THEY lead high pressure, hectic lives and moments of solemn contemplation must be few and far between.
So Oxfordshire’s splendid array of churches are a welcome respite for Prime Minister David Cameron and BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten.
Now they have chosen places of worship in Oxfordshire as their favourite from across the UK.
It is part of the 60th anniversary celebrations of the National Churches Trust, which provides grants and loans to houses of God.
Witney MP Mr Cameron chose St Mary the Virgin in Witney town centre and All Saints Church, Spelsbury.
He said: “All Saints at Spelsbury where my family sometimes worship when we are at home in Oxfordshire.”
The Conservative said he also has a “very special memory” late son Ivan’s christening at the church.
The six-year-old – who had a rare form of epilepsy – died in 2009.
And he said of the “landmark” 13th century St Mary’s: “The church does tremendous work to support the community and is an important part of Witney life.”
Lord Patten – also Chancellor of Oxford University and former governor of Hong Kong – chose the Bishop Edward King Chapel at Ripon College, Cuddesdon.
The £2m chapel opened in February this year and its interior is made of beech and ash wood.
Lord Patten praised its “wonderful views over rolling Oxfordshire countryside”.
The former Conservative MP said: “From the outside it looks a little like a drum or an upturned boat. Inside it is beautifully light with the sunlight creating wonderful effects on the stone and furniture made from ash. It is a real little gem.”
Dean of Westminster The Very Reverend Dr John Hall honoured another village place of worship, All Saints Church in Church Road.
He said: “The small Oxfordshire village of Cuddesdon holds warm memories for me, since I was a student there preparing for the ordained ministry between 1973 and 1975.”
The Revd Emma Pennington said she was “delighted” her church had been chosen, adding: “I know a lot of people have a real fondness for that church because they trained there.”
The church is “beautiful and simple with a Norman arch but above all replete with the memory of the men and women preparing for the Anglican ministry over the past 160 years”.
The trust is now inviting people to nominate their favourite church at nationalchurchestrust.org.
Chief executive Claire Walker said churches “form an unparalleled network of public buildings which sustain local communities”.
Labour leader Ed Miliband chose St Mary Magdelene Church, Campsall, Doncaster while Mayor of London Boris Johnson went for St Magnus the Martyr Church, London.
Nominate your church by visiting nationalchurchestrust.org