The Rector’s pages: HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL
Seeds of Growth! - Good news for Rural Churches - Rev’d Annie Gurner
Rural Churches are growing. Its official – the Church of England in 2015 reported good news for the countryside – that as many rural churches have grown in the last 10 years as their urban neighbours. Apparently around 20% of small rural churches are growing again and another 60% are stable in numbers.
Research shows that the following features are common to growing churches:
- Lay people share in the leadership (including worship and pastoral care)
- Clergy are relieved of administration and concentrate on equipping and encouraging
- Discipleship: nurturing peoples faith, is prioritised
- Mission is planned and resourced
- Church people are serving the needs of the community, particularly the vulnerable
- Baptisms, weddings and funerals are welcomed and a source of excellence
- Church buildings are open daily and accessible to all
- Communications are modern and varied.
In most growing churches there are strong links with local schools, provision is made for families in worship and other activities and prayer is encouraged in church, at home and in groups.
Churches of all worship traditions are growing and in most multi-church groups there will be a range of worship so people can choose from contemporary to traditional, charismatic to catholic, providing they are willing to travel.
In Bath and Wells and Nationally the church is looking to simplify its management and local structures, enable and fund church administrators and equip churches to plan mission more effectively.
Do you sometimes feel that your village church is struggling? Bishop Peter is currently recommending a timely new booklet from Graham Dow entitled Leading rural churches into growth. Whilst recognising that some rural churches have their challenges – elderly congregations and old buildings for starters, they also have unique opportunities for growth and mission in their village context. This small book has lots of encouragement: £3.75 from Grove Books (free post).
The parish church has been central to our village life for generations and the buildings are often much loved and continue to be a haven of peace for visitors. Happy New Year!
FIFTH SUNDAY SERVICES
Sunday 31st January 2016 - 5th Sunday
10.00am - Puckington
Thanksgiving for our communities
4.30pm - Chillington
A Service of Light & Hope, by candlelight,
at the darkest time of the year.
First Sunday Services - Sunday 7th February 2016
08.45am Dowlish Wake 1662 Communion
10.00am Kingstone Worship 4 All
10.30am Shepton Modern sung Communion
11.15am Cudworth Communion
6.00pm Barrington Sung Evensong
Buttle Close Common Room - Shepton Beauchamp
We meet at 11.30am on the first Thursday of each month in the Common Room of Buttle Close for a short, gentle service of prayers, hymns, readings and a story. Everyone is very welcome.
Shepton on Tuesdays at 10.30am.
These services are 30 minutes long, simple Communion Services to reflect, pray and give thanks.
EVENSONGS IN WINTER
Please check the times of Evensong at Stocklinch, Dowlish and Kingstone as the service will be held at 4.00pm during the winter months.
From the Church Registers
3rd December Florence “Flo” Hawkins, 97 yrs; funeral at Shepton Beauchamp followed by burial with her husband Norman.
5th December George Gibson and Pippa Frayne, joined in Holy Matrimony at Shepton.
8th December John Livsey, 84 yrs; funeral service at Kingstone followed by burial in the church-yard.
A very big thank you to everyone who has helped organise and run the following events, and a special thank you to the generous support that everyone gave;
Kingstone Remembrance Day Lunch - over £500 raised - many thanks to the Woodcock family for running and hosting this very enjoyable lunch.
Cudworth Christmas Bazaar - over £700 raised - a wonderful sale of locally made Christmas gifts and decorations (worth making a note in your diaries for next year (end of November!)).
Shepton Beauchamp sponsored swim - about £1000 raised - Angie Joy swam the width English Channel to raise funds for the church. Over a 30 day period she swam 1406 lengths of Crewkerne pool which equates to the width of the Channel. She took 46464 strokes (front crawl) and swam 80 (yes 80!) lengths at a time, spending a total of about 17 1/2 hours swimming! VERY WELL DONE ANGIE.
An elderly gentleman...
Had serious hearing problems for a number of years. He went to the doctor and the doctor was able to have him fitted for a set of hearing aids that allowed the gentleman to hear 100%.
The elderly gentleman went back in a month to the doctor and the doctor said, 'Your hearing is perfect. Your family must be really pleased that you can hear again.'
The gentleman replied, 'Oh, I haven't told my family yet.
I just sit around and listen to the conversations. I've changed my will three times!'
Come with me - by Di Gallagher
It is a dark winter evening and we are walking through our village (with no street lights). It is dark, but not completely so….look…..over there - 1-2-3 tiny shining stars…..and over there…..a pale glimmer from a beautiful crescent moon just enough to light our way home.
Without that glimmer of light, we are anxious, we are a little bit afraid. Will we fall in the stream or will there be a stranger in the road? But that little gleam of light from the moon gives us confidence and we can see our path.
To Christians the candle symbolises the flame of God’s love; it lights our path through life, shows us where the obstacles lie, and helps us to see what is really there, rather than what we imagine. Jesus said: "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life”.
Just as the pale glimmer of the moon is reflected in the stream and in the puddles on the road, WE can reflect the light of God’s love. We can help the light shine for our children and their future and we can help the most vulnerable of the world’s children to find light in their lives.
Now I am going to tell you a story: Let us go to the other side of the world, to a remote, mountainous and difficult place; it is a 5 day journey to get there from the nearest airport.
17 years ago, a young Buddhist monk founded a school and orphanage; he kindled the tiny spark which started to light the way for some of the most vulnerable orphans, and children with handicaps. In the beginning, it was cold and dark, and they barely had a roof over their heads but at night the Lama would light a bonfire to give them warmth and light. They would sing songs and tell stories. Those first children are now young adults and they all carry little flames kindled from the sparks of that bonfire. They are passing on light and goodness to their young brothers and sisters.
One of the first children, a boy called Mani, was born in a very poor remote village; he lost his father; his mother was a very sick woman and nearly blind. Mani was severely handicapped having lost both of his hands as a little boy after an accident involving live electric wires. He was taken to the orphanage and given a home, and the chance of a future. By 2006 as he was finishing his secondary education, but there was no money for Mani to go on to college. But with the help of a British charity Mani was sponsored through college and after a long and hard road he achieved his dream and now works for the government, he is married and has a dear little boy called Sonam. Mani was the first from the school to take the light of hope into his life and out into the world; he is the trailblazer and his flame continues to burn brightly; in his job he stands up against the corruption which is rife in India. He goes back to the school every year to share his experiences with the young ones. Mani’s brothers and sisters have seen what can be achieved through determination and hard work (even without any hands).
This school reflects God’s love, a tiny flame in a dark room, bringing hope and confidence to children. A little flame cannot bring light to the whole world but when a small flame is being reflected over and over again in the children so that light is getting brighter and brighter.
Jesus said, “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven”
Side by Side with people with dementia in South Somerset
Side by Side is a free service from Alzheimer’s Society that provides one-to one support, making it easier for people with dementia, who might sometimes feel isolated or find it difficult to leave their homes, remain active and feel part of their local community. Social activity and social support are thought to be directly related to better physical and cognitive function and help slow down the rate of decline.
This new service focuses on enabling people with dementia to lead more fulfilling lives and to continue to take part in the activities that they have always enjoyed and try new ones.
We are currently piloting this service in 17 places across the UK and are looking to expand to 26 by the beginning of next year. We need more volunteers to enable people with dementia to stay connected and help to reduce feelings of loneliness that may be felt after a diagnosis.
By doing things like going for a walk, to a football match, or joining a local class together, our volunteers support people with dementia to take up hobbies and get out and about. What they do together is entirely based on what the person with dementia wants.
Volunteers are crucial to the success of this service and can range from providing support once a week to once a fortnight at a time that works for the volunteer and person with dementia. It might be taking a walk in the park, a visit to a café or a chat over the phone, sounds simple, but it can make a huge difference to someone’s life. The service will help grow Dementia Friendly Communities by building local networks for people with dementia, bringing opportunity and widening what people with dementia can bring to their community, reducing stigma and social exclusion. If you are interested in becoming a Side by Side volunteer, please contact Stephanie, Katherine or Joan on 01458 251541or firstname.lastname@example.org for more details. Training will be provided so that volunteers are confident about carrying out the role. Volunteering provides a great opportunity to learn new skills, share your hobby with others and enhance your CV in addition to supporting a person to live more independently with dementia.
- 225,000 will develop dementia this year.
- Research shows that 850,000 people in the UK have a form of dementia. In less than 10 years a million people will be living with dementia. This will soar to two million people by 2051
- Alzheimer’s Society champions the rights of people living with dementia and the millions of people who care for them National Dementia Helpline, the number is 0300 222 11 22 or visit alzheimers.org.uk