All are welcome

The church hosted Cutteslowe School yesterday. We made Christingles and we gave the children a tour of the church. It was a pleasure to share the sacred space with them. It is not always obvious how to ‘pitch’ such an occasion but it seemed quite important to start with the an open question, “who does this church belong to?” The children started to realise that this wonderful, generous, space belonged not to me, or the churchwardens (who were helping me in this exercise) but to THEM! “This is your church,” I insisted.  That statement is not hyperbole or rhetoric, but it is the way in which the parish map is drawn together. The parish in which we live provides us with a church which is ours, which is not dependent on belief or membership.

I believe that this is the most generous model of support and community nurture. It offers so many opportunities to share life with people of different creeds, opinions, classes and outlooks. It was therefore important to the church that the parish newsletter – the Guardian Angel – displayed this level of inclusivity and belonging. The columns feature, “your space,” “your time,” “your parish.” Nothing belongs to the church; our work and vision is, and must always be, that which is outside of its control. This is a humbling position. I have often quoted the words of the former Archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple, in this context: “The Church is the only organisation that does not exist for itself, but for those who live outside of it.”

The new church entrance

As the Threshold Project comes closer to opening – in February 2018 – we are all wondering how this extension and added facilities might change the way we are church? Already we have had some thoughts from key members of the community about where the needs are and how we might offer the church as a meeting place. This work continues as we start to get serious about offering our spaces (not only the Threshold and the church but also the church halls). We want to be organised and prepared as possible to carry out our vision to promote the kingdom through arts, music and wellbeing. I believe that this vision is a matter of justice as we invest deeply into the fabric of community life.

The meeting and greeting space

This Sunday we hope to welcome various people to our services, including the baptism of baby Jack within the 10am Eucharist and for the candlelit Lessons & Carols at 6.30pm. Do come and have a look at the photo montage of the building work in progress and you will find a warm welcome.

Sunday services: 8am Holy Eucharist; 10am Parish Eucharist (with baptism); 6.30pm Candlelit Lessons & Carols.

No matter where you are on the journey of faith, you are always welcome at St Michael & All Angels! Click here for news and the Sunday readings sheet.

Author: Gavin Knight

The Revd Gavin Knight has been the Vicar of St Michael & All Angels, Summertown in the Oxford Diocese since September 2011. After serving his title at St Alphege, Solihull, Gavin became parish priest of St Andrew's Fulham Fields in London. He moved to Wales in 2005 becoming Chaplain to Monmouth School. He is married to Jo, a clinical psychologist, and they have three sons.