Browsed by
Category: Priest-in-Charge update

GOODBYE

GOODBYE

Farewell – Christopher is retiring in October 2021

Christopher and Gerry write: we will be leaving the Welland-Fosse Benefice at the end of October 2021 after 5 years of entertaining and enjoyable ministry among you all. We have been so fortunate to live in such an idyllic spot and mix with very welcoming folk.

I was appointed by the bishop for what was essentially a caretaker role – a part-time post – to allow me to recover some of the joys of pastoral ministry after what was a long and mainly administrative time in Lancashire.  How different things are down here! No wailing sirens, little in the way of torrential rains, the absence of racial division or grinding poverty. It has been a valuable time to take stock of life and the Church of England in its present manifestation. The Covid pandemic has complicated our plans. Without that we may have retired a year or so earlier but now the time seems ripe. We can slip away after the fun of harvest and before most of us start to think about the excitement of Christmas.

Some of you will know that one of my favourite poets is R.S.Thomas. I am drawn to him for his often-bleak view of God but also his unquenchable faith. This poem, ‘The Bright Field’ is well known and has been lying on my prayer-desk in Barrowden Church for months now. It is beginning to shout at me:

I have seen the sun break through
to illuminate a small field
for a while, and gone my way
and forgotten it. But that was the
pearl of great price, the one field that had
treasure in it. I realise now
that I must give all that I have
to possess it. Life is not hurrying

On to a receding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.

Many of you have executed that ‘turning aside’ to discover at leisure something richer in your lives. Now it is our turn. We have plans to devote more time to the family, to travel a little and to enjoy a house and garden which we can really call our own.

Life at Barrowden Rectory has been a delight. Taming the garden, immersing ourselves in the routine of the countryside and the village network has been tonic not toil. Every parsonage house is porous and we have been privileged to enjoy the company of many callers within its walls.

So now we must turn aside lest we forget the vision of that ‘brightness which seemed as transitory as your youth once’ but is now ready to be reclaimed.

Thank you for your company. It won’t be forgotten. We are only moving into Stamford and will look forward to continuing our friendship with many of you for some time to come.

Christopher Armstrong

Sunday 25 July 2021

Help to Empty The Rectory!
 
There will be two Garage/Yard sales at Barrowden Rectory in the near future:
 
Saturday 2nd October, 10 – 12 noon: a book sale to include theology, prayer, poetry, novels, biography, reference books and some valuable old books.
 
Saturday 16th October, 10 – 12 noon: items of furniture, clothing, pictures, garden equipment, bric- a – brac, kitchen ware, crockery and cutlery.
 
All items 50p unless otherwise stated. 50% of proceeds will go to the Churches’ Benefice account.
Christopher Celebrates Easter Communion for us all

Christopher Celebrates Easter Communion for us all

Christopher writes:

With all our churches closed I was exercised about celebrating Holy Communion on Easter Day this year. Nervous of ‘private masses’ – as was Archbishop Cranmer – I nevertheless decided that Easter Day, being the most important day of the church’s year, would be an appropriate – indeed expected – day for a celebration of communion in the Benefice.

The Communion Service does not depend upon numbers for its validity. High Mass in the Vatican is just as valid as a celebration in The Rectory kitchen because both recognize and participate in the one unrepeatable sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

Just two of us were present physically but with the prayers of the Benefice, the wider church and the world on our hearts, we were also surrounded by the great company of heaven: angels, martyrs and all those who had gone before us in the faith. We were in good company. Given our current situation, I have to tell you that it was one of the most emotional and draining celebrations of my life.

The following photographs chart the progress of the Easter Eucharist in the Benefice.  (Click on each thumbnail for a closer look.) I offer them to you for your prayers and thanksgivings in the midst of this Coronavirus crisis.

and finally, post-service refreshments: Joan’s Simnel Cake!
Coronavirus and Our Churches

Coronavirus and Our Churches

We are in difficult times as a community and the wardens and I want to share with you the resources of our church for it is at such times of national emergency and challenge that people fall back on old certainties often overlooked.

  1. Following government guidance and instructions from our archbishops, there will be no public worship in our churches until further notice. And as from 23 March, we have now been told to close the churches, even for private prayer which is sad but necessary. 
  2. At times of crisis The Church and its members are specifically called to witness to the continuing presence and power of God through prayer and action. Awareness of our neighbours’ needs is written into our national DNA but it is primarily a faith activity: “Love God and your neighbour as yourself” (Luke 10.27). Please remember in your prayers those in authority who have to make difficult decisions on our behalf and those who sacrifice their own well-being to help others either professionally or domestically.
  3. Many folk will be worried about themselves, their loved ones and the future of our lives both communally and individually. Please use your wardens, PCC members and myself to discuss anything which is on your mind. Small issues usually mask greater issues which affect us all. No concern will be dismissed; there will be a way through. Hope will prevail.

Christopher Armstrong. 01572 748634.

Churchwarden names and phone numbers are shown on the CONTACT page

Message from the Priest in Charge – Christopher Armstrong

Message from the Priest in Charge – Christopher Armstrong

Coronavirus and Our Churches.

We are in difficult times as a community and the wardens and I want to share with you the resources of our church for it is at such times of national emergency and challenge that people fall back on old certainties often overlooked.

  1. Following government guidance and instructions from our archbishops, there will be no public worship in our churches until further notice.

 

  1. However, our churches are open for business…prayer! Please use this special place – set aside for worship and prayer – at your leisure. Prayer resources are already available in the church and specific ‘prayers in hard times’ will be available soon for you to use in church or take away. Please respect others who might be using the church in the same way, giving them ‘social distance’. The Lent Blog on the Benefice Website also offers thoughts and prayers.

 

  1. At times of crisis The Church and its members are specifically called to witness to the continuing presence and power of God through prayer and action. Awareness of our neighbours’ needs is written into our national DNA but it is primarily a faith activity: “Love God and your neighbour as yourself” (Luke 10.27). Please remember in your prayers those in authority who have to make difficult decisions on our behalf and those who sacrifice their own well-being to help others either professionally or domestically.

 

  1. Many folk will be worried about themselves, their loved ones and the future of our lives both communally and individually. Please use your wardens, PCC members and myself to discuss anything which is on your mind. Small issues usually mask greater issues which affect us all. No concern will be dismissed; there will be a way through. Hope will prevail.

 

Christopher Armstrong.

01572 748634.

 

Wednesday 18 March 2020.