Messy Church

When the Russian armed forces crossed the border into Ukraine, as well as the cries of outrage and disbelief that were given voice in prayer and on social media, there were conversations of compassion and murmurs of mercy. In Stapleford, efforts were quickly coordinated to get emergency supplies to the suffering people and to help evacuate those who wished to flee and who already had family in the UK. A local builder and his Polish colleague took three vans of goods collected by the communities of the Beane Valley Benefice and brought back to safety 40 refugees.

Here are some photographs of the churches in action…

Well done to all concerned!

If you are keen to help, there is more information on the Diocesan website about how you and your parish might get involved; click here.

In other news…

The Annual Report from Synod for 2021 and other useful information for circulation and discussion at APCMs is now available (here). Synod members, please attend your parish meetings prepared to give a positive account of how the Deanery can support mission and ministry in the parish. And do encourage volunteers to step forwards to serve on our project teams!

Draft minutes of Synod and committee meetings are also now available for Synod members (log in to access these). It was good to be meet our new Diocesan Secretary and to hear something of both his vision for his work and his passion for the gospel. It was also most helpful to hear a clear and comprehensive report from our Deanery’s new link with General Synod. There is much to do as we pray, “Let your Kingdom come” and it is encouraging to hear that the national church is engaging with important matters.

I pray you have a profound experience of the grace of God this Holy Week and Eastertime.

Revd Mark Dunstan

Spring Encouragements

At our last Synod meeting, I proposed that there should be greater collaboration and communication between the parishes of our deanery, and indicated that one way of achieving this would be better use of this blog post.  Time has passed since then, but with the signs of new life all around us, it seems a good time for this particular ministry to start sprouting…

I thought we could start with a little sharing of good news stories – how the churches in our deanery are Living God’s Love in different ways, engaging with their communities, using and supporting their buildings and generally being salt and light in the world.  What follows is not an exhaustive list by any means, but I trust it shows some of the variety of life which is present across the deanery.

The Beane Valley Benefice is celebrating with Watton at Stone Church which is now open for visitors daily having been closed for years.  The churches are also supporting a collection organised by a local builder for victims of the war in Ukraine.  In related news, Revd Sally from Hertford Heath will be leading prayers for Ukraine at a gathering in Parliament Square, Hertford on Wednesday this week.

Holy Trinity Bengeo hosted one of the services for the World Day of Prayer last Friday, with this year’s prayer focus being for England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  Christ Church Ware recently held an “Away Day” with studies in the Book of Ruth, and St Mary’s Ware, following our own deanery’s presentation on the need to be kind to the environment have just completed an initial eco-audit with material provided by Christian conservation charity, A Rocha.

Great Amwell, St Margarets and Stanstead Abbotts have just launched a new magazine across the three villages in collaboration with the Parish Councils, St Andrews Hertford are hosting Fairport Convention in May as one of their “Big Gigs”, and in my benefice, we’ve just started a new Christianity Explored discussion series for those who are either curious about the Christian faith or considering confirmation.

There are plenty of other things going on in the deanery – far too many to write here, but these are written that you may see something of the life and variety in our churches.  Could you write a brief report of something your church is doing so that others can be encouraged?  Please get in touch…

Finally, the Synod Papers for our next meeting are now available on the website for members (simply log in to access them).  I look forward to seeing some of you there!

May God bless you all,

Revd Mark Dunstan

Village Ministers

A meeting of the clergy and others who minister in the villages of our Deanery.