News and Comment


The Benefice Newsletter The Edge for March 2023 is available for download here. The times of all services planned so far are shown on pages 2 and 3.


The service to celebrate the ministry of All Saints Burstwick on the 26th January and to mark the closure of the church building was very well attended. The Bishop of Hull, the Right Reverend Eleanor Sanderson, led the service, with all our clergy and members of the congregation taking part. The Beverley and District Ringing Society rang a successful quarter peal before the service with the bells half-muffled. The Deanery Choir and the St Mary's Thorngumbald Music Group took a tuneful part. The initial plan is for the parishes of Burstwick and Keyingham to merge, with St Nicholas becoming the parish church, though with services continuing at the Village Hall. It will take some time for the official procedure to take place but, despite the loss of the building, the Church will remain active in Burstwick.


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]