This year Oasis Church Reading is celebrating its first Christmas as part of the Oasis Church Network! Oasis Church Reading (OCR) is a vibrant faith community seeking to create a space where all are included.
OCR started around a group of friends who had a shared longing for an inclusive and progressive faith community where questions and shifts in perspective could be met with curiosity and kindness. Currently led by a team including a midwife, wed-developer, charity worker, and deputy headteacher, OCR is “a community where everyone can belong” says Louise Bisset, co-leader of OCR. OCR started initial discussions about joining the Oasis Church Network in 2020.
At present, OCR is made up of a broad range of 30-40 people including families. “We love our church community, but there is scope for becoming more diverse,” says Louise. “Growing a church community has its challenges and its beauty. We are currently building our own space and being creative about where and how we can meet. The last few years have been sacred as we have gotten to know each other’s stories, some of the best moments for me have been seeing people find a safe space where they know they belong.”
With an unwavering commitment to social justice, OCR is co-running an open-access youth space and looking to set up a fresh food share that distributes excess supermarket food to members of the local community. “This will help us to reduce food waste whilst also making sure that all are provided for” says Louise. “Everywhere we see the impact of the cost-of-living crisis. There is a deep need for spaces where people can create community and know they are supported.” OCR seeks to be one of those spaces.
On Monday 3rd December OCR met for a ‘Human Christingle’ round a campfire at Rushall Farm. Families and community members came along and did activities together, sharing food and reflecting on what advent means for them. On 17th December OCR will be hosting a ‘Carols Round the Campfire’ event at Rushall Farm for all members of the local community with mulled wine and minced pies. More information can be found here.
“For me, Christmas at Oasis Church Reading means that God is with us and amongst us. It means that we must learn to see the light of God in each other and value that light equally,” says Louise.
We are so excited that OCR is part of the Oasis family and wish all in Reading a very merry Christmas!