That was a year that was
We are very aware as we look back on 2016 that it's not been a year of unbridled joy for many people on a national and international scale as well as on a personal one. But nevertheless we wanted to end 2016 with a newsletter from Wydale which reflected our thanks to you all as our supporters of our ministry and of course our thanks to God for all his provision to us.
JANUARY: We started our weekly night prayer slots on Friday nights. The Archbishop of York joined us for lunch as part of his Pilgrimage of Prayer and Witness round the Diocese. 'Say One for Me' was our successful 3 week prayer course (being repeated in 2017) and we had an amazing weekend with a lively youth group from York.
FEBRUARY: A huge weekend with young people from The Belfrey Church in York.
MARCH: The first of our 2016 Renewal Days with Bishop Graham Cray. We invited people to 'The Way of the Cross' - an interactive Easter prayer walk and people came to stay with our community over Easter. This month we also installed a defibrillator as part of our enhanced first aid equipment. We hosted ' Experiencing Easter' as many children joined us to find out more about the Easter story.
APRIL: The Wydale plant sale! A weekend with students from St Mellitus Theological College in London. We started partnering with 'Bundles of Joy', a charity in York supplying the needs of new mothers who have little.
MAY: A 24 hour prayer room in our small chapel as part of the Archbishops' prayer initiative 'Thy Kingdom Come'. An opportunity to speak about Wydale at the York Diocesan Synod. New picture boards in the entrance hall and a thorough clean of all the carpets in preparation for the Summer!
JUNE: The Dean of York leads a day conference on caring for the marginalised in our churches. Lads from a church youth group enjoy some rough camping in the woods. Nigel the Wydale tortoise is installed. We have an Open Afternoon to welcome locals and other regular supporters and run a course on using the Enneagram. The Lord's Prayer is painted around the balcony in the main hall. A day at the Diocesan Education Conference in York. The phones break down for several days! We welcome a worship song-writers' retreat and the hall is filled with lovely music. A Messy Church day with bubbles, toast prayers and more. A silent retreat for the York Diocesan Ordinands as they prepare for their big day in York Minster.
JULY: A second Renewal Day with Richard Carew, Archbishop's Chaplain. A stand at General Synod with the great and good of the Church of England. New toilet rolls arrive at Wydale! New whiskey arrives at Wydale. Wydale becomes a Pokestop!
AUGUST: We welcome friends old and new for a few days Summer Break with the gardens at their best. Wydale hosts several birthday celebrations. 45 people join us for 'Retreat and Repair' as volunteers tackle lots of jobs around the house and enjoy holiday time together. The outside worship chapel is built. We benefit from the closing of a family-run hotel in York, gaining some much needed furniture (and hairdryers!) An amazing supporter donates Megan the mower to us just as Charlie (our maintenance man and lawnmower 'keeper-goer' hangs up his overalls).
SEPTEMBER: We gain two lions and a splendid reflective cross in the woods at Wydale.
OCTOBER: Our final Renewal Day of the year with Laura Hewitt is well supported. We start our journal of words and pictures for the ministry of Wydale (you can find this in the small chapel). The Bothy is born as a place of peace and retreat in the garden. We welcome group of student workers from York and run our own Myers Briggs day workshop.
NOVEMBER: Christmas with a Difference is our attempt at helping people shop wisely for Christmas. We get new and speedy satellite internet thanks to Matt, our amazing technical volunteer. Wydale Gift Vouchers are introduced (available for you to give as great gifts in 2017!). The Advent Retreat helps us look at joy in our preparation for the coming of the King. We have a packed-out day looking at the book of Revelation. And we break our beloved meat fridge (but we get a new one very quickly).
DECEMBER: The exit driveway is re-surfaced (at last do I hear you cry?!). We become Downton Abbey for 24 hours with 20 guests, a seven course dinner and the most amazing team of volunteer 'below stairs' staff you could hope to meet. We have a tree in the Brompton by Sawdon Church Christmas Tree Festival. It's Christmas meal time (we serve 434 people over a total of 29 different events). The staff enjoy a treasure hunt and party in York finding out more about the work of the youth centre at The Storehouse (more info here). We have over 30 people with us for Christmas and have a thoroughly great time celebrating together.
All in all it's been a wonderful year at Wydale. The Lord has been very faithful in meeting our needs and we have ended the year in a better financial position. We know that this and our ministry here would be impossible without the Lord and without the support of so many of our friends from around the Diocese and further afield.
We are in expectation that 2017 will be at least as good as 2016! Our programme of events is out and we hope that there are events which will appeal to many people. You can see an online version of the programme here or contact us if you would like us to post a copy to you.
On Thursday 26th January we are privileged to have Rev'd Ben Doolan with us for the day to lead a study day on the book of Luke. As well as being part of the Clergy team at The Belfrey in York, Ben is part of the National Leadership Team for New Wine. He led sessions on Luke at the New Wine conference 'Inspire' in August of 2016 and they proved to be very popular. Do come along and kick-start your 2017 bible study. More details from our website here. Download a booking form or contact the Wydale office to book.
Can you help?
We want to get multiple copies of our events programme into churches, community centres, libraries - in fact anywhere that it might be seen by people who could benefit form some of the events we are putting on. Can you you help us by taking copies to distribute? Please contact us and we will arrange to get them to you.
Can you volunteer?
We always welcome volunteers in our extensive gardens (we have 14 acres to look after), or with cleaning or maintenance work, with decorating etc. We have some regular weekly, fortnightly and monthly volunteers - would you like to join in? You would be so welcome to join our community in this way in 2017.
So it only remains for us to wish you all a very happy and peaceful New Year. We look forard to seeing many of you in 2017. Please do come and visit.
And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.” So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night. And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.”
With all good wishes.
Mark, Diana, Helen and all the team at Wydale.