Over the past few years, we have been gradually building up a pattern of varied and distinctive evening worship sessions. These started a few years ago with a service offering prayers for wholeness and healing 4 times a year. Then was added a bi-monthly ‘Reflections’ service, which approaches faith through a variety of media – visual, auditory and kinesthetic (things to look at, things to hear and things to feel and touch). Last year, 2009, we launched a monthly Cafe Church, which is on the second Sunday of the month in St. Mark’s. This is a chance to have good coffee, nice food, and to think about faith and life around the table with friends.
From next month, we are adding in the opportunity to worship in a ‘Taize‘ style – simple, reflective music, prayers and bible reading, with plenty of silence, and no sermon. This will be in St. Martin’s, on the 7th November, and then every month on the first Sunday of the month.
We also plan to start a monthly Evensong soon. When we have that in place, Sunday evenings will look like this:
1st Sunday: Taize style service, St. Martin’s
2nd Sunday: Cafe Church, St. Mark’s
3rd Sunday: Reflections service, St. Andrew’s, or film evening on Saturday, alternating.
4th Sunday: Evensong, St. Chad’s
Healing Service will be four times a year, on Sundays to suit.
A group of 15 people from our 4 churches enjoyed a wonderful week together at the Sneaton Castle Centre in Whitby on our 4th annual Parish Pilgrimage. We’d been to Whitby 2 years earlier and enjoyed it so much that we decided to go back again; we certainly weren’t disappointed! Sneaton Castle provided excellent accommodation in en-suite twin bedded rooms and plenty of good food. We were joined for our regular times of worship and input by our old friend Sister Pam who shared personally about her own vocation, the history of Celtic Northumbria and the value of Pilgrimage. We also grappled as a group with the thorny question: “What on earth is the church for?”There was also plenty of free time to relax and most evenings we decamped to the bar for informal chats, a quiz or a game of Jenga.
What makes these weeks so special though are the trips out and the opportunity to expand our horizons, see new places and learn new things. On the way up to Whitby we had spent the afternoon at the spectacular ruins of Riveaux Abbey, learning all about the flourishing Cistertian order who once lived there and during the week we also enjoyed time exploring Whitby and the nearby fishing villages of Staithes and Runswick Bay. Maybe the highlight though was the visit to Lastingham where we enjoyed a spectacular pub lunch before spending the afternoon in the village church which dated back to its foundation in 654 by Cedd the brother of Chad (who incidently also spent time at the Monastery there). Having heard the story from the local vicar we celebrated communion together in the candlelit crypt, following in the steps of St Cedd, St Chad and thousands of other pilgrims over the centuries.
Everyone agreed it was an enriching week in which friendships and fellowship deepened and we’re all looking forward to next year, wherever that may be!
St. Andrew's, St. Chad's, St. Mark's and St. Martin's Churches, Kirkby.