St Peter the Apostle, Byers Green

  • St Peter's Rectory
  • Byers Green
  • Spennymoor
  • Co Durham
  • DL16 7NL

01388 609436
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BI-Monthly Letter from Priest in Charge

Image of Rev Dr Caroline Friswell 


 THIS IS MY LAST LETTER AS PRIEST IN CHARGE AS I AM RETIRING IN OCTOBER


Dear Friends

I always associate September and October as a time of new beginnings, partly because of my background in education.  It is a time when we can experience the last remnants of summer as we continue to enjoy some warm weather and begin to harvest the fruit that has been growing in our gardens. 

For me, this year, it is also a time of endings as I come to the end of my ministry here in Byers Green.  By the time I retire on Monday 21 October I will have been living here for just short of seven years and I have seen many changes take place in the life of St Peter’s Church.  Quite a number of parishioners have passed away in that time – and I remember them all with fondness.  Some parishioners have chosen to leave the church for various reasons.  Yet, at the same time, new people have arrived from both within the parish and beyond.  Inevitably, this has altered the dynamics of church life and I have been delighted to witness the growing sense of ‘family’ that unites a cross section of ages and backgrounds.

We often think of ‘the Church’ as a building or an institution but church is actually about people – people who have a sense of belonging; people who are committed to one another and to God; people who forgive one another’s foibles and mistakes; people who love each other as Christ loves us.  This is the kind of church that St Peter’s has become and I see this sense of fellowship not just in church on Sundays but also at coffee morning and at social events as well.  This is the kind of church that will flourish into the future and this is the kind of church that is attractive to visitors and newcomers alike.  Although I can take some small credit for this transformation the main credit goes to the Holy Spirit and to all our church members who have joyfully made this happen. 

I am sad to be leaving and will miss the many friends that I have made whilst I have been your priest in charge.  You know who you are and I thank you for your friendship and support over the past seven years.  Yet I am also looking forward to what the Lord has for me to do in the future as Antony and I return to our house in Durham.  So, autumn this year is not just a time of endings for us both but also a time of new beginnings. 

It is also a time of new beginnings for St Peter’s Church as they await the installation of their new priest in charge.  In the intervening period the church is well equipped to manage the interregnum well.  We have two marvellous churchwardens: Yvonne Davies and Margaret Gilson.  I know that the church will be in very good hands with them at the helm.  We have some gifted service leaders and preachers who will ensure that the worshipping life of the church will flourish.  We also have committed members of the PCC and the Shared Ministry Development Team who will see that the ministry and mission of St Peter’s Church will continue even without a priest in charge.  Above all, and most importantly, we have a church membership that loves the Lord our God and who are open to the movement of the Holy Spirit, who is tangibly at work in the life of our church community.  I am so proud of them all and I will continue to pray for them well into the future.

I hope that many of you will be able to come to my leaving service on Sunday 20 October at 4 pm.  This will give me an opportunity to say my farewells and to give thanks to you all.  It is also an opportunity to encourage the church as St Peter’s looks forward to the future.

Yours in Christ

Rev Caroline