My name is Louise and I am the Vicar of St Giles, Balderton,All Saints, Barnby in the Willows & All Saints, Coddington.
Although I have only been here for a short while I have been deeply moved and encouraged as I’ve met with people and heard stories of what God has done and is doing in their lives and it has been great to take part in so many occasions when the church and the community come together.
As we engage with our diocesan vision of Growing Disciples Wider Younger Deeper and continue to reflect on our journey so far I look forward to all that God has in store for our communities as we serve him and share in his mission here. In the coming months we will together discover more of the love of Jesus as we grow in our own discipleship and invite others to join us.
If you would like to find out more about what is going on in our churches, if you have questions about the Christian faith or would just like to chat then please get in touch. Revd Louise Holliday
From the Vicarage: June 2018
I’m sure you have, like me, welcomed the warmer weather as we finally say goodbye to what has been a very long, cold and wet winter and begin to really enjoy some spring warmth and sunshine. I love being outside in the fresh air, feeling the warmth of the sun and since moving in to the vicarage at Balderton I have really enjoyed the garden, although I must confess that I am no Percy Thrower!! However, I do enjoy pottering in the garden, listening to the birds and watching the plants spring up and flower.
Gardening is a skill that I am learning and I’m reliably informed that an important aspect of gardening is knowing when to prune plants and how far to cut them back. A plant that is well tended and pruned at the right time will go on to bear a good crop of fruit, or flower abundantly; a lack of pruning leads to plants going wild and not producing the best crop.
Jesus knew a good deal about the skill required to work well with the land. He grew up in a region where folk earned their living from the land, tending crops and livestock. In John’s gospel Jesus uses the image of the vine and the vine-grower to illustrate the relationship between himself and God: ‘I am the true vine and my Father is the vine-grower.’ He goes on to say, ‘I am the vine, you are the branches’ and he talks of pruning the vine to make it bear more fruit.
At our recent PCC Vision Day, Area Dean Mark Adams used this passage from John’s gospel to encourage PCC members across the benefice to consider the mission of our churches and how, in order to see new growth, we may well need to prune some areas of church life. This can be a challenging thought for all of us because we have a tendency to be creatures of habit, but as we read in the gospels, if we are willing to follow Christ and stay faithful to his call on our lives, he will lead us and encourage us as we explore new ways of being with him. As we settle in to life as a benefice we have much to look forward to and, as we are already discovering, we will find great companionship and encouragement along the way.
Back in my garden I recognise that I have missed this season’s opportunity for pruning as there are now blackbirds nesting in the somewhat overgrown trees and shrubs. But not too worry, I shall wait until the young have flown the nest and, in the meantime, enjoy watching the activity of the parents as they rear their brood. There is something wonderful about watching nature getting on with life in the midst of all the worries we carry with us, and being out in the peace and beauty of the countryside can really restore our spirits.
At All Saints in Barnby we are carefully tending the churchyard so that specific areas are left to nature. We are allowing the grass to grow and wildflowers to spring up, whilst doing so it has been a delight to watch nature take back control. Of course, the beautiful location of the church, so close to the river and the open countryside, lends itself so well to the creation of a sanctuary for wildlife and as the project develops we will mow paths through the long grass that will lead to benches and places where visitors can rest and take in the wonderfully peaceful atmosphere. Many people find themselves especially close to God when out in His creation and our hope is that, as folk spend time in and around the sacred space of All Saints, they will find rest, peace and refreshment. Please do visit Barnby if you haven’t already done so and see for yourselve
We are blessed with some wonderful spaces to encounter the wonder of creation, so, whether you’re an accomplished gardener, or a bit of a novice like me, I hope you enjoy the summer months ahead.
Love and prayer, Revd Louise