New Rector

Revd Neil Bowler

The announcement can at last be made that we have appointed a new Rector, the Reverend Canon Neil Bowler, who is scheduled to be installed by the Bishop of Oxford on 5 January 2021 at 7.30pm. We are very fortunate not to have had a longer wait to find a new Rector: many parishes wait much more than a year to find a replacement, as was the case, for example, with St Mary’s Banbury. I know that many of you have been praying that the right person would decide to apply, and I believe that our prayers have been answered. But you will find out more about Neil by reading his letter to his future parishioners.

We have more than two months to wait until his arrival, however. Although some of us are rather less anxious now that this appointment has been confirmed, I know that this is a time of increased anxiety in our community as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. None of us likes uncertainty yet that is what we face with the risk of unexpected lock downs in particular areas, or individual quarantines just when we have important things to do. The uncertainty for businesses and the self-employed is even greater: it seems likely that unemployment will rise significantly towards the end of the year, making for an unpleasant Christmas for some.

The pandemic has, however, encouraged many villages like ours to pull together to tackle the impact of this uncertainty on people. It is an advantage which urban communities seem to find much more difficult to match. We should do our best to contribute to that pulling together, helping our neighbours wherever we can. No less is expected of us in following Jesus’ commandment to us all to ‘love our neighbours as ourselves’. That is sometimes easier said than done. But there is a great deal of comfort in St Paul’s parting words to the Christian community that he founded in Philippi, almost certainly written from a prison cell in Rome which he would leave only for his execution: Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus

I wish you all the peace of God as we await the arrival of our new Rector.

The Reverend John Tattersall