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Today we might look around us and notice the things we cannot do at church that we’d normally rejoice in doing…
- singing favourite Harvest hymns,
- admiring all the produce brought in in recent days by the children of Bollington Cross School – mountains of fruit, vegetables, tins, packets adorning every ledge and all destined for HOPE Central Foodbank
- shaking our neighbours’ hands or embracing at the Sharing of the Peace
- catching someone’s eye and smiling in acknowledgement (well – we can still do that of course, but the other person can’t really see you smiling behind the mask).
Then usually at Harvest we’d have an interactive sermon involving hordes of excited children, who’d then come around during the Offertory hymn to collect your money donations in little buckets, looking up at you like little baby birds – which one of you could refuse to empty your pockets, handbags and wallets in response to those pleading eyes?…
And those same children cannot freely roam round our church any more, nor assist at the altar for the time being.
Oh, and we cannot share the wine of Communion, only the consecrated bread. We must simply remain in our places instead of coming forward to kneel or stand at the altar-rail, whilst the Vicar in a mask comes round to serve each of us in turn where we are…
Yes, we can sit here contemplating all those things, actions, gestures, which we have come to value as part of our churchgoing, things we took for granted as part of our freedom to worship, even to the extent of not needing ever before to book our place here in advance, just assuming there would always be room for us when we turned up at the door in answer to God’s open invitation…
We can sit here today and mourn what we have lost, even if, God willing, only temporarily – but instead, from the strange vantage point of our socially distanced seat, we can choose to look around us and to take in the new perspective offered to us inside church, and to give thanks for the many blessings afforded to us by our building today:
- the flexibility of having comfy chairs that can be arranged safely in a socially distanced way
- much more floor space available round the baptistry
- the unwonted burst of light now streaming into the nave from the previously obscured windows at the back of the church
- the beautifully crafted solid wood of the new store cupboards and of the new kitchen and fire escape doors
And the new opportunities for better hospitality and welcome and nurture that our new kitchen space will offer when the time is right in the future to welcome everyone back in to share God’s banquet and those signs of the kingdom symbolised in us caring for the vulnerable, the lonely, the weary, the marginalised, the care-worn, as well as rejoicing with those who rejoice and weeping with those who weep, over a glass of sherry or a cup of tea or coffee.
Harvest Thanksgiving is a time to notice our blessings, large or small, the “daily bread” God provides, the fresh water we are privileged to drink, the ease with which most of us reach into our kitchen cupboards and need not go hungry…
O LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you, I will praise your name; for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure… For you have been a refuge to the poor, a refuge to the needy in their distress, a shelter from the rainstorm and a shade from the heat. When the blast of the ruthless was like a winter rainstorm, the noise of aliens like heat in a dry place, you subdued the heat with the shade of clouds; the song of the ruthless was stilled. On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-matured wines, of rich food filled with marrow, of well-matured wines strained clear. And he will destroy on this mountain the shroud that is cast over all peoples, the sheet that is spread over all nations; he will swallow up death for ever. Then the Lord GOD will wipe away the tears from all faces, and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken. It will be said on that day, Lo, this is.our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us. This is the LORD for whom we have waited; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.Isaiah 25:1-9
Our Old Testament reading today reminds us of God’s ultimate plan to offer an amazing, truly “world-beating” feast for all peoples to share which will be “simply the best” – and which will celebrate the destruction of the shroud that is presently cast over all humanity, the grief and fear that surrounds us as mortals – the longed for time when death has been swallowed up for ever, and God will wipe away every tear and every degradation, and we shall be made whole again.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say. Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.Philippians 4:4-9
Paul encourages us to rejoice – against all the odds and in spite of appearances to the contrary – “not to worry about anything” – keep praying, and your hearts and minds will be infused and guarded by God’s all-encompassing and healing robe of true peace, which is beyond all understanding… Hold fast to and keep in your sightline everything that is true, honourable, just, pure, pleasing, commendable, excellent and worthy of praise and keep on doing those small things that show kindness and create beauty, and share God’s rich harvest bounty with others around you who need to hear words of hope and receive your acts of generosity.
Once more Jesus spoke to the chief priests and Pharisees in parables, saying: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. Again he sent other slaves, saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.’ But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his slaves, maltreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.’ Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”Matthew 22:1-14
In our Gospel parable Jesus speaks of how all those invited to God’s banquet need to be ready to accept the invitation in the first place, but more than that, we need to put on the generous gift of the splendid wedding garment that in Jesus’ culture every good host would have offered at the entrance door, and which in the story clearly was declined by one guest who thought it was somehow demeaning to be offered another robe. Let us not in our pride or any false assumption of our self-sufficiency, turn down God’s final gift of clothing us with His grace and His love, so much more splendid and effective than our own. And let us rejoice in being God’s guests, humbly being served here at his table and so empowered to go out into the world to share that banquet of kindness and joy and peace with others.
We praise and thank you, O Christ, for this sacred feast:
for here we receive you,
here the memory of your passion is renewed,
here our minds are filled with grace,
and here a pledge of future glory is given,
when we shall feast at that table where you reign
with all your saints for ever.
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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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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
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.
And Annual Parochial Church Meeting 2020
The small print on the above Notice reads:
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
The hymn In our day of thanksgiving is often sung on the occasion of a Patronal Festival.
It is also appropriate to be sung “in remembrance of past worshippers”.
The hymn was written by Revd William Henry Draper (1855-1933). He wrote a number of hymns, the best-known being All creatures of our God and King (an English translation of words from St Francis of Assisi). He served as curate and vicar at churches in Shrewsbury among other posts. He married three times; as well as being widowed twice, three of his sons died in WW1.
The tune St Catherine’s Court was composed by Richard Strutt (1848-1927). He was the son of the Second Baron Rayleigh and was educated at Winchester and at Magdalen College, Oxford. He worked for an American bank in London, and joined the London Stock Exchange. He served as Warden and Choirmaster for over three decades at St. John’s Church, Wilton Road, London. His interests were wide ranging: He was a Fellow of the Philharmonic, Horticultural, and Zoological Societies, served on the Council of the Corporation of the Church House, and was involved with the North China and Shantung Mission, the Gregorian Society, and the Church Music Society. This seems to be the only hymn tune of his that has been published.
IN our day of thanksgiving one psalm let us offer
For the saints who before us have found their reward;
When the shadow of death fell upon them, we sorrowed,
But now we rejoice that they rest in the Lord.
In the morning of life, and at noon, and at even,
He called them away from our worship below;
But not till his love, at the font and the altar,
Had girt them with grace for the way they should go.
These stones that have echoed their praises are holy,
And dear is the ground where their feet have once trod;
Yet here they confessed they were strangers and pilgrims,
And still they were seeking the city of God.
Sing praise then, for all who here sought and here found him,
Whose journey is ended, whose perils are past:
They believed in the Light; and its glory is round them,
Where the clouds of earth’s sorrow are lifted at last.
Oswald was born into the Northumbrian Royal Family in 604, the son of Ethelfrith. When in 616 his uncle Edwin killed the king, the 12-year old Oswald fled to Scotand with his brothers and sister, and at St. Columba’s great Celtic monastery of Iona was converted to Christianity.
After the death of Edwin in 633 Oswald returned to Northumbria and was crowned king. The following year he fought and killed Cadwalla, king of the Welsh in the battle of Heavenfield, near Hexham. Oswald had a vision of Columba the night before the battle, in which he was told “Be strong and act manfully. Behold, I will be with thee. This coming night go out from your camp into battle, for the Lord has granted me that at this time your foes shall be put to flight and Cadwallon your enemy shall be delivered into your hands and you shall return victorious after battle and reign happily.”
Oswald later extended his kingdom southward and westward and invited St. Aidan to come from Iona to spread Christianity in this pagan area.
A monastery was founded in Lindisfarne which became a base for the missionary journeys of King and Bishop throughout the kingdom. Churches were built e.g. the foundation of the later York Minster; mission cells spread the Celtic traditions of St. Columba across northern England. Many villagers were converted, youths educated in monastic centres, the poor shepherds and cowherds gathered to hear the word of God, the sick were healed and the destitute fed and clothed.
Throughout his eight-year rule Oswald established law and order, and fought physically and spiritually to benefit his people In 642 he led his forces against King Penda of Mercia at the battle of Maserfeld* where he was killed and his body dismembered. His followers recovered his head and his brother, Oswy, sent the holy relics to Lindisfarne where it became an object of veneration during the life of St. Cuthbert.
Reginald of Durham recounts a miracle, saying that Oswald’s right arm was taken by a raven to an ash tree, which gave the tree ageless vigour; when the bird dropped the arm onto the ground, a spring emerged from the ground. Both the tree and the spring were, according to Reginald, subsequently associated with healing miracles. The raven is shown in the icon.
Oswald was canonised in 692 and his feast is kept on 5th August. During the Viking raids in 875 the monks fled from Lindisfarne and carried their relics with them, including the body of St. Cuthbert, the head of St. Oswald and the Lindisfarne Gospels through many flights and wanderings over many decades. Eventually, after nearly 200 years the relics were interred in Durham Cathedral.
*The site of the battle of Maserfeld is traditionally identified with Oswestry in Shropshire; arguments have been made for and against the accuracy of this identification.