It has now been just over six months since I was licensed as Priest in Charge of the Waterside Churches (as they were then) I cannot believe where that time has gone….
I feel that now is a good time to have a look at what has been happening in the churches, your churches in the last six months. I use the word ‘your’ deliberately here. They are your churches, serving your community.
The churches in Feock, along with Devoran and Perranarworthal, have been a part of the lives of their communities for hundreds of years. We still continue to do so and we would like to build upon our presence in each of these communities.
The Waterside Churches became the Waterside Benefice in October of last year.
The church of St Feock, along with St John and St Petroc and St Piran made the decision to join together and still maintain their own identities and PCC’s.
This conscious decision by the churches joined them together to support one another, to share resources, to worship together, to mission together, to pray for one another, to serve their communities, to build the kingdom of God and to build relationships with each other.
My role, amongst others, is to draw the three churches together, to encourage them to build a benefice which serves the communities of Feock, Devoran, Carnon Downs and Perranarworthal, ensuring that we are both fruitful and sustainable for many years to come.
The three churches each have an equal role to play in the benefice, working and supporting one another.
Much has happened in the six months since I joined you and I wanted to take this opportunity to give you an overview of what is happening in your churches and community. I am aware that much of the work that is going on is ‘background’ work that may not be obvious to everyone but, led by the Spirit, is building a fruitful and sustainable benefice for future years.
We now have a JCC (Joint Church Council) made up of two volunteers from each church, along with a Church Warden from each, which is chaired by me. The JCC members have the overall responsibility for mission and outreach and this will be their focus when we meet.
Our Churchwardens also now meet with me every three months and this gives us an opportunity to pray together and to discuss their work. Churchwardens play a vital role in the life of the church and much of their hard work goes unseen.
The benefice also has a new Ministry Team, which meets every three months. The Ministry Team is made up of our PTO (Permission to Officiate), The Revd. Canon Martin Boxall. Our LLM’s; Jane Darlington and David Watson, our Lay Worship Leaders Anne Ramsden, Jenny Kemp, Nina Davey and a Local Worship Leader, Janet Thomas. We are also joined by Revd. Jeff James, who supports us and leads some of our Holy Communion Services. My husband Chris has recently started to lead services of worship, as he has done in the past and joins us on the team.
We also have a new Pastoral Care Team which is looking after the pastoral needs of our communities: making pastoral phone calls, visiting, following up on baptisms and funerals with support for families. The team has been put together to work towards inclusivity and to reflect the love of Christ to all of our community members.
We hold a quarterly ‘Just As I Am’ service which is aimed at those who find getting to regular church services difficult. It is a short, dementia friendly service followed by refreshments at The Linden Hey Tea Garden.
Anne Ramsden, our LLM, Jane and Chris Ryall are very keen to start a Youth Church and will be working to build upon our work with young families. We will be meeting in the next week or so to see how we can move forward with this plan.
St John and St Petroc Church in Devoran hold a Worship for All service on the first Sunday of the month. The W4All team plan and lead this service for families. We are very keen to engage with our young families and young people.
Amongst the activities that we have hosted have been an outdoor Crib Service in Devoran churchyard in December, which was attended by many families. We walked around the churchyard hunting for the characters from the Nativity Story, singing Carols by candle and torch light. There was a wonderful atmosphere and we even heard the angels singing!
At Christmas we held a ‘sheep trail’ in Devoran as well as a Christmas Craft event, both were enjoyed by all who took part.
Chris Ryall is organising an Easter Trail in Perranwell in Holy Week, do keep an eye open for more details. There is also an Easter Craft Event in St Piran’s Church Hall on 16th April at 2.30, all welcome.
My husband Chris and I have hosted two Men’s Breakfast events in The Perranwell Centre. I cook a full English Breakfast with toast, tea and coffee. Newpapers are available to browse and there is always plenty of chat and laughter. There is no charge for this event and our next one will be on 30th April at 9am. Do contact me if you would like to book a place.
The Oggymen gave a wonderful concert at St. Piran’s Church before Christmas. This was followed up with an atmospheric candlelight concert by Will Keating and John Dowling, as part of their tour of Cornish churches. The church was full for both events and the concerts will be happening again in 2022.
Today brought the Pancake Party! One of our young people brought along her chocolate fountain and opened our event for us. Many pancakes were eaten, personalised from the toppings bar. The children flipped pancakes and our Lent Challenge was launched.
These are a few of the activities that we have hosted in recent months. None of which would be possible without our fabulous team of volunteers. They give of their time and energy freely and I couldn’t do without them. There is so much work that goes on ‘behind the scenes’ to make these events in our churches and halls a success. I am indebted to them all. We are always looking for more volunteers and if you have some time that you would like to give and would like to join these friendly, welcoming teams do let me know, it would be very much appreciated.
Since the Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted ‘Coffee Stop’ has been re-started in both Devoran (parish centre and The Perranwell Centre). These coffee mornings, run by volunteers are open for all to come along, to enjoy a coffee and to have a chat (donations for coffee and biscuits).
On Saturday 12th March Nina and Martin Davey launch ‘Just coffee and cake’ at their tea garden, Linden Hey, raising funds for St Feock Church.
Paul Stuart runs our comprehensive website www.thewatersidechurches.com which advertises all of our events and services and has a contact form if you would like to get in touch. Please do go and have a look and find out what is coming up.
We have a presence on social media site Facebook for the Waterside Benefice which is hosted by our LLM Jane, another good way of finding out what is going on. I also host a Twitter feed; just search for Revd. Karen Wilson.
I write an article in the St.Feock Parish Magazine once every two months and write ‘Karen’s Corner’ for our website each week.
Ecumenically, I coordinate the Churches Together Up the Creek team. This volunteer group are drawn from the Anglican, Methodist and Quaker churches in the area.
I am organising a Good Friday ‘Walk of Witness’ and our Lent Talks for this year as well an outdoor service to be held in the summer. Other events are planned for later in the year.
I have met with the Methodist circuit ministers to talk about ways that we can work together and support each other. Community breakfasts have taken place with superb speakers. Again, do look at our website for details.
Bex and Keith from the HAIRE project and I meet to discuss ways in which we can support each other and to offer help and support to our local communities.
More is planned and this quick overview is a snapshot of what has been going on in your churches and communities. This is all aside from our regular services of worship, our Christenings, Weddings, Memorial Services, Funerals and special services.
Your churches, your Vicar and our volunteers are here for you; to support you spiritually, emotionally and with practical help; to serve you. Jesus commissioned us to love each other and that is our prime mission.
Since I have been here I have been witness to our churches inclusivity, their friendliness, their welcoming nature, dedication, their faith and their love for their communities. Often there is much laughter too.
Please do go to our website for more details and to read further about our mission and events. Do get in touch if you would like to find out more.