Serving the parishes of:
St Giles Chollerton with St Giles Birtley, St Christopher Gunnerton and St Aidan Thockrington
St Peter Humshaugh with St Mungo Simonburn and St Michael Wark
St Oswald in Lee with St Mary Bingfield and St George Wall
In 1960 (so, well over sixty years ago), I was a boy at St Cuthbert’s Grammar School, Newcastle. One piece of music we learned was the ballad “All in the April Evening”. Set to music by Sir High Robertson, it was a well-known part of the Glasgow Orpheus Choir repertoire. I must have been a ‘pious bairn’, as I found it quite moving: “All in the April evening, April airs were abroad. The sheep with their little lambs passed me by on the road. All in the April evening….I thought of the Lamb of God.” (I’m sure some other ‘oldies’ will remember it!)
As I type this, it’s very chilly. (Your editor wants this piece in by mid-March, hence this early writing.) We’ll soon have the Easter weekend influx of visitors here in Bellingham, but just now there are few people on holiday. For 11 years, I was parish priest in Consett, where, at nearly 900 feet up, ‘lambing snow’ was a regular event.
Everyone loves the sight of the mother-ewes with their lambs in the fields, but town people often don’t appreciate the worry and tension involved when cold, wet weather arrives – as often happens in hilly country in the north-east.
This year, worry and tension are part of everyone’s life, thanks to the cost-of-living problem and the drawn-out effects of Covid-19. But for Christians, the sufferings of Jesus Christ are also part of the April experience. He was the “Lamb of God, who took away the sins of the world”, as John the Baptist introduced him. The Jews had used roasted, sacrificial lamb as part of their Passover, and for Christians, Jesus’ death on the cross was a sacrifice of love that reconciles us to God and to each other.
As adults of any religion – or none – I don’t think we can escape all problems and suffering. (I wish some politicians would stop pretending that we can.) For me, shouldering burdens – our own and others’ – is part of being grown-up. The difference Christianity makes is that, for believers, God came to share all this in the person of Jesus. He didn’t ‘magic’ suffering away, but offered us a path through it. Just as better weather should have arrived by the time you read this, so the rising of Jesus from the dead can offer us hope for something better.
Fr Jim Dunne, St Oswald’s RC Church, Bellingham
Wednesday 29th. March at 12 noon
Savour soup, sweet and tea or coffee
all for a modest price
Thursday 30th March 2-4pm
Come along and make palm crosses and/or Needle felt crosses
Also coffee and friendly chat
Simonburn Village Hall
Friday 31st March 7.30pm
Donation of prizes would be much appreciated, thank you.
please contact: Christine Burridge on 07523166543
A look at Cumbrian Railways & the Cumbrian Railway Society
on Tuesday 4th. April from 7.15 p.m.
This contemplative walk starts on Wark village green at 10.00am and follows the well known ‘Station Walk’ taking about 40 minutes to 1 hr. It includes a fairly steep hill but is all on tarmac. Come and join us. Everyone is welcome.
Returning to Wark Town Hall for hot cross buns and coffee.
Any queries contact Sally Napier (01434) 230223