Recycle your Christmas Tree in January 2019!

Richard Raymond writes…

A Million Pound Milestone

On 13 January 2001 a van swung out of the drive of the old vicarage in Prestbury and went to make a collection of a Christmas tree. Tied onto the tree was an envelope containing a few pound coins. Building on a fundraising initiative based on the Parable of the Talents proposed by Men’s Choir member Mike Thompson and his wife Lis when the church required a new organ, those coins were the first donation to the East Cheshire Hospice Christmas Tree Collection.

Some 19 years later (to the day!) on 13 January 2019 over 40 vans all manned by volunteers of the same Christmas Tree Collection will be out hoping that they will pick up the one tree whose donation will raise the cumulative net amount of monies raised for the hospice to over one million pounds.

Since 2001 over 70,000 trees have been collected. Countless volunteers have helped over the last 19 years; many meals have been served to keep the van crews going; endless roads have been visited; bundle-loads of leaflets have been delivered; and a whole community has helped in so many ways to do this. We could reflect on our award-winning status or that we are the largest volunteer-led Christmas tree collection in the country, or that another 50 hospices have followed our lead to run such a fundraising initiative.

But now is not the time for all of this! We have a six-figure target to smash! And to do so we shall mobilize our teams of volunteers who will have to collect another 75 tonnes of trees. Once again we will organize an enormous industrial operation to turn these into recycled mulch.

However all of this will not achieve our target. It is the generous support of all our customers which will push this year’s total to over £120,000, and that will see us through £1million! Please help us!

By doing so we can all support our local hospice and help them to provide care for those with life-limiting conditions, and their families and friends, through the in-patient unit, the daycare centre and the Hospice at Home service.

Please go to www.echtrees.org.uk. Here you will find how to book your tree in and how to make a donation.

The Collection will be on 12/13 January 2019.

WHAM 2017-18

Winter Hope Assistance in Macclesfield (WHAM)
Last year, during the period from 16–19 December 2016 to 17–20 March 2017, 21 different male guests were given at least one night’s shelter with 104 nights’ accommodation provided in total.  Guests, on average, stayed for 2¼ nights over a weekend; an increase on last year. Volunteers from over 15 churches have helped staff the Shelter.  There have also been volunteers from individuals without known church connections.

This year it is intended to operate the Shelter from 15 December 2017 to 19 March 2018.

There will be two training sessions for volunteers for this coming winter:
Saturday 25 November from 1000 to 1230 – Volunteer Training
Obligatory session for all new volunteers and optional for previous volunteers.  This will comprise an update on procedures followed by a Q&A session

Saturday 2 December from 1000 to 1230 – Shift Leader Training
Obligatory session for all shift leaders.  Will generally be an interactive session

Both sessions will take place in the Bollington Room, United Reformed Church, Park Green, Macclesfield. Please make every effort to attend these sessions and it would be helpful to have an idea of numbers.  If you would like to help in this work please talk to Veronica who will provide contact details. If you would like training but cannot attend the above dates,  alternative sessions can be arranged.


This year, HOPE is looking for an Equipment Manager as an additional member of the core WHAM team.  The main responsibilities are:

  • Maintain the inventory of equipment
  • Arrange replacement of any damaged or worn out equipment
  • Supervise a review of equipment at the start of the WHAM season
  • Organise (with Cre8) the transfer of equipment from church to church each week
  • Check that the WHAM food stock is maintained

If anyone is interested in taking responsibility for all or part of this please contact Veronica.

Epiphany at Chester Cathedral

The Wise Travellers have arrived!

These figures, only a little smaller than life-size, were created from beaten copper and bronze by sculptor Tony Evans from Kingsley, near Frodsham. The original nativity scene was created in 2013 and the travellers (with their camel) were completed in December 2015. The sculptures stand in a prime position in the Nave of the Cathedral during the Christmas and Epiphany season.

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Christmas Eve 2016 – Nativity Service

Gathering in the whole woolly flock from our Bollington Advent Sheep Trail!

Hallelujah! The sheep were safely gathered in tonight from all around Bollington! Thank you, innkeeper Bev and all your willing staff, for helping the children experience the timeless Christmas story in such a lively and engaging way! We heard the angels’ message loud and clear: “Do not be afraid!” Wishing everyone a very happy and holy Christmas and a joyous and peaceful New Year!

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Vicar’s Letter – December 2016

O holy Child of Bethlehem…Be born in us today!”

vicars letter003Christmas is not just for children! As adults we may tend to get overwhelmed with all the expectations of buying appropriate presents, writing cheery messages in hundreds of well-chosen charity cards, juggling seasonally over-stretched finances, having to entertain crotchety relatives, eating and drinking more than is good for us, listening to yet more carols or tinny festive music whilst out shopping, and eventually losing track of the number of other things we feel we have to do, before we can safely put our feet up and watch HRH the Queen give what is probably her 65th message on Christmas Day!
Contrary to what those tantalising Advent calendars (with or without chocolate) may imply, the main purpose of the Advent season is not simply to count down the days before we finally get to open all those other more satisfying presents on 25 December. It is instead about recognising the constant need to develop a more sustainable and generous attitude in ourselves, essentially the Christian mindset of fostering goodwill towards all people the whole year round. Just as we may take a few extra moments each day to open up the little doors of our Advent calendar this December, so might we also open the windows of our souls and catch a glimpse of the Light of the World dawning slowly onto our frosty hearts, encouraging a fresh habit of mindfulness that will gradually enable us to celebrate the glory and the challenge of Emmanuel, “God with us”, every single day for the rest of our lives.


“The bells of waiting Advent ring…”
Those of you who have mourned the loss of Bollington’s peal of church bells, since the closure of St John’s Church in 2003, may be cheered to know that you will have the opportunity to hear them ringing out again, now refurbished and re-hung in the tower of St Thomas’ Church, Stockton Heath – where by happy coincidence an erst-while Assistant Curate of Bollington, Revd Michael Ridley, is now the Vicar! Here is the open invitation recently sent to us by Dr Peter Banyard, one of the Churchwardens there:

Hello! You may be aware that the extensive tower refurbishment project at St Thomas’ Church is nearing completion. The project, of course, has included the installation of the bells that were generously gifted by St John the Baptist Church, Bollington, as well as two new bells that were funded separately by another generous benefactor. Without the generosity of your church, the installation of this impressive peal of bells would not have been possible. A dedication service will take place at St Thomas’ Church at 3.00pm on Sunday 8 January 2017. Bishop Peter will be officiating. We would like to extend an invitation to any interested members of your church to save the date!

Please do make a note in your new diary to come along to Stockton Heath this Epiphany to share in this special service. Just in case, unlike the Three Wise Men, you do not usually use the stars to guide your journeys, but instead rely on satnav, the postcode of St Thomas’ Church is WA4 6HJ!

Meanwhile it seems appropriate to offer as food for thought during this last month of 2016 the following poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson, stirringly set to music more recently by Karl Jenkins in his choral work, The Armed Man:

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
    the flying cloud, the frosty light:
    the year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
    ring, happy bells, across the snow:
    the year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
    for those that here we see no more;
    ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
    and ancient forms of party strife;
    ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
    the faithless coldness of the times;
    ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
    the civic slander and the spite;
    ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
    ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
    ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
    the larger heart, the kindlier hand;
    ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

Every blessing this Advent, Christmas and always,
Veronica

St. John’s School Christmas Fair: 3rd December

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The PTA would like to thank our families for the amazing amount of tombola prizes received – you are all very generous! The tombola is just one of the many exciting activities on offer at our Christmas Fair, which takes place on 3rd December from 1-4pm. We hope that you can all join us for this fantastic event. As always, thank you for your support.

Community Carols – 7.00pm Wednesday 14th December

mtfc You, your friends and families are invited to join Macclesfield Town Football Club at their Community Carols at 7pm to 8pm on Wednesday 14th December in the McIlroy Stand. The evening will be led by members of the staff and the music will be provided by Macclesfield Youth Brass Band which is being sponsored for this occasion by Hope in NE Cheshire. The Club is very generously providing tea, coffee and mince pies afterwards in the McIlroy Suite. There will be no charge for the evening!!