Great Bavington Church
Ministry to walkers on St Oswaldâs Way
The St Oswaldâs Way long-distance footpath passes right beside Great Bavington URC in rural Northumberland, on the route between Holy Island and Heavenfield. As many walkers pass by, we decided first to provide a tuck box outside the church, and then to open the church during the day so that walkers could find rest, refreshment, shelter and a loo. This leg of the walk, 17.5 miles between Kirkwhelpington and Heavenfield, passes through remote countryside with few settlements or facilities.
Visitors are very appreciative that the church is open. Some quotes from letters and the visitorsâ book:
âOn the leg through Great Bavington it had begun to rain, hard. We had rain jackets but the rest of the body was soaked. We then fortunately came across your church. A welcome shelter from the rain and a lovely church too. Thanks to those who look after the church so well and also for keeping it open to strangers passing by.â
âThank you for your welcoming open doors.â
âReal Christian values on display here, thank you.â
âLovely sanctuary in Bavington.â
The tuck box is stocked with bottles of water and snacks, and has this verse from Isaiah on the lid:
âThose who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.â Isaiah ch 40 v31.
Inside the box is a piggy bank, in which visitors can leave donations if they wish, and they are very generous.
âThank you for the food and drink â we had left our lunch in the car!â
âReally hot day â thank you so much!â
âWe love the spirit of your little church â its generous offering of fruit pastilles and that lovely quote from the Bible â we will indeed soar on wings having eaten and enjoyed.â
âBless you guys for the welcome feast.â
Opening the church to visitors and providing food and drink has benefitted the church as well as the passing walkers. It is encouraging for the congregation to know that we can provide welcome facilities for people, and provide a Christian witness to people of any faith or none. The donations which visitors make contribute towards the upkeep of the church, and the comments in the visitorsâ book provide good evidence of the churchâs value to the community.
For further information, please contact the Church Secretary: