I am writing to share two updates: first, regarding the plans for the redevelopment of our church ancillary buildings and secondly, concerning the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions by the Government on 19 July.
Redevelopment at St Andrew’s
Since the last BYC update, we have been awaiting The Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC) response to our plans, and also taking time to absorb the feedback about evolving church and community needs post-covid. The DAC’s site visit (delayed due to lockdown restrictions), has taken place and the Steering Group has subsequently received their report.
In the report, the DAC have raised some challenging questions to help both them and us be sure of our options amidst the complexities of climate crisis and post-covid. Archdeacon Martin has subsequently reassured me that they have no query with our Vision, only with how we develop the very best buildings and space around them to serve that Vision. We know we now need to take time to build more personal relationships with the DAC in order that we might work together to achieve the best outcome for our buildings at St Andrew’s. An important meeting is to be held next week between representatives of the DAC and the St Andrew’s Steering Group to begin this vital process.
Obviously, the timing of the BYC project has been affected. As a result, we have taken the decision to withdraw from the current round of CIL applications, and we are reassured that our re-application will be welcomed.
In the meantime, can I ask you once again to be committed to praying for this initiative as we ask God to encourage and guide us as we attempt to follow His plan for his church in Oxshott.
What will church be like after 19 July?
The second matter I wanted to update you on concerns the Government’s plan to remove all remaining restrictions on 19 July. Whilst this is obviously a wonderful point to have reached in the Covid-19 pandemic, it does not mean that life (and, specifically, services and activities at St Andrew’s Oxshott) will immediately ‘go back to normal.’
Throughout the pandemic, the Anglican Church’s response to Government guidelines has been interpreted for local churches like ours by the House of Bishops. This will remain the case even after 19 July. In addition, ‘Just because we can, does not mean we should’ (to quote the Diocese of Guildford’s Mission Enabler). In other words, even though restrictions may no longer be imposed upon us by the Government, the wardens and clergy of St Andrew’s will be monitoring things very carefully after 19 July, with no changes being made immediately. I will write to let you know about any proposed changes or lessening of restrictions in church as these are developed, in the same way as when restrictions were first introduced.
I do hope that this is reassuring for everyone.
If you feel that you would like to comment upon either of these updates, please feel free to send your comments or concerns to me via the following email address: (please note carefully the spelling of Frances!)
Revd Frances Trickey, Vicar