St Edburg's Church seeks to be a welcoming and caring family, living in Christ's love through worship and service to one another and the wider community.
Dear St Edburg’s family,
I am wishing you all a blessed New Year!
Though I wished my first e-mail to you all could be on a more positive note and in a happier context.
After careful and prayerful consideration we have made the difficult decision to continue with online worship only, streamed from our homes, until the end of lockdown. This decision has not been taken lightly and is certainly not what I have wanted or had hoped for. The latest figures for positive Covid tests show a frightening and worrying picture for Bicester and Cherwell District. It is our utmost priority to keep everyone safe and minimise the risks.
I am attaching a photo taken on a walk on New Year’s Eve. Not a particularly good photo, but yet I thought it was very symbolic. Walking along this wonderfully glorious foggy path I could not but reflect on our current situation: we were about to leave 2020 behind (most of us quite gladly so) and were looking forward to a new year with fresh hopes and dreams. Yet it struck me that we cannot see clearly what lies ahead – guiding lights at some waypoints lead us on our way, the path beyond remains shrouded in the fog of the unknown. And this is how we have entered 2021...
Acknowledging that as human beings we cannot see what lies ahead and often don’t know the way we are supposed to take is a common theme in the Bible. In the OT the people of Israel on their journey from slavery in Egypt to freedom in the Promised Land were famously guided by God: The Lord went in front of them … in a pillar of fire by night, to give them light, . (Ex 13.21) And repeatedly in the Book of Psalms the Psalmist recognised where guidance in uncertain times was coming from: It is you who light my lamp; the Lord, my God, lights up my darkness. (Ps 18.28) and: Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Ps 119.105) We are still within the cycle of Christmas when we were reminded of Isaiah’s wonderful words: The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined. (Is 9.2) For us these words have come true in the birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ who is the Light of the world. (John 8.12)
The light of Christ is indeed shining into our darkness, into moments of fear and despair. We know we are not alone, God is by our side. This thought surely is a comfort but cannot hide that we find ourselves at the beginning of another difficult year. We have entered our third lockdown. We are all exhausted and tired, many are alone and suffer in isolation.
Our thoughts and prayers during this continuing pandemic are with all who are sick and suffering, with all front-line staff in the NHS, in our care homes, shops, emergency services and many more. Let us also pray for all children who face disruption to their education, cancelled exams, parents who face home-schooling and, of course, our schools, teachers and staff who are doing a fantastic and, at times impossible, job!
I would like to thank all who have brought light and relief to us all: the fantastic team that made our Festival of Light and Hope possible, the Events Committee for many most entertaining evenings, our musicians, all who have led worship, preached and prayed, and the many others who have contributed in any way.
I special thank you has to go to our churchwardens, Lindsey & Adrian, who are working tirelessly to keep us all safe and organise the many aspects of our church life.
As I said last Sunday, I am extending an open invitation to you all to book some 1:1 time. I would like to hear how you are and how this pandemic has affected you; your life, your work and your faith. - I am looking forward to hearing from you.
In addition I would like to invite you all to some coffee mornings (Mondays 11am – Jan 18th and 25th, Feb 1st and 8th ) and, especially for all who cannot attend day-time meetings (but open for all), Wine & nibbles – Wednesday Jan 27th – 7.30pm (log-in details for all: Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/9346617665 Meeting ID: 934 661 7665 ).
For all the above: provide your own coffee and cake, wine and nibbles. ☹ I am looking forward to the day when I can cater for you all once again! 😊
At this point in time we cannot see clearly what lies ahead, nor can we predict a time-scale. Our hope is in the light we have been given by God. “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Ps 27.1)
May you feel God’s presence and may His blessing be with you all.
Revd Canon Verena Breed,
Following the announcement by the government that England is in a complete lockdown, St Edburg's Church will be closed for worship Church service will be Zoomed on the Sunday (10:30) and on the Wednesday (10:00). Please see our 'Virtual Services' tab above.
During this time the Church will remain open for private prayer on a Thursday and a Saturday between the hour of 10:00 - 11:00. Stewards will be on hand to offer assistance as required.
During these trying times the Events Committee continues to work hard at putting on a range of Virtual Events. For details please see our 'Virtual Services' tab below.