Over a period of time we have been developing a plan for St. Andrew’s Church to be a church of pilgrimage. This started in 2012 when Churchwarden, Nigel Lambert walked the Camino Francais to Santiago de Compostela to raise funds for the restoration of the church. Since then he has walked four other camino routes to Santiago.
In recent months we have joined in an initiative by the Bicester and Islip Deanery to develop pilgrimage routes between churches in the area. This follows the Diocese of Oxford encouraging pilgrimages, which has been led by the Chipping Norton Deanery.
A number of routes have been created from Oddington and the neighbouring villages. They vary in distance but the hope is that at least some will be within the ability of all to complete in total or in sections.
Other routes have been created to destinations outside the immediate area. The most ambitious is one to our patrons, The Shrine of Walsingham. There are pilgrimages to Christchurch Cathedral and to Dorchester Abbey. Another route is to St. Mary’s, Charlbury, where Rev. Dr. Sally Welch has led the Diocesan initiative.
The Flower Festival in September 2019 was based upon the theme of pilgrimage.
St. Andrew’s is now a member of the Small Pilgrims Places organisation. You can find more about this organisation by visiting their website – smallpilgrimplaces.org
Our aim is to provide a welcome to all pilgrims visiting the church. This includes our many friends from New Zealand who make the pilgrimage to Oddington to pay homage at the grave of Maggie Papakura, their beloved Maori Princess.
We offer to pray for anyone undertaking a pilgrimage and to give advice to those considering embarking on pilgrimages in this country and overseas. Our intention is to hold special services with a pilgrimage theme.
Within the church a window has been dedicated to pilgrims. The stained glass includes a picture of St. James, with a scallop shell on his shoulder.