Some history of All Saints church
Visitors and regular worshippers at All Saints will know that the sanctuary area is dominated by a painting by the 19th-century English artist, Holman Hunt. It’s generally given the title “The Light of the World” although the passage of scripture that it actually depicts is from the Book of Revelation, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock”.
This picture of Jesus knocking at a closed door is something I’ve known all my life. As a child I was given a postcard of it, which, largely because of its dark areas and the hint of thorns in Christ’s crown, I found pretty scary. When I went up to Oxford I was a bit disappointed when I saw the original painting in Keble College chapel. It’s small and hidden away in a corridor behind the main chapel area.
So when I arrived here 15 months ago I was rather surprised by our church’s much larger version. I hadn’t known that the artist had painted the same picture again, much later in life, and the original of this big one is in St Paul’s Cathedral in London. And during the time I have been here I have had plenty of opportunity to reflect on some of the details of this work, not least that door which can only be opened from the inside.
Knocking on unopened doors is what ministry in the church is all about. When those doors are opened – when people suddenly realise that there is something for them in the good news of Jesus Christ – it’s a time to rejoice. The doors that remain firmly closed, on the other hand, are a cause for sorrow and a matter for prayer.
By the time you read this I will be back in the UK to spend some time with my family, together with my lovely old dog and my little cat, hopefully by then safely imported from Tenerife. My prayer for All Saints is that there will in the future be lots of knocking on doors, and opening of them too.
Our services: Holy Commu-nion on Sundays at 9.30 am and 11.00 am (German service at 5.00 pm, fortnightly in summer) and on Wed-nesdays at 10.00 am. Taizé worship (alternate Thursdays at 5.30 pm) will resume in September.
Outgoing Chaplain: The Revd Dr Paula Clifford
From 1 August, to contact a locum priest, please call: 922 38 40 38