Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Early morning

Monday 30th May
I'm being watched again!
I didn't wind down the car window or I would have missed the photograph.

Peripatetic Sunday

Sunday 29th May 2016

Calmly observant
but they all
keep an eye on me

as I make my way home 
before going on to the
morning services:
9.30 at Bellingham and
11 o'clock up the Rede valley
at Byrness nearly to the Border
Evensong was at Wark
for the whole Deanery.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Community Fayre

Saturday 28th May 2016
At the Community Fayre in Bellingham Town Hall the local Churches responded to the request to display suitable decorations for celebrating the Queen's 90th birthday.  We also offered an illustrated booklet published by the Bible Society: The Servant Queen (and the King she serves).  These will also be available at the Bellingham Show and the Falstone Show.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Michael's view

Friday 27th May 2016
Fresh growth as my husband looks out at the Rectory glebe on the 6oth anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Before and after

Wednesday 25th May 2016

Before (left)  and after (right)

The best I could do to show the overall progress...

...by standing on rock in the River Rede

Raising the roof

Tuesday 24th May 2016
All Saints' Woodburn
[see 25th May for clearer pictures]

where I had a chat with the roofers

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Taken for granted?

Monday 23rd May 2016
When I moved to North Tyne and Redesdale my niece wondered how long it would take before I stopped being thrilled by the views.  Nearly ten years later I'm used to living in this landscape, but how could I take a scene like this for granted?  --  except in the theological sense that it's one of the divine blessings granted to us here. It was a good start to the day (about 7.30) before a full day with meetings in school and around the parishes.  The last appointment of the day was with a group of churchwardens to plan their new parson's licensing service.  Then home for a 10.00 p.m. sandwich, catching up on the computer and bed before midnight.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

After lambing

Sunday 22nd May 2016
Churchyard working party after the lambing service
(outside on Trinity Sunday, worshipping the Creator in the care of the Good Shepherd and inspired by the Holy Spirit).
 ...ending with a barbecue in traditional Thorneyburn style

Close to God

Friday 20th May 2016
In assembly I asked the children (aged about five to nine) when they felt close to God.  (I didn't try to explain what this might mean.)  The spontaneous answers included:
When I'm in bed   (cosy; safe and protected)
Outside (beauty and liveliness)
In church (because God knows that I'm there)
When I'm upset  (God understands)
On a particular cushion at home (feeling secure)
     In inspiring or peaceful surroundings we have a sense that things are right.

"Open the Book"!

Thursday 19th May 2016
Down the valley to Humshaugh where we had a guest speaker at the Deanery Synod meeting to give us a taster session on "Open the Book", a Bible Society idea for acting out Bible stories in school assemblies.  Twenty adults being splashy things, flying things, growing things and walking things seemed to enjoy themselves and to see potential for local activities! 
[If you live in the deanery and are interested in acting, narrating, costume or prop making, contact me as Rural Dean.]

Monday, May 16, 2016

Community planning

Monday 16th May 2016
Breakfast time?

After the horses' breakfast it was time to go to church for 8 o'clock Morning Prayer followed by my breakfast, telephone calls about a funeral and then a meeting to discuss community commemorations of the Battle of the Somme (which was devastating for the Northumberland Fusilliers) and other World War I anniversaries, some urgent administration connected with wedding banns and baptism arrangements and finally an open meeting about setting up a local information point for the Community Bank.

What a Whit Sunday!

Sunday 15th May 2016
The day started on the fell (feeding horses) before the Sunday services for Pentecost: at Bellingham and then at Woodburn we celebrated the way in which Jesus' disciples experienced the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost as if they were fired up by flames and blown away by "a rushing mighty wind".  In the afternoon it was STARS for young children and their families.  Then as a climax to the day the Confirmation at Otterburn of three parishioners, seen here with the bishop, when we prayed that their lives would continue to be inspired and guided by the exciting and refreshing care of the Holy Spirit. 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

On the fell

Thursday 12th May 2016
A number of phone calls came in connected with a sudden death and the arrangements for a funeral with burial in one of the parishes of the deanery.  There was the Confirmation order of service to look at for our local parishes and the draft of an ecumenical service in another parish.  All of these involved negotiations with organists, churchwardens, other clergy...until a meeting in the evening with the Friends of St Cuthbert's Bellingham.  The hour spent out of doors in beautiful weather gave time for some reflection on all these activities and on the pastoral issues affecting individuals.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Comings and goings

Tuesday 10th May 2016
Look who I found under the gooseberry bush!  A gardener!  Other people who turned up at the Rectory today were a churchwarden, the farrier, an interior designer, someone with a request for baptism and the new deanery development officer designate.

Monday, May 9, 2016

It feels like a holiday!

Monday 9th May 2016
Flowering cherry on the way up the North Tyne valley made me think I was on holiday and stop in a leisurely way for a photograph.  When I got back to the rectory, I realised as was NOT on holiday as I dealt with enquiries about burials, school assemblies, church finance, details of a Community Bank presentation with refreshments...and got ready for a couple coming for marriage preparation.

Sunday, May 8, 2016


Sunday 8th May 2016
     The cuckoo's call was loud and clear this morning but the bird wasn't visible  --  so here instead are some mischievous hens perching on a garden hedge.
     I meanwhile conducted Sunday services in two parishes, helped with an afternoon Messy Church  --  very messy  --  and made a baptism visit.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Coffee and tea

Saturday 7th May 2016
     The hardy folk of the Upper North Tyne enjoy cream teas in aid of the Church in not very springlike weather!  (There were plenty of seats indoors.)
     In the morning the parishioners of Redesdale were luckier in that their Coffee Morning was held in Otterburn Memorial Hall.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Ascension Day

Thursday 5th May 2016
The Easter Garden dismantled
At the Ascension Day service, we celebrated the eternal presence of the Risen Christ, remembering Jesus' parting from his disciples on earth.  Symbolically, the Easter Garden no longer has a place in the story at this stage in the Church year.  So the day ended with removing compost, moss, stones, plants and the rest of the scene which had been growing inside the church:

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

"The sheep follow because they know his voice..."

Wednesday 4th May 2016

..."they will not follow a stranger.  They will run away from him because they do not recognise the voice of strangers."
[from chapter 10 of St John's Gospel about Jesus, the Good Shepherd]

Sunday, May 1, 2016

A great landscape

Sunday 1st May 2016
A mixture of church services today, as we come towards the end of the Easter season and remember St Philip and St James doing the "work" of saints (which is to point people towards God) and pray on this Rogation Sunday not only for farmers but for all those people whose livelihood depends on the land.