A new way to support our parish every time you shop on line.
St Oswald’s has signed up to The Giving Machine – a charity which works in much the same way as Easyfundraising. You can join by registering online (it’s free to do so) and then going to the Giving Machine website BEFORE you start shopping.
You can register as an individual with up to 4 different causes (who will each share in the benefits raised by your shopping).
You can register for Gift Aid when you sign up, so you can maximise the benefit for your cause(s).
You can raise up to 0.7% from Amazon with The Giving Machine
You can still support us through Easyfundraising as before. You may find that some retailers are available on one of these fundraising organisations but not on the other. You may find that one of them provides a larger contribution to our cause than the other. We will keep the situation under review over the coming months.
Click on “For Shoppers” (top menu bar) and then select “Go Shopping” from the drop-down menu
Include this page in your “Favourites” so you can go straight to it next time
Choose a retailer from those listed and then shop
REMEMBER – you can ONLY raise money for your cause(s) if you choose the retailer from the Giving Machine page. If you go to the retailer’s website directly, your purchases will cost you exactly the same BUT your cause(s) will NOT RECEIVE a donation
The site also offers a downloadable “Desktop Reminder”, but at present this only works with some browsers (it currently doesn’t work with Microsoft Edge, for example).
Do YOU remember Bollington in, or just after World War 2?
Could you help?
Today’s primary school children are now learning about the Second World War. This includes the primary schools in Bollington. Do you have memories about what it was like in Bollington? Perhaps your parents or grandparents were involved in the military or other war-related or reserved occupations at that time. Do remember food rationing – it continued until 4 July 1954!)?
Someone invented “Window” – strips of coated paper dropped from aircraft to confuse enemy radar. Did you know that this was made in Bollington?
Many homes were still lit by gaslight. If there was an air-raid warning, Bollington Town Gas Works would reduce the pressure in the main. The lights in peoples’ houses would flicker and they would know to make sure that no lights were showing through the windows as a target for bomber aircraft. (The brickworks in Pott Shrigley weren’t on Bollington town gas, so they didn’t get the message. But they did get a bomb – probably left over from a raid on Manchester.)
If you have some stories, or ration books, or identity cards, or medals, or… please contact Ken Edwards at the Town Hall on 01625 571126 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or use the following form…
You could help our local school children understand more about their local, national, and international history.
A huge thank you to all who worked so hard to make this a success, and to all who came along and supported us. We raised nearly £2,000 for Parish Funds!
Special thanks to The Moss Rose Community Band and to the local businesses that provided sponsorship or raffle prizes: The Cotton Tree Chadwick’s Newsagent Tapa The Crown The Lime Tree Restaurant 74 Delicatessen The Cock and Pheasant Essential Beauty The Beefeater Springwood Way Bollington Print Shop Bellfield’s Bakery Bacchus Restaurant Briscola Restaurant Bollington Balloons JJJ Heathcote The Green The Church House Inn The Village Florist
A sermon prepared by Canon Roy Arnold, read by Canon Veronica.
Prologue: We have several people in our congregation who suffer from age-related macular degeneration. This is an eye condition which reduces central vision. Roy is now one of them – which is why Veronica read his sermon for this special day.
Have you noticed the Michaelmas Daisies on this the feast of St Michael and All Angels – commonly called Michaelmas?
56 years ago – in 1963 – at this time I was ordained Deacon in Bristol Cathedral. And earlier in that year Hylda and I were married at St John’s church in Bollington; married to my wife, and then to my second wife – the Church of England!
The connection between ordination and Michaelmas being angels – for angels (by definition) are messengers and servants of God, and hopefully and in theory, so are the clergy to the church. And as my special companion and guardian angel, so has Hylda been to me and our daughters too – which perhaps underlines the fact (in the priesthood of all believers) that everyone – clergy and laity alike – is called to serve God and one another.
We come across St Michael in our reading today…
War broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his angels fought back, but they were defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. The great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world – he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, proclaiming, “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Messiah, for the accuser of our comrades has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. But they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they did not cling to life even in the face of death. Rejoice then, you heavens and those who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, for the devil has come down to you with great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”
The Good News is that God, being an Almighty God, won the battle and the war. The Not-so-good News (for us) is that the devil and his bad angels were banished to the earth, and we only need to turn on the television news or read the papers to see what the devil and his bad angels have been up to in our world. With so much evil and pain all around us, we (who are hopefully on God’s side) are called upon, in small ways or great, to fight the good fight (as the old General Thanksgiving has it) “not only with our lips (just by what we say), but in our lives, by walking before God in holiness and righteousness all our days“– particularly by following Jesus – the Son of God. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, so that all who believe in him “should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Of course, the devil whispers in our ears that this statement is not true – that God’s Son will not lead us to eternal life, because eternal life does not exist! But we must realise that the devil has always been a liar through and through. So we as Christians must hold onto our core beliefs, and live our lives with love and love and honesty and gratefulness… Speaking of which, let me end by thanking Veronica and Dave for their ministries, and thanking all of you, alongside all the people in the parishes and dioceses in which I have served.
I have – we all have – so much for which to thank our God – as I do!
There were two retired priests (and Honorary Canons) in our congregation this day who were celebrating anniversaries of ordination at Michaelmas. Veronica read out a potted history of each of their careers (having consulted Crockford’s Clerical Directory).
Canon Roy Arnold: After Lampeter Theological College Roy undertook two curacies (as was usual in those days) over a period of about seven years. his first curacy was at St Luke, Brislington in Bristol diocese. His second curacy was back in this diocese at the parish of St Mary Without the Walls, Chester. Then he served his first incumbency as Vicar of Brinnington with Portwood 1971-1975, followed by seven years as Vicar of St Paul, Sale. After that followed a short period as rector of Dodleston, before then moving away from Chester diocese across the Pennines to take up the post of Vicar of St Oswald, Sheffield, when he also had the demanding role of Diocesan Communications Officer, which latter role continued when he moved from that parish to take up another post, additionally working as Chaplain with the Deaf. In 1995 he was made an Honorary Canon of Sheffield Cathedral. He finally “retired” as they moved back to Bollington in 1997, helping cover two vacancies and also becoming a great friend and support to the present Vicar for the past twelve and a half years.
Canon Phil Lambert was ordained deacon in 1978, then priested in 1979. He also served two curacies, first at Holy Trinity, Upper Tooting in Southwark diocese, then at the parish of Whorlton in Newcastle diocese. Then he served successive incumbency posts in several clusters of parishes in Newcastle diocese before moving to the diocese of Bath and Wells as Rector of another group of parishes and becoming Rural Dean there. He then moved to Salisbury diocese as Team Rector of Dorchester and also Rural Dean there too, before becoming Canon Residentiary of Truro Cathedral. Finally he moved to the diocese of Europe where he served as an Assistant Chaplain living in Crete. We are pleased that he too has recently come to live here in retirement and has the Bishop’s Permission to Officiate.
Albeit the timings of both Roy’s and Phil’s early retirements were not necessarily what they had planned, we are nevertheless privileged to share in their continuing journeys and wish them every blessing.
What should be made of our readings for today, what
are they trying to tell us? They all seem to be pointing in different
directions. Firstly, I think we should consider the Gospel reading from Luke:
Then Jesus said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his property. So he summoned him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Give me an accounting of your management, because you cannot be my manager any longer.’ Then the manager said to himself, ‘What will I do, now that my master is taking the position away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. I have decided what to do so that, when I am dismissed as manager, people may welcome me into their homes.’ So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He answered, ‘A hundred jugs of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifty.’ Then he asked another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He replied, ‘A hundred containers of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill and make it eighty.’ And his master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes. “Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own? No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”
Some have thought that Jesus was condoning sharp
practice in Business, but Jesus was not applauding fraud; he was telling a
story where the master was commending his steward because he acted cleverly, not
because he acted dishonestly. How can we sort all this out? The first thing to
do is to understand how the story works. It would seem that the master in the
story had himself been acting in a somewhat underhand manner. Jews were
forbidden to lend money for interest, but many people got round this by lending
in kind, with oil and wheat being easy commodities to use for this purpose. It
is likely that what the steward deducted from the bill was the interest that
the master had been charging, with a higher rate on oil than on wheat. If he
reduced the loan in each case to the basic sum that had been lent, the debtors
would be delighted, but the master could not then bring a charge against the
steward without owning up to his own shady business practices. Thus, when the
master heard about it, he could only admire the man’s clever approach. We know,
as many lottery winners have discovered, that money can’t buy true friendship. This
manager decided that by helping his master’s debtors, he would at least put
them under an obligation to himself. He ‘made friends’, by writing off their
debt; and his action recalls in part, the ancient Hebrew law of Jubilee when every
fifty years debts were cancelled.
We should remember that the best that any of us can be
or become is one of the ‘friends of Jesus’. He calls you to be his friend, and
writes off all that you owe. He promises aid whenever you need it – all with no
strings attached, and also gives us – to
each other – for ever.
But we should also realise, that the story is a
parable, and not just a piece of moral teaching about money, and how or how not
to use it. We are faced with a first-century Jewish story about a master and a
steward, so we should realise that the master is God; and the steward is
Israel. Israel is supposed to be God’s property manager, the light of God’s
world, responsible to God and set over his possessions. But Israel – as can be
seen in so much of Luke – has failed in the task, and is under threat of
imminent dismissal. What then ought Israel to do? The Pharisees’ answer was to
pull the regulations of the law even tighter, to try to make Israel more holy. But
this had the effect that they were excluding the very people that Jesus was
trying to reach. Jesus, in this parable, indicates that if Israel is facing a
major crisis the answer is rather to throw caution to the winds, to forget the
extra bits and pieces of law which the Pharisees have heaped up, and to make
friends as and where they can. That’s what ‘the children of this world’ would
do, and ‘the children of light’- that is the Israelites, ought to do so as
well, learning from the cunning people of the world how to cope in the crisis
that was coming.
Hear this, you who trample the needy and do away with the poor of the land, saying, “When will the New Moon be over that we may sell grain, and the Sabbath be ended that we may market wheat?”- skimping on the measure, boosting the price and cheating with dishonest scales, buying the poor with silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, selling even the sweepings with the wheat. The LORD has sworn by himself, the Pride of Jacob: “I will never forget anything they have done.”
The reading from Amos is also warning about unfair trading and social injustice. To have good law and justice in a country you must have a good government to make those laws and then see that they are obeyed. Amos is advocating that the Jewish state return to the teachings of the prophets and obey the laws that God gave them so that they would prosper as the people of God. I think that today, when we look around at the problems in our country, many of us feel that our Parliament, as a whole, has let us down very badly.
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle – I am telling the truth, I am not lying – and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles.
1 Timothy 2:1-7
In the reading from the epistle, Paul is giving Timothy instruction about how to be a good pastor, and his teaching on prayer goes straight to the point. It is normal to pray for those close to us, but in this passage he strongly urges that we should start, as it were, at the other end. We should pray for the people who hold the world together by their rule, leadership and authority. A few years ago people were more or less happy with our democratic institutions, and our system of government. We voted every few years, we answered opinion polls from time to time, and we had a sense that we lived in a free society. Are you aware that since the reign of Charles II, prayers are said before each day of parliamentary business? The Speaker’s Chaplain usually reads the prayer:
“Lord, the God of righteousness and truth, grant to our Queen and her government, to Members of Parliament and all in positions of responsibility, the guidance of your Spirit. May they never lead the nation wrongly through love of power, desire to please, or unworthy ideals but laying aside all private interests and prejudices keep in mind their responsibility to seek to improve the condition of all mankind; so may your kingdom come and your name be hallowed.”
You may not be surprised to hear, considering their recent actions, that in January of this year, some MPs have called for an end to the practice of holding prayers in parliament before the start of official business. This motion, backed by the National Secular Society, says “religious worship should not play any part in the formal business of the House of Commons”. And we think we are in a Christian country!
I remember that not so long ago, in every Anglican
service there was a prayer for the Queen, but just not the queen but for all
those in authority under her; this included all those in government, national
and local, the armed forces, police and civil servants. When I was in the Royal
Air Force, I liked that prayer because I felt it was also for me. I held the
Queen’s Commission and I was part of all those ‘in authority under her’. That
prayer was not just for the Queen but for the good governance of all in our
country. We rarely hear it today!
Many Christians who were reasonably content with their
country have been tempted to think that praying for kings and governments is a
rather boring, a conformist thing to do. It looked like propping up the status
quo. But now we have an unstable government, unable to find solutions to
current problems and tending to divide rather than unite the country. We have
knife and drug crime rife amongst our young, an under-resourced police force, a
judiciary who appear weak, and there are other injustices affecting the less
able and weak in our society. Our tackling of climate change and pollution can
be said to be only half hearted at best.
No, this is not another chapter of Project fear, but a
call to action for all Christians. The teaching given to Timothy is correct and
just as meaningful now as it was then. Should we not all be joining together
and praying for good government on a worldwide scale, for the United Nations
and all who seek to influence the rulers of the nations?
This train of thought brings us exactly to the point
the Jews had reached in the first century. They had suffered under persecution
and unjust rulers for many generations. But they trusted in the one true God, and
that God had sent his Son Jesus into the world to act as a ‘mediator between
God and humans’. The fact that this view of God is centred upon Jesus, who died
as a ransom for the sins of the whole world, means that the news of this one
God, this one Saviour, must now go out and spread into all the world.
As so often in the New Testament, the call to prayer
is also the call to think clearly about God and the world, and God’s project
for the whole human race. Try praying for your rulers instead, and watch not
only what God will do in your society but also how your own attitudes will
grow, change and mature. So, if we want Justice for all, if we want a better
government, if we want the best outcome from the current situation, if we want
to see our nation united and thriving again in the future, then we had better
start praying for it now.
“Oh Lord, the God of righteousness and truth, we are in a mess. Grant to all those responsible for our government, both in this country and to those who speak for the European Union, the wisdom and the guidance of your Spirit, that they may reach solutions which benefits all and brings the unity and wellbeing for which we all long; For yours is the kingdom and the power; and to yours be the glory now and for evermore.”
Canon Veronica has completed her five-year stint as Rural Dean of Macclesfield. A number of well-wishers from around the Deanery showed their appreciation…
Revd Dr John Harries, Vicar of the Peak Parishes (Bosley, Sutton, Wildboarclough and Wincle ) was Commissioned as the next Rural Dean of Macclesfield at St James, Sutton on Tuesday 10 September, one of Bishop Peter’s last services before he retires at the end of September.
A very good morning to you all on this the 11th Sunday of Trinity, or as Veronica has renamed it “Back to school Sunday”.
I am very pleased to be back with you today because last Sunday Jean and I were worshipping at Holy Trinity Church in Broadstairs, in the church where I was both christened and confirmed. Veronica would have appreciated the service as lots of incense was used.
We were there to celebrate the 80th Birthday of my sister-in-law, and it was a big family gathering and a party. To find a theme for the address for today is fairly straight forward as the short reading from Proverbs points directly to the Gospel from St Luke, which itself links in with the family party.
Did you know that Luke’s gospel has more mealtime scenes than all the others? If Luke’s vision of the Christian life, from one point of view, is a journey, then from another point of view it’s a party. Several stories end with a festive meal – like, for instance, the parable of the prodigal son which is in the next chapter of Luke. All these themes come together in the Last Supper and, finally, the reported meal at the end of the journey along the road to Emmaus.
In this chapter Luke has brought together two parables about feasting. The first we heard this morning, is not always recognized as a parable, because it looks simply like a piece of social advice, a piece of practical wisdom. So if you want to avoid embarrassment in front of your fellow guests, then follow this tip. But Jesus didn’t come to offer good advice; and often his own conduct seemed calculated to cause embarrassment. In any case, Luke tells us it’s a parable; in other words, we ought to expect it to have at least a double meaning.
One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched… When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honour at the table, he told them this parable: “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honour, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honoured in the presence of all the other guests. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbours; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
What is Jesus really talking about? The rest of the chapter makes it clear that he’s talking about the way in which people of his day were jostling for position in the eyes of God. They were, so it appeared to him, eager to push themselves forward, to show how well they were keeping the law, not to benefit others, but to maintain their own purity. They were precisely the sort of people he now found himself with, people who would watch for any sign of irregularity, even frowning upon actions, such as Jesus’ healing a man on the Sabbath; which they would have accepted on any other day but not the Sabbath. And Jesus, throughout this section of Luke, is turning things upside down. He is associating with the wrong kind of people. He is touching the untouchable and going out of his way to speak to the nobodies.
The parable, then, isn’t so much good advice for social occasions – although there is a very practical human wisdom in the warning against pride and arrogance. No! The real meaning is to be found in the warning against pushing oneself forward in the sight of God. In Jesus’ day it was all too easy for the well-off and the legally trained to imagine that they were superior in God’s sight to the poor, and to those without the opportunity to study, let alone practise, the law. And even today, this is a trap that Clerics, Readers, and all other Christians can fall into.
At the same time, in the world for which Luke was writing, there would also be another wider meaning. Within Luke’s lifetime thousands of non-Jews had become Christians – they had entered, as you might say, into the dinner party prepared by the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Many Jewish Christians, as we know from Acts, had found this difficult, if not impossible, to understand or approve. They were so eager to maintain their own places at the top table, that they could not grasp God’s great design to stand the world on its head.
Pride, notoriously, is the great cloud which blots out the sun of God’s generosity. If I reckon that I deserve to be favoured by God, not only do I declare that I don’t need his grace, mercy and love, but I also imply, that those who I think don’t deserve it, shouldn’t have it. Jesus spent his whole life breaking through that cloud and bringing the fresh, healing sunshine of God’s love to those in its shadow. The Pharisees could watch Jesus all they liked, but the power, both of his healings, and of his explanations, was too strong for them. The small-mindedness which pushes itself forward and leaves others behind, is confronted with the large-hearted love of God. All Christians are called to the same healthy dependence on God’s love, and should have the same generosity in sharing it with those in need.
The last two verses are linked more with the next passage, but still have a message for us. Bishop Tom Wright, who has written many good commentaries on the Gospels said, that once, many years ago, he preached a sermon on this passage. He emphasized the extraordinary way in which Jesus tells his hearers to do something that must have been as puzzling then as it is now. Don’t invite friends, relatives and neighbours to dinner – invite the poor and the disabled. The sermon had a strange effect. In the course of the next week he and his wife received dinner invitations from no fewer than three people who had been in church that day. The Bishop didn’t know which category of guest he was in and he was too polite – or afraid – to ask. This time it looks as if the passage is real advice. The parable of the supper, which immediately follows, is a parable all right, but Jesus really seems to have intended his hearers to take literally his radical suggestion about who to invite to dinner parties.
Social conditions have changed. Once it was easier when people lived in small villages in which everyone knows everyone else’s business, when meals are eaten with the doors open and people wander to and fro at will, but now in many parts of the world this has changed and it may seem harder to put it into practice. Many Christians would have to try quite hard to find poor and disabled people to invite to a party – although you will know some who do just that.
But nobody can use the difference in circumstances as an excuse for ignoring the sharp edge of Jesus’ demand. In particular, they cannot ignore it in the light of the parable that follows. You will remember the story about people who very rudely snub the invitation to a splendid party. They make excuses of the usual kind. The householder, having gone to all the trouble of organizing and paying for a lavish feast, is determined to have guests at his table, even if he has to find them in unconventional locations. The original guests have ruled themselves out, and others have come in to take their place. Once again the invited and expected guests are the Jews, waiting and waiting for the kingdom, only to find, when it arrived, that they had more pressing things to occupy them.
Of course, in Luke’s day many Jews had become Christians. But the majority of the nation, both in Palestine and in the scattered Jewish communities in the rest of the world, were not. Instead, (as it must have seemed to those first Jewish Christians), God’s messengers had gone out into the roads and hedgerows of the world, getting all kinds of unexpected people to join in the party. Not just Gentiles, but people with every kind of moral and immoral background, people quite different from them culturally, socially, ethnically and ethically.
But there is a another twist to this parable, because it bends back, as it were, on itself, returning to the challenge which Jesus gave in those last verses. The party to which the original guests were invited was Jesus’ kingdom-movement, his remarkable welcome to all and sundry. If people wanted to be included in Jesus’ movement, this is the sort of thing they were joining.
Once again, therefore, the challenge comes to us today. Christians, reading this anywhere in the world, must work out in their own churches and families what it would mean to celebrate God’s kingdom so that the people at the bottom of the pile, at the end of the line, would find it to be good news. It isn’t enough to say that we ourselves are the people dragged in from the country lanes, to our surprise, to enjoy God’s party. That may be true; but as those of you who have done an Alpha course, or experienced a Cursillo weekend will know, party guests are then expected to become party hosts in their turn.
Jesus is asking you to invite non-Christians to come in and share His party, to share, His love, His joy and His forgiveness which is available to all.
A dementia-friendly community is a city, town or village where people with dementia are understood, respected and supported.
Communities who wish to be recognised as dementia-friendly can register on Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friendly Communities recognition process. These communities will be considered to be ‘working to become dementia friendly’ and may use the ‘Working to become Dementia Friendly’ symbol (‘the symbol’) as long as they are part of this process.
STOP PRESS: Bollington is now part of this process! We’ll add more detail when available
We are hoping St Oswald’s may be used as a regular support meeting venue for carers and sufferers in future