A statement from the Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Peter Forster, following the Judgement of the Clergy Discipline Tribunal in the case of the Revd Simon Marsh, a former incumbent of St John the Baptist, Bollington:
Following the decision of the Tribunal fully to uphold the charges against the Revd Simon Marsh, I am greatly saddened that a member of the clergy in the Diocese of Chester should so misuse his position and abuse a vulnerable young woman.
I would pay tribute to the courage of the Complainant in supporting the formal complaint and being willing to submit herself to cross-examination during the hearing. I apologise unreservedly to her on behalf of the Church, and we will continue to offer pastoral support to her.
This is a sad and inexcusable tale of the abuse of trust and power by a priest of the Church of England. We will do all that we can to minimize the likelihood of the recurrence of such abuse.
It is now nearly 5 years since the original complaint was made to the police. This has been a very difficult time for the parish of St Michael, Bramhall, and I pay tribute to all those who have enabled the worship and wider life of the parish to continue with admirable resilience. We will now move as quickly as possible to appoint a new Vicar.
Rt Revd Peter Forster
Bishop of Chester
Read the full judgement and penalty decision on the Church of England website.
Kirsty is from Veronica’s previous parish (Timperley) but those parishioners from Bollington who have visited the Delhi Brotherhood in India will probably know her. She was ordained deacon in Chester Cathedral on 22 July 2018 and Fr Monodeep and Fr Raju from Delhi were able to attend.
The cathedral was packed for this joyous occasion.
Afterwards there was cake. And angels.
Kirsty will be curate at Wilmslow later this year.
14 June 2018
A picnic lunch at Forest Chapel was followed by a walk around the surrounding area.
Did you know that there was a gin distillery nearby?
Revd David Swales was licensed to our neighbouring parish of St Christopher, Pott Shrigley on 30 May 2017
Canon Veronica (the Rural Dean) is looking relieved that the last of 13 vacancies for incumbents in Macclesfield Deanery over the past three years has now been filled!
picture by Steve Murphy
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.
Michael 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!
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!
After the Deanery Eucharist
With the RiCH Group
With Beverley and Alex
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
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…
Beryl and Audrey created the White Nancy Archway. And the Vicar and Assistant Curate celebrated with a glass of Fizz!
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.