Marvellous May

Dear JohnPaul Parish Family

Aslan is on the move!

My youngest arrived for a week at Easter and stayed for a month!  He was writing his final year dissertation, but he was also doing what he does best; talking about current affairs, cooking amazing food, sleeping long hours, introducing us to some amazing Netflix and Amazon prime TV series and reading the Chronicles of Narnia with me.  Not quite like when he was 10, since we were often on different books, but we shared some awesome moments; ‘Further up and further in’.

I have a sense that ‘Aslan is on the move’ again in Accrington.  Covid is behind us, our churches are growing again, youth are returning and relationships are starting to deepen in Connect groups, Families@5, in the children’s team at St John’s and in our pastoral work.

Last month’s highlights included:

  • A lovely Maundy Thursday meal at St Paul’s

  • Over 30 of us from both churches did the Good Friday walk up the Coppice

  • Great services on Easter Sunday in both churches and an amazing Children’s party at St John’s

  • Another good PCC with decisions on fundraising and new signs for our churches

  • A fantastic Ministry team meeting as we looked at our Vision

  • We launched our prayer course in Connect groups and sermon series on prayer – with good response.

  • A movement towards a decision on the new AV equipment at St Paul’s.

  • Just last Sunday the All Age Service at St Paul’s tried out a new style of worship with great success.

  • And the Children’s church at St John’s offered a youth input for our growing work with children and youth.

However, there were some sad things too:

  • A long time member of St John’s died: Hilda Seddon, her funeral was this week – many of the Bash community came to send her off!

  • We have struggled to get anyone to lead ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ – a wave of prayer across the Anglican communion between Ascension day (last Thursday) and Pentecost (Sunday 19th). The aim is to pray for ten days for five friends/family to come to faith.  We have been specifically praying that we can invite them to our Harvest Ceilidh and meal on 29th September.  We are still going ahead, but maybe the prayer course will galvanise prayer for next year.

  • I have noticed a resurgence of little niggles – usually in areas of growth. Teams go through a series of stages when they form; forming, storming, norming and performing.  The storming phase can seem scary, but it is a positive sign that our teams are becoming more honest, more open, more available to God’s plans.


I would value your prayers as we bid for some serious cash from the government backed ‘Community Ownership Fund’.  A very small group of us are working with fundraising specialists to present our best attempt to prove to them that we are a church in which they should invest.  We have just two weeks to pull it off and there is still a huge amount of work to do.  If we are successful, we can start repairing the steeple, roof and walls at St John’s in time for next Winter.

We also need to show that we too are fundraising (they expect a percentage of the overall costs to be covered by ourselves).  If anyone has any great ideas, or even better, is able to oversee some fundraising themselves, please let us know.  We are setting up a page on our Website and you can email in any ideas there.

Finally, thinking about our Vision for JohnPaul Parish

I mentioned that we have been working on our Vision after our encouraging Vision Day in February.  Just to remind you, our Vision is something that reminds us who we are, what we are about, where we are aiming; it gives us hope for the future.  This one is still  a work in progress, but basically it is something like this.


  • To be a Worshipping, Loving, Caring Church rooted in God

  • To trust in and see the Holy Spirit flow from St John’s, down Manchester Road, and from St Paul’s into the heart of Accrington

  • To reach out with expectation, enthusiasm, celebration and fun to embrace our community and those we meet along the way

If you have any thoughts about this, do let one of the Ministry team know.  We hope some of our more artistic people would work with the children on this further.  The statements were accompanied by a picture of the River of God from Ezekiel and Revelation.

May God bless you all!

Amanda and the team at JohnPaul Parish