Vicar’s Letter July 2018

Following in the footsteps of St Cuthbert.

In mid May, 12 of us pilgrims from Madeley and Betley walked the 62 miles of the St Cuthbert’s Way from Melrose in Scotland to Holy Island on the NE coast.  We had a wonderful time: stunning views, beautiful countryside, good company and the chance to think again about how Christianity came to these shores.

The Celtic Saints were inspired by the desert Fathers and the early monastic movement in their simplicity of life and devotion to Christ and their service to their surrounding community.  Saints like St Ninian, St Patrick, St David and St Aidan established communities based along similar lines.  No pomp and privilege for them but a life of devotion and service.

Their way of travelling was of course largely on foot meeting people along the way.  Sharing whatever they had and helping people to connect not just to the God of creation but also to God as shown in Jesus Christ.  The Celtic saints were prayerful men and women who lived a very simple life.  Their Christianity contrasted with Roman Christianity which also came to these shores.

The communities the Celtic saints established were based on hospitality, education, medical care, teaching the faith and serving their hinterland.  They are sometimes referred to as “Colonies of heaven”.

One of the saints we heard about on our pilgrimage was St Farcey who was known for his visions, dreams and intuition.  He encouraged everyone to look beyond that which we see, to what lies behind it: the creation speaking of the Creator; the people we meet can teaching us about God.

On our journey we did meet some lovely people: an artist on Lindisfarne who helped me find a Cuthbert stone; a young couple from Alaska; Richard, a church pastor who was rebuilding his church by hand and with the help of other local volunteers.

Pilgrimages present a wonderful opportunity to connect with your fellow travellers, to enjoy the glory of God’s creation, to sense the importance of history and of place and to think deeply about who you are and what God is calling you to be and to do.

Welcome to John and Laura Beswick Pallister

Our new Curate John Beswick Palliister has been called to serve in the parishes of St Margaret’s Betley and All Saints’ Madeley.  He and Laura and their 6 month old daughter Matilda are coming from Cambridge where John has been training for the ordained ministry following work with the Royal Mail.

John and Laura’s Christian faith is an international one having lived and worked in a number of European Countries with special links to Portugal.

To this end, we are having a welcome BBQ to meet them on Wed 18th July 5pm at the Old Vicarage by kind invitation of Roger and Gill Goodwin.  Do come and meet them – they are very keen to meet us and get to know about life in Madeley and Betley.  Please consider yourself invited – see poster for details.

Peter Chantry


About Stephen

Lay Chair of All Saints' Church Council and Treasurer. Retired Head of University Secretariat at Keele, Secretary of North Staffs Classical Association, Secretary of North Shropshire CLP, former Woore Parish Councillor & Vice-Chairman of Woore Neighbourhood Plan Team, now complete. Chairman of Sir John Offley's Almshouse Trust, Madeley.
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