09 May 2022
What an interesting week in politics - an MP resigned over watching inappropriate images in the Chamber, the shadow leader embroiled in his own ‘beergate’, and local elections with variable losses and gains. Meanwhile in Ukraine, President Zelensky valiantly leads his country through the terror of war in a wonderful example of leadership and bravery. These examples just go to show how brilliant and at the same time just how fickle human beings can be. We all have great potential for success and failure, but perhaps what we need to remember is that we are all flesh and blood, no matter how much we would like to put someone on a proverbial pedestal. The only person worthy of such treatment is our Lord, and apart from Him, we all ‘swim in a sea of grace’. Let’s remember to treat one another with the same grace and compassion we would like from others.
Services this week
- 8am - St Andrews BCP Holy Communion
- 9.30 - St Peter’s BCP Holy Communion
- 10am - St Michael’s by Communion followed by Annual Meeting
- 11am - St Andrew’s Sung Eucharist
News from St Michaels’
Sunday 8th May is an important day to be in church, firstly to see the ‘Art in the Dale’ exhibition (see photo attached), which is stunning, and secondly because we have our Annual Vestry Meeting and APCM immediately after the 10am service. We will be reviewing the past year, saying thank you to all those who have supported St Michael’s in practical ways, especially Mo Dore who’ll be stepping down as Churchwarden after 8 years of faithful service, and looking forward with hope. We have 2 vacancies on PCC and 2 places for Deanery Synod, which we’d like to fill. Please have a word with Revd Sue if you’d like to know more about these roles. It would be great to have some new people on board!
The 10am service will be shorter than usual, and there will be time for coffee before we start the meeting, which won’t be long, so do stay if you possibly can.
The following week, Saturday 14th May, Christine Dittman and Friends ‘Ings Strings’ will be in concert at 7pm. They have put together a beautiful programme of light and classical music. Free admission, with donations towards the running costs of St Michaels.
St Andrew’s hosts a special Deanery Meeting with Bishop Helen-Ann on Thursday for Deanery Synod Representatives.
On Wednesday Evening at 7pm there is a special training session at Settle Parish Church for Lay Eucharistic Ministry - please speak to Rev Sue or myself if you are interested.
Rogation Sunday is on Sunday 22nd May - everyone is invited to a special joint service with Broughton Church for a service and shared tea afterwards. Please do come and help us keep this important tradition alive and pray for our agriculture industry.
May your week be blessed with God’s Presence and His Peace,
Andrew and Sue.
01 May 2022
Tomorrow we shall joyfully acclaim “Christ is Risen” in each of our three churches, but I wonder what that means for you? As the world around us seems to grow ever darker with the storm clouds of war, economic failure, disease and climate change, how are we supposed to respond? Bishop Nick, in his Maundy Thursday Chrism sermon at Ripon Cathedral, quoted a song by Bruce Cockburn which spoke of the power of light to break through into the darkest of situations. On the morning of Easter, light poured into the darkness of the tomb as the stone was rolled away and the world was changed forever - the pitch black of despair and heartbreak was changed in to the eye-watering brightness of hope, joy and a new dimension of life. This is the New Life we are all learning to live, a life bathed in light, drenched with colour and transformed by hope. And it starts with Easter.
Please do join us tomorrow in one of our churches as we try to experience something of the sheer wonder of Easter:
- 8am - BCP Holy Communion at St Andrew’s
- 9.30 - BCP Holy Communion at St Peter’s
- 10am - Holy Communion at St Michael’s (with Easter egg hunt)
- 11am - Holy Communion at St Andrew’s (with Easter egg hunt)
News from St Michael’s: we are looking forward to celebrating with great joy that Christ is Risen on Easter Sunday at our special Easter Communion at 10am.
The music group will be playing, and the church will look beautiful with Easter flowers. There will also be an Easter Egg hunt at the end of the service, so do come and join us!
A Walk in the Dale - what an incredible day we had! A group of 25+ started from Gargrave and walked from church to church, as well as the Friends Meeting house at Airton, and we were treated to refreshments at each church. Some walked part of the route and were given a lift home, others did the whole 14 miles. Many new friendships were made with people regardless of faith, and we enjoyed wonderful conversation, beauty and sunshine. Thank you to Paul and Sue Mcwhinney for organising this. Everyone agreed it should now be a regular fixture.
The Bible Course - begins at St Andrew’s from Tuesday 26th April at 7pm. Please come and join us for this fun and interactive course which helps us understand more. Here’s what people are saying about it:
‘The Bible Course is a brilliant and accessible way to understand the full Bible story. A brilliant way to kick-start your journey’
- The Bible Course helps you see how the books of the Bible are part of one big story
- Using a unique storyline, The Bible Course will show you how key events, books and characters fit together
- Video teaching, written guides, diagrams and readings will help you grow in confidence as you read the Bible for yourself
Please do sign up at your local church or call Rev Andrew or Rev Sue.
St Andrew’s Easter concert - 6pm on Tuesday 19th April - join us for a wonderful celebration of the musical talent in church, followed by a bring and share supper. All donations will go towards St Andrew’s.
Over the next two weeks, Rev Sue and myself will be taking some time off between us (not the whole two weeks!), so don’t worry if you get an out of office reply - one of us will be around to pick up any urgent messages.
May you have a blessed, and renewing Easter, with time to rest and draw near to The One who loves you, died for you and leads you into new life.
With our sincere thanks for all of your support, and with our prayers,
Sue and Andrew
09 April 2022
As we’ve experienced the fluctuations in weather in recent days, from warm sunshine to rain and hail, so you don’t know what to expect from one day to the next, you may be feeling the same about life at the moment. It may be a mixture of ups and downs. Some of us are struggling with illness in the family, worries about finances, uncertainty about where we’re going in life….. and the news continues to report on unspeakable horrors in Ukraine. Where can we turn to for hope in such times?
One of my ‘go to’ verses is Isaiah 43.1-2, ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.’ Our God doesn’t abandon us, he accompanies us in all the joys and sorrows of this life. So let us be united in prayer, as we pray for one another, for those with illness in the family, those who have dropped everything to go and help, those who need particular care and support in the world today, and ask our loving heavenly Father to walk closely beside them.
This coming Sunday we will enjoy the celebration of Palm Sunday, and yet in the coming days the journey of Holy Week is one of ups and downs, leading to the sacrifice and suffering of the cross, the emptiness of Holy Saturday, and then the great joy of Resurrection on that first Easter Day. This too gives me hope, that our God who is so closely connected with suffering and loss in the person of Jesus Christ in Holy Week is also the one who bursts from the tomb in victory in the person of the Risen Christ.
Services Tomorrow, Palm Sunday:
- 8am BCP Communion at St Andrew’s
- 9.30am BCP Communion at St Peter’s
- 10am Holy Communion at St Michael’s
- 11am Sung Eucharist at St Andrew’s
Maundy Thursday, 7pm service at St Michael’s for the whole Benefice, led by Andrew and Sue.
Good Friday, 2pm ‘Hour at the Cross’ at St Andrew’s, a reflective service for the Benefice led by Jennifer Rowlands.
Good Friday, 9am start at St Andrew’s, ‘A Walk in the Dale’ (see the attached). Come for the whole walk, sections of it, or join us for coffee at the Friends Meeting House in Airton, for lunch at Kirkby Malham, or for Tea and Hot Cross buns at St Peter’s at 4pm, finishing back in Gargrave around 5pm. Please let Paul McWhinney know if you are planning to come.
With our prayers, Andrew and Sue.
18 December 2021
Once again, we find ourselves at an uncertain time as we look forward to Christmas with all the hope, joy, anticipation and expectation that comes with it. Anxiety seems to be cranking up about the new variant based on its transmissibility, but still great uncertainty about the severity of disease it may or may not cause. Unlike last year, Government and Church have so far left it to individuals to decide for themselves about how best to manage their own risk in each situation. The advice so far seems to be to prioritise the most important events and gatherings in order to reduce contact with others.
For church leaders this is difficult - we are asked to make decisions - do we cancel services at this hugely important time in our church calendar to ensure 100% safety, or do we remain open and risk a potential increase in transmission within our congregations? So far the official guidance is for clergy to make their own judgements about safety. With this in mind, Revd. Sue and I are both in agreement that, for now, we should continue with our planned services with full precautions of face- coverings, good hand hygiene, good ventilation and social distancing.
Our churches are large, well-ventilated buildings with lots of space, and generally our congregations are of a size which allows plenty of distancing. We have good hygiene measures in place in each church and virtually everyone is used to wearing masks (spare masks are available in each church). Our assessment is that, so far, it is safe to meet for worship and refreshments so long as we are careful and don’t cluster together too closely in social situations, and we would encourage everyone who wishes to come to church as usual. We ask everyone wears a face-covering even for congregational singing to prevent droplet and aerosol spread. Most importantly, unlike last year at this time, of us are also triple-vaccinated whcih seems to be the key defence in all of this.
However, we also recognise that some of our number are particularly vulnerable and anxious about the current situation, and we fully support those who feel that they would be more comfortable staying away from events - please don’t come to church because you feel you ought to if you are uneasy about it. We want everyone to feel safe and supported in making up their own minds about this. If you need to speak to Rev Sue or myself, then please don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and call us. We will be assessing the situation very closely and will update you all as new advice is issued.
With our prayers,
Rev’ds Andrew and Sue
06 November 2021
I hope this finds you well. Perhaps for the first time in many years Bonfire Night this year seems to have slipped by barely unnoticed. Apart from a few minor ‘bangs’ on Friday evening I haven’t been aware of the previous celebratory spirit of years gone by. Not too long ago, it seemed that every neighbourhood had its own bonfire with neighbours coming together to provide pie and peas and jacket potatoes with a real sense of togetherness, and the next morning one would wake up to the smell of last night’s smoke hanging heavily in the air. (Perhaps with climate change and COP 26 it’s as well that we don’t have as many bonfires!)
I was reminded earlier in the week that the roots of Bonfire Night were actually in religion - Guido Fawkes along with his pals were determined to restore a Catholic Monarchy to the throne of England by plotting to kill King James the First. I wonder what our church and country might look like now if he had succeeded? Would it have mattered that much anyway, considering our good relationship with the Catholic church these days? What would Jesus have made of all the bloodshed carried out in His name over the years? Thoughts to ponder…
Our services tomorrow 7th of November:
- 8am - BCP Communion at St Andrew’s
- 10am - Holy Communion at St Michael’s
- 11am - Family Service at St Andrew’s
- 4pm - Compline Evensong at St Peter’s
Next week our Remembrance Sunday services are:
- St Peter’s - 10.50
- St Michael’s - 10.50
- St Andrew’s - 10.45
Please do join us at the War Memorials as we remember those who have served so faithfully so that we can enjoy peace in our country. There will be a service in each church followed by refreshments.
Please pray for Stephanie, who spoke recently at St Michael’s, as she is commissioned on Sunday at her home church in Warrington, and as she prepares to fly back to Malawi on Tuesday 9th November to continue her missionary work there.
Rev Sue and I are offering to run Advent Courses within the Benefice. Each course will follow a book with it’s own study material as we enter Advent, the season of quiet and expectant watching and waiting. If you are interested, please do let either of us know by email.
Please continue with the most important work in hand - that of prayer. Prayer is our first calling, and by entering into prayer we can change the world around us, whilst at the same time we open ourselves up to transformation by the Holy Spirit - becoming more like Him who died for us and lives again. This is the most important work of God’s Kingdom and it is the basis of our calling.
Finally, please continue to keep yourselves and others safe by wearing masks at church, careful hand-cleansing and social distancing - Covid numbers are still very high and our local A and E is very busy with Covid patients.
With our prayers,
Rev’ds Andrew and Sue
31 October 2021
I wonder what you think about all the fuss around COP26? For many of us the sight of protestors blocking roads and gluing themselves to road surfaces is a step too far and just turns us off the subject. Perhaps we’re content to recycle and cut down on waste and we think this is enough. Perhaps, like me, you wonder about the legacy we will be leaving our children and grandchildren - what will they think about how we have cared for the world we pass onto them?
In the Anglican church we subscribe to the ‘5 Marks of Mission’, which are:
- To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
- To teach, baptise and nurture new believers
- To respond to human need by loving service
- To seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation
- To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth
This 5th mark of mission is as much our calling as the other four, so perhaps you might join me this week in praying for COP26 and for the futute of our planet.
Tomorrow is our first Benefice Service at 10.30am at St Michael’s Church, Kirkby Malham and we are really looking forward to it. However, please be mindful of the increasing Covid rates - we are asking people to please wear a mask on entering church and when moving around. With increased numbers there is potentially a greater risk for transmission, but we can easily prevent this by sensible precautions. We are very grateful to the people of St Michael’s for hosting this first joint-service.
Tomorrow afternoon there are also two All Souls services in the Benefice to which all are invited:
- 3pm at St Andrew’s
- 5pm at St Michael’s
These will be beautiful, reflective services where people can give thanks and remember their loved ones.
Finally, and most importantly, thank you for all that you do to keep our churches thriving, whether your calling is buildings, fabric, cleaning, finance, making tea, Church Warden, music, or simply attending and supporting church. Your contributions are valued and essential to us being a Christian presence in our communities. Churches are often difficult and demanding organisations to manage (I’m sure first century churches didn’t have all this admin and red tape!) not to mention the buildings and churchyards, but with your willingness to serve, we have three wonderful churches and a Benefice we can be very proud of.
With our thanks and prayers,
Andrew and Sue
03 October 2021
Celebration seems to be the theme this week, as St Andrew’s Festival draws to a close and St Michael’s Church at Kirkby Malham celebrate their Patronal Festival tomorrow. Wednesday was the Feast of St Michael and All Angels in the church calendar so it is very appropriate that a church named after St Michael should mark this special occasion. For some, it may seem a little uncomfortable to talk about celebration when the world is in chaos, but that all depends how we approach things. If we see our celebrations as an excuse to party and forget about the world and the people around us then clearly we are missing the point, but if we celebrate with a thankful heart for all that God has done (and is doing) amongst us then that is different. By celebrating God’s gifts to us (our churches, ourselves, each other and our communities), then our celebrations become a form of worship and thanksgiving to God. So let’s celebrate with thankful hearts and clear conscience, and in so doing may we draw others into God’s wonderful presence.
- 8am - BCP holy Communion at St Andrew’s
- 10am - St Michael’s Patronal Festival at Kirkby Malham (Rev David Bruno leading Communion0
- 11am - Family Service at St Andrew’s (breakfast from 10.15)
- 4pm - Compline Evensong at St Peter’s
Please continue to pray for Bishop Nick’s wife, Linda, who is undergoing treatment for a serious illness, and please do let me know if anyone would like a prayer request to be shared via this email (I must have their consent).
A longstanding member of St Andrew’s - Jean Coldwell, sadly passed away 2 weeks ago and her funeral is at St Andrew’s on the 7th of October at 1pm.
Next week a small party of us will be attending an important conference on Church Growth, and it is crucial that we consider how we can promote this across our Benefice. The Church of England is facing unprecedented challenges numerically, financially and existentially and the effects of these challenges could be far reaching unless we act now. Please do pray for growth in our churches and consider how we can draw others into our flock.
Please continue to pray for all that is going on in our world and let’s see where we can bring light and hope to those around us.
14 June 2021
Here is the link to this evening’s licensing at Kirkby Malham for our new Associate Priest, Rev’d. Sue.
With my prayers,
05 June 2021
We are now officially the Benefice of Upper Aire! On Monday the 1st of June, the new Benefice created by the Church Commissioners and authorised by Bishop Nick, came into being. This means that our three churches are able to develop new ways of working together, sharing ideas, energy and resources. Each church will rightfully retain its own unique identity, but as one body we are now in a much better position to face the future together. We shall be celebrating together in the near future, and look forward to having more joint services and learning more about our differences and similarities as we build new relationships. As Incumbent of the new Benefice I can only say how delightful the variety of styles, cultures and traditions across our churches really is, and that I hope you will be enriched by this variety as I have been.
Tomorrow’s services are:
- 8am: BCP Holy communion at St Andrew’s
- 10am: Holy Communion at St Michael’s
- 10.45am: Family Service at St Andrew’s
- 4pm: Compline at St Peter’s
Please pray for the family of Linda Wilson, whose funeral was held this last week. Our prayers are especially for Malcolm and Geoffrey.
We look forward to the marriage of Nicola Hesleden and Scott Abbey at St Michael’s on 31st of July.
Enjoy the sunshine!
With my prayers,