On 27th September this year the United Benefice of Outwood, Stanley and Wrenthorpe officially came into being. The Revd Dr Joanne Kershaw was licenced as assistant priest at St Anne’s, Wrenthorpe and Revd. Jonathan Bish was licenced as priest in charge at St Mary Magdalene Outwood. As Incumbent of Stanley, I then became the Priest in charge of the Benefice.
This means that we have greater opportunities to work together across the parishes and we have the chance now to work out what this means in practice. So far our discussions have come up with some clear desires. We value the different styles of worship in each church and would like each one to maintain its distinctiveness especially on Sunday mornings. We are inviting people from each parish to join in with some joint services. On the third Sunday of each month there is a reflection service at Wrenthorpe starting at 6:30pm; this has been going for some time and will continue. On the first Sunday of October and each alternate month following there will be a prayer and praise service at Stanley. On the first Sunday of November and alternate months there will be a service at Outwood using music and images to help our worship. So far these have included the music of Simon and Garfunkel and Leonard Cohen. All the services will start at 6:30pm and I would like to invite you to come and see.
We also want to work together and encourage each other in other areas; working with children and young people, men’s groups and many others. We would also like to share more in our social events: there has been much interest in our wine tasting evenings and Ceilidh, to say nothing of the pantomime. You will see elsewhere that tickets will be available soon. There is a rumour that Cinderella’s step sisters are particularly ugly this year! We are also planning a joint confirmation service at Outwood in December; if you might be interested or know anyone who might be, please let me know.
Last month I wrote about the mystery of finding God in the midst of suffering. The natural disasters and man-made conflicts continue to shake the world in which we live. As we celebrate Harvest and the bounty that the earth provides when properly cared for, let us continue to give thanks to our loving God and be generous to our neighbours.
Rev Bill Henderson