St John’s church organ

After our former parish church closed in 2003, the Diocese of Chester had to look for appropriate new homes for various artefacts, including the organ and the bells. Finally in 2011 St George’s Church in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire showed interest in acquiring the 1836 Samuel Renn organ. Thanks to various bequests and a substantial grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, St George’s PCC were able to raise the necessary amount (of over £100,000) to cover the costs of dismantling, transportation, renovation and installation of this historic instrument in their church.
On Sunday 15 June 2014 a small group from our parish travelled down for the Dedication Service held at St George’s, conducted by the Bishop of Tewkesbury, the Rt Revd Martyn Shaw.
Here are some photos taken in Spring 2011 as the organ was being dismantled and taken away from St John’s Church. These are followed by photos taken at the Dedication Service at Nailsworth, during which the Interim Vicar of Nailsworth acknowledged the gift of the organ from Bollington and thanked both the organ builder and the representative of the Lottery Fund who have enabled the organ to be welcomed into a new home. After the service St George’s delighted organist was pleased to allow Paul Broadhurst to give an impromptu recital (Paul is the Chester DAC Secretary who helped arrange the re-homing of the organ) encouraged by one present and one former Churchwarden of Bollington!

Easter 2014

The Easter story was told in instalments this year across two of our family services on 6 April and 4 May
We first explored the story of Jesus arriving in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and the children made palm branches to carry in procession following Jesus riding on a donkey. Then we heard about Jesus’ Last Supper with his friends and enthusiastically shared in a meal of bread dipped in grape juice.
During the next service we successfully guessed the names of Jesus’ close friends and then the young people acted out the story of them all going to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane (mainly falling asleep after a good meal instead of staying awake to pray with their friend Jesus).
Then we saw Jesus being arrested, tried and taken away to die. His body was placed in the tomb, but on Easter morning the angel rolled away the stone and the tomb was empty. Jesus’s friend Mary Magdalene turned around and was amazed to see Jesus there in the garden, risen from the dead.
We all celebrated with another Easter Egg hunt!
2014Easter13
Some (rather blurry!) pictures capturing the action from the family service on 4 May.

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!

GOD WITH US

Canon Roy Arnold

Now let me see; is it to be socks or handkerchiefs for Uncle Tom this Christmas, like last Christmas (and the one before). Obviously, biscuits and talcum powder for Granny. Christmas is a time for list-making isn’t it? A list of presents to buy; a list for shopping; when to get the turkey; and the running order for cooking the dinner (don’t forget to make the trifle). Even fitting in Church at Christmas. Yes I know – they have even started getting get religion into Christmas now, whatever next?

Actually (as we know) it’s the reason for this season; mixing in some pagan midwinter celebration with the joyous story of the Birth of Jesus – of which birth we heard in our Gospel for today. But did you hear in the Gospel that other title (from the prophet Isaiah), that other sort of name for Jesus?
The name Emmanuel. “Jesus our Emmanuel.”

It means GOD WITH US, or GOD IS WITH US. That’s a particular reason for saying “Happy Christmas”; that God (in Jesus, or the Spirit of Jesus) is with us. Not WAS with us, “long time ago in Bethlehem” – but God is with us NOW.

Which thought set me off making another Christmas list – a list of how Jesus IS with us now. First on the list is that we can hear – in the here and now – Jesus speaking to us. We have his recorded words, telling us what to do and how we are to behave. And then I suppose another obvious one is that we can actually talk to Jesus – and to God through Jesus – which we do whenever we say our prayers. Then he is us with us in this very service, the Holy Communion. When we actually receive him. Going up to the altar for Holy Communion, we are going up to meet Jesus – God with us.

All of these are sort of churchy things, but I believe we can experience Jesus in our everyday lives outside church. So Jesus can be with when we are sad, when someone has died, or when we (or someone else) is ill. And Jesus is certainly with us when we are happy and full of the Joys of Easter. He can be there – if we let him – when we are depressed, or lonely, or tempted to go down the wrong road.

And do remember this: he doesn’t drop down to us from heaven. He comes to us mainly through our loved ones, or friends, our neighbours, other people. Or in something we hear on the radio, or read in a book, or a sudden memory of some good thing long ago… or even in a sermon.

And here is a really important thought: that other people might just find Jesus (Jesus with us NOW – OUR EMMANUEL) in you or in me; in our friendly words or actions. Yes, yours or mine. A smile, or a kind word (but not always easy and be real about it).

Talking of being real about this business of GOD BEING WITH US, there do seem to be lots of Gods around. The men who murdered the soldier in Woolwich thought that God was with them. And history is full of people following the wrong God – two World Wars are examples where Christian nations fought with one another.

So that when we say that GOD IS WITH US, we must be as sure as we can be that it is Jesus we are truly following. It is Jesus who is our EMMANUEL; Jesus who is truly GOD WITH US. Maybe then – another item for our Christmas List – remember to welcome Jesus into our lives.

GOD WITH US through all the changing scenes of life, in trouble and in joy. JESUS OUR EMMANUEL – God’s Son as our friend and our brother.


Matthew 1.18-end

This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

 

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

Jesus is the same forever

Canon Roy Arnold

When we have been ill or sad, worried or depressed, but start to hope again, or recover…these are times of God-given New Life – our little personal Easters – like a new day dawning… and in the Springtime of the Year. Which is when it happened that Jesus was RAISED from the dead and greeting the women in the garden. Later on he met many more people in those Great 40 Days after Easter – and (unless they were all deluded) we have no reason to doubt that this DID actually happen. We have witnesses and written evidence for OUR BELIEF. This then is Easter Past.

And from this quiet starting point in that Springtime garden, Christians began to look forward to another Easter yet to come, believing that – as Jesus is risen from the dead – so shall we all AS WE SHARE HIS RESURRECTION. And as Jesus met his friends again, WE shall hope to meet again our departed loved ones and friends – and TRUE love will prove to be (as Paul said) THE GREATEST AND THE BEST THING IN OUR HUMAN EXPERIENCE. And, if we have loved enough, we may hope for heaven thereby.

But all this lies in the future – our Easter Future – which we believe depends on how we live today, our Easter in this present time, in which we gather up our belief in Resurrection New Life (past and future) into the experiment of living out Easter every day.

  • Trying to be loving and kind (as we have been loved by God).
  • Trying to be forgiving (as we have been forgiven by God).
  • Trying to be generous (as we have been given so much by God).
  • Trying to be brave when things go wrong; remembering that Jesus is with us to answer our prayers (perhaps in his way, not always ours) – Jesus with us through all our days.

And when we need a word from him we may find it in the Bible; but more importantly meeting him (not in a book, or in history or in heaven) but in person; that is, meeting Jesus in other people. And maybe most of all when meet together as the Church – and especially meeting him TOGETHER in Holy Communion, the gift Jesus gave to us to remember him by. His love for us on the cross, and his gift for us of this New Resurrection Life.

THIS Easter Morning we remember that Jesus truly is THE SAME YESTERDAY…AND TODAY… AND FOREVER.

AND HIS PROMISE TO US IS: PEACE I LEAVE YOU; MY PEACE I GIVE UNTO YOU. SO LET NOT YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED, NEITHER LET IT BE AFRAID, FOR I AM WITH YOU TO THE END OF TIME.

Scrooge comes to Bollington Cross School!

It was revealed during the Key Stage 2 Christmas Play in St Oswald’s Church on Wednesday evening 12/12/12 to a shocked audience that Bollington Cross School had a new Scrooge-like Head Teacher who frowned upon any form of seasonal celebrations and had persuaded her staff to ban Christmas altogether!
However in the end the “mini” Mrs Downing was fortunately persuaded to change her mind when all the children of Key Stage Two rebelled and insisted on keeping Christmas as an essential part of their school life and traditions. Carols and songs old and new were enjoyed by all during this splendid performance, which complemented well the delightful Key Stage One Nativity Play as the children once again followed the star to Bethlehem.