Welcome to our website for the
Three Valleys Team Ministry
Everyone needs something or someone to believe in, whether it is the example of a person we would like to emulate or the worthiness of a cause that we might like to align ourselves with. It seems to be hard wired into the human psyche that everyone needs this kind of inspiration to function properly. Time and time again in our modern society this fact confronts us. Law and order gurus tell us that many young criminals have turned out the way they have because they have never had an adult figure they could trust to set them an example or been taught a set of values that they could aspire to. Time and again people in the public eye are encouraged to set a good example for their fans.
Surveys have shown that for many the cult of celebrity has usurped religion for moral guidance and people are more inclined to listen to the words of their favourite football star than they are to someone who might actually know. It has also been shown that ardent fans often falsely imbue their favourite celebrity with many of the good qualities previously associated with sainthood and they are often less likely to believe that their celebrity is capable of a crime, even in the face of the evidence and then somehow they judge them less harshly than they might judge someone close to them if they do fail in some way.
At this time of year as our thoughts inevitably come down to earth again after the Summer holidays and the successes of the Olympic Games something once said by a famous author - G K Chesterton. He said ‘When someone ceases to believe in God he (or she) does not believe in nothing but they believe in anything’. This is never truer that today and it is a bad place for a society to be.
What better thing is there to believe in than a God who cared so much about every single individual person no matter how high or lowly they are, that he came to share our life and in the end to die for us. Now that is something far more inspiring and well worth believing in.
From our Team Vicar Colette Annesley-Gamester July/August 2016
The Role of Clergy in our Community
Church of England Priests serve everyone in the Parish – whether or not they attend Church, have a faith – or none. Our duties include regular Sunday services for Church ‘members’ as well as Baptisms, Wedding and Funerals for those who wish to use the Church building or who would like to have a Minister conduct a service – for example, a funeral at a crematorium.
Clergy commonly go into Primary Schools to lead worship, take School Assemblies, teach aspects of the Religious Education syllabus and frequently serve as Foundation Governors for Church of England Schools.
Outside our Church and School duties (which are explicitly religious), we also have a remit to look after the pastoral and spiritual care of all parishioners who live within the geographical location under our License. Here the ‘Three Valleys Benefice’ (made up of the former Gifle Valley, White Hart Vale and Wriggle Valley Benefice) now includes 17 Churches with 19 separate Parishes and around 6,500 parishioners including the Franciscan Community at Hilfield Friary. The term ‘clergy’ comes from the Greek ‘kleros’ meaning ‘a lot’ as in duties ‘assigned by lot’. Typically, the place where we live and the people whom we live alongside will determine the nature of the duties we’re ‘allotted’ or asked to perform.
As well as the ‘usual’ Church of England duties, we are available for public occasions: outdoor Remembrance Services, monthly and annual Agricultural events, most Community events: Fêtes, Open Gardens, Street Fairs. We try to support fundraising activities and, generally, to be out and about locally whether that is shopping in local stores, joining sports and social clubs or popping into the pub for a pint. We all have our own particular gifts and interests: panto, poetry, quiz nights – amongst others.
As 21st Century Priests, we augment our ministry by having an online presence and you can find us on Twitter or other Social Media platforms. Our public role as Christians is to help build strong local communities within the Three Valleys where we are all neighbours. Do feel free to have a conversation when we’re out in public or find us via the Three Valleys Team website: www.threevalleysteam.org
The Role of Church Wardens in our Community
Colette L Annesley-Gamester
From our Team Vicar: Colette Annesley-Gamester June 2016
The Servant Queen and The King She Serves
As a Brownie, I remember with wonder and great excitement Street Celebrations for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977. Her subsequent Golden Jubilee in 2002 and Diamond Jubilee in 2012 brought with them bigger parties, wider media coverage and the question of whether Elizabeth II would make history by exceeding Queen Victoria as the longest serving monarch. This year, we celebrate that landmark as well as Her Majesty’s 90th Birthday by giving thanks for her life-long service and duty to the Nation.
On Christmas Day 2014, in a departure from royal protocol, The Queen spoke - not just of her sense of duty but made explicit reference to her faith. It was striking how naturally she talked about Jesus Christ identifying him as ‘an inspiration and an anchor in [her] life.’ In another unabashed public reference to her Christian faith in 2015, the Queen explained:
‘Despite being displaced and persecuted throughout his short life, Christ’s unchanging message was not one of revenge or violence but simply that we should love one another.’
She went on to acknowledge:
‘Although it is not an easy message to follow, we shouldn’t be discouraged; rather, it inspires us to try harder: to be thankful for the people who bring love and happiness into our own lives, and to look for ways of spreading love to others, whenever and wherever we can.’
Whether we identify as being Christian, attend Church or not, hearing what motivates the Queen and gives her inner strength enables us to consider who are our own role models and what we do on account of their example. Plus, significantly, for whom might we be role models and what will we leave as a legacy from what we have said and done that might in some way give encouragement or inspiration to others?
As people join in the various Birthday celebrations for the Queen across the Wriggle Valley, those events will themselves contain their own message about each of our distinctive communities and how we seek to serve our neighbours. Wishing everyone joyous and blessed celebrations in giving thanks to The Queen for her life, faith and service.
I hope that you will find plenty of useful and interesting information in here.
The Reverend Tony Gilbert
Tony with his wife Nicola