Minister’s Page

Greetings

Welcome to our website! We hope it gives you a flavour of our church. We work closely with our ecumenical partners in Summertown and Wolvercote and with URC churches at Marston and Wheatley where I am also Minister.

Summertown is home to people from all parts of the world, many of whom come to study or to lecture at the city’s universities, and we try to be a church which is caring, welcoming and open to all. A large number of community groups use our premises, and we have recently refurbished the front of our building for easier access and so that we can continue to serve the local community in the coming years.

During the covid pandemic the church building has been closed, but members have tried to keep in touch, and many of us from the three churches of Summertown, Marston and Wheatley have shared worship on-line via Zoom, learning a new meaning of “community”.

Working in prison

Another aspect of my own ministry has been in Prison Chaplaincy and for several years I was a sessional chaplain at HMP Bullingdon, a men’s prison near Bicester. Unfortunately now that I am minister at three churches it is no longer possible to continue in this work, though I continue to have a concern for what is happening in prisons, and the justice system generally.

My link with Prison Chaplaincy work began at Holloway Prison, a women’s prison in London, whilst I was a student, when I did a placement there. Prison chaplaincy is challenging and interesting – you never know quite what to expect. Sometimes a call to the chaplain involves something quite routine, sometimes it can be a long and distressing conversation. And always there are the “statutory duties” to attend to – visiting the new prisoners, those on the segregation unit, and in the healthcare wing.

Working at Holloway brought an additional dimension, as I shared the duties with a Muslim colleague, and learnt a lot from conversations with her and her volunteers – not least what we share in terms of outlook on life and values. Multi-faith working is a requirement in the prison context, and it seems to be one area of life where an understanding between people of different faiths is developing well, perhaps because our focus is on the prisoners and how we can meet their needs, rather than on the differences between us – a good model for life as a whole, I feel.

Pauline Main
Minister