Adjusting to a new term

The Revd Dr William Lamb

The new term card for Michaelmas is published today. You will see that it is packed with all sorts of activities as well as a slightly adjusted round of worship. We will continue with the current pattern of Sunday Eucharists at 8.30am and 10.30am, with the choir joining us from First Week at the 10.30am Eucharist. As First Week begins on Monday 12 October, we will move Morning Prayer from Zoom back into the Chancel where it will be live-streamed. This will hopefully serve to connect those who remain at home with those who are worshipping in the church itself. Evening Prayer on Tuesdays and Thursdays will continue on Zoom. We will also continue to ensure that a Video Cast is delivered each Sunday for those who wish to stay at home.

One of the things that I have come to value at St Mary’s - and one of the things which I really miss - is the real sense of community which we share. Coffee after the service, Parish Lunches, and the rich array of activities during the week, will need to remain suspended for the time being. There are a couple of events which will involve some time for people to be together, although we will need to make adjustments as the weeks progress in the light of government advice. People may choose to catch up with friends (in groups of no more than six people) in a cafe nearby after the Sunday morning service. People may wish to go on a little pilgrimage to Littlemore on Saturday 10 October as the restoration project at Littlemore nears completion. We have planned another Gardening Day at Holywell Cemetery at the end of October. Sadly, much of our social interaction will need to be limited. It is important that we remain safe.

In terms of our programme of learning, much of what we offer will be online. The Bible Studies will resume on Thursday lunchtimes, as we contemplate the theme of Refuge and the plight of refugees. The Revd Charlotte Bannister-Parker will lead a series of workshops on Tuesday evenings pm Action4Creation, and later in the term we will launch a series of podcasts from leading thinkers entitled ‘After Covid: Meditations on Church and Society’ which will help to stimulate our thinking throughout the year. At the Sunday Gathering at 4.00pm each Sunday on Zoom, there will be an opportunity for us to reflect on the questions provoked by these podcasts and so to sustain the rich quality of that ongoing pattern of theological conversation which characterises our life as a community.

We hope that there will be things for you to discover here. We want to invite you to participate in our life together, to discover more of the richness and excitement, the mystery and wonder, at the heart of the insight that our life is 'hidden with Christ in God’ (Colossians 3.3). Above all, we want you to know that you are welcome here.