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From the Vicar - October 2022

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September 2022 has been a month that many of us will remember for the remainder of our lives

with the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday 8th September, her state funeral on Monday 19th September, and a period of national mourning in between.  It has been a great privilege to be your Vicar at this most significant time in the history of our nation, as we mark the death of our late Queen, and pass from an Elizabethan age to a Carolean era or age.  Many of us have known no monarch other than Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and others may have only vague memories of our previous monarch, His Majesty King George VI.  Perhaps those of you old enough to remember King George VI were school children when he died?  Perhaps you recall hearing of his death, and watching the coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II crowded around a small black and white television with family, friends and neighbours?  As I told school-children in Collective Worships after the late Queen’s death, we are living through remarkable days, and watching history unfurl around us.

Many thanks to our churchwardens, who created a lovely memorial space in All Saints’ Church, when news broke of Her Majesty’s death.  I know that many villagers appreciated the opportunity to write their memories and messages in the Book of Condolence, in church.  It was also lovely to see villagers in our morning service, the Sunday after her death and, again, at our special commemoration service, on the evening before the late Queen’s funeral.  Many thanks to our newly-formed choir, who led our singing and sang a beautiful anthem at the commemoration service.  I’m sure the choir is going to be a great addition to the worship of All Saints’.  And thank you, too, to our Tower Captain and bell-ringers, who ensured the bells were tolled to mark our late Queen’s death.

I have been awe-struck and amazed by all the people who waited for many hours, in the now famous ‘Queue,’ to pay their respects to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and to view her coffin.  Many stories have emerged of friendships formed in ‘The Queue,’ and of experiences shared which will be treasured for years to come.

For some people, the Queen’s death and funeral may have re-awakened wounds of their own losses and bereavements.  Others may have found themselves grieving, even though they had never met the Queen.  Others might have been rather bemused by the outpouring of public grief, and wondered what all the fuss was about. 

Perhaps you watched TV avidly during the period of public mourning, and spent the day of the funeral stuck to your sofa.  Perhaps you went out for a long walk in the countryside – or were unable to take the extra Bank Holiday, and had to work?  Whether you found the funeral deeply moving, or didn’t turn your TV on for a week, I’d just like to remind you that you – if you live in Cuddesdon or Denton – you are entitled to a Christian funeral in All Saints’ Church, even if you rarely or never come to church services.  If you liked the hymns sung at the funeral, you could have the same at yours.  We might not be able to manage all the pomp and ceremony of a state funeral, but we will do our best to ensure that you, or your loved ones have the hymns, Bible readings, prayers and poems that you would like.  Perhaps you might like to write down your own funeral wishes, and discuss them with your loved ones and – if you would like a Christian funeral, whether in church or at the crematorium - discuss them with me, too.

I’d like to end with an invitation to our Benefice Service of Light (to remember our own loved ones and all those who have died) on Sunday 30th October (probably at 3pm, this year in St Mary’s, Garsington); and a reminder that you are always welcome to join us in All Saints,’ for worship, or to say a prayer, or just to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of a building which has been a place of prayer and reflection for hundreds of years.

And, finally, may I wish a warm welcome to the new ordinands, partners, spouses and children who have recently moved to Cuddesdon for the start of a new academic year.  I hope you will be very happy during your time in Cuddesdon.  You will always find a warm welcome in All Saints’ Church.

God bless

Revd Karen x