misadventures and madnesses 

make this stranger unknown and yet knowable,

unlikely yet likeable. 


O Christ! Many found you to be strange, 

and yet the most vulnerable found healing and 

peace in your presence. 

Make friends of us 

that we might be ready friends to strangers 

as strange as ourselves.


God bless