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Bishop Steven in Buckingham Deanery

Bishop Steven and the Revs Will Pearson-Gee and Paula Smith stand outside the fruit and veg stall at Westbury Community Shop & Cafe

On one of his final Deanery days, the Bishop of Oxford visited Maids Moreton CE School and walked Thornborough's new prayer labyrinth in the Buckingham Deanery.

One of the diocese's smaller deaneries, the Buckingham visit kicked off with a Eucharist service at Westbury Church, with the Revd Paula Smith presiding. Bishop Steven drew on each of the three passages he has preached on in his series of deanery visits, which began in November 2021. On a turbulent day nationally, the Bishop reflected on his previous sermon on Genesis 1, looking at leadership in times of chaos. He also looked at the stories of Elijah in 1 Kings 19 - who reaches the end of his own resources and must rely on God to restore him - and the story of the Burning Bush, considering the need to burn but not be consumed.

Each of Bishop Steven's deanery visits this year has has one question at its core: 

"How are we, in this turbulent time?"

Over lunch at Westbury Community Shop & Cafe, local clergy shared their answers to that question. The return post-lockdown looks different for each church, with some feeling back to pre-pandemic numbers and others noticing a move away from regular Sunday attendance to more creative worship formats. With the cost of living crisis hitting hard across the UK, all clergy have noticed an increase in food bank usage locally, alongside a reduction in food donations. Bishop Steven reflected on our increased of our community's needs and the decrease of all our resources to address that at this point in time.

School children perform an assembly about Henry VIII and his wives. A girl stands and delivers her lines. Behind her two children hold portraits of Henry's wives over their faces.After lunch, the Bishop visited Maids Moreton CE School, accompanied by the Revds Hans Taling and Sarah Smith. Maids Moreton has recently been extended to become a full primary school, and the Bishop of Oxford blessed their extension. Year 3 pupils - soon to be the school's first ever Year 4s - put on an assembly for parents and guests on King Henry VIII and his wives, which was enjoyed by all.

The second community visit was to St Mary's, Thornborough. The churchyard is now home to a prayer labyrinth, which Bishop Steven walked alongside children from the nextdoor primary school. During tea and cake in the church, the Bishop chatted to members of the community. The church started a book corner during the pandemic, which became a popular place for the community to visit. The Bishop also spoke to Martin, a member of the congregation who creates the church's beautiful floral displays, including Jubilee flowers on the theme 'The cat may look at the Queen'.

After a dinner with lay representatives in Buckingham, PCC members and other laity were invited to an evening with the Bishop at Buckingham Parish Church. After a time of worship and a short reflection from Bishop Steven, the floor was opened for questions.


There are just two deanery visits left in the series - Claydon on 13 July and Burnham and Slough on 19 July. Catch up on the Bishop's travels so far.

Page last updated: Friday 8th July 2022 11:43 AM
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