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The project is now at a crucial and exciting stage and the AMPG is looking to expand and recruit new members from a range of professional backgrounds to supplement and support the current skills base within the group.

This is an opportunity to be involved in a major conservation project that will have a national profile. It will also be a flagship initiative within the East Midlands, delivered in partnership with the University of Lincoln, Lincoln Castle Heritage Skills Centre, the Diocese of Lincoln and Heritage Lincolnshire. Trustees will play a central role in its further development and delivery and will become instrumental to its success.

If you would be interested in sharing your skills, and can devote a few hours per month for meetings, and some additional time to contribute your expertise and knowledge to the management and development of the project, we would love to hear from you. 

Further informaiton about the role can be downloaded here. 

October really stands out for all those who have served our church and our community! Our Harvest Lunch was a great success – a big thank-you to everyone who made it possible; the “Memory books” we made at Crafty Coffee turned out beautifully – thanks Dee; we have heard that planning permission has been granted for our restoration project, which means the toilets and kitchen are one step closer to becoming a reality: again our thanks to the AMPG team for all their hard work. Outside, the weather was kind to us, so the Community Payback team have been able to continue their great work in “God’s Acre”. I am sure all who see the churchyard at Algarkirk will be amazed at the transformation!

Our thanks to the team at Kirton too for hosting the joint parishes’ communion. You need the reassurance of community togetherness as you approach the long cold nights of winter. It was a lovely service (and all the better for having had the extra hour in the morning to linger over breakfast).

Looking ahead, the energy and commitment continues. We will be getting festive at Crafty Coffee as we start to make Christmas decorations this month. Do come and join us. We have a lovely group – male and female – and thoroughly enjoy our fortnightly get-togethers. 

Our Friday evening Remembrance service will be very special this year too, falling on 11th November as it does. It will also mark the inauguration of the memorial tree. If you have connections with the village and would like to commemorate the life of anyone who served – in whatever capacity (eg combatant, support staff, land girl or factory worker) – please feel free to come and add a poppy, in their name, to the tree. Our thanks too to all those who made the poppies, and made them so special.

Finally, don’t forget that we shall be starting the Advent season with a St Nicholas Service on the 4th. Bring the children or grandchildren along; the Rev. Paul will be helping to ensure there is lots of interest for them, and joy for us all. It will be followed by a festive fair and Christmas market, with seasonal food, mulled wine and special gift ideas to help with your Christmas lists. You will all be very welcome!

As we approach harvest time, it is time to start reaping the benefits of all the work that has already been put in. As everyone who is involved with the church knows, nothing demonstrates that more than the big festival events that we put on through the year to help boost awareness of our churches among the community, and to raise money to help with running costs. Heritage Open Day is one of those times. The nice part is the fun – both in preparing and on the day itself. At our Crafty Coffee Club, we have been busy with “medieval magic” making corn dollies and country favours, traditionally given to bring good fortune to those you love. Our stained glass club have been very productive too. They will be there on the day with samples of their beautiful craftwork and a chance for visitors to have a go themselves.

It wouldn’t be a festival without great food, would it! The refreshment stall will feature delicious home-made cakes and beverages, which, while I am not sure they can be classed as medicine, will certainly make you feel better! There will also be a display of herbs and other medieval “cures” in the church, along with dressing up clothes. A gargoyle trail and other activities for the children and – because you can’t have a party without dancing - the Grantham Danserye will be performing every hour in the church. And there will be organ music too. Something for everyone to enjoy.

We shall also be celebrating the removal of the scaffolding that has been up in the chancel, which means our worship can return to the altar, and the church may be left open again for people to access it for prayer and the book swap. Blessings indeed!

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!

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 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!"

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.” 

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!