Vicar’s Letter – November/December 2018

As the clocks change and the nights are drawing in, we can be forgiven for turning inwards on ourselves. We think of building up provisions in the freezer or store-cupboard in anticipation of winter snows, or shopping early to beat the Christmas rush. We delve into the wardrobe for a familiar warm coat to wrap up in again, or maybe go off to the splendid Bridgend Centre to find a replacement! We dig out that well-worn Christmas card list which brings to mind good times we’ve shared with old friends and acquaintances.

The Church’s own calendar of festivals marks the passing of another year. With bright-eyed children at our Light Party on All Hallows’ Eve, 31 October, we celebrate all the Saints of God, well-known or obscure, in whose lives we have glimpsed the compassion and challenge of Christ. On the evening of All Souls’ Day, 2 November, we bring to mind those closest of our friends and family whose passing we mourn, entrusting their souls once again to God’s infinite care as we light a candle in their memory. A few days later, we hear fireworks in our neighbourhood, celebrating the joyful life we can share with friends around us. Perhaps we write our own names with sparklers in the light of a bonfire, as we focus our attention on the complexities of world politics, historically and in the present day. On Armistice Day, 11 November, we will parade solemnly with those poignantly resilient poppies on our lapels, and hold respectfully before God, in the three minutes’ silence, the lives of those who died or who returned maimed in body, mind or spirit, praying that we do not squander their hard-won peace. As we continue to teach our children St Oswald’s motto urging them to be strong and of good courage and to follow paths of gentleness and peace, so let us pray for strength and resourcefulness for ourselves and our community as we look for ways to enhance the well-being of all those around us and across the wider world, who are still living in poverty or dire need as a result of violent conflict or war, human cruelty, greed or selfishness.

Our solemn mood will be lightened by joining in one of the two Christingle services now offered on Advent Sunday afternoon, 2 December, taking carefully into our hands those familiar bright orange candle-holders, studded with delicious symbols of the fruits of the earth, anticipating Christ’s light dawning into the world and blessed by the music and song of so many children and families from our local schools. During the next four weeks leading up to Christmas, we may begin to look inwards at our own lives and perhaps examine our consciences in response to new awareness of climate change (highlighted by the Transition Bollington group), challenged as we must be by our children’s persistent awkward questions about our collective choice of lifestyle. We might decide to volunteer as a Street Angel or at our Winter Night Shelter project for homeless men run by members of the churches in and around Macclesfield. Before we are tempted to close the door to keep out any more chilling thoughts about the imbalance and inequality of our world, we may yet dare to hold it ajar a little longer, by venturing into one of our local churches once in a while to sit quietly and pray (remembering that St Oswald’s is open for just that purpose during the day on most Wednesdays). We may be pleasantly surprised to come across others alongside us there, each one trying to make enough room in our busy lives, to be more ready to greet the birth of the Christ Child and to find practical ways of welcoming God’s Spirit of kindness and justice into our hearts and homes again this year.

For 110 years now, St Oswald’s Church, built to the glory of God, has stood beside the main road into and out of Bollington, as a place of witness and welcome, especially for members of the local community wishing to embark on a marriage covenant relationship, or to celebrate the birth of a new baby, or to give thanks for a life now ended that has been well-lived. We share the joy of adults and children finding faith and recognising their essential worth before God. Equally we are here to support and care for those who feel wounded and bruised by their life’s experience. We offer prayers reflecting real anguish as well as hope, and we continue to reach out in all humility with empathy, comfort, friendliness and a listening ear to young and old alike. May God prosper our visionary plans to continue to improve the welcome we can offer within our church building, and may we always be mindful to look up and keep good company with one another as we follow the star which leads us to Christ, who is the same source of love, light and truth, yesterday, today and forever.

Every blessing,
Veronica

Poppy Appeal Launch 2018

Lyric by Joe Riley:

We all know about the traumas of the war,
But do we know about the things that happened after or before;
The people who’d seen horror,
Lived hell upon the earth;
But I can see in you and me that the aftermath was not to be heard;

Poor James, Poor John,
Can you show a bit more sympathy for the people who’d be rather dead than living;
I’m shocked, appalled,
At them all for sending home,
Broken lives and empty minds;
How did their families survive;

Who knew that time,
Would pass you by so quickly;
Think we’ve seen bad things,
But have we, have we really?
That’s why we’re here,
To think of all those people,
How did they carry on, how did they carry on?

Some say that it was such a horrid time,
But we know, that they’re wrong ‘cause there are simply no words left to describe;
The kind of pain and fear that they saw,
Would scar them ‘til the day that they would lie inside their morgue, oh

Poor James, Poor John,
Can you show a bit more sympathy for the people who’d be rather dead than living;
I’m shocked, appalled,
At them all for sending home,
Broken lives and empty minds;
How did their families survive;

Who knew that time,
Would pass you by so quickly;
Think we’ve seen bad things,
But have we, have we really?
That’s why we’re here,
To think of all those people,
How did they carry on, how did they carry on?

How did they carry on?

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh

How did they carry on?

Poppy Appeal 2018 – Launch in Bollington

This year, the annual Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal  has a particular resonance as we reach the Centenary of the Armistice to end WW1.

The Poppy Appeal in Bollington and district will be officially launched in Bollington at 10.30am on Saturday 27 November at St Oswald’s Church at Bollington Cross.

After a brief introduction by the Poppy Appeal Organiser Debra Nixon, Canon Veronica Hydon will offer a prayer and read some verses of WW1 poetry. There will be a song by Joe Riley, followed by a short period of silence for reflection. A prayer will be said by Veronica commissioning the Poppy Collection volunteers and blessing them in their task. We will then all sing a new hymn which has been specially composed for this Armistice Day.

Tea and coffee will be available after this brief ceremony.

Please come and attend this Launch to support and encourage the volunteers, but also to remind ourselves of the value of the Peace that most of those of us in this country are able to enjoy.

You can read about the men from Bollington who served in WW1 here.

 

 

This year’s Schools’ Experience Week – Noah

The church was open on Saturday 30 June from 10am to 2pm…

…for people to come in and see what our schoolchildren have been taking part in this week. Some of the school children who had visited the Experience with their class-mates brought their parents or grandparents along.

Nature flourishes under the rainbow!

In previous years we have held Schools’ Experience Weeks about All Saints, Easter, Epiphany, God’s Creation, Jesus’ Parables and Moses.

Bollington Open Gardens

Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 June 2018

Enjoy a walk through Bollington and visit 16 gardens from 10am to 4pm on both days.

Tickets and maps available from Bollington Leisure Centre, Town Hall and local businesses and participating gardens on the day. £5 per person (children free).

Tea and cakes available at the market place on High Street. Bouncy castle and refreshments also available at Water Street Pre-School.

All proceeds to Bollington Festival 2019.

New – Parish Prayers at Home

Third Friday of the month – 2.30-3.30pm

At our last GAP meeting it was decided to start an informal monthly prayer meeting. Its purpose will be to pray for the needs of the parish. Meetings will be held in someone’s house as arranged each time.

If you would like to come along, or if you have anything that you would like to pray for specifically, please contact Maggie O’Donnell 01625 572711 or Anne Coombes 01625 571144.

The first meeting is on Friday 16 February.

Tuesday evenings in Lent 2018

Please sign up at the back of Church – maximum of 10 people per session.

First come – first served!

We’ll meet at 7.30pm to share in a simple celebration of holy Communion in a variety of venues, enjoy the hospitality kindly offered by members of our congregation, and take time to chat over a cup of tea or coffee afterwards, about anything that has interested you from our Lent Book. (Please share transport if possible!)

Children take over St John’s School!

Last Monday, as part of Universal Children’s Day, the children in Class 4 at Bollington St John’s ‘took over’ the school!

The children all applied for the school jobs they wanted, were interviewed during the week before the event and were awarded a variety of positions in the school from Head Teacher to Site Manager.

The Head Teachers spent the day observing lessons, leading worship and evaluating the impact of the day…

The Site Managers arrived at school at 7.15am to open up and then proceeded to do risk assessments and check the safety of the site, both inside and out…

Children who elected to be Teachers, Sport Leads and Teaching Assistants planned and delivered amazing lessons. Children working as Administrators staffed the office brilliantly and provided a warm welcome to anyone visiting the school. Our (regular!) Head of Teaching and Learning, Ellen Watson (who organised the day) said: “This was a wonderful opportunity for the children and they rose to the challenge. This initiative links to our work as a Global School, and we are so very proud of all the children”

Melanie Walker (Head Teacher, Bollington St John’s CE Primary School)


“It looks and sounds as though it was a really fantastic day, with the children thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to step into the roles of the staff. I could sense the enthusiasm and excitement during my visit the previous week!”

Chris Penn (Director of Education, Chester Diocesan Board of Education)