The Front Page
Sedgefield News - July Edition
URGENT-EDEN DRIVE APPEAL
A fond farewell to Father Michael
Many residents of villages in this area will have met Father Michael Gobbett over the last ten years, whether it be at a wedding, funeral, christening, or one of the regular services taking place in the parish.
The last decade has seen various changes to how the area’s churches are operated, one of the most prominent being the unification of five local churches into one parish. This meant that churches in Sedgefield, Bishop Middleham, Fishburn, Trimdon Village and Trimdon Grange would be able to share resources and manage their workloads more effectively.
Sunday 3rd July in St Edmund’s Church marks Father Michael’s final service in this parish, before moving to a parish in Whitby. I spoke to him on behalf of Sedgefield News, about his time here, working and being part of this community.
Michael expressed that while bringing about unity in the various local churches was on his agenda, he also wished to maintain ministry within the different communities. Despite appreciating that changes across the organisation have been tricky, Michael does now feel that the churches are more united through the parish. As well as pastoral care services such as baptisms and weddings, the churches have tried to reach out to more people by offering children’s activities and bereavement groups, among other services.
Working in Sedgefield has brought many highlights for Father Michael, including a special service in which he welcomed Justin Welby just as it was announced he was to be the Archbishop of Canterbury – an event that made stories in several UK newspapers.
Michael also explained that he has thoroughly enjoyed living in Sedgefield, highlighting the opportunities he has had to work with various voluntary organisations, and citing the town of Sedgefield as a very enjoyable place to live. Sedgefield is unique in its size and the number of people that have been here a long time, continued Michael, which gave him the chance to get to know members of the community very well. Sedgefield and nearby villages each have their own community spirit which larger areas are unlikely to have, and Michael expressed that it is his wish to keep the church true to its heritage.
Moving to Whitby will mean leaving behind the charms of the local areas, but also welcoming what the new job and location have to offer. Father Michael highlighted the impact tourism will have on the church and also the historical nature of the church in Whitby, which he explained would be different to his current parish.
Reflecting on the last ten years working and living within the community, Michael summarised his time here with the following:
“We have sought to serve a variety of communities, drawing people together but also recognising diversity, and sharing with people often in their deepest need, I think it’s been a great experience to have been a part of that for ten years.”
Interview by Jake Graham
Get rid of unwanted ‘stuff’ in a green & friendly way!
Do you remember Swap Shop? It was cutting edge TV when it launched in 1976. The heart of the programme was that kids could turn up and swap their unwanted toys, books & games for someone else’s unwanted toys, books and... Then they invented the internet! Well, it has been suggested that we provide a similar swap shop or free- cycling idea here, perhaps using a stall in the Farmers’ Market. We could feature a different type of product each month - bikes, books, furniture, garden stuff and so on, but for the time being we’ll just see what turns up. Anything not collected at the end could be donated to charity. We will trial the idea at the July market on Sunday 3rd July from 8.30 - 12.30, then see if anyone wants to run with the project.
Come to the SDT stall to donate, browse, swap or if you’re interested in helping, have a chat.