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 image above, you will be taken to our 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
Our Harvest Appeal ran 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.
The Harvest Appeal made £70 in October and this will be donated to the Farming Community Network. Thank you to all who contributed. This appeal has now closed.
This appeal is now open. I apologise to anyone who tried to donate but found that the 'donate' button was not connected to the system. It is now!!
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.
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.
32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’
37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?
38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?
39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[a] you did it to me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’
44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’
45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 4
6 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
From childhood on we have all had experiences of being judged that have left us uncomfortable or hurt, so its perhaps not surprising that the parable of the Sheep and the Goats is not one of Jesus’ most popular stories. Its emphasis on faith in action leaves us feeling quietly and profoundly, inadequate. We recognise that whatever good we hope to have done is miniscule in comparison to the need we see around us and that our self-interest most often comes out ahead of our compassion. Feeling condemned by our own consciences can lead us to avoiding bits of scripture, as just too hard to face. However, if we are to take the Scriptures seriously, we need to try to discern what it has to say to us today. So, for a moment let’s set aside our emotional reaction to the text and explore the context in which it was told by Jesus. The Gospel narrative places this parable in the final week of Jesus life. The context of Holy Week for the telling of this parable indicates that Matthew sees this story as significant. Jesus speaks with a real sense of urgency in these final parables (Mt 25) as he urges the people to be prepared because judgement is coming. In earlier stories we hear of bridesmaid’s running out of oil and servants failing to wisely invest and through them Jesus’ message to the people is – ‘be alert, remain watchful and prepared’, because the times they are living through are crucial both for them, and for their nation. Elsewhere Matthew tells us that in his final week Jesus prophesises that the temple will be destroyed, and he weeps for the women of the city and their suffering. Even in midst of all the conflicts which beset his final days and the approaching shadow of the cross he sets aside his own fears and focuses on the people as he urges them to recognise that their response to his message will be the defining moment of their lives and determine the future of their nation. From the start of his ministry Jesus has proclaimed that the people needed to repent because the Kingdom of God is at hand. The Jewish people had long expected that a day would come when their God would reveal himself as Lord. Remember that to ancient people an important aspect of kingship is the authority to execute justice on behalf of the people; to pronounce right judgement in disputes so that conflicts can be resolved, and relationships healed. It is how peace is established and maintained. Injustice creates resentment and enmity but when justice is restored true peace becomes possible. So, the kingdom of God, the place in which all of God’s creation can flourish and fulfil its intended purpose, is built on the restoration of justice in the Hebrew Bible. With hindsight following the resurrection, Jesus disciples come to see the Day of Judgement, the restoration of the possibility of just relationships with God and one another, as being irrevocably tied by God to the crucifixion. God’s self-sacrificing love is what makes justice in this world possible. The face of the one on the throne of judgement in the parable of the sheep and the goats is the face of Jesus. This means however afraid we are of judgement its purpose is not for our harm but for out healing. To be judged by love it is to have a light shone into the dark places in our hearts and lives and to expose the things we are ashamed of. Only by facing our sinfulness can we be free from the web of deception we weave to hide our weaknesses. I guess, that is what frightens us, the exposure; we cannot believe that we can be fully known and still be accepted and love. But its right at that point when our new-found self-awareness urges us to hide, that the most important choice we will ever make comes into focus. Will we trust the promise of love and forgiveness that Jesus makes and turn away from all that damages us? Or will we continue to fear God and live in expectation of his rejection? It’s a choice we will have to make many times in our lives. The more often we make the decision to trust in God’s love for us the more that saying ‘yes’ to God becomes ingrained as a good and life-giving habit. For what we are saying yes to is love; love from God and love for God; love from our neighbours and for our neighbours. A love that is bigger than our fears. None of us know what life will be like after we have died. Jesus teaching does not provide a blue-print for heaven although the parables provide a kaleidoscope of impressions that we shake and then gaze upon, pause and reflect and then try again. As we meditate on the scriptures and seek wisdom to live by, we are also given the opportunity to reflect upon how we prepare for life after death. This parable reminds us that the habits that we develop in this life of being open to love, both for God and for others, put us in good stead in the life to come.
Morning Prayer at home
From all eternity
bright and beautiful
God is God.
Alpha and Omega integrity and holiness God is God.
Truth and vulnerability majesty and mystery God is God. Opening Sentences The night has passed, and the day lies open before us; let us pray with one heart and mind.
Pause for reflection as you offer the day to God.
As we rejoice in the gift of this new day, so may the light of your presence, O God, set our hearts on fire with love for you; now and forever. Amen.
Psalm 95 O come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it, and the dry land, which his hands have formed.
O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.
O that today you would listen to his voice!
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning is now and shall be forever. Amen. The Word of God
God of the poor, we long to meet you yet always miss you; we strive to help you, yet only discover our need. Interrupt our comfort with your nakedness, touch our possessiveness with your poverty, and surprise our guilt with the grace of your welcome in Jesus Christ. Amen.
Gospel Reading and Reflection (see above)
Prayers Let us with confidence present our prayers and supplications to the throne of grace.
We pray for all in positions of power, that they may govern with wisdom and integrity, serving the needs of their people. May your reign come; Lord, hear our prayer.
We pray for the Church, the sign of your reign, that it may extend your welcome to people of every race and background. May your reign come; Lord, hear our prayer.
We pray for Christians of every denomination, that together we may come to understand the royal priesthood you bestowed on us in baptism. May your reign come; Lord, hear our prayer.
We pray for those whose commitment to truth brings them into conflict with early powers, that they may have the courage to endure. May your reign come; Lord, hear our prayer.
We pray for our community of faith, that attentive to your word we may always worship in spirit and in truth. May your reign come; Lord, hear our prayer.
Loving God, you have taught us that the power of the heart is greater than the power of wealth and might. Hear us as we pray for the fulfillment of your reign. We ask this through Jesus Christ our King; to him be glory and power forever.
Our Father, who art in heaven..
Today and tomorrow in time and eternity your Kingdom come.
In our world, in our streets in our homes and communities your kingdom come.
In our lives, and in our loves in our hopes and our travelling your kingdom come.
May Christ the King give us his blessing of peace. Amen
Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 019467 21592.