To be an energetic and attractive Christian witness in our communities and encourage lay ministry.
To serve our semi-rural communities.
To have inspired worship and present the Gospel to all.
To engage with faith in a relevant and intellectually stimulating way
To reach out to age-groups under-represented in our current congregations especially to the young
To be a welcoming church to the staff and students of Ripon college Cuddesdon
Below is just some of the services and events we hold to live out and further our mission to share God’s love in Garsington in the last year.
Worship and Education
The number and times of Sunday services at St Mary’s is as follows:
- 9:30 am Parish Communion, with Family Communion on the 3rd Sunday.
- 9:30 am Breakfast Time at St Mary’s on the 4th Sunday.
- 10:00 am Benefice Service alternating amongst the parishes on the 1st Sunday.
Special services included a Pet service in October, which attracted a number of different animals and their owners, a Songs of Praise service in February, a special commemoration of the Centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele on Remembrance Sunday, and a new Crib Service on Christmas Eve. The Carol Service was popular as always and featured the Village Choir. Christmas collections were shared between the Children’s Society, Christian Aid and the church funds respectively.
The Breakfast Time discussions continue to draw a core group of people who over the course of the year have considered such topics as: Would the world be more peaceful without religion, Will facilitated discussions lead to good disagreements within the church, What does prayer mean to you, How do we overcome ingrained prejudice, Is feminism a thing of the past, Do you believe in the resurrection of the body?
Lent studies focussed on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s book Dethroning Mammon. The popular St. Mary’s book group which arose out of the Lent Study Group has attracted people outside the regular congregation and books included: Karen Armstrong Through the Narrow Gate, Sarah Meyrick Knowing Anna, Sara Maitland Book of Silence and Jill Dalladay The Abbess of Whitby.
A labyrinth was mown into the lawn at the Rectory and open for anyone to walk on designated days during a summer. Bishop Humphrey also led a Quiet Day for Advent in Ripon College Cuddesdon at the beginning of December.
During the year we welcomed four ordinands in total from Ripon College Cuddesdon to share worship with us on Sunday mornings and to participate when appropriate in the service. In July, we bid farewell to our visiting Lay Minister Philip Benner and his family.
Music for the services every Sunday is provided by a small roster of very capable organists. We are very grateful to them all. Our team of ringers was depleted this year through ill health but it was great to hear them ringing once again in the autumn. A number of teams from the surrounding area came to ring the bells during the course of the year.
During the year there were 3 baptisms, 1 weddings, 9 funerals at St Mary’s and 4 funerals for Garsington parishioners at the Crematorium, and 4 interment of ashes.
School & Youth Work
Successful workshops were held at the school for Easter and Christmas, attended by youngsters aged between 5 and 11 and their parents. The altar frontal which they created at the Christmas workshop was used in the church.
Children continue to take a leading role in the Family Communion through reading the lesson. The ‘Children’s Corner’ is kept fresh as an area which is attractive and interesting for children. Children enjoy using the area.
The Vicar continued to visit Garsington C.E. Primary School regularly to take assemblies and lead prayer walks. The School came to Church for special services including Harvest, Christmas and the Leavers’ Service, when the children were presented with Bibles on behalf of the Church and the School; individual classes visited for class work. The two Foundation Governors were the Vicar, and Eddy McDowell.
An uplifting film called Into the West was shown at the village hall on 16th January ‘Blue Monday’, which lifted the spirits of all attending, thanks go to Angharad Jeffery for organising this successful event. In September, a Harvest lunch was put on at the church with invitations being given to those who regularly attend the Lunch Club in the Village Hall. It was a good event and attracted some folk who never otherwise enter the church. The popular Apple Festival was held at the Rectory in October and this year was a fundraising event and thanks go to Tina Everett for organising the stalls and raffle. Also in October some 36 parishioners and friends enjoyed a memorable “Safari Supper”, thanks to Angharad Jeffery’s organisational skills, roaming the village to eat different courses of a dinner at different homes, which raised money for Christian Aid. The church continues to support USPG and Asylum Welcome through the hard work of Tina Everett. There was a soup lunch in aid of the Good Neighbours programme and the church at Jane Kay’s house in February.
The highly popular St Mary’s Café on 3rd Friday of each month continues, run by Eileen Frazer and Sue Leahy with helpers. The church has also encouraged the building to be used as a facility for village functions, including a folk concert given by Miranda Sykes.
The PCC under the charge of Eileen Frazer once again organised the distribution gifts of plants, biscuits and baskets to elderly, housebound and bereaved parishioners at Christmas time; these are always most gratefully received.
Our team of flower arrangers, Jenny Rothery and Carol Vincent, continue to make the church look splendid and give pleasure to all with their beautiful displays.
We are indebted and fortunate that so many give of their time, money and talents so willingly, as everything that is done in St Mary’s is done voluntarily and often at a cost to the individual. Special thanks go to the members of the PCC who lead the church community and set the vision. Thanks also goes to those who help prepare for services, the sidespersons, readers, those who lead the intercessions and those who make coffee and supply cakes; to Mark Chapman and all the clergy who lead our worship, and to Richard Jeffery and our bell ringers. Special thanks goes to Roger Ovenden who draws up the rotas and lectionary of readings. Special thanks also go to our Church Wardens, John and Robin, for all the often hidden ways in which they care for the building and ensures everything runs smoothly.
Thanks to our organists, John Buckley, Peter Lynan, and Robert Wells, and to all who help transport them. To Jenny Rothery and all the flower arrangers who supply and regularly arrange flowers in the church and who also clean the church are very much appreciated for the unseen work that they do. Many thanks go to Brian Hegarty, David Childs and Cliff Shuker for their continued upkeep of the churchyard. Thanks also to Peter Cousin for his assistance with the collections, and to Sarah Waugh for her assistance with Family Communion and St Mary’s Café mornings.
The Vicar, Eric Rix and John Hall lock and unlock the church each day, and also keep a watchful eye upon it. The open church is much appreciated by those wishing to spend time in quietness in this sacred space. We are indebted to them for this dedication and commitment.
The generosity and goodwill of them all is appreciated and essential to the successful running of the church.