At this time of year, the Diocese of Gloucester remembers Oswald, Bishop of Worcester from 963. Oswald was a reformer who wanted more than anything to see monastic communities growing closer to God through prayer, study and discipline, and serving their communities. The desire of his heart is therefore similar to mine, as the current Vicar of Blockley.
He established religious communities across the south of England, and then sent monks from those communities to revive and reform other monastic foundations which had grown lax and tired. Legend has it that every morning as part of his prayers, he washed the feet of 12 poor men, and then fed them.
Oswald became Bishop of York in 972, while remaining as Bishop of Worcester. He owned the religious community in Blockley, and visited regularly, especially in the summer. We still have a large pool in one of the the local fields known as the Bishop’s Fish Pond. It is a source of great joy to me to imagine Oswald resting, reading, dreaming and praying in the church in which I now preside. We too, over 1,000 years later, seek to grow closer to God and to serve those in our community.