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!” 

Algarkirk is Putting History on the Map

The project to restore St Peter and St Paul involves plans to establish a local history research centre that will act as an archive of information relating to all periods of history at the church and the village of Algarkirk.

Local residents are being encouraged to participate in the development of the heritage centre through a range of researching and recording opportunities. A small group of residents are already busy cataloguing documents, recording oral histories and mapping the churchyard.

The whole of Algarkirk cum Fosdyke is included in the Acre Books which divide the areas into 32 sections, each section called a Bounder. Volunteers Ashley and Madeleine Fox have begun to map the history of their ‘Bounder’ using the Acre Books of 1734 and 1813. The books, which were primarily used at the time for the collection of rent, reveal a wealth of information including old road names, key places, who lived where, what rent was paid and to whom.

There are opportunities for local residents to each record the history of their own Bounder, with help and advice from the research team.  Training is also available for those who are interested in delivering guided tours of the Grade I medieval church at the centre of this project.  

An online collection of images, videos, sound recordings and text has been set up on the historypin website, view it at If you would like to contribute to the collection you can do so be creating a free account on the historypin website, or by contacting the Algarkirk research team. 

To find out more about how you can get involved with this exciting project please contact or call 01529 461499. Information is also available on the project website:

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

What a year! It has been just twelve months since we heard that Fr Gary Morgan was leaving us to take up a new post in Wainfleet. The prospect of getting through the year without a vicar was daunting – especially when in the spring thieves stole more lead from our roof. However, despite the setbacks, and the ongoing need to raise funds, we have a number of successes to report:

Firstly, our congregation has grown into a warm and friendly group, although there are still lots of empty places in the church and a very warm welcome for everyone that joins us.  

Secondly, the church itself is several steps closer to achieving approval for the conservation and restoration project that is being funded by the Heritage Lottery Programme.  We have staged a number of events over the past year, from heritage fun days to craft workshops and a pamper evening, all to help raise funds and awareness, and to involve villagers in the process. It is wonderful to see people coming into the church and having fun again! We have lots more planned for 2016, so do keep an eye on the website and the notice boards.  Early consultation on the plans for making the church into a multi-functional space that can be used by the community as a real centre of activity, as well as a place of worship, are already underway. We expect to be able to present the plans for public consultation by February next year,

Thirdly, in addition to the book swap, which enables anyone to pop into the church any day except Monday to borrow one of the books on display – a mini village library – we have also started the Crafty Coffee and Cake club. Every month there is an open invitation for folks to join us for a couple of hours of fun and companionship. As with all of our events, there is no charge, although donations are always welcome.

There is also a history club that is just starting up for those who are curious about Algarkirk’s past, and we are always looking volunteers who can commit a couple of hours here and there as we try to build towards a better future. We hope that next year will see the start of further regular community activities so there is something for everyone. 

Obviously we couldn’t have done this without the support and co-operation of lots of people who have cleaned, baked, put up posters, sold tickets and helped out in so many ways. Thank you all so much!

Of course, it hasn’t all been good. And it is with great sadness that I write of the passing of Fr Phillip Wood, who came to our church as a visiting vicar and, together with his wife, Yvonne, came to be a real pillar of support. In the too few months he was with us, he won the love and respect of all who met him, and played a considerable part in building our congregation. We shall remember him with gratitude and with a smile, because it is impossible to think of Phil, as he liked to be called, and to be sad!

It only remains, on behalf of the PCC,  to wish you all a very happy Christmas and a joyful and healthy New Year. Whether for worship or one of the activities, we hope to see you at St Peter and St Paul’s very soon.

Important announcement

We are very sad to announce the passing of Father Philip Wood, who died suddenly in the early hours of 28th October. We shall miss him greatly: he did so much for our church and congregation in the short time he was with us, and was sincerely loved and respected by all who knew him. Our prayers and thoughts go out especially to his wife, Yvonne, and their children at this time of loss.

Services at St Peter and St Paul will continue as usual with Communion at 11.00am on the first Sunday of the month and Morning Prayers at 9.00am on the 4th Sunday.

Our Remembrance Service will take place as planned at 18.30 on Friday, 6th November under the leadership of John Marshall.

Remember, Remember…

…the 5th of November, Gunpowder, treason and plot. It will be 410 years since Parliament passed the Observance of 5th November Act, commonly known as the “Thanksgiving Act”. Sponsored by Edward Montagu MP, who claimed that the “divine intervention” that had kept the  king safe deserved official recognition. The act kept 5 November free as a day of thanksgiving and, in theory, made attendance at Church mandatory on that day as well as on Sundays. 

In fact, this month is all about remembering… starting with our first communion service on All Saints day,  or Hallowmas as Shakespeare called it, when we traditionally remember the departed faithful. On the continent, this feast is marked by great celebration with brass bands marching through churchyards and huge pots of chrysanthemums placed all around.  At St Peter and St Paul’s there is natural decoration provided by the autumnal colours of the trees, and the splashes of red from the poppies that people are starting to wear in their buttonholes in anticipation of Remembrance Day itself. Less organised, but no less beautiful. Our Remembrance service will be held on Friday, 6th November at 6.30, and I am sure I don’t have to remind you that all are welcome!

You may need to wrap up a little though: winter is coming in and the church is getting chilly. Heating is one of the things we hope will be sorted out under the Heritage Lottery programme, our application for which is progressing well.  In the meantime, not being able to hibernate like the bats (at least we will have a diminution in the bat droppings over the coming months), the Maintenance Co-operative, which is also Lottery sponsored, will be coming to Algarkirk on Fri, 27 Nov, to give some really useful tips on what we can do to protect not only our beautiful churches and precious objects, but also our own homes and the wildlife in our gardens against the cold and damp of winter.  It will be an all day course, starting at 10 in the Village Hall. A yummy free hot lunch will be provided. To register, contact Stella on 07776 156274.

We are also moving our Crafty Cake and Coffee mornings into the Village Hall (Weds, 25th Nov,  10-12). The sharing of ideas and skills, the refreshments and the chance for a chat will some lovely people will continue as before, but with heaters!

Don’t forget either  that if you are interested in taking part in one of our heritage training courses, you will need to book a place by emailing the with the course name and they’ll steer you to the right information. Or you can call them on 01522 552434.  We have (Tues, 3rd Nov) Stone carving; (Mon, 9th Nov – am) Tour Guide Training with Dr Matthew Godfrey who is an expert on church architecture; and (Sat, 14th Nov) Wood carving in the Village Hall. You don’t have to have any experience for these workshops; they are all free of charge and everyone so far has found them to be a fascinating and rewarding experience.  Remember, there is a warm welcome for everyone!