The Archbishop of Canterbury in Conversation with Jeremy Vine

Filmed at The University of Worcester Arena on Friday 7 October 2016 as part of the Archbishop’s visit to the diocese.

You can find other memories from the Archbishop’s visit on the Diocesan website here.

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Finding space to flourish – by Nikki Groarke

Nikki-Groarke-squareMy social media feed has been filled over the summer with pictures from Christian conferences and youth camps. People meeting together for worship, pilgrimage, inspirational teaching and community building. Simon Hill, our Youth Officer, spoke on the radio about Spree, where many of our young people had a lot of fun, and I was moved by a picture of Justin Welby at Soul Survivor in the midst of thousands of teenagers praying fervently for him.

I had the privilege of a week in a tent on the Bath and West Showground at New Wine, where I was delivering a seminar, but mainly receiving input from others and mingling with wonderful Christian people with whom I shared coffee and wine, and learned much from as we chatted in queues and over barbeques. I came back refreshed and re-envisioned.

There is something powerful about gathering with many others for celebration, worshipping our God in a way which is different from our weekly rhythm. God’s people have always done it. Festivals of different kinds are woven through the Old Testament, and we see patterns emerging of annual pilgrimage, high days and holy days, significant seasons marked out as special in the Church through the ages.

It is healthy to have annual rhythms in our spiritual life which sustain and feed us. Autumn is always a busy time – a new term, perhaps new Alpha or Pilgrim courses beginning – the visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury this year for us being a particular focus. I have tried to prepare myself for this by spending time in August in retreat and refreshment, ‘abiding’ with Jesus, reading and allowing some space to grow. It’s important to continue a sustainable routine into the busyness of autumn – short, regular periods of prayer and reflection perhaps or meeting with smaller groups of kingdom people week by week, to learn and pray together and encourage one another.

What are your spiritual refreshment patterns – annually, monthly, weekly? How, at the start of this new season, can you ensure they don’t get crowded out?

In Matthew 11:28-30, The Message translation, Jesus says:

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.

I pray we all, as kingdom people, will learn the unforced rhythms of grace in ways which sustain us, and enable us to flourish.

Archdeacon Nikki
Nikki Groarke, Archdeacon of Dudley

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St Lawrence Club, end of summer term

This weekly lunchtime club is held at St Lawrence Lindridge CE Primary School.

During the second half the the summer term we explored a variety of topics. We learnt about the use of the precious mineral salt in Biblical times, and how it is essential to life and good health on planet earth, not forgetting that too much can be harmful! We discovered some amazing facts; salt’s value was considered so great that sometimes people’s wages were paid in it; salt was often used as a sign of an agreement between two people to show that it would last, because of it’s preservative qualities. We made a guess at how many times salt is mentioned in the Bible, and discovered it’s actually over 40.

Celebrating Father’s Day and Friendship Day we made wonderful cards, thinking about what we could do to help at home and in the community.

We were treated to a special talk with photographs by Julia Cooper about her support for Save the Children. She talked about some of the many ways in which children are helped, both in the UK and overseas, concentrating on the serious drought in Ethiopia where thousands of children are suffering from malnutrition.

During National Insect Week in June, which encourages young and old to learn more about the world of insects, the children made a lovely mini­beast collage, as we thought about all God’s creatures, both great and small.

We had fun learning about all sorts of different Crosses and their meanings, and were surprised there are so many!

Thinking about transitions, focussing particularly on the year 6 Leavers, we all contributed to prayers for them to take away in a special Prayer Box, and made each one a lovely sun catcher Cross gift.

With grateful thanks to Carol, Julia, Marjorie and Mike for all their help and support with the club.

We look forward to meeting once again in the autumn term.

Liz Whitehead
Children’s Worker

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Sallie’s Ordination – A note of thanks

13502969_1106455869400197_8690617878743507638_oWhen the party got underway after Sallie’s ordination, Trevor Nott spoke eloquently about her dedication to ministry within the parishes. It was very humbling to us both to hear how much her past service as a Reader has been appreciated.

It is inevitable that, as a newly ordained Deacon in the new joint benefices, the future will hold new challenges and opportunities for her – which I know she will rise to meet.

Sue Coley had excelled herself with a tasty and varied spread of food which amply complemented the champagne, cava, sekt and prosecco used for the congratulatory toast. (We are, in drink at least, very Pan-European!)

What was forgotten, in all the emotion and noise of the party, was one important matter – our thanks to you all. Thank you for all the support you have given Sallie during her ordination; For the very generous financial gift; for the words of encouragement that helped to lift her spirits when assignments were proving hard to complete; but most of all for making the time to join with me and her family and friends at the Cathedral to celebrate the successful completion of this first element of her training for the priesthood.

I do know that her parents and brothers were surprised and touched by the love and support you have all shown to Sallie.

I apologise for not making our gratitude clear at the time but take this belated opportunity to say, quite simply – THANK YOU!

P.S. You generously contributed on the day over £260 towards the ShelterBox Charity which will provide three entire ‘Shelterkits’ for distribution in disaster areas.

Richard Butcher

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Lindridge Baby and Toddler Group – Summer 2016

The Lindridge Baby and Toddler group restarts for the new term on Thursday 8th September at Lindridge Parish Hall from 9.30am to 11am. If you have children between 0 and 5 years, please do come and join us for fun activities and to make some new friends.

The group met a couple of times over the summer holidays. Once at Lindridge St Lawrence Primary School (thank you to the school for letting us use your grounds). Sadly, we had typical British weather and we all got a little wet! The children still enjoyed painting and running around though! A big thank you also goes to Marjorie and Pauline who both helped at this session.

The second meeting was at Top Barn Farm Park where a group of us had a very enjoyable time together watching the children stroking rabbits and chickens. We all had fun feeding the goats and watching the pig racing! There were toy tractors to ride, a fort to climb and lots of other activities to keep us all amused for a few hours.

We look forward to meeting you all when the group restarts in September at the Parish Hall.

There is a charge of £1.50 for each family for each session attended. If you have any questions, please contact Vickie at or 01584 881 086.

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St Lawrence Club, summer term

This weekly lunchtime club meets at St Lawrence Lindridge CE Primary School.

We’ve had a busy summer term to date, with lots of games, songs, praise and activities for the children to enjoy.

During Christian Aid week we talked about the important work of this organisation, who raise money and awareness for some of the world’s poorest communities, fighting for a world free of poverty and injustice. From a concertina of paper we made a chain of people, linking hands around the world as we focussed on the importance of loving one another, being kind, caring and giving. We thought about what we could do to help this Charity.

At Pentecost we heard the story of the Holy Spirit, “who came with tongues of fire and flame” and the children had fun painting their hands bright red, making hand prints and made a wonderful collage representing tongues of fire. We talked about the gift of the Holy spirit and the different gifts that have been given to each and every one of us. We had fun trying to speak in different languages as the disciples did at Pentecost. We celebrated the Birthday of the Church with fun outdoor games.

We look forward to meeting again during the second half of the summer term.

Liz Whitehead
Children’s Worker

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Teme Valley North Parish Charity Khwendo Kor

khwendo kor logoTeme Valley North has elected to adopt the Non-governmental Organisation Khwendo Kor as its charity for the next three years and we asked Ian Sinclair, the Vice-Chair of UK Friends of Khwendo Kor to explain something about it.

Click here for his reply.

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Good Friday Crafts

This community event was held at St Lawrence Lindridge Primary School.

Many crafts were on offer for all to try, including Easter Resurrection Gardens, Palm Leaf weaving, Holy Week stained glass effect window decorations, egg painting and egg mosaics, Easter baskets, butterfly hanging decorations, and much more. The children also enjoyed face painting.

Hot Cross Buns, teas, coffee and squash were at the ready for all to enjoy.

A big thank you to all volunteer helpers who made this event possible, and so enjoyable.

Liz Whitehead
Children’s Worker

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Women’s World Day of Prayer 2016

The Women’s World Day of Prayer service on Friday 4th March was held for the first time at St Lawrence’s and was led by Marjorie Workman. Devised by the women of Cuba, the lovely service offered us the opportunity to learn more about their country and to join together with others across the world reflecting and praying on the theme Receive Children. Receive me.

A big thank you to the children of Lindridge School Kingfisher Class who sang to us before the start of the service, and to Imogen, Laura and Annie who stayed to take part (with great confidence) in the service itself along with others from across our newly united parishes. We were delighted to have Caroline Whittaker with us to lead the meditation, which included a visual presentation supplied by the women of Cuba to illustrate the theme. Chris Carter so ably accompanied the songs – which were mainly new to us – on the piano, and we all enjoyed delicious Cuban-style lemonade, coffee and traditional biscuits.

A big thank you to the team from the united parishes who worked together to organise the service: Eleanor Baber, Pauline Briggs, Sue Manning, Chris and Vickie Melling, and all those who took part. The collection will be sent to WWDP for projects that they sponsor at home and abroad.

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Tribute to Betty Andersson

Many of you will have seen the following poem on display at Betty’s wake. Written by Betty’s granddaughter, Louise Andersson, it touched many people.

One Lady

One lady and her mother,
Begin the day with a smile,
A bond that can never be broken,
The love between mother and child.

One lady and her father,
Wave farewell as he goes to war,
But farewell is never goodbye,
As one lady will see her father once more.

One lady and her sister,
Play under the late morning sky,
A sister is a friend for life,
Who’ll make you both laugh, and cry.

One lady and her dog,
Go for a walk in the midday sun,
Strolling through the luscious greens,
Saying hello to everyone.

One lady and her husband,
Begin their journey together,
A journey that is not always easy,
But a love that will last forever.

One lady and her children,
Hold hands to cross the road,
Giving them the gift of life,
Is what one lady Bestowed.

One lady and her grandchild,
Are ready for a story and bed,
One lady reads out loud to them,
Putting wonderful words in their heads.

Now It’s time for one lady to go to sleep,
But the moments will still live on,
For she’ll eternally stay within our hearts,
So this lady will never really be gone.

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The Silver Line

silverline-logoThe Silver Line is the only free confidential helpline providing information, friendship and advice to older people. It is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. The Silver Line is a national charity and delivers one to one services in support of older people in the UK who may be experiencing challenges due to the impact of loneliness or social isolation.

It was Dame Esther Rantzen’s feelings of loneliness following the death of her husband that prompted her, as founder and president, to publicly share her own feelings and open up the discussion around loneliness – a subject surrounded by stigma.
In November 2011 she was invited to make a key-note speech at a conference at which she came up with the idea of creating a helpline in order to support vulnerable older people, sign-post them to projects and services, break through the stigma of loneliness and isolation, and tackle the problems of abuse and neglect.

If you know anyone who you think might benefit from The Silver Line, then please give them the helpline number: 0800 4 70 80 90

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Reboot, Refresh, Recommit: Celebration of Ministry – 31st January 2016

On Sunday the 31st January, the church communities of Shrawley, Little Witley, Great Witley, Abberley, Stockton-on-Teme, Pensax, Lindridge and Knighton gathered together to re-commit our lives to the service of Christ.

Rev’d Ted led us in worship at Abberley Village Hall, a central point for the newly united churches. After the praise and worship, we spent some time getting to know each other better over coffee and cake, and also took the opportunity to look at the displays from each of the churches showing their community life.

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St Lawrence Club, autumn term 2015

This weekly lunchtime club is held at St Lawrence Lindridge C of E Primary School. We’ve had a busy, fun term, celebrating many festivals with song, dance, creative prayer, craft activities and games.

As part of harvest preparations we explored our senses, talking about our favourite sights, sounds, smells, tastes, thinking of all the things we love, and what we would like to give thanks for. The children made lovely ‘plates of thanks’. We enjoyed planting our own crop of cress and mustard to watch grow from tiny seeds. Thanks once again to Betty Andersson who joined us to prepare our traditional harvest loaf, complete with a few harvest mice and cats!

We celebrated the feast of All Saints, remembering those outstanding Christians who have led heroic lives and set an example for all Christians, focusing on the life of St Lawrence.

For Remembrance the children made wonderful Poppy Wreaths and Poppy Crosses, as we thought about all the soldiers from all wars, their families, friends and all those affected by war, and wrote our own prayers.

As we approached the season of Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, we had fun making Mosaic Rangoli Patterns.

At the end of the church year, before the start of Advent, we focussed on Christ the King season, and the children enjoyed making their own crowns to decorate with Jewels as we remembered Jesus, a different kind of King.

Christmas celebrations got under way with Christingle, we talked about the symbolic meaning of each part of the Christingle, and lit the candle as we enjoyed festive song, Christmas crafts and games.

We look forward to meeting again in the spring term.

Liz Whitehead
Children’s Worker

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Thanks for the donations to Tenbury Emergency Food Relief

Following your donations of food for the Tenbury Emergency Food Relief scheme, Meryl received the following ‘thank you’ letter from the co-ordinator.

Dear Meryl,

I just wanted to let you know that all hampers have now been distributed successfully. The delight and gratitude of all recipients was quite overwhelming, with several saying the hamper had made their Christmas, and how humbled they felt.

What a difference these hampers make, demonstrating as they do people’s compassion and caring especially during these difficult times.

All recipients were made aware of the combined effort of all the churches, their parishioners and schools within the area, and their enormous support We all recognise that without these special people the hampers would not exist.

Please pass on our sincere gratitude to all who have helped to make this Christmas special for many families.

Wishing you all a very happy and holy Christmas.

With kindest regards
(South Worcestershire Citizens Advice Bureau)

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Lindridge Baby and Toddler Group – Autumn Term

Baby and Toddler GroupWe are coming to the end of the Autumn Term and after losing some families at the end of the summer term (in the nicest possible way to school and pre-school), we now have some new families and babies- welcome to you all!!

We have had some indoor fun over this term especially with the messy play and the foam. Joel was featured on the front cover of Temespan up to his elbows in foam. Icing biscuits went down a treat as well, but I think that was as much to do with the eating as the decorating.

We dressed in our pyjamas to raise money for Children in Need and collected a fantastic £31.50 – thank you to all of you. On past experience, we should get a certificate of acknowledgement sometime around next March.

The final Toddler Group session for this term will be 17th December and we meet again in the New Year on January 7th 2016 9.30 to 11 am. The Parish Hall will be closing for at least a week in January on the 14th as the ceiling is being repaired and decorated. I am trying to find an alternative venue and I’ll keep you informed.

Please do come and join us at one of our Church Christmas Services – there are crib services at Abberley St Mary and Great Witley, plus the usual Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services at Lindridge and Knighton. Details of all services can be found here.

As always, any feedback/suggestions for activities etc is welcomed.

Finally, I want to thank you for your continued support of the group, and all the volunteers who help me set up and clear up and provide such a warm welcome to everyone.

Happy Christmas and New Year to you all

From Vickie and all the helpers at Lindridge Baby and Toddler Group

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Annual Christmas Crafts and Christingle Service

On Saturday 28th November many children, parents, carers and volunteer helpers gathered at St Lawrence Lindridge Primary School for this joyous occasion. It was a great social event with community coming together as we began our preparations for Christmas at the start of Advent.

Whilst preparing the Christingles we talked about the symbolic meaning, the orange representing the world, the red band stretching around the world symbolising Christ’s love for us throughout the four seasons, represented by the four sticks on which we place the fruits of the earth. The candle of Christingle, reminding us that Christ is the world’s true light.

As well as preparing Christingles, many crafts were on offer for both children and adults to try, including decorating wreaths, Christmas story wheels to colour, table decorations, snowflakes, Santa and snowman windmill kits, Nativity lanterns, painting with stencils, Nativity masks, and Christmas cards. The children enjoyed seasonal face painting. There were lots of mince pies and biscuits to enjoy, as well as teas and coffee which were served throughout the afternoon.

After a busy session of crafts we processed to St Lawrence Church for our Christingle Service, led by Reverend Ted Whittaker. We lit the candles, passing the light of Christ on to our neighbours and friends and were reminded of those less fortunate than ourselves.

Thank you for all the kind donations received, which are handed on to the Children’s Society to further their work with underprivileged children.

Thank you also to all those involved helping in so many ways during the day, making this event so successful.

Liz Whitehead
Children’s Worker

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Lindridge Toddlers and Children in Need

Thanks to all the families, and helpers, who came to Toddlers in their pyjamas to raise money for Children in Need. There were mums, grandmas and great grandmas all joining in the fun. Some of the little ones were a bit sleepy, maybe confused as they were in their night clothes!

We collected £31.50, which was fantastic for our small group.

Thank you to everyone.

Lindridge Baby and Toddler Group

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All Together – Sharing ways to live the Kingdom

A report on the All Together event held at the Cathedral on Saturday 10th October, by Bishop John.

Bishop_Graham_Climbing_WallIt was wonderful to see the Cathedral filled with over 800 people for our All Together event on Saturday 10 October. And not just the Cathedral itself: there were people from parishes doing all sorts of surprising things in and around both the Cathedral and the Diocesan Office. Perhaps some of you even tried the climbing wall, bouncy castle or skate park. I definitely spotted the Bishop of Dudley enjoying a bit of climbing!

12068942_960709390641513_6329700459573279092_oI’m sure that those of you who were there would agree that the worship was inspirational. Mark Russell, the Chief Executive of the Church Army and Canon of Worcester preached very powerfully and the roof seemed to lift from the cathedral with the power of the singing. All of us were fed with lunch which had been produced by the Cathedral Café in what appeared to be a miracle.

The whole day was a celebration: a celebration of the call of the people of all the 280 churches of the Diocese of Worcester to be a ‘Kingdom people’.

Jesus preached about the Kingdom of God and as Christians we believe that this is what he came to establish: the reign of God. We believe that it is our task to work for that reign, one in which values love, compassion, justice and freedom prevail.

You might think the idea of the Kingdom of God a bit ‘churchy’ and perhaps it is. But there’s nothing churchy about a society which is characterised by love, compassion, justice and freedom. If those values were to prevail the world would certainly be a better place, In fact, if they were completely to prevail things would be perfect and that’s what they will be like in God’s Kingdom. That’s what we pray for in the Lord’s Prayer: ‘Thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.’

We try not just to pray for that kingdom but to work for it and all those people on who gathered on Saturday spent the day learning about how the better to do so. It’s great to see God’s people on the move, seeking to be a blessing in every community by promoting and embodying our kingdom values. I hope that everyone in our churches will want to join in and whether through bouncy castles and skate parks or through other less energetic means, work to bring about God’s Kingdom here on earth.

Loads of pictures taken on the day can be seen here on the Diocesan Facebook page.

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Godly Play – at St Lawrence Lindridge

Godly Play: A time to wonder………..

At our Godly Play sessions we explore many stories together, including the Old Testament, Advent and Christmas, Epiphany which includes Parables, Lent, Easter, and The Season after Pentecost. The stories are presented in a unique way, making use of very special visual resources.

After the presentation of each story, there is a time to wonder and reflect together. This is extended into a time for personal response, when we are invited to work with the story, or be creative with arts and crafts by making something that shows us how we feel about the story (or parable) which has unfolded before us.

Godly Play is held at St Lawrence Church, Lindridge, at 9.30am, on the first Sunday of each month.

Liz Whitehead
Children’s worker


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The Story of the Knighton Church Bell Turret

It all started in early 2013 when Keith Bunn was in the Turret, at the bell level, when without warning, his foot went through the floor. Fortunately it was only one foot and he was able to extract himself without difficulty or further damage to himself or the Turret.

Examination revealed that damage had been occurring for some years to the shingles of the Turret by green woodpeckers who were making increasing number of 2½" to 3" holes in the very thin Canadian Cedar shingles that had been put up in the early sixties. The woodpeckers had not only damaged the shingles but had also, on one occasion, launched a serious attack on our Church Architect, Mr John Wheatley. He escaped quite lightly as, luckily, he was wearing a thick jacket and a ‘Hard Hat’. However the damage was such that rain, especially when accompanied by strong winds, was penetrating the Turret and causing rot to develop in the internal woodwork. The Church committee decided it was time to act.

P1030563 copyA small sub-committee was formed and work commenced. On the advice of Mr Wheatley approaches were made to English Heritage and to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the latter with a view to making an application for a grant. Among the other bodies consulted were the Diocese who gave guidance as to the requirements for granting a Faculty, the County Archive and Archaeology Department, Malvern Hills District Council and the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Buildings. In addition inspections had to be carried out by a firm of experts on ancient timbers, a Structural Engineer, and a Bat and Protected Species Survey was also completed. A ‘Dendro-dating’ was also carried out. This is achieved by drilling the timbers in such a way as to obtain samples showing the annual rings in the wood. This has revealed a good deal more information as to the date of the various parts of the Turret and other areas of the Church and the new information will be incorporated into a revised history of the Church.

This work led to an estimate of the likely cost of the project which, after input by various of the above agencies, came out at a little under £100,000. Several events in the village raised about £21,000 and this included an extraordinarily generous donation of £12,000 which, with Gift Aid, amounted to £15,000.

Meanwhile the very long, and rather tortuous, process of making the application to HLF went ahead. This can only be done ‘on-line’ and consists of a seemingly endless series of different forms, some of which appear to have a life of their own. This not to say that our contacts at HLF in Birmingham were ever less than entirely friendly and helpful. However the advice would be that anyone contemplating a similar project should think seriously about employing an expert on such matters to make the application for them. We discovered, rather too late, that the costs of this can also be included in the application.

Eventually we reached the point where our Faculty application was approved and HLF undertook to cover some 77% of the costs which, with our fund-raising, covered the expected total costs just about exactly. We are still not quite sure what the eventual total will be. As it progresses, the work may reveal further previously unknown damage and may increase costs. Meanwhile we hope that the contingency funding allowed for in the estimates will be sufficient to cover any such cost.

From the start of the project in February 2013 it has taken two and a half years to the moment when construction of the scaffolding started on 9th September; we understand that this is about par for the course. Since then the work has been progressing well and we expect to be complete by early next Spring; fingers crossed, whoopee!

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