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Rector's View - September 2010

Dear friends,

As you will have read last month, the Rural Coffee Caravan Information Project is coming to Stradishall. The project involves a caravan that is towed to villages in Suffolk and is set up on a village green or other suitable place. The project visits, in particular, those villages that lack other community facilities, which means that meeting others, for those without transport, is difficult. Having enjoyed attending the Caravan at Cowlinge and Ousden, and having seen how much it is appreciated, I was keen to suggest that the Borough Council approach the Parish Council to see if this would be a possibility in Stradishall.

The project offers residents:

  • useful information about many agencies and organizations;
  • a chance to meet your neighbours, the friendly volunteers and other new people;
  • coffee, tea and lovely homemade cakes!

Its mission is to make available information that enables people to achieve better health and wellbeing, feel safer and more engaged in their own environment and maintain their independence, enabling users to stay longer in their own homes. Partner organisations travel with the project to these visits to increase awareness of the services they offer and to link people into the services they need.

The Caravan will be coming to Stradishall from 10am to Midday on 2 September (meet at St Margaret’s Place) and 23 September (meet by Hawthorne Way). I hope to see you there.

Please help!

It is very probable that Christian worship has taken place in parts of some of our churches for more than a thousand years – or for over half of the Christian era so far! This staggering statistic can easily make us feel that, to all intents and purposes, the church has always been here and always will be. People naturally assume that when it is time for a family Baptism, Wedding or Funeral, or when they would like to attend a Carol Service or Harvest Festival, or if they would like to attend a service at Christmas or Easter, the church will always be there for them. Very sadly, this cannot be guaranteed.

The sad fact is that small but dedicated congregations are struggling to maintain the churches, not just for themselves but for the villages as a whole. We do, of course, have a restoration appeal running in Stansfield and I am very grateful to Hugh Douglas-Pennant for chairing this appeal but, in addition to funding the upkeep and repair of the building, we also have to cover the cost of keeping a priest here, as well as day to day expenses, such as insurance, utilities and church requisites. We are running at a deficit and soon our limited reserves will be exhausted. Equally serious is a shortage of church office holders – to carry on the work of the church. Within the next few months Stansfield, for instance will need two new churchwardens, a new Secretary and a new Treasurer as the present post holders stand down after many years devoted service. At the time of writing there is no-one willing to come forward to fill any of these posts. A similar situation exists at Wickhambrook.

Unfortunately, however much we love the church building, and however much we spend on it, we simply will not be able, or allowed to continue as a parish church unless people come forward to fill these key posts.

Please, if you value your parish church, think and pray about how you could help us. Could you help us financially with a monthly, annual, or even one off donation? If you are a tax payer and would be prepared to sign a Gift Aid declaration, this would increase the value of your gift by 28p in the pound at no extra cost to you. Would you be prepared to do some fundraising? Please talk to me or a Churchwarden if you think that you could help. Do you feel that you have some gifts, skills and a little spare time that you could offer to serve as a Churchwarden, Secretary or Treasurer – the Church Council only meets four times a year? Again, the Churchwardens and I would be delighted to talk to you about what is involved. Of course, if you would like to join us for services, regularly or even occasionally, that would be wonderful and you would be assured of a very warm welcome. If you haven’t been to church for a while, or if you have never been, why not give it a try?

Please don’t let our generation be the one in which our Parish Churches close.

You can now read the latest news around the Benefice and in the wider Church on the Benefice blogspot. Please go to the following: http://bansfieldbenefice.blogspot.com/ This can also be accessed from the Benefice Website home page.

With every blessing,

Stephen

Rev'd Stephen Abbott

News Letter Archive.

Last Modified Wednesday 25 May 2011