Subject to all the legalities, St Oswald’s new vicar will be the Rev’d Nancy Goodrich.
When St Oswald’s Church first opened in 1908, Jack and Lizzie Clarke brought their baby to be baptized in Bollington’s new church. 113 years later God has sent their great-granddaughter to be Bollington’s new Vicar.
Nancy was born and brought up locally. After school, Nancy studied PPE at Oxford University, qualified as a Chartered Accountant in Manchester and then worked in manufacturing in the North West and in the Midlands.
Following Jesus, Nancy became part of a lay ministry team and then grew a vocation to ordained ministry. She trained at The Queen’s Foundation in Birmingham, moving to Lytham St Annes in Lancashire for her curacy. Nancy has been Vicar of Bolton-le-Sands near Lancaster since 2012. She is the Area Dean of the Tunstall Deanery and a member of General Synod for the Blackburn Diocese. In 2019 Nancy was appointed as a trustee of the Clergy Support Trust.
Nancy is married to Nigel, an Advanced Manufacturing Industrial Advisor for Sheffield University, they have two children, Florence, 22, and Lily, 17, and a springer spaniel called Pip.
Nancy says that she is very excited that God is bringing her to Bollington and to St Oswald’s, “Together we can work at spinning and weaving the love of God into the lives of the people in the Happy Valley.”
It has been decided that we shall resume services beginning with a Holy Communion Service on Ash Wednesday 17th February at 10.30am (no need to book in for this service)
For the time being, due to the ongoing Pandemic, we shall hold Sunday services only, commencing on 21st February (booking in required, see below). All previous Covid -19 precautions will apply.
A simple said Celebration of Holy Communion will be held at 10.30am each Sunday. For the required Track and Trace purposes and to ensure we have room for you, if you wish to attend you willneed to book in advance.
For the safety of others in the congregation, please do not attend if you develop any symptoms of COVID-19 or if you have been asked to self-isolate.
Please phone 01625 572645 or mobile 07887 987082 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to make your booking for yourselves and any members of your household/bubble, anytime from the immediate Monday leading up to the date you wish to attend.
If by any chance, having already booked in, you then find you are no longer able to attend on a given date, please do contact Jackie again to let her know your change of plan and she will then be able to contact anyone else on her waiting list enabling them to be at that service instead of you. Many thanks and stay safe!
Our thoughts and prayers are with her Majesty the Queen and all the Royal Family as they mourn the death of His Royal Highness, Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh. May he rest in peace and rise in glory. St Oswald’s church bell will be tolled 99 times at noon tomorrow (Saturday) at the request of the Central Council of Church Bellringers.
We can be guilty of keeping our faith a private thing and be uncomfortable about discussing it. But that’s exactly what Jesus wants us to do and not just with fellow Christians either. Faith is something we all need to be more open about. We wouldn’t be Christians today if someone hadn’t shared their faith with us so it’s crucial we do the same. We are part of that chain that keeps the faith alive and even better, grows it. But how do we share our faith and where do we start? The good news is that Jesus does not expect us all to become evangelists for that’s a gift in itself. It took a visitation of the Holy Spirit to help the Disciples and they’d already spent 3 years as apprentices of Jesus.
We do not have to even become evangelists, as there are plenty of people who have a gift to do that. Instead, we can be Christians, doing ordinary things to help people, made special by the Holy Spirit. Our actions should show we are Christians but we must also be more open about our faith. If you have had a prayer answered, then tell someone. If we go to church to worship, then tell someone. If we feel powerless to help someone, then tell them you will pray for them instead. You could also wear a cross, or a fish to put your faith on show. When we meet new people and they ask us about our lives, let them know we are Christians, for it shouldn’t be the very last thing people find out about us.
A survey by the Church of England in 2015 found 56% of people surveyed said they were Christians yet only 10% of those people ever went to church. If you have only just become a Christian, one of the great thing about church is that everyone who goes is a Christian. You are among people who believe!. Of course the real challenge comes on the other 6 days of the week and that’s when we need to share our faith more and it’s never too late to start!
How wonderful this sounds today – as joyful as it was on that first Sunday morning. Imagine going to the tomb expecting to find a cold corpse and instead to find a living Jesus! This was the biggest miracle of them all!
Mary must have felt ecstatic and couldn’t wait to tell the Disciples. It’s interesting how Mary had not hidden away like the Disciples and was prepared to go and anoint Christ’s body without any fear for her own safety.
There Mary found that God had touched Jesus and he had burst through the limitations of his earthly body, revealing himself as the Risen Christ , the Saviour of the world. How magnificent and how thrilling it must have been!
Today, Christians everywhere can repeat with thanks and praise, those profound words of Job:
“I know that my Saviour lives and at the end, He will stand on this earth.”
Job 19. 25-27
Nicky Gumbel, wrote in his 2004 book “Questions of Life”how the Good News of Christianity is that God loves us and will never leave us in the mess we make of our lives. God came to earth, in the person of His Son, to die instead of us, not as well as us. And by doing this, Jesus breaks the barrier of death and restores our relationship with God. The bridge is open and we are welcome to cross it ! We have our part to play too by following Jesus and putting him first in our lives. Then, when our earthly life is done, are we free to cross the bridge Christ’s sacrifice created, so we can live forever with the Lord.
The Disciples ran away in fear from the Garden of Gethsemane, all except Peter. They went to a safe place and waited together, too frightened to leave. They were devastated by the authorities finally catching up with Jesus and appalled to know Judas had betrayed them all.
The other followers of Jesus must have been stunned by what had happened when the news spread of Jesus arrest. Some people had seen Jesus as a wise teacher but others hoped he would be the rebel leader who would rise up and free them from a life under Roman rule.
The eleven Disciples, hiding together behind locked doors, were filled with the fear they would be arrested next. They would have cried and mourned the loss of Jesus and suffered the intolerable pain and numbness bereaved people feel. But they also feared about themselves as self preservation took hold. The Disciples stayed hidden from Thursday night to Sunday and only came out when Mary came to tell them the good news of Jesus coming back to life.
Jesus’ enemies were no doubt celebrating and gloating after what they believed was a successful execution. But little did they realise the incredible significance of this execution because they had never bothered to listen to Jesus’ words. The crucifixion was only the beginning not the end.
“(Jesus) said ‘we’re going to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die. Then they will hand him over to the Romans to be mocked, flogged with a whip and crucified. But on the third day he will be raised from the dead.”
If you ever suffer a night of anguish and pain, be comforted by knowing that Jesus has been there too. It is always night time our worries and anxieties come to the surface, especially for those living alone.
Once arrested on the Thursday evening Jesus spent the rest of the night on trial. When Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor, could find no reason to sentence Jesus to death, he relied on an unruly crowd to do it for him instead.
“The soldiers to the Governor took Jesus to the Governor’s palace and called the brigade together for some fun. They stripped him and dressed him in a red toga. They plaited a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a stick in his right hand for a sceptre. They knelt before him in mockery: Bravo, King of the Jews. Then they spat on him and hit him on the head with a stick. When they had had their fun they took off the toga and put his own clothes back on him. Then they proceeded out to the crucifixion.
Matthew 27. 27-32
When we revisit the crucifixion every year, the pure horror and cruelty of the very act digs deeper into our souls. Jesus not only gave his life for ‘me’; he did so in the most horrific, degrading and barbaric way. Cliff Richard recently said he finds Easter hard because of having to recall the barbaric way Christ died. He says by contrast he feels the birth of Christ should be celebrated not just at Christmas, but every day of the year as God had come to dwell amongst us.
Finally, just before Jesus died he whispered “It is finished.” Jesus was not talking here about the act of execution but meant Jesus had completed his earthly duties and the sacrifice was met.
This was not a cry of defeat but a cry of triumph and achievement. Those very last words are what we should focus on, even though we know the best was yet to come. The bridge was about to be restored once again! Out of all the other faiths, Jesus is the only religious leader to be executed and give his life for others.
The Feast of the Passover was the most important feast day of all for the Jewish people and everyone wanted to go to the Holy City to celebrate it. The Jewish authorities wanted to arrest Jesus before the feast to avoid civil unrest and it was Judas Iscariot who made this possible in the Garden of Gethsemane.
The very human Jesus was full of fear and anguish over his coming execution. This was evident when Jesus spoke to Peter –
“The sorrow in my heart is so great that it almost crushes me. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
Matthew 26. 36-38
How very human it is not to want to be alone when being faced with something daunting and Jesus struggled to accept what lay before him. So he prayed relentlessly for hours, trying to find the spiritual strength to be able to face execution. He saw the Disciples asleep nearby , no doubt affected by the wine drank earlier and Jesus felt desperately alone and fearful. At some point Jesus had a spiritual crisis asking God
“ If it is possible take this cup of suffering from me”.
But after talking with his Father in Heaven, Jesus had a change of heart and no longer asked to be spared. Jesus knew he must be prepared to bear the burden of our sin with his own body and he accepts his fate upon the cross .
We must never underestimate how hard it was for the very human Jesus to accept God’s will must be done. Jesus really suffered mentally that night in the Garden of Gethsemane. He was only 33 years old and no one wants to die with the best years of your life still ahead of you. Jesus truly feared the physical pain and torture he was soon to be facing. But sometime that night Jesus found the courage to be the obedient son and surrender himself to God’s will.
After keeping well out of the way from the authorities by hiding in Bethany, Jesus faces a grim realisation. He realises he is being separated from being with the people He loved. He realises he can no longer play hide and seek with his persecutors. The time had finally come to step out and fully identify himself as the one true Messiah the people had been waiting for.
Jesus could have done this in many ways but he chose a simple one, to ride into Jerusalem on a donkey. He then preached openly knowing he would have to face the full wrath of the Jewish authorities . So when Jesus openly criticises the Pharisees, calling them hypocrites, Jesus’ authority is questioned. Meanwhile Judas Iscariot strikes a bargain with the Jewish leaders to tip them off when Jesus is alone. As a reward he received 30 silver coins. Judas had been the Treasurer of the group for 3 years but he was a political rebel and wanted the Romans out of his country. This was probably Judas motive for doing this.
The net is now closing in on Jesus and he knows it. So Jesus arranges for his disciples to meet him in an upper room. The Last Supper is the final meal Jesus shares with the twelve. At this meal, Jesus predicts that one of them present will betray him and he predicts that Peter will deny even knowing him before the evening is out. But how did Jesus know this? What part of Jesus, human and divine, could know what would happen at the meal and after? Not even the Disciples knew what Jesus was talking about because Jesus had evaded the enemy for so long.
On that night Jesus, very deliberately, takes the bread and wine and shares it with his disciples saying:
“This is my body which is given for you.”
And then he gives them a cup of wine saying:
“Each of you drink from it, for this is my blood which seals the Covenant between God and his people.”
But the significance of this moment was not understood by the Disciples until after the Christ’s death. After this they left the upper room and went to the Mount of Olives, all except Judas Iscariot who had gone to tip off the elders. The net was closing in on Jesus and his time on earth was coming to an end.
Here is an invitation to take a walk through Holy Week in St Oswald’s Churchyard this week. There are 5 stations in all representing various events in the last week of Jesus’ life. Some require you to peek in through the windows, others are situated outside.