Commentary and Notices


Tributes from the Parishes 

Farewell to Gill from Eskdale Parish 

During Gill's time here, she's served us faithfully, doing all the things we expect our vicar to do. But she has also always made herself available to be with people who have needed support, and she's done a huge amount to support our schools. She has been a governor at St Bega 's throughout her time here, and has guided and supported the  governors, keeping us focused on what we are here to do: supporting the staff to deliver a high quality  education for the children, based on Christian values. She loved being in school, and I know how much the staff and children have missed her not being able to join them as normal during the pandemic. 

I've been reflecting that the vast majority of Gill's sermons have been about love. But she hasn't just talked about it, she's lived it: through her work in school, and in the community with the bereaved, ill and lonely, and through her involvement in our weekly Foodbank deliveries. She's worked quietly and sensitively to ensure we know that God's love extends to all ofus,just as we are. 

She's developed many friendships along the way, and has inspired many of us to do things we wouldn't have thought of without her. We'll sorely miss her, but we wish her and David well in their much deserved retirement, and we know that she takes fond memories of this place and its people with her. 

Tribute from Black Combe

Gill have given the Black Combe Parish so much support over the time she has been here. This was particularly when Ian retired and we had no one but she really worked hard in continuing the task of making us one parish with all the formalities that goes with it. She so encouraged us that we could continue having services, either by coming herself or providing others for us. We thank her so much for enamelling us to have Communion Services, mid week healing services, and the family services at Whicham and Whitbeck to name but a few. Also for her invaluable help and advice in regards to the up keep and maintenance of the fabric of our buildings, which took a lot of time and effort. This is a very sad time in leaving but with grateful thanks we all wish her and David a very happy retirement and joy in their future life. 


Tribute from Drigg Church

Everyone at Drigg Church wishes to say thank you to Gill, for spiritual guidance, wisdom, support and friendship. For listening when we needed to share a problem, sharing ideas and helping us to find ways to move forward. Also, practical support has been much appreciated, such as joining in with decorating Drigg Church for festivals, tidying and doing the washing up after events! We'll miss you very much and wish you and David a long and happy retirement in your new home.

Thank you Gill for all the ways you have helped us grow:

    •    by encouraging our vision to restore and safeguard our church building,

    •    by helping us better understand, live and walk our faith,

    •    by highlighting and strengthening the Christian ethos in our school, in the way you have understood the close relationship between church and community

    •    and, last, but not least, for understanding our idiosyncrasies!

Message to Gill & David from St Paul's in Irton

Gill & David Hart joined us about 5 ½ years ago. What an amazingly good & kind addition they have been to our parish. They have added joy & light & comfort, along with leadership & guidance, especially in these troubled times. Gill has an humanity about her that has provided an individuality to all that she has done & given us.

We owe her a huge 'thank you' for being part of the life of this community. They will be missed.

Message from Peter Frost-Pennington

I would like to thank Gill for serving us so well over the last 5(?) years. Her tenure has certainly not been easy; these were troubled times even before the covid pandemic hit early in 2020. She has been inspirational to me and did so much to help keep us all going and finding new ways of working together to serve and worship Christ and encourage us to play a key role in our wider communities.

Gill, I am sure you will be delighted to hopefully get a good rest, enjoy a long and happy retirement with David and your family and have time to do what you wish to do in your life rather than trying to herd a flock of cats all to go in one direction. Not easy!

God Bless, thank you so much & do watch us from afar (no doubt with a wry smile on your face) and you are welcome in these beautiful valleys any time you wish to visit.

Tribute from Drigg Church

Everyone at Drigg Church wishes to say thank you to Gill, for spiritual guidance, wisdom, support and friendship. For listening when we needed to share a problem, sharing ideas and helping us to find ways to move forward. Also, practical support has been much appreciated, such as joining in with decorating Drigg Church for festivals, tidying and doing the washing up after events! We'll miss you very much and wish you and David a long and happy retirement in your new home.

Thank you Gill for all the ways you have helped us grow:

    •    by encouraging our vision to restore and safeguard our church building,

    •    by helping us better understand, live and walk our faith,

    •    by highlighting and strengthening the Christian ethos in our school, in the way you have understood the close relationship between church and community

    •    and, last, but not least, for understanding our idiosyncrasies!

Message to Gill & David from St Paul's in Irton

Gill & David Hart joined us about 5 ½ years ago. What an amazingly good & kind addition they have been to our parish. They have added joy & light & comfort, along with leadership & guidance, especially in these troubled times. Gill has an humanity about her that has provided an individuality to all that she has done & given us.

We owe her a huge 'thank you' for being part of the life of this community. They will be missed.

Message from Peter Frost-Pennington

I would like to thank Gill for serving us so well over the last 5(?) years. Her tenure has certainly not been easy; these were troubled times even before the covid pandemic hit early in 2020. She has been inspirational to me and did so much to help keep us all going and finding new ways of working together to serve and worship Christ and encourage us to play a key role in our wider communities.

Gill, I am sure you will be delighted to hopefully get a good rest, enjoy a long and happy retirement with David and your family and have time to do what you wish to do in your life rather than trying to herd a flock of cats all to go in one direction. Not easy!

God Bless, thank you so much & do watch us from afar (no doubt with a wry smile on your face) and you are welcome in these beautiful valleys any time you wish to visit.



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.

Gill Hart