Starting Wednesday 7 March 2018
For young children of school age, in St Oswald’s Church during term time. Drinks and biscuits will be provided!
Led by one of the mums, the intention is to encourage young children to sing and to make occasional performances at Family Services. To help them grow in confidence, and to draw them closer into the Church family.
This is NOT a talent show, all you require is enthusiasm and a love of singing. If you have children or grandchildren who might like to join in with this new venture, please bring them along.
… written by a young member of our congregation
I love the nature as much as you do, God. The river flows as Jesus goes. God, please protect nature. All the poor and all the endangered animals, protect them. God, I wish that one day I will see you. I wish that all the bad people become good and all the litter is cleared one day. Dear God, all the poor – give them more – as you can.
Tyler (a Year One pupil at St John’s School)
Each year we hold a party in church for Praise & Play Children and all our younger church members including the families of children recently baptised.
There was food and drink, various games, and a surprise visit from Three Wise Men who came bearing gifts for the children.
A good time was had by all!
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)
Sunday afternoon at St Oswald’s. You didn’t need to go down to the woods. And it was no surprise that everybody enjoyed themselves!
Entry by TICKET ONLY – tickets must be purchased IN ADVANCE
download a poster here
“To see a World in a grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an Hour…”
(William Blake 1757 – 1827)
The summer holidays are coming to an end and a new school term is about to begin, but let us not entirely lose that refreshing change of perspective we may have had a chance to find when taking time out to appreciate once more the little things of life. Pictures of Bollington’s wide-eyed pre-school graduates, soon to be photographed in their “big school” uniforms by proud parents, bring to mind our own early adventures when we were encouraged to set out to make our way in the world beyond our own front door. The bond of family and friends never ceases to be important to each of us as we grow up into adulthood, and a healthy and welcoming church community is one of those places where we can find acceptance, learn perseverance and experience companionship that will stand us in good stead, whatever lies ahead of us as we progress through life.
Here at St Oswald’s we endeavour to provide a safe environment and a variety of worship styles where people of all ages and all different personalities can enjoy one another’s company and can seek and find God. We continue to develop our links with babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers through our Praise & Play Group on a Tuesday morning, and through an open policy of welcoming children and their families to be baptised here, as the beginning of a life-long involvement with the world-wide family of Christian people, embryonic saints on earth linked with God’s saints in heaven, whom we remember each year on All Souls’ Day. Alongside our regular pattern of child-friendly worship on the First and Third Sundays of each month, we specifically offer yearly celebrations such as the Epiphany Party in January (when we have a visit from the Three Kings bearing gifts) and the Light Party on All Hallows’ Eve (when we enjoy celebrating the light and hope and courage of God’s holy people, past and present). On Christmas Eve we make the journey to Bethlehem to welcome Jesus’ birth (usually with a whole flock of sheep and the occasional dinosaur!) and on Good Friday we follow the sad trail taken by Jesus at the end of his life, until we gather again at Easter to be woken up by showers of mini-eggs!
There is a new Sunday afternoon Puppet Ministry Group for older children as well as adults, which meets on the Fourth Sunday each month. Our Thursday afternoon RiCH (Refreshment in Church) Group welcomes youngsters who’ve just moved up to High School, following on from the many opportunities given to them at Primary School to explore their spiritual heritage, not least in our interactive Schools’ Experience Weeks covering a whole range of themes, including Epiphany, Easter, All Saints, Jesus’ Parables, the Creation Myths and the Life of Moses. The local school children come to celebrate Harvest Festivals and Christingle with us, and we have special annual services to welcome the Reception Classes at our two Church Schools each September and to say “God Be With You” to the Year Six children in July.
As part of our social calendar we also have Family Fun Days each summer, periodic CHUB outings (visiting interesting church buildings before repairing to a nearby pub for lunch!), monthly Mothers Union meetings and a whole host of fundraising events all year round, including Big Breakfasts, Posh Teas, Coffee Mornings and, of course, our Garden Party each September. From time to time we share in Taize style worship, regularly benefit from our ad hoc instrumental group and also experiment in hand-bell ringing together. We meet for prayer and discussion groups (such as Faith Hour on Wednesdays), hold occasional Confirmation Preparation sessions, and during the season of Lent we usually enjoy thought-provoking lunchtime discussions and a series of evening meetings based on a study programme focussing on a book, a musical or a film.
With all this activity, interaction and excitement, it is vital then that we take time to be quiet too, and to contemplate “the meaning of life” as William Blake encourages us to do. St Oswald’s is open every Wednesday during the day, so do make use of this free space, make yourself a hot drink, light a prayer candle and maybe just sit and rest for a while. At every Communion Service there is the unique opportunity to “hold Infinity in the palm of your hand” when you receive the Body of Christ. We take time to think of the things of “Eternity in an hour” as we gather in worship together, each bringing into church with us the different pre-occupations and priorities we carry in the forefront of our minds that week, as well as the deeper griefs and joys hidden in our hearts. Sometimes we speak of these things to our companions; at other times we bring them silently before God. As the carol goes, “the hopes and fears of all the years” are met in the Christ we worship.
Our human anxieties about the present imbalance of power, the economic inequalities and the systemic injustices of our world are all part of what we bring in with us through the church door, and we pray for inspiration and encouragement to go out more hopeful and with greater energy to work together for a brighter future. May we be able to focus on the smallest things we can change in our personal circumstances for the greater good of those around us, rather than be totally daunted and paralysed by the enormity of the problems that face our society and the wider world. Let us learn afresh from the youngest child in our midst, how to “see a World in a grain of Sand and a Heaven in a Wild Flower”; let us learn afresh from our teenagers the passion and immediacy of living in the moment, whilst not shying away from bigger issues; let us learn afresh from those of an older age whose lives are well-lived, how to look with active compassion on the world and to find serenity in knowing every human being to be infinitely loved by the One who created us. May we lift up our hearts and voices to join in our own “Songs of Innocence and Experience” as we embark on this next phase in our church life together.
On Thursday 16 June we were visited by Jenny (from Rainow) and Pastor Martin (founder of Bethel Children’s Home in Chennai, South East India) who gave us a brief presentation during the sermon slot at our 9.30 Communion service. We learnt a little more over coffee after the service.
India Direct is a charity based in the Macclesfield area, supporting work with children in Chennai (formerly known as Madras). It has a connection with Poynton School.
Pastor Martin now runs two children’s homes for orphans and the children of widows. Following the Tsunami on Boxing Day 2004, a second home, named Joy by local families, was built to house survivors of the disaster. With his wife Annie, and with the assistance of other staff members, Martin provides accommodation, food and the money for education in local schools for some of the poorest children in India. They also provide shelter and work for widows, as such people are shunned by their society as bringers of bad luck. The children of Bethel and Joy grow up to lead flourishing lives, capable of providing for themselves and their families.
The annual cost of running these two homes is £60,000. A donation to India Direct, the British-based charity supporting the work of Pastor Martin, helps to ensure that some of the most destitute children on earth can grow up with a future full of hope.