A tiny village church on the borders of North Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cumbria has scooped a remarkable line-up of eminent national figures for its Lent series of Sunday services which starts next weekend - including a retired Rear Admiral, a former MP, a hospital medical director and a bishop.
Travelling to the tiny hill-farming parish of St Oswald’s, Thornton-in-Lonsdale, near Kirkby Lonsdale, on Sunday’s during Lent (the traditional season of the Christian calendar from Ash Wednesday (Feb 18) to Good Friday (April 3)) will be a succession of eminent speakers who would be the envy of many a lecture circuit.
The line-up includes Admiral Sir John Kerr, Bishop James Bell, the Bishop for Ripon, Dr George Nasmyth (pictured left), Medical Director of the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust and Dr Michael Clark, the former Conservative MP. They will be speaking on the overall theme of ‘Christian Witness at Work’.
The parish of Thornton-in-Lonsdale has a population of less than 400 but that didn’t deter retired minister, the Revd Canon John Gaunt Hunter, who invited each of them personally to come to the remote village and take part in Sunday services during Lent.
Canon Hunter said, “We are only a tiny hill farming parish (less than 400 population,) but we do get a high proportion to church and it is a lively church community. I happen to know the speakers personally – for example until September I was a hospital Governor – and a member if the local history society. Our aim is to help the congregation identify with fellow laity rather than listen to theological clerical experts.”
All the talks are on Sunday mornings at St Oswalds with the service starting time at 9.30am.
Bishop James Bell launches the series on February 22 on the subject ‘Living by Faith’. On March 8, Dr Michael Clark asks the question, ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’. On Sunday 22 March Dr George Nasmyth will be the speaker on the subject ‘Suffering speaks.’ And on Sunday 29 March, Admiral Sir John Kerr will speak on ‘Virtues.’