The Bluebell Benefice
A warm welcome to The Bluebell Benefice, which covers the parishes and churches of Great Gransden, Little Gransden, Abbotsley and Waresley in South Huntingdonshire and South West Cambridgeshire.
Coffee, Chat & Compline
Grab a drink and snack of your choice, and curl up in the company of friends. Each Sunday at 5pm, we will be exploring The Lord's Prayer, using these short videos from The Prayer Course as a starting point for an informal discussion, before we close our time together in the gentle and peaceful service of Compline.
Meeting ID: 749 7140 5998 (Passcode: 930155)
Or, phone in on: 0203 901 7895
Feb 14th - 2nd Session; Feb 21st - 3rd Session etc.
You may find it helpful to watch the session's video in advance of Coffee, Chat and Compline, but it is not necessary so please do come anyway! The discussion leader will summarize key points and will share supplementary material to explore in the session. Everything is very informal and the heart of it all is enjoying learning with and from one another.
There is also a useful prayer 'toolshed' with different approaches to prayer.
At 4pm one Sunday each month (next one Palm Sunday) we hold Lego Church, perfect for children young and old who love letting their imaginations run wild with Lego. We start with a thought for the day, then tell a story from the Bible, get into groups to make Lego constructions inspired by the story, and show each other what we have made.
If you would like to join us on Zoom please contact Rev. Rachel.
Online Christmas services
The three online Christmas services can be rewatched for any who missed them.
Crib Service: (3pm Christmas Eve) Led by the children of Barnabas Oley Primary School, the grand finale in our Community Advent Window Calendar Countdown! A creative, interactive and joyful investigation into the Christmas story. The collection for this service will be given to MIND. A recording of the service is now available.
Carol Service: (9pm Christmas Eve) An opportunity to gather round the fire at home on this Christmas Eve night and sing your favourite carols as loudly and tunefully (or not!) as you like! There will be a short reflection too on this most special of nights. Here is the Service Sheet if you'd like to follow along. A recording of the service is also now available.
Christmas Day: (from 9am Christmas Day) A chance to sing some carols and welcome the Christ child into the manger in your home. Even if you can’t be in a church building this year, there is room to join together in the angels’ song. The service may be watched here at any time, and the Service sheet may be viewed.
Tune into our online Benefice crib service at 3pm on Christmas Eve to find a special surprise behind number 24.
You might also like to dip into the daily reflections, images and music of this beautiful online Advent Calendar, created by individuals and churches from all around the world especially for this year of lockdown.
2021 Calendars on sale now!
The Benefice Calendar was made with a great deal of love and local talent! Full of photos from our communities of hopeful moments of beauty through this past difficult year. Available to buy in the village shop and in Waresley Park Garden Centre, or from those whose details are listed below. £10 each, all proceeds to be divided between our four Benefice churches.
Journeying through June and July
An opportunity for gentle reflection and discussion on matters of faith and discipleship, based around a selection of short podcasts. Listen to a short podcast then join us on Zoom at 4.30pm on Sunday afternoons if you’d like to discuss what you’ve listened to!
Benefice Update - 17th March 2020
All church services cancelled
Following the Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday, the archbishops have just written with great sadness to confirm that all acts of public worship must cease until further notice. This means that there will no longer be services held on a Wednesday morning in Little Gransden, or on Sundays in any of our churches.
Assuming I am not myself in isolation, I will be continuing to say Morning Prayer privately in each of the churches as often as I am able during the week, offering daily prayers for you, these villages, those for whom you are concerned and all the wider world. If you would like me to pray for anyone in particular, especially as things develop over these weeks, please don’t hesitate to drop me an email/text. Your requests will be kept confidential. If you would like to join me in praying daily from home, please see the Church of England's daily prayer page.
Great Gransden, Little Gransden and Waresley churches will remain open as usual during the daytime (Abbotsley, on request): please feel free to use these beautiful, peaceful spaces for prayer and reflection at any point in the day, though do be careful to wash hands/use sanitiser after touching door handles etc. In a few days there will be candles you can light in the churches, and some reading & prayer resources you can use.
Worship at home
Each week I will be making a simple Sunday service sheet available, which those who would like to, can use at home. It will provide the Bible readings for the day, a short reflection on the passage, links to some music, and a couple of prayers to say. I also hope to provide a short midweek reflection. These will be made available primarily on this site, as well as on the churches’ own websites, Facebook page, and through links on Touchbase and the Waresley Crier. If anyone knows anyone who would like to receive regular hard copies, please just let me know. (As we approach the special services of Holy Week and Easter, I might even attempt some live-streamed services...but am learning as I go!) And if you have any other ideas for what you would find helpful, again please do get in touch. I am especially after some fun – and safe – ideas for Easter Sunday!
Light a candle
We have been called by our Archbishops to keep this coming Mothering Sunday (22nd March) as a day of prayer and action for all those being affected by the virus. We have been invited to place a lighted candle in our window at 7pm, as a sign of solidarity and hope in the light of Christ that can never be extinguished.
A prayer for calm
Last Sunday we listened to Jesus’ conversation with the woman from Samaria, when He reassured her that it does not matter to God where or when we worship, but whether we do so ‘in spirit and in truth’, as our true selves. If your true self, like mine, feels rather frightened, shaken and overwhelmed by the enormity of these times, then let’s make that the starting point of our worship. This is a Celtic prayer for stilling our hearts:
Encircle us, O God,
keep faith within,
keep panic without.
Encircle us, O God,
keep hope within,
keep despair out.
Encircle us, O God,
keep love within,
keep fear without.
Adapted from David Adam’s
"The Cry of the Deer"
The other wonderful joy of worship is that when we do it, we join together with the whole faithful company of those in both heaven and on earth – so we are never truly on our own! I am fixing my heart longingly upon the wonderful service of thanksgiving we shall hold together once we are eventually through these times...
May the God of Peace protect and be with you all. Please do not hesitate to email/phone me at any stage in these next weeks if you would like to talk anything through, or receive a blessing or be prayed for over the phone: I am here to help in any way I can.
The Archbishops have left us with this challenge: ‘We urge you brothers and sisters to be a different sort of church in these coming months: hopeful and rooted in the offering of prayer and praise, and overflowing in service to the world.’ Amen to that.
With my love and prayers,
Get in touch
The Revd. Rachel Blanchflower can be contacted at:
firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone on: 07824 380 479.
Rachel’s post is half-time, but she will be in the villages for part of most days of the week – except for Thursdays, her day off.
Please get in touch if you have any enquiries about weddings, baptisms, funerals, home/hospital visits or exploring the Christian faith – or if you’d just value tea and a chat.