Message Raughton Head Parish Magazine Rose Castle
15 years ago, I was inducted as vicar of Dalston with Cumdivock, Raughton Head and Wreay. We had visited the benefice every 3 years whilst on furlough from South America, and had felt a pull towards working here, so it was the fulfilment of a dream to know that God had called us, as a family, to settle down in this part of the world.
My time here has not been plain sailing, but I have loved being here and am reluctant to move away despite knowing that this is the right time to do so. Each of the 4 churches has its own character, which has given a lovely variety to my ministry, and I have grown to love each one and each congregation for its own uniqueness.
One of the first things I was told when I arrived was, “we don’t like change here”! However, over the past 15 years quite a lot has actually changed, mainly for the better! The most obvious changes have been physical ones. St Mary’s Wreay had a complete ‘make-over’ following its appearance on ‘Songs of Praise’. Part of that was a much-needed and effective heating system, and new lights. All Saints Raughton Head converted the back portion of the nave into a carpeted meeting area, complete with kitchen and toilet, which has enabled the church to be used in a number of new ways – not least being the hospitality which is displayed after services and on many other occasions. St Michael’s Dalston changed the entrance to the church, enlarged the ‘welcome’ area, built a toilet in the old entrance and installed a new heating system. I’m looking forward to coming back to see the new extension to the vestry when it is completed and fully-functioning!
Other changes have been in the things we have done together. The @6! services in Dalston developed some lovely young Christian musicians over the years, and at one point boasted a congregation of over 40! Similarly, the informal service at Raughton Head went through a period when we had young musicians leading our worship, which was a great privilege to be involved in. At Wreay, a group has met regularly over the past few years to produce some lovely services for the different seasons of the Church year - both for morning and evening prayer, and for communion – and these have greatly enhanced the worship at St Mary’s. In Dalston, an Alpha prayer course has led to more people praying in church, and to the formation of a regular prayer group that meets twice a month.
Everyone here has always been friendly, but it is lovely to see that in all our churches people are reluctant to leave after the services. That demonstrates a real community spirit and love for each other. I will be sad to leave behind many friendships – though I do hope that we will not lose contact altogether, and we will visit from time to time. I will particularly miss the peaceful atmosphere of St John’s Cumdivock, the mid-week communion services in Wreay, the informal evening services at Raughton Head, and the bible study and prayer groups in Dalston.
“So”, my wife Pauline said tonight, “What’s your last line going to be in the September magazine? Make it significant, memorable and meaningful….” No pressure then? All I really want to leave you with is THANK YOU and you will ever be in my thoughts and prayers. I wish you and my successor Revd. Ben Phillips and his family every blessing as you move forward together in God’s will.
Steve Carter – 01228 710215

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