Diocese of Oxford

Letter from Churchwarden Gill Long – January 2022

Dear Friends

Here we are at the beginning of a new year. I’m writing this in the time between Christmas and New Year, it always feels very unsettling for me. I have had the excitement of Christ’s birth, though somewhat subdued this year, and I now await the arrival of the New Year with renewed hope. I hope that our lives will be less constricted in 2022, that God sends us the right Rector for St. Bartholomew’s, that climate change is taken seriously and that we can all show God’s kindness to others. I’m sure that you all have other reasons for hope.

The Queen in her speech to the C of E Synod this November talks about how the Gospel has brought her hope throughout the pandemic. She hoped that the Synod members would be “strengthened with the certainty of the love of God, as you work together and draw on the Church’s tradition of unity in fellowship for the tasks ahead”. I felt that she could be talking to us all at St. Bartholomew’s as we venture together into a new chapter of our church’s history.

The last few months have been very unpredictable and confusing for us coping with the continuation of the pandemic and the arrival of another new variant. As churchwardens, Roger and I have had to make some difficult decisions to keep everyone safe; sadly, we had to cancel services where a lot of hard work and planning had already been done by some of you. We know how upsetting this was especially at this time of year when we should be coming together to enjoy the festivities. As I’ve said before it’s been quite a learning curve for us, and we thank everyone of you for your patience and continued support. Please pray for us in the coming months as we hopefully shortlist and interview for our new rector.

Whatever your feelings may be as 2021 ends, don’t forget there have been good times amongst the worry and the stress.

Roger and I wish you a peaceful, joyous, and healthy 2022 and leave you with the message from Paul (Romans, 15.13). ‘May the God of hope fill you with all the joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit’.