January and February are quiet months at Billingsley Church as we have only one service a month, an 8.00am Holy Communion. At the January service, the small but faithful congregation was augmented by one of our friends who normally worships at Highley. Everyone is welcome at this service; particularly for those anywhere in the benefice who need to go out during the day on a Sunday, it gives an opportunity to do this and still attend a service. The January service was noted for the coldness of the church, due to a problem with the heating. I am pleased to say that this has now been fixed; many thanks to engineer Barry Valentine for helping us. We are aware that our boiler is old and only has a limited life; whilst raising funds for a replacement heating system will be challenging, we are starting to investigate options.
We are looking forward to the resumption of our 6.00pm evening services, on the second Sunday of the month. In March, (8th), our service will be based around Compline. This originates from the prayers that monks said just before they went to bed; it is made up of readings, prayers and music that allow us to reflect on the events of the day/weekend/week, so that leave in a calm and peaceful state. Today, many call this “mindfulness” and at the university where I work, courses based on it are put on to help staff deal with stress, but it has been practised in the church for centuries.
Another good way of de-stressing is to watch nature in the countryside. Billingsley Churchyard, with its benches (and the porch and church for shelter if the weather turns bad; tea and coffee making facilities available in the church). We manage the churchyard to try and encourage wildlife as well as providing a respectful space for those who have loved ones who are buried in it. At the end of January, we did a bird survey and hope to get a grant for putting in bird boxes. So if you are feeling stressed, just sit in the churchyard and enjoy God’s creation!