In the Mursley Deanery, Bishop Steven visits a secondary school ethics class and blesses the bells of Little Horwood.
Bishop Steven started his visit at Wing Church, where local church leaders joined him for a Eucharist service followed by lunch. The smallest deanery in the Diocese of Oxford, Mursley is made up of four multi-parish benefices. In his sermon, Bishop Steven encouraged the clergy and Licensed Lay Ministers present to seek rest and renewal in this time, stressing that they "must burn but not burn up", like the Burning Bush, which was alight with fire but never consumed.
Over sandwiches and cake, deanery leaders shared candidly how they are feeling at this time. With some vacancies in the area and the rural setting meaning some vicars are quite isolated, all agreed that deanery meetings provided an important support network. The clergy also praised their strong team of LLMs, whose work is invaluable to each church. Rural dean the Revd Canon Val Plumb mentioned an upcoming Quiet Day for leaders in the deanery.
Many commented on the busyness of this time of year - the height of the baking season, with the Jubilee, Bucks Art Week and more being celebrated across the deanery.
On the first of two community visits, Bishop Steven then walked to Cottesloe High School and popped into a Year 10 and Year 12 ethics class. Pupils had prepared some questions for the bishop earlier and asked about issues ranging from dominion vs stewardship to having doubts in faith. One student asked how Bishop Steven reminds himself of his faith in harder moments, and the bishop shared that his grandchildren are a joyous reminder of the love and light of Jesus.
After a quick photo with some students, the Bishop of Oxford then went on to Little Horwood Church. In a special service, bellringers from local churches gathered and the bishop blessed the church bells. The church was alive afterwards with more bell ringing and a steady supply of nibbles and cake.
After a meal at a pub in Cublington with local lay leaders, laity were then invited to an evening with Bishop Steven at Ivinghoe town hall. Worship was led by a local team and there was an oppurtunity for a question and answer session with Bishop Steven before his visit drew to a close.
Bishop Steven visited the Newport Deanery on Tuesday 28 June, and trips to Claydon, Buckingham and Burnham & Slough are coming up soon.