|St Mary's, Haddenham|
Happy Christmas for 2019 and 2018 – here is our news:
In February we celebrated ten years in Haddenham! It has been a great ten years and so much has happened. We are taking many happy memories with us and especially many friends. We also celebrated ten years of Haddenham in Transition. Thank you everyone for giving us such a special time in Wychert Vale Benefice. We miss you lots!
In August this year we moved house to Filkins in West Oxfordshire. This came was a result of a change of roles for Margot (see below). We are enjoying our new home – though we still have unpacking to do and all those jobs needed with a new house The garden is huge and the house is big enough to have space to have people to stay, space to work, and to set up a study-library for people studying environment and faith to make use of. We still find it a bit of a surprise that we are living in the Cotswolds and it is a great place to be.
Swapping one job for two
|St Peter & St Paul's, Broadwell-|
one of Margot's new churches.
Last year we realised that we needed to explore a change of role for Margot. She was loving her role as Rector of the team in Wychert Vale but the environmental education work was growing well beyond a spare time activity and the John Ray Initiative (JRI) board asked Margot if she would take on an even more up-front role in speaking and teaching. We needed to find a different way of doing things. We found ourselves exploring a half-time vicar-post for Sundays and two days midweek. Shill Valley and Broadshire Benefice has lots of small parishes and the Rector, Harry MacInnes, leads the benefice as an integrated team.
The JRI Board made Margot half-time Director of Theology and Education on a self-supporting basis. Margot is really enjoying both new roles and they are keeping her busy!!
Christmas in bed!
We spent Christmas 2018 in bed with one of the worst illnesses that we could remember – we have recently concluded that it might have been whooping cough and it knocked us out for weeks. Hence no Christmas cards. The folk in Haddenham were wonderful and brought food, including Christmas dinners and lots of love. The team covered all the Christmas services, Radio 3 gave us lovely music and we emerged in January to find the Christmas tree looking all dressed up with nowhere to go!
This has been getting really busy! Our distance learning course, CRES has grown considerably, and we are now taking some overseas students. We have been speaking at evening events and day conferences and writing resources. Margot continues to do some teaching at Ripon CollegeCuddesdon and we have been running training courses for Oxford Diocese. We both continue to mentor for the IFES Graduate Impact Programme – we have a fantastic group of environmental post-grads from all over Europe and beyond.
Martin’s work is now about 30% secular science and about 70% with the Christian environmental movement. He still teaches at both universities in Oxford, although not as much as before. Martin’s research on plant silica has suddenly taken off in quite a major way! After nearly 40 years working on it, everyone is interested. He published a major paper on carbonsequestration in phytoliths in July, which has had a lot of interest. While in the midst of the move Martin wrote three more papers which should be out next year. He has a very good collaboration with a couple of archaeologists in Brussels. That promises to make 2020 quite interesting!
During 2019, Martin passed ten years as Operations Director of JRI. Basically, he does his best to keep the whole show on the road and to supervise his wonderful administrative team, Karen and Lynda. He also leads the CRES course. Possibly the biggest change in the last year has been a considerable increase in speaking engagements. These come from many directions: JRI, A Rocha, Christians in Science, Oxford Diocese, U3A and our personal contacts. Martin’s biggest engagement this year was to speak at the Harvest Supper and two morning services at Bath Abbey! The diary is already filling up next year. Definitely not slowing down towards retirement…….
|Chough on Newquay walk|
We had a super holiday in Mid-Wales in May, partly at Llanarth near the coast and partly in the mountains where we had a wonderful time staying with John and Maya Bimson. It was also great to visit John and Sheila Houghton.
In November we had a very special holiday with Greg and Pam and family for a Hodsons Thanksgiving. It was wonderful to be with the family again. The grandchildren are growing up fast!
That’s all our news! Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year.
Love from Margot and Martin