Our Parish Registers online

It is now possible to research a number of our parish registers on our main website here. The available records include:

Baptisms at St John’s, St Oswald’s and Holy Trinity Kerridge from 1834 to 2006 – a total of nearly 7,600 records.

Marriages at St John’s from 1838 to 1959 and St Oswald’s from 1937 to 1954 – a total of over 1,470 records. (There were no marriages at St Oswald’s before 1937, and no marriages at all at Holy Trinity Kerridge.) For the time being it is NOT proposed to publish more recent marriage records online for Data Protection reasons.

Burials at St John’s Churchyard and Columbarium from 1835 to 2017 – a total of about 8,000 records.

Memorial Inscriptions at St John’s Churchyard and Columbarium from 1835 to 2017 – over 1,400 records.

 

 

The Vicar’s Annual Report – May 2017

I would like to thank all those who enabled me to take time out in April, May and June last year and to enjoy some of my sabbatical leave in Venice! Particular thanks are due to Christine Osbaldiston, Revd Michael Fox, Bev Nixon, Canon Roy Arnold, Anne Coomes, Brian Reader and others who took on extra liturgical and organisational roles during that time, including offering prayer stations both in church and in our local schools for the week leading up to Pentecost, and again later on when our Assistant Curate was supported in officiating at his first two weddings! Later in the year we celebrated with Bev Nixon as she received her well-deserved Children’s Ministry Certificate in Manchester Cathedral. Her tireless enthusiasm and innovation alongside young and old within our congregation (and also reaching out to our schools) is a huge asset in our church life – and all amazingly freely given, as are the other creative, compassionate, organisational, fundraising, musical and serving gifts of so many others who make up our varied congregation here at St Oswald’s!

Sadly there were also two bereavements during the latter part of my sabbatical following the sudden and untimely deaths of Sue Bennett and Guy Wharton, whose creative and inspirational lives had made a deep impression on many people within our local community. It was impressive how well the church supported the families and friends most closely affected by these losses, including the staff and children of Year Six at Bollington Cross School and our RiCH Group, by literally opening our doors in the immediate aftermath to allow people to express their grief and shock in personal and unique ways within the sanctuary of God’s house. St Oswald’s congregation has once again proved itself well able to respond appropriately to strangers as well as friends on both joyful and sorrowful occasions. (It is good that the PCC agreed last September that we open our church doors routinely on Wednesdays to allow people to venture in for private prayer or refreshment during daylight hours.)

As many of you will know, Canon Roy Arnold is presently recovering from a broken hip after a recent fall and I know both he and Hylda will value your prayers and ongoing support especially over the next few weeks of rehabilitation. We look forward to welcoming Roy back safe and well into our midst. Our good wishes also extend to Revd Dr Gary Bowness who has from time to time kindly offered his high-speed, in-depth ministry whilst the Vicar’s been away on other commitments during the past year! Gary will shortly be moving house to retire (properly this time) up to Lancaster in Blackburn Diocese. The Deanery will certainly miss him and we wish him God speed!

Last autumn we said a fond farewell to Revd Michael as he took up his new role of part-time Priest-in-charge at St Paul’s, Macclesfield. Whilst continuing as Michael’s mentor, as Rural Dean I am pleased to say that by the end of May 2017 six new incumbents will have been licensed or inducted to fill all fourteen vacancies that have arisen in parishes across our Deanery over the past three years! The only parishes that have in recent years retained their existing incumbents are Bollington, Gawsworth, Prestbury and Rainow! As we look to the future, it will be good to heed the warnings expressed elsewhere regarding our Parish Finances, since the trend is to amalgamate parishes where there is insufficient income to support a full-time Vicar in a single benefice. I’m grateful to Canon Taffy Davies who in retirement has returned to act as Chapter Clerk and to Richard Raymond for his continuing work as Deanery Lay Chair, as well as to Julie Brunt and David Marriott who have valiantly undertaken the other voluntary roles of Deanery Secretary and Treasurer respectively.

Our ministry and outreach in this parish is greatly enhanced by our two church schools and our links across the whole Bollington Family of Schools, including our continuing close relationship with Dean Valley Community School. It is great to be able to report that both Bollington Cross School and Bollington St John’s School received excellent Ofsted results from the short inspections carried out in March this year! Do visit the website www.gov.uk/ofsted to read the full and detailed reports, which warmly commend our two Head Teachers, Mrs Downing and Mrs Walker, for their continued high quality leadership. We are blessed in having such dedicated staff, parents and governors whose efforts combine to offer a good and inspirational education to all our children. Please pray for the right choice of a new Head Teacher for Bollington Cross School as from September 2017 when Mrs Downing will have retired. Please also continue to uphold in your prayers the children of Pott Shrigley School, following the choice made by members of Pott Shrigley staff, parents and local community, for the Local Authority and the Diocese to dissolve the Federation which previously existed with Bollington St John’s, and which took effect on 28 February 2017.

Finally, I would like to express my sincere thanks to our two dedicated and equally hardworking Churchwardens, Hilary and Christine, who have greatly encouraged me in my calling as your parish priest and who, alongside the other members of the Ministry Team, continue to share a vision for the future thriving and growth of our church community here in Bollington and beyond.

Every blessing,

Veronica

(To read the whole Annual Report compiled by our Churchwardens concerning all the activities and events in our Parish during the year ending 30 April 2017, click here.)

Easter 2017

Before dawn, a small group gathered at the entrance to the Church.
The new fire of Easter was kindled in a brazier.
The Light of Christ was proclaimed as the lit Paschal Candle was brought into the dark Church.

The Exsultet was sung; a call to celebrate the transforming Easter event of 2000 years ago:

Rejoice, heavenly powers!
Sing, choirs of angels!
Exult all creation around God’s throne!
Jesus Christ, our King, is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!
Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendour,
radiant in the brightness of your King!
Christ has conquered! Glory fill you! Darkness vanishes for ever!
Rejoice, O Mother Church! Exult in glory!
The risen Saviour shines upon you!
Let this place resound with joy.

By candlelight, we listened to familiar bible stories of Creation, of Noah, of Moses leading the Israelites across the Red Sea…

Finally in the light of dawn, the Gospel of St John was proclaimed.
Everyone was given a bell or other musical instrument to make a joyful noise accompanied by an organ fanfare echoing the mighty song of all God’s people:

Christ is risen – he is risen indeed! Alleluia

[After the Eucharist we enjoyed showers of chocolate eggs and a glass of Buck’s Fizz in a haze of incense!]

5th Sunday of Lent 2017

The Raising of Lazarus
Brian Reader
John 11, 1-45.

Today, the fifth Sunday of Lent, is also called Passion Sunday, and we had a long reading about Jesus’ friend, Lazarus and his two sisters. What did you make of it? We all get disappointed in this life when we think that friends have let us down, and if you are like me, then you too may show your annoyance. Did you feel annoyed like Martha that Jesus did not come immediately he got the message about his friend’s illness? Why did Jesus delay? Perhaps he was delaying so he could then do an even greater miracle of healing? I don’t believe that for a second.

When I have difficulty trying to unravel a passage from the bible, as well as praying, I also read a commentary by Bishop Tom Wright on the subject which usually gives a different point of focus. The bishop believes that the story gives us an insight into prayer. We pray for justice and peace, for prosperity and harmony between nations and races, and still it hasn’t happened. Why?

God doesn’t play games with us. His ways are not our ways. His timing is not our timing.

One of the most striking reminders of this is in verse 6 of the passage. When Jesus got the message from the two sisters, the cry for help,
the emergency-come-quickly appeal, he stayed where he was for two days. He didn’t even mention it to the disciples. He didn’t make preparations to go. He didn’t send messages back to say “We’re on our way”: He just stayed there. And Mary and Martha, in Bethany, watched their beloved brother die. What could be harder than that?

So what was Jesus doing? If we think about the rest of the story we can find the answer. He was praying. He was seeking to find the will of his father. He wanted to do what was right.

The disciples were right: the Judaeans had been wanting to stone him, so surely he wouldn’t think of going back just yet? Bethany was, and is, a small town just two miles or so from Jerusalem, on the eastern slopes of the Mount of Olives. Once you’re there, you’re within easy reach of the holy city, and who knows what would happen this time if he had returned.

It’s important to realize that this wonderful story about Lazarus, one of the most powerful and moving in the whole Bible, is not just about Lazarus. It’s also about Jesus. And when Jesus thanks the father that he has heard his prayer, I think he’s referring to the prayers he prayed during those two strange, silent days in the wilderness across the Jordan. He was praying for Lazarus, but he was also praying for wisdom and guidance as to his own plans and movements. Somehow the two were bound up together. What Jesus was going to do for Lazarus would be, on the one hand, a principal reason why the authorities would want him out of the way. But it would be, on the other hand, the most powerful sign yet, in the sequence of ‘signs’ that marks our progression through this gospel, of what Jesus’ life and work was all about, and of how in particular it would reach its climactic resolution.

The time of waiting, therefore, was vital. As so often, Jesus needed to be in prayer exploring the father’s will in that intimacy and union of which he often spoke. Only then would he act – not in the way Mary and Martha had wanted him to do, but in a manner beyond their wildest dreams.

This story is all about the ways in which Jesus surprises people and overturns their expectations. He didn’t go when the sisters asked him.
But he did eventually go, although the disciples warned him not to. He spoke about ‘sleep’; meaning death, and the disciples thought he meant ordinary sleep. And, in the middle of the passage, he told them in a strange little saying that people who walk in the daytime don’t trip up, but people who walk around in the darkness do. What did he mean? He seems to have meant that the only way to know where you were going was to follow him. If you try to steer your course by your own under- standing, you’ll trip up, because you’ll be in the dark. But if you stick close to him, and see the situation from his point of view, then, even if it means days and perhaps years of puzzlement, wondering why nothing seems to be happening, you will come out at the right place in the end.

There is a great deal that we don’t understand, and our hopes and plans often get thwarted. But if we go with Jesus, even if it’s into the jaws of death, we will be walking in the light. The prayer of Jesus at the grave begins with thanksgiving as all prayer should; we take too much for granted. But if, like the Psalmists or Job, you have a complaint about arbitrary injustice or the unfairness of it all, it is right to tell him so. Martha certainly spoke her mind, and, feeling neglected, bluntly reproached Jesus.

A prayer of protest is quite proper. Prayer is a dialogue of learning; in the stillness you learn more about yourself, and God, and the way things really are. You may come to understand ‘Why should it happen to me?’ is answered ‘Why should it not?’ and ‘Why me?’ becomes ‘Why not me?’

‘Jesus wept’ is not an oath; it expresses his grief at the death of his friend and the distress of his sisters; for John it stresses the reality of the Incarnation. This man is truly flesh and blood, who understands a cry of pain and anguish, and shares the pain and hurt of bereavement; if ever you are almost overwhelmed by grief, he understands and shares; and comes to you as he came to Martha and Mary.

The long story about Lazarus whose name so aptly means ‘blessed by God’ is the crowning sign of victory over death. Here Lazarus is dead and buried and decaying, and this resuscitated corpse is a further sign. Jesus not only speaks of the word of life but he himself is the Resurrection. Often we hear a voice that reminds us that in the midst of life we are in death; but Jesus’ commanding voice insists: In the midst of death we are in life. Don’t worry about what happens when you die for he is Resurrection. And there is more to come.

Offering you a chalice, a minister may say: ‘The blood of Christ keep you in eternal life.’ – in other words – keep you where you already are. That’s John’s new theology and understanding after sixty years of prayer and meditation.

Eternal life is here and now; we have passed from death to life already. Yet sometimes you may feel half-dead through bereavement or despair, divorce, or disappointment, redundancy or being told about a life threatening illness and yet you find a new lease of life
that seems like resurrection, a life that is fuller and richer, more satisfying and fulfilling, eternal in quality as well as quantity, here and now. I certainly found that when working in the hospice.

As Easter makes plain, God is in the business of raising the dead. Life is a succession of deaths and resurrections; and when you come to the end of your days and he holds you through death into Life, it will be but one more in a whole series of resurrections.

May we pray. Lord Jesus, give us the courage and strength to follow you, especially when times are hard, so that we may experience your love and help through all our days. Amen

Jean Trafford RIP

Our lives can change in a flash, and as we get older one thing which quite rapidly change things for the worst is a FALL. A moment’s inattention or distraction is all it takes – as it did for this loved one and dear friend Jean. For her it meant long weeks in hospital then a spell at home and then back into hospital again. No wonder she came to be weary of it all and so  Jean passed from this life to the next. Albert and Jamie you will obviously miss her warm presence as we all do.

Macclesfield Bus Station is not the most cheerful place but it was always good to see Jean there and Albert and Jamie, and we miss her presence on the No 11 bus – good to talk to and always with a keen interest in other people. Not for her or us the anonymous life of cities where nobody speaks to their neighbours. The great hymn writer George Herbert (the Vicar of a village near to Salisbury) in a poem about Prayer, speaks of us seeing heaven in the ordinary things of life, as I believe we do. We see it most of all in human love like the love of Jean and Albert and Jamie, with a whole host of friends and neighbours; and we see it in this the season of springtime when things come back to life after the winter.

And we are truly blessed with our skies around Kerridge and Bollington, and the Trafford household particularly blessed with the view from their kitchen window and garden – the view out towards Alderley Edge. And in early evening the sky brightened with pinks and gold and blues and green – easy surely to believe in heaven at such a view and in our bright hope of Eastertide, and the heaven were Jean rests, free from pain and sadness, and safe in the love of the God in which Jean had such trust.

Roy Arnold

Kitchen and storage improvements

The photo above (from Bollington Photo Archive) shows how the “west” end of St Oswald’s looked when the church was first built. Below is how it looks now.

The parish has submitted a Statement of Need document to the Diocesan Advisory Committee for them to give us informal advice about redeveloping our kitchen facilities. It reads as follows:

Statement of Need

1. In addition to our Sunday and Mid-week Eucharists and our monthly Family Worship Services, our church building is presently used on a regular basis, for

  • Praise and Play Parent and Toddler Group on Tuesday mornings
  • RiCH Youth Group after school on Thursday afternoons
  • Recorder Group on Friday afternoons
  • Choir and Orchestra practices on Thursday evenings
  • Faith Hour discussion and prayer meetings on Wednesday afternoons
  • #quietspace: the church is open to visitors during daylight hours on Wednesdays for prayer and reflection (self-service refreshments are available)

Beyond these weekly commitments, on a regular basis we have the “occasional offices” such as Funerals, Baptisms and Weddings, All Souls’ Day Services, Lent Groups and Lent Charity Lunches, monthly Mothers’ Union meetings, PCC meetings and Growth Action Planning meetings. The Church also hosts occasional Deanery Synod meetings, Bollington Festival Choir Concerts, Maundy Thursday Agape Meals and Watch of Prayer, numerous Christmas events, Family Fun Days in the summer holidays, Fundraising activities, Teaching Opportunities for schools and uniformed groups, our annual Schools’ Experience Weeks offered to all five of our local primary schools, and Bollington Cross School’s PTA regularly offer refreshments prior to their children’s events such as annual Reception Class welcome services, Harvest Festivals and Christmas Plays.

2. An extension with fully accessible glazed main entrance porch and three toilets plus an adjoining small storage room was opened in December 2012, using a large proportion of the proceeds of the sale of Holy Trinity Church, Kerridge. The PCC decision to allow the closure of Kerridge Church in 2009 was made with the plan that we would use the sale proceeds to improve the comprehensive welcome and hospitality provision at St Oswald’s, now the Parish Church of Bollington. The new extension (together with our subsequent beautiful community mosaic installation of 2014) has signalled to the local community that we are indeed a vibrant, healthy Church. However this positive image is marred by the inadequate and unsightly kitchen facility that impacts on the eye of the newcomer as they now enter our building from the new porch.

Since its installation under a Faculty granted on 30 July 1999, the existing kitchen/servery hatch and adjacent space (formerly housing an accessible loo) has served its original limited purpose well. However, now that St Oswald’s is our only place of Anglican worship and outreach, our limited catering facilities are restricting our growth, given the ever-increasing necessity of finding innovative ways to accommodate the needs of young and old alike. With inadequate washing-up facilities, limited &/or inaccessible storage cupboards, no fridge, no cooking facilities, and a cramped (and at times unsafe) serving hatch and with only room for two kettles or a small urn to heat water for drinks, we recognise the urgent need for expansion. The consensus is that we need a larger, more fully equipped kitchen so that we are able to offer a wider range of refreshments to our congregation and also importantly to the variety of groups presently using the church, plus other community groups who might be encouraged to use the church in the future. We need greater floor space within the kitchen facility and far more work surfaces so as to allow safe and proper preparation of food and drink, and to enable speedy service of refreshments to all, including members of our regular congregation, our young peoples’ groups and other existing users. Ideally we also need to create better and more discreet storage space for our eleven large and four small folding tables and the rack of 50 stacking chairs, when not in immediate use.

3. Following initial advice from the DAC Secretary in July 2015, reinforced by comments from our Archdeacon in August 2015, we were encouraged to “be bold” in our plans as we consider possible ways forward. The Archdeacon has also suggested that funds may well be available to us as a PCC from the net proceeds of the sale of the former Vicarage, up to a maximum of £20,000, only for use on a mission project, into which category substantial improvements to our kitchen facilities would indeed fall. In considering any plans, the DAC Secretary Paul Broadhurst ventured that “tinkering with your existing west end arrangement is highly unlikely to be the best way forward.” Consequently the PCC is considering two possible proposals, the first idea offered by David Nixon (a student of architecture from our congregation) and the second suggestion offered by our Church Quinquennial Architect, Mark Pearce:

The proposed options can be downloaded by clicking on the highlighted text. each file may take some time to download!

  • (DN option) To reconstitute the kitchen facility in its present location, replacing the current inadequate narrow serving space and store area in such a way as to create an open plan kitchen with worktops/serving counters; to provide much more adequate cupboard space (both wall-mounted as well as below the new work surfaces) for all crockery, glasses, cutlery and other equipment, including cleaning materials; to retain the utility sink; to install a variety of kitchen units and appliances including double sink, hob and oven, fridge, instant boiling water dispenser, dishwasher. This option would necessitate the additional creation of enough storage for our stacking chairs and folding tables, which could be achieved within the former main entrance porch by internally blocking up the outside doorway and maybe replacing the immediately adjacent window at the “west” end of the “south” wall of the nave with a new fire-exit emergency door.
  • (MP option) To relocate kitchen into the former main entrance porch, incorporating most of the improvements envisaged above, again internally blocking up the former main entrance doorway; then to create storage cupboards along the long “back wall” of our existing kitchen/former loo to give enclosed space for our stacking chairs and folding tables; to re-site the existing utility sink within these wall cupboards, together with storage space for cleaning and flower-arranging equipment. This option would have the benefit of also creating much more flexible and open space at the “west” end of the church. As with the first option, Health & Safety rules may also require us to replace the adjacent window at the “west” end of the “south” wall of the nave with a new fire-exit emergency door.

4. At present, our one (awkwardly placed) sink and the single work surface are not sufficient to allow us to cater for anything more adventurous than cakes/biscuits/tea/coffee/juices and are inadequate in catering for increasingly large numbers of people. Currently only a maximum of two people can work (albeit with difficulty) in the enclosed space at any given time. There is no room for a fridge or any other appliance. Inviting greater use of the church building by local community groups/societies is hampered by our limited catering facilities. By providing better kitchen facilities and a more open and flexible space (to complement our new extension) we would hope to increase the use of the building by groups from the wider community, with the added bonus of increasing our income. (For more ambitious catering occasions, as a congregation we are presently able to access the neighbouring Bollington Cross School Hall, but this is subject to permissions, restrictions, payment and other conditions of hire as may be set out by the Head Teacher and Governors of the School pro tem.) We are a forward-looking Church, wanting to invite the community to participate more in activities and services within our own building, including those events that attract larger numbers, such as Christingle Services and Nativity Plays, but also thinking on a more moderate scale where we could offer refreshments after Funerals or Baptisms when families do not always wish to move on to another venue afterwards. We need to be able to offer suitable facilities for refreshments, more safely, quickly and efficiently, whilst spending time with our guests and ministering to them in a more open and unhindered way.

It was agreed at our PCC Meeting 30 January 2017 (12 in favour, 1 abstention) to send our SoN, accompanying photos and outline plans to the Diocesan Advisory Committee for informal advice.