It is very probable that Christian worship has taken place in part of All Saints Church for more than a thousand years – or for over half of the Christian era so far! This staggering statistic can easily make us feel that, to all intents and purposes, the church has always been here and always will be. People naturally assume that when it is time for a family Baptism, Wedding or Funeral, or when they would like to attend a Carol Service or Harvest Festival, or if they would like to attend a service at Christmas or Easter, the church will always be there for them. Very sadly, this cannot be guaranteed.
The sad fact is that a small but dedicated congregation is struggling to maintain the church, not just for themselves but for the village as a whole. In addition to funding the upkeep and repair of the building, we also have to cover the cost of keeping a priest here, as well as day to day expenses, such as insurance, utilities and church requisites. We are running at a deficit and soon our limited reserves will be exhausted. Equally serious is a shortage of church office holders – to carry on the work of the church. Why can a village of our size only find one churchwarden, when many smaller villages have two? In a few months’ time we will need a new Secretary and a new Treasurer as the present post holders stand down. At the time of writing
there is no-one willing to come forward to fill any of these three posts. Unfortunately, however much we love the church building, and however much we spend on it, we simply will not be able, or allowed to continue as a parish church unless people come forward to fill these key posts.
Please, if you value your parish church, think and pray about how you could help us. Could you help us financially with a monthly, annual, or even one off donation? If you are a tax payer and would be prepared to sign a Gift Aid declaration, this would increase the value of your gift by 28p in the pound at no extra cost to you. Would you be prepared to do some fundraising? Please talk to me, Paul Bevan or Margaret Jackson if you think that you could help. Do you feel that you have some gifts, skills and a little spare time that you could offer to serve as second Churchwarden, Secretary or Treasurer – the Church Council only meets four times a year? Again, Paul or I would be delighted to talk to you about what is involved. Of course, if you would like to join us for services, regularly or even occasionally, that would be wonderful and you
would be assured of a very warm welcome. If you haven’t been to church for a while, or if you have never been, why not give it a try?
I fervently pray every day that the churches of this Benefice will grow in terms of active support and attendance. This they must do if they are going to have any future. It cannot be achieved by one individual; or by a handful - these churches will only survive if the villages in which they are set want them to, and are prepared to do something about it. Please don’t let our generation be the one in which All Saints Church closes.
May our church communities grow in faith, love and service. May people see in our Christian lives our faith, our love, our humility and earthiness, and our concern for others; our trust, confidence and joy; our fellowship and fun; and may they see God in us, and through us. May they see new meaning and purpose in their own lives and feel valued and loved. May they want to join us.
You can now read the latest news around the Benefice and in the wider Church on the Benefice blogspot. Please go to the following: http://bansfieldbenefice.blogspot.com/ This can also be accessed from the Benefice Website home page.
With every blessing,