Rain, Rain, Go Away….!

It hasn’t been much of a summer so far, has it? The mixture of sun rain has played havoc with the churchyard, spurring on the weeds and making the grass grow like crazy. Grass cutting is one of our biggest expenses at the church, and during the summer months we have it cut once every month. Of course, that is not enough to keep it as we would like, but it is all that we can afford. We are still trying to get the money together to replace the lead that was stolen from the roof!

And grass cutting does not take care of the weeds that grow within the graves themselves. In the old days when families remained in the vicinity of the village for all or most of their lives, it was not an issue as there were always willing hands to tend the family graves. But now, with people moving away for work, or family lines dying out, volunteers are needed to help keep the churchyard in order so that it remains a delight and an asset for the whole village. Again, we do what we can, but as everyone who has been battling against weeds in their own garden knows, the weather this summer has not helped! If you can offer some assistance, please let us know either via the church website or by calling one of the churchwardens (Cheryllyn 460142, or Clive 460796).

The excessive rain has also caused problems inside the church with leakages and damp feeding a patch of dry rot, which is now sprouting some huge mushrooms. The problem is being looked at and we hope to have it sorted quite soon, but of course, it is all more expense. We also have scaffolding up in the chancel so that companies who want to tender for the conservation work to the beautiful painted ceiling can get access.

That is why the church has had to be closed in the day time: the scaffolding would be a dangerous temptation for local children, but we are getting all these last quotes in now in preparation for the final submission to the Heritage Lottery fund in November, so the church doors will be open again in time for our Medieval Mirth, Medicine and Magic festival on 11th September.

That should be a great afternoon out for everyone. There will be special attractions and activities for young and older folk alike. You can try your hand at stained glass making, or pick up a traditional charm to bring future prosperity, or just enjoy the music and refreshments. And, best of all, the long-range weather forecast says all of the rain will have gone away!

See you there!

Holland Places of Worship Festival

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Saturday, September 9th, 2017 – 10:00am to 5:00pm

Sunday, September 10th, 2017 – 11:00am to 16:30pm

Algarkirk’s mediaeval “mini cathedral of the fens” is renowned for its beautiful archtitecture, exquisite stained glass and fine painted schemes. A Simon Jenkins 3* church.


Open Saturday for quiet reflection. Guided tours and church registers available.


Open Sunday from 11.00. Organ music 11.00 – 12.00; all day tours; stained glass demonstration; hands-on craft activities for all ages; dressing-up and traditional fun and games, as well as delicious traditional baking with recipes from across the centuries. The organ may be played.

Sausage rolls, sausage baps, bacon baps and home-made cakes available on Sunday.

The Joy of Fellowship

After all the activity of May, it will be something of a relief to have a quieter month at the church! Not that we didn’t thoroughly enjoy and appreciate all the activity of May! Quite apart from the honour, and blessing of having Bishop Nicholas, it was wonderful to see the pews filled with worshippers, and the choir stalls full of the collected voices of singers from different churches around the diocese (including our friends from Kirton, for which, many thanks!) Unfortunately, it takes such a special event to really fill our churches these days – especially they are as big as St Peter and St Paul – and that applies to both of our parishes.  Something else that was very memorable for me, was taking my place along with my fellow churchwardens from the benefice, as we walked, united, to lead the Bishop: it was a real feeling of Christian fellowship. 

Fellowship is key to the success of our Crafty Coffee & Cake Club too. New members are joining us every month, and staying because it is such lovely group and the activities are fun too. This month we shall be painting flower pots and glass jars to make attractive holders for the wonderful summer blooms that June brings. Next month – July – we shall be focusing on straw craft: learning how to make corn dollies and altar dressings, hoping to be expert in time for the Harvest festivals and celebrations in September. 

The Stained Glass club is thriving too. They are making some beautiful things. As ever, the doors are always open to new members, so if you want to give it a try, just wander along. 

Finally, we are now approaching the deadlines for having everything completed for our Heritage Lottery Fund application. Fingers crossed pleased…

A Bishop’s Blessing from St Peter and St Paul’s

The Rt. Rev’d Dr Nicholas Alan Chamberlain, who was ordained as Suffragan Bishop of Grantham in November last year, will be the preacher at a deanery-wide Rogation Service on Sunday, 1 May at 6pm at St Peter and St Paul’s, Algarkirk for.  He will also be joined by the Rural Dean, Fr Paul Noble who will officiate.

Rogation is an ancient ceremony whose beginnings can be traced back to Roman times when a dog was sacrificed to win the favour of Robigus, the god of agricultural disease. The supplicants then asked the god for protection of their crops from wheat rust.  This years’ service will take the form of evensong at which prayers for all the farms and crops of the area will be offered, after which the Bishop will be led in procession through the village to a nearby field which he will bless.

The service will be followed by refreshments in the village hall.

Churchwarden, Cheryllyn Humphreys said: “After years of struggling to cope with the effects of lead theft and vandalism, disruptive repairs, the threat of closure, and the loss of our vicar, St Peter and St Paul’s has really turned a corner. Not only are we in the process of preparing a bid for second stage Heritage Lottery Funding which will allow us to conserve this beautiful building, but we now have plans for its re-adaptation. So in addition to being a place of worship, it will also become a place of regular use for the community. Now to have the deanery and the Bishop show their support for Algarkirk in this way, by choosing to come here for this special service, is a great honour and a real boost to morale! It will be something for the villagers to remember for years to come.” 

Fellow churchwarden, Clive Briggs added: “Living in an agricultural area, this service has real meaning for the local people. We hope that a good number of the local farming community join us, to add their names to the farms we shall be praying for.” 

Taking a walk down memory lane to Algarkirk’s Reminiscence Day Fete

A day of fun for all ages, and a touch of “time travel” too, awaits visitors to Algarkirk’s St Peter and St Paul’s church and village hall on Sunday from 11.30 to 3.30.

For the children, there will be Victorian garden games, a grotesque hunt, and the magic of stories brought to life by the storytellers of Tales from the Heartwood, and their puppets. And, of course, traditionally home baked cakes for everyone!

For the history enthusiasts and locals, there is not only the chance to see rare archive documents relating to the church and the village, and to have a guided tour of the church, but also the Beridge legacy silver – a communion cup that dates back to the time of Shakespeare, and a Georgian pitcher and collection plate – will be on show. But the organisers are hoping that people won’t just be bringing themselves…

“We are hoping that people will bring along old photos and documents that relate to Algarkirk’s church and village. It may be that someone in the family was married or christened there, and the photos are still in the family. It could be something from the old school, or farming memorabilia. No matter what, we would love to see it! We shall have a scanner set up in the village hall, and with the permission of the owners, we will take copies for our archives,” explained Madeleine Fox, leader of the History Group.

“And it doesn’t matter if you don’t have a physical object to bring in,” added Di Reid, leader of the Algarkirk Major Project Group (AMPG). “We are after people’s memories too! As part of our ‘oral history’ programme, we would really like to chat with people who grew up in the area, and perhaps, later, record some of those memories for posterity.”

Although the AMPG are expecting most of the contributions to come from the local area, one little book of memories is already on its way from Kawerau, New Zealand, where a former Algarkirk school teacher, Anne Blakely, now lives.

Anne said (via the Algarkirk Facebook page: “I would love to be there but I have lived in New Zealand since the mid-fifties…. I did write a little booklet about teaching there: teaching is so different now… I hope the booklet gets there in time!”

What’s On at St Peter and St Paul’s in May

We are starting off the month with a very special service for Rogation Sunday: traditionally the time when the farms and fields are blessed to try and ensure a good harvest later in the season. This year, it has been decided to hold a Deanery-wide service at St Peter and St Paul’s in Algarkirk, with the Bishop of Grantham, and the Rural Dean officiating. After a sung evensong, which will start at 6pm, the clergy and the congregation will walk in procession to the nearby fields where (weather permitting) the Bishop will give the traditional blessing. To mark the close relationship between the sister churches of our benefice, the churchwardens of Algarkirk, Fosdyke and Kirton will join the Bishop in leading his procession through the church and village. Choir members from all the churches in the Deanery have been invited to bring their robes and join together to form a deanery choir for the evening. It should be wonderful! There will be refreshments served in the village hall afterwards: do come and join us, and if you know of a farm that you would like added to the list of those to be prayed for, let your churchwarden have the name before the service, or call Cheryllyn on 460174.

If this were not enough to make May special, in addition to our usual activities (we are flower arranging at the Crafty Coffee Club, and the glass group are having an open morning to which everyone is invited), on the 25th SPAB are holding a training day so that we can all become more proficient in the ministry of welcome. How we welcome people into our churches – visitors as well as worshipers – and how we present our church to the outside world can make a huge difference. SPAB are also helping a group of volunteers explore the idea of staging a Holland Churches Festival, rather like the one that is currently held in West Lindsey every year. If you would like to be involved, or are just curious about how you can make your church a more welcoming place, come along to the training day. A delicious lunch is provided, and it is all free of charge.

Then, on 22nd of the month, Algarkirk will be hosting a Reminiscences Day when we are inviting the people of the area to bring their memories, photos and any other pieces of memorabilia that they may have to the church. We’d like to take copies of pictures and listen to tales bygone days. As part of our investigations into our church’s history, we want to be able to discover and share the social history of our area and its people too. So, if you have a story to tell, or know of someone who has, please come and join us. We’d love to hear from you.

And to make it even more worthwhile, there will be guided tours of the church, and a chance to see objects not usually available for public viewing – such as our silver Jacobean communion cup, and the Beridge silver. There will be family activities too (a grotesque hunt!), and lots for the children to do. Loads of fun, (and plenty of cakes!), music and May-time merriment for everyone: it will be a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Then on the following Sunday (29th May) we shall be opening our doors again for our joint service with our sister churches. This will be the first time we have hosted the joint service for some years, and we are looking forward to it very much. It has been a great joy to us to be able to work increasingly closely with Kirton and Fosdyke while we have been in vacancy, and I think the benefits of fellowship and co-operation that have grown from this may prove to be the most lasting legacy of this interregnum period!

With all this activity, we hope to see you all at Algarkirk this month!

Eastertide Wishes from Algarkirk

March is the month that changes everything. In like a lion and out like a lamb, as the proverb goes. The clocks go forward, the nights grow shorter and finally there is a hint that spring – if not summer – might really be on its way.

This year, with Easter so early, it is also the month in which we celebrate our Lord’s sacrifice and promise of redemption for us all. For us at Algarkirk we are blessed to be able to celebrate Easter day with a communion service at 11am instead of our usual 9am morning service. Our thanks go to Fr Brian Newton for ministering to us on that day, and all the others who have been taking our services. What would we do without our retired clergy and volunteer Readers to help see us through this interregnum period?

We were looking forward to the arrival of the Lincoln Cathedral Choir on 20th March, but unfortunately that has now been put back until October. It is very disappointing, but we must still be grateful that they will be coming at all!

Our Crafty Coffee and Cake Club has been far from a disappointment though. Now held twice a month – every second and fourth Wednesday – we are really enjoying the chance to either try new crafts or to just get on with whatever projects we are currently working on, or even do nothing but drink tea and munch on a slice of delicious cake. It is not just for the ladies either! Men are welcome too. It is such a nice atmosphere in which to get creative (or just messy!)

Last month, we held our public consultation for the new plans for the readaptation of our church: there will be a kitchen, library and café added for community use as well as workshop areas for craft groups to use. In addition, we hope to be upgrading the bell frame so that our magnificent bells will be not just ringable again, but also suitable for bell training. The feedback from the people who came was very positive, which means we can go forward to the next phase with our Heritage Lottery bid. If all is successful, we hope to be able to start work toward the end of 2017 

Planning for the Future at St Peter and St Paul’s

After years of battling to save the beautiful but endangered church of St Peter and St Paul in Algarkirk, the plans for its restoration and adaptation are ready to be shared with the public. The plans will be revealed in the church at a consultation event on Sunday 7th February. Drop in between 1pm and 4pm to view the designs and share your views with the architect and project team. And, while you are there, visit the craft fair at Algarkirk Village Hall, to see quality products from a range of local craftspeople – and some prepared by members of Algarkirk’s Crafty Coffee Club, and enjoy some delicious homemade cakes and refreshments.

“While nothing is set in stone, we now have a set of plans that show how we feel the church will be able to be used as both a place of worship and community resource,” explained AMPG project leader, Diana Reid. “There will be a café and library area, workshop areas for craft or community activities, an interpretation area, which will give visitors information about the church and its history, and toilets. We are also hoping to develop St Peter and St Paul’s as a centre of excellence and training for bell ringing which will provide another activity for the village.”

John-Paul Walker, partner in the architects Walker Cunnington who have been responsible for drawing up the repair and adaptation plans added: “There has been a lot of consultation already with those involved in the Algarkirk Church project, as well as with specialists from organisations such as Historic England and the Diocese to make sure that everything we are planning is possible within the historic and religious framework of this building, but on Sunday we are looking forward to getting feedback from the people who will be using these facilities. Their opinions are very important to us too.”

Once the adaptation work is completed, the building will also function as an outpost of Lincoln Castle’s Heritage Skills Centre, and will offer visitors the opportunity to understand and experience traditional building techniques.

Diana said: “We already have the Crafty Coffee Club meeting twice a month, a stained glass group making some lovely items; the History Group is working on research projects, and our congregation is growing. It is so lovely to see this wonderful building beginning to take on an increasingly important role in village life again. We just hope that even more volunteers will continue to get involved and support the project. It is proving to be very worthwhile, and a lot of fun too!”