Easter celebrations of the great Christian festival have taken place across our Parish and in the community. Every Sunday, the first day of the week throughout the year is a day of celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. That is why it is important to gather together in thankfulness to our Lord for his saving grace and to share bread and wine in remembrance of Him. We all need sustenance for our spiritual journey just as we need food for physical energy.
We are enjoying a wonderful spring blossoming after the winter rains and our spirits are lifted as we look ahead to the summer months. Many of you will be planning time away and looking forward to holidays and visits to places of beauty and special interest. Whatever our thoughts are turning to we still need to recognise our dependence on God and place Him at the centre of all we do.
Many in the Oxford diocese were surprised at the announcement by The Rt. Revd. John Pritchard, Bishop of Oxford that he is to retire in October. He has led our diocese for the last seven years and was a supporter of women's ministry. He spoke passionately on education matters and people in the parishes found his preaching and writing accessible. We shall miss his leadership and wisdom during a time of great change for the wider church. His strategic vision under the heading'Living Faith' gave us a rolling five year focus. It's helpful to remind ourselves of the five:
1. Sustaining the sacred centre
2. Making disciples
3. Making a difference in the world
4. Creating vibrant Christian communities
5. Shaping confident collaborative leadership
Living Faith is about sustaining spirituality and a holistic approach to mission. Post Easter is a good time to reflect on how far we have progressed in this vision. Bishop John made it clear from the outset that Living Faith was not a prescribed formula but an invitation to local churches to use the priorities in their own way to develop and grow their church communities. The Diocese will continue to provide resources as Living Faith moves into its next stage. As the parish works on its mission action plan the Living Faith model will help us to keep on track.
It is an exciting time to be in minis try despite all the criticism and gloom about religious affairs. As a parish we are doing quite well but with more input from a younger age range we could do a lot more. 1hope this is something we can all encourage.