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May 2023 ————-BENEFICE NEWS————-  May  2023


For enquiries please contact Revd Dr Robert Brown
Priest-in-Charge, Bewcastle, Stapleton and Kirklinton with Hethersgill
A: Greenholme, Bewcastle, Cumbria, CA6 6PWT: 016977 48438


Date Sunday Bewcastle Stapleton Hethersgill Kirklinton
7th May Easter 5 10 am HC
14th May Rogation Sunday    10 am Rogation service at Hetherside Farm
21st May Easter 7 6 pm HC      
28th May Pentecost     10 am  HC  
4th June Trinity   10 am HC

+Peter Ramsden



Knowe United Reformed Church, Bewcastle

2.15 pm


Prayer for the Month

Almighty God, whose will it is that the earth and the sea should bear fruit in due season: bless the labours of those who work on land and sea, grant us a good harvest and the grace always to rejoice in your fatherly care; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

From the Registers


Jesse Johnston (b. December 2022), at St Cuthbert Kirklinton, Sunday 16th April 2023


Jean Irving (92) of High Field, Kirklinton, at St Cuthbert Kirklinton, Monday 3rd April 2023


Church Notices

14th May, Rogation Sunday. Our Rogation service this year will be held at Hetherside Farm, Kirklinton. The farm is located on the back road from Kirklinton church to Smithfield, on the left just before the road crosses the Hether Burn. Reverse the directions if travelling from Smithfield. All are welcome.


Annual Parochial Church Meetings

Notice is hereby given for Annual Parochial Church Meetings and Election of Church Wardens for each of our three parishes as follows:


St Mary Stapleton, 7pm Wednesday 3rd May 2023 at Stapleton Hall

St Cuthbert Bewcastle, 7pm Monday 15th May 2023 at Bewcastle Church

St Cuthbert Kirklinton with St Mary Hethersgill, 7pm Monday 22nd May 2023 at Kirklinton Church.

These meetings are open to the public and will be followed by PCC meetings for PCC members only. Full statutory notices will be displayed on church websites and noticeboards.


Saturday 27th May, 5pm, Celtic Evening Prayer with Taizé music in The Barn, Greenholme, Bewcastle. This is a special service with a difference, held over the weekend of the Forgotten Lands Festival. Seating is on bales of straw or hay, an old church pew, and a few wooden chairs. A 10ft wooden cross hangs from the roof beams at one end. It is informal, part way between outdoors and in. The service is contemplative, the music simple, the words earthy. If you’re not normally a church-goer, come and try it out. Everyone is welcome, especially young people. If you need directions, the postcode is CA6 6PW


In Search of the Mystery of God – Sermon Podcasts. A selection of Bewcastle benefice Sunday sermons (10-15 mins) exploring how to make sense of God in our lives. Some may find them helpful, particularly those who find themselves unable to get to church for whatever reason. Available on the Bewcastle House of Prayer website under Podcasts, or at


May   2023———-BENEFICE NEWS———–May  2023

Almost to the day when Charles is crowned King, thereby becoming too the “Spiritual Leader” of the Church of England, I want to share some thoughts about the Christian Family he will lead.  And I do so against a backdrop of two recent developments.

First, the recent debate in General Synod about the place of the Gay Community within our Church life, in particular whether or not those who share the same gender should be married in Church.

Second, the seeming reluctance of so many Dioceses to appoint Full Time Parish priests, choosing instead  to spend their money on so-called “Specialist Ministries”.

I am not clever enough, nor is it my place in retirement (when the Golden Rule is “shut up”) to offer panaceas.  Enough to say that like everyone else we have gay friends (ordained and lay) and I know full well the pain they often feel when the Church to which they belong seems so unwelcoming.

And when it comes to the reluctance to appoint full time priests, I also know from experience just how many people who may have been faithful churchgoers all their lives, are simply amazed (if not furious) that so many bishops seem happy to undermine what is perhaps the greatest crown jewel in our Anglican crown – the Parochial Ministry.  “How” for example, they say, “how is it possible for someone like our own parish priest, Rob, to provide effective pastoral care for four different Churches when he is paid to work just two days a week and Sundays?”  But Rob, somehow you do!   So on behalf of us all (not least me) thank you for all you do and are.  It’s just that, by definition, I think the challenge you face is often nigh impossible.

Instead I want to share the vision of Priest and Parish which has been at the heart of my own ministry for 60 years.  Let’s talk about the priest first.

Above all I want my priest to be a person of Faith, able to share with me “The things of God”.  I want my priest to have a huge pastoral heart.  To be there for all – God Botherer or not.  To be brave enough to love and to listen, to visit and to care.  Not least to understand and to respect those whose opinions may be very different.  I don’t want to be hectored or lectured.  Nor do I want to be told how or what to believe.  Nobody has a monopoly of “The Truth”, and all of us need to listen as much as we speak.  I read recently of a holy person, close to death, who described himself as a “Believing Agnostic”.  I like that.  Indeed it’s just one reason why I think humility, gentleness and courtesy should be high on any priest’s agenda.

And when it comes to congregations, I hope that they too will share many of those same priestly hall marks.  I long for us to be Generous.  Generous in giving.  Generous in welcome.  Generous in service, and Generous in Servanthood.  There’s an old tag which says that the Church is the only society which exists for those outside it.  TRUE.  It is why our Faith is shown up for what it really is once we leave the church door.  Our Lord invites each one of us in whatever way may be ours to be His heart and mind, hand and feet, especially amongst those in particular need.

The peoples our new King will serve are diverse.  Diverse in language, culture, religion, history, values and background.  The Commonwealth is a huge Family that under his guidance exists to bring hope, love and harmony to our wounded world.  So too the Church which he is also called to serve and to lead.  We share much the same vision and mission.   There’s a modern hymn, called the Servant Song which for me gets it spot on.  The first verse goes like this:     We are pilgrims on a journey

Fellow travellers on the road

We are here to help each other

Walk the mile and bear the load


My prayer for Charles as I watch his coronation will be that he may prove to be not just a King, but a Servant to all he seeks to lead.  My prayer will also be that those same marks of Servanthood may be ours too.  For wherever this happens, I believe not only will there be a harvest of Love and Hope but of Resurrection.  And that surely is what the Church is all about.

Bishop John

May    2023———-BENEFICE NEWS———–May   2023

Wednesday 10th May   Stapleton WI Birthday Dinner

Tuesday 16th May 7 pm  Bewcastle Heritage Society AGM & Dinner at The Crossings Inn

Friday 26th May 7 pm Stapleton PCC Spring Fair at Stapleton Public Hall.  Cake stalls, produce, plants etc.  Homemade teas.  Gifts for stalls and offers of help would be appreciated. Contact a member of the PCC.

Friday 26th – Sunday 28th May  Bewcastle Heritage Society Borders Country Fest at Roadhead Hall

Friday 26 and Saturday 27 May – The Forgotten Lands Festival in Bewcastle.  Join Maddy Prior’s family and friends at Stones Barn (Friday night and Saturday afternoon/evening) plus music workshops, home-made food and local ale, craft stalls, demonstrations, dancing, camping and fellowship .Headliners include Whapweasel, Errant Thieves, Brothers Gillespie, Burnt Horse and of course Maddy Prior herself.  Week-end tickets £45 (CA6 residents only £20!), Saturday only tickets £35  Details on  and


Hethersgill Parish  Coronation events

Sunday 30th April  Bunting packs will be available for people to pick up from the Hall

Monday 1st May The Hethersgill Big Royal Scarecrow competition opens

Friday 5th May  5pm:  Royal Exhibition at the hall, open until Monday 8th, 1-4 pm

8pm: The Film Club: The Kings Speech. Refreshments provided or bring your own

Sunday 7th May  12 noon: Join us for the Big Parish Picnic and Play! Bring your own picnic and join in with some old school games.  There’ll also be an all day football game and an egg throwing game – just for fun! A prize dog show , Themed Children’s fancy dress  and voting for the Hethersgill Scarecrow competition!

4pm Parish Photo

 Stapleton and Solport  Parish Coronation  events

Community Funday Sunday 7th May  Grand opening at 12.30  at Stapleton Public Hall. Kid’s Fancy dress Theme “Be Imaginative”, Dog Show, Face painting  Children’s sports & games, Scarecrow Competition “Be Imaginative” judged at the hall.  1st place £50 voucher for the Crossings Inn.

3 pm Community photo.

4 pm Bring and Share afternoon tea.

 7.30 – 8.30 pm Hallsford Burger Bar.

 7.30 till late Live band The Rukus


Bewcastle Parish Council  Coronation events

Complimentary BBQ on Monday 8th May for all  parishioners to celebrate the Coronation of King Charles. 12 noon – 3 pm in Roadhead Hall.  Catering by Lost Chef, please bring your own cutlery, drinks and a beaker for tea or coffee.

Claiming Dates

Friday 9th June – Royal Supper at Hethersgill Hall 7pm in aid of repairs to St. Cuthbert’s church, Kirklinton and St. Mary’s, Hethersgill.  Hot meal and sweets £12 primary schoolchildren £6

Saturday 10th June 5-8pm Slater Supreme.   Hot food in the Stapleton Hall car park- pizza, nachos, chips – hall and bar will be open.

Saturday 24th June  Inter-parish Rounders Match  (Bewcastle, Roadhead, Solport and Stapleton, Hethersgill, Penton)  Stapleton Parish Hall.  Everyone – young and old welcome.  Bring picnic/burgers/sausages. Bar open. Let’s have a bit of fun!

Saturday 22nd July  live music with Jason Arnup and his new band at Stapleton Public Hall.

Saturday 9th September Stapleton Flower & Produce Show.  Entries to the show will now be open to everyone in the Benefice.  A limit of 2 entries per class, per person, Entry to Children’s classes will not  change, so open only to those who live within the Stapleton & Solport Parish or who attend Shankhill Primary School .The Committee are looking for any individual or business who would be able to sponsor a class.  More details Carol Baxter 01228 577294. Schedules available from July.

Sunday 10th September – Harvest lunch in Hethersgill Hall at 12 noon.

Every Monday 7.30 pm Line Dancing Classes at Stapleton Public Hall. Ann Robb 07855 919368

Every Tuesday 11 am – 2 pm Bewcastle Warm Spot at Roadhead Hall. Free refreshments

Every Tuesday 7 pm Knit & Natter at Stapleton Hall. Everyone welcome, details 01697543094

Stapleton Carpet Bowling Club has finished for the season.  It will start again in September.

Every Thursday 6 pm Yoga in Hethersgill Parish Hall


May   2023———-NEWS AND THANKS———-May  2023

 The Bewcastle Cancer Research UK Committee would like to say a big thank you to Margaret and Neil Main and family for their donation of £1450.55 following their wonderful fund raising pudding night in March. The food was amazing and the time organising such an event was greatly appreciated. Thank you also to everyone who attended the evening, donated prizes, puddings etc. and all those that helped in any way to make the night such an enjoyable and successful event.

Stapleton Public Hall is missing a number of wooden trestle tables that have been borrowed from the hall and not returned.  Please contact David Baxter 01228 577247 to arrange their return.  Many thanks.

 Bewcastle Parish Council   A vacancy has arisen for the position of Clerk to the Parish Council.  The successful candidate will have an interest in community affairs, be literate and competent in computer skills.  Some accountancy knowledge essential.  Remuneration for approximately 2hrs per week as per the nationally agreed scales at SCP9 £12.06 per hour

Applications to Mrs B. Smith – Chairman

New bank account for Stapleton church.  The new account for St Mary’s is now open, and benefits from free banking. It looks as if there have been a few instances where problems switching standing orders over to the new account have arisen. If there is any difficulty, do please contact Sarah McNeill or Tricia Coombe and we will be happy to check that details are correct.  May we take this opportunity to say thank you for every contribution. Each and every one makes a difference – and we are very grateful.

 Shankhill C of E Primary School and Nursery – places throughout school for children aged 3 – 11, free 15 & 30 hours places for children aged 3+ Mon-Fri 8.45-4.30 pm 01228 577264

Shankhill Parent & Toddler Group every Wed 1:30 –3:20pm during term time. 01228 577264 Updates on our Facebook page

Shankhill Community Lunches – £5.50 for a homecooked two-course meal and open to everyone on some Tuesdays throughout term time (dates on Facebook) – call 01228 577264 or email by 10am the Friday before to book.

Bewcastle School Nursery –  Nursery places available for children aged 3 plus.  Monday – Friday 9-12 noon, with the option to stay for lunch until 1pm. For further information please call 016977 48662 or email

Bewcastle Primary School Play Group at Bewcastle School, Roadhead, Cumbria, CA6 6PF. Every Monday during term time 9.30am – 11am. From children aged 0– 4 years along with parents/carers, are welcome to come along and join in the fun! £1 per child. For more information, contact Emma at Bewcastle School on 016977 48662 or

Bewcastle Scouts Contact. Simon Barrett 01228 497970  or David Harding 07935172942

Donations towards the cost of the newsletter would be greatly appreciated as we have had some extra costs this year.  Donations can be made direct to your distributor or to Tricia Coombe. Please note that we can no longer accept cheques, cash donations only.  Thank you to those who have donated.

Newsletters can be picked up from:  Kirklinton Church porch, Hethersgill Church porch, Stapleton Church, Bewcastle Church, Stapleton Public  Hall Porch, Smithfield Garage office, Garry Phillip’s Garage. Or downloaded :,

Deadline for the June 2023  issue is     Saturday 20th May  to Tricia Coombe, Damhead, Lyneholmeford, Roweltown, CA6 6LQ.  016977 48833 or