Feb 7, 2021
I pray that all is well with you & yours. I know that in reality a number of you are struggling because of the current lockdown conditions. Each struggle will be personal to you but will also be shared by others. Some of you may have the virus or be grieving while others will be lonely because you are isolating. People ‘like me’ might suggest you try and find comfort in the words of the Bible. And, in the past, when I was feeling anxious I might have told that person ‘like me’ to go and take a running jump! To be honest it will not always offer the peace and comfort one might be hoping for but I would urge you not to give up. If we’re doing church well then we should always have someone at the end of the phone or nearby who we can turn to. Jeremiah 14:9 reminds us that the Lord is in the midst of us and He knows our name. We are known and we are loved … even if we don’t always feel like anyone is paying enough attention. As the new Priest in Charge I have a duty of care to pray for you, which is a real privilege for me. If there is a struggle brought about by Covid, or indeed anything else please do get in touch. My contact details can be found at the end of this flyer. God bless, Rev Mark.
(Start as I mean to go on!) … A lovely young man from the Cumberland & Westmorland Herald phoned me out of the blue last week and asked a few questions about my new job. It was all done & dusted in a flash. The article printed on the paper is great but it failed to mention Plumpton. Whilst in practice, if life was ‘normal’ I would be planning and taking services for Plumpton and all the other churches. The legal process to include Plumpton with the others is still going through. I wasn’t specific enough with the young man from the Herald and if he Googled the Inglewood benefice he wouldn’t have found Plumpton among them. This might have caused confusion to some but I hope it hasn’t caused any upset. I have informed the Herald – hopefully they will say something in next week’s paper.
Who is the new guy?
My name is Mark Houston, born in Sheffield but raised in Belfast. I’ve been married to Ruth since 1991. We have 2 children. William is married to Hollie and they live in Nottingham. Frances is a final year student at Edinburgh University. We have a white Border collie named Kirkby. Ruth & I met at college where we trained as school teachers. After several years living in Barnsley we relocated to Kendal. This is perhaps where the vocation to ordained ministry began to form. I trained as a Reader & was licensed in 2012 and I also nurtured a ministry in prisons around the North West of England. This mainly involved my friends and I taking our guitars & drums into the prison chapel. Whilst the music was a fun thing to do the best bit was the chance to talk to the ‘residents’ over a cup of tea afterwards. After ordination I began curacy in the East of Eden Mission Community so, despite living in Plumpton, the churches stretched from Lazonby onto the Cross Fell churches of Ousby and Kirkland. Ruth works as an Education Consultant for the diocese and for the national Church of England. As both Ruth & I have a background in education we have always felt drawn to being part of the local school community. I will have an involvement with both church schools in the benefice (High Hesket & Calthwaite) but I also hope to be involved with the schools in Skelton, Plumpton and Armathwaite. I’ve got guitars and a growing collection of hand puppets so that seems like an obvious excuse to get involved with school assembly / collective worship. You will see Kirkby the wonder dog taking his people for a walk in all weathers and at all times. He is very friendly and despite our better efforts he will still like to give you a warm welcome when he sees you. The picture of Ruth, Kirkby & I was taken in the vicarage on the day of my ordination in 2018.
Services across the benefice
As you are aware we are currently not meeting in our church buildings for acts of worship but the church is still able to meet, albeit through the medium of Zoom. How many of us had heard of Zoom this time last year? I know I hadn’t.
There are currently two opportunities to attend a Zoom service. We meet on Tuesday mornings at 10.30am for a short service of Morning Prayer and then on Sunday we meet at 11am for a slightly longer service that includes hymns and a sermon / talk. The speaker for the next three Sundays are Brian Dawson (Feb 14), Mark Houston (Feb 21) & Ken Bonsor (Feb 28).
I am also hoping to start a service through the mail for people who cannot access the Internet. This will be a short service with liturgy, readings, prayers & a short reflection which will (hopefully) arrive in time for you to read at your leisure every Sunday.
You might also be interested in a compline service I share most weeks at 10pm (although it can be watched any time after. Just click on this link: https://youtu.be/iutdqQcn3is
A decision on holding a form of service on Ash Wednesday is still to be reached. There is also a plan to hold some online Lent study.
If you would like to know more please contact me and I will put you in touch with the people you need to know.
Mark’s contact details.
The New Vicarage, Plumpton. <v:shape id="Picture_x0020_3" o:spid="_x0000_i1026" type="#_x0000_t75"> <v:imagedata o:title="Model5302Telephone" src="file:////Users/kennethbonsor/Library/Group%20Containers/UBF8T346G9.Office/TemporaryItems/msohtmlclip/clip_image002.jpg"> </v:imagedata></v:shape>01768 885669. <v:shape id="Picture_x0020_4" o:spid="_x0000_i1025" type="#_x0000_t75"> <v:imagedata o:title="email1" src="file:////Users/kennethbonsor/Library/Group%20Containers/UBF8T346G9.Office/TemporaryItems/msohtmlclip/clip_image003.jpg"> </v:imagedata></v:shape> [email protected]