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IN THE COMMUNITY: Celebrate the 175th anniversary of St Catherine’s Bearwood with the bishop

bishop of Oxford
The Bishop of Oxford

At 11am on Sunday, September 12, the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, the Bishop of Oxford, is coming to take the service at St Catherine’s Church, Bearwood Road in Sindlesham.

For St Catherine’s, this will be a special celebration, as it commemorates 175 years since the church was first consecrated by the then Bishop of Oxford, Samuel ‘Soapy’ Wilberforce, who stayed the night before at the ‘big house’ at Bearwood in order to be there by 11am.

That first service was attended by a great many people – a report of the day said the church could hold 400; today, with pews, we would be lucky to squeeze in as many as 150, so worshippers must have been standing up.

Now think about that for a moment.

‘Soapy’ arrived at 11am, half-an-hour after the congregation had assembled, to inspect the new building.  It is said they finally got away at 2.30pm – some four hours after their arrival – and repaired to the ‘big house’ for drinks.

The service on September 12 will not take anything like that length of time – in fact, it will probably last only about an hour – but afterwards there will be drinks and a celebratory ‘birthday’ cake to enjoy.

Also, we hope, an opportunity to talk to the Bishop, who we will ask to cut the first slice.

We would love to welcome anyone who is interested to come to a service conducted by the Bishop – it isn’t often that he comes to our part of the diocese and it may be some time before the opportunity arises again.

Roberta Tweedy

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