Joyful July

Dear Friends

I am just returned from the very joyful wedding of my middle daughter, Lizzie, to Joe.  The sun shone, the hail drummed on the canvas, the rain poured and the wind blew, but despite it all we had a marvellous time!  They are now on honeymoon in Thailand, where we used to live while working with World Vision.  On their return they move to Glasgow to start their first jobs after Uni!


What next for our churches?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

On the church front we have been reflecting on our wonderful Jubilee celebrations in both churches, our time of prayer for Thy Kingdom Come and our Special Parochial Church Meeting.

The first item on the agenda at our new joint PCC was how to ensure that I, as Vicar, am able to see both churches each week.  Having consulted widely with congregation members in both churches, the PCC unanimously agreed that we will make some very small changes to our service times to ensure that I can attend both services each week.  St John’s will move to a 10.30am start and St Paul’s to a 9am start from Sunday September 4th for a trial period of four months.  We will review the trial before Christmas and make a final decision in the New Year.

We also considered how to develop the existing sub-groups to include a wider group of people than just the PCC.  These groups will meet six times a year in between PCC meetings.  At present we have Worship, Communications, Outreach, Prayer and Discipleship, Fabric, Finance and Pastoral Care.  If any of these groups interest you, let one of the PCC know and they will signpost you to the right person.


What next for our children?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

We start Confirmation prep in September, although we still have not got a date for a Confirmation service – our Bishops are a bit thin on the ground with Bishop Julian retiring this summer.

The work with our children at St Paul’s is under review and we hope to increase the provision for them at Sunday services.  A team are exploring offering a service for Benjamin Hargreaves families after school but need more members to join the team to make this viable.  Again, if you are interested, do let us know.  I am preaching this week from Luke where Jesus says, ‘the harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few’!


What next in terms of outreach?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

We have seen much success from the Jubilee Bash, coffee mornings, our Fairs, film nights and the Maundy service meal.  We believe we should do more fun stuff to which we can invite those who don’t come to church – if you have any great ideas, do let us know, even better, please make it happen.  St John’s have been hoping for enough sun to allow us to do a trip to Bolton Abbey one Saturday.

However, we also feel we need to meet the needs of our community.  A team of us are meeting to discuss offering a well-being course called Kintsugi Hope to those who have suffered bereavement, mental health issues and loneliness during the pandemic.  Another team are meeting to look at re-launching a group for toddlers and their carers after or before the pick-up from Benjamin Hargreaves school.  And a team are re-starting a community coffee morning at St John’s monthly.  Again, if you have a passion to work with any of these groups of people, do contact any of the PCC and they will put you in touch with the leaders from each group.


Your Kingdom Come!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Perhaps you notice a theme throughout my letters?  I hope you see that it is all about ‘the kingdom of God’.  I do have a real hope for that great day when Christ will come again and He will wipe every tear from our eyes.  However, I also believe that Christ’s kingdom has come, it is here, now, in our hearts, in our actions.  We are God’s people here on earth to demonstrate his kingdom wherever we go: in our schools, in our offices, in our hospitals, on our streets, in our homes.  Let your kingdom come!

May God richly bless you this summer,