Category Archives: News

St Mary’s Away Weekend at Chellington

In the last weekend of June, 14 adults and 11 children spent the weekend at the Chellington Centre in North Bedfordshire. It was located in a beautiful part of the Bedfordshire countryside, overlooking the River Ouse.

The weekend included some families staying over (sleeping in bunks in the converted church, with a few camping in tents) and some visiting for the day. Blessed with wonderful weather, time to spend with each other, great food (and drink!), a fire pit, BBQ, table tennis and table football, and so much more, it was a wonderful way to spend a summer weekend.

Here is what some of those who came have to say about it

“For me this weekend gave the opportunity for all of us to share and see the beauty of God’s Earth. The location and weather all helped but it was the coming together of old and young enjoying, companionship and spirituality in a relaxed way. My abiding memory was observing parents, adults and children of all ages all working together to create their ideas of God’s Wonderful world in paint and craft, all chattering away and engrossed in putting their ideas down. We had such diverse ideas about what creation meant.”

“Doing the nature art was really fun because we could use all the things we collected by the lake.  And my favourite bit was toasting marshmallows on the fire when it was really dark.  If we want to look after the planet we have to collect everyone’s litter.”

“What I liked about our time at Chellington was the opportunity of a different way of being together.”

“I loved the relaxed and interactive nature of Saturday; the focus on God’s creation in the park and then the opportunity to create something in groups around what we had seen, heard, collected, stimulated conversations and fun. This mixed well with the times we ate together, and worshipped and thought about how we can help safeguard God’s beautiful world – at home, in our places of work, education, church – reducing the use of plastic, composting, recycling.”

St Mary’s Church Holiday Club 2018: Guardians of Ancora

What a week! The hottest St Mary’s Holiday Club since records began, but one jam-packed with fun, paint, glue, biscuits, sports and games, new and old friends, singing, archery, film-making, treasure hunts, finding out a bit more about ourselves and about God, and lots of laughter.

Thanks to all the young leaders and grown-ups who made it happen, and to our 72 ‘Treasure Seekers’ for making it such brilliant week.

Journeying Together: Parish Pilgrimage

July and August are traditionally the best months for going on holiday: for one the weather is supposedly better (and if not at least the rain is warmer!). We decide on our holiday destinations carefully – it might be because of the better weather, a desire to see a place or simply to spend time with friends and family and ‘take time out’.

We might think that carving time out for rest and relaxation is a modern thing, but it has always been a part of the world in which we live. From the cycle of crops and our seasons to what we find written in the Bible: the Book of Genesis tells us that God rested on the seventh day, and the Bible is full of journeys and ‘holidays’.

This summer twenty or so members of the village community will be going on a different sort of holiday – that of a pilgrimage. We are going to visit the places associated with the Christian saints of 7th century Northern England – of St Cuthbert, St Aidan and St Hilda. This was at a time when Northern England was a key centre for Christian learning and understanding.

A pilgrimage is a journey to a special or holy place deemed more spiritually significant than home and this is certainly the case for the mighty Durham Cathedral and the serene and tranquil Holy Island and Whitby Abbey. We are going hoping to encounter God and also to journey towards greater self-awareness of both ourselves and each other, bringing with us our joys and our sorrows.

Yet any journey can become a pilgrimage if we do it with the intent of encountering God on the journey, from a holiday in foreign climates to a trip to the shops. Below is our pilgrimage prayer and perhaps you might want to modify it for whatever holiday you are going on this summer, because wherever you are going, God is already there to meet you.

Heavenly Father,

As we follow in the steps of your saints,

seeing and learning about the lives they led and the places where they lived,

help us to grow in the knowledge and love of your Son Jesus Christ.

May this pilgrimage be a time:

of deepening prayer and worship,

of overflowing fellowship, compassion and friendship,

of letting go of all that holds us back from you,

and for taking on your Spirit afresh in our lives.

We ask this in the name of the Triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Amen.

With blessings,

Tim