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

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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.

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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.”


Earlier…

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

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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.

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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!

Congratulations to Roy and Hylda – 50th Wedding Anniversary!

“But God knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I shall come out like gold. My foot has held fast to his steps; I have kept his way and have not turned aside.” (Job 23 vv 10,11)

This happy family photograph taken on 6 July 1963 at the Church of St John the Baptist marks the beginning of 50 years of married life for two native Bollingtonians, Hylda Brogden and Roy Arnold! This Michaelmas Roy will also be celebrating the 50th Anniversary of his ordination as deacon in the Church of England. We give thanks for his years of faithful service to the Church, ably supported by his wife Hylda, in many and varied settings. A glance at his entry in Crockford’s, the Clerical Directory, tells us only a fraction of their life story. Roy served as Assistant Curate in two parishes, St Luke, Brislington in Bristol Diocese and St Mary, Chester, then as Vicar in the parishes of St Luke, Brinnington with Portwood; St Paul,Sale; St Mary, Dodleston with All Saints, Higher Kinnerton; and finally St Oswald, Sheffield, during which time he also worked as Diocesan Communications Officer. He was then appointed Chaplain with the Deaf and was made an Honorary Canon of Sheffield Cathedral in 1995, particularly pleased to have been given the stall there which was dedicated to St Barnabas.

Since his retirement in 1997, Roy and Hylda have returned to Bollington to delight us with their presence, and many people of our Deanery (including the present Vicar and her husband) have been greatly blessed by both Roy and Hylda’s continuing ministry of encouragement and support, their historical knowledge and wisdom, their sense of humour and fun, not to mention Hylda’s delicious cakes and Roy’s thoroughly engaging and expertly crafted sermons.

We wish them both well on their Golden Wedding Anniversary and we join with their family in praying that they may be blessed with many more years of companionship here within our congregation and in the wider community of Bollington.

Veronica

Veronica’s 60th Birthday Surprise

On Monday evening 29 October 2012 the congregation gathered together in church for the Surprise Party. Most of the lights were switched off and we awaited Veronica’s arrival, contrived by Dave who was in on the secret. As she entered church, she was truly shocked, which was wonderful! And to think that we managed to arrange the party without her knowledge! Well done to everyone!

The evening went very well with good conversation, food and, of course, the fantastic birthday cake kindly made by Ann Stringer, iced and decorated with a sculpture of St Paul’s Cathedral, a cargo ship and a gondola!

After a song by the choir and a poem read by Dave, we had a toast to Veronica. A cheque was then presented to her from the congregation.

The candles were lit on the cake, Happy Birthday was sung and everybody had a piece of the cake.
Thanks to everyone who helped to make this a truly special evening.

Jackie Pengelly


Birthday Song

Baptising babies, weekends on Cursillo,
Smooth gin and tonics and sermons with brio,
Moving church furniture round on your whims:
These are a few of your favourite things

Dang-ly earrings and chocolate coin treasure,
Giving out presents because they give pleasure,
Weeks spent in Venice that make your heart sing:
These are a few of your favourite things

When it’s freezing, there’s no heating,
When you’re feeling sad,
Then simply remember your favourite things
And then you won’t feel so bad.

Whole school assemblies and singing at birthdays,
Conducting weddings, remembering Feast days,
Travelling to India with lots of friends:
Now that we’ve started the list never ends.

When life’s dismal, at a funeral,
When you’re feeling sad,
Then simply remember your favourite things
And then you won’t feel so bad.

Friends and relations and great hymns for singing,
Shopping in bookshops and incense for swinging,
Blessings on couples who smile with relief,
Comforting everyone at times of grief.

When life’s whining, sun not shining,
When you’re feeling sad,
Then simply remember your favourite things
And then you won’t feel so bad.

written by Maggie O’Donnell


Birthday Poem

In nineteen hundred fifty two
th’Elizabethan age began
but on this day I hope that you
will call this age “Veronican”.

Alumni from her former school
are designated the “Old Blues”!
You might have thought that old and blue
lie not among the words to use
about our Vicar, youngish still,
(at heart, that is) and rarely glum.
But moving on, Insurance will
be what brings life its premium.

At Lloyds of London, risks marine
were calculated and proposed.
We’ll never know what might have been
had not Th’Almighty interposed
a calling. But, of course, back then
though Westcott House would welcome all
the priesthood only was for men.
And later on, it was St Paul
(no less!) whose church on Ludgate Hill
allowed some women deacons through.
And there again (though later still)
Veronica was priested too.

At All Saints’ Poplar she did dwell
for training in the curacy,
then Roxwell, then Emmanuel
–her first full-time incumbency
(in Chelmsford diocese, you know),
then north to Deva and to Dave.
In Timperley she first did go,
then Bollington had souls to save.

In twenty-twelve the chronicle
reminds all to raise a cheer
and that our own Veronica’ll
be sixty through the coming year!

Written by Dave