Diocese of Oxford

July letter from Churchwarden

Dear Friends

I’m writing this letter on the longest day of the year which we know marks the beginning of Summer. I find it is the time of year that I enjoy being outdoors, to be ‘in the moment’ and take note of what is going on around me. Time to look up and see the clouds and to thank the Lord for his wonderful creation and the warmth of the sun.

July 4th marks a new beginning for our church and community when we welcome our new Rector – Andrea Colbrook, and her husband Ade. I am sure that you all are looking forward to her starting her ministry and will be there for her Induction Service if you can. I was deeply moved by the words of commitment that Andrea has to say during the service. If you cannot attend, I do recommend that you read the order of service when it is available. Although the formality and legality of the induction is important, I hope it will be a joyful service of welcome for Andrea. 

We have prayed throughout the interregnum that God would have his hand on our situation, so I wasn’t surprised when Andrea told me that she has had a calling from God to serve the church community and the people of Ducklington. Bishop Gavin will ask her ‘do you believe, so far as you know your own heart, that God has called you to serve here?’. We already know her answer!  

At our recent Archdeacon’s visitation and Admission of Churchwardens service, held at Standlake church, Martin and I had to declare that we would ’faithfully and diligently discharge the duties of the office of churchwarden’ for another year. We were challenged to consider if we saw the role of churchwarden as a vocation – a divine calling to God’s service. I was surprised to call it a vocation as I had presumed this was something to do with a career or profession, but I have now realised that God must have called me. He certainly has been with me on the journey, kept me going and nudged me several times. For me it is an honour to serve God and St. Bartholomew’s community this way.

So, we enter a new phase of ministry in our 12th century church, remembering all the past congregations who have trod the same path and looking forward to new experiences shared with Andrea and Ade.

Maybe we should all contemplate our vocations and ponder on the words of one of the hymns Andrea had chosen for her service:  Here I am Lord, Is it I Lord? I have heard You calling in the night. I will go, Lord if you lead me. I will hold Your people in my heart.