Bishop Martyn was pleased to visit South Kilworth CofE School as part of the time he spent in the Avon Swift Benefice (group of churches) last Sunday, after visiting Swinford Village Hall for lunch with local residents from 11 villages.
After a difficult year for local communities last year, he said how important community relationships are and enjoyed some good conversations. He listened to people talking about various aspects of rural life and the changes new housing brings, as well as hearing about the challenges and joys of being a benefice with 11 church congregations.
Bishop Martyn then led a relaxed, informal service in the Woodland Hall, which was built last year in the grounds of South Kilworth School. It's their school hall but they want it to be used as a community space and the Church enjoys a warm welcome there.
Part of the service was led by Sharon and Stephen March, Licensed Lay Pioneer Ministers working in the Avon Swift team, encouraging people in their Everyday Faith.
Sharon said: “Some of the school children were there and we all enjoyed creating prayers on suncatchers as part of our celebration of Candlemas. We are grateful for the relationships we enjoy with all four church schools in the benefice.
“We work with all four schools in our benefice (Swinford, South Kilworth, North Kilworth and Gilmorton) a lot, doing collective worship, services at special times and I even got invited along to the panto with South Kilworth school!
“We talked about hope - how sometimes we experience times when things seem very dark and there isn't much hope, we have to wait a long time for things to change - like Simeon, who was an old man who had worked in the temple for years, but hadn't given up hope - he was so happy when he welcomed Jesus as light of the world.
“The suncatchers were prayers we wrote with oil (used to light the temple where Jesus was taken for his special celebration) on paper - when the sun shone we could see the prayers clearly. We talked about Jesus bringing light and hope for the world.
“The Bishop spoke about us being lights - older people passing on the light to the young, and us being a welcoming place for all people, even those who don't feel they belong. He also chatted to the parents about how they would like to use the outside Woodland Trail in the grounds of the school more. We recently had a Woodland Wander around the trail with school children and parents on a Sunday and did a grounds clear-up and decorated the walk with eco-friendly wooden stars.”