download a poster here
In 2015, in the spirit of his encyclical Laudato Si’, Pope Francis instituted the annual “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation” on 1st September.
A number of Christian bodies including the Orthodox and the World Council of Churches have for some time promoted the period from 12 September until the Feast of St Francis of Assisi on 4t October as a time of wonder, thanksgiving and praise.
You are warmly invited to join in some or all of this period of daily reflection, enjoyment and action as stewards of creation.
Events and services will take place at St Alban’s and St Michael’s and St Peter’s Prestbury and elsewhere.
Download more information and a day-by-day calendar of events here
We Stand Together is a timely conference that aims to bring together people from different faith and non- faith groups. It’s an opportunity to come together and explore ways we can all work together for the greater
good of community wellbeing.
Simon Byrne (Chief Constable Cheshire Police)
David Keane (Police & Crime Commissioner for Cheshire)
Debra Green OBE (Founder and Director of ROC)
MacDonald Portal Hotel, Cobblers Cross, Tarporley QV6 ODJ
Download a poster here.
A message from Hope in North East Cheshire.
A good time was had by all – despite the good old bad old British Summer weather outside. Face-painting, cake, bouncy castle, cake, hot dogs, cake,
raffle. And did I mention cake?
As reported in a previous blog item, Veronica and Dave have moved out of the old vicarage on Shrigley Road, which has now been sold. They bought their own house in Tytherington, just outside the parish boundary and will continue to live there for the foreseeable future. The diocese and the PCC are happy with this arrangement and Veronica will continue to be our Vicar for a good while yet!
The proceeds of the sale have allowed the diocese to purchase a new, more practical vicarage for the parish of Bollington. This is a brand-new house, located behind Bollington Medical Centre on the Bellway Waterhouse Mill development. The new vicarage will be rented out* until the time comes for a new Vicar of Bollington to be appointed at some future date. The new Vicarage is well-located right at the heart of Bollington, has a manageable garden, and is well insulated to keep energy bills to affordable levels.
The new property was inspected by the Diocesan Surveyor, the Archdeacon of Macclesfield and the delighted present incumbent this week.
*The “To Let” sign is already up!
I was saddened to hear from his daughter Anne that John passed away on the 30th July 2017.
John and his family left Que Que in Southern Rhodesia and came to live (in John’s words) “a sleepy village called Bollington”, I think he would have been very surprised with the changes now!!
He was very much involved with the planning and building of St. John’s School and was thrilled, along with my dad Albert Clayton and Geoff Newcombe who were the churchwardens at the time to be introduced to Princess Margaret who officially opened the new school. They even had afternoon tea with her along with the headmaster Gwilym Humphries and other dignitaries.
He loved his music and you would often hear him playing the organ at St. John’s along with his son John James. They were both accomplished musicians.
He was always organising Parish Trips which he took charge of with his clipboard in hand, making sure he didn’t lose anyone and everyone was accounted for.
His sense of humour was second to none, always seen with a smile on his face.
He left Bollington early in 1969, but I was lucky enough that his successor the Rev Peter Hunt allowed John to return so he could take part in my marriage service, in fact I had three vicars taking part !!! and the Rev. John Williams who was the curate taking a black and white cine film of the day.
On his retirement he moved to be nearer his family in Cambridge where he was made a Fellow of St. Catharine’s College and just before he died he had a visit from St Catharine’s choral scholars which according to Anne he enjoyed very much.
Today was the last day at Bollington Cross CE School for Mrs Downing after 14 years as Head Teacher. The pupils and teachers gave her a rousing send-off by singing…
Simply The Best
We knock when we need you. You open the door.
You smile then speak, it’s you we adore.
You are Our Head, give us everything we need.
Every day we try harder to do our best.
To reach our targets, complete our SAT’s tests
And all because we want “A Headteacher’s Award”!!
You’re simply the best
Better than all the rest
Better than anyone
Anyone we’ve ever met
We’re stuck on your heart
We hang on every word you say
Mrs Downing Our Head
You’re Simply The Best!
In St Oswald’s Church we follow your lead.
You are our sunshine and we are your seeds
Best double act seen – Mrs D and Rev V!
Our school is good and you are “outstanding”
Inspiration is your middle name
We will miss you but will never forget that
Mrs Downing …. you are the best!!!!!!!!
St Oswald’s held its first Pet Service today. A varied selection of God’s creatures attended, including a number of pets. There were representatives of Mammals and Reptiles as well as some more symbolic creatures. Such as rocking horses for example.
There were a large number of dogs in the congregation, who vigorously joined in the applause at the speeches during the service. There were no cats. Perhaps this was just as well. A llama and a miniature horse made guest appearances.
Some of the humans explained their roles in looking after some of the other animals who share this planet.
Canon Veronica blessed all the creatures who had attended the service. Then there was coffee and cake. And dog biscuits.
I came to bring a sword: Matthew 10.24-39
Our Gospel reading is taken from Matthew, and it reminded me about a story we heard on our recent Chub meeting to Hope. (Chub just stands for Church and Pub). Well, a new vicar had been appointed to St Peter’s in Hope and on his first Sunday he preached from Matthew’s Gospel on the Sermon on the Mount, which was very well received. The next Sunday he preached the same sermon, and a few eyebrows were raised. Believe it or not, on his third Sunday, he again preached the same sermon. There were distinct mutterings in the congregation, and the Church Warden was delegated to have a word with the vicar.
But when asked, the vicar said he would continue to repeat the same sermon until the good people of Hope lived out the message of the sermon in their lives!
Like Jesus, the vicar wanted people to change their lives. Our reading for today, which is also from Matthew, has much the same purpose. Jesus came to change people’s lives, but some of the things we heard in the Gospel reading, we may not have expected. We know that God is a god of love and that Jesus, his Son, came into the world to proclaim that message. But in the passage we read –
‘Don’t think it’s my job to bring peace on the earth’ I didn’t come to bring peace – I came to bring a sword, I came to divide a man from his father, a daughter from her mother, and a daughter-in-law from her mother-in-law.’
Jesus had meant these words to cause a stir.
‘Sons against fathers, daughters against mothers’ – what on earth could he mean? Rejecting parents and children – not peace on earth, but a sword – can this be Jesus himself speaking? What’s going on? How can we get our minds around these strange sayings?
Now the New Testament also has a good deal to say about caring for one another within the family. But some have misguidedly taken passages like these as a licence to neglect their own dependants, to spend all their time on ‘the Lord’s work’. You may have heard it said about someone that they were so heavenly minded that they are no earthly use!
But these are stern and uncomfortable words which we can’t ignore. They echo down the years into the Christian church of today. Think of St Francis, leaving his wealthy home, despite his father’s fury, to go and live a simple life of imitating Jesus as best as he could – and setting an example that thousands still follow today. Think also of those who have faced terrible dangers for the sake of the gospel and have had to send their families to a place of safety elsewhere, while they have stayed to look after a church because there wasn’t anyone else to do it.
Jesus doesn’t say here that everyone who follows him will find themselves split off from their families; certainly not. Indeed, many of the apostles, in the days of the early church, took their spouses with them on their travels. But Jesus is once again talking about priorities, and is making remarkable and quite drastic claims. He isn’t saying (as some have tried to pretend that he was saying) , that what matters is following God in your own way. No. Jesus is saying, loud and clear, that what matters is allegiance to him: allegiance to Jesus must come at the top of every priority list. In our service today we have already heard the words that Our Lord Jesus Christ said:
The first commandment is this: ‘The Lord our God is the only Lord’. “You shall love the Lord Your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength”
‘The second is this’: “Love your neighbour as yourself’”
There is no other commandment greater than these.
As the story in the Gospels unfolds, we see how difficult this was, even for those who knew him personally: Peter denied him, Judas betrayed him, the rest all ran away and hid. But the challenge remains, embracing everything, demanding everything, offering everything, promising everything.
The absolute demand of Jesus brings us back to the Sermon on the Mount. It isn’t the case that there are some fine ideals in the mind of God, and that Jesus just happens to teach them a bit better than most people. Nor is it the case that Jesus came to show us the way through the present world to a quite different one, where we will go after death. No: Jesus came to begin and to establish the new way of being God’s people, and not surprisingly those who were quite happy with the old one, thank you very much, didn’t like having it disturbed.
He didn’t want to bring division within households for the sake of it. But he knew that, if people followed his way, division was bound to follow. We see division in our world today. Terrible things are happening, brought about by hate. Brought about by those who do not believe in a God who teaches us to love, not only our neighbours, but also our enemies, as we love ourselves. But with so much death and destruction we can become afraid and turn in on ourselves; frightened to be the outgoing and loving people that God wants us to be.
One of the most memorable moments for me in recent weeks has been the moving pictures of people giving out roses; people of all races, colour and creed making a practical display of their love and compassion to other human beings. What do you think is the command repeated most often in the Bible? You might imagine it’s something stern like: Behave yourself – -Say your prayers! – Worship God more wholeheartedly! – Give more money away. You’d be wrong. It’s the command we find repeated three times in our Gospel
‘Don’t be afraid.’
Yes, ‘Don’t be afraid.’ The people who gave out roses were not afraid. You can see easily enough why Jesus needed to tell his disciples not to be afraid. After all, he’s warned them that the authorities will be after them; that they will suffer physical and emotional violence; and, that people will start calling them the sort of names they have already begun to call him. So there was plenty to be afraid of! And yet he says, don’t be afraid.
If, as the Gospel is saying, God really takes note of every single sparrow in the sky, and every single hair of our heads, that means that, just as nothing is too great for him to do, so nothing is too small for him to care about it. The message is plain. You are worth more than a great many sparrows; so rest assured that God knows and cares about the details of your life, even as you face the temptations and dangers which are all around us.
Followers of Jesus are bound to experience attacks at all levels. But we must also learn that the one we are serving is stronger than the strongest opponent we will ever meet. If we accept the challenge of Jesus sayings, this is then matched by the remarkable promises he makes to those who accept His challenges and live by them. He will ‘own’ us before his father in heaven, and ‘Those who lose their lives will find them.’
That’s why Jesus’ challenge, to the disciples themselves and, through them to the Israel of his day, had to be so sharp – and it also has to be just as sharp today, where people still prefer comfort to challenge.
So follow Christ, love your enemies, and DO NOT BE AFRAID!