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.
Windows of Hope
Count down the weeks by sharing a different picture of hope in your window each Sunday. Last week, we began with a rainbow; this week it's bluebells! Here is a sample picture, activity sheets, and some simple letter templates to post a message of hope to a loved one elsewhere.
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:
email@example.com, 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.