08 March 2017
The West Lindsey Churches Festival is set to celebrate its 21st year in 2017, with 94 churches currently set to take part.
To be held over the weekends of 13th & 14th and 20th & 21st May, visitors to the festival’s annual conference at Hemswell Court heard from the guest speakers of Helen Gamble (Project Officer, Lincolnshire Wolds Countryside Service) and the Revd Richard Steel (diocesan Mission Team Leader).
Helen, who wrote an article on cherishing our churchyards for the current issue of Crosslincs, spoke of the many interesting aspects of our churchyards, such as grasses and flowers, trees and shrubs, insects, geology, metalwork and archaeology, and how these areas might inspire local communities and visitors.
Richard continued the theme of encouraging exploration and participation, citing many examples of how churches might engage with their local communities and also welcome and invite people to come and see what the buildings have to offer. Richard posed the question of ‘How would you like to be greeted if you were visiting a church?’, and he offered words of encouragement as to how a welcome might be extended to tourists, pilgrims, casual visitors or those who might be seeking some space to be still.
In addition, Angela Montague and Linda Patrick spoke of the marketing and the impact of the festival, and how this major event has inspired two further festivals in the diocese for September 2017: the Holland Places of Worship Festival and the Horncastle Deanery Churches Festival. Linda also made reference to the impact made by the diocesan Developing Discipleship Programme and the diocesan Transformation Fund as part of local efforts made in Horncastle to reach out to the local community. As detailed on page 15 of the current issue of Crosslincs, a Christmas Tree Festival saw over 70 trees and a Host of Angels made by local people, prompting very large numbers of visitors to the parish church.
This year’s festival invites people to visit and explore the churches featured in its accompanying printed guide and online directory (www.churchesfestival.info), some of which will be offering lunches, organ music, bell-ringing and themed exhibitions. The festival will take place over the following two weekends:
13th & 14th May 2017: churches to the west of the district
20th & 21st May 2017: churches to the east of the district
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