Living through Lent
A few days ago I was walking up the path from All Saints Church vestry door to the Canons Garth entrance of the churchyard. On the way a couple of people commented that every time they walked past a particular gravestone they saw an angel. I was intrigued. See the picture on the left.
The two women were clearly glad to see an angel - but we didn’t have a great long conversation about it except I joked that it had given me half an idea for a sermon.
Occasionally we are privileged to glimpse in to people’s inner worlds. Most of us have some sort of conversation going on in our heads. Not much of what goes on in my head has much to do with angels but I was glad to hear that they featured for some passers-by.
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, 6th March this year. Some of us will try to give things up and some of us will take things on. Whether or not we decide to do this, may I suggest a further challenge: - that we take more notice of what is going on in our surroundings and in our heads – and offer it all up to God who sustains us and redeems us. Psalm 32 suggests that we can without fear open ourselves totally to God:
For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You
In a time when You may be found;
Surely in a flood of great waters
They shall not come near him.
You are my hiding place;
You shall preserve me from trouble;
You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Psalm 32:6-7
God knows the secrets of our hearts. Let us this Lent open ourselves to him in simple trust.
I wish you a quiet and gentle forty days of Lent.
Helmsley Parish in the Diocese of York
Helmsley's parish church, dedicated to All Saints, dates back a thousand years and more. The present building , built on Norman foundations, was dedicated in 1838. Helmsley Parish also includes Anglican churches at East Moors, Rievaulx and Sproxton.
On Sundays in Helmsley there are two well-attended services and a regular midweek Holy Communion. Locals and visitors alike, of all traditions, are always very welcome to all our services. After Sunday's main 9.30 am service at Helmsley there is an opportunity to meet one another over refreshments.
Helmsley Church is open every day as a place of interest and for private prayer from 9am - 5pm (summer) and 9am - 4pm (winter). St Columba's Chapel, in the south transept, has votive candles to aid people's own particular prayers.
A Christian church has existed in Helmsley since AD 200, according to the 19th century wall-paintings in the north aisle. Certainly there was one on this site by the time of the Norman Conquest. (There's a 10th century hog-back tombstone in the porch and an entry in the Domesday Book of 1086.) The present building's splendid chancel arch, one of the largest in Yorkshire, dates from the 12th century (as does its counterpart over the entrance). Otherwise the handsome present day building is largely the result of major restoration in Victorian times, with the stained glass as well as the murals from this period too. All this variety of history and interest makes Helmsley Church a very special place to visit and worship in. More information about our other churches is elsewhere on the website.
Tim Robinson, our vicar, says: "I love being vicar here. Helmsley is a great community and I aim to serve everyone here be they part of the Church or not. Members of the congregation and I work with other community organisations for the common good. We have a special relationship with Helmsley in Business. Recently I accompanied the Archbishop of York (on his Pilgrimage of Prayer, Witness and Blessing around the Diocese) to celebrate Helmsley's win as best Market Town in the Great British High Street competition at the The Feathers Hotel before he answered questions at an event called 'What's on your Mind' at Helmsley Church.
"We are delighted you have taken the trouble to look at our website. We hope you will come and visit us soon."