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COVID-19 Update

We are planning to open up the church building again, albeit necessarily in a socially distanced way!

The PCC met on Sunday morning 20 September 2020 and among other things agreed to the re-opening our church building for public worship on 4 October 2020 for 10.30am Parish Communion

We plan to start our Weekday Holy Communion services on Thursday 8 October 2020 at 9.30am

This is, of course, subject to any further restrictions that may be imposed during the COVID-19 emergency.

Please see the protocol below (click on it to see a larger version that you can print off for reference):

Please do let the Vicar or Churchwardens know if you are self-isolating, or if you are aware of someone else who might need us to keep in contact with them by phone for reassurance or to assist with shopping etc.
Alternatively you can contact us using the form below.
Thank you.

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Vestry meeting 2020

And Annual Parochial Church Meeting 2020

The small print on the above Notice reads:
NOTES
1. All persons whose names are entered upon the Church Electoral Roll of the parish (and such persons only) are entitled to vote at the election of parochial representatives of the laity.
2. Subject to the provisions of rule 12(2)(c), a person is qualified to be elected a parochial representative of the laity if:
(a) their name is entered on the church electoral roll of the parish and, unless they are under the age of eighteen years at the date of the election, has been so entered for at least the preceding period of six months;
(b) the person is an actual communicant which means that they have received Communion according to the use of the Church of England or of a Church in communion with the Church of England at least three times during the twelve months preceding the date of the election and;
(c)the person is sixteen years or upwards. 
(3a) A person shall be disqualified from being nominated, chosen or elected from serving as a churchwarden, a member of a parochial church council, a district church council or any synod under these rules if he is disqualified from being a charity trustee under section 72(1) of the Charities Act 1993 and the disqualification is not for the time being subject to a general waiver by the Charity Commissioners under subsection (4) of that section or to a waiver by them under that subsection in respect of all ecclesiastical charities established for purposes relating to the parish concerned.
(aa) A person shall be disqualified from being nominated, chosen or elected or from serving as a churchwarden or member of a parochial church council, a district church council or any synod under these rules if the person is included in a barred list (within the meaning of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006).
(ab) A person shall be disqualified from being nominated, chosen or elected or from serving as a churchwarden or member of a parochial church council, a district church council or any synod under these rules if the person has been convicted of an offence mentioned in Schedule 1 to the Children and Young Persons Act 1933.
(ac) A person’s disqualification under paragraph (ab) may be waived by the bishop of the diocese in question giving the person notice in writing.
(b) A person shall also be disqualified from being nominated, chosen or elected from serving as a churchwarden or member of a parochial church council if they have been so disqualified from holding office under section 10(6) of the Incumbents (Vacation of Benefice) Measure 1977., a member of a parochial church council, a district church council or any synod under these rules if they are disqualified from being a charity trustee under section 178 of the Charities Act 2011 and the disqualification is not for the time being subject to a general waiver by the Charity Commissioners under subsection 4 of that section or to a waiver by them under that subsection in respect of all ecclesiastical charities§ established for purposes relating to the parish concerned.
4. Any person whose name is on the electoral roll may be appointed as a sidesman and these appointments will be made at the first meeting of the new PCC.
NOTE — In this notice “parish” means an ecclesiastical parish.
§”Ecclesiastical charity” has the same meaning as that assigned to that expression in the Local Government Act 1894.

A copy of the Annual Reports for the Parish of Bollington is available on the About Us page (scroll down that page to find the link). Page 1 of this document gives details of current members of the various posts and when the current term of office expires for PCC members. Any PCC member whose term expires in 2020 and who wishes to stand again will need to be nominated and seconded again using a nomination form.

You can use these links to download any of the documents you need:
Notice of Vestry Meeting (as above)
Notice of Annual Parochial Church Meeting (as above)
Nomination form for Churchwarden
Nomination form for election to Deanery Synod
Nomination form for election to Parochial Church Council

I leave all things to God’s direction

An ancient German hymn with a modern Irish tune. Enjoy!

Dr. Martin Luther’s seal expresses his theology and his faith.

He designed it himself.

In the centre is a black cross indicative of Christ’s dreadful sacrifice on the cross for every sinner who ever lived.
The cross is in the centre of a red heart, to show that faith causes love, joy and peace to grow in the human heart.
The red heart is on a white rose (Luther’s favourite flower) because white is the colour of angels and blessed spirits.
The white rose is against a blue-sky background to symbolize the Christian’s hope for the coming joys of heaven.
The seal is enclosed in a gold ring, showing that the bliss of heaven is unending.

The words of Ich halte Gott in allem stille were written by Salamo Franck (1659-1725). He was a librettist who worked extensively with Johann Sebastian Bach. The translation was by August Crull (1845-1923), a German-born Lutheran Pastor in USA who translated many hymns for Lutheran hymnals.

The tune Guidance was written by Dr Donald Davison MBE (1937-2013), a musician in the Church of Ireland. You can read more about him (and listen to another of his tunes) in the footnote to There’s a wideness in God’s mercy. Guidance was written for another German text Wer nur den lieben Gott lässt walten, translated by Catherine Winkworth (1827-1878) as If thou but suffer God to guide thee. (But I prefer these words – they are more cheerful!.)

Guidance

I leave all things to God’s direction,
He loveth me in weal and woe;
His will is good, true His affection,
With tender love His heart doth glow.
My Fortress and my Rock is He:
What pleaseth God, that pleaseth me.

My God hath all things in His keeping,
He is the ever faithful Friend;
He grants me laughter after weeping,
And all His ways in blessings end.
His love endures eternally;
What pleaseth God, that pleaseth me.

The will of God shall be my pleasure
While here on earth is mine abode;
My will is wrong beyond all measure,
It doth not will what pleaseth God.
The Christian’s motto e’er must be;
What pleaseth God, that pleaseth me.

God knows what must be done to save me,
His love for me will never cease;
Upon His hands He did engrave me
With purest gold of living grace.
His will supreme must e’er be:
What pleaseth God, that pleaseth me.

My God desires the soul’s salvation,
Me also He desires to save;
Therefore with Christian resignation
All earthly troubles I will brave.
His will be done eternally:
What pleaseth God, that pleaseth me.

The King of love my shepherd is

A hymn to sing along with…

The words are a metrical version of Psalm 23 and were written by Revd Henry Williams Baker (1821-1877). You can read more about him on the post for Shall we not love thee, Mother dear. He also wrote the words for O praise ye the Lord!. It is recorded that the last audible words which lingered on his dying lips were those of the third verse of this hymn.

The tune Dominus regit me was written for this hymn by Revd John Bacchus Dykes (1823-1876). The words and tune first appeared in the Appendix to Hymns Ancient and Modern published 1868 (by Henry Williams Baker).

Dominus regit me

The King of love my shepherd is, 
whose goodness faileth never. 
I nothing lack if I am his, 
and he is mine forever.

Where streams of living water flow, 
my ransomed soul he leadeth; 
and where the verdant pastures grow, 
with food celestial feedeth.

Perverse and foolish, oft I strayed, 
but yet in love he sought me; 
and on his shoulder gently laid, 
and home, rejoicing, brought me.

In death’s dark vale I fear no ill, 
with thee, dear Lord, beside me; 
thy rod and staff my comfort still, 
thy cross before to guide me.

Thou spreadst a table in my sight; 
thy unction grace bestoweth; 
and oh, what transport of delight 
from thy pure chalice floweth!

And so through all the length of days, 
thy goodness faileth never; 
Good Shepherd, may I sing thy praise 
within thy house forever.

The Gresford disaster: 22 September 1934

The Gresford memorial – Attribution Bob Shires / Gresford Heath / CC BY-SA 2.0

At eight minutes past two in the morning a huge explosion ripped through one of the sections of the Gresford coal mine near Wrexham. In one of Britain’s worst coal mining disasters, 266 men were killed. only eleven bodies were ever recovered from the mine (eight miners and three of the attempted rescuers). The damaged sections of the mine were sealed with most of the bodies inside.

The rest of the mine was re-opened in 1936 and operated until 1973. The old winding wheel was preserved as a memorial after the pit closed.

Robert Saint (1905-1950), a miner from Hebburn, South Tyneside was inspired to compose a brass band tune Gresford, also known as the “Miners’ Hymn”. It was deliberately composed as a hymn tune without words. It is popular with many colliery brass bands and recordings can be found on YouTube. Here is a synthesised version.

Gresford

In recent times some words have been written to go with the tune, based on Psalm 130 De profundis “Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord.”

Saint Matthew: 21 September

The Bible tells us that Matthew was a publican (in the King James version) or tax collector (in more modern translations). The job description in those days had nothing to do with inn-keeping. A publican was a middleman between the Roman rulers and the general public. He would arrange supplies for the legions, levy port duties and collect whatever other taxes the Romans decided on. He would not have been paid by the Romans, but would have made a living by adding a percentage on top of what tax was payable. Some tax-collectors became very rich. So publicans were doubly reviled by the people – not only were they having to pay tax to the Romans, but they didn’t like paying the “service charge” as well. “What have the Romans ever done for us?” asked Reg (aka John Cleese).

The Calling of St Matthew – Caravaggo

The Bible also tells us that Jesus saw Matthew sitting by the customs house and said to him “Follow me”. And he got up and followed him. (The same story, almost word for word in St Luke’s Gospel, is told about Levi, but it is not certain whether Levi and Matthew were the same person.) In fact, there is no Biblical evidence that St Matthew’s Gospel was written by Matthew – it was attributed to him in the 2nd Century. But as a publican, he would have been literate, possibly in multiple languages. And he is certainly described as one of the twelve Apostles. The words of the hymn by Revd William Bright (1824-1901) describe Matthew’s role as publican and then Apostle, but do not mention his role as one of the four Evangelists.

William Bright was ordained deacon in 1848 and priest in 1850. He does not seem to have worked as a parish priest, but was Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Oxford. He was sub-dean of Christ Church, Oxford from 1895. He wrote a number of hymns including And now, O Father, mindful of the love and Once, only once, and once for all.

The composer of the tune Alfreton (published in 1708) is not known.

Alfreton

He sat to watch o’er customs paid,
A man of scorned and hardening trade,
Alike the symbol and the tool
Of foreign masters’ hated rule.

But grace within his breast had stirred;
There needed but the timely word:
It came, true Lord of souls, from Thee,
That royal summons, ‘Follow Me.’

Enough, when Thou wast passing by,
To hear Thy voice, to meet Thine eye:
He rose, responsive to the call,
And left his task, his gains, his all.

O wise exchange! with these to part,
And lay up treasure in the heart;
With twofold crown of light to shine
Amid Thy servants’ foremost line.

Come, Saviour, as in days of old;
Pass where the world has strongest hold,
And faithless care and selfish greed
Are thorns that choke the holy seed.

Who keep Thy gifts, O bid them claim
The steward’s, not the owner’s name;
Who yield up all for Thy dear sake,
Let them of Matthew’s wealth partake.

O thou not made with hands

A hymn to sing along with…

Although we have missed being able to worship in St Oswald’s church building in recent months, this hymn reminds us that God and His Church are not constrained by physical buildings. The phrase “not made with hands” appears several times in the Bible:

We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.

Mark 14:58

God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;

Acts 17:24

For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

2 Corinthians 5:1

But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

Hebrews 9:11-12

The words of the hymn were written by Francis Turner Palgrave (1824-1897). He is best known for his anthology of what he considered to be the finest examples of English poetry, the Golden Treasury of English Songs and Lyrics (1861).

It is set here to a modern tune Sharpthorne by Erik Routley (1917-1982). He was was an English Congregational minister, composer and musicologist. He was appointed Professor of Church Music at Westminster Choir College, Princeton, New Jersey in 1975.

Dr. Routley was born in Brighton on 31 October 1917, four hundred years exactly (give or take eleven days for the New Style calendar) after Martin Luther is supposed to have nailed his 95 theses to the church door at Wittenburg.

The rhythm of the fifth line of the tune has been adapted to suit these words.

Sharpthorne

O THOU not made with hands,
Not throned above the skies,
Nor walled with shining walls,
Nor framed with stones of price,
More bright than gold or gem,
God’s own Jerusalem!

Where’er the gentle heart
Finds courage from above;
Where’er the heart forsook
Warms with the breath of love;
Where faith bids fear depart,
City of God, thou art.

Thou art where’er the proud
In humbleness melts down;
Where self itself yields up;
Where martyrs win their crown;
Where faithful souls possess
Themselves in perfect peace;

Where in life’s common ways
With cheerful feet we go;
Where in his steps we tread,
Who trod the way of woe;
Where he is in the heart,
City of God, thou art.

Not throned above the skies,
Nor golden-walled afar,
But where Christ’s two or three
In his name gathered are,
Be in the midst of them,
God’s own Jerusalem.

Immortal love for ever full

A hymn to sing along with…

American poet John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892) wrote a poem published in 1856 entitled Our Master. Some decades later a few stanzas were extracted from the poem and published as this hymn. He also wrote Dear Lord and Father of mankind.

The full poem is shown at the bottom of this post. (It’s probably just as well we don’t sing all 38 verses!) The last two stanzas of the poem remind us that Whittier was a Quaker, whose form of worship followed the advice given in Psalm 46:10: “Be still and know that I am God”.

So probably he wouldn’t have sung any of the verses!

The tune Bishopsthorpe was published in about 1786, and has been ascribed to Jeremiah Clarke. The exact dates of his birth and death are uncertain, but are approximately 1674-1707*. He is most famous for writing the Trumpet Voluntary often played at weddings. He was an organist at Winchester College, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Chapel Royal.

*It seems that Jeremiah fell madly in love with a woman of much higher social status and, as she was completely out of his league, he committed suicide.

Bishopsthorpe

Immortal love, forever full,
forever flowing free,
forever shared, forever whole,
a never ebbing sea!

Our outward lips confess the name
all other names above;
love only knoweth whence it came,
and comprehendeth love.

We may not climb the heavenly steeps
to bring the Lord Christ down;
in vain we search the lowest deeps,
for Him no depths can drown;

but warm, sweet, tender, even yet,
a present help is He;
and faith still has its Olivet,
and love its Galilee.

The healing of His seamless dress
is by our beds of pain;
we touch Him in life’s throng and press,
and we are whole again.

Through Him the first fond prayers are said
our lips of childhood frame;
the last low whispers of our dead
are burdened with His Name.

Alone, O Love ineffable,
Thy saving name is given;
to turn aside from Thee is hell,
to walk with Thee is heaven!

The full text of Our Master:

Immortal Love, forever full, forever flowing free,
forever shared, forever whole, a never-ebbing sea!

Our outward lips confess the name all other names above;
love only knoweth whence it came and comprehendeth love.

Blow, winds of God, awake and blow the mists of earth away!
Shine out, O Light Divine, and show how wide and far we stray!

Hush every lip, close every book, the strife of tongues forbear;
why forward reach, or backward look, for love that clasps like air?

We may not climb the heavenly steeps to bring the Lord Christ down;
in vain we search the lowest deeps, For Him no depths can drown.

Nor holy bread, nor blood of grape, the lineaments restore
of Him we know in outward shape And in the flesh no more.

He cometh not a king to reign; the world’s long hope is dim;
the weary centuries watch in vain the clouds of heaven for Him.

Death comes, life goes; the asking eye and ear are answerless;
The grave is dumb, the hollow sky is sad with silentness.

The letter fails, and systems fall, and every symbol wanes;
the Spirit over-brooding all eternal Love remains.

And not for signs in heaven above or earth below they look,
who know with John His smile of love, with Peter His rebuke.

In joy of inward peace, or sense of sorrow over sin,
He is His own best evidence, His witness is within.

No fable old, nor mythic lore, nor dream of bards and seers,
no dead fact stranded on the shore Of the oblivious years;-

but warm, sweet, tender, even yet a present help is He;
and faith has still its Olivet, and love its Galilee.

The healing of His seamless dress is by our beds of pain;
we touch Him in life’s throng and press, and we are whole again.

Through Him the first fond prayers are said our lips of childhood frame,
the last low whispers of our dead are burdened with His name.

Our Lord and Master of us all! Whate’er our name or sign,
we own Thy sway, we hear Thy call, we test our lives by Thine.

Thou judgest us; Thy purity doth all our lusts condemn;
the love that draws us nearer Thee is hot with wrath to them.

Our thoughts lie open to Thy sight; and, naked to Thy glance,
our secret sins are in the light of Thy pure countenance.

Thy healing pains, a keen distress Thy tender light shines in;
Thy sweetness is the bitterness, Thy grace the pang of sin.

Yet, weak and blinded though we be, Thou dost our service own;
we bring our varying gifts to Thee, and Thou rejectest none.

To Thee our full humanity, its joys and pains, belong;
the wrong of man to man on Thee inflicts a deeper wrong.

Who hates, hates Thee, who loves becomes therein to Thee allied;
all sweet accords of hearts and homes in Thee are multiplied.

Deep strike Thy roots, O heavenly Vine, within our earthly sod,
most human and yet most divine, the flower of man and God!

O Love! O Life! Our faith and sight Thy presence maketh one
as through transfigured clouds of white we trace the noon-day sun.

So, to our mortal eyes subdued, flesh-veiled, but not concealed,
we know in Thee the fatherhood and heart of God revealed.

We faintly hear, we dimly see, in differing phrase we pray;
but, dim or clear, we own in Thee the Light, the Truth, the Way!

The homage that we render Thee is still our Father’s own;
no jealous claim or rivalry divides the Cross and Throne.

To do Thy will is more than praise, as words are less than deeds,
and simple trust can find Thy ways we miss with chart of creeds.

No pride of self Thy service hath, no place for me and mine;
our human strength is weakness, death, our life, apart from Thine.

Apart from Thee all gain is loss, all labour vainly done;
the solemn shadow of Thy Cross is better than the sun.

Alone, O Love ineffable! Thy saving name is given;
to turn aside from Thee is hell, to walk with Thee is heaven!

How vain, secure in all Thou art, our noisy championship.
The sighing of the contrite heart is more than flattering lip.

Not Thine the bigot’s partial plea, nor Thine the zealot’s ban;
Thou well canst spare a love of Thee which ends in hate of man.

Our Friend, our Brother, and our Lord, what may Thy service be?–
nor name, nor form, nor ritual word, but simply following Thee.

We bring no ghastly holocaust, we pile no graven stone;
he serves Thee best who loveth most his brothers and Thy own.

Thy litanies, sweet offices of love and gratitude;
Thy sacramental liturgies, the joy of doing good.

In vain shall waves of incense drift the vaulted nave around,
In vain the minster turret lift its brazen weights of sound.

The heart must ring Thy Christmas bells, thy inward altars raise;
Its faith and hope Thy canticles, and its obedience praise!

God who made the earth

A hymn to sing along with…

The words were written by Sarah Betts Rhodes née Bradshaw (1830-1890), the wife of a Sheffield merchant, for the 1870 Sheffield Sunday School Union Whitsuntide Festival. I don’t know how many verses it had at that time, but an 1898 hymnal included seven. Modern hymnals only include three or four. This arrangement is for four of them, with the missing three shown below.

The tune Sommerlied (Summer Song) was written by Revd Carey Bonner (1859-1938), a Baptist minister who was ordained in 1874. He ministered at Sale 1884-1895. He went on to become involved in the Sunday School movement and was President of the Baptist Union of Great Britain 1931-1932. He wrote a number of hymns and published several hymnals. He seems to have used a number of pseudonyms as a hymn-writer, perhaps because of the prominent positions he held. This tune was published under the name of Hermann von Müller.

The tune is simple enough for children to learn, but I wouldn’t describe it as a childish tune and it has a pleasing accompaniment.

Sommerlied

God who made the earth,
the air, the sky, the sea,
who gave the light its birth,
careth for me.

God who made the grass,
the flower, the fruit, the tree,
the day and night to pass,
careth for me.

God who made the sun,
The moon, the stars, is he
who, when life’s clouds come on,
careth for me.

God who sent his Son
to die on Calvary,
he if I lean on him,
will care for me.

Here are the missing 1898 verses…

[4] God who made all things
On earth, in air, in sea,
Who changing seasons brings,
Careth for me.

[5] God, who gave me breath,
Be this my prayer to Thee,
That, when I sink in death,
Thou care for me.

[7] When in heaven’s bright land
I all His loved ones see,
I’ll sing with that blest band,
God cared for me.

Hildegard of Bingen – died 17 September 1179

Hildegard of Bingen (1098 – 1179) was a German Benedictine abbess, writer, composer, philosopher, Christian mystic, visionary, and polymath. She founded the monasteries of Rupertsberg in 1150 and Eibingen in 1165. She wrote theological, botanical, and medicinal texts, as well as letters, liturgical songs for women choirs to sing, and poems.

In this illumination from Liber Scivias, Hildegard is receiving a vision, dictating to her scribe and sketching on a wax tablet.

One of her poems was translated by Revd Frederick Littledale – he also translated Come Down, O Love divine and you can read more about him on that post.

Her words are here coupled with Third Mode Melody, which was contributed by Thomas Tallis (1515-1585) to Archbishop *Parker’s The Whole Psalter of 1567. The ancient rhythm and chords of the tune seem to fit well with the even more ancient words. The tune is the one used by Ralph Vaughan Williams in his Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis.

*Matthew Parker was Archbishop of Canterbury 1559–1575.
He made a substantial contribution to the Book of Common Prayer.
Some people think he was the original “nosey Parker”.

Thomas Tallis (c 1505-1585) is considered to be one of England’s greatest composers. He may not have looked much like this picture, taken from a painting made 159 years after Tallis’s death.

Third Mode Melody

O FIRE of God, the Comforter, O life of all that live.
Holy art thou to quicken us, and holy, strength to give:
To heal the broken-hearted ones, their sorest wounds to bind,
O Spirit of all holiness, O Lover of mankind!

O sweetest taste within the breast, O grace upon us poured.
That saintly hearts may give again their perfume to the Lord.
O purest fountain! we can see, clear mirrored in thy streams.
That God brings home the wanderers, that God the lost redeems.

O breastplate strong to guard our life, O bond of unity,
O dwelling-place of righteousness, save all who trust in thee:
Defend those who in dungeon dark are prisoned by the foe.
And, for thy will is aye to save, let thou the captives go.

O surest way, that through the height and through the lowest deep
And through the earth dost pass, and all in firmest union keep;
From thee the clouds and ether move, from thee the moisture flows.
From thee the waters draw their rills, and earth with verdure glows.

And thou dost ever teach the wise, and freely on them pour
The inspiration of thy gifts, the gladness of thy lore.
All praise to thee, O joy of life, O hope and strength, we raise.
Who givest us the prize of light, who art thyself all praise.