Our lovely group of six historic churches, (Brinkley, Burrough Green, Carlton, Dullingham, Stetchworth and Westley Waterless) we hope are welcoming places for all, whether for a service, a quiet spiritual space or in historical interest. Over hundreds of years they have and continue to offer a space to seek and meet with God, to pray and to mark life’s journeys.
As a member of the parish you can be baptised, confirmed, have your funeral (and still burial in all of them) if you desire. Many of you and generations before you will also have been married in them.
Like any historic building, maintenance and insurance to keep them safe and open runs into thousands of pounds, each year. But the building is more than its walls; it is a faithful community of past, present and future people who care for God’s mission of love to the community both within and outside of the building.
Our churches are also part of the wider church of God, of the Church of England; as part of this we are supported by priests (past, present and future), bishops, safe guarding teams, children and youth teams, etc. All that comes with running a big organisation costs, particularly with regard to personnel, training and pensions. Every church is asked to pay a contribution towards these ongoing costs in the form of ‘The Parish Share’.
The payment of the Parish Share is essential to keep the churches open into the future, to pay for all the above including the priests who have supported our communities in the past and to ongoingly maintain the presence of one albeit part-time across the group, currently myself, Nikki.
The group cost of our Parish Share this year is £39 317 !! (Dullingham £9041, Stetchworth £8306, Brinkley £6542, Burrough Green £6542, Carlton £4443 and Westley Waterless £4443).
Yes! This cost is on top of the ongoing daily costs, heating, insurances and maintenance of our churches. We have a small but generous group of faithful people who give regularly (bless you and thank-you for this, it is seen and appreciated), kind legacies, and regular fundraising, but still unfortunately our group fell short of the full amount last year and looks like doing so again going forward. Unless, and yes, this where you come in!! we have wider community support to help to raise funds.
We are looking to hold a big event in 2020 to try to raise half the Parish Share which then makes meeting the rest and other costs more feasible. £20,000 is a huge amount to raise, so we are looking for event ideas and organisers, sponsorship, a venue and, of course, we are very happy to receive donations big or small (if gift aided this increases the gift by 25%) and the consideration of leaving a legacy to your church in your will.
If you would like to help with any of these things, or would like to know more, we would be most grateful, please contact Revd Nikki, or one of our churchwardens.
Many, many thanks,
On behalf of all our churches
I heard a great quote recently ‘Going to Church does not make you a Christian, anymore than going to McDonalds makes you a hamburger!’
This is particularly fitting as we soon move into the reflective season of Lent a time when we are invited to take stock of our lives, our faith, our footprint on the world. On the 3rd February we celebrate ‘The Presentation of Christ’ where Mary and Joseph take their son to the temple to present him to the Lord. This shows us how important ritual is, how important being faithful to one’s faith is. It is not just Mary, Joseph and Jesus who are touched on this occasion but also the older prayerful Simeon and prophet Anna who for years have prayerfully waited for a glimpse of the Messiah. And immediately they know it, they see it in this child Jesus and their hearts are filled with joy and they are at peace. That meeting with the Christ is enough for them to know that in this world and the next ‘All will be well’.
Yes going to church doesn’t make you a Christian, but meeting and receiving Christ does, and Church is a great place to do this (but don’t rule out in McDonalds either!). God can be found anywhere and everywhere, we just need to be open to the encounter.
May you encounter the joy and peace of God this month,
Revd Nikki Mann
Nikki is the Priest in Charge of the Raddesley Benefice (which consists of 6 churches) in Cambridgeshire