We wish you luck, Gary

Revd Dr Gary Bowness celebrated the Eucharist at St Oswald’s this morning for the last time before leaving for pastures new in the Lancaster area. The choir regaled him with a surprise rendition of…

We wish you luck as we wave you goodbye.
Cheerio, there you go, on your way.
We wish you luck as we wave you goodbye.
Not a tear but a cheer, on your way.
You’ve got what it takes
To relax in the Lakes
And your smile will lighten their way.
We may meet once again by and by!
We wish you luck as we wave you goodbye.

Farewell to Revd Michael Fox

MichaelFarewellMichael Fox has been our Assistant Curate since 2014 and the time has now come for him to move on. He was installed as Priest-in-Charge of St Paul’s Macclesfield on 31 August.

He preached for the last time as our Curate on Sunday 28 August at our 10.30 Parish Communion. After the service we enjoyed a “Bring and Share” lunch together in church. A number of items of what could loosely be described as poetry were performed. The following one was written by Maggie O’Donnell and recited by Ken Bennett…

Taking the Michael…

He came from farthest Rainow,
a smile upon his face,
for the Bishop sent him over
to learn to minister with grace.
But Grace had knocked off early,
whatever would he do?
He was rescued by a super lass –
Veronica – that’s who!

His tiny hands were shaking
as he tied his Deacon’s sash.
It wouldn’t stay in place,
Oh alack and alas!
The washing-up took ages
‘cos his hands were shaking more.
The choir kept on singing
encore and encore!

“Don’t worry, lad,” his mentor said,
“We’re all slow at the start.
I’m sure the congregation
will take you to its heart.”
A shaky start I must admit,
but in confidence he grew,
for he had the best of mentors –
Veronica – that’s who!

For two long years he’s laboured;
now his washing-up is slick.
His sermons are compelling,
he can give a bit of stick!
He’s inspired lots of people
with all that he can do.
And we’re really going to miss him –
Reverend Michael Fox – that’s who!

Bishop Libby visits our parish church and schools

As part of a triennially scheduled Visitation to Macclesfield Deanery clergy over three days in early November, Bishop Libby Lane (the Bishop of Stockport since January 2015) presided on Wednesday 4 November at an evening Holy Communion Service at St Oswald’s here in Bollington. She offered challenging words in her sermon to the mixed congregation of Deanery Synod members representing the nineteen parishes in the deanery, plus several more Bollington parishioners. She encouraged us to let go of those familiar things we perhaps fearfully cling onto too tightly (even those things or people we think we need primarily to preserve or protect) and instead to leave them in God’s much safer keeping and, by relaxing our grip, to open our hands now freed up to receive graciously whatever good things God has had in store to give us all the time. The service was followed by an opportunity for people to meet the Bishop informally over posh cakes and wine!

The next day, an otherwise dull and drizzly Thursday was transformed by Bishop Libby Lane visiting various groups of young people connected with Bollington Church, firstly meeting parents and their bright sparks, who were busy practising being fireworks at our Praise & Play Toddler Group! The Bishop then had lunch with a group of children from St John’s School, and, duly fortified, she subsequently spent the afternoon sharing faith and life stories with staff and children at each of our Anglican primary schools. The children were delighted and enthralled by meeting with the first woman to be consecrated as a bishop in the Church of England. She particularly enjoyed meeting the Ethos Group of mixed ages in the Federation of Pott Shrigley and St John’s, exploring amongst other things how hard it is to overcome your fears, to fulfill your God-given potential and to be true peace-makers.

Later Bishop Libby answered some equally excellent questions thought up by Key Stage Two children at Bollington Cross School and visited all the classrooms in turn, showing one particular class her cross, ring, crook, cope and mitre, and explaining what was the significance of each item. Another moment I particularly liked was when sharing in the delightful story of “The Little Red Hen” with the Reception class, one pupil animatedly expressed to the Bishop how important it is to help other people – “Otherwise you’ll have NO FRIENDS!” – and, by way of illustration of that lonely place of friendlessness, he held up his two clenched fists (as opposed to opening his fingers out to be ready to count the number of people you could be friends with, if you chose to be helpful!). After a cup of tea with the Headteacher, finally Bishop Libby called in again at St Oswald’s for our pre-teen After School Group, RiCH, where volunteer Alex (of Bollington Balloons fame) presented the Bishop with a rare balloon chess-piece! She then headed home to Dunham Massey for a quick break before fulfilling her evening commitments elsewhere in the diocese.

We greatly appreciated the time, personal interest and attention which Bishop Libby gave to the whole variety of groups and individuals she encountered. She was a shining and genuinely saintly presence, and we felt truly blessed here in Macclesfield Deanery over those three days!



A new Priest!

Great celebrations this weekend…
Both in Chester on Saturday for the Midsummer Parade plus the ordination of 20 people as priests in the Church of England – and at St Oswald’s on Sunday morning as our assistant curate Michael presided for the first time at our 10.30am Parish Communion! Huge thanks to the lovely Beryl and Audrey for creating our very own “White Nancy” for this festive weekend too! Do come along to church again during this week to enjoy walking through the best daisy chain arch in the world!

Midsummer parade at Chester

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Sorry – we don’t have any pictures from the Ordination Service in Chester Cathedral…
But during the service at St Oswald’s on Sunday morning, Revd Michael, presiding at Holy Communion for the first time, was presented with a creation by Bollington Baloon Man Alex…

2 curates


Beryl and Audrey created the White Nancy Archway. And the Vicar and Assistant Curate celebrated with a glass of Fizz!

New Bishop of Stockport

Revd Libby Lane – the Church of England’s first woman bishop

It had been announced that Libby Lane was to become the Suffragan Bishop of Stockport on 17 December 2014. The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, called her appointment “historic” and “an important step forward for the Church towards greater equality in its senior positions.”

Consecration at York Minster


Bishop Libby was consecrated at York Minster on 26 January 2015 by John Sentamu, Archbishop of York. When the archbishop asked the congregation if Lane should be consecrated as a bishop the service was briefly interrupted by a priest, Paul Williamson, who exclaimed “It’s not in the Bible” and called Lane’s being a woman an “absolute impediment”. There was no opposition when Sentamu – having carefully explained the legality of the act – asked a second time.

Click here for a link to the BBC News article about the Consecration Service.

Installation at Chester Cathedral

Bishop Libby was installed at a packed Chester Cathedral on Sunday 8 March 2015 (International Women’s Day). A number of our congregation were able to attend the ceremony.


Describing the service of installation like a “homecoming”, she said: “I continue to feel deeply grateful for the honour of this calling and the privilege of exercising it in this place. Expectations are high, and I too am excited by the possibilities and challenges ahead.”



Veronica congratulates Libby on her new appointment on the day it was announced at Stockport Town Hall (Picture by Kippa Matthews)


Before the service at St Paul’s Cathedral in May 2014 to celebrate 20 years of ordained women’s ministry, Veronica invited Archbishop Justin to “come and meet Libby Lane”, which he duly did. Libby is on the right of the picture below, with Jane Maycock on the left together with the only man in the group picture. Jane and Libby and were at Cranmer Hall Theological College, Durham together.


Veronica was photographed just afterwards along with Katy Hacker-Hughes, who trained with Veronica at Westcott House Theological College, Cambridge – the “Westcott Women” all wore matching stoles for the occasion.

20 years of Women Priests!

1994-2014: 20 years of women’s ordained ministry as Priests in the Church of England

There was a very good turnout on Saturday 3 May 2014 for the Procession of Witness that started at Church House (next to Westminster Abbey) and walked past the Houses of Parliament, alongside the Thames and then up to St Paul’s Cathedral.

At the start of the special service in the Cathedral, there was a procession of over 700 from amongst the 1000 or so women who had all been ordained across the C of E in the year 1994. Amongst the congregation who stood and applauded as the procession made its way up the aisle were large numbers of women (young and old) who have also been ordained priest since that first historic year. Also present among the many supporters both male and female, were several women from the Roman Catholic Church who still wait in hope for recognition of women’s priestly calling within the wider Church.

Revd Canon Philippa Boardman, Canon Treasurer of St Paul’s, presided at the service and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby acted as deacon. For a bishop (let alone an archbishop) to take this role at a Eucharist was a very significant break with tradition. One other striking aspect of the service was the delightful effect of hearing an overwhelming majority of female voices resounding joyfully around the Cathedral as soon as the first hymn began!

Veronica, our Vicar, was one of the 1994 ordinands invited to take part in the ceremony. For many, it was a joyful reunion. But also a time to remember those women priests who had died since 1994, having waited so long for the ordination of women to be possible.

The slide show starts with pictures from 17 April 1994 and continues with photos from 3 May 2014.

Veronica is made an Honorary Canon of Chester Cathedral

There was a good turnout of about ninety supporters for Veronica at Chester Cathedral on Tuesday 18 March. We enjoyed the singing of Choral Evensong, during which our Vicar was installed as an Honorary Canon of Chester Cathedral by Bishop Peter. It was appropriate that the Girls’ Choir was on duty for this service.

In his introduction, Bishop Peter alluded to Veronica’s previous career as one of the first women to be admitted as a marine cargo insurance broker at Lloyd’s of London in 1975 and also to the fact that she also was one of the first women to be ordained priest in the Church of England in 1994 at St Paul’s Cathedral.

In the pictures Veronica is wearing a preaching scarf which belonged to the late Revd. Martin Leigh, a staunch supporter of the ordination of women who helped to push the legislation through the Synod. (You may notice that she is also wearing a cross with a rainbow cord as she was (then) the Spiritual Director of Chester Cursillo.)

Revd Michael Fox

A profile of our future Assistant Curate…

I am thrilled, delighted and otherwise over the moon to be joining St. Oswald’s next July as Assistant Curate and to be working with Veronica and the congregation in ministering to the people of Bollington. Having been to a couple of services, I can see what a vibrant place St. Oswald’s is, with a rich and varied style of worship and an energy and a joy in seeking to build Christ’s kingdom.
I know the town well, having lived in Rainow and Kerridge since 1983, when I came up from the south to be the first Literary Manager at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester. Having spent five years there developing and directing new plays I moved to the BBC as a drama producer and director, broadcasting plays and readings on Radio 4 and Radio 3 – though I was never responsible for The Archers! I also managed to fit in some freelance theatre and opera directing, and worked at Paris Opera for several months. I was responsible for directing the BBC Philharmonic’s community opera, Remembering Eden, involving over 200 people from all over Manchester. I still have a glint in my eye about doing some community drama again – so watch out! I left the BBC to become an independent producer, continuing to produce radio plays for broadcast and expanding into video and software. I also co-founded the Commonwealth Film Festival in Manchester, which ran from 2002 – 2006.
In 2007, after a period of reflection about where my priorities lay, I began to feel a strong sense of God calling me to live a different kind of life – though I had no idea at that stage it would end in ordination! As a churchwarden in Rainow I undertook the diocese’s Foundations for Ministry course and then one thing led to another and I found myself in front of a selection panel for ordained ministry. At the same time I began a PhD as a way of weaving together and reflecting on some of the different strands of my experience. I am now researching into the relationship between drama and theology, which I hope will enrich my ministry as I seek to enable others to perform the Good News of Jesus Christ in our community.
I am married to Virginia, a musician and teacher, and we have two children, Alice, 24, a maths teacher who lives in Bath and William, 15, a talented pianist. We share our house up on the Cat & Fiddle with two cats, Henry and Lily. There are also sundry chickens, named after various characters in The Archers!