On Friday morning,  Rev’d Canon Toby Wright was  Blessed by the Rt Rev’d Olivia Graham, Bishop of Reading, to mark his election as the new Warden of the Community.  Over 80 people from all over the world were able to witness the event live via videolink. 

Sister Stella explains that the Warden supports the spiritual journey of the Community: 

“There’s a sense of delight for us in being able collectively to explore a new relationship.  Of course, Toby is already a long-standing friend of the Community and we have come to know him over a long stretch in his presiding at the eucharist. But his becoming our Warden is new and challenging and exciting and we are looking forward to making some fresh discoveries about the meaning and responsibilities of our Community life. Toby has a long-standing interest in living the monastic tradition which is hoped may extend our awareness of how we can draw close to God our Creator.”

Toby lives and works in Witney, West Oxfordshire, where he has been Team Rector since 2009. From 2013-2019 he was Area Dean of Witney and has served on the Bishop’s Council,  Diocesan Synod and Board of Mission. 

Toby tells us: 

“I am humbled and thrilled to have been elected and serve the Community of CSMV as their new Warden. The Community has been a strong part of my life since before I was born,  with connections through my Grandfather and my Father, especially when he was Vicar of Wantage. I am delighted t begin a new stage as I take up the baton from the Venerable Carline Baston. 

I am thrilled to have this opportunity to support the Community with prayer and  encouragement. The Community’s name gives a fundamental link to Mary, the first believer,  who models how we are to say “yes” to Jesus.  In Mechtild’s vision of Mary’s prayer, Mary states that “Holy flowing generosity and compassion for those in need” have stripped her of the Magi’s gifts. My prayer is that, like Mary, I may surrender my gifts in generosity and compassion as I seek to be a faithful Warden to this wonderful Community.  The Community’s Rule states: “Take your part prayerfully in the shared responsibility for the creative ordering and renewal of the Community’s life”.  As I come alongside the Community in a new way, I pledge to do my art to support the common life of the Sisters and those who enable their life of prayer”. 

Sister Stella gave thanks to the retiring Warden the Venerable Caroline Baston with her gifts of listening, of intuition, of sitting lightly and sensitively to some of the complexities in the giving of our life to God.