August 12th, 2018
Srs Jane, Margaret Anne and Frances Dominica travelled up to Ely on the 12th August to join in the Golden Wedding celebrations of our Companions, Sandy and Alan Wakely. They have been associated with our community and been supportive to us for a long time, having lived locally in Oxford before moving up to Ely about 10 years ago.
We arrived about midday and there was a short service of thanksgiving and prayer in the house. This was followed by a buffet lunch and then we drove into Ely itself to have a guided tour of the cathedral by none other than Alan himself! He is a registered guide there so we had the benefit of his accumulated knowledge – thank you Alan.
After that, we were ready for tea and the lovely cakes that had been prepared. Congratulations to the both of you and thank you for inviting us to join in your special day.
On Monday 25th June, Sister Helen Mary celebrated her Diamond Jubilee of Profession. She was Professed on June 24th 1958 on St John the Baptist’s Day but as the 24th was a Sunday, we postponed the festivities for a day! Our Chaplain, Canon David Lawson came to celebrate and Helen Mary invited our previous Bishop Visitor, Bishop Bill Ind to preach. He was the Visitor when Helen Mary was Leader so it was lovely to welcome him back with his wife, Frances.
Helen Mary had decided that she didn’t want a ‘big event’ to mark the occasion so we held the Eucharist in our own Upton Chapel. Helen’s brother Arthur, a retired priest joined us sisters along with several friends who join us regularly for the Eucharist.
We had a celebratory lunch in Iffley and then returned to All Saints where other local friends came to join Helen Mary as she cut her Jubilee cake washed down with sparkling wine. We thank God for Helen Mary’s long and faithful service to the community, a large part of it spent here in Oxford where in earlier days she was Head of St John’s Home.s
Frances and Jane were invited to be the ‘praying presence’ at our Oxford Diocesan Synod.
Here they are pictured with Caroline Todd, the Diocesan Secretary and Clerk to the Synod which was held in High Wycombe.
We hosted a youth group from Vaxjo in Sweden, our Oxford link diocese, through our Companion, Hugh White.
We were able to hold a Eucharist for the first time in the Old School, recently renovated.
These young people are all young leaders from the Vaxjo Cathedral parish and were very interested to hear about Anglican religious life in a question and answer session that followed the Eucharist.
Jane was the only sister free this year to take part in the Interfaith Walk, an annual event that takes us from the Synagogue at Jericho to the Mosque at Manzil Way. Various leaders of faith communities took part including our own Bishop Stephen, and here is the Sikh leader with whom Jane had very interesting conversation along the route.
Thanks to Penny Faust at the Synagogue who is a major co-ordinator and also to the taxi drivers who gave out free water bottles to the thirsty and ferried the less mobile to each stopping point. Thanks be to God
Frances writes - "I recently returned from two weeks in South Africa, the first week in Durban to speak at a conference of the International Children's Palliative Care Network with delegates from over 40 nations. My hotel room looked over the Indian Ocean with unforgettable sunrises and sunsets. The second week was in Bloemfontein to spend time at Sunflower House children's hospice where we celebrated their 20th birthday. I was privileged to go with the hospice outreach nurse to visit homes in the township where I met grandmothers who are caring for their HIV infected grandchildren, most of the parents having died with AIDS. Temperatures at night in Bloemfontein are often below zero and, with their unbelievably flimsy homes, it is hard to know how they survive. I came away deeply moved by the courage of these women."
March 25th, 2018
Blessed by a warmer and dry day, our parish procession started off at St Alban’s this morning and went around the local streets to get to St Mary and St John church on the Cowley Road. Just caught Sr Frances as she turned into Magdalen Road.
Thanks to all who joined us including the local band in which our Companion, Paula Ritchie plays.
February 4th, 2018
On Sunday 4th February we celebrated Candlemas in St Mary and John church. Candlemas celebrates the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple forty days after his birth and candles are blessed that day.
Our preacher was Br James Koestler from the Society of St John the Evangelist, and whose founder, Fr Benson, was also responsible for the building of the church.
Following a truly splendid service , we then gathered in the Richard Benson Hall for a very tasty lunch prepared by members of the ministry team and including our new Companion, John Hammock!
January 29, 2018
On Monday 29th January, we were delighted to join members of the Porch and volunteers celebrating the receiving of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
The Lord Lieutenant, Tim Stevenson came to present the award in the Richard Benson Hall belonging to the parish church of Cowley St John and with whom there are very close links.
Aren’t the cakes brilliant, the way they show the Porch’s logo – and people enjoyed eating them too!
Jan 1st, 2018
At Christmas, we admitted Janet Collins, pictured in the garden, and at Epiphany, Paula Ritchie, a teacher at East Oxford Primary School and her husband Phil, our parish priest and with them, John Hammock who is working with us as we start to use the renovated Old School building.
It is great to have them alongside us living out our charism and joining us when possible in Chapel.