It's really great to be here

Hello: To begin with.

I am Revd Simon Bale, the new vicar in the Benefice of Athelney, writing my first of many monthly letters for the magazine. I am actually writing this in the second week of January still trying to make sense of all kinds of things this new year. I am not one to dwell on The New Year but it is impossible not to notice the '21 rather than the '20, and to muse, "new year, eh? I wonder what that will be like... this time." By the time this gets to you, early February, I suspect we'll still be locked down, still in the midst of that infernal virus, and still wondering what happens next.

I am also writing this in Bridgwater where I currently live, waiting to know when I might actually move into the vicarage, and wondering when I might be able to meet people and shake their hands rather than rubbing elbows or asking them to zoom.

So, again, hello-ish.

Here's a bit of background from me. I grew up in Bristol where I lived for fifty-one years until in 2013 when I was ordained and moved to be the curate at St John's, Highbridge and the adjoining parishes of Mark, and East and West Huntspill. I arrived in Bridgwater in 2017 at St Francis of Assisi and am now coming to The Athelney Benefice, with great enthusiasm.

I am married (to Louise) and have two grown sons and an almost two year old granddaughter, who I have not seen anywhere near enough of since she was one year old two days before the first lock down began. There's a lot more to me than those 'facts', of course, but I am looking forward to meeting you and sharing each of our stories in real life.

At the moment I am like a dog with two tails. Being appointed to be your new vicar is extremely exciting and I cannot wait to begin my new role; Louise and I are also very keen to take up residence in the vicarage. But--of course--the pandemic is making all that a bit less straightforward than we'd have hoped. To begin with, following my licensing (a Zoom affair on 4th February), I will be commuting to the benefice each day to work out of the office in Stoke St Gregory. My intention is to be visible but abide by the lockdown regulations. So, if you see an overweight, out of condition old geezer in a mask on a bike: please give me a wide birth (I'm driving to the benefice, by the way: I'm way too unfit to cycle here and back!)

For now, I pray that our current challenges will be reduced, that we can care for those who struggle with the isolation, and that the future will reveal all kinds of new blessings for us all. Amen.

The levels are alive!

At last, after so many months of biting our lips or (at best) humming along to our favourite hymns and songs, we can now... ta da aaaah... sing in church!

From this coming Sunday, 25th July, after the pandemic restrictions have been fully lifted, we are making one significant shift in our protocols: singing is permitted across all Athelney Benefice churches.

Please note: all other protocols remain operative, so, no common cup, please wear masks inside church, please maintain a sensible distance from each other and please be aware that some may be less than comfortable with a release of the restrictions.

As sensitive and mature people, I know we can all understand the need for these continuing behaviours, but in the meantime: SING! SING! SING!

Coffee Morning for The Bells

In the garden at Manor End, The Fosse with Liz and Keith Gibbs

Saturday 10th July 10-12am
Proceeds to the Church Bell Fund

NB  If it’s wet we’ll cancel!
Also, sorry, there’s no parking at the house!

Appeal of Bells

Bells have rung in North Curry church since at least the reign of Henry VIII.  Half of the current bells are already over 200 years old. 

They are a traditional part of the village, and not just for churchgoers.  The bells are heard by all: most often in the church clock chimes, which sound every quarter, day and night; but they also mark the turning points of village and personal life, from births and weddings to funerals. 

But the bells can no longer be rung as before. The frame and fittings that support them, and the bells themselves, are wearing out.  It is no longer safe to ring the largest bells together. We need to raise around £150,000 to get the bells ringing again. If you would lie to help with this, please head over to the site and find out how.

Songs of Praise

Please start giving some thought to your favourites. The Sunday worship at Stoke St Gregory on 18th July will be a combined “Songs of Praise” with the Baptist church. It will be outdoors and so we will be able to sing openly and without masks… O Joy! There will be a suggestion form in church in Lyng on 13th June and subsequently in Stoke St Gregory.

United Service

We are gathering tomorrow (13th June) for our monthly united benefice Eucharist. This month it is at St Bartholomew's, Lyng. Parking is available in the "Old Pub Carpark": thank you!

Coffee Wednesday

It has been a while but Coffee Wednesday is returning to North Curry Church. You may remember it as Coffee Monday, but the vicar's day off is Monday and he doesn't want to miss out!

10am every week starting 9th June in the church. There will be cake.

New look website

It is not fully formed, and there are some odd gaps but as of this week (10th June 2021) it is going live. Please be patient as we continue to develop it and add many more features. Thanks!

Weekly Bulletin

Our weekly bulletin contains information about upcoming worship times and a few news items, prayer lists and "The Vicar's Letter". Please enter your email address below.
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