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Issue 4 number 2 Nov 2017

Coming to Abingdon – one year on The Revd Mary Williamson

the ground of my previous parish running and arrived in Abingdon to a very gentle, almost sedate, ‘honeymoon period’. In fact, at my first review meeting with Charles, I complained that I wasn’t earning my keep – I was underemployed. Little did any of us know what lay ahead.

A The Editors

Alexandra Green Louise Heffernan Sheila Hills

Silvia Joinson David Pope

Carol Worthington

Copy for next issue to Parish Office or via email by 5th of

preceding month E-mail:


Parish Office: St Helen’s Court, Abingdon. OX14 5BS

Tel: 01235 520144

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In the first few months, I gradually became more familiar with the different services in our churches and the ways in which all three churches operate. I became more involved in the work of the Pastoral Care team but have yet to do more than scratch the surface of working to improve our ministry to people living with dementia. Hopefully, I have raised awareness but little more. It has been a privilege to share in the regular Holy Communion services with Father Paul and the team at Bridge House and Old Station House. I have also visited Lady Eleanor Court and Cygnet Court. A real joy has been to join Rachel and the toddlers at some of their sessions at Abingdon Court; to see the difference it makes to the residents having these energet- ic young people sharing their singing and instrument playing is truly inspirational.

I have suffered withdrawal symptoms from the lack of opportunity to work in schools, but that situation promises to be partially addressed when the newly formed ‘Open the Book’ team starts going into St Nicolas School in January. I encountered a very unusual situation regarding ‘Open the Book’; in most areas of the country, schools are pleading for teams to take ‘Open the Book’ into them but churches struggle to find enough volunteers to create teams. Here the reverse was true; we successfully recruited enough people for a team but could not find a school prepared to welcome them until St Nicolas was approached.

On a personal note, being in Abingdon has brought me closer to relatives and friends in Reading and I was able to enjoy Christmas dinner with my son and his family for the first time in years and I have had several visits and excursions with old friends over the year. I have enjoyed the many social activities that our churches organise and as I usually walk to most places, have even been known to enjoy the odd glass of wine! However, one evening just before last Christmas, driving home from sup- per at the Rectory, I was stopped by the police for a random breath test and I was greatly relieved that my golden rule has always been never to drink any alcohol when driving. Blowing confidently into the machine was a novel experience!

I have now completed my first year in Abingdon and, a year on, I am beginning to know my way around, to recognise faces and names (but apologise that I cannot al- ways put the two together!) and I can only thank everyone for making me so wel- come.

The Revd Mary Williamson is Associate Priest in the parish of Abingdon-on-Thames.

s I write this, I realise that it is the first anniversary of my licensing as Asso- ciate Priest in the Parish. It has been quite a year! You may have heard the expression ‘hit the ground running’ but for me, it happened in reverse; I left

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