Diocese of Oxford

Churchwarden’s Letter – August

Dear Friends

July, for me and many of us, has been a challenging month. Internationally we have wars and potential famine. Nationally we have cost of living crises and increase in Covid infections, locally we have lost friends and loved ones and our lives have been affected.

The format of Church of England intercessions is to pray for the World, Our Church, Ourselves and The Departed. I don’t think I have had a month where so many prayers have dominated each of these categories.

BUT, August is here! “Schools out for summer”, sang Alice Cooper!

I am always excited when August comes. My childhood memories, although a little hazy, are of sandy beaches, ice cream, swimming in the sea and fish and chips in a newspaper. Our summer holidays were spent mostly camping in Hayling Island. The sun was always shining, and we always had fun. That’s the way I remember it, although I suspect we had less of both than I imagined.

This year we are going to a wedding in Cyprus. Not our normal holiday destination, but an old school friend, who was a confirmed bachelor, is getting married to the love of his life! The wedding will be on a sandy beach and I am hoping we will have ice cream and swim in the sea. Fish and chips may be a step too far!

They will be surrounded by close friends and family. Unfortunately, some close friends are not able to travel and have said that they would be there in ‘spirit’. This phrase got me thinking!

I have often been in situations or at a special place where people have been with me in ‘spirit’; real experiences. Sharing a special moment; laughing at an incident; recalling memories and swapping stories. The ‘spirit’ of friends and family can make us happy and sad, sometimes at the same time.

There will be several moments whilst we are in Cyprus where we will be nudged by the spirit of our friends and these moments will be as important to us as actually being with others.

Whatever your adventures may be this summer embrace them in every way you can. Make memories and remember some too.

I will let you know if I find a chip shop on the island!