|Holy Communion Service at Austwick every Wednesday at 10.30.
Visitors to our villages are most welcome at our Church services. Do come along and join us.
A message from our recently-arrived priest in charge:
This is my first contribution to the Newsletter since my licensing as your priest in charge. Diana and I are starting to settle in the vicarage at Austwick, and it is good to be back in a place with easy access to family and friends in Yorkshire, West Lancashire and Merseyside. This is very much a sort of homecoming for us, and we look forward to being with you for a good long time. Thank you so much for your welcome.
I arrive fresh from ministry with the Cam Vale Benefice in South Somerset – six parishes edging the flood plain of the Somerset Levels and beneath the ancient heights of Glastonbury Tor and Cadbury Castle (aka King Arthur’s ‘Camelot’ – allegedly). My time of ministry in the South West also meant some years previously living in Lydford on the western edge of Dartmoor. I’m sure it’ll be different in the upland Yorkshire Dales, as each place has its own character, each community its own spirit, but I’m expecting to find some similarities too. The last things I packed, and the first things I unpacked, were my wellies.
As you’re probably aware my roots are in Liverpool, which makes me unavoidably a ‘townie’. Having begun in inner-city and outer-estate parishes in Liverpool, over the past decade I’ve responded to God drawing me into rural ministry. Through this experience I’ve learned a great deal about country life and fully embraced the challenges and joys of country parishes. Now, I can’t see myself in any other environment, not least because I think that rural churches are actually at the forefront of finding ways to respond to the changing times we live in: falling Sunday numbers and shrinking financial resources are just one side of the story; innovative weekday gatherings for fellowship and prayer, and new ways of ‘being church’ in the community are another. It’s good to be part of that creative endeavour.
I’m looking forward to this next period of time in which I aim to get among you, listen hard and learn a lot about life in the four parishes and around. I know that great work has been done by previous clergy, and also by everyone else who has taken a lead in different aspects of church life prior to, and during the recent vacancy. Good rural churches tend to be caring communities which permit tradition and innovation to coexist and complement each other, where people (clergy and others) are creative in leading worship and in nurturing the relationship of the churches and the wider community, and which encourage a positive questioning faith open to the realities of life today. I look forward to exploring, and enjoying, all this life with you