title="Baldons Parish Council in Oxfordshire">

From The Vicar July 2020

From Reverend Teresa Stewart-Sykes

Summer is here! The sun is shining (mostly!), the crops are ripening in the fields and the evenings stay light until late. But this summer feels very different doesn’t it? There is no Wimbledon on TV, we have not been able to enjoy a holiday abroad or trips to the seaside, and our village fetes have all been cancelled!  However as I write, there are the beginnings of a return to normality; the churches have been permitted to open for individual prayer and shops will begin to open to customers, there are even plans for pubs and restaurants to open in the next few weeks.

During the past few months, we have become far more aware of what we value, and the blessings we enjoy living here in the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside alongside neighbours who care for us. As we return to a ‘new normal’, I wonder if we will remember what our experiences of these past weeks have taught us? What will we do differently in the months ahead?

The Revd Caroline has been thinking about this too, here’s what she writes:      

I am writing this letter at a time where it seems the headlines are dominated by  global strain and catastrophe. At the start of the year barely anyone had heard of Covid 19, it has now changed the world beyond recognition. Here in the United Kingdom the official death toll stands at 40,000+, the actual death toll is possibly a third higher than that. Each one of those numbers is not a statistic but a name, a life lived, someone special, someone loved by friends and families, someone created in the image of God, loved by God and infinitely precious to God.

Alongside this I have been profoundly shocked by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and the subsequent reaction to it and the #Black Lives Matter campaign. My initial reaction to this was to say there is no need because all lives matter. Unfortunately, as the disproportionate figures of the effect of Covid-19 on BAME have shown and the undoubted prejudice that many people from BAME communities experience it is simply not enough for me just to say all lives matter. It has to go further.

I write as a person of privilege, I am white, I have received an education (much of it at taxpayers’ expense), I have a roof over my head, food on the table and money in the bank.  Within reason I can go about my daily tasks without interruption or suspicion. #Black Lives Matter has forced me to see that these freedoms and privileges are not enjoyed by everybody and that this is counter to our Christian faith and the gospel of love and inclusion I seek to preach.  ‘God is love and those who live in love live in God’.

I hope you enjoy the rest of the summer and I look forward to working with you all again as we seek to take our communities forward with renewed hope and vision.

God’s blessings to you all,

Rev Teresa




The Revd Teresa Stewart-Sykes is Team vicar for The Baldons with Nuneham Courtenay, Berinsfield and Drayton St Leonard.

e-mail: RevTeresa@outlook.com      and tel: 07823 809112

A clergy person can always be reached in a pastoral emergency by ringing the Dorchester Team Office 01865 340007