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.
Advent Window Countdown
This year the Benefice and Barnabas Oley thought we could have some (safe!) fun creating a community advent window calendar, to help count down the days together till Christmas.
The idea is that everyone who would like to take part is allocated a number between 1 and 23, and on 'your' date in December you do a grand reveal of your very own picture or scene in one of your front windows, including the number, of course!
Then, take a photo and send it in to us to be shared with everyone in our special online Calendar Countdown on our page here.
Number 24 will be a special surprise! Tune into our Benefice online Crib Service at 3pm on Christmas Eve to find out where and what it is!
If you would like to take part, please send an email asap to VCorrie-Wing@BarnabasOley.cambs.sch.uk
Coffee, Chat & Compline
Grab a drink and snack of your choice, and curl up in the company of friends. Each Sunday at 5pm through November and December, a different person will share their thoughts on something that is inspiring them during this season - whether a piece of poetry, music, art, a prayer or passage of Scripture. Then there will be a chance for 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
Lego Church is back this Sunday 22nd November at 4pm. Email Rachel for the Zoom details. Ooh, and if you're able to make it, it might be handy to have a large mixing bowl, wooden spoon and some Lego bricks to hand...it is Stir-Up Sunday, after all!
I am sure you will all have heard the confirmation that sadly, from Thursday November 5, no public services of worship will be able to take place in our churches. However, they will remain open for private prayer and reflection, and funerals (limited to 30 attending) will also be permitted.
'Full' live-streamed online services will resume during this period. As ever, we are eager to have as many different voices included as possible, so if you haven't yet told us you are happy to read/play tuba/perform a skit, please let Revd. Rachel know! We would be extremely grateful if those with printing capacities were able to print copies of weekly services/sermons for friends or neighbours who might not have access to online materials. We know you will already be alert to those who might appreciate a phone call or help with shopping, but please do let Rachel know if anyone would especially like her to contact them.
Remembrance Sunday, 8th November 2020
We're unfortunately unable to hold services in our churches during November, so live online services are returning.
Service sheet to follow at home
All Saints' Day, 1st November 2020
This week's 10am Benefice Communion will be in St Peter & St Paul, Little Gransden. There will also be a candlelit All Souls' Remembrance Service at St Margaret, Abbotsley at 6pm.
Final Sunday after Trinity, 25th October 2020
This week's 10am Benefice Communion will be in St James the Great, Waresley. There will be no online recordings this week as Rachel is on leave.
You might instead like to watch Ely Cathedral's Sung Eucharist at 10:30.
Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity, 18th October 2020
This week's 10am communion will be in St Bartholomew, Great Gransden. Once again, for those who can't make it here are recordings of the sermon, readings, hymns and prayers.
Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity, 11th October 2020
This week's 10am communion will be in St Margaret, Abbotsley. For those who can't make it please use these recordings of the sermon, readings, hymns.
A Harvest Thanksgiving, Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity, 4th October 2020
This week's 10am communion, our Harvest Festival was held in St Peter & St Paul, Little Gransden. As usual, for those who can't make it please use these recordings of the sermon, readings, hymns.
Institution service, 13th September 2020
This Sunday we had a special service thanking Tony for his many years of ministry as an LLM, seeing Rachel instituted as Rector and having three of our children confirmed by Bishop Dagmar.
The service was recorded and can be watched at this link, password: Gs9Pa3eFBxN4r8KLs , but only for a limited period.
Not-the-Little-Gransden-Church-Fete Raffle and Auction!
The Grand Draw was held on our Facebook page at 7:30 on Friday evening. A recording of the draw is now available to watch. A huge thank you to Alison and Emma for the amazing organization, all of those who provided prizes, and of course all of you for buying tickets and bidding on the auction. We raised nearly £1500!
The government has announced that from June 15th places of worship across the country can begin to reopen. We have been working hard on how this can be done safely for our churches; Waresley, Great Gransden and Little Gransden are open during the day for private prayer. Please do still follow the distancing guidelines and remain careful of what you touch, washing and sanitizing hands before and afterwards.
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.