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!!

Vicar’s Letter – May 2016

vicars letter003For a whole week this March we had the privilege of leading about 350 children from our local community through another “Easter Experience” here in St Oswald’s. The difficult and moving story lived out by Jesus and his friends, from the hosannas of Palm Sunday through to the alleluias of Easter Day, was portrayed by three trustworthy women witnesses, Beverley Nixon, Sue Berry and Jo Belfield, accompanied by reflections from the Vicar. It was a pleasure to listen and respond to the children and staff of our schools and to explore with them the very human experiences of celebration, companionship, betrayal, courage, cruelty, sorrow, solidarity, kindness, grief, loss, and finally, delight in life and hope restored. Then on Good Friday morning, Beverley offered a captivating Craft Trail around the church, in which parents and their young children together discovered the Way of the Cross, assisted by Helen Nixon and three members of our RiCH After-School Group who graciously served refreshments and willingly moved furniture (these same lads had helped out the previous weekend at our grand Church Spring Clean too!). Witnessing some of our younger children trying to make sense of what happened to “Baby Jesus” when he grew up was a humbling and literally “wonder-full” experience. Anyone who thinks of children as disruptive in church would have done well instead to have dared to share that special Holy Week and Good Friday journey alongside these thoughtful and insightful young members of our community.

It seems to me that sometimes children demonstrate a sharper sense of spiritual hearing than we adults do, an apparent ability to hear the voice of God which perhaps we have become deaf to over the years, maybe thinking we already know what God wants and not listening out keenly enough for the fresh challenges God might be calling us to? One of those challenges for future consideration here at St Oswald’s is the idea of literally keeping our doors open more often. Last autumn we tried it very successfully after Teddy, one of our Year One children, asked his parents what it meant to be a refugee, picking up on all the coverage on the news. On having their desperate plight explained to him, Teddy’s immediate and straightforward reaction was, “We should help them!” At our next Growth Action Planning Meeting later that week, we woke up to the childlike simplicity of this call for us to show practical kindness. We organised an emergency Appeal whereby St Oswald’s became a temporary drop-off point for much-needed supplies, which were then transported on to the charity Refugees Aid in North West England, based at Warrington. The wider community of Bollington too responded readily to this Appeal to help people displaced from their homes, calling into our church throughout the day for six weeks from Monday 21 September until Friday 23 October. They brought along life-saving items of clothing, shoes, tents, toiletries and foodstuffs for onward distribution, and some also took the chance to spend a moment or two praying for a peaceful solution to the terrible conflicts and wars that cause people to flee their homes in the first place. During Lent, Tobias, another of our young church members, sent me a heartfelt letter urging us to pray for the children of Syria, again having seen coverage of their plight on the news. Thank you to Teddy and Tobias for spurring us all into action, and to all the willing volunteers who opened and closed the church last autumn and helped to sort the huge piles of donated goods, and especially to Hannah, Dave and Beverley who acted as unpaid hauliers to take the much-needed supplies to the central distribution point. Apart from helping those in need, opening our church doors must give us food for thought about the benefits of unlocking our doors more often…Why not come along to our next Growth Action Planning meeting here in church between 10am and 11am on Saturday 4 June, and share your thoughts and ideas about this or any other venture you may feel we as a local church could embark upon.

Last summer we celebrated with our part-time Assistant Curate, Michael Fox, when he was ordained priest at Chester Cathedral. Michael has continued to develop his ministry among us, including taking a full part preaching and presiding now in our Communion services on Sundays and Thursday mornings, leading Creative Writing Groups, offering a series of homilies based on the elements of the Eucharistic liturgy, working with myself and Beverley in leading our evolving family-friendly services, now on both the First and the Third Sundays of each month, contributing to our discussions at PCC meetings and also convening our Marketing and Communications Group which is looking to find new ways of encouraging financial sustainability, initiating for instance our recent “Easy Peasy” fundraising venture. I am grateful that Michael’s presence on our staff team has enabled me to take advantage of an overdue period of sabbatical leave for three months (April, May and June). Although, during my absence on sabbatical, the Churchwardens are primarily in charge of Bollington Church and Michael is still only available for 12 hours a week of parish ministry, I’m hoping this experience will stand him in good stead for when he subsequently takes up his new part-time post as Priest-in-charge of St Paul’s Macclesfield, as from 31 August 2016! We shall be sorry to see him go, but nevertheless in my other capacity as the Rural Dean, I am also pleased Michael will be filling one of the four current clergy vacancies in parishes in our Macclesfield Deanery!

At our recent Vestry Meeting on 21 March, Christine Osbaldiston and Liz Thomas were elected as our two Churchwardens for the coming year. It seems that (like our out-going Churchwarden Jackie Pengelly) both their fathers have served as Churchwardens in the past, so they both have a head start in understanding the role! They will be sworn in officially at the Archdeacon’s Visitation service on Monday 16 May at 7.30pm at St George’s Stockport. Do go along to this service, especially if you are a sidesperson or a member of the PCC, and please offer them both your prayers and your support now and over the coming year, as they seek to serve our church and wider community in this important role. During our subsequent Annual Parochial Church Meeting on that first day of Spring, we elected six new members onto the PCC, including Rachel Lake and Julie Brunt, so please also pray for this new Council whose task it is to listen to members of our congregation and our local community and to help discern the best way forward for our church in mission and ministry.

May God bless us all as we work together, young and old, to serve God to the best of our ability and to grow in faith and holiness as we follow the Christian way of truth, kindness and peace, empowered not by old prejudices or preconceptions from the past but by the ever-living, ever-challenging and ever-loving Holy Spirit celebrated afresh at Pentecost!

Veronica

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

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.

Help support Cre8 Macclesfield!

cre8-logo

The Cre8 Youth and Community Programme (Cre8) comprises a charity and a social enterprise based on the Moss Estate in Macclesfield. Cre8 is part of the work of St Barnabas Church on Lyme Avenue.

  • The charity (Cre8 Macclesfield) does activities with children, young people, young adults and their families, including those who are at risk or hard to reach.​
  • The social enterprises (Cre8 Works & Cre8 Facilities) employ young people and young adults doing landscaping, garden and grounds maintenance, roof insulation and commercial vehicle washing.

Cre8 is a full time programme staffed by qualified youth workers, supported by student youth and community workers and volunteers, many of whom live on the estate.

Visit their News page

“God has called you by name and made you His own”

Three members of Saint Oswald’s family were confirmed by our new Bishop of Stockport at St Michael & All Angels, Macclesfield on 28 April 2015, along with other candidates from the Macclesfield area. It was a joyful occasion. Bishop Libby preached on how each of us is known by name, and one of the names that we may be known by is ‘Christian’. At the end of the service, all the newly confirmed and received candidates processed down the nave, each bearing their own lighted candle, and were photographed in the foyer where they were greeted warmly by friends and family including two small sleepy children very proud of their mums!

Each of the candidates was given a book and a certificate, signed after the service by Bishop Libby, while certain other clergy practised holding a bishop’s staff…

Acts 11, 19-26

Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that took place over Stephen travelled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, and they spoke the word to no one except Jews. But among them were some men of Cyprus and Cyrene who, on coming to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists also, proclaiming the Lord Jesus. The hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number became believers and turned to the Lord. News of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast devotion; for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were brought to the Lord. Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for an entire year they associated with the church and taught a great many people, and it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called ‘Christians’.