The church global has in recent years revived an ancient practice of giving special time to prayer in the ten days between Ascension and Pentecost. Before Jesus ascended, he told his disciples to wait in the city (Jerusalem) until they were ‘clothed with power from on high’. (Luke 24:49). Then in the last verse of that Gospel we read, ‘they were continually in the temple praising God’. Archbishop Justin has urged us to recover this challenge, and particularly to pray for 5 people we’d love to see find a deeper and more secure faith. There is a wonderful website full of ideas, stimulus and information at www.thykingdomcome.global to help and inspire – anything extra we can do is good: so have a think how you might respond, especially in this difficult and testing time for all humanity.
below are a few extracts:
Associate Vicar’s Letter
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
I have at times found the isolating aspect, of this Pandemic, particularly difficult especially when we can’t see family and friends. ‘Face time’ although a wonderful invention doesn’t quite replace the physical coming together.
I’m not one for journaling but have made a conscious effort to make a note of things that have meant something to me during this time, so more of a scrap book, than a journal.
These consist of notes or comments perhaps about the beautiful views that have been enhanced by the wonderful sunshine and blue, pollution free, skies that surround us. A passage of scripture that seems to speak into this space, a poem or words from a song, something to remember and take with me when we are finally allowed out and when in future times, I’m feeling sorry for myself I can look back and remember.
For those of you who have been following the discipline of Daily Prayer my scrapbook feels a bit like the collection of Easter Anthems from the Preparation section at the beginning of Morning prayer.
So let me share a few snippets that hopefully provide a variety of thoughts, through which we may all find something that resonates.
Wednesday 1st April: We receive a video, via Whatsapp, of our granddaughter going through her impressions of farm animals. Her impression of a chicken has us in ‘melancholy’ giggles, for we know we will especially miss her during the coming weeks.
Tuesday 14th April: The Psalm for Morning Prayer was Psalm 112 and/or Psalm 147. Psalm 112:5 “It is well with those who deal generously and lend, who conduct their affairs with justice.” Linked I think to all that is going on around us from lack of PPE to furloughing, organisations raising their prices and taking unfair advantage of the current situation. Then perhaps more poignantly on the day of Belle Gard’s funeral and my Uncle David’s funeral Psalm 147: 3-4 “He heals the broken-hearted, and binds their wounds. He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names.”
Wednesday 15th April: I found from my Sister’s blog a link to Malcolm Guite’s Easter 2020 Poem and above it a painting done by Bruce Herman in response. For those of you who have on-line access here is the link and I will close my letter with the words of his poem. https://malcolmguite.wordpress.com/2020/04/12/easter-2020-a-new-poem/
Sunday 19th April: The on-line food shop arrived and it felt like Christmas, there was much joy that the ‘substitutions’ were of an acceptable nature and the freezer was once again well stocked. Still no bread flour! But the left over chicken mixed with pasta and tomato and mascarpone sauce, topped with grated cheese and oven baked will go into the ‘Lockdown cookbook’!
Saturday 25th April: After on-line gardening advice sourced from Robert Hall I have relocated two plants that were being overshadowed – well watered hopefully they will survive.
Our daily exercise took us along the river where we saw birds of a variety of nature such as ducks, herons and dippers all clothed in sunshine and silence, whilst the river, although still a force to be reckoned with, was slightly less fierce.
Hannah’s baking surpassed all efforts so far – cheese scones warm, and with butter on, were eaten sitting in a well-kept garden whilst she endures this forced lock down with her parents!
Monday 27th April: This is a time like no other and for families and friends that have lost loved ones to Covid 19 or for other reasons my thoughts and prayers are for them, also for those who have died without loved ones close by helped by the reassurance that the NHS staff and carers have promised to be with them in their final hours; my prayers are for all who have made sacrifices to keep us fed, watered and cared for and before this letter gets far too long, I hope you and your families and those whom you pray for keep safe and well and I hope to see you all gathered as a community before too long. And please do share your ‘scrap book’ thoughts or even photos for future newsletters.
Yours in Christ, Penny
And where is Jesus, this strange Easter day?
Not lost in our locked churches, anymore
Than he was sealed in that dark sepulchre.
The locks are loosed; the stone is rolled away,
And he is up and risen, long before,
Alive, at large, and making his strong way
Into the world he gave his life to save,
No need to seek him in his empty grave.
He might have been a wafer in the hands
Of priests this day, or music from the lips
Of red-robed choristers, instead he slips
Away from church, shakes off our linen bands
To don his apron with a nurse: he grips
And lifts a stretcher, soothes with gentle hands
The frail flesh of the dying, gives them hope,
Breathes with the breathless, lends them strength to cope.
On Thursday we applauded, for he came
And served us in a thousand names and faces
Mopping our sickroom floors and catching traces
Of that virus which was death to him:
Good Friday happened in a thousand places
Where Jesus held the helpless, died with them
That they might share his Easter in their need,
Now they are risen with him, risen indeed.
Adapting church life during the covid-19 crisis
It’s been very good to see that the first response to the lock-down has been of church members, along with many others from the community, rallying around to ensure that practical needs of neighbours have been met. Our mission statement calls for us to show the love of God as we reach out to serve and support the community.
We are also a body which grows, as we devote ourselves to “prayer, worship, ministry and fellowship” (again quoting from our mission statement). That is being tested as our buildings are presently closed, but we are learning and adapting!
But what about those who don’t use the internet? Well, beginning on Sunday May 3rd, we are also beginning a group telephone church service. Depending on your provider this is either free or costs a local rate phone call.
Simply Dial: 0333 0110 946 and then add: Room number: 61337190 # and PIN: 7450 #
Dial in, shortly before 9.30 a.m. on Sundays and we’ll use the ‘Worship at Home’ booklets that were sent around prior to the lock-down. If you would like a copy, please contact Christine, on 624542. If you don’t have a copy of the words you can of course still dial up and join in!
Internet users are finding and sharing a wealth of online resources to strengthen and encourage us. For example, I’ve found this illustrated lecture by CS Lewis very relevant: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxFmkg5dcyk&feature=youtu.be Bishop Nick is always thought provoking in his blogs that you can read here: - https://nickbaines.wordpress.com/ Then check out churchofengland.org and leeds.anglican.org for further links onwards.
Finally, you have probably realised the church is no longer receiving Sunday collections or other income streams. Christine (624542) can put you in touch with the relevant church treasurer, if you are able to give, or to up your giving at this time. And thank you very much!
Rev Tom Ringland
The Church Pantries at Redmire and Castle Bolton churches are now available in Redmire village hall. The service is FREE and not dependent on referral from professional agencies.
Confidential and entirely non-judgemental.
If you would like to help or donate in any way, please contact:
Denise Houghton 01969 622625
You can consider making a financial contribution to these or your nearest foodbank.
Plant Sale at Castle Bolton Church
There will be a selection of plants on a table outside Castle Bolton Village Meeting Room throughout May. Anyone interested is welcome to come by and help themselves. We invite you to donate to our Mission Partners whatever you feel to be appropriate in a collecting container by the back door of Dale View.
Our Mission Partners are MISSION AVIATION FELLOWSHIP, who flight light aircraft mercy and mission flights in many poor countries worldwide, our own partners are in Liberia and ST GEORGE'S CRYPT AT LEEDS, who have been caring for homeless people in Yorkshire for over 90 years.
If anyone seeks more, or containers to get their plants away, they are welcome to call me at our house, Dale View, for socially distant help. Robert Hall.
The Jonas Centre During the Corona Virus Crisis
The Jonas Centre is temporarily closed to our usual guests but we have been asked by our local council to provide accommodation for those who find themselves homeless and have nowhere to go, and we have already been able to help two people in this way.
Our first council referral wrote: “Thank you for the opportunity to come here. Saved me in more ways than you could realise…..thank you…” To read more about this see: https://www.richmondshire.gov.uk/news/latest-news/homeless-help-from-redmire-business/
The Jonas Centre is a charity – if you wish to assist it at this time its lifeline appeal is at
As a Christian not-for-profit charity, we would also be value and be grateful for your prayers at this unprecedented time. With my thanks and very best wishes. Simon Eastwood. Centre Director (Tel. 01969 624900)
FREE DIAL-A-PRAYER SERVICE LAUNCHED BY NATIONAL CHURCH
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has launched a free national phone-line as a simple new way to bring worship and prayer into people’s homes while church buildings are closed because of the coronavirus.
Daily Hope, which is available from now, offers music, prayers and reflections as well as full worship services from the Church of England at the end of a telephone line.
The line – which is available 24 hours a day on 0800 804 8044 – has been set up particularly with those unable to join online church services during the period of restrictions in mind.
The service is supported by the Church of England nationally as well as through the Connections group based at Holy Trinity Claygate in Surrey and the Christian charity Faith in Later Life.
Although thousands of churches across the country are now running services and prayer groups online while public worship remains suspended, many people – especially older people – do not have access to the internet.
The line also recognises the impact of social distancing restrictions and self-isolation measures on those suffering from loneliness.
Statistics from Age UK suggest that 49% of older people believe the TV or a pet to be their daily source of comfort and interaction. While many organisations are encouraging people to use better use of technology, ONS figures also state that 2.5 million people aged 75 and above have never used the internet.
Callers will hear a special greeting from the Archbishop before being able to choose from a range of options, including hymns, prayers, reflections and advice on COVID-19.
Options available include materials also available digitally by the Church of England’s Communications team such as Prayer During the Day and Night Prayer, updated daily, from Common Worship, and a recording of the Church of England weekly national online service.
A section called Hymn Line offers callers a small selection of hymns, updated daily. An option entitled‘Hymns We Love’, provides a hymn and reflection and is based on an initiative by the Connections group
Archbishop Justin said: “With many in our country on lockdown, it’s important that we support those who are feeling lonely and isolated, whatever age they are.
“The Daily Hope service will allow people to hear hymns, prayers and words that offer comfort and hope, especially in this Easter season.
“I want to urge people to spread the news about this service. If there is someone you know who is particularly struggling, give them a call and let them know about the Daily Hope. I’m going to phone a friend; will you join me?”
Carl Knightly, chief executive of Faith in Later Life, added: The Church must be those who offer hope to our nation at this time, and I am delighted that Faith in Later Life is able to be part of this project.
“We know as an organisation of the challenges for older people in our society in normal times and these are not those, so I want to add our voice to that of the Archbishop and get people sharing this number with whoever they know who would most benefit.”
Pippa Cramer, founder of Connections, said: “At Connections we have found that well-loved hymns are a source of comfort and hope to our seniors. Hymns we Love has proved to be an accessible and popular way to explore the story and meaning behind some of our favourite hymns.”
MESSAGES FROM THE REV TOM RINGLAND
It’s so good to hear numbers of people are sharing in reading and praying together on Sundays – and for some of you in weekdays too!
In addition, many have been creative in searching the internet for streamed services of worship, either in places you know from the past, or those advertised on the diocesan or national church websites.
Paul encourages us to “rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances”
and continues, “for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
Three things (rejoice, pray, thank) - clear positive attributes - which are to characterise our day to day living, whatever betide.
If we can develop these in this time of isolation, we will be strengthening our own mental health, and will bring the grace of God to bless those for whom we pray.
There are things to lament but also things for which to give thanks.
[ I read today that this is the first time our buildings have been closed for public worship since 1208 – when the then Pope placed England under an interdict for rejecting his appointment of Simon Langton as Archbishop of Canterbury!! - from an article by Stephen Cottrell, the Archbishop designate of York. For full article click here.]
We can and should lament … and also for the sufferings of others caught up in this crisis rather more deeply than we ourselves: the sick, dying and bereaved; the NHS, those who's lifework has come to an abrupt end ... But we can also look around and notice where we are now. What is emerging for you?
... Increased support within the community, more frequent contact with family and friends ...
– but also a refocussing on what is important in life and perhaps time to stop and reflect on who we are and where we are going.
Unwelcome and challenging as these days may be, we have an opportunity, perhaps even a responsibility to accept them and use them and learn from them.
Bishop Nick in one of his excellent blogs writes: (March 28th) “When you are in the desert, don’t look for the flowers that grow in the fertile areas; look for the flowers that grow only in the desert”. (see https://nickbaines.wordpress.com/ for more)
Why not begin a record – a journal of your own experiences, thoughts and feelings through this time.
We will continue to adapt, learn and grow - I pray we'll find a deepened connection with God, and that as a society we may learn again to be more generous and compassionate. I gather Andrew Marr began his show recently saying 'maybe selfishness will fall out of fashion'!
We'll also find new ways of communicating and sharing news and encouragement. For a Sunday service see Services.
We remain a people of hope - an Easter people ... and so lets pray for chances to infect others with that positive outlook. Where are the opportunities in this new regimen?
Simple good humour will go a long way to maintaining our spiritual health, so attached is a picture with some good advice...’
Please note the following:
1. Our church buildings are closed for public worship and for private prayer.
2. Emergency baptisms can take place in hospital or at home, though subject to strict hygienic precautions and physical distancing as far as possible.
3. There can be no weddings in church buildings until further notice.
4. Funerals can only happen at the Crematorium or at the graveside. Only immediate family members can attend (if the crematorium allows) – that is, spouse or partner, parents and children, keeping their distance in the prescribed way.
5. Live streaming of services is more important than ever and is still permissible from homes. We encourage us all to consider how we can be as creative as possible with streaming services and other resources. There are many, many fantastic examples of churches and clergy using technology to reach and engage communities. Read more guidance here: https://www.churchofengland.org/more/church-resources/digitallabs/labs-learning-blog/beginners-guide-going-live-your-service-or .
See also -
• churchofengland.org scroll down for 13 daily reflections, the #LiveLent materials and worship and prayer resources
• arthurrankcentre.org.uk click on 'Together Apart' for a range of resources for rural churches
• leeds.anglican.org click on Covid-19 (the starry screen) for resources including services streamed from local churches
6. The Church Pantries at Redmire and Castle Bolton churches are now available in Redmire village hall. These provide free food and hygiene products to those in need. You can consider making a financial contribution to these or your nearest foodbank.
MESSAGE FROM THE ARCHBISHOPS
Archbishops Justin Welby and John Sentamu said it was now necessary to put public services on hold until further notice.
But they said that far from having to “shut up shop”, the Church of England must face the challenge by becoming a radically different kind of church rooted in prayer and serving others.
It comes after the Government announced unprecedented peacetime measures to try to control the spread of the virus, with restrictions on public gatherings, transport and working.
They invited clergy to maintain the ancient pattern of daily prayer and, where possible, the eucharist – live streaming their worship if they have the resources to do so.
And they urged congregations to be in the forefront of providing practical care and support for the most poor and the most vulnerable during the crisis.
“Being a part of the Church of England is going to look very different in the days ahead,” they wrote.
“Our life is going to be less characterised by attendance at church on Sunday, and more characterised by the prayer and service we offer each day.
“We may not be able to pray with people in the ways that we are used to, but we can certainly pray for people. And we can certainly offer practical care and support.
“Please do carry on supporting the local foodbank and buy extra provisions for it. Ensure the night shelters wherever possible are kept open. There are many very encouraging schemes happening right across our country in communities to focus on caring for the most vulnerable and do continue to play your part in those.
“Then by our service, and by our love, Jesus Christ will be made known, and the hope of the gospel – a hope that can counter fear and isolation - will spread across our land.”
They added: “This is a defining moment for the Church of England. Are we truly are a church for all, or just the church for ourselves.
“We urge you sisters and brothers to become a different sort of church in these coming months: hopeful and rooted in the offering of prayer and praise and overflowing in service to the world.”
The archbishops have joined other church leaders in calling for a day of prayer and action this Sunday (Mothering Sunday) particularly remembering those who are sick or anxious and all involved in health and emergency services.
The Rev Ringland was licensed as Vicar of Penhill Benefice in November 2019 - scroll down to the bottom of the Benefice Information page for the report.
Click on Aysgarth Church Harvest Flower Festival 2019 to see photos of that event.
See Festival of Remembrance for a report and photos about the flower festival and Remembrance event from November 9 to 12 2018.