Letter From The Vicarage

From Reverend Lynn Hellmuth, Vicar of the parishes of Hackness with Harwood Dale, Ravenscar and Staintondale, Scalby, and Scarborough, St Luke

Dear Friends

Well I’ve been in post for six months or so and I am very much enjoying the rhythm of the seasons and the beauty of the area.  Highlights have included the long sunny evenings this summer (seemingly even longer up here than in Epsom!) and the marvellous views on my daily walks with faithful Flora, my young Labrador.  And my ministerial life has proved to be varied and challenging as you might expect, being responsible for 4 parishes and 6 churches in such varied areas.  As well as the usual round of services, it has been wonderful to share in all manner of things including an animal blessing service on a beautiful evening out at Harwood Dale, a moving service for those who have lost babies at St Luke’s next to the hospital, craft, cakes, prayer and debate at Ravenscar (not all at the same time!), and the many marvels of Scalby Fair.  Speaking of Scalby Fair, it was a pleasure to have been asked to open the Saturday festivities and judge the stalls, and St Laurence’s was pleased to be involved in so many ways including refreshments, free face painting and biscotti, and the flower festival in church. The Songs of Praise service on the Sunday amongst the beauty of the flowers seemed a fitting end to the week-long activities and I know was appreciated by many.

Moving to such a lovely area where I can see the hills and the sea most days (sea fret permitting!) has helped me realise how important the beauty of nature is for me in inspiring my faith and deepening my connection with God.  I can feel my heart lifting as I stand in Scalby churchyard and look up to the trees and hills of Raincliffe Woods, or stand on the North Beach and look out to sea and up to the castle.

Almost instinctively I can feel myself singing “How great Thou art” as these wonders of creation speak to me of a Creator God who fills this world with infinite varieties of colour and scents and sounds.

Christian theology like most other fields of learning goes through fashions and phases and for a while it was trendy to be rather sniffy about a faith that recognised God in nature as well as in the Bible and Jesus Christ.  But I am glad to say the pendulum has swung back and now many theologians are quick to affirm God’s presence and witness in creation – “God’s other book” – as well as in the written Word, and Jesus the living Word.

I believe God has revealed Himself most fully in Jesus Christ and we do best to love Him, listen to Him and walk in His ways.  I believe this beautiful world, including this lovely corner of it, speaks of His creativity, His power, His care for great and small.

And I believe He calls us to care for this world out of love for Him and for it.

The Celtic Christian leader and theologian, John Philip Newell, expresses it this way:

There is no plant in the ground but tells of your beauty, O Christ.
There is no life in the sea but proclaims your goodness.
There is no bird on the wing, there is no star in the sky, there is nothing beneath the sun but is full of your blessing. 
Lighten my understanding of your presence all around, O Christ. 
Kindle my will to be caring for Creation.    

Amen ….