News and Comment


There are now two downloadable PDF versions of the Benefice Newsletter The Edge for September 2023. The Standard Version is probably easier to read on a small screen. See the bottom of page 2 for Friday Morning Prayer venues and the top of page 3 for Sunday services. The Printable Version, if set to "Print on both sides of paper" and "Flip on short edge", or the equivalent for your printer, can be folded in two as a leaflet.


The Archbishop has requested that this leaflet on Supporting our Mission and Ministry be made available to as many people as possible in our congregations. Parish Ministry is mostly funded by the Diocesan Fund, to which the individual parishes make a contribution each year that was once called the Diocesan Quota and is now known as the "Free Will Offer". The problem is that the amount currently collected from Free Will Offerings is rather less than the direct cost of providing ministry, the shortfall amounting to £2,136,000. It has been agreed that every Ministry Unit should at least meet the cost of the ministry it receives by 2026 and also, by 2031, bear a share of pooled diocesan costs. The St Nicholas Keyingham PCC are hoping to increase our Free Will Offer in 2024, and a decision will be made on this shortly.


As we saw in the May edition of The Edge our plans for the future of the Deanery are beginning to take shape. Alisdair is now licensed as 'Interim Priest-in-Charge' to all the village churches, the term 'Interim' allowing for future developments. Clive Hall has been licensed as 'Interim Minister' to Withernsea, with the Revd Sue Pulko giving particular attention to Hedon, so we have a full-time minister for the two main centres of population. Two 'House-for-Duty' posts will be appointed to give further part-time assistance across the village parishes. The Revd Janice Sharp has been given 'Permission to Officiate' in her retirement, and she is helping with occasional services and funerals. Simon Clark was ordained Deacon in July, and we expect him to be priested in 2024. A new training programme and the 'Authorised Lay Minister' scheme will allow lay members to develop skills and make an additional contribution. 


The union of the parishes of Keyingham and Burstwick is very close to becoming a reality, and the change of name to 'Keyingham with Burstwick' is now imminent, with St Nicholas already serving as the parish church.

LIVING CHRIST'S STORY  (No longer an update, but kept here for reference)

The Bishops' Council has given the South Holderness Deanery proposal the green light. This is the plan to work over six years towards building a local Christian family that is, by and large, able to stand on its own two feet (over ten years, with tapering off support from the Diocese)*.

The plan assumes that locally funding three full-time clergy posts is possible. During the first six years, both Withernsea and Hedon will have one member of clergy each,focusing on their development as significant population centres within the deanery, but with availability to help support services across the whole deanery. Over the six years, the Withernsea post will be funded externally from national funds.

The third full-time member of clergy will work with the twenty village churches, with the assistance of two new 'house-for-duty' posts. The deanery will continue to have the ongoing help of Philip West, and other clergy who are part-time or retired.

So much for the clergy! The plan depends on collaboration amongst all the churches of the deanery. There will be additional support and training available to lay people, especially those who have responsible roles within their parishes and benefices.

We will be building on the determination and relationships that already exist to support each other, to share resources and expertise, and enable congregations of whatever size to know that they belong to a genuine family of faith, hope and love.

Will it work out? We certainly won't know if we don't try, but there are good signs that we can create a new foundation to build faith and enable good organisation.

PCCs will soon be asked to re-affirm the willingness of their congregations to support the proposal. There is a great deal to be done to flesh out the plan and make it workable, and we can only go forward with that work if we genuinely support it.

Please pray that this plan is carried forward wisely and with good will. You are welcome to contact me if you have doubts or questions.

God's peace be with you, Alisdair

*It is understood that the long-term maintenance of Grade 1 listed buildings is largely beyond the scope of the plan, and beyond the resources of many local communities, let alone congregations! The plan focuses, as it should, on supporting people and enabling us to uphold the good news of God's love, and hope through Christ.

[From The Edge  November 2022]