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From the Vicar - February 2016

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 I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who contributed to making Christmas such a brilliant time not only in All Saints’ but also across the benefice:

to those who decorated the church with flowers and continue to keep All Saints’ clean and welcoming, contributed to the worship through setting up, serving, reading and interceding, to everyone who donated food and prepared refreshments, to Keith our organist, to those who welcomed newcomers and were a smiling face at the door, to Robert, Karen and Clive who ensured the church was open for everyone to drop in to and to everyone who supported our services and events.  You all made Christmas a very special community event, so thank you.

As many of you will know we held a wide variety of services and events over the Christmas period, beginning with the Advent Carol Service on Advent Sunday, a wonderful collaboration with the college.  The week before we were also invited to share in the college’s Quiet Day for Advent and hear Bishop Humphrey Southern’s addresses, which can still be found on the website.  We also had an opportunity to sing carols over the Christmas period with Carol singing round the Christmas tree on the village green.  For our families there was a Christingle service with the lighting of the christingles and the Crib service on Christmas Eve.  There was also the traditional Midnight Mass service and Communion on Christmas morning.

New Year is often a time to look back on the past year and reflect on what went well and then to look into the coming year.  At our planning meeting in early January we did just this and celebrated all the things that we had achieved as a church.  These included: the moving of the cross and Remembrance service, the coffee morning, hearing the bells ring after so many years, the fete, beginning Messy church, the benefice celebration day, the Julian prayer group and moving towards the delivery phase of the Heritage Lottery Grant application.  All of these services, events and improvements, as well as the day to day running of the church, come about through the generosity of those who give not only their time and energy to the church but also support it financially and we are enormously gratefully to all the people who contribute in often hidden ways.

One of the major achievements of the last year was to be able to pay our parish share in full.  This is the amount of money which each parish is asked to contribute to support the mission and ministry of the Church in the Diocese of Oxford, in addition to the regular running costs of the All Saints’.  Cuddesdon contributed £14,695 to the overall 19 million needed.  So how is this money spent by the diocese?

64% goes to clergy stipends and housing
12 % on curates’ training
5% on ministerial support and support for parishes
4% National training fund
4% national church costs
4% mission in the diocese
4% on education, communication and other mission activities
3% support and other diocese costs

82% of the total costs to run the church comes from the Parish Share, 13% from glebe investments and 4% from church fees.  So a special thank you to all of you who contributed to this cost and materially gave in order for spiritual and community events and services to flourish at All Saints’.  This coming year our Parish Share will be £13,842, and we as a PCC have been looking at ways we can meet this cost once again, including fundraising events and a change jar challenge (see below), so please do help us make All Saints’ financially stable so that we can grow Cuddesdon community through our events and services.