Mission and Outreach

The mission of the benefice of Garsington, Cuddesdon and Horspath is:Canon June-July 2013 053


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 some of the services and events which were held over the last year through which we live out God’s mission of love and generosity in Horspath


Worship and Education

The number and times of Sunday services at St Giles’ is as follows:

  • 11.00 am Parish Communion, with Family Time on the 3rd Sunday.
  • 11.00 am Morning Prayer on the 4th Sunday.
  • 10 am Benefice Service alternating amongst the parishes on the 1st Sunday


The Family Time at St Giles’ goes from strength to strength with a core congregation and regular visits from Horspath Nursery at Harvest, Christmas and Mothering Sunday.  Highlights of Family Time included the Pet Service in October which was covered by the Oxford Mail and Horspath’s Got Talent. The Agape supper took place once again in the Hub for Maundy Thursday.  On Remembrance Day the village came together for an act of remembrance at the temporary war memorial on the green.  Village carol singing was held on the green.   The carol service held in St Giles, was as usual, very well attended, with the hand bell ringers and choir, kindly led by Gill Gray. We are grateful to Gill and all who contributed to the success of the service.  The Crib service on 24th December at 4pm continues to attract a sizable congregation.  Sadly, due to a decrease in numbers the Taize evening prayer in the Hub came to an end in 2017.


The popular Lent York course took place John Llewelyn’s and was run by different members of the group.  There were also a number of Labyrinth Days throughout the year, an opportunity to walk the labyrinth mown into the Rectory lawn by Jonathan.


The Benefice service, also on the first Sunday, circulates round the benefice of Garsington, Cuddesdon and Horspath.  This year at the Benefice Celebration Day, the cross from the Methodist Chapel was processed from the Hub to St Giles’ where it was hung in the Chancel.  We then walked to Cuddesdon for a picnic lunch and midday prayer, then walk to Garsington for tea and Evening Prayer.


During the year we welcomed four ordinands on placement from Ripon College Cuddesdon to share worship with us on Sunday mornings and to participate when appropriate in the service.


Music for the services, Sunday by Sunday, is provided by a small roster of music operators. We are very grateful to them all and especially to David who oversees the computer and prepares it for worship. The church bells are rung regularly on Tuesday evenings for practice, by a dedicated team comprising some young people, and on Sunday morning prior to the 10am and 11am services under the guidance of the team captain Brian Lowe. They also ring for weddings and when, requested, half muffled for funerals.  The Hand Bells were rung, with much acclaim at the Carol and Crib service.


During the year at St Giles’ there were:   11 Baptisms,  3 Weddings,  3 Funerals in Church and 3 Funerals for Horspath parishioners at the Crematorium, and 2 interments of ashes.



In March a tea was held in the Hub to thank all those who handed out the magazine.  It was a lovely event and a good opportunity to bring together all those who support St Giles in different ways.  Our thanks to Charles and Julie who orchestrated the event.


There were two successful concerts held in the church during the course of the year: the popular folk band called Moonrakers and the clerks of Magdalen College.  We also held an Open Gardens event in May, thanks go to Shelia and everyone who opened their gardens and to Barbara and the team of flower arrangers who decorated the church.


St Giles supports Fair Trade and uses fair trade products.  Mary Biggs again organised Operation Christmas Child and members of St Giles filled shoe boxes with goodies which were taken to children in Africa, central Asia and Eastern Europe.    Mary Biggs also takes the donations of food which are left in St Giles Church to the CEF Food Bank in St Francis Church, Cowley where it is welcomed and distributed to recipients recommended by social workers and doctors.


The Friends of Horspath Churches, previously the Mothers’ Union, continue to play an important role within the parish.  They make posies for Mothering Sunday, prepare oranges for Christingle, and address letters and envelopes to send to families who have lost a loved one and to invite them to the Service of Light on All Souls Sunday.   They continue with welcoming duties at Christ Church Cathedral and also with sending cards for 5 years to children on the anniversary of their baptism.


The Horspath Hub continues to thrive with a number of activities taking place in it.  A new course for beginners on computers started during 2017 and broadband was installed.  The Friday coffee morning remains popular and was visited by Gareth Malone who was filming for a potential series on the impact of community halls.  The Hub received an Oxford Preservation Society Award.  Congratulations to everyone who makes the Hub such a success and builds community within the village.


Sheila Frankum and her helpers, Gill and Donald Gray, Carol and John Cuthbert and others so capably care for the conservation area around the church and the wild flora and fauna, including the rare Cordydallis.  Peter Ewart mows the grass in the area north of the church where snowdrops, daffodils, crocus and blue bells are well established.


School and Youth Work

The Vicar leads collective worship on a bi-weekly basis at the school, as well as working with the children.   The Easter and Harvest services are held in the school in order to accommodate parents and friends.    Acorn have their Nativity in the church.


Gillian Nightall stepped down from her role as Foundation Governor.


Before the summer holidays the PCC again contributed £100 towards the purchase of Bibles for Horspath Primary School children who are moving on to their new senior schools.


Following Diocesan guidelines, Becky Madden-Waite will continue as St Giles Children’s Protection Officer, a notice in the porch confirms this.


We are indebted and fortunate that so many give of their time, money and talents so willingly, as everything that is done in St Giles 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, especially to Charles for his careful management of the accounts.  Thanks also goes to those who help prepare for services, the sacristans, the sidespersons, readers, those who lead the intercessions and those who make coffee and supply cakes.  Especially to Mark Chapman and all the clergy who lead our worship and to the bell ringers who week by week call all the pray.  Special thanks goes to Brian for all the often hidden ways in which he cares for the building and ensures everything runs smoothly.


Thanks to Gill Gray, the organist, who willingly plays at least once a month but is unable to commit playing regularly.  Thanks go to regular team of music operators and to David Rule for setting up the rotas.  To 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.


Special thanks again to Brian Lowe for editing the magazine, and to all the Magazine distributors, who continue to deliver the magazines each month and also collect the subscription and who are often called upon when help is required.


Sheila Dandridge locks and unlocks the church each day and also keeps 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 Sheila for this dedication and commitment.


The generosity and goodwill of them all is appreciated and essential to the successful running of the church.

Mission Action Plan form – Horspath 18