Monday, September 24, 2012

Rain and wind

Monday 24th September 2012
That was in yesterday's fine weather.  There won't be any more pictures here until the weather improves significantly!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Friday, September 21, 2012


21st September 2012
St Cuthbert's Bellingham, tucked away in a modestly obscure position behind the Black Bull and the only view at a distance being from the lower road to the south east.
Now there's trouble bewing.......
The church architect and the stone specialist inspect major problems with the famous roof.  Anyone got £50,000 to spare?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Rain and meetings

Thursday 20th September 2012
The weather is less than photogenic today
After the morning Eucharist (with laying-on of hands with prayer for health and wholeness), the Reader (licensed lay minister) and I spent an hour or so talking about how we can help people to understand the Christian faith on a deeper level.  So many people believe the misinformation that they are offered in the media!
     Up the valley for an afternoon meeting with representatives from other Churches so that Anglicans (C of E), Methodists and United Reformed members could plan for all the things that we do together.  We were concerned about lack of commitment in our local communities.
     Down the valley for an evening meeting of the Team Council of North Tyne and Redesdale in which we explored the means of communication within our parishes  --  which are all very different. The Tarset valley uses website, e-mails and the substantial quarterly Newsletter;  Bellingham uses fliers, posters and the baker's wall.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Up and down the valley

Wednesday 19th September 2012
You never know who you're going to meet when parish visiting.

I also conducted a school assembly at the beginning of the day and ended the evening (after a PCC meeting) by tidying my study.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Perfect autumn

Tuesday 18th September 2012
A quick ride on the fell before going off to take a school assembly

A fairly large intake of school starters in the reception class looked  uncertain about what was happening.  So I introduced myself and tried to work out which of them I knew already.  Some of them did know me: one little girl said "You've been to my house."  "Where's that?...Where do you live?"  "At the farm." (Oh dear, not precise enough for me.)  Luckily she gave me her parents' Christian names when I asked "Who are your mummy and daddy?" and I exclaimed "Ah.  Are you Anna?"     Then a boy piped up: "You know me: I'm Owen"  --  which was very helpful  --  and a confident child then started to name all the others in the class.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Funeral and visits

Monday 17th September 2012
Now I know who has been scuffing up the leaves under the trees in the churchyard, which I noticed after conducting a funeral and burial at St Aidan's Thorneyburn.
     In the afternoon the Churchwarden and I went to St Cuthbert's Bellingham to welcome a group of students from Durham on a summer course relating to Border history and architecture.  Like others they noticed the special atmosphere of the church whose "spiritual strapline" in the Deanery leaflet is "an honest and straightforward church in which you can be yourself".
     During their visit a small group on a prayer walk down the North Tyne valley called in and stayed to talk and pray.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Harvest Festival

Sunday 16th September 2012
Sun on a harvest arrangement in St Cuthbert's Corsenside
The Bellingham organist had to take the dog to the vet; but the congregation sang well unaccompanied, as we celebrated the parish  Communion according to the 1662 Book of Common Prayer with traditional music.
     At the Harvest Thanksgiving service at Corsenside we acknowledged the difficult year for farmers and growers but knew that we still have much reason to be thankful.  We do have food, despite the really bad wet summer which has caused so much anxiety.   Some fields are yet to be harvested, but it's always poignant worshipping in this little church in the middle of a farm with the livestock grazing outside as we sing hymns inside  -- and being anxious does no good.  We are confident that God knows what it's like to suffer (because Jesus suffered pain and was tortured to death) and that he cares about us, supporting us and giving us the strength to cope with what we have to face. 
Cattle at Corsenside (picutre taken in June)
      I told them about the farmer I knew who would say "Well, at least every day that it rains brings us nearer to the day that the rain stops"!
     In the afternoon we had STARS for the under-5's who heard the story of Jesus' healing blind Bartimaeus.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

More community events

Saturday 15th September 2012
     After attending the sale in aid of the NSPCC in Bellingham Town Hall, I went over to Corsenside 
Children's animals made out of fruit and vegetables

Corsenside Leek and Vegetable Show

Tea outside the hall (which is filled with exhibits)
After delivering some things to St Cuthbert's Corsenside for tomorrow's Harvest Thanksgiving, I returned to Bellingham to prepare for tomorrow's services, including ringing parents to remind them that it's the week for the under-5's service.

Harvest Supper

Friday 14th September 2012
Preparing the Town Hall

The entertainer!

It was good that the churches were 
able to co-ordinate the event for the
benefit of the local community.  
The tickets were priced simply to cover
costs and the surplus income of about
£100 will be going to Farm Crisis Network

There are no pictures of the hundred people sitting down to their meal because I was so busy tucking into mine  --  after a hectic day on the telephone following up items from the last PCC, doing some urgent visiting in another parish, celebrating the Eucharist for Holy Cross Day and also a bit of to-ing and fro-ing in connection with the  Harvest Supper itself.                          

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Another PCC

Wednesday 12th September 2012
Gulls not sheep in the field
I had intended taking the opportunity to make some visits to outlying parts of the parish of Bellingham with tickets for the Harvest Supper; but got caught up with several different pastoral matters in complex phone calls from families with illness, bereavement, relationship difficulties and external pressures.
     The Parochial church council of Falstone with Greystead and Thorneyburn then had complicated issues with faculty applications (the ecclesiastical equivalent of planning permission) relating to matters ranging from moving a war memorial plaque to installing a bio-toilet.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Visit to Durham

Tuesday 11th September 2012
Durham Cathedral from the train
In the middle of the day I spent a short time in Durham, coming across a corner of the Cathedral that I hadn't seen before:
Would you have guessed where this was?
In between I went to the dentist (not in Durham) who commented, "We'll can fix this: you need to be able to talk in your job", to which I failed to reply "Actually I need to learn to listen better."
     I just managed to get back in time for the PCC meeting of Horsley and Byrness at Rochester, where (amongst all the routine business about finance and material things) we had an important discussion about how best to help people to develop their relationship with God outside the church walls.

One thing after another

Monday 10th September 2012
Red squirrel at feeder
It's such a pleasure to catch sight of the frisky little red squirrels; so imagine my horror when I saw a large grey squirrel outside my study window.  I made a quick phone call to report it, because Northumberland is monitoring sightings of both colours, fearing that the greys will usurp the native reds  --  and also working to re-establish the local reds.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Leek Show

Saturday 8th - Sunday 9th September
Some of the smaller leeks in the show
There are a few more pictues on the Events page but you'll have to wait till Friday to see some of the larger vegetables that I bid for (between morning services and Evensong) at the auction which ended the annual Leek Show.  I wanted them to contribute to decorating the Town Hall for the Harvest Supper.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

No time to ride

Saturday 8th September 2012
Molly doesn't notice Neil Denham photographing her

Friday, September 7, 2012

Life goes on

Friday 7th September 2012
St Giles' church, Chollerton
Down the valley, further south, there are cornfields and the kind of harvest traditionally associated with Harvest Festivals.  (Up in the hill country our harvest is really at lambing time.)  I was reminded of the "harvest of souls" as I went to make a visit to prepare for a funeral.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Where are the tickets?

Thursday 6th September 2012
Bellingham catering
This picture was actually taken after the red-faced walkers arrived ravenous at the end of the St Cuthbert's Festival (fifteen-mile) Walk to be greeted by Bellingham hospitality.
     The Harvest Supper laid on in the Town Hall by the three churches for anyone who lives in the parish will be equally lavish.  You do need to buy your ticket in advance (£4 adult, £2 child to cover the costs) and you will enjoy home-made food (shepherd's pie and a wide choice of puddings), coffee or tea and home-grown entertainment.
     But where are the tickets?  I've still got some for sale but not the three other people who might have had some.  So there have been lots of phone calls and to-ings and fro-ings.
     This wasn't on the agenda for today!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Friends of St Cuthbert's Bellingham

Sunday 2nd September 2012
The famous stone roof of St Cuthbert's church, Bellingham, built to replace the wooden ones that the Border Reivers kept burning down  --  and admired today by the Friends of St Cuthbert's Bellingham at Evensong after their Annual General Meeting.  We're still looking for more "Friends" to keep in touch with St Cuthbert's and with other people for whom this is a special church.
We also need help with maintaining the building.  The Friends are running many varied social and fund-raising events.  I can put you in touch with them if you are interested.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

St Cuthbert's Festival walk

Saturday 1st September 2012
About to cross the River Rede on the local St Cuthbert's Trail
Seventeen of us (plus three dogs) took part in the walk and barbecue and ended exhausted at Bellingham to feast on a wonderful tea prepared by the non-walkers.  See pictures on the Events page.