Fellowship and Social Activities

We have continued to share fellowship via Zoom during lockdown and have enjoyed meeting new people and getting to know one another on Zoom. Details of our current Zoom fellowship can be found here.

In normal times, we enjoy many social activities, both within the church congregations and with the wider community. The events listed below are grouped according to location, but we are very much one Parish and frequently meet in each others’ church spaces. We are a sociable parish, and are enjoying being able to meet and greet each other again.

We usually have three main events every year, which provide the opportunity for lots of fellowship with the local community.

At the start of each year, we hold our very popular Tea Talks, in which local experts give informative and entertaining talks on a variety of subjects. These take place in an informal atmosphere in St Mary’s Church, Kidlington on one Sunday a month in January, February and March. Subjects offered have included astronomy, history, architecture, medicine, publishing, famous artists and authors. There is an opportunity to ask questions after the talks, followed by tea and cake. Our speakers donate their time for free and we ask for voluntary donations to cover costs and for upkeep of our church buildings.

We were able to restart these in 2022 with a February talk entitled “A Passion for Places – England through the eyes of John Betjeman” by Ven David Meara and in March “Work-Life Balance – Myth or Reality” by Joanna Foster, CBE. At this talk a special collection was taken in aid of support for Ukrainian refugees, which were so much on our mind at that time.

In mid May, the refectory usually opens its doors for the annual Summer Sunday Afternoon Teas season. Tea, coffee, and delicious homemade  cakes are served in our beautifully decorated “pop up” café between 3.00pm and 5.00pm, and are very popular with both visitors and locals. We will not be restarting these in 2022, but hope to do so in 2023, when we have recruited a new team of volunteers. That will be a chance to make friends by joining a team to serve teas on one or two Sundays during the summer.

We hold a big Summer Fete in and around St Mary’s Kidlington, which is very popular with local people who flock to enjoy live music, refreshments, stalls of all kinds and even a dog show. With no Fete for the past two years we will be holding one on Saturday June 25th 2022, just slightly scaled down from previous times. You can find out more about it here.

Another monthly event which took place throughout the year is the Moorside Lunches, held in the Willow Tree Café, Moorside Place. These have been suspended for the past two years, but we are delighted that they are restarting on Wednesday 27th April 2022 at 12 noon. They will then continue on the last Wednesday of each month through to November, with a special Christmassy meal probably in early January 2023. Delicious choice of meals, reasonably priced. Why not join us to meet old friends and make some new ones? For more information or to book, please contact Anne Handsley via the Parish Office

The large hall space at St John’s is ideal for all sorts of parish social events.  The Annual Parish Quiz Night would brighten up a winter evening with about 80 people sitting down for supper and a quiz (to be taken as lightly or seriously as people choose – the only proviso being that the team winning one year had to set the questions in the following year!)

Many events are shared with our friends and neighbours for both fun and fundraising.  These include activities such as a Games Evening, Afternoon Cream Teas or hosting a Table Top sale. We were also delighted to welcome volunteers from Kidlington Abundance who hold a session of Apple Pressing in the garden each Autumn. And we like to celebrate special events/anniversaries with tea and entertainment – often provided by local people who use the hall during the week for practice.

Here is local band, led by Marcello, performing for us:

We have held very popular craft mornings in the school holidays: one at Easter, one in October and four during August.  Although primarily aimed at entertaining local children, we encourage parents and carers to have a go too. Everyone goes home with an assortment of items they’ve made themselves – perhaps a hat or mask, window decoration, harvest mouse, fridge magnet, or card.

Crafty work!

Hampton Poyle is a small community, but we have enjoyed many social events around the village over the years.  Following the seasons, we’ve held a “Soup and Snowdrop” event, marked Easter with a Fayre and held a special event to mark Rogation Sunday in Spring, when Christians traditionally ask God’s blessing on the new crops. Parishioners have welcomed the public into their lovely gardens for “Open Gardens” in the summer, and the Harvest Supper continues to be a much loved event come the autumn. Carol Singing round the village and a Christmas Fayre have rounded off the year, and of course there have been many Coffee Mornings and parties from time to time as well.

Churches Together in Kidlington (CTK) is the collaboration between Christian churches in Kidlington and Hampton Poyle to further the word of God in the community.  Representatives from the local Anglican, Roman Catholic, Methodist and Baptist churches meet regularly to plan together for joint activities. 

These include an annual Fellowship Meal with a visiting speaker, usually arranged around the time of the Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity, when mid-day prayers are said in a different church each day and a joint evening service is held. Other joint services are held for the World Day of Prayer and at Pentecost (when all churches forgo their main Sunday service to join together in St Mary’s Kidlington for a celebration together). A short ecumenical service is also held in one of the local care homes one Sunday a month. On Good Friday a Walk of Witness proceeds from St John’s Church at the southernmost edge of the village to the main shopping centre where the Passion is re-enacted. For several years a Pentecost Jamboree has been held in the Kidlington Centre – offering fun and games for all the community free of charge.

Other CTK activities include fund-raising for Christian Aid and delivering a Christmas card to every household, giving details of all Advent and Christmas services. It is also the “parent” of the Kidlington News – a printed monthly magazine available on subscription or from many local shops.  This always includes an article by one of the CTK clergy and news reports from the churches, as well as a “What’s On” section and information from schools, councils and many of the social organisations in the local area. The Editorial Board has representatives from all CTK churches and members of St John’s and St Mary’s Kidlington contribute regular reports and special items as appropriate.

2020 was the year we planned to celebrate the 800 year anniversary of both our St Mary’s churches, with a whole range of special social and fundraising events. Most of these had to be postponed, due to Coronavirus, but we did enjoy the first two events, an Epiphany Tea and a Black Tie Dinner early in 2020. A few concerts did take place in Autumn/Winter 2021 and we are now looking to resume the planned programme in 2022 – starting with an Open Gardens event in Kidlington and Hampton Poyle on the weekend of 2nd and 3rd of July. For details of planned future events, just click here.