Parish Letter


“Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” This passage is so inspiring isn’t it? Jesus calls us to spread the good news to all people, from all nations and in all circumstances. When we call ourselves Christians we are claiming his promises of the resurrection into eternal life through his sacrifice for us, but we are also claiming to be people who model our lives, our homes and our personal moral values upon those Jesus modelled to his disciples over 2000 years ago. It truly is amazing that the simplest command is possibly the most powerful. “Love one another as I have loved you.” When we treat people with love, from a basis of love, we open our eyes to the individual and their individual need and we see beyond the prejudices and preconceptions that many of us have grown up absorbing. God loves every human being. God does not divide us by colour, or location, or size, or material value. We are all loved. We are all cherished and valued, not for what we have done or achieved, not for how hard we work, or how much we earn, or how beautiful we can be. God loves us from the moment of our arrival into the world naked, bloody, and equally vulnerable. He sees us as we truly are. He sees our motivation, our hearts, our thinking, our light in the world and our hidden darkness. We are free to choose to be in relationship with Jesus and support the propagation of Christian values in the world, or we can choose to go our own way. I pray that more and more people will choose to support the Church and follow Jesus. All our churches need your support. We need volunteers to help with the maintenance of the grounds and the buildings, and we need financial support to keep these wonderful places of worship open for the future generations who are fortunate enough to grow up in freedom in these beautiful villages.

If you were told that you were not allowed to go to church or worship God would that upset you? If the church buildings were sold off, or pulled down would that upset you? I have recently booked in 2 more baptisms for our church in Killinghall. That is wonderful. We are so excited to be welcoming new Christians. The church I was confirmed in has closed completely and is now part of a school. I find that so sad. I would love to be confident that all the baptised Christians in our communities will continue to follow Jesus throughout their lives. Will know how to worship in public worship and in private prayer. Will live their lives holding to the command to love their neighbours as themselves, and forgive as they would wish to be forgiven. Sadly, as I leave the benefice to start to spread the good news and baptise new Christians in a new location, I know that very few of those who are baptised exercise their freedom of religion and come to worship God.

I am so grateful to all those who diligently serve and keep the three churches in our benefice and the Chapel in Felliscliffe open. They are a small minority, and many are struggling with age and health issues, but they are working to preserve the history, the buildings, the faith, and the moral values that mean so much to them. If you can help them at all, even just by your prayers for the growth of the number of worshipers in each community, I thank you. As I leave at the end of May, to move to Sutton-in-Craven, my prayers will be that the loving Christian community in this place is so welcoming and attractive to others that it naturally flourishes and grows lay leaders and volunteers. The earliest that any Vicar appointed would start is January, and it is more than likely that it will be in April 2025. Your Church needs you. If you have a little time, please contact the church warden and offer your contact details and your help with whatever tasks are up your street. From sweeping, cleaning, washing the linen, baking, reading the lesson, playing an instrument or singing in the choir, to being a member of the regular congregation and supporting the future of the church by joining the PCC and shaping the future by your decision making.

Thank you for your love and support during my 3 years in Hampsthwaite, Killinghall and Birstwith. I hope to see many of you to say Goodbye in person before we leave at the end of May.