Taizé service 4 February

4pm Sunday 7 February 2016

Taizé worship originated in a community founded in 1940 by a monk called Brother Roger in the village of Taizé in southern Burgundy. His home became a sanctuary for countless war refugees seeking shelter until the Gestapo took over his house in 1942.

He returned after the liberation of France in autumn 1944 to establish what became a worldwide ecumenical Christian movement, with brothers joining from Reformed, Anglican and Catholic denominations to commit themselves to a life following Christ  ‘in simplicity, celibacy and community’. It is now one of the world’s most important sites of Christian pilgrimage, over 100,000 young people from around the world making a pilgrimage to Taizé each year.

The mode of worship is based on simple repetitive chants interspersed with periods of prayer and silence to allow for contemplation. The music, primarily composed by Jacques Berthier, is written in four part harmonies often with instrumental variations playing over the basic melodies producing a most moving spiritual effect.

We welcome you to our first attempt at Taizé worship at St Oswald’sThe service will be led by a group of musicians and singers from the church.

Please join in the chants when you can. We hope you will find it a peaceful and uplifting experience.

Welcome/Opening Silence

Opening song: Laudate dominum Let us praise the Lord

Congregation led by singers

Chant: Laudate dominum, Laudate dominum. Omnes, gentes, Alleluia

(Translation: Sing praise and bless the Lord, peoples, nations, Alleluia)

Lighting of candles

Reading from Psalm 118 1-8

Song: Confitemini domino Give thanks to the Lord for he is good. Based on Psalm 118, led by Music Group and Singers

Chant: Confitemini Domino, Quoniam bonus. Confitemini Domino, Alleluia.

Bible Readings: Exodus 3, 1-6; John 12, 27-36a


Peruvian Gloria

Cantor: Glory to God, Glory to God, Glory in the highest

All: Glory to God, Glory to God, Glory in the highest

Cantor: To him be glory for ever.

All: To him be glory for ever.

Cantor: Alleluia amen

All: Alleluia amen, Alleluia amen, Alleluia amen.

Intercessions (Sue Whitehurst)

Song: O Lord hear my prayer, as a response to each prayer. Singers plus congregation

Chant: O Lord, hear my prayer, O Lord, hear my prayer. When I call answer me. O Lord hear my prayer, O Lord hear my prayer. Come and listen to me.

The Lord’s Prayer


Closing Song Bless the Lord my soul Led by Music Group and Singers.

Chant: Bless the Lord my soul, and bless God’s Holy name. Bless the lord, my soul who leads me into life.

A prayer from Brother Roger, founder of the Taizé Community

Jesus, peace of our hearts, in our nights as in our days, in the hours of darkness as in the bright light, you knock on our door and await our response.

The Grace


Everyone is invited to tea and cake!

[The words of the chants are reproduced under Church Copyright Licence No, 897841]

Good News: 24 January 2016

Canon Roy Arnold

The word Gospel means Good News although News as we know it now from Newspapers, Radio and Television is normally anything but good. In fact it is often downright depressing. But Jesus, when he was at the start of his preaching ministry, chose a text from the Old Testament prophet Isaiah about God’s really good news for the poor and for the blind and the oppressed and those in prison. He was preaching in his home town of Nazareth (and down the ages to me and you) and saying this is to be the theme of his message about Good News to the poor and others.

Of course there are many ways of being poor. People can be poor in cash-terms or poor in spirit; and there are many ways of being oppressed and imprisoned, for we can be imprisoned by our doubts and our fears, oppressed by depression – being continually in the dumps – or blind to the love of God.

And maybe this can happen to us all, from time to time, when we take too much notice of the Rolling News on the BBC and ITV and the media in general, which forms a background of misery to our modern lives. Obviously we cannot bury our heads in the sand and not be aware of the plight of migrants and the movement of Stock Markets or the violence and cruelty of our world. But we must not let ourselves get oppressed and imprisoned by it all, particularly when there is nothing we can do about it most of the time. Our opponent whom we call the Devil wants us to swallow the poison of this bad news making us feel lost and hopeless and imprisoned by it all.

But Jesus came to tell us of our release from such imprisonment and to look up and see how much good news there is all around – good news which by far outweighs the bad. Remember this: things which make headlines only get there by being bad news, while we fail to notice the small print of life because it is the small acts of kindness and love and caring which are greater than the glaring headlines. Not least because we can and do contribute to the sum of good news when we ourselves are loving and kind and generous in our own lives. In fact if we are truly following Jesus and paying attention to what he said long ago in Nazareth, we can live positive lives as underlined at the very end of our Old Testament reading this morning when Nehemiah told us (the people of God) we must obey God and then (he said) go on our way, and eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions for those for whom nothing is prepared. And not to be downcast, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.


dietAnd here incidentally is some good news for those of you who are still dieting after Christmas – according to this book you CAN eat the fat and drink sweet wine…but not cakes and bread.

But here’s some even better news, set out in the words of an ancient prayer written by St Gregory, saying “O Good Jesus, O Good Jesus, Word of the Father and brightness of His glory. Teach us to do your will, that guided by your spirit we may come to that blessed city of everlasting day where all are one in heart and mind, where there is safety and eternal peace, happiness and delight where you live with the father and the holy spirit, world without end. Amen.”

Remember that, as people trying to follow Jesus to the city of everlasting day, we are called to bring Good News and to be Good News. The Good News which may be difficult to swallow sometimes but which we must hold on to by the skin of our teeth.

Last night we watched the scenes of horror from the Nazi concentration camps. Difficult to watch – and difficult to believe the Good News Jesus brought – but maybe it showed what happens when people forget God.

The Good News is that the joy of the Lord is our strength and it is the basis of our faith that God loves us. And sometimes it is best to stop trying to love God and to let him love us. As he will in this life and the next.

Luke 4:14-21

Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone. When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

Vicar’s Letter February 2016

vicars letter003This year, Spring Cleaning takes on a whole new meaning at Bollington Vicarage! Not only do we have nearly nine years’ accumulated stuff from our time so far in Bollington, there are all those boxes of unsorted papers and belongings that I simply left unpacked when moving on from at least two or three parishes ago! Not to mention extra furniture that was given to us when we left the last parish, to help fill our new home. And when you have the privilege and joy (and of course considerable expense) of living in a seven bed-roomed mansion, there seems little urgency to de-clutter your life!? I was certain at the time that all these things I had carefully (or maybe sometimes lazily) transported from one vicarage to another, were items I surely would be needing at some future date…”It’ll come in useful sometime!” was the unspoken justification! Well, some things have certainly found a purpose in my ministry here, but there is now a good deal of recycling to be done, as we down-size to move into our own property newly acquired in Tytherington (just outside the parish boundary, but perversely about a mile closer to St Oswald’s Church!).

Our spiritual lives often benefit from a bit of serious attention, looking into those dusty old boxes we’ve been carting around with us over many years, and discovering that they’ve become irrelevant or burdensome to our hoped-for way of living. What habit or “comfort blanket” is it that you have clung onto, that you realise you’ve now outgrown? What enduring hurts or regrets have you boxed away which, if you allowed the healing light of God’s forgiveness to shine upon them, might actually be shown up as simply a waste of space in your life? What are those gifts and talents which you’ve stored away but never got round to using, waiting instead for a rainy day or the right person to come along who might appreciate them? What of all those good intentions you have, to change your attitudes, to open the windows of your heart and mind, which remain unfulfilled and just for show, like a library of worthy books unread?

ballet shoesLent (which in Old English means “Spring”) is the opportunity we are given by the Church, each year, to do a bit of serious Spring Cleaning. Don’t wait until you physically need to move house! Now is the chance to look again into those hidden corners of our lives which we’d rather not acknowledge most of the time. We might well discover forgotten treasures and happy memories in amongst the accumulated debris, like my old discarded ballet shoes, reminding me of carefree childhood days, though in my case tinged with regret that I never kept up that level of fitness as I moved into my teenage years! Whatever joys or sorrows we unearth from amongst all the baggage we carry with us, God will indeed honour our searching for the truth that will set us free and our striving for the coming of God’s kingdom here and now. As we enter into the season of Lent once again, may we be shown the true path to life and ultimately to our longed-for home with God.

Every blessing,


Lent Lunches 2016


We will be asking for volunteers again this year please to sign up to provide a simple Lent Lunch in St Oswald’s on Thursdays between 12.30pm and 1.30pm. It is hoped to raise money for the Refugees Project we supported last autumn with our clothing collection. Refugees Aid in the North West of England is still sending out container loads of equipment, clothing and provisions to needy refugees, and the cost of transporting these goods needs to be covered too. There will be a list to sign up as a “customer” for these Lunches, as well as a request for volunteer cooks/providers! The Lunches will happen on 11/18/25 February and then on 10/17 March (i.e. not on 3 March). Please support this very worthy cause and also come along and enjoy good simple food and excellent company! Thank you.


Open Evening hosted by Macclesfield Deanery Synod

You are warmly invited to come to an Open Evening hosted by Macclesfield Deanery Synod (a group of representatives from local Anglican churches) on Tuesday 02 February 2016 held at the Parish Church of St. Oswald in Bollington (Bollington Road, SK10 5EG) starting at 7.30pm for 7.45pm.

We live in a world where innocent people are routinely tortured and imprisoned without trial in many countries…

Some manage to escape, traumatised and destitute. Some make their way to the UK and apply for asylum. Unfortunately they then face a new set of challenges. Making their case in a foreign language, wrestling with a bureaucracy that seems like a terrifying reminder of the state they have escaped. Living on the breadline, often surrounded by hostility and contempt. With the terror of being repatriated to certain abuse and likely execution.

Freedom From Torture is the charitable organisation that used to be known as the Medical Foundation For The Care Of Victims Of Torture. Their nearest centre – and one of their busiest – is in Manchester, and their staff include lawyers, doctors, psychiatrists, and concerned citizens with many professional backgrounds who reassure, nurture, heal and legally represent thousands of desperate people who previously believed that no-one in the world cared about them. Their work is astonishing, their commitment and humanity is humbling. And the necessity of what they do is sadly growing by the day. Freedom From Torture is a totally professional and accountable organization. They run treatment centres and provide professional therapy to children, young people, adults and families who have been devastated by torture in their own country. Offering also training, supervision and consultancy to local doctors, NHS Trusts, and other non-statutory services that work with refugees or in mental health, they provide medico-legal reports to asylum seekers whose applications are otherwise likely to be or have been rejected, to support their asylum claims.

We hope that you and your friends will join us for this free event, which will undoubtedly be both challenging and inspirational, as members of the charity Freedom From Torture join us to demonstrate their work, their successes, the principles that drive them and their need for moral and financial support. Our objective is to offer information to local people and to reach out to this organisation which itself reaches out to so many people. The work of Freedom From Torture is increasingly vital and daunting in its complexity. What they do reminds us what it means to be both human and humane.

As Christian churches we need look no further than what Jesus gave us as our mission of reaching out: “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing. I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me … Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”

For more information: Keith Ravenscroft 01625 820041: email keith.ravenscroft@zen.co.uk

Concert at St Peter’s Prestbury – Sat 23 Jan 2016

Helen Howe (Regional Co-ordinator for Christian Aid writes:

Dear All,

I wondered if you would highlight this upcoming event with your congregation (poster attached)?  Gareth Davies-Jones is an amazing musician who is on the brink of launching a fulltime professional career – he appeared on Songs of Praise in the autumn and has just recorded another piece for them for later this year.  The concert is a week on Saturday (January 23) at St Peter’s.

This is the link to the facebook event and you can see some examples of his music on here too – beautiful acoustic set.

You don’t need to buy tickets in advance but if people could confirm numbers that would help us organise the logistics!  Confirm attendance either by emailing me or by signing up on facebook.  Feel free to forward if you can think of anyone else who might be interested.

Thanks again for all your support,


Our Lent Groups this year

Don’t let yourself be miserable this Lent! Join a new Lent Group instead!

On Shrove Tuesday 9 February at 7.00pm, those who have decided to join in the series of Lent Groups this year (jointly with Rainow parishioners) will have the chance to watch the epic film “Les Miserables” together at Holy Trinity Church, Rainow (even to sing along perhaps?!) and to enjoy one another’s company over light refreshments. Don’t forget to bring your hankies! The Lent Course we’ve chosen to follow explores some of the themes and characters from this moving and well-known story, and has been put together in a little book entitled “Another Story Must Begin” written by Jonathan Meyer, a parish priest in Oxfordshire.

Following on from us all watching the film together on Shrove Tuesday, Steve Rathbone, Michael Fox and I will between us lead one session each week over the next five weeks, and anyone from either congregation will be most welcome to sign up to take part. Over the course of five weeks, we will each be offering the same content for that week’s session but on different days and at different venues and times, to offer flexibility for those taking part alongside your other commitments. You’ll be able to mix and match if you like! So, as mentioned in the Winter edition of Church News, the pattern will be as follows:

  • Mondays 1.30pm till 3.00pm, at Holy Trinity, Rainow: led by Revd Steve Rathbone (from 15 February to 14 March incl.)
  • Tuesdays 7.30pm till 9.00pm, at a variety of homes across the two parishes: led mostly by Revd Michael Fox (from 16 February to 15 March incl.)
  • Wednesdays 7.30pm till 9.00pm, at St Oswald’s, Bollington: led by Canon Veronica Hydon (from 17 February to 16 March incl.)

It promises to be an engaging course, reflecting on God’s grace worked out in our own lives and in the lives of Victor Hugo’s characters as portrayed in the film. You’ll be singing all the songs by heart before we’ve finished! It will also be good to meet with our Christian companions from across the parish boundary in Rainow and so be able to look up at White Nancy in future from a different perspective when we greet the Easter dawn and celebrate the time when Jesus brings us all home! If you haven’t already done so, please sign up on the sheets at the back of the church to say you’d like to join in with this Lenten journey. Thank you!


Thank You… for supporting Hampers of Hope

A message from Cristel Berridge, Founder and CEO of Hampers of Hope…

Thank you for your support!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone at St Oswald’s for all the support we have received, throughout 2015. With your help we were able to deliver 350 Christmas hampers to those who find this time of year a particular struggle.

In the last year we have made a huge impact in our communities.

We have now fed over 5000 people, helped +25 people back into work, reduced social isolation, opened two more Hope Centres, reduced crime, helped people keep their homes and families together, kept people warm; healthy and alive.

I have enclosed a Certificate for you to display in church as a token of our appreciation to everyone at St Oswald’s.

Every blessing.

New Year’s Day 2016

About 50 people turned up at Bollington Vicarage for the traditional New Year’s Day “Drinks and Nibbles” hosted by Veronica and Dave.

This was to be the last of these occasions, as Veronica and Dave will be moving out of the Vicarage in the next few weeks and moving to their own house. Maybe that’s why there are a few sad faces in the photos?

The children enjoyed themselves on the electronic piano, though!

1st Sunday of Christmas 2015

Canon Roy Arnold

Well that was quick wasn’t it? He was only born on Friday and now he’s 12 years old already. Jesus I am talking about. Actually – although slightly accelerated in the case of Jesus in the Gospel – it is only what most parents experience with their children. It seems no sooner are they born they are starting primary school and then sitting their GCSEs. And then wanting a car and then getting married (or at least a partner) and leaving to live in Exeter or Hong Kong or even Rainow.

With Jesus we see him – so soon after Christmas – as a 12 year-old visiting Jerusalem for the Passover with his parents after a normal Jewish childhood. Now at 12, coming of age according to Jewish Law and at (at that age I believe) realising for the first time about his special relationship with God; that it God who was his Father and not Joseph. To be fair, we are all God’s children but Jesus was especially God’s son and he came to live with us on earth to teach us about God and heaven.

As our Collect for today reminded us, he came to share in our humanity so that we might share the life of his divinity. In the meantime, in our Gospel story we hear of his not being on the coach back to Nazareth, about his earthly parents’ anxiety; about him being in the temple – like a student – with the wise men of the faith. And eventually having a good telling off by his Mum and going back home with his parents to Nazareth, but with Mary treasuring all these things in her heart.

And then Jesus himself (back in small town Nazareth) getting on with everyone and especially getting to know his father God, and generally getting on with experiencing the up and downs of human life, and so (as our Post Communion Prayer reminds us) sharing the life of an earthly home and bringing us all at last to our home in heaven.

All this was to the be the task of this baby born so long ago but in our memory and the memory of the Christian Church born just last Friday. And then, when he was about 30, starting his ministry of teaching and healing and so infuriated by his popularity, the self-righteous and those who thought they knew all about God (and loving the power and social standing that went with that knowledge) they had him tried and crucified. But then he rose again on the third day and continued his teaching and healing by living on in his disciples and in me and you.

One of those early followers, whom he called on the road to Damascus – in Syria no less – was St Paul who (in his letter to the Colossians and to me and you) left us an excellent summary of what was and is expected of us if we are to follow Jesus and to get to that home in Heaven. St Paul says we must clothe ourselves with compassion and kindness and humility, with meekness and patience; and if anyone has a complaint against anyone we must forgive them because we (by God) nave been forgiven so much. For that forgiveness and for so much else as well we must always be thanking God. Perhaps practising singing for when we join the united choirs of heaven… And whatever we do, doing it the name of Jesus, giving thanks to God who is his Father and ours through Jesus. And yes we must love him as the baby born as of last Friday (we cannot help but love a newborn infant) but especially we must follow the adult Jesus up hill and down dale, until we come within sight of the New Jerusalem. And in the words of an ancient prayer “….with Christ as our morning star, when the night of this world is past he will bring us to the light of life and to the opening of a new and everlasting day.” And so – if we deserve it – we shall find ourselves with Jesus and home at last. Our earthly journey done.

Through the New Year of 2016, almost upon us, let us – me and you – try to follow the Jesus way.