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The Flying Scotsman steams through the Wiske Benefice

Benefice of the Wiske



Diocese of Leeds

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Welcome to The Benefice of The Wiske

     A Happy New Year to Everyone.

Praying together this year.

Our theme for the coming year is from Romans 15:13

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him,

so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit”

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A Message to a Troubled Nation - a thought for the new year.

In December 1939, Great Britain was at war. The Third Reich of Nazi Germany had ruled in Germany since Hitler took over in 1933. Germany had become a fascist totalitarian state and the Hitler regime had spread terror across Europe. In September 1939, Great Britain had entered the Second World War. And in three months, the nation was gripped in the clutches of fear. With every air-raid siren that pierced the ears of the English people, anxiety increased and fear overwhelmed them. Uncertainty for the New Year reigned in the hearts and minds of Great Britain’s citizens.

In December 1939, King George VI was England’s reigning monarch. As was the custom, the king addressed the nation on a BBC radio broadcast on Christmas Day, and, in the uncertain last days of 1939, the king spoke words of peace to calm his nation. He reminded them of the only true King, the One who can provide true peace and real rest in such troubled times. As King George concluded his message of encouragement, he read the preamble of a poem that had been brought to his attention by his young daughter, Princess Elizabeth.

Princess Elizabeth was only thirteen years old in 1939. The poem that she brought to her father’s attention was written by British poet Minnie Louise Haskins (1875-1957). Published in 1908 and titled God Knows, the poem was part of a collection of poems in a book titled The Desert. Years later, this poem gained popularity with a new title, The Gate of the Year, taken from the poem’s first line.

Words of Truth and Hope

King George read the poem’s preamble to reassure the people of England that their future was secure….in the hands of God.

The poem’s wisdom was true for the English people on that Christmas Day in 1939 and it is true for us today.

As the new year dawns, let us remember that God is our only safe harbour. He is our only true hope. He will lead and direct our lives when we put our trust in Him. He will light our path and direct our steps as we enter into the new year.

        Letter from our Clergy

February 2023

Dear Friends,

Candlemas on the 2nd of February marks the end of the 40 days of the Christmas season. 40 days that have kindled hope and reminded us of the role of faith in our lives. The Christmas season contains a number of important illustrations that point us to the truths of the Incarnation. Some are more important than others, some belong to a collection of myths and legends that have embellished the story, but the vital point is that they create a seed bed for the story.

At his birth, Jesus was a 1st Century Jew. Joseph and Mary followed all the requirements of their faith, that form the milestones of the Nativity, birth, circumcision, naming and presentation in the Temple are all contained within the season.

As a child I had a Kaleidoscope, a simple instrument that requires no batteries or buttons, that has a series of mirrors that present a constantly changing pattern of shapes and colours as you rotate the object lens. Like the Christmas story the pattern you see is a parable, each turn presents a different view in the display an ever-changing picture.

Therein lies the key of adopting the evidence for ourselves. Christmas has been about appreciating the wonder of the Incarnation, the season of Epiphany, that began on 12th Night, is about sharing that wonder with the world. The Magi, the foreigners, brought their gifts acknowledging Jesus’s unique role, it is also a time for every church to issue a big, warm, open invitation to the whole world to ‘come and see’ too.

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday the 22nd of February. Lent is the season of preparation for baptism at Easter or in the Easter season. In 8 weeks since Christmas we will have jumped 30 years to the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, to his baptism, temptation and the call of his first disciples, the core group who were our Lord’s first “apprentices”. At the time they would have had little knowledge of the consequences of their call, and in that, we too only have a partial awareness of the potential that begins as we seek to follow Jesus.

The first disciples give us a valuable example of the call of the gospel. Inspired by Jesus they follow him in obedience; family obligations, business interests and urgent practical tasks are laid aside for a single imperative. In a similar way all our lives are “spiritual apprenticeships” for by experience we seek to learn to follow Christ, mirroring the words of Richard of Chichester.

“O most merciful Redeemer, Friend, and Brother, of you three things I pray: To see you more clearly, love you more dearly, follow you more nearly, day by day.”


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St Peter - Birkby

Priest in Charge: Revd. David Bartlett
Church warden: Jonathan McCloy
Secretary: Margaret Owens
The Church is open several times a week.

Services are usually held twice a month,
on 2nd and 4th Sundays in the month.
2nd Sunday - Holy Communion -9.00am
4th Sunday - Morning Prayer - 9.00am
We usually follow the Book of Common Prayer 

Church Information

The Benefice of the Wiske is a group of 5 churches, located in the NE corner of the Diocese of Leeds. Our Benefice comprises several small villages and hamlets near the River Wiske which are largely rural in character, but are also commuter villages, as agriculture, though still important, no longer employs many people and most work in Northallerton, Darlington or Teesside. The population has a high percentage of retired people. There is a Church of England (VC) Primary School in East Cowton and primary schools in Great Smeaton, North Cowton and Appleton Wiske. A Youth Group meets every other Friday during term time at All Saints. The Benefice has a Priest in Charge, supported by retired priests and lay readers.


Contact Us

Revd. David Bartlett

Benefice of the Wiske

01609 765323

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