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World News

Cornish Vicar leading his flock in the lambing shed

by Donna Birrell

A vicar in Cornwall is holding services in a variety of unusual places to encourage more people to worship in places outside traditional church buildings.

Reverend Richard Allen, who's rector of the Trelawny Benefice has held services on quaysides, on local ferries and also this weekend, he’s preaching among more than 100 new-born lambs in a lambing shed.

He tells Premier this type of worship encourages people who would not usually attend a church service.

“What we're trying to do is to take the church to the people and to be in the marketplace. 

“I live in a very rural part of Cornwall and a lot of people are still involved in farming and agriculture. 

“So we thought that during January we would have a lambing service. There is a lovely farm, Frogmore farm just down from Atlantic Bay, and they've got 500 ewes and lambs.  I think they've probably got 100 lambs, at least maybe more than that, born in the last week or so. 

“So we’re going to hold this little service actually in the lambing shed and see what happens. I think there's plenty of enthusiasm amongst the local community to come and share with us and be part of it. 

“It won’t be too long and it will be very family orientated. I'm sure I can get a sheep pen and talk about Jesus being the gate and we can actually work that out in practice and see it lived a little bit.

“There’ll be a children's talk on finding the lost sheep as well, so we should be able to have some fun, which is great.

Trelawny Benefice is a group of five parishes in south-east Cornwall along the Fowey estuary. During Spring, Summer and Autumn many services are held outdoors including on quaysides, ferries and beaches. Services involving pets, scarecrows, tractors and horses are also a feature. 

Reverend Richard says all the services are characterised by clear Bible teaching although the styles of worship are rich and varied.  

Often, around 150 people have been in attendance, especially during quayside services and the ‘Harvest of the Sea’ festival.

“A whole range of people come who don't normally come to church and lots of younger families, which is exactly what we're trying to attract with bridge-building.

“It's very much a seed-sowing exercise. But we're getting people that are coming back month by month and in a different age range to what's going on in our normal Sunday services.

“God is seeming to draw people and we’ve got a real vision to keep going with it as we’re finding that services outdoors are fantastic.”

The lambing service is on 23 January at Frogmore Farm, Lanteglos, Cornwall at 3.30pm.


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