Western Lakes District Churches
The Parishes of Drigg, Eskdale, Irton, Muncaster and Waberthwaite
During the current crisis, despite our churches being closed, the work of our clergy has continued and has been giving support to our communities through personal contacts, group tele-meetings and maintaining an active prayer-life for the whole community.
Our income comes solely from you, both regular and occasional visitors and the regular attenders at our local churches.
The collections at weekly services have stopped and will possibly not re-start in its current form. We are fortunate that some of our income comes from regular donations through bank-transfer but the loss of our weekly collections will have a financial impact on us.
To that end we are introducing an Online Giving system, in place of the weekly collection, so that those wanting to give money to us occasionally have a safe means of so doing. Each Parish is also reviewing its fundraising activities and will be discussing these further at their forthcoming Annual General meetings.You can be assured that your donation will be received by the parish that you wish to support for which we are always very grateful.
Click on the boxes below to find out what is happening in each Parish. Information is also available On the 'A Church Near You ' website. If you click on the button below, you will be taken to the ACNY Pages
Drigg Parish and St Peter's Church have a number of local fund raising efforts during the year organised by the Village and Church . Contact the PCC Secretary for further Details
For our Harvest appeal this year, we thought that it would be an opportunity to show our thanks to our farmers, who have continued to work throughout the pandemic to ensure that our shops are supplied. The Farming Community Network is a charity which gives practical support to farmers and their families through difficult times. Farming is a rewarding way of life, but it can also be hard. There are issues to manage which are beyond their control (the weather, diseases, market prices, the post-Brexit future), and just like everyone else, farmers sometimes have personal issues to manage such as relationship breakdowns, financial difficulties or bereavement. Farming can be lonely with limited opportunities for social contact, and it may be difficult to talk about problems. It’s known that farmers are susceptible to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, and sadly suicide is seen by some as the only way to deal with things. The Farming Community Network has a network of volunteers across the country who provide free and confidential pastoral and practical support to farmers in need. This includes being a “listening ear” but can also be very practical, for example help with paperwork or dealing with the bank. Discussions can be by telephone, on- line or face to face, and there are links to professional people who can provide specific support. Our Harvest appeal will run throughout October, and donations made via the link on our website will be sent to the Farming Community Network to help them continue their work in support of the farming community.
We know that St Catherine’s is a very special place for many people, and that there are those all over the country and beyond who have a link to Eskdale because loved ones are buried in our beautifully peaceful churchyard. The churchyard grounds are very well looked after, and part of that requires us to manage the space that we have. There are plans to create a Memorial Garden, which will be an area of the churchyard specifically allocated for the burial of ashes. A memorial stone will be installed in this garden, for the inscription of the names of loved ones whose ashes are buried there, as a lasting memorial to them and their place in our community. If you would like to contribute to the cost of purchasing and setting up the stone as a way of supporting St Catherine’s, you can do so via the link on our website. Your support is very much appreciated.
There are no publicly announced details for Muncaster at present but if you wish to enquire, please contact the Muncaster PCC Secretary
Waberthwaite has an active Fund Raising is actively fundraising and you can see more details of this on their page on A Church Near You. Click the button below to go to their site.
North Lakes Foodbank, Lorton St Methodist Church Lorton St, Cockermouth, CA13 9RH Tel -Mob: 07502 311 452 Tel:-Landline 01900 823854
There may be a food collection Point near you the contents of which are taken up to Cockermouth regularly by volunteers. If so, please purchase your food donations from the shops local to you so that we also support our local communities.(St Bega’s Church in Eskdale) is one collection point that is not yet on the Foodbank website) Otherwise, the website gives full details of how you can support them and also has a map of the food Collection Points and Distribution Centres in the North Lakes. Our centres are all open as their normal hours with the exception of Whitehaven which is closed on a Wednesday for the foreseeable future.
The new guidelines we are now operating under allow the clergy to enter Church buildings for the purpose of private prayer or the live streaming of worship. The intention is that only one person, or a second from the same household if necessary, may enter church to prevent cross contamination and the rest of the time sadly they are to remain locked. Since it would be unrealistic to try to get around all the churches in the Benefice. I have invited someone from each parish to be the designated responsible person for that building. There visits will include inspecting the building for insurance purposes. Over the next couple of weeks we will re-establish the pattern of prayer in the Churches: Angela Overton Benge will go into Bootle Church on Thursday and Whicham on Sunday to pray for Black Combe.
St Peter’s Drigg: Robert and Wendy Bracegirdle will go into Church every Sunday at 10am and celebrate Holy Communion on behalf of the Benefice.
Eskdale: also on a Sunday Charles Browne will go into St Bega’s and Jackie Oakes will go into St Catherine’s to pray for the Parish.
. St Michael and All Angels Muncaster: Peter Frost-Pennington will read the morning service in the Parish Church.
St Paul’s Irton: I will celebrate Holy Communion in Irton Church at 9.30am on Sundays
St John’s Waberthwaite: I will say the morning office at Waberthwaite at 11am every Sunday.
Holy Communion for Ascension Day will be celebrated at Irton at 7.30pm.
All of us, as we are going into the Churches are painfully aware of how much you are all missing being there and it’s a great sadness that we cannot as yet welcome you back into Church. I hope that it is some encouragement to know that the Churches are being prayed in again. It is a small step but at least we are now moving in the right direction.
If there are specific prayer needs please be in touch, either with myself or the people going into your parish church. Finally I thought I would tell you about some of the good things that our parishes are doing during this time, simply as an encouragement and to share some ideas of things that are possible under lockdown. Waberthwaite Parish has set up a Just Giving Page and is writing to all their supporters to let them know about it and highlight other ways in which the Sunday offerings can still be given.
Eskdale’s Food Bank collection continues to be well supported and is delivered weekly to the Hub in Egremont for distribution.
Ravenglass had a socially distanced street party for VE Day and have organised ways of practically helping one another with shopping.
Irton has a Zoom Coffee Morning and for Ascension Day have decided to have a service together on line.
Drigg celebrated ‘bluebell time’ by delivering a Scone and Jam to the members of Drigg Chat and talked briefly with them from the gate.
Letter from the Vicar
Facing an uncertain economic future as a nation and worry about the possible consequences of a second wave of the pandemic, it’s not surprising that many of us are struggling to make sense of the new norm. All this uncertainty about the future undermines our sense of well-being and our confidence to just get on with life. Making decisions about which activities we will get involved with and which we will avoid. Assessing which risks are reasonable and which greater than we are prepared to encounter is difficult for us all and when these decisions come thick and fast, they are exhausting too. It’s no wonder we are all feeling the strain.
With all these insecurities presently in our communities it seems to me that hope is needed now more than ever. In making this claim for hope I am not referring to the wishy-washy version of it, which is commonly spoken of today. This version of hope amounts to little more than wishing on a star but rather, the resilient version of hope which the Bible speaks of, as being founded on the unchangeable nature of God.
Hope only really comes into its own in dark days when we can’t see the way forward. If the path ahead is clear, then we travel by sight, reliant on our own resources to keep us on track. But when we don’t know the way hope gives us the courage to move forward, it gives us the security to act. Being in social isolation felt like action had been suspended; there was no work, school, shopping or socialising just staying at home and keeping safe. Staying at home was, in itself a deliberate act to safeguard others, but it felt like inaction. It reduced the necessity of making everyday choices for many of us, to a minimum. This has made it stressful for us to re-engage again with life. Hope cannot necessarily guarantee us safety or security on the journey of life it does give us the assurance that our destination will ultimately be found in God and in his love for us, his children.
So, let me just draw out a few ways in which I believe having hope in God can have an impact on how we live our lives and why both as individuals and communities we need reserves of hope to draw upon right now.
One of the unfortunate realities of living under stressful circumstances is that our relationships with those nearest to us can take a real battering. Hope is built on a recognition that God forgives us when we mess up and invites us to share his forgiveness with those who have hurt us. Without forgiveness we cannot repair our broken relationships changing the future we might have had to something quite different. The ability to give and receive forgiveness is essential for all communal living, that’s why we teach it to our children, so that they can make and keep friends. Knowing that forgiveness is a gift from God can give us the hope to reach out and offer forgiveness even before we feel like we have the grace in ourselves to do so. Trusting that God will supply the gifts we need, but do not feel we have, breaks the chains of resentment and unforgiveness. We hope in the provision of the one who is faithful to forgive us when we don’t deserve it, so that we might find the grace to forgive others before they deserve it too.
Another major impact of the lockdown is that many of our young people who have lost half a year of their education. If this has been an exam year or has occurred right at the beginning of their working lives, they are facing a future that looks grim. For them to continue to believe that the future holds something worthwhile for them will take real resilience. Grandparents can encourage young people to stay hopeful and positive by recognising the gifts and experience that they have to offer and by praising them for all the positive steps they take to pursue opportunities. When things are tough and we are tempted to despair, we often need others to believe in us until our confidence is restored. As well as creaking bones, age can bring perspective; troubles pass, better days come. Maybe holding out hope for a young person you know might be one of the ways you can help rebuild what has been lost through this pandemic.
Finally, for many families the impact of the pandemic will be experienced through job losses and resulting financial difficulties. Food banks are expecting an increased demand for their services as the government support for furloughed employees comes to an end. We can all offer a small sign of hope in a kinder society as we support the food bank collection in St Bega’s porch, Eskdale Green.
Training Opportunities St Cuthbert’s Seascale,
The mission community held a gathering to explore the training opportunities available to local people through the Church. This took place at St Cuthbert’s Seascale on Wednesday 17th July at 7.30pm. We are hoping to be able to host more training locally and to ensure this is as effective as it can be we want to hear from you. What would you be interested in? What would help you in your Christian life and service?
We have held a couple of short courses locally helping us to grow in our understanding of the Christian faith. These have been stimulating but not academic and have helped us get to know one another from across the local churches. Do you want more of these kind of events or more practical skill based opportunities, like the training on offer to PCC Treasurer’s from the Diocesan Stewardship Advisor at St Mary’s Gosforth? Some people have expressed an interest in prayer retreats whilst others have requested Safeguarding Training. Whatever your interest or perceived need arranging training through the mission community makes it easier to bring in trainers and create viable groups with content that fits our needs, hopefully improving the effectiveness of the training and reducing participants travel time.
We have invited Cumbria Christian Learning to create a market place of opportunities and resources and to send along a trainer to help explain what is involved in the various courses. If you are interested in coming along to Seascale and taking part in the discussions you would be very welcome. There should be something for everyone, from one off events to short courses of a few weeks, day retreats to vocational training.
If you are interested give me a ring; Gill on 019467 24724
It’s lovely to see our local church buildings beginning to open up again for private and public worship after their long lockdown. But for those people who don’t feel ready to go back, or for anyone who would like to use these strange times to explore alternative ways of worshipping instead of – or as well as – the traditional church service, there is another local option.
Every Sunday evening at 7pm throughout July and August (and maybe into September) there is a friendly and informal online service on ‘Zoom’ led by Keith and Jill Hudson of Phoenix Praise Worship band, currently based in their front room in Stubble Green (Drigg). Since these services began, regular attendance has reached 50+, and lots of different members of the congregation have volunteered to choose hymns and songs, lead prayers, read from the Bible or give a short talk about the Christian faith and life, which there is a chance to discuss with others after the main service ends.
The beauty of Zoom is that you can worship in the comfort and safety of your own front room; you can attend in your slippers and bring the dog; you can sing as loudly as you like (when ‘muted’) and no one else can hear you. You can even join in by telephone if you don’t have a computer. What’s more, you can arrive late and leave early if you need to, without attracting attention, or you can arrive early on purpose and stick around at the end if you’d like more chance to chat.
Anyone and everyone is welcome to join us with no strings attached; you can be a member of any church or of none, and you don’t even have to be a believer. All you do need to do is get in touch so that we can send you the joining details for each service (and for anyone who hasn’t ‘Zoomed’ before, we can send you some very simple instructions to help you get going). If you’d like to find out more, please email Jill and Keith on email@example.com or phone 019467 21592.