Letter from Reverend Bladen – March 2019

March 2019

Dear Friends and Neighbours,

As I write this letter exactly six months after being licensed as Rector to The United Benefice of Stanton, which includes, Barnignham, Coney Weston, Market Weston, Hopton, Thelnetham, Hinderclay and Hepworth, I’m reflecting on what a good six moths it’s been. I’ve loved getting to know the area, the churches, the villages, and of course the people; and my husband and I have been really struck with the warmth of welcome we’ve received and continue to receive… Thank you.

One of the gifts I believe God has given me for this work is my love for people and my enjoyment of getting to know them and building relationships; those of you who have already met me will know I love to chat! There are many varied and different aspects to this job, which means I’m able to get involved with community life and the local schools. It’s been great to have been welcomed and have been involved with the Parish council and the Royal British legion’s events over Christmas and Remembrance Day. I’ve loved getting involved with the schools in the Benefice too and really enjoy taking assemblies and the occasions the schools come into church for services.

One of the things that has really impressed me in the villages is the sense of community. There is so much life going on, so many varied activities and groups to be a part of; there is it appears to me to be a real sense of belonging. In these politically unsettled times and with increasingly busy lives where our families are often stretched, there is a real need to have a wider support net work …a larger community to which we feel we belong. As I speak to people about Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals, the conversation often gathers around where people feel they belong and where their sense of home is. It seems that people are moving back into our villages in the hope of discovering community life and a sense of belonging… and I think the church can help with that.

The bible is full of wonderful examples that confirm the importance of good community life; part of the beauty of the Christian faith is that God draws people from all different backgrounds, different abilities, strengths and weakness to come together, to be community. Through His words and His life Jesus teaches that each one of us is special and loved by God, that we each have significance and value; and from that we get a true sense of acceptance and belonging.

Part of my job is to work together with each of our churches to look at how we can get alongside, love and support our communities in a way that builds community life. One of the things we will be doing in the churches over the next few months is looking at the type and style of services across the Benefice; looking to see what we might introduce or change so as to make church and church life even more accessible for everyone and so help our churches to become even more of a focal point in community life… and places where our community really feels it belongs.

So if you would like to know more about becoming a part of the Church and Christian Community then please do contact me, my details are in the front cover, I would love to chat with you and help you find ways to come a part of the Christian community where you live.

God Bless

Cathy Bladen

( The Rector )