A Lent reflection with a difference


THE Revd David Meara reflects on the creative way Kidlington Christians have creatively used Lent as a time of preparing for the mystery of Good Friday and Easter.

Christ’s seamless robe. Photo: Kidlington Church

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Try a taster day at a convent


THE Community of St Mary the Virgin, Wantage, in Oxfordshire is offering the chance for women to come and spend some time with them, to have a taste of the daily life of a Sister. Read more

Chaplain to Cothill House and Vicar of St Helen’s Church, Dry Sandford


The Cothill Trust and the Oxford Churches Trust wish to appoint the Chaplain to Cothill House (within the Cothill Trust) who will also serve as Vicar of St Helen’s Church, Dry Sandford.

Cothill House is a leading Preparatory all-boys’ Boarding School for approximately 200 boys. The School is situated near Oxford. The Chaplain gives oversight to the spiritual life of the school and also serves as the Vicar of the local Parish Church. If you are ordained and would enjoy working with all ages in a school and parochial setting, please contact us.

Application Form       Profile      Chaplain to the Cothill Trust Job Description 2018

Applications to be returned to: The Bishop of Dorchester, Church House Oxford, Langford Locks, Kidlington, OX5 1GF; Telephone: 01865 208218; Email: bishopdorchester@oxford.anglican.org

Housing, if necessary, is provided and salary is dependent on experience and hours of work – to be discussed with the Headmaster.

Closing Date: 4th April 2018
Interviews: 26th April 2018
DBS Enhanced Disclosure is required.

Lottery grant to help stop St Mary’s roof falling in


AN initial £30,300 Heritage Lottery Fund grant has been awarded for the next phase of work to save St Mary’s, Banbury, Oxfordshire, the largest parish church to be built in England in the 18th century.

Associate Priest (House for Duty) – Benefice of Cherbury with Gainfield – Archdeaconry of Dorchester

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We are seeking a priest who is a good communicator with spiritual depth and pastoral experience who enjoys working within a dynamic and supportive team, and has an affinity to rural and village communities.

Our beautifully located benefice, lying between Oxford and Faringdon, is seeking to appoint a prayerful and compassionate clergy colleague to join our ministry team (2 days equivalent per week plus Sundays).

Areas of responsibility will depend on your ministerial gifts and skills, focusing around ministry with the older members of our congregations and villages, committed pastoral visiting, and encouragement of wider lay church involvement.

This post provides a wonderful opportunity to be part of a new growth initiative of church outreach across seven rural villages which are undergoing a period of steady and exciting transformation. We are in the fortunate position of being able to offer a well-appointed recently renovated vicarage in the heart of one of our warm and welcoming old Oxfordshire villages.

If you are interested in ministering in a community that is entering a new phase of its spiritual life, then we would love to hear from you.

For an initial conversation, please contact the Rector, Reverend Talisker Tracey-MacLeod on 01865 596224 or beneficecg@gmail.com

An application Form can be found here and Benefice Profile can be found here

Applications to be returned to:
The Archdeacon of Dorchester, Church House Oxford, Langford Locks; Kidlington, OX5 1GF telephone: 01865 208245; email:  archdeacon.dorchester@oxford.anglican.org

Please note a full DBS Enhanced Disclosure is required.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Priest-in-charge (Vicar Designate) – Parish of Bampton with Clanfield

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We are: A group of five churches who have been working in partnership for many years to serve our communities in the vibrant Cotswold villages of Bampton, Aston with Cote and Shifford, Clanfield and Lew in West Oxfordshire.

We seek:  We are looking for an inspirational teacher, theologian and spiritual leader, who will lead, support and encourage us as we work towards our mission:
 Nurturing our spiritual growth through a variety of church services and Bible groups and through praying together
 Building and facilitating a team of volunteers, lay ministers and clergy within each church and across the parish
 Enabling the churches – both buildings and people – to be the spiritual heart of each village
 Teaching the next generation about our faith, what having a faith entails and how to enter into a life of faith, and helping us to deepen our relationship with our church schools
 Working together with the wider church family

We offer: We can offer a spacious four bedroom vicarage and garden in the centre of Bampton; a choice of excellent primary and secondary schools; the support of a SS curate, a team of 4 further clergy and well-established lay-led services.

Closing date: 12 noon on 16th March 2018                                     Interviews: 26th April 2018

The Parish Profile can be found here  Application form Application Form Application Guidance Notes here

Please note that an Enhanced DBS Disclosure is required.

Completed applications should be sent to the Venerable Judy French, Archdeacon of Dorchester, Church House Oxford, Langford Locks, Kidlington, Oxon, OX5 1GF or via email to archdeacon.dorchester@oxford.anglican.org

Vulnerable families enjoy festive cheer with the Balsam Project

AWARD winning Christian charity, The Balsam Family Project, laid on a two-course Christmas lunch for 43 vulnerable and isolated families at the Didcot Civic Hall in Oxfordshire in early December.

Sophie Wilson (centre) receives a Balsam College Course award for personal growth and development. On the right is Alex Walker and right is Sophie Billington.

Participants enjoy the festive fun.

Trustees, volunteers and staff cooked and served turkey with all the trimmings to around 175 people from Didcot and the surrounding areas. Balsam teamed up with other charities and businesses to ensure the families they work with had a day to remember. Secret Santa Oxfordshire handed out wrapped gifts and the Didcot Foodbank ensured families went home with festive hampers. The total cost of the hampers was between £2,000 and £3,000. Bright Horizons Nurseries gave a book to every child.

Alex Walker, Balsam founder and Project Manager, said: “We’re so grateful to our friends at Secret Santa and Bright Horizons for their support and to Rabbits Vehicle Hire for providing much needed transport so we could get the hampers to where they were needed. For a charity that aims to bring families – and family members – closer together, nothing could be more rewarding than looking out on a sea of happy faces and watching people enjoy being with and around loved ones at Christmas time. We believe in the value of every adult and child and seek to encourage a sense of worth and value that parents can pass on to their own children.”

Didcot Mayor Jackie Billington was among the volunteers who waited on tables. John Hobbs, lead singer and guitarist with local band The Gangbusters, performed a Christmas set with daughters Julie and Joanne, while a children’s entertainer from Oxford Entertainments ensured the kids had plenty to do, and laugh at.

The Balsam Family Project recently won two awards at the Didcot First Business & Community Awards (BACAS) 2017, scooping prizes for Best Volunteer Development and for Partnerships and Collaborations.

At the Civic Hall event, certificates were also presented to graduates from Balsam’s own college courses. Single mum Amanda said: “I’m overwhelmed with the kind words said about me and I’ll be volunteering for the charity after I complete my course.”

Alex added: “We currently work with more than 90 families in Oxfordshire and it is so rewarding to see people grow in confidence and flourish. Our belief in the importance of family is at the heart of everything we do.”

Children enjoy reading on a new library with a difference

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CHRISTMAS came early for staff and pupils at St Laurence’s CE School in Warborough as their new library with a difference was literally driven into the school grounds.

The wheels on this bus don’t go round but it does provide a great library for children from St Laurence’s CE School, Warborough. Photo: Jo Duckles

Children enjoy reading their favourite books on the new bus library at St Laurence’s CE School, Warborough.

Previously, a large bookshelf in the multi-purpose hall at the village school in Oxfordshire was hidden behind the stage. It was the only library facility.

Now pupils are excited as they board the brightly decorated bus, which has been decked out with bean bags, to read their favourite books.

“It gives us a new learning space as well,” says Nic Cooper, the headteacher, who spearheaded a fundraising campaign to buy the bus. “The Parents and Friends Association went out to the community to leaflet drop every house, asking people to buy a share in the bus. The fundraising really took off, everyone put their hearts and souls into it.”

Pupils are already enjoying the bus. Libby, nine, said: “I like it because it is bright and colourful.” Libby says she enjoys reading Jacqueline Wilson books because of the comedy in them.

Taylor, eight, says: “I like that you can come here and enjoy reading.” Arthur, eight, added: “I just think it’s great and different that our new library is a bus.” Arthur says his favourite books are the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.

Refurbished buses are proving a popular way of increasing learning spaces at CE schools. In April 2016 the Door reported on a new library rolling into St Francis CE School in Oxford: www.oxford.anglican.org/watch-new-library-bus-roll-st-francis-ce-school-oxford/

In October 2015 a learning zone on wheels was driven into Earley St Peter CE School in Berskhire. Watch a video here https://www.oxford.anglican.org/learningbus/

Has your school found an innovative way to create a new library, gym or learning space? Contact Jo Duckles on jo.duckles@oxford.anglican.org or 01865 208227.

Eco-classroom completed

THE Rt Revd Colin Fletcher, the Bishop of Dorchester, officially opened the new eco-classroom at St Peter’s CE Infant School recently. The new classroom will allow the class to transform into a full primary school, with the admission number rising from 75 to 105 over the next four years. Photo: Jo Duckles.

Service marks a century in England for “miracle” French statue

STANDING among the ruins of a French village in 1917, Wilfred James Dashwood spied a man lying in the rubble of a church.

The Christ figure on its new cross in St Mary’s.

The Christ figure can be seen high up on the left hand wall, over the third bed from the left, in the Manancourt church.

As the Grenadier Guards Lieutenant moved to help, he realised the figure was a wooden statue of Christ, which, although missing His cross, had survived the devastation.

Lt Dashwood took the 17th Century statue home to Wootton-by-Woodstock in Oxfordshire as a memorial to his brother Ernest, who had fallen in the carnage of the Battle of the Somme in 1915.
Ernest, a Captain in the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, had farmed in the village and the statue was hung above the pulpit of St Mary the Virgin. But the residents of modern-day Manancourt – the village which had originally housed the figure – remained oblivious to the figure’s fate.

Nicholas Tomlinson, the church warden of St Mary’s, traced its history and contacted the mayor of present-day Étricourt-Manancourt, a new community built from the devastation.
In August, 100 years since their community was annihilated, a party of French villagers travelled to Wootton to be reunited with what they regard as their ‘last refugee’ at a service of re-dedication.
“We assumed everything had been destroyed…”

Jean-Pierre Coquette, the Mayor of Étricourt-Manancourt, said: “We assumed everything had been destroyed and, as a result of the war, the population of our village had been displaced. The ones that returned had to start from scratch, so to experience this is very emotional.”

Lt Dashwood returned to the front before the statue was re-dedicated at St Mary’s. He was fatally wounded at the battle of Passchendaele – the fifth Dashwood brother to be killed in battle.
Canon Frank Ransome Marriott, the Rector of Wootton for 45 years, dedicated the Christ figure and His new cross of English oak. But, just three weeks later, his 19-year-old son, Second Lieutenant John Douglas Marriott, was killed near Ypres.

In a ceremony of re-dedication, the present Rector of Wootton, the Revd Stephen Jones spoke of the miracle of this delicate figure being virtually unharmed in the midst of the destruction all around. After the service the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Étricourt-Manancourt, who were staying with Mr Tomlinson, showed 600 photographs which demonstrated the devastation and regeneration of the French village.

During the German occupation the church had been used as a field hospital and Mr Tomlinson spotted the Christ figure on the wall. He said: “It was an incredible moment. Our French visitors were quite overwhelmed as no-one alive today who knew of its existence.”

Aimé Langleterre, an 83 year-old representative of the French church said that his first thought had been to take the figure home to install in one of the two new churches in modern-day Étricourt-Manancourt. However, he said that as it had been here for 100 years it now ‘probably only understood English and therefore it would be wrong to take it back to France’.
Framed photographs of the figure now hang in both the French church and town hall after being presented by the Wootton villagers.

Mayors and Chairs at Dorchester Abbey


The Rt Revd Colin Fletcher and the Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire, Tim Stevenson, hosted an evening at Dorchester Abbey this week with the newly elected Mayors and Chairs from the Dorchester Archdeaconry.

Here are a selection of photos from the evening.

Educational partnership blessed by the Bishop of Oxford

The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd Steven Croft blessed a new partnership between the Community of St Mary the Virgin (CSMV) at Wantage and the Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust (ODST). At a ceremony in CSMV’s St Mary Magdalene Chapel yesterday, representatives of the two organisations signed a commitment to co-operate in supporting education in the Diocese of Oxford.

From left, Alastair Hunter, Chair of Trustees at CSMV, Kathy Winrow, Chair of ODST, Bishop Steven and Sister Stella.

The covenant offers ODST an additional office, meeting and conference space at St Mary’s Convent in Wantage. The alliance is bringing back into use a house belonging to CSMV as refurbished flats for new teachers working with ODST. They will be available at a significantly low rent. This is part of the of the Community’s charitable aims of supporting the education of children. The Sisters of CSMV have made a significant contribution to education since the Community’s founding over 150 years ago. Bishop Steven, making his first visit to the Community will be present at the signing.

“The Sisters are delighted to be able to offer accommodation to ODST,” says Sister Stella, Sister in Charge of the Community. “Their presence and their work help underline the importance of high quality education for all in our society, something the Community has worked for throughout its long history.”

Speaking on behalf of ODST, Chair of Trustees Kathy Winrow said: “The housing for new teachers marks the start of an innovative partnership between ODST and St Mary’s Convent. As we work together, for the benefit of young people and staff in the Trust our hope is that we are able to support excellence in education.”

A new reception area forms part of the plans for the future of St Mary’s Convent. A planning application for this exciting development will be made later in the year.

This is the latest in a series of developments underlining the CSMV continuing commitment to Wantage. Last year the Sisters took the decision to stay at the Convent. The partnership with OSDT follows the recent announcement that later this year the Vale Academy Trust’s central staff team is to move into office space on the convent site from its current base at King Alfred’s Academy.