December 2016 ————– BENEFICE NEWS————–December 2016

 Rev. Philip Greenhalgh, Priory Cottage, Lanercost, Brampton CA8 2HQ

Tel: 016977 42846

 Services for December

  Hethersgill   Kirklinton   Stapleton   Bewcastle  
2nd Sunday

of Advent

4th Dec 9.30 am HC PG 11 am MP PG 6 pm EP PG
7th Dec 7.30 pm Readings and Night Prayer for Advent at St Mary’s, Stapleton PG
3rd Sunday

of Advent

11th Dec 11 am MP PG 9.30 am HC PG `6 pm EP PG
14th Dec 7.30 pm Readings and Night Prayer for Advent at St Mary’s, Stapleton PG
4th Sunday

of Advent

18th Dec 11 am

Carol Service

PG 10 am

Carol Service

DD 10 am

Carol Service

St Thomas 21st Dec 7.30 pm Holy Communion at St Mary’s, Stapleton PG
Christmas Eve 24th Dec 5 pm

Crib Service

PG 11.30 pm HC PG 11.30 pm HC RB
Christmas Day 25th Dec 10 am Holy Communion at St Mary’s, Stapleton PG
2nd Sunday

of Christmas

1st Jan 10 am United Benefice Service of Morning Prayer at St Mary’s, Stapleton PG
Epiphany 6th Jan 7.30 pm Holy Communion at St Mary’s, Stapleton PG

Rev. Philip Greenhalgh – PG      Dick Davidson – DD     Tony Bashford – TB

Rev. Rob Brown- RB    Rt. Rev. John Richardson JR

If there is anyone who cannot get to church and would like to receive Holy Communion at home please contact Rev. Greenhalgh

Other Services:

Knowe United Reformed Church, Bewcastle

(Services on first Sunday of the month)

Sunday 4th December 2-15pm

Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th December 12pm-4pm Christmas tree festival in Knowe Church, decorations by local people

Sunday 18th December   2.30pm Carol singing. Refreshments in Roadhead hall and gifts sales table.

Russelgate Service every Sunday at 7 pm.

Morning Prayer is said at 8 o’clock every morning, Monday to Friday, in the oratory (conservatory) at Greenholme, Bewcastle. Everyone is welcome

Church Events 

14th December 11.30 am  Holy Baptism and Blessing of Wedding at St Cuthbert’s, Bewcastle 

16th December 1.30 pm          Shankhill School End of Term Service at St Mary’s, Stapleton

 23rd December 7.30 pm        Carols and Readings at Murrayholme, Bewcastle 

December 2016———–BENEFICE NEWS————December 2016

Dear friends,

It’s something of a struggle keeping up with the demands placed upon us by the Christian religion. Some of it seems well-nigh impossible for a practising saint let alone for those of us who are morally crippled. However I do find it easy to keep one of our Lord’s commands, this from his important Sermon on the Mount: “Behold the fowls of the air”. I’ve spent most of my life watching birds, listening to birds, counting birds, reading about birds and even on one occasion dreaming about birds. And the more I try and keep our Lord’s command to “behold the fowls of the air” the more there is to behold. The mysterious life of birds becomes even more mysterious, and therefore more fun, the more we learn about them.

Last week my brother Malcolm sent me a paper describing a relatively new project run by the BTO; it was entitled “Satellite-Tracking of Cuckoos” and followed a year’s flight-path of a Lancastrian Cuckoo whose name is Larry and is from the Forest of Bowland. Already an adult bird he was ringed and tagged on the 3rd June 2015 and left home on 23rd June to fly non-stop the 1526 km to Narai in Hungary. It took him just one day. He left Hungary on 6th July, flew across to the Croatian coast and then down to Matera in Southern Italy. By early August he was in Chad held up by heavy rain in the Tibesti Mountains but then managed to get across the desert and by 12th August was tracked on the shore of Lake Chad. After a few weeks’ holiday Larry flew to the Central African Republic through the Congolian lowland forest and by early November was in Lake Mai’s rainforest in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He only had a night’s bed and breakfast there before a day’s 682 km flight southwest into Angola where he rested a few days before flying 308 km west and close to the South Atlantic coast where he stopped for Christmas and New Year.

In early January 2016 Larry began his long journey home to Lancashire and by 10th April was in Nigeria. His crossing of the Sahara was at its widest point, around 2,600 km. On 17th April he was in Sardinia and arrived back in England on 2nd May. He had another night’s B and B in Norfolk and was back in the Forest of Bowland on the 4th. Not one to be a “home-bird” for long Larry was off again on 24th June and flew over 1500 km in just over 30 hours to be tracked in a 40⁰ heatwave in Croatia. As it write this he is probably back in Angola.

Reading about Larry makes me wonder about our own parish Cuckoos, our Blackcaps and Swallows, about the Arctic Terns and Long-tailed Ducks, the Whinchats, Fieldfares and Snow Buntings. And what of the Corncrakes, Nightjars et al. “Behold the fowls of the air” our Lord instructs and the more we behold the more there is to behold.

Just as mysterious and almost as interesting is our own human nature. There is always something new to explore about ourselves and those around us. We can never know ourselves completely and the ever-changing nature of our minds and bodies is something to behold and to explore.

At Christmas we celebrate an even deeper mystery: God putting on the clothes of humanity and being born as a helpless baby. Of course we can never “get our heads around” the Incarnation but as we behold this story in our reading, in our worship, in our praying and in our feasting perhaps we may glimpse a moment or two of some deeper reality.

As we behold the many mysteries of creation, of Larry the Lancastrian Cuckoo and of ourselves, we may yet behold that Divine Logos who himself beholds, and holds, the totality of creation in the warmth and light of love.

Valerie joins me in wishing you a Happy Christmas,

From your Rector,