Diocese of Oxford

Letter from Churchwarden Gill Long – November 2021

Dear Friends

I can’t believe that I’m writing this for November. The past year seems to have flown by so quickly for me, and Christmas is just round the corner.

We are now two months into our official vacancy. As you know a lot of work has been done in preparing for the next stage of the vacancy and November will be quite busy as we arrange two formal meetings, known as the section 11 and section 12 meetings. There is a timeline on the noticeboard, and on our website, which explains what these meetings are about. I do plan to update the noticeboard as things progress.

I feel it is important that, during our time of Vacancy, we pray regularly for our church and for the appointment of our next Rector. If you feel God has spoken to you in any way about the new Rector than please share this with Roger or me. We still have our Parish Profile in draft form until November 18th when it must be approved by the PCC.

It did occur to me that we should be alert to new people joining our services as word gets out that we are looking for a new Rector. There may be potential candidates coming to view us. I’m not suggesting we do anything different than what we already do as everyone gets a warm welcome in our church.

When I did my initial Churchwarden training with the diocese about 6 years ago, I remember them saying the only thing you don’t want as a churchwarden is a vacancy! I’m now in my second one! The learning curve has been steep; the role is scary and frustrating at times, but it has also been rewarding and interesting. I have learnt a lot about myself, some good, some not so good but it has also given me opportunities to talk to people that I would never have met. Of course, I couldn’t do it all without everyone’s support, especially Roger’s.

This past month I have been touched by members of the congregation who have brought to our attention various charities that they are involved with. These include the Dorcas Project, Ride and Stride, and Walking for Care International. It is worth looking at the individual websites for more information. If you support a charity that needs our prayers, please share it with us.

I am constantly reminding myself that the Lord has his hand on our situation at St. Bartholomew’s and I take comfort in the verse from Jeremiah (29:11) ‘For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’.