October 2021

I was recently asked by a friend if I am enjoying my new curacy.  Another friend dived in with, “She’s the curate of Narnia, what’s not to love about that?!”  A slightly flippant comment, but with some truth in it.  As I drive around the valleys and peaks of this glorious corner of southwest Herefordshire, I sometimes catch my breath as I take in the loveliness of my surroundings, and the beauty I see in the landscape is more than matched by the warmth and loveliness of the people.  The gentle, melodic Herefordshire and Welsh accents, the natural rhythms of local life shaped by the land, rivers and topography, and the willingness of anyone and everyone to stop and have a chat – all these things give this curate from “off” plenty to thank God for every day.

As I look back over my diary, as well as the variety of services and important life events I’ve been privileged to observe and be part of, I’m reminded of all the adventures I’ve already had here.  Here is just a taster: interviewing 99-year-old Ray in Dorstone about his passion for moths for an online service; the jovial community lunch party in Moccas village hall; a cosy PCC meeting in a cow shed at Tyberton; getting to know the lovely mums and their little ones at the Kingstone Stay and Play group; fascinating discussions at a church book group in Peterchurch; driving up into the Black Mountains for the first time to take part in the rainbow-filled flower festival service at St Margarets; a warm welcome at the Tea Set in Newton; selling raffle tickets at the Bredwardine Fete; spending the morning in Kentchurch with Clare and her intrepid group of novice woodcarvers as they work on a series of reliefs featuring the stories of Jesus on the Sea of Galilee; hanging out at the Peterchurch Hub; visiting the Cart Shed with Sarah, one of their volunteers from Abbey Dore.  There is so much vibrancy and life in this deanery!  Most of all, I have been moved by the privilege of conversations with people, some marked by melancholy and tears, a few full of pondering, many sprinkled with laughter.

We are living in a time that some have called the Age of Anxiety and perhaps many of us understand that only too well in our own lives.  Fear, loneliness, isolation, sorrow: these things are never far away.  God has never promised to take away our troubles, instead promising to walk alongside us through all the seasons of our life.  I believe that God, whether you believe in him or not, believes in and cherishes you.  I have seen the love of God reflected in the strength of community bonds here in our deanery, people walking alongside one another through sadness and joy. 

How are you discovering the love of God in those around you, in the beauty of the earth, in the hope of his promise to be with us always to the end of time?  Amongst the anxiety, there is hope. 

Listen carefully with me, can you hear Aslan’s roar?

Rev Angie Kateley, Curate of Narnia

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