Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Yr Wyddfa


Snowdon, nest of eagles. The view from the summit.
The highest point in Wales and England.
Normally you look up at mountains, here you look down!
















From the summit you can see 24 counties, 29 lakes and 17 islands. The Snowdon range is one of the most mysterious and majestic mountain ranges I know. It is so often cloaked in mist and you can, I believe, sense the antiquity of the rocks, formed between 4 and 5 million years ago. There is something about lying quietly in the grass among the mountains of Snowdonia - the quality of the silence is an age-old ache. Yr Wyddfa means 'tomb' or 'tumulus' and it is said that King Arthur slew and buried the mighty giant Rhita Gawr on the summit. Arthur himself died on the ridge between Yr Wyddfa and Y Lliwedd, casting his sword, Excalibur, into the waters of Glaslyn below, while his men retreated to a cave on the slopes of Y Lliwedd until such time as they will be needed. Merlin hid the golden throne of Britain among the cliffs of Crib Y Ddysgl and, to this day, it has never been found. These myths are  drawn from the time of the Saxon invasions of Britain and speak of the struggles between the Celts and Britons against this new wave of invaders.

This is the home of hill farmers - we saw farm dwellings well above 1,000 ft and heard of a local family who have recently moved into one of the farmsteads. It is also the land of poets. It is said that if two people spend the night near the lake at the foot of Clogwyn Ddu'r Arddu, one will go insane and the other will become a great poet. Above all it is country that invites endurance. Sir Edmund Hillary trained for his ascent of Everest on the pyramidal peak - Garnedd Ugain, Yr Wyddfa, Crib Goch and Y Lliwedd together making up the range that is known in Welsh as 'Eryri' - 'uplands' or 'place of eagles.'  But it is Clogwyn Ddu'r Arddu which remains the greatest challenge for mountaineers.

Peaks
Yr Wyddfa 1,085m; Garnedd Ugain 1,065m; Crib Goch 923m; Y Lliwedd 898m; Yr Aran 747m

Lakes
Glaslyn, Llyn Llydaw, Llyn Ffynnongwas, Llyn Ddu'r Arddu, Llyn Teyrn

Paths
Crib Goch (the ridge - mountaineers only!), the Pig Track, Miners' Track, Watkin Path (very demanding!), Rhyd Ddu Path, Snowdon Ranger Path, Llanberis Path (longest ascent), Y Lliwedd (second part of the Snowdon Horseshoe.) 

Orwellian Worries

Apparently, the Information Commissioners Office investigated Google in 2012 and received assurances that the company was not intentionally collecting personal information about people in the UK. However, during the course of the investigation, it did become clear that the company has the capacity to intercept and store information from the content of e mails, chatrooms and other social media sites and photographs. Now, the USA Federal Communications Commission has published a report (about a month ago) that suggests that the street view software, gstumbler, used by Google to collect information such as that needed for maps, was in fact, designed to gather information of a personal nature and has the capability to give rise to data bases which could support future Google products. Google's stated strategy has long been to tailor the information it gives its users ever more personally. Just what does Google know about our buying habits, travel patterns, financial transactions, friendships and illneses? In particular, networks that are not secured by passwords are vulnerable. Of course, we're not talking about knowing in the sense of indiviual people knowing things about other individual people - we're talking, perhaps more worryingly - about the power of vast amounts of knowledge to shape behaviour. 

Frankly, in a digital age this kind of thing is unavoidable. The garnering of personal information needs new types of policing and we need draconian penalties for those who misuse rather than simply collect data. The most worrying areas are finance and medicine. Although I cheerfully use digital communication for most things, I am a Ludite when it comes to banking. Not for me the trust that hopes that online (or worse mobile phone) arrangements will hold: give me a passbook in my hand and a personal conversation over the counter any day! In the medical field, I  have a friend who went to the doctor for a routine blood check and was refused on the grounds she'd already had it done. Investigation showed that someone, somewhere had fed someone else's blood results into her records. Mental note - if your doctor tells you something a little strange, check, check and check again!

However, the main point of what I want to say is that in a digital age where we all enjoy so many of the benefits of instant access to information, we each have to accept some responsibility. In fact, we retain much of the power to decide what we reveal, say and do online and what information we are willing to give about ourselves. Saying 'no, I won't give you that information,' may mean we can't have something but is that necessarily a problem?  Ingenuity can usually find a way round it. Or perhaps we don't need something as much as we think we do! We don't have to shop or bank online and we don't have to take the slightest bit of notice of adverts (I don't even read them). Above all, we have the power to control what we say: to ensure it's courteous and doesn't name others or drag them into digital places they don't want to be in and have no control over. Time is a crucial factor in retaining the power to regulate ourselves in digital space. As everything speeds up (banks say that people now expect immediate responses to requests for mortgages and loans, for example) we need to cultivate in ourselves and our children the resilience to resist the immediate. Take a space to think. Cool off overnight. Withdraw from a site. Restrain yourself from responding if you don't really need to. And keep challenging - asking qustions, 'Why do you need to know that about me?' 'Where did you get that information from?' 'Why is that linked to this?'

Sunday, 27 May 2012

A Nettle the Church of England Can't Seem to Grasp

I made a promise a while ago that I would only write about women bishops twice - once when our Diocesan Synod debated the issue and once when General Synod debates it. So, in preparation for the General Synod debate in July, here goes!

We have got ourselves into an unbelievably silly place.

The House of Bishops has amended the Measure to allow women bishops in two ways. One is about how a bishop exercises his or her authority legally and in terms of his or her 'ontological status' as a bishop. Most people seem able to agree that this is helpful.

The second amendment is causing problems. It goes something like this; the Code of Practice which will be drawn up to protect those who don't want women bishops will have to contain something that says that parishes who don't want them (or their male colleagues who ordain women) must be provided with a bishop who has similar beliefs to theirs. On a first reading this sounded fairly innocuous (though quite a departure from normal Anglican practice which is that you accept your bishop whatever his particular theological 'flavour'). You could say that it is common sense not to suggest a conservative evangelical bishop for an anglo catholic parish and vice versa and to remember that bishops for the anglo catholic parishes will need to be those who can be guaranteed not to have been ordained by bishops who ordain women.  However, the more I think about it, the more I believe that the House of Bishops has snuck a dangerous time bomb into the legislation. This amendment, together with the little paragraph that says that a 'supply' (interesting word) of non-women-ordaining-bishops will be maintained, is going to ensure that the Church of England remains divided, if not for ever and ever, then until our grandchildren's grandchildren are looking at their grandchildren. To quote Nick Morgan, this is a 'schism in waiting.' The Church of England claims to be a church for the nation. In a society where excluding people from things on grounds solely of their gender or race is increasingly unacceptable, the Church of England is going to find itself in an untenable position and the pressure from our culture is going to tear the church apart. I have not yet heard a convincing argument for why excluding women from things because they are women is good for them, much less how it is Christ-like behaviour.

Logic suggests that the Church of England has now reached the place where either we go for it and ordain women to all orders of ministry without reservation or we decide that our relationship with those who believe women cannot be bishops has such a vital contribution to make to the future of Christianity that we go down the counter cultural route and exclude women from leadership. Given that 42/44 of the Diocesan Synods voted for the Women Bishops Measure with only 10 asking for legislation to protect those who object, to follow the latter route would seem perverse.

The time has come to acknowledge that the Church of England cannot go on having it both ways. Broad church is one thing; two entirely conflicting integrities is another. People with split personalities are ill. The Church of England will, I fear, get sicker and sicker if it doesn't now grasp the nettle and resolve this issue one way or the other.

So

Is it important to acknowledge that women are fully human in the image of God (male and female God made them) and that the crucial thing about Christ's incarnation was His humanity, not his maleness? Did He show by His life and words that there is 'no Greek or Jew, no slave or free, no male or female but all are one' and that, in the new order of things, race, power and gender are not to condemn people to a particular place in the ordering of society or to oppression by others?  Or is it important to acknowledge that, in the past, Christianity has demanded that women keep to a particular place in the order of things and that either theologies of the priesthood or interpretations of the Bible show they cannot be priests, leaders or teachers in the church? We have to decide.

For 18 years the Church of England has been trying out an approach that says, in effect, 'both groups are right'. A lot of us thought we were doing this in the patient expectation that one or other group would eventually become less sustainable. How else are decisions made and people able to move forward? You pray, you argue the rationale, you try things out, you put it to the vote. In the Church of England, we seem now to be saying that however small the number of people who want to be protected from women priests becomes, we will continue to order the life of the church for their benefit and at the expense of all who want to see women in leadership.

Well, I can see that to pass legislation that is completely unacceptable to those who do not want women priests and bishops is a very hard decision to take (and not, at this point, one that is open to Synod) but let's look at the cost of continuing with this 'two integrities' approach
  • It seriously endangers the coherence of episcopacy in the Church of England. The bishops will be trying to move in two directions at once over a good number of issues to do with gender and the ordering of the church.
  • It will cause arguments in parishes where there is a divergence of view about women's ministry, particularly as the 'supply' (to use the bishops' word) of clergy gets smaller.
  • It makes for a national church that treats women as second class, something parts of the church have to be protected from.  How proud of that can we be?
  • It means that language about 'taint' and 'the unsuitability of women having authority' will continue to be a norm of church life. (As Desmond Tutu so famously pointed out, what you say about people in fact shapes the possibilities of your behaviour towards them.)
  • It endorses the notion of different churches within the Church of England needing different types of theological leadership - will other grounds for being able to petition for a different bishop begin to emerge? This leads to chaos!

I don't think the legislation coming before the Synod in July is the way forward. For the health of the church, the Synod should probably reject it and send it back until such time as we can do one thing or the other instead of both at once. It grieves me to say this because, clearly, I would like to see women bishops. Women in the House of Bishops would help to change the ethos of church leadership and government and bring some balance to the things that are deemed important. My fear for any women bishops created under this legislation is that so much of their time would be taken up focusing on arguments about mechanisms to work with those who oppose them that they would be unable to have the balancing effect that we all hope for on the life and agenda of the House of Bishops. I would like to see bishops (both genders) who will quite simply refuse to spend so much time on gender issues and will focus on communicating all the treasure that is to be found in Christianity to the society we live in, meeting people over the concerns of contemporary living and learning from places where people outside the church have more Christ-like ways of behaving than are found in the church. I would like to see bishops who can lead by commanding respect for their work on global and national poverty, universal education (more than just through church schools), health care, peace and reconciliation and economic justice. I don't want to see women bishops with whom we are all disappointed because they are so constrained they cannot contribute much that is of value. 

Ah well, we shall all wait to see what happens - I hope we can get away from anger and over-reaction and from sophistry and press releases no one can understand, but I fear we are in for a turgid time!   

Friday, 25 May 2012

Summer Hay Meadows

The meadows at the upper end of Swaledale are looking glorious at the moment! Did you know that, in the last hundred years, Britain has lost over 90% of its hay meadows? The sight you see from Gunnerside and Muker today would have been a much more common sight across the whole country at one time. As a consequence, the meadows of Swaledale are now of international biological importance and are still farmed according to traditional methods. The fields are used for grazing livestock throughout the year until late spring when the stock are moved to other pasture to allow the flowers in the meadows to flourish. In July there is a single harvest when the grass is cut and left to dry before being stored in the nearest field barn ready for use as winter fodder. The many field barns scattered arcoss the landscape are a feature of the upper dales. 


Under this regime, each field can have over a 100 species present - small mammals, birds, invertibates and bats and, of course, many wild flowers. The most predominant flower is the buttercup but, in fact, the fields, when looked at closely, can be seen to be home for dozens of colourful varieties of plants. Due to the great biodiversity, these remote upland meadows in the Dales National Park have been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest. 

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Saturday Heritage Days

I have been sent information on what promise to be three a really interesting days to help you explore ways to understand how local heritage impacts on the here and now of our communities. Try as I might I could not convert this into a format that is easy to read. Click on the image and it will enlarge so you can get the information you need to book into one of the workshops in Barnsley (26th May), Oldham  (16th June) or Huddersfield (30th June). Or contact

r.f.light@hud.ac.uk tel. 01484 478408

Free Afternoon?


Rural Church Support Network



Farm Visit.



The next farm visit will be on Thursday 24th May starting at 2pm at Welburn Manor.



The host will be Major John Shaw who is responsible for a large arable farm, as well as a beef herd. He is also an advocate of precision farming techniques by utilising GPS technology.



There will also be afternoon refreshments.



The address for the farm is:

Welburn Manor

Welburn

Kirkbymoorside

YO62 7HH



Please contact Janet Bryer on janet.bryer@crc-online.org.uk

(or 0113 243 3413) preferably by Tuesday 22nd May if you intend going.


Tennants



So that explains the frantic rustlings in our roof space. And we were blaming the long tailed tits! Thanks to these new residents with whom we appear to be sharing our home, the electricity has cut out six times today.....the perfect excuse for failing to reply to e mails, of course! When we informed the property department they took swift action (for which we are very grateful), although they did say, 'Oh, but you can't get rid of them, they're so cute!' We will overlook that. Maybe the little darlings will electrocute themselves and save the pest officer a visit? 


Photo Dave Challoner

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Sacrament of the Present Moment

Yesterday was one of those fabulous, good-to-be-alive days! I woke really early and went up to my office. From my desk you can usually see the Cleveland Hills and Sutton Bank in one direction and the moors above Nidderdale in the other. There was a thick mist covering everything and I worried momentarily about having to drive up Wensleydale later in the day. I needn't have been anxious. The mist lifted to reveal one of those glorious May days; golden sunshine and all the trees and hedgerows still fresh with the new life of spring! On days like this I can't think of a better job than being archdeacon of this wonderful part of the world. There's nothing better than roaming the lanes singing a heartfelt gloria for the sheep to enjoy through the open car window! Even the initially annoying discovery that the road at Bedale was closed turned into an advantage as I discovered a new cut-through from the A1 to Hackforth and Patrick Brompton. I felt about 18 all over again - although I would have been on a bike then,  and not in a car.

photo Dave Challoner

I had five meetings during the day. During the course of these I found myself, ice-cream in hand, sharing the cheerful jostle of market day in Hawes and then, later, admiring the stunning view across the top end of Wensleydale from a beautiful garden. I also found myself exerting my mental capacity to full stretch in order to understand the constitution required for a new Board of Directors in Harrogate and I made one really serious mistake which I apologised for but still felt cross with myself about. I had to pay an unexpectedly large bill on my car's service (you simply can't be without a well-functioning vehicle in this job) and I spent an hour talking about spiritual direction with someone who reminded me about the importance of the sacrament of the present moment - God is right where we are here and now, today, not off in some future place of our dreams and aspirations.


photo Dave challoner

It was less easy to rejoice in the moment when I got home at 10pm to find a huge pile of logs that had been delivered ready for next winter blocking our drive. Stacking logs in the dark after a day that started at 5am certainly means you sleep well! It also helps you feel less frustrated by the reports coming out of the House of Bishops' meeting where the next stage in the wrangling over women bishops had taken its controversial course.

It was certainly a day on which to be thankful for the rich variety of life!

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Archdeacon's Charge 2012

In this year of the Olympic Games, I thought it would be appropriate to take St Paul's thoughts on 'running the race' (1 Corinthians 9. 19 - end) for our theme. As one of the hymns we sing puts it, 'run the straight race through God's good grace.' St Paul was writing to the church in Corinth and he was probably thinking of the Isthmian Games which were held there - second in fame in the ancient world only to the Olympic Games themselves. He takes the process the athlete puts him or herself through as a metaphor for Christian service.



What does St Paul tell us? That athletes have discipline and self control; that they put aside anything that might distract them from their purpose of winning the race and achieving their goal. Discipline and a common, well defined goal sound like good things for church wardens to have! Certainly to be striving for the same things that your PCC and clergy are working towards. But what about this? St Paul says, 'Though I am free, I make myself a slave to all.' That sounds like a church warden's lot to me! Instead of being free to dip in and out of church life, to decide when you worship, to choose how to use your free time, you have taken on the task of serving this community which is Christ's body. St Paul (who has done the same) finds himself having to be 'all things to all people'. I'm sure there will be times when you will feel that to be true for you! You need the wisdom of Solomon, the patience of Job and the tact of all the saints put together to be all the things your community and church ask of you. Yet St Paul had one firm principle that kept him going through thick and thin. He does not just drift around agreeing with the last person he speaks to. Christ is at the heart of all that he does. His relationship with Christ comes first and last. He serves Christ in all his efforts and he does everything so that he may share Christ with others and persuade others to join the same race he himself is engaged in. St Paul's discipline and self sacrifice, his perseverance and determination not to quit until he has won all flow from a desire to show Christ's love, Christ's saving power in the world.

Perhaps the metaphor of a race is especially helpful in this time of change. We may feel we stand on shifting sands. Many of us, and our people, face economic uncertainty and uncertain employment propsects.  The hard financial facts are fluctuating around us, creating insecurity. And then, in this dioscese, the Dioceses Commission is generating uncertainty about our future together as church. Will we be in a diocese on our own or part of a bigger diocese with Bradford and Wakefield by 2015? Our Diocesan Synod and Bradford's have voted largely in favour of the changes; Wakefield's synod has not. We won't know what the future holds until the Commission's Final Scheme is published in the autumn. then there there will be a further period of uncertainty while the synods vote.
Shoule PCCs or other groups want more information about these propsals I am happy to come and explain them more fully. 

In situations of great uncertainty, St Paul kept his focus on the race he had committed himself to run, eyes firmly on the prize - which was relationship with Christ. And that, I would suggest, is what you and I need to do over the next few years. Focus on the race that is before us, 'Christ is that path and Christ the prize.'

So what can we do? Well, I've got three M's for you! 
  • Ensure that morale remains high; encourage others with whom we share the race in their devotion to Christ so that, together, we can withstand the challenges and difficultes without losing faith.
  • Ensure mutuality; see that we support and encourage one another across benefices and deaneries. We must share time and resources and work together.
  • Safeguard ministry by working to promote vocations. Do you know that if each parish produced one person with a vocation every 5 years, we would have more ministry than we could support or train? We'd find a way - it would change the whole future of the church! Have you ever spotted and encouraged someone to think of giving themselves to ministry? A discreet 'have you ever thought of offering yourself for ministry?' from the Church Warden or Vicar is often the start of a journey into ministry. God calls, but the church also plays its part in that calling. Or, here's a question, have you thought about it for yourself?
So, three M's.  Morale - focus on Christ, don't lose sight of your relationship with Him.  Mutuality - support for one another, for all God's people near and far. No one has to 'go it alone'. Ministry - calling ministers for the future.

To do all this, then, we need to eqip ourselves, just as the athlete would have his running shoes and shorts, his linament for his muscles and his water bottle. I want, now, to say something about the resources that are available to you all.

Firstly, Ambition for Mission
During the last year, 3 groups from across the diocese have been working to develop a better understanding of what growth can mean in our parishes and how we can work to support growth. The three task groups have looked at mission, financial sustainability and the deployment of clergy and lay people. One of the key recommendations that they have made is that churches should work on  Mission Action Plans. The idea is that every parish should seek a clearer vision of who and what God is calling them to be and, following on from that, should draw up a simple plan that says, 'these are the things we are going to be concentrating on over the next year..or three years..or five years.' Some parishes already have something like this.

When I became Vicar of my last parish, they didn't have anything like a Mission Action Plan. 'Oh, we all know what we're doing!' they said. But they also said 'The trouble is, we don't have enough people to do it all..there are so few of us!' (How many times a week do I hear that?!) Eventually, I persuaded them to have a day when the PCC prayed and discussed our common vision as a church. What was God really asking of us? What was most important? Could we resource and finance it? Then we drew up a plan for how we would do the things that were priorities.  The great thing was that, because there was a coherent plan and because it was published in the magazine and leaflets were distributed in church and in public places round the parish, people knew what we were doing. More and more people began to catch the vision, from the teenager who went home and made 12 toys bags because one of our aims was to welcome children, to the business man who came to me and said, 'I'm retiring and I'll give you a year to oversee the renovation of the church hall,' to the artist who designed and distributed prayer cards to local businesses.

During 2012 and 13, we are encouraging every parish or benefice to do some in-depth planning and thinking about resources. Begin by listening to God, thinking and discussing. There's more about this in my letter in Archdeacon's News. The bishops. archdeacons and Mission resourcing Team will be happy to assist with ideas or evenings or awaydays to help. We all need to listen to God, to clarify our vision, to communicate our plans. (Plans aren't much good if they are exclusively in the Church Warden or the Vicar's head. Often, if that's the only place there are, that's where they stay!)

Secondly, there is a group of lay people who, following the lay conference last year, are working on a multi-media resource for parishes called Agents for Change. As its title suggests, it's aimed to help churches and communities that are facing a lot of change. We all know how difficult that can be in churches, whether it's altering the times of services or closing a church or getting used to new ways of working with a new vicar or in a bigger benefice. This is what you need to help!

Thirdly, there is a team of people who can assist you - our Mission Resourcing Team, headed up by Adrain Alker.
Buildings Officer - Alice Ullathorne - advice on buildings projects, funding, community use of buildings and heritage matters. Keep abreast of useful information about issues like VAT for buildings projects and courses about buildings maintenance on Alice's blog http://church-community-building.blogspot.co.uk  
Environmental Officer Jemima Parker - advice on sustainable living and energy sources. Measures that every member of the congegration can get involved with to make a difference. (If you look at the Diocesan website, there's also a news article on St Marks' Harrogate's newly installed solar panels. If your church is thinking about solar panels, do contact them for advice or go and see the panels at St Mark's.)
Youth and Children's Team - St Mary's Richmond has just started a new service for families and children. They had 40 adults, 42 children and 4 sheep at the second one. If you need help to get a project going contact Graham Richards or Nic Sheppard.
Rural Officer - Andy Rylands. Advice on rural support networks and rural issues and he's just started a blog. http://ruralriponandleeds.blogspot.co.uk
Ministry with deaf people and people with learning difficulties - Rachel Wilson and Sue Pearce.
Stewardship Adviser  - Paul Winstanley. We have, in 2011, maintained our 94% share collection rate and that is a remarkable achievement. Well done to you all - and a big thank you for all your persistance, hard work and generosity.
IT - please do use my blog to advertise events (just e mail the information to me). If you need help to think about a church website or facebook page, there is plenty of expertise around. Do contact me or one of the communications team - John Carter, David Brighton.

Fourthly, about Security and, in particular, lead roofs. Ecclesiastical have generously paid for two churches in the diocese to have roof alarms installed. They are very discreet and not visible from the ground. Only those two chuches PCCs and I know who they are. The idea is that we do not publish the location. However, all churches will shortly be sent notices saying, 'Thieves Beware! Churches in this Area have Roof Alarms.' Thieves will not know which churches have them and which don't and this will hopefully be a deterrent. If your church really needs to consider its own alarm, contact me and I will put you in touch with one of the alarmed churches so you can see how it works for yourselves.



Finally, celebrations. In connection with the Olympics, you will have among your handouts a Traidcraft Churches Event Kit with lots of ideas about how to mark the Olympics. The brochure also gives the dates that the olympic torch will be passing through your area. http://www.traidcraft.co.uk/2012games
 The Diamond Jubilee - I'm sure that we will all want to celebrate Her Majesty's inspirational example of service and devotion to duty. Do have parties and services, bell peals and concerts. However, some of you will have heard about the idea of having beacons on church towers. The Chancellor and I are not keen on this idea due to the  possible significant dangers. Beacons are usually on high pieces of ground, not on buildings. There is an article in Archdeacon's News. You'll see there that you must apply for a faculty if you are thinking of having a church tower beacon.

And finally, please do watch my blog for training opportunities for church wardens, on finance and for treasurers over the summer and autumn. If you need help with anything, ask and we will try to find it!

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Saxon Kirk Hammerton

As its name might suggest, the church in the village of Kirk Hammerton, between York and Boroughbridge, is Saxon in origin.  The church, signposted 'ancient church' from the A59  welcomes visitors.


Situated on a mound in the centre of village, the church of St John the Baptist has areas dating from 600-800 ( south nave and chancel) and from around 1,000AD (tower and west door).




On entering the church, you are struck by the contrast between the parts which are of Saxon origin, in places revealing Saxon masonry, and the lofty Victorian nave and chancel (1834, 1891). Sitting in the south aisle you cannot but sense the antiquity of this place, a house of prayer continuously for 1,500 years, loved and adapted by each generation for its use in worship.













The Diocesan Tourism Group is busy working on a Saxon trail to take in sites around the area that are of Saxon origin or have Saxon artefacts. Beginning with the crypt at Ripon cathedral (672) you can spend a long summer day visiting some of these delightful ancient sites - Masham (Saxon burials), West Witton, Staveley, Goldsborough, Follifoot, Spofforth, Harewood and Collingham, Bardsey. A big thank you to the Revd Paul Spurgeon for talking to us about the church at Kirk Hammerton - not simply its history but also giving us an insight into the way the church has been developed dwon the centuries and the part it plays in village life today.