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Rest a while at the Bucks County Show

People gather at the Rest A While stall at the Bucks County Show.

Four rural deaneries in Buckinghamshire band together each year to give back to their communities at the Bucks County Show.

The North Bucks churches - comprising members of the deaneries of Buckingham, Aylesbury, Mursley and Claydon - felt a church presence was missing at the annual county show, the largest of its kind in the UK. Having tried a variety of ideas, around a decade ago Rest A While was born.

The stall offers a place of refreshment, inviting show attendees to rest a while with free drinks and cakes provided by volunteers from across the deaneries. Rest A While's sole aim is to give to the community - all offers of donation are politely declined, with people being encouraged to donate to their favourite charity should they feel the need to give back for what they've received.

The Revd David Meakin, area dean for Claydon and Bucks County Show chaplain, shared the history and importance of the stall.

"The presence has to be about giving something... It's something I think people really appreciate - if I walk around the show in my dog collar people stop me and ask where the church tent is."

VBishop Gavin meets Mary at the Rest A While stall at the Bucks County Show.olunteers bake, serve and clean tables, but also offer friendly, relaxed conversation should people want it. A prayer tree is also available, and local churches pray for anything left on the tree in the weekend's services.

The Revd Jenny Edmans, Associate Minister in the Bernwode Benefice, decribes the stall as "lovely outreach in a very gentle way." Jenny also sits on the Farming Community Network, who offer a daily helpline for farmers and farming families in need of support.

As well as having a bite to eat, children are invited to play in the kids' corner, supervised by members of the Mothers' Union to let parents take a break too. Valerie, a local volunteer, speaks more about the work of MU, both at the show and throughout the year.

The Rt Revd Gavin Collins, Bishop of Dorchester and of rural ministry across the diocese, was in attendance this year, praising the work of the churches. In the tent, Bishop Gavin met Mary, who's been coming to the Bucks County Show for the last 60 years.

"It's the opportunity of churches and Christians to say 'we're here to serve our community'... It's been a joy to see the team come together. The tent has been buzzing all day long."

Each deanery makes a financial contribution to the stall each year, and committee member Georgie recently successfully sought a Development Fund grant, which provides the group with £800 per year for three years, helping to cover the cost of the pitch, water and electricity.

David says of the grant;

"I believe around about 1,000 people will be given refreshment today and the opportunity to rest a while... If this isn't doing mission, I don't know what is."

The committee are keen to speak to anyone interested in joining the team to serve next year's show and onwards. You can hear more about the stall below, and if you've been moved by what you've heard and want to get involved, please contact Georgie.

Page last updated: Friday 2nd September 2022 1:01 PM
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