The United Parish of
Chinnor, Aston Rowant, Sydenham & Crowell

Pastoral Letters

June

Dear Friends 

Save the date….16th June……because you are all invited to the party!

Jesus enjoyed a party and so do we!

This is the party to celebrate that three members of our church family are getting confirmed. The service will take place in the evening of Sunday 16th at 6pm, and we will celebrate with the ever-legendary St Andrew’s refreshments after the service. 

An important aspect of the confirmation process is that confirmed Christians are able to receive the bread and wine in a Holy Communion service. What is as equally important is that this is the moment in their faith journey, when they take full responsibility for the promises that were made for them at baptism, promises that were made when they were babies. The clue is in the name really! Through the ritual of confirmation, faith and commitment to Christ is confirmed. 

There will be no other services in the parish that evening, so do please come along and support our candidates.

It is only a bishop who can confirm someone in their faith and so the lovely Bishop Colin will be leading the service for us. 

We also have another task for him to perform that day and this is something that affects the wider community, not just the church family. 

Bishop Colin will be blessing the strewing area in the churchyard at St Andrew’s. 

“What is a strewing area?” I hear you ask, and that is a very good question. After the cremation of a loved one, it is possible to have their ashes laid to rest in the churchyard with a simple, but loving, service of prayer. Their ashes can be buried in an urn or a wooden casket, or they can be strewn.  This means the ashes are put directly into the ground, without a container, with the same service of prayer. 

There is an area of the churchyard marked out in a grid of 200 one metre by one metre squares: this is the strewing area.  As a memorial to those laid to rest in the strewing area, there will be a Book of Remembrance for their details to be recorded. 

In these times of increased environmental awareness this is an option that has the least impact on the ecosystem.

It is sad, but inevitable, that eventually the churchyards of our four churches will become full. We are already in the position of not being able to reserve burial plots. So, we are offering strewing as an option because we are aware of how important it is to have your loved ones laid rest at the parish church. As the Church in our villages, we have a duty and a responsibility to lay to rest all those who live in our parish – and, by the way, this duty is regardless of church attendance!  That is not a consideration at all. 

This letter probably seems an odd mix of joy and celebration for the confirmation and a reality check about our final resting places. But actually that is life isn’t it? We have to celebrate where we can and do our best in the difficult times. 

If you would like to talk further either about confirmation or the church yard situation then please do contact me on 07769 825 305 or email to barrjacqueline@aol.com

With Love and Light

Jacky 

Curate to the United Parish