We have opened up the church building again, albeit necessarily in a socially distanced way!
Under the latest Government rules we are in COVID Alert level HIGH. Worship is permitted, subject to social contact rules:
Until further notice our church building will be open for public worship (Parish Communion) at 10.30am on Sundays and at 10.30am on ThursdaysPLEASE NOTE NEW TIME!
It is possible to arrange services for Funerals, Weddings and Baptisms in church subject to Government restrictions on the numbers of people who are permitted to attend. Currently the numbers are: Funerals 30 people Weddings 15 people Baptisms 6 people If you would like to enquire about arranging any of these services, please contact us by phone 01625 422849 or by using the contact form below
The church building will NOT BE OPEN for public worship or private prayer at other times.
COVID-19 precautions will apply – see below
This is, of course, subject to any further restrictions that may be imposed during the COVID-19 emergency.
PLEASE NOTE that on Sunday 18 October, the service of Holy Communion will follow immediately after the Vestry Meeting and Annual Parochial Church Meeting, which will start at 10.30am. (see separate post)
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.
The words were written by Bishop Richard Mant (1776-1848), an English clergyman who became a bishop in Ireland in 1820. He translated a number of hymns from the original Latin (including Bright the vision that delighted) as well as writing some of his own.
There are many versions of the text. The words shown here appeared in the 1906 edition of The English Hymnal.
The tune provided here is Eastville by Kenneth Nicholson Naylor (1931-1991). It can also be used for Breathe on me Breath of God. (His best-known tune is Coe FenHow shall I sing that Majesty).
For all thy Saints, O Lord, Who strove in thee to live, Who followed thee, obeyed, adored, Our grateful hymn receive.
For all thy Saints, O Lord, Accept our thankful cry, Who counted thee their great reward, And strove in thee to die.
They all in life and death, With thee their Lord in view, Learned from thy Holy Spirit’s breath To suffer and to do.
For this thy name we bless, And humbly beg that we May follow them in holiness, And live and die in thee;
With them the Father, Son, And Holy Ghost to praise, As in the ancient days was done, And shall through endless days.
The feast of The Presentation of Christ in the Temple (which used to be called The Purification of St Mary the Virgin) recalls the story of Jesus being brought to the Temple 40 days after his birth to complete Mary’s ritual purification after childbirth, and to perform the redemption of the firstborn son, in obedience to Jewish law.
The Gospel records that Simeon had been promised that “he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ”. Simeon then uttered the prayer that would become known as the Nunc Dimittis, which prophesied the redemption of the world by Jesus:
Lord, now let your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel
In our old Book of Common Prayer there was an service of The Churching of Women, which echoed the ancient Jewish practice although it did not refer to purification, but was a service of thanksgiving that the mother had survived the childbirth.
One good reason (especially today!) for including this hymn in our collection is the tune, which is called St Veronica. It was composed by Sir Henry Francis Champneys (1848-1930). An amateur musician, he studied under John Goss, held various musical positions from 1880 to 1913, and (appropriately for a feast celebrating childbirth) he was an eminent obstetrician and chaired the Central Midwives’ Board from 1903 to 1930. He was the son of a Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral who later became Dean of Lichfield.
Saint Veronica is commemorated in the Roman Catholic Church on 12 July, but does not seem to appear in the Church of England Calendar. Well, not yet, anyway.
Verses 1 and 4 start with the word “Hail”, which for greater emphasis comes on what would otherwise be the second note of the tune. I think this is easy enough to understand when you play the tune.
Hail to the Lord who comes, comes to his temple gate! Not with his angel host, not in his kingly state: no shouts proclaim him nigh, no crowds his coming wait.
But borne upon the throne of Mary’s gentle breast, watched by her duteous love, in her fond arms at rest; thus to his Father’s house he comes, the heavenly guest.
There Joseph at her side in reverent wonder stands; and, filled with holy joy, old Simeon in his hands takes up the promised child, the glory of all lands.
Hail to the great First-born, whose ransom-price they pay! The Son before all worlds, the child of man to-day, that he might ransom us who still in bondage lay.
O Light of all the earth, thy children wait for thee! Come to thy temples here, that we, from sin set free, before thy Father’s face may all presented be.
(part of a set of hymns about the Twelve Apostles)
It may seem unfair that some of the saints have to share their Saint’s Day, especially when they were two of the Twelve Apostles, but the reason is that Saints Simon and Jude were both martyred on the same day in Beirut about 65 AD.
St Simon, nicknamed the Zealot (presumably to avoid confusion with Simon who was re-named Peter) had been a zealous observer of Jewish law, believing that this was the most important way for people to live. As a Disciple, he came to see that the most important thing was to follow Jesus and his teachings.
St Jude, the patron saint of lost causes and desperate cases, also had a nickname, Thaddeus, to distinguish him from Judas Iscariot. He is sometimes identified as the brother of Jesus – this is referenced in the second verse of the hymn. He may be the author of the Epistle of Jude, the penultimate book of the New Testament.
Two other Apostles share one Saint’s Day – St Philip and St James (the Less) on 1 May. The supposed relics of the two saints were buried side by side in the Church of the Holy Apostles in Rome on 1 May in about 560.
The words were written by Revd John Ellerton (1826-1893), who was the Vicar of Crewe Green in 1860. He wrote or translated over eighty hymns, including Saviour, again to thy dear name we raise and The day Thou gavest, Lord, is ended.
The tune Finnian was written by Christopher Dearnley (1930-2000) who was organist at Salisbury Cathedral 1957-1958 and St Paul’s Cathedral 1968-1990. Apparently he would turn up to choir practice at St Paul’s in plus-fours, much to the amusement of the choristers.
Thou Who sentest Thine apostles two by two before Thy face, partners in the night of toiling, heirs together of Thy grace, throned at length, their labours ended, each in his appointed place;
Praise to Thee for those Thy champions whom our hymns to-day proclaim; one, whose zeal by Thee enlightened burned anew with nobler flame; one, the kinsman of Thy childhood, brought at last to know Thy Name.
Praise to Thee! Thy fire within them spake in love, and wrought in power; seen in mighty stars and wonders in Thy Church’s mourning hour; heard in tones of sternest warning when the storms began to lower.
Till, with holy Jude and Simon and the thousand faithful more, we, the good confession witnessed and the lifelong conflict o’er, on the sea of fire and crystal stand, and wonder, and adore.
God the Father, great and wondrous in Thy works, to Thee be praise; King of saints, to Thee be glory, just and true in all Thy ways; praise to Thee, from both proceeding, Holy Ghost, through endless days. Amen.
There were two more verses in the original hymn:
 Once again those storms are breaking; hearts are failing, love grows cold; faith is darkened, sin abounding; grievous wolves assail Thy fold: save us, Lord, our one Salvation; save the faith revealed of old.
 Call the erring by Thy pity; warn the tempted by Thy fear; keep us true to Thine allegiance, counting life itself less dear; standing firmer, holding faster, as we see the end draw near:
(part of a set of hymns about the Twelve Apostles)
There are various stories about how Bartholomew was martyred, one of them being that he was skinned alive. For this reason he is is the patron saint of tanners, leatherworkers, bookbinders, and glove makers (among others).
Not a great deal is recorded about Bartholomew in the Bible. He is listed as one of the Twelve in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke (the Gospel of John doesn’t include such a list). He is among the list of eleven named at the beginning of Acts of the Apostles before Matthias was chosen to join them. He may be the same person as Nathaniel named in the Gospel of John as being introduced to Jesus by Philip.
Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel. Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these. And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.
However, the lack of hard facts did not deter Revd John Ellerton (1826-93) from publishing this hymn about him in 1871 while he was the Vicar of Crewe Green. Ellerton also wrote The day thou gavest.
The words are here coupled with the tune Rustington by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry (1848-1918), who contracted the “Spanish” flu in the earlier global pandemic and died in the autumn of 1918.
King of saints, to whom the number Of thy starry host is known, Many a name, by man forgotten, Lives forever round Thy throne; Lights, which earth-born mists have darkened, There are shining full and clear, Princes in the court of heaven, Nameless, unremembered here.
In the roll of Thine apostles One there stands, Bartholomew, He for whom today we offer, Year by year, our praises due; How he toiled for Thee and suffered None on earth can now record; All his saintly life is hidden, In the knowledge of his Lord.
Was it he, beneath the fig tree Seen of Thee, and guileless found; He who saw the good he longed for Rise from Nazareth’s barren ground; He who met his risen Master On the shore of Galilee; He to whom the word was spoken, “Greater things thou yet shall see”?
None can tell us; all is written In the Lamb’s great book of life, All the faith, and prayer, and patience, All the toiling, and the strife; There are told thy hidden treasures; Number us, O Lord, with them, When thou makest up the jewels Of thy living diadem.
Message on behalf of Alison Stathers-Tracey, Director of Prevention & Early Help: Cheshire East Council
“Cheshire East Council will be offering supermarket e-vouchers over half term for families with children who are eligible for free school meals. If you are working with any families that need this support, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
Name of the parent/ carer
Name of the child/ children
Name of the school
Date of birth of each child
Contact number and ideally an email address to receive the e-voucher
(part of a set of hymns about the Twelve Apostles)
The Acts of the Apostles tells us that Matthias was chosen by the apostles to replace Judas Iscariot following the latter’s betrayal of Jesus and his subsequent death. So although Matthias was not personally chosen by Jesus, he was one of the Apostles present at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended upon the early Church.
The bible tells us that the Disciples drew up a shortlist of two (Joseph, called Barsabas surnamed Justus and Matthias) and then cast lots. As the King James Bible puts it “the lot fell on Matthias”.
As the old choirboys’ joke has it… Perhaps it was a good thing Matthias wasn’t standing anywhere near the Walls of Jericho when the trumpets blew!
The words were written by Revd Henry Alford (1810-1871). After working as a parish priest he was made Dean of Canterbury in 1857, a post he held until his death. He wrote a number of hymns, including Come, ye thankful people, come but few others are sung much nowadays. The words have been slightly modified as Revd Alford didn’t think it was necessary to mention Matthias by name.
The tune (perhaps confusingly) called St James was composed by Raphael Courteville (1677-1772). The name comes from the church of St. James’s, Westminster where Courteville, who had previously been a chorister in the Chapel Royal, was appointed the first organist in 1691, with a salary of £20 per annum for himself and £4 for a blower. If he wrote any other hymn tunes, they have since been lost.
The highest and the holiest place Guards not the heart from sin; The Church that safest seems without May harbour foes within.
Within that small and chosen band, Beloved above the rest, One fell from his apostleship, A traitor soul unblest.
But ne’er the great designs of God Man’s sins shall overthrow; A better witness to the truth Forth to the lands shall go.
Matthias was the chosen one- God’s purpose cannot fail- The word of grace no less shall sound, The truth no less prevail.
Righteous, O Lord, are all thy ways: Long as the worlds endure, From foes without and foes within Preserve thy Church secure.
If you had read my last sermon in Pulpit Perspectives in the St. Oswald’s Blog you may be surprised to see me here as my Reader’s Licence should have runout last week. However, I am pleased to report that I have spoken to the Warden of Readers’ and she has said that because of COVID all licences are indefinitely extended.
Now today is The Last Sunday after Trinity. It is also known as Bible Sunday, and the theme and readings link up with my last sermon as I was suggesting that we might give more time to reading our Bibles.
And if we had any doubt, then our collect for today makes the point very clearly.
Blessed Lord, who caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: help us so to hear them, to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them, that through patience, and the comfort of your holy word, we may embrace and for ever hold fast the hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Do we read our Bibles and receive the comfort of God’s Holy Word? These days, our lives seem so full of distractions. We tend to turn on the television and leave it on, or reach for our mobile ‘phone or tablet. We all seem desperate to get instant news even though at the present it is rarely good news. We seem incapable of stepping back and reflecting on what our Christian faith has taught us to do in times of trouble.
All the people gathered together into the square before the Water Gate. They told the scribe Ezra to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the LORD had given to Israel. Accordingly, the priest Ezra brought the law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could hear with understanding. This was on the first day of the seventh month. He read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the book of the law. The scribe Ezra stood on a wooden platform that had been made for the purpose; And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up. Then Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God, and all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands. Then they bowed their heads and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground. So they read from the book, from the law of God, with interpretation. They gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading. And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept when they heard the words of the law. Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions of them to those for whom nothing is prepared, for this day is holy to our LORD; and do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, “Be quiet, for this day is holy; do not be grieved.” And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them.
Our first reading from Nehemiah tells of a time about a century after the Jewish exiles were allowed to return from Babylonia to Jerusalem after a lengthy exile. Life has not been easy. The people have suffered from hostile neighbours and crop failures. While they succeeded in rebuilding the walls and a new temple it compares poorly with Solomon’s Temple that the Babylonians destroyed when they sacked Jerusalem.
Hardship has led to disillusionment and spiritual weariness. Now Ezra the priest has been told to read the first five books of the Hebrew Bible as an act of worship.
This took several hours and is clearly not a one-man show, but is instead a joint effort by Ezra and the other spiritual leaders to help the people understand the scriptures – to understand the Lord’s will – and to understand their own responsibilities in relationship to the Lord.
This was no time for tears but a time to rejoice. They now have a temple and a city with walls. This is a holy day, a day when the Lord is present with them and a day when they can begin to rebuild their spiritual heritage.
So are we disillusioned and have a spiritual weariness? Did we feel a bit like that when we returned here to worship again after lockdown, only to find that the church is not the same? There is no singing of hymns and we can’t meet together the way we used to. We can’t even use the new kitchen to provide us with refreshments. But praise be, we are back in Church worshipping together again, and that is something for which we should all be thankful.
Let us now consider The Bible; it is a very human book. It is not only one book but a collection of many books, written in many different styles, at different times and in varying contexts. The Bible did not fall out of the sky ready-made and there is evidence that parts of both the Old and the New Testaments have been revised and rewritten over the centuries.
Within the Bible, God’s word is depicted in very dynamic terms – His word is his deed. When God speaks, things happen. We talk about God’s Word and this means His total message to mankind. God has used the Bible, down through the ages to reveal himself to us.
He has spoken through his prophets, whose words and deeds have been recorded in the Bible; he has spoken to His people through their history, by showing how he has acted throughout the ages, giving them support, succour, and hope, during times of both their obedience & when they rebelled.
When you read the Bible you are aware of the truth that those who wrote the books of the Bible had faith in God; and that their understanding of God changed, as they reworked the Bible texts to cover changing circumstances. For it is from the Bible they learnt about God, and from God they learnt how to discover the truth in the Bible.
However, without the help of the Holy Spirit and our faith to aid our understanding, the Bible is just old religious literature beloved of our fathers but dead to many of this generation. It is God alone who gives the Bible Authority and reveals it to be the Word of God. And Christ, who came to fulfil these prophesies, himself frequently referred to the scriptures.
In today’s epistle St Paul writes to the Colossians:
As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
We sometimes question why the world rejects the Bible. But why should the world believe and follow the teaching of the Bible, when some, who call themselves Christians, never open their Bibles at home from one year to the next?
A community of Christians that stops reading the Scriptures, will soon be deaf to God, and will try to fashion things the way they want. This is what must have happened in the early 13th century.
Did you know, that at that time, the Bible was not the main basis for Roman Catholic worship and the synod of Toulouse in 1229 – forbade the laity to possess the Scriptures (Bible), except the Psalter, and such portions as are contained in the breviary, (their equivalent of our prayer book) and especially denounced all translations other than Latin?
One of the reasons for the reformation was the wish of Christians to return to a true Christian religion based on the Bible. This gave the impetus to Wycliffe and Tyndale who translated the scriptures into English some 400 years ago. Today the work continues with many Christian Biblical scholars of all denominations working closely together to produce the text of the Bible which is as accurate as can presently be achieved.
This does not mean that the Bible is any easier to understand! God’s thoughts are not our thoughts.
This is good news; the last thing we want is a God who thinks and acts like us.
Jesus said to his disciples: “The sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see ‘the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven’ with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”
For example in today’s Gospel from Matthew Jesus is trying to tell his disciples about things which are outside their imagining, what Jesus’ ‘royal appearing’ will be like. Jesus takes us back, to images of the prophet Daniel. They will see, he says, ‘the son of man coming on the clouds of heaven’. This could be referring to the time after his ascension, when he returned to heaven, showing that he had been vindicated, and demonstrated that his suffering had not been in vain.
And the passage ends with Jesus saying, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”
God has given mankind intellect and this great reference book, the Bible. The Bible does not contain pat answers to all the questions we have in life, but by careful study, the use of our minds, and guided by the Holy Spirit and our friends in Christ, we too can understand the truth and wisdom of the Bible for our use in our world today.
Don’t let the current limited thinking limit you. Negativity like the coronavirus is contagious; you have to pay attention if you don’t want to catch it! Even if you are the only positive person in your family, be the one with an optimistic outlook in every situation. What we call ‘common knowledge’, often is commonly wrong!
‘The Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.’
Have people who are telling you it can’t be done factored God into the equation? If not, pay no attention. Instead of listening to people who increase your doubts, listen to the people to whom God has given wisdom, knowledge and understanding.
St Oswald’s Church Bollington has now been chosen as a Co-op Local Community Fund cause!
Our funding round runs from 25th October 2020 until 23rd Oct 2021, and we will hope to receive two lump sum payments, the first in April 2021 and the second one next November. This very welcome money will go towards completing our building development and supporting our ongoing costs in providing care and services for our local community.
Every time you shop in the Co-op using your loyalty card, three local charities benefit. You can support all three, or if you log in through the members’ portal, please select St Oswald’s Church, Bollington (and encourage your family and friends to do the same!). In addition if you buy selected Co-op branded products you will earn a percentage for the nominated local causes, as well as earning your own points to spend at your leisure. Ideal when you’re stocking up in advance for those Christmas stockings!
So, if you aren’t already a Co-op member, simply get yourself a Co-op card and use it whenever you shop at the Co-op, in person or online! You can apply for a card online here or just ask one of the check-out staff in store.
Enjoy shopping locally and thank you for your continued support.
(part of a set of hymns about the Twelve Apostles)
James has the agnomen “the Great” to distinguish him from the other Apostle, James the Less. The term Great refers to his age and/or size rather than his importance. James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were among the first Disciples to be called by Jesus. The Acts of the Apostles records that Herod the King had James executed by the sword. James is the patron saint of Spain and tradition has it that his remains are buried at Santiago di Compostela.
The following scriptural stories are referred to in the hymn: – Mark 10.37 tells us that James and John said to Jesus, “Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory.” – James, John and Peter were the three witnesses to Christ’s transfiguration as described in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. – The same three were later asked by Jesus to pray with him in the Garden of Gethsemane (but they kept falling asleep).
The words were written by Revd William Romanis (1824-1899). He was ordained deacon in 1847, priest in 1848. He was Vicar of Wigston Magna, near Leicester 1863-1888 and then of Twyford, Hampshire until he retired in 1895. He also wrote Round me falls the night.
The melody to Christus, der ist mein Leben was composed by Melchior Vulpius (1560-1616) for a funeral hymn of this title (For Me to Live Is Jesus). The harmony is by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). Vulpius was a Lutheran cantor at Weimar who composed over 400 hymn tunes. He published a hymnbook in 1609 that included the tune Vulpius (The strife is oe’r) but he may not have composed it.
Lord, who shall sit beside Thee, enthroned on either hand, when clouds no longer hide Thee, ‘mid all Thy faithful band?
Who drinks the cup of sorrow Thy Father gave to Thee ‘neath shadows of the morrow in dark Gethsemane;
who on Thy Passion thinking can find in loss a gain, and dare to meet unshrinking Thy baptism of pain.
O Jesu, form within us Thy likeness clear and true; by Thine example win us to suffer and to do.
This law itself fulfilleth,- Christlike to Christ is nigh, and, where the Father willeth, shall sit with Christ on high.