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Church News Volume 5, Issue 12 (November 2004)

Dear friends,

What a busy month I have just had. Eight Harvest Festival services to attend (seven parishes and school), four Harvest suppers (Stansfield, Ousden, Cowlinge, Lidgate), and two musical evenings (Cowlinge and Denston).

It has been an encouraging time for me to see the Benefice churches in action. The social events and large services are a chance to speak to people who are not necessarily regular church attenders.

In such a large Benefice of seven parishes, with the associated number of services, meetings and other commitments, this is a valuable way of meeting many parishioners, and for them to see and speak with, the Vicar. Pastoral contacts are renewed and, if requested, follow up visits made. This is the way we have found works, and is appreciated by most people in the parishes, of networking our pastoral relationships, keeping in contact with parishioners.

Sadly, gone are the days of one Vicar, one parish, especially in the rural areas. We are trying new and more effective ways of working in such a diversity of parishes. We are also working with new ways of being the worshipping community.

For example, many of our major celebrations have moved from Sundays to weekdays, or Saturdays. Some of our Carols services have moved away from Sundays. Harvest has been tried on Saturdays in some parishes, incorporated into a Harvest supper or lunchtime meeting in others.

As you know, we now meet as seven parishes together twice a month for one service, on a second and fourth Sunday. This has strengthened our ties and deepened our social life as a Benefice.

Two candidates have been proposed, for selection by the Diocese, as Readers. They will, if selected, undergo a three year training course and then be licensed as Readers in the Benefice. One of our Readers has gone forward for ordination training and will be ordained next year, although sadly, not returning, at least to begin with, to the Benefice.

The Church has a great future in Bansfield Benefice. Each parish has an important part to play in that present and future growth.

Churches need restoring, new ventures in mission and reaching out to the communities are being planned through a newly formed Pastoral Team. Our children's work will be further developed. Our worship enhanced. The Benefice Music Group need an organist to help introduce new music to the Benefice services.

We are always looking for new people to come and join our efforts in proclaiming the Gospel anew and afresh for the people of Bansfield Benefice - @come and join us! You will be made very welcome.

Rev'd Ian M. Finn

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Last Modified Wednesday 25 May 2011