As a parish priest I have always found baptisms, weddings and funerals an enormous privilege.

Sharing in these life changing moments in people’s lives is one of the most special aspects of ministry. This past year has been difficult with having only one baptism, socially distanced, and all the weddings cancelled. Even taking funerals has been hard given the fact that numbers have been restricted and it has not been possible to sing. Nevertheless it has still been so important to gather to say our goodbyes to those whom we have loved and to support each other in the face of loss.

I have spoken some words from Deuteronomy hundreds of times at funeral services over my twenty six years of ministry “The eternal God is your dwelling place and underneath are the everlasting arms”. I have taken services and watched the coffin come in and have always known with my head that one day it would be a service for me and that someone else would be saying these words as part of my funeral service.

This year I have had to face this truth with my heart after the diagnosis of cancer and subsequent investigations for a heart problem.

As someone more used to caring for others than being cared for it has been enormously humbling to experience the support of so many people from across the villages who have offered to help drive me to appointments when Mike hasn’t been able to and also to receive many tokens of love left in the Rectory porch – jam, cakes, flowers and cards – which have meant so much. But at a personal level I have been challenged to enter more deeply into the reality of death whenever it may come. Through the prayer of silence I have tried to face the challenges that have arisen,

and tried to glimpse in a new way, the truth of those words that I have spoken so often. I have also used as a prayer the words from Psalm 15 verse 6 in the good news version of the bible. “You Lord are all that I have and you give me everything I need. My future is in your hands”. Those words are the absolute truth for every human being. All that we really have is God and only what he can give us is ultimately of any use to us.

All this pondering is ongoing and it helps me to discover again the sense that God is there for me no matter what, protecting me and those I love.

Whilst I don’t know what the outcome of my own situation will be, I do know a peace from God that I can entrust myself to no matter what the future may hold.

At its heart, this is the message of Easter. The cross is a real sign, of how even in the darkest and most uncertain of times, God has been there, and the resurrection is a sign that through the darkness, can come light and hope, that are life giving.

For all of us this past year has been extremely hard and for me as Rector, there have been professional as well as personal challenges about how to be church when church services cannot happen in their usual way. Moving online has offered a new way of exploring creative ways of sharing the faith and this has been exciting for me and for many in unexpected ways. Whilst I have missed church services and am looking forward to them resuming, I am also hoping to find ways of building on what the Archbishop has called “a mixed ecology of online and worship in church” as part of the ongoing community of faith.

I am waiting for an appointment to see if they can do a second operation and radiotherapy, so things continue to be uncertain. But as I look at the sunshine, the spring flowers and think of Easter I am reminded again that beneath it all, is the love of God, a love I can trust both in this life and in eternity

Linda x

Church Services

Palm Sunday March 28th. Please collect a Palm Cross from one of our open churches, Bishop Wilton. Kirby Underdale or Bugthorpe. If you are not venturing too far, please let us know by e mail or by ringing the Rectory on 01759 369974 and we will drop one off for you.

Holy Week - there will be an online service at 10.00am on Maundy Thursday 1st April and for Good Friday 2nd April again at 10am. These services will also be available on catch up through the website and YouTube so that you can watch them at whatever time is helpful to you. Some may want to watch the Maundy Thursday service on the evening and Good Friday at 3.00pm but you will have the choice depending on what is happening in your life especially as lockdown restrictions are changing.

Easter Day 4th April there will be a broadcast service at 10.00 am and this will be followed by an 11.15am said communion service at St Edith’s Bishop Wilton as the biggest church in the Benefice. We will use the same set up as we did for Christmas to keep everyone safe in case more people come than usual given the fact it is Easter. The general Covid guidance still remains in place so we will share communion in one kind and won’t be able to sing but we will have some music.

The Sunday after Easter April 11th will be a pre-recorded service at 10.00am accessible through the website. From then on, subject to the numbers of infections dropping and the numbers vaccinated continuing to rise we hope to return to the model we used before the latest lockdown:

10.00am Broadcast service followed by a said communion in church at 11.15am.

18th April St Andrew’s Bugthorpe
25th April All Saints Kirby Underdale
2nd May St Edith’s Bishop Wilton
9th May  St Andrew’s Bugthorpe
16th May All Saints Kirby Underdale
23rd May St Edith’s Bishop Wilton: Pentecost
30th May St Andrew’s Bugthorpe: Trinity
6th June All Saints Kirby Underdale

I never imagined this time last year that we would still be doing so much online, but I have been heartened by the way in which everyone has pulled together to continue to worship and grow in our faith during such a difficult and challenging year.

Easter Cross

Thanks to Kate and Michelle, as last year there will be a large cross covered in oasis in the porch at St Edith’s, Bishop Wilton from Easter morning. We hope that it will be decorated by as many people as possible by bringing a couple of flowers to stick into the oasis. We hope to see the bare cross transformed into a beautiful symbol to celebrate new life. If you want more information please contact Jan Danby 369934.

There will also be Easter flowers in the churches if you want to go in on Easter Day for prayer or quiet reflection

In Memoriam

In thanksgiving we remember

Margaret Potter - February 18th There will be a memorial service for Margaret in St Andrew’s Bugthorpe when lockdown ends.

Archie Jones - February 18th All Saints Kirby Underdale. It was wonderful that so many of his friends who couldn’t attend the service because of the restricted numbers were able to line the route to church through Bugthorpe.

Rest eternal grant unto them O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon them.

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