Foxhill – Diocesan centre for prayer, study and mission

Activities curtailed until 1 September 2021

The announcement reads:

Dear Friends,

It has been wonderful to welcome guests back to Foxhill for our day retreats over the past weeks. Sadly, we have had to take some difficult decisions following the latest COVID restrictions.

It has been agreed, that regretfully, all residential activities must now pause until 1 September 2021. The only exceptions are the planned diocesan residential events. Once the restrictions are lifted we will continue with day events. In addition, the woodlands and grounds at Foxhill will also remain closed until 1 September 2021.

These decisions have been taken with a heavy heart, but we feel that it is prudent considering the constantly changing guidelines.

Even when our doors are physically dosed, we still remain the house of prayer, study and mission for the Diocese of Chester. The Foxhill Prayer Hub, a group of people from around the diocese, are fervently praying for you, our country and the diocese. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any prayer requests.

For the past months we have used the Northumbria Blessing as a part of our daily prayers in the Chapel and this is truly our prayer as we look forward to welcoming you once again through our doors.

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you,
wherever He may send you.
May He guide you through the wilderness,
protect you through the storm.
May He bring you home rejoicing
at the wonders He has shown you.
May He bring you home rejoicing
once again into our doors.

St Oswald’s re-opening after lockdown!

Sunday 4 October 2020

Builders Ian and Pete have finished work on the new kitchen and fire escape.

The Ministry Team have set out the chairs to allow socially distanced worship in preparation for those who have booked in for Sunday worship. I’m not sure if they are just testing the seats or exhausted after their efforts!

Our 2020 Easter Candle was brought into church and lit for the first time at the start of today’s service of Holy Communion. The candle had arrived during lockdown, and there were no public services in St Oswald’s this Easter.

COVID-19 Update

We are pleased to announce that from Thursday 3 December onwards we will be resuming our pattern of a simple said Celebration of Holy Communion at 10.30am each Sunday and Thursday
(presuming we remain in Tier 2!)

The church building will be open for Holy Communion
10.30am-11.30am on Sundays
and
10.30am-11.30 am on Thursdays


COVID-19 precautions will apply (face coverings, social distancing and providing names and contact telephone numbers)

For the required Track and Trace purposes and to ensure we have room for you, if you wish to attend on Sundays you will need to book week by week in advance please (but at the moment it won’t be necessary to pre-book for Thursday services).

HOW TO BOOK IN ADVANCE:
Please contact our volunteer box office staffer, Jackie Pengelly, making sure to speak clearly and leave a contact number if you leave an answerphone message: please phone 01625 572645 or mobile 07887 987082 or send an email to jackie.pengelly@hotmail.co.uk to make your booking for yourselves and any members of your household/bubble.

Because places are limited due to the required physical distancing between households/bubbles we ask you kindly to book in anytime from the immediate Monday leading up to the date you wish to attend. It is important that if by any chance, having already booked in, you then find you are no longer able to attend on a given date, please 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 for that service.
Thank you!

We will also be using this same pre-booking arrangement for
11.30pm Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve
and for our
10.30am Family Communion on Christmas Day!

If you would like to enquire about arranging
Funerals
Weddings
Baptisms

please contact us by phone 01625 422849 or by using the contact form below

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

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.

A new vicarage for Bollington!

The old vicarage

As reported in a previous blog item, Veronica and Dave have moved out of the old vicarage on Shrigley Road, which has now been sold. They bought their own house in Tytherington, just outside the parish boundary and will continue to live there for the foreseeable future. The diocese and the PCC are happy with this arrangement and Veronica will continue to be our Vicar for a good while yet!

The proceeds of the sale have allowed the diocese to purchase a new, more practical vicarage for the parish of Bollington. This is a brand-new house, located behind Bollington Medical Centre on the Bellway Waterhouse Mill development. The new vicarage will be rented out* until the time comes for a new Vicar of Bollington to be appointed at some future date. The new Vicarage is well-located right at the heart of Bollington, has a manageable garden, and is well insulated to keep energy bills to affordable levels.

The new property was inspected by the Diocesan Surveyor, the Archdeacon of Macclesfield and the delighted present incumbent this week.

*The “To Let” sign is already up!

Kitchen and storage improvements

The photo above (from Bollington Photo Archive) shows how the “west” end of St Oswald’s looked when the church was first built. Below is how it looks now.

The parish has submitted a Statement of Need document to the Diocesan Advisory Committee for them to give us informal advice about redeveloping our kitchen facilities. It reads as follows:

Statement of Need

1. In addition to our Sunday and Mid-week Eucharists and our monthly Family Worship Services, our church building is presently used on a regular basis, for

  • Praise and Play Parent and Toddler Group on Tuesday mornings
  • RiCH Youth Group after school on Thursday afternoons
  • Recorder Group on Friday afternoons
  • Choir and Orchestra practices on Thursday evenings
  • Faith Hour discussion and prayer meetings on Wednesday afternoons
  • #quietspace: the church is open to visitors during daylight hours on Wednesdays for prayer and reflection (self-service refreshments are available)

Beyond these weekly commitments, on a regular basis we have the “occasional offices” such as Funerals, Baptisms and Weddings, All Souls’ Day Services, Lent Groups and Lent Charity Lunches, monthly Mothers’ Union meetings, PCC meetings and Growth Action Planning meetings. The Church also hosts occasional Deanery Synod meetings, Bollington Festival Choir Concerts, Maundy Thursday Agape Meals and Watch of Prayer, numerous Christmas events, Family Fun Days in the summer holidays, Fundraising activities, Teaching Opportunities for schools and uniformed groups, our annual Schools’ Experience Weeks offered to all five of our local primary schools, and Bollington Cross School’s PTA regularly offer refreshments prior to their children’s events such as annual Reception Class welcome services, Harvest Festivals and Christmas Plays.

2. An extension with fully accessible glazed main entrance porch and three toilets plus an adjoining small storage room was opened in December 2012, using a large proportion of the proceeds of the sale of Holy Trinity Church, Kerridge. The PCC decision to allow the closure of Kerridge Church in 2009 was made with the plan that we would use the sale proceeds to improve the comprehensive welcome and hospitality provision at St Oswald’s, now the Parish Church of Bollington. The new extension (together with our subsequent beautiful community mosaic installation of 2014) has signalled to the local community that we are indeed a vibrant, healthy Church. However this positive image is marred by the inadequate and unsightly kitchen facility that impacts on the eye of the newcomer as they now enter our building from the new porch.

Since its installation under a Faculty granted on 30 July 1999, the existing kitchen/servery hatch and adjacent space (formerly housing an accessible loo) has served its original limited purpose well. However, now that St Oswald’s is our only place of Anglican worship and outreach, our limited catering facilities are restricting our growth, given the ever-increasing necessity of finding innovative ways to accommodate the needs of young and old alike. With inadequate washing-up facilities, limited &/or inaccessible storage cupboards, no fridge, no cooking facilities, and a cramped (and at times unsafe) serving hatch and with only room for two kettles or a small urn to heat water for drinks, we recognise the urgent need for expansion. The consensus is that we need a larger, more fully equipped kitchen so that we are able to offer a wider range of refreshments to our congregation and also importantly to the variety of groups presently using the church, plus other community groups who might be encouraged to use the church in the future. We need greater floor space within the kitchen facility and far more work surfaces so as to allow safe and proper preparation of food and drink, and to enable speedy service of refreshments to all, including members of our regular congregation, our young peoples’ groups and other existing users. Ideally we also need to create better and more discreet storage space for our eleven large and four small folding tables and the rack of 50 stacking chairs, when not in immediate use.

3. Following initial advice from the DAC Secretary in July 2015, reinforced by comments from our Archdeacon in August 2015, we were encouraged to “be bold” in our plans as we consider possible ways forward. The Archdeacon has also suggested that funds may well be available to us as a PCC from the net proceeds of the sale of the former Vicarage, up to a maximum of £20,000, only for use on a mission project, into which category substantial improvements to our kitchen facilities would indeed fall. In considering any plans, the DAC Secretary Paul Broadhurst ventured that “tinkering with your existing west end arrangement is highly unlikely to be the best way forward.” Consequently the PCC is considering two possible proposals, the first idea offered by David Nixon (a student of architecture from our congregation) and the second suggestion offered by our Church Quinquennial Architect, Mark Pearce:

The proposed options can be downloaded by clicking on the highlighted text. each file may take some time to download!

  • (DN option) To reconstitute the kitchen facility in its present location, replacing the current inadequate narrow serving space and store area in such a way as to create an open plan kitchen with worktops/serving counters; to provide much more adequate cupboard space (both wall-mounted as well as below the new work surfaces) for all crockery, glasses, cutlery and other equipment, including cleaning materials; to retain the utility sink; to install a variety of kitchen units and appliances including double sink, hob and oven, fridge, instant boiling water dispenser, dishwasher. This option would necessitate the additional creation of enough storage for our stacking chairs and folding tables, which could be achieved within the former main entrance porch by internally blocking up the outside doorway and maybe replacing the immediately adjacent window at the “west” end of the “south” wall of the nave with a new fire-exit emergency door.
  • (MP option) To relocate kitchen into the former main entrance porch, incorporating most of the improvements envisaged above, again internally blocking up the former main entrance doorway; then to create storage cupboards along the long “back wall” of our existing kitchen/former loo to give enclosed space for our stacking chairs and folding tables; to re-site the existing utility sink within these wall cupboards, together with storage space for cleaning and flower-arranging equipment. This option would have the benefit of also creating much more flexible and open space at the “west” end of the church. As with the first option, Health & Safety rules may also require us to replace the adjacent window at the “west” end of the “south” wall of the nave with a new fire-exit emergency door.

4. At present, our one (awkwardly placed) sink and the single work surface are not sufficient to allow us to cater for anything more adventurous than cakes/biscuits/tea/coffee/juices and are inadequate in catering for increasingly large numbers of people. Currently only a maximum of two people can work (albeit with difficulty) in the enclosed space at any given time. There is no room for a fridge or any other appliance. Inviting greater use of the church building by local community groups/societies is hampered by our limited catering facilities. By providing better kitchen facilities and a more open and flexible space (to complement our new extension) we would hope to increase the use of the building by groups from the wider community, with the added bonus of increasing our income. (For more ambitious catering occasions, as a congregation we are presently able to access the neighbouring Bollington Cross School Hall, but this is subject to permissions, restrictions, payment and other conditions of hire as may be set out by the Head Teacher and Governors of the School pro tem.) We are a forward-looking Church, wanting to invite the community to participate more in activities and services within our own building, including those events that attract larger numbers, such as Christingle Services and Nativity Plays, but also thinking on a more moderate scale where we could offer refreshments after Funerals or Baptisms when families do not always wish to move on to another venue afterwards. We need to be able to offer suitable facilities for refreshments, more safely, quickly and efficiently, whilst spending time with our guests and ministering to them in a more open and unhindered way.

It was agreed at our PCC Meeting 30 January 2017 (12 in favour, 1 abstention) to send our SoN, accompanying photos and outline plans to the Diocesan Advisory Committee for informal advice.

St John’s Bells Ring Out Again!

Sunday 8 January 2017

The bells from the former St John’s church at Bollington have now been re-installed at St Thomas’s church at Stockton Heath, near Warrington, where the vicar, Revd Michael Ridley, is a former curate of Bollington.

Many bellringers turned up to “have a go” after the newly installed peal of bells was blessed by Bishop Peter, including a team from Bollington/Prestbury. Here is a short burst…

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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A new home for the bells from St John’s

WP_20160410_16_58_48_Pro[1]The bells from St John’s Bollington were blessed and dedicated at their new home, St Thomas’s, Stockton Heath at a service on 10 April 2016. Present at the service were a number of parishioners and former bell-ringers from Bollington.

It was desirable to keep the bells within the Chester diocese, and St Thomas’s was the only church available with a tower of suitable size. Extensive repairs to the fabric of the church were necessary before the bells could be installed. The vicar at Stockton Heath, Revd Michael Ridley, was a curate at Bollington in the 1980s.

As well as the eight bells from Bollington, there are two new treble bells (a gift in memory of a parishioner) and the former school bell (the smallest bell – this will not be part of the peal, but will sound the hour). They will be installed over the coming weeks and should be ready for ringing early in January 2017.

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