Rector’s letter June 2019
Catholic Evangelism
Franciscan Sprituality
I have heard you calling in the night ... how I heard God’s voice
West Lindsey Open Churches
Annual Meetings Roundup
Annual Hillside Remembrance Service
Kirmond le Mire ~ Strawberry Teas
Tealby "Summer Concerts"
Baptisms, Marriages & Funerals

Rector’s letter June 2019

This issue of the Wolds Witness is taking as its focus, the related, but distinctly different theological ideas of Vocation and Calling. These two words, or ideas, are bandied around rather a lot in religious circles and often get confused and misunderstood. However, they are highly important concepts to appreciate when we are determined to understand how we perceive God, and what we understand he is asking us to do. At our baptisms we were all cleansed by God's Holy Spirit, ready to become the people God wants us, and needs us, to become… but how do we know?

A Call

A Call is the feeling that we get that we are being asked to do something for God. For some it is a “Damascus road moment”, when we are challenged directly – like St Paul - to change our ways and come in to God’s service. Others will have a very gentle call, that gradually builds up in their hearts and minds. Something that grows stronger day by day, something that cannot be pushed away however hard we try. A good scriptural example of this is Jonah. God called him to go to the people of Nineveh to warn them, but Jonah resisted, trying every way he could think of to get out of it, and away from God’s grasp. Yet God’s power overcame him. And as God required he eventually, via the belly of a whale we are told, got to Nineveh and warned the people.

God calls us when he needs us to carry out a task for him… a task that will open hearts and minds and promote the kingdom and its values here on earth.

The Call

So the Call is the personal challenge from God to come into His service, because he needs you!

Our Vocation

Our Vocation is the job that we are destined for in God’s service. It may be as an ordained priest through sacramental service to God’s people. It may be as a licensed or Authorised Lay Minister (ALM) offering yourselves in ministries of teaching or evangelism or pastoral support. It may be the ministry of welcome and hospitality that you offer, that allows others to feel relaxed and refreshed. Or it may be the floral decorations you create (a ministry of spirituality) that lift the hearts and minds of those who experience them. All of these and many, many, more are vocations that God needs and can, and do, enable the Church to flourish.

You may not have identified an experience which you have perceived as a Call from God, or think you have a Vocation. However we must remember that everyone of God’s children is called to his service, and all of us have gifts that enable us to fulfil a vocation… gifts that God has bestowed on us.

My Call

My Call was to set aside my previous life and become a priest in God’s Church, my Vocation at this time is to be the priest for you in your parishes, as your Rector.

I wonder how many of ‘YOU’ think you have an inkling of a call to be more than you are? How many of you have an idea that God is pushing you in a direction you do not wish to go? How many of you resist that push with all your might?

Give in to a Call

To give in to a Call and undergo a discernment process, where others will look for those signs in you, is difficult and often against our common sense better judgment. But if you believe it is there and you have felt that way for a while then you may be due a conversation to explore what God actually wants you to do!

As disciples and missioners for Christ we have one role, and that is to’ find out what God is doing and join in.’ Each of us is Called, each of us has a Vocation. Identify yours, and for His kingdom - unleash it!

Every blessing

Catholic Evangelism

Many of you have queried with me, in the last few weeks the recent use of the term Father to denote who I am. It has led to some very interesting conversations, but also identified a misunderstanding about the term and what it denotes.

As my own faith has developed over the years, I have found my own closeness to God is experienced through the use of light and space generally within the context of the Eucharist. The idea of a sacred space setting the scene for a closeness to Christ is something I strongly believe in, and when this is achieved within the celebration of Holy Communion, Christ is not just close but truly present with us. Many refer to this as the Holy Mysteries, something we perceive but cannot explain.

I have found myself drawn towards a group of fellow Anglican priests over the last few years, who express the above interpretation. In March I was finally admitted to their order at a Eucharist Celebration in All Saints Church at Nettleham. The group is known as the Society of Catholic Priests (SCP) and those admitted to its order are usually styled Father or Mother. It is purely made up of Church of England Clergy who ascent to the following
  1. Members of the Society believe, that the churches of the Anglican Communion are part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church,
  2. ordaining men and women to serve as Deacons, Priests and Bishops in the Church of God;
    believe in the real presence of the risen Lord in the Eucharist;
  3. use and practise the seven sacraments of the Church;
  4. and undertake the keep the rule of life of the Society.
We are not Roman Catholic, but use the term Catholic to refer to the ‘universal’ church as it was originally intended.

The catholic tradition is already demonstrated in Parishes by the use of priest’s vestments (Stole and Chasuble) and candles on altars. This is something that pre-dates me for decades. Additionally, St Mary’s Church, Walesby has an Aumbry, a small lockable wall cupboard on the north side of the altar. This is the receptacle used for storing Reserved Sacrament. It is an Anglo-Catholic practise, demonstrating the strong catholic heritage of these parishes in the 1920’s.

Ritual and tradition along with proclamation of the scripture, within a Eucharistic setting is a defining mark of what we now call Catholic Evangelism. Promoting the use of all our senses and intelligence to experience God. Not just ‘Smells and Bells’ or ‘Hour-long Sermons’. I believe it is through the use of all these gifts from God, Scripture and Sacrament, that new Christians can be formed, and existing Christian believers have their experience and understanding deepened.

As priests we are only authentic if we are who we are. Therefore I will live out my own spirituality as I minister amongst you, not trying to convert you to a different tradition, but offering you other ways to open up your own spiritual nature.

If you want to know more about the Catholic traditions of the Church of England, and experience God in different ways, I would be delighted to talk with you.

Fr Chris SCP

Franciscan Sprituality

It was during a family holiday to Assisi in Italy in 2002 that I became drawn to Franciscan spiritual tradition. I explored this further on my return and as a result studied as a novice for 3 years before being professed as a member of the Third Order of the Society of Saint Francis (TSSF) in 2006, I don’t wear a monks habit but I do have a rule of life and I took vows at my profession which I renew annually. I meet regularly with other members of the third order living in the local area to share the Eucharist and fellowship.

The third order of St Francis is a worldwide Anglican Religious Order of men and women, lay and ordained, married and single, young and old, and of various ethnic and educational backgrounds. We commit ourselves to leading our lives according to a Rule of Life, while living in our own homes, working in the community and caring for our families. There are about 3000 members worldwide, 2000 of whom are in Europe.

  1. The Aims of the Order are:
  2. To make our Lord Jesus Christ known and loved everywhere
  3. To spread the spirit of love and harmony
  4. To live simply

This surely is the aim of all Christians but Tertiaries (as members are known), desire to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, whom we serve through prayer, study and work, after the example of St Francis and St Clare. The keynotes of our lives are humility, love and joy. We are inspired by St. Francis’ challenge to the Church to follow closely Jesus’ earthly life, to proclaim the gospel and bring justice and peace.

The spirituality is rooted in Eucharistic worship and personal prayer and we believe that we are called to serve within the Church and in the world, enriched and strengthened by periods of contemplation and retreat. As Franciscans we seek to worship and serve God in His creation and are therefore pledged to the service of others and to respect for all life. Francis himself founded the Third Order for lay people who wished to live according to a Franciscan Rule of Life, without becoming members of the First Order. A Rule for the Third Order was approved by the Pope in 1221. The First Order consists of men and women who live in community under a Franciscan Rule based on the traditional vows of poverty, chastity and obedience; they normally wear a brown habit. There are several Franciscan houses in the UK, one that I have often visited being at Alnmouth. The Second Order (Community of St Clare) is composed of women who feel called by God to an enclosed life of contemplative prayer, coupled with work to be self-supporting. The Franciscan house at Metheringham, near Lincoln, is one such example.

I have heard you calling in the night ... how I heard God’s voice

Understanding God’s calling is not easy or straightforward but I have learned four things from my own experience.

Ministry is not the exclusive privilege of a few, God calls all sorts of people to do his work, no matter what your background.

On 16th April Revd Chris, myself and deacons, priests and bishops from the whole diocese met in Lincoln Cathedral to renew our ordination vows. We do this every year in Holy Week and it never ceases to amaze me the diversity of ministry that gather to do this. We are thankfully now almost as many women as men and are of all ages, shapes, sizes and backgrounds. Ministry is for everyone It could be YOU.

I believe that my own calling to ordained ministry started very gently in the late 1960s when I was 11 years old, that story is for another day, but at that time of course women were not allowed to be priests in the Church of England. Nothing really happened then for some 20 or more years as I pursued my career, got married and generally got on with life, with of course my Christian faith always at the fore.

There is NEVER a good or perfect time to be called, it is in Gods time. If you wait for the perfect time it will never come.

One day in 1990 there was a knock on the door (literally), Revd Gervase Babington asking me to consider training for Reader ministry. This could not have been more unexpected. I had never heard of Readers and I had also just found out that I was expecting my first child. But in September 1991 when Louise was 6 months old, and I was back at work full time, I started the 3-year part time training course for Reader ministry. I think that God must have a sense of humour with his timing, but he also is gracious and somehow with my husband’s support I completed the course.

Ministry amongst the people of your community with whom you have lived and known is a real privilege.

On 16th April 1994 (yes, another 16th April) I stood in Lincoln Cathedral, now pregnant with my second daughter, and was licensed by Bishop Bob to Reader ministry. With two young children, a full-time career and ministry work in the Walesby Group I set off on what has been a wonderfully fulfilling and exciting adventure.

If you really feel called to do something, then God always finds a way for you to cope.

Skipping over the next 10 years I gradually began to realise that I was being called to be ordained. In 2002 I found myself once more training part time for another 2 years this time for ordained ministry. By the time I was ordained deacon in 2004 and priest in 2005 the girls were growing up (10 and 13), I was still climbing the career ladder at work (engineering actually gave me many skills to face ministry!) and was now ministering as an ordained person in my community.

To conclude: If you are you convinced that you are being nudged, beckoned or called in any way by God, there is no escaping and there’s never a good time?

Think about Jesus’ first disciples, they all had jobs and families and yet they still followed his call. A call to ministry needs testing which, is why there are stages of discernment within the process. If anyone would like to talk about their own call, however tentative that may be, I am always happy to listen and help.

In April I celebrated 25 years of licensed ministry within the Walesby Group, and I hope, my dear friends, that together with the many things I’m sure I’ve got wrong that I have got sufficient right and that I have brought support, comfort and the love of God to you all. My prayer is that there will be others in the Group who will also have the courage to respond to God calling them in the night. Revd Elaine

West Lindsey Open Churches

A big thank you to all the churches who took part in the Open Churches festival on the 18th and 19th May. I managed to get around to all those with events on over the weekend, and found it wonderful to see so many people from inside and outside the church communities helping out. That is what makes the event special, to see the church becomes the focus of an event for the whole of the community it is centred in.

For me the weekend started, on Friday afternoon, when Michelle Baker and I invited Classes 2, 3 and 4 from Tealby school to come and explore the paper making exhibits in All Saints Church. Paper making was a substantial industry in Tealby in days gone by, and we felt we could aid the children’s understanding of their local historical environment, as well as develop a theological theme around the ‘Sustainability of Creation’. The purpose of the afternoon was to create an Altar Frontal in paper using the skills of Origami, Paper Weaving and Calligraphy amongst other craft activities. Sixty children set to work trying all the activities including (thanks to the ingenuity of Hugh Nott) the chance to actually make a piece of paper.

The end result a Noah’s Ark fresco looks fantastic and will stay in Tealby Church all summer.

The rest of the weekend was amazing with many visitors welcomed, lunches and afternoon teas served, a skilful organ recital on Sunday, and managing also to squeeze a baptism in too.

My first stop on Saturday was Claxby, selling a variety of scones as part of the ‘Sconeathon’ Challenge. Then up the hill to Normanby for tea and biscuits and a look around their village life exhibition. Lots of historic photographs of life as it used to be. It was very well laid out and again many visitors supported the event. I especially enjoyed the skill of the young man who had been learning to turn wood with his grandad. His enthusiasm (and knowledge) was a joy to see.

Then on to St Mary’s, Thoresway, where we were faced with such an amazing choice of food we didn’t know where to start. Again the whole community was out in force to support this major fund-raiser for the church. The weather was glorious as I sat outside with Chrissie and Henry having tea, cakes, scones and quiche.

One of the surprising things is how far people will travel for a good lunch! Well Done.

Sunday, I made it to Tealby again with the Festival opening after communion and pausing as we baptised Anna Lilian Dawson. While visitors were eating and drinking quietly at the back of the church. Someone commented how good to see the church actually in use as well as set up for the tourists – and it was! The exhibition on paper making was very informative and the effort that had obviously gone into every detail was very evident.

Finally off to St Michael and All Angels, Brookenby where an art exhibition and workshop were being held. The church looked amazing, just like a gallery, and the cream teas being served in ‘Thrifty’ were very good too. A number of children had also found the art workshop and were busy painting away.

Once again thanks to all who took part for the two days. It is a big commitment but it just shows what can be done when villages pull together.

Over £2100 was raised across the 5 Churches with Thoresway nearly hitting £1000

Once again congratulations to all on the effort, but also on the fantastic community engagement successes.

Annual Meetings Roundup

Thank you to everyone who attended the Annual Meetings for their churches during the months of March and April. All churches now have properly constituted Church Councils able to fulfil their legal responsibilities in terms of English Law; HMRC regulations; Charity Commission requirements and Safeguarding policies and procedures. I do appreciate that a lot seems to fall on the shoulders of a willing few, unfortunately the world we live in has expectations on us as individuals and our churches in particular. The consequences of being found lacking, even in minor areas, are not to be ignored.

That said, we are also constituted in a manner to allow us to now fully embrace our Christian faith and promote our own discipleship and enable effective mission to be undertaken. One amazing statistic that jumped out at me is that of an adult population of 1646 across all the parishes 175 are on the various church electoral rolls. That is 10.6% of our population belong in some way to the church.

Thanks to all those who offered themselves for the roles of Churchwardens, Deanery Synod reps and PCC Members, we couldn’t operate without you. Thank you also to our treasurers and secretaries who keep everything running smoothly.

There is a lot going on, in many of our churches this year, and I want to thank you in advance for the work you will put in, and leadership roles in the projects a number of you will undertake.

Remember keep our Lord in your hearts, and support everything you do with prayer. You will all be kept in my prayers. Chris.

Annual Hillside Remembrance Service

About 60 people attended the 11th annual hillside service at Claxby. At this service we remember and give thanks for loved ones. Each person remembered has a tree on the hillside planted in their name and there are now well in excess of 100 trees. The service was led by Revd Elaine assisted by Trevor Lyle and Sue Griffin who read a poem.

Afterwards tea was served at the Viking Centre.

Kirmond le Mire ~ Strawberry Teas

Tealby "Summer Concerts"

Baptisms, Marriages & Funerals

Anna Lilian Dawson Tealby 19th May 2019

Charles Raymond Banks; Tealby Church; Burial 9th April 2019
Rita King Tealby Church; Cremation 13th May 2019
David Robert Spiers; Tealby Church; Cremation followed by Thanksgiving 21st May 2019
Keith Blakemore Hemming; Walesby Church; Burial 22nd May 2019