Last week Ian and I had an amazing holiday on the North Yorkshire coast. We stayed in a cottage at Ravenscar, ‘the town that never was’. At the turn of the 19th century plans were made to turn Ravenscar village into a holiday resort to rival nearby Scarborough. Roads were laid out and sewers laid, but nobody came. You can see the plans, but now where the streets were planned there are just farmers’ fields with the most amazing view of Robin Hood’s Bay to the North and Flamborough to the South. On our travels we visited my favourite ruined abbey at Rievaulx, formally a Cistercian abbey founded in the 12th century, sadly dissolved in 1538. The Cistercians favoured a simple, even austere life devoid of trappings, as a result there is such a beauty and peace at Rievaulx, it’s difficult to describe, if you haven’t already you must visit the place. The other abbey we visited was Whitby – standing sentinel above the town. It’s interesting that as Rievaulx, it was dissolved in the 16th Century, however unlike Rievaulx its buildings remained largely intact until the late 18 Century when weather and wind caused structural collapse, that and the naval guns of the German Imperial Navy in WW1 which bombarded the west elevation of the church. It was of course at Whitby, that the great Synod in 664 decided for the Roman tradition against the Celtic tradition, amongst other things fixing the date of Easter.
This May a group of us will be walking from Alnmouth to Berwick in the footsteps of the Northern saints, discovering the stories of Aidan and Cuthbert and visiting that other great abbey at Lindisfarne. We will continue in that great tradition of pilgrimage and discovery. Lent is also a time of discovery, of pilgrimage. This year we will be looking at the theology of some of our favourite hymns, we will be meeting each week, to sing to discover and to pray. I hope you will join us on our pilgrimage at home.
Last Sunday at our 10.30 Mass we were thinking about our parish finances. We were assisted by an excellent sermon from Martin Daly, reminding us of how former parishioners had given so generously to enable the building of our beautiful church, and then for its maintenance down the generations. This was followed by an inspiring talk by Suzette on how important it has been for her family to be part of our St Nick’s community.
It is good that so many of our congregation give generously to enable our ministry and mission in this place to flourish, and to all of them we are most grateful. Sadly, despite our best efforts our expenditure exceeded our income again in 2019, albeit by a much smaller margin than in the previous few years. So the PCC is asking everyone who regards St Nick’s as their church either to consider prayerfully whether they might be able to increase their planned giving or, alternatively, for those who have not yet joined our scheme to consider doing so. Later in this bulletin there is a chart giving a breakdown of monthly sums currently pledged, to give an idea of current giving and details of how to join Planned Giving. There is further information at the back of church and the churchwardens, Susan and Chris, or Susan Welsh, our Planned Giving Chair, would be very pleased to discuss this further.
It would be wonderful if we could update our budget for 2020 by increasing our predicted income by 10%, which would enable us to break even this year.
With every blessing