Welcome to the church of St Peter in the village of Barton, Cambridgeshire. This was a flourishing village even in Saxon times, for it is mentioned three times in the Domesday Book. In modern times, the village is part of the Lordsbridge Team Ministry in the Bourn Deanery of the Diocese of Ely, with Team Vicar Rev. Rebecca Gilbert taking special responsibility for Barton and the neighbouring villages of Coton, Haslingfield and Harlton.
Our Parish Church is open for private and public prayer, for worship, or just to visit, during daylight hours each and every day.
What is Friendship? And what is a friend? So many of us know what a friendly village Barton is with quiet acts of kindness and thoughtfulness every day from its residents. As a community we come together in friendship in all the groups and clubs we belong to; we gather en masse in the heart of the summer to celebrate our community of friendships with our Village Day. As friends we share interests, pursuits, and passion.
That is why Friends groups are established all over the world. I think of Friends of the Earth, Friends of Cambridge University Library, Friends of Ely Cathedral. There is even a Friends of Friendless Churches group. Almost three decades ago I wrote entries in this magazine for the Friends of Barton School and more than twenty five years later I write of the Friends of St Peter’s. This group has been established to help with the upkeep of the church building and more especially to fund a new heating system, very much needed. Our first event will be a series of talks during May and June (details in later pages) encompassing science, suffrage, prayer, song, poetry, climate change and medicine – all subjects that extend a helping hand, the hand of friendship.
Friendship is a relationship between two or more people, who care about each other. A friend is one of the first people with whom we want to share good news. A friend remembers that we don’t like sugar in our tea. A friend will listen to us, laugh with us and at us, and cry with us. Friendship is wonderful, but that is not to say friendship is easy. It demands our time, and it requires us to put someone other than ourselves first. A friend can provide an immense amount of support and comfort.
Today in our society there is a clamour that we should all do our bit to alleviate loneliness and that is good but it has always been the God given task and desire of the Christian to do just that; where there is need, lend a hand, share what we have, befriend the unfriendly and the lonely. Jesus Christ calls us his friends, he calls us by our name and he wants to work with us. He had close friends and they literally journeyed together. St Peter’s too extends that hand of friendship to all in this village.
Ruth Bond – Licensed Lay Minister