November 2021 Update
I’m not quite sure where November has gone, but since my last post we have been extremely busy at Christ Church and in the community.
On the 2nd November 2021 a service for All Souls was held at Christ Church. The day time service was held on a weekday for the first time with an evening service being held at St.Mary Magdalene Clitheroe the previous Sunday evening.
I believe this was a very moving and respectful service which was well attended. Candles were lit in a loved one’s memory.
to your servants,
with your saints,
where sorrow and pain are no more neither sighing,
but life everlasting.’
What an enjoyable afternoon was held on Sunday the 7th November 2021 with the Clitheroe Ukulele Orchestra. Postponed from last year this was their first concert for some while.
I have never been to anything quite like it. If you arrived feeling a bit sad and gloomy you certainly went home with a huge grin on your face.
We are thankful that the event was supported by the village and we hope to bring the orchestra back next year. Over £350 was raised and some of our village friends said they had thoroughly enjoyed themselves and it would be good to return home in the light.
Following our Tuesday Communion service, after our teacakes of course, we began our travels with St Paul. It was a very informal, laid back study called ‘Overflowing Grace’. Our discussions centred around St. Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians
Throughout November these sessions have continued and we have enjoyed a very challenging subject about ‘giving’ and how St Paul encourages us to understand giving as the overflowing of God’s grace and as sowing a seed of spiritual blessing.
Remembrance Sunday on the 14th November 2021 saw members of our village turn out to remember those killed in the World Wars and subsequent wars. The names of ‘the Fallen’ were read out and a two minute silence held, before going into church for the service.
If you have visited the war memorial in the churchyard besides the wreaths you will have seen a beautifully carved poppy. This was made by Ian and Lynn Barker who enjoy woodcraft as a hobby. This year they made wooden poppies with proceeds going to British Legion Poppy Appeal. A donation of £50 was given to the appeal.
This coincided with the closure of the COP 26 Conference in Glasgow. We prayed that the Glasgow Climate Pact struck would have a positive and lasting impact, binding us in a sense of urgency and determination to make a difference for the good of all people.
The Way Forward team continued to discuss comments from the survey, the session concentrated on Children and special services. This is very time consuming but we are making progress. Some suggestions have already been implemented. Early on in the New Year we are hoping that the audit will have been completed and an action plan developed for our PCC to review. This is not an easy task, but essential if Christ Church is to remain a presence for the future.
Our Patronal Festival ‘Christ the King’ was celebrated on the 21st November 2021. We had hoped to invite a Bishop to preside and preach on this occasion but unfortunately the Bishop was fully booked. Instead we welcomed Our Priest in Charge the Reverend Canon Andrew Froud affectionately referred to as Andy.
Andy made a fantastic substitute. Thank you Andy it was lovely having you with us and listening to you preach on the Kingdom of Heaven.
In the afternoon we had a Messy Church service party to celebrate Christ the King. The session opened with everyone trying on hats and deciding which Jesus would have worn.
A party would not be complete without party games and hot dogs. It was a great afternoon being led by Joanne Travis our Sunday Club leader.
Thank you again Joanne, the children and parents certainly enjoyed themselves and I believe feedback was amazing.
Plenty of activites were on offer including trying on the nativity outfits made by the Craft and Chatter group.
Thank you to everyone involved for all your hard work. These will be used at our All Age, Live Nativity on the 12th December 2021.
I finally made it into Worston Mission on the 18th November 2021 when I attended the new Christian Book Club. It is an amazing place just like a Tardis with a large room and kitchen facilities. The history of the Mission was detailed in photographs on the wall and there was a memorial to the fallen on the wall. I will take some photographs when we meet again. The small group had read ‘The Great Divorce’ by C.S.Lewis. The story is about a Bus Ride from Hell to Heaven. Time sadly caught up with us and the same book will be discussed further at the meeting on January 27th 2022. Meetings have now changed to the fourth Thursday in the month. The next book will be ‘Mere Christianity’ again by the same author. If you would like to attend then contact Chris Hegg on 07724582991 or email@example.com for further details and to book your place.
The Knife Angel Lancashire was hosted at Blackburn Cathedral this month.
This is a national monument Against Violence and Aggression. It is a 27 feet high sculpture made by the British Ironwork Centre from over 100,000 knives seized by police or handed in and taken out of circulation and off the streets.
The sculpture was created specifically as a focus for education and events highlighted both the negative effects of violent behaviour and our critical need for social change. As our Blackburn Diocese moves forward with Vision 2026 a new congregation has been formed at a local high school at St. Christopher’s C of E High School Accrington. Over 75 young people were involved and it had been planned for two years. How wonderful that ‘Healthy Churches are Transforming Communities’ and Vision 2026 is happening.
The Blackburn Diocese Coronavirus briefing on the 17th November 2021 reported that there were extreme pressures on those working in health and social care and NHS systems were under almost unprecedented levels of strain. I think we are all aware of this from the TV, newspapers and our own personal experiences.
We have been asked to go on supporting health and social care staff both in our churches and communities and of course keep them in our prayers.
In our own village there has been an increase in those affected by Covid and we hope and pray that they make a good recovery.
As I type this we have become increasingly aware of a new variant strain named Omicron. More scientific evidence of how Covid vaccines and booster jabs are able to resist this variant will be available in three weeks time. In the mean time new Covid restrictions are being introduced, including the wearing of face masks in shops and public transport.
On the 28th November 2021, Advent Sunday we lit our first Advent candle. Reverend Catherine explained that the candles on the Advent wreath symbolise hope, love, joy and peace.
Some denominations consider the fourth candle to mean purity and most use a fifth candle called the Christ candle, that is lit on Christmas Day to remind Christians of the light, Jesus brings to the world.
The Posada journey began and a new set of figures were blessed on their way. These figures of Joseph, Mary and a donkey are being passed around our village children’s homes. Covid Note :- They can be easily cleaned and sanitised.
Don’t forget that during Advent, the Diocesan booklet ‘After God’s Own Heart’ is available at the back of church. This provides a pattern of daily reading. The season of Advent encourages us to watch and wait for the coming of King Jesus.
Each day there is a portion of Samuel to be read alongside a reflection written by a contributor from the Diocese.
Following on for Christmas, the Church of England ‘At the Heart of Christmas’ will be available again at the back of church. This is a small booklet of stories and Meditations for the twelve days of Christmas.
The booklet is an invitation to everyone to ponder about the extraordinary events of the first Christmas and what they might mean for us now and in the years ahead.
We look forward to welcoming you to one of our services over Advent or Christmas. These are all detailed in the Village Newsletter also featured on our church website. Alternatively you should have received a paper edition through your letterbox, if you are a Chatburn or Worston resident.
As we came out of church on Advent Sunday we were greeted with a covering of snow following Storm Arwen, which had caused extensive damage. Thousands of people were without power and three people were killed. This was our first real taste of winter which had been fairly mild up till then.
As we wait for our Lord’s coming:
We ask you to grant us peace.
Peace in our homes, peace in our hearts, when the world spins us out of control.
Help us to stay focused on You this Advent season, particularly with such uncertainty about the new variant.
Thank you for loving the whole world enough to send the greatest gift, Your Son, Jesus Christ.
October 2021 Update
This month has been very busy both with church services and social events.
The Coronavirus Task group briefing on the 7th October 2021 set the scene at the beginning of the month.
‘As you have noticed, Coronavirus briefings which once appeared daily are now as uncommon as fuel tankers!’
Thankfully this situation seemed to resolve itself and people were being sensible about filling their tanks.
Towards the middle of the month some balmy autumn temperatures cheered us up with our last glimpse of summer. This was lovely after all the rain when it was feared we may need Noah’s Ark.
The reservoirs in the Lakes were beginning to fill up, although we were still advised to conserve water wherever possible.
The task group remarked that it was an odd time, on one hand people had resumed normal life and on the other they had remained cautious as the Ribble Valley Covid figures increased above the national average.
At Christ Church we have remained cautious whilst trying to extend our activities as much as possible.
On the 1st October 2021 a fashion show was held which resulted in raising a magnificent sum of £500. This was divided between the school and church. It was a good night and a first for the Friends of Chatburn School and the church, working together on a fund raising event.
On the 3rd October 2021 a very special, moving and beautiful Confirmation Service took place in the evening at Christ Church. The Right Reverend Dr. Jill Duff Bishop of Lancaster led the service and confirmed our candidates, Tom, Sam, Julie, Adele and Nicola.
We were all asked to pray after the laying of hands.
Defend, O Lord, these your servants with your heavenly grace, that they may continue yours for ever,
and daily increase in your Holy Spirit
more and more until they come to your everlasting kingdom.
It was a great occasion, as confirmation services had not been held at Christ Church for many years. Bishop Jill was so inspirational. I could have listened to her all night.
The church had been beautifully decorated to reflect an autumn theme ready for our Harvest Festival and of course refreshments were available after.
Delicious cakes were provided by Christine and Julie our expert in house bakery team. Bishop Jill told me afterwards that she had really enjoyed the cakes.
Bishop Jill was very interested to hear how we were progressing with Vision 2026. It was a great opportunity to tell her about our ‘Way Forward’ initiative and how a small group were still sifting through the many comments, so that an action plan for the future could be planned.
On the 10th October 2021 an All Age Harvest Festival was held followed by a bring and share meal. The theme of the service was ‘Sharing God’s Goodness.
We were introduced to a new hymn by Reverend Anne Hardacre, ‘We take God’s Book of nature’. The words have a relevant message for today particularly with the COP26 summit. This convention will bring parties together to accelerate action towards goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. ( Glasgow 31st October to 12th November 2021).
Reverend Catherine gave a very interactive talk, which she introduced by showing us a Mexican Pinata. This was traditionally filled with candies, oranges, nuts and sometimes even money. Ours was filled with Quality Street! Ronnie and Ben tipped it upside down and all the sweets fell out. Reverend Catherine explained how we would share these with people just like the earth’s resources rather than keep all the sweets for ourselves. It was a lovely demonstration and led us in to the hymn ‘Thank You Lord for this New Day’ but with adaptations for Harvest. We thanked God for harvest gifts, the sun and rain amongst others. The music group played for this hymn and it was with great delight that were able to welcome Tom on guitar to the group. Well done Tom it’s not easy performing in public.
Along with the harvest gifts from Chatburn School who held their harvest service in church on the 6th October 2021 our gifts have gone to the Ribble Valley Food bank and Monetary gifts were sent to Bishop Julian’s annual Harvest Appeal.
The Cheese and Wine and Silent Auction of Items and Promises was held in Chatburn School on the 15th October 2021.
It was a very well organised social event, raising £1,500 for church funds. People were very generous in donating items and promises for the event. Our thanks go to everyone and especially the support given by local businesses who have struggled throughout the Pandemic.
All the social events including the Clitheroe Ukulele Orchestra which is happening on the 7th November 2021 were planned prior to the Pandemic.
#Hope Pod Podcasts have been available on the Diocese You Tube Channel. These have been inspired by the Three Unlock themes which I have spoken about previously. Lament, Mission, and Thanksgiving and looked at the church in changing times. The Church has been required to pivot over the past two years, to face the challenges which lay ahead and to consider where the Church wants to be in the near future. The Hope Pod will run for six weeks and is a video/audio podcast series which has been created by the Diocese for us here in Lancashire.
10th -16th October 2021 was ‘Prison’s week’ during which time we were asked to pray for prisoners, prison staff and chaplains and not forgetting the ‘victims of crime’.
Sunday the 24th October 2021 was Bible Sunday when we gave thanks for the way in which the Bible brings guidance, hope and health to people everywhere. Derek offered prayers for the Bible Society and other organisations.
We pray that here at Christ Church we may all be renewed in love of the Scriptures, that through the study of God’s word we might encounter, Jesus and allow ourselves to be transformed by His words and actions. In the spirit of Vision 2026, by undertaking the mission of ‘Healthy Churches Transforming Communities’ along with our own mission/vision ‘ Growing together in faith and sharing God’s love with everyone.’
At the end of the month another Coronavirus Update was issued mainly relating to the rate of of coronavirus infection increases. It described how our clergy and church leaders were finding life more difficult and the dilemma being faced. On one hand with some people in congregations behaving as if the pandemic was history and others still cautious and wanting to re introduce measures.
The task group reminded us about the dignity and importance of what we are doing in worship. It changes us and it changes the world and more than anything else we need to be gathering as Christians.
It advises a ‘steady hand on the tiller’ and not reacting to every headline or constantly changing procedure in response to yesterday’s data.
We should be carrying on with sensible measures ensuring spaces and that hand sanitiser is available.
We are also need to be ready for tighter measures if the Government is forced to bring in Plan B. The Diocese wish to reassure everyone that it is ‘vanishingly unlikely that we will have to stop in-person worship again’
The infection rates remain high across the county but there are encouraging signs of stabilisation or even slightly decreasing which is good news indeed.
The task force report that a significant contributing factor is children picking up the virus in school and then passing it on to parents.
During the month plenty of opportunities were offered by the Diocese to explore God’s call on their lives, from their homes.
On the 3rd November 2021 there are two separate events, one for those interested in finding out more about becoming an Authorised Lay Minister and another especially for women who would like to know more about Ordination from a team of trainee and experienced female clergy. Both calls start at 7.30pm and if you are interested email Katherine.
Canon Andy Froud and Chris Hegg have sent out invitations to the new Worston Christian Book Club which will be meeting at 7.30 pm at Worston Mission House on the third Thursday of each month. This will commence on the 18th November 2021. If you would like to book a place contact details are as follows.
Email Chris Hegg or 07724582991 or Email Andy Froud or 01200423317
It is free of charge and anyone is invited to attend whether a practising Christian, ‘lapsed’ Christian or of no faith. It will be an opportunity to meet fellow bookworms and discuss themes from books by well-known Christian authors. The first few meetings will focus on books by C.S. Lewis.
I am so pleased that we are using the Mission in Worston which I have talked about in some of my previous bulletins and at PCC.
In November a Bible study will be held at Christ Church after the Tuesday Communion Service. This commences on the 9th November 2021 and runs for four weeks. An evening group will be held at St Paul’s Church Low Moor starting on the 3rd November 2021 at 7pm and a zoom link will be available for those unable to attend. The theme for the autumn study is St Paul’s Letters to the Corinthians which has been chosen by Canon Andy. The best known passage is in Corinthians 1, Chapter 13 and reflects on love and will be familiar. ‘Love is patient and kind…………..’
So to end my update.
A Prayer from the Blackburn Diocese.
We are not people of fear:
we are people of courage.
We are not people who protect our own safety:
we are people who protect our neighbour’s safety.
We are not people of greed:
we are people of generosity.
We are your people God:
giving and loving,
wherever we are,
whatever it costs.
For as long as it takes,
wherever you call us.
July 2021 Update
On the 9th July 2021 the Diocesan Corona Virus Task Group sent out a letter by email confirming that most remaining lockdown restrictions were to be withdrawn from 19th July 2021. The letter referred to the excitement of many parishes but also raised a lot of questions.
On the 9th July 2021 Boris reminded us that the Pandemic was not over and the new Delta variant made up 98% of all infections.
The Recovery Group as they are now referred to met on the 14th July 2021 and sent their own bulletin out before receiving detailed guidance from the Church of England. Needless to say, minutes after they had sent their own bulletin the Church of England responded.
From July 19th 2021 (Freedom Day) we were allowed to sing in church and the size of choirs would not be be limited. Regulations on social distancing and face masks could be withdrawn and the possibility that there would be no need to keep a record of those people attending.The Holy Communion Cup or Common Cup as it is known would also be permitted.
Given the above notification Reverend Catherine discussed the position with our priest in charge Revd. Andy Froud and the church wardens. It was decided that at Christ Church we would be moving forward very slowly because we want our congregation to feel safe. In fact the Diocese had indicated that church leaders know their own communities better and would be best placed to make informed decisions about how to proceed. Information on this appeared in the pews. We are certainly moving forward.
At Christ Church hand sanitizer is still available at the church entrance and exit. The QR code for signing in is still available and names will be taken of those attending for the time being. People will be asked to wear a mask on entering church until seated. Once seated, masks can be removed, although you may wear masks if that is your preference. Hymns will be displayed on the overhead screen and will be limited to three at each service.
The giving of the Peace will remain as now when we wave or offer a peace sign to one another rather than moving around church and offering a handshake. Holy Communion will remain in one kind for the time being. An update on this will be received shortly and whether a move to individual glasses of wine will be introduced, similar to our Methodist’s friends.
I think it is a case of see how it goes and people taking personal responsibility, but as a church we need to look after our vulnerable people and move forward in a safe manner.
So what has been going on at Christ Church over the month, again it has been a very busy month.
On the 11th July 2021 an All Age service based on the theme Holidays and Holy days was enjoyed by 10 children and 20 adults. You can imagine the scene with children encouraged to wear holiday clothes and bring their spades and buckets. Sand pits were located at the back of church so that a spiritual sand treasure hunt could take place, all part of Reverend Catherine’s talk about Jesus going on holiday at Passover time when everyone went up to Jerusalem.
The items from the sand treasure hunt were placed in a bucket for all to see and as you can see they all refer to the ‘Fruits of the Spirit’
Unfortunately I was unable to attend, but I believe the ice cream cones went down well at the end of the service.
The Sunday after it was lovely to hear about Grace being presented with a trophy for being the school’s Christian Ambassador and Ben received a trophy for being a helpfull member at school. How absolutely wonderful that these two young church members are practising their Christian values in the community. Well done to you both from all at Christ Church.
I notice Ben from your Newsletter 55 that your sunflower which you brought to church last month is now over half a metre tall. By the time I produce this update I think it will be much taller. I hope it is still growing well?
The Way Forward comments forms have now been collated and a note of every comment has been made including those from the initial meeting. It is very encouraging to receive so many positive comments and I am sure you will be hearing about the way forward shortly. Watch this space.😃
The Memorial garden turf and that laid next to the church path had begun to grow but with the baking weather we experienced through the month caused it to struggle. Some of the hydrangeas have been replanted to give continuity at the west end of church along the pipe line. The newly planted yew hedge continues to do well and doesn’t seem to have suffered during the dry spell.
The torrential rain which arrived towards the end of the month was just what the grass needed. A longer hose pipe was purchased to help with the watering during the dry hot weather.
Derek and Anne Hardacre have worked hard on removing the skirts on the Lime trees at the front of church. This takes some doing, so our grateful thanks go to them for undertaking this task.
Work has been undertaken to remove a tree growing in the church wall and ivy removed so that re pointing of the wall can be undertaken. Overhanging branches have also been cut down. Philip and a friend worked very hard in the hot weather and we thank them for all their hard work.
The weather has been so hot that work on the Memorial Garden has been slow but given a cooler spell it will continue.
On the 8th August 2021, the All Age Service is entitled ‘The Bread of Life’. Children will be making some bread and the song ‘Bread and Fishes’ by Alan Bell and made famous by the Houghton Weavers will be sung by the congregation. For a change this will be accompanied by Roy Porter on guitar and me on piano. I will let you know how this goes next month. !!!
It is good to know that our neighbours in Christ Chatburn Methodist Church are reopening on the 8th September 2021. The church has been re decorated and a fresh programme of mid-week services is planned beginning at 10.30 am on that date. (Worship on Wednesday)
When the weather changed and the much needed rain fell it was good to be able to watch the Olympics Tokyo 2020. This was not quite the same as the stadiums were empty as visitors were not allowed due to high rates of Covid in Tokyo.
Towards the end of the month ‘Pingate’ or as the Diocese calls it the ‘Pingdemic’ continued to make the headlines and thousands of people thoughout the country, including the Brown Cow have been required to self isolate after receiving the dreaded ping. A number of items have also been absent from supermarket shelves because there have not been enough staff in our distribution centres and truck drivers to deliver the food. Many industries and businesses have been affected. The government decided to exempt certain key workers from the need to isolate.
From the 16th August 2021 this will not be the case and the rules will change again. It is encouraging to note that Covid infection rates are continuing to fall and experts consider that we may now be over the third wave. It will take time for the situation to become clear and we must continue to be patient and careful.
I am reminded of this short prayer which I use often.
The Serenity Prayer. ( Attributed to the Christian writer and theologian Reinhold Neibuhr 1882-1971).
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.
June 2021 Update
As I write this the road map out of lockdown has been delayed and that the existing restrictions will remain in place until 19th July 2021.
There is a report of another new Covid-19 variant Delta + which has been detected in the UK and is labelled a variant of concern by Public Health England.
Although Covid numbers are now reducing slowly our region continues to be badly hit by the Delta variant and the Ribble Valley was the third highest in the UK earlier in the month. This is dispiriting particularly while other areas of the country remain relatively low although infections are now rising in other parts of the country. Advice currently is to minimise travel out of the area. The new government Health Secretary is saying that we will need to learn live with the virus. Next month we will learn what opening up as a country will mean for us- no masks taking responsibility for your own actions rather than government rules?
One good thing is that the number of wedding guests can now be based on a risk assessment of the church capacity with social distancing rather than a set number of thirty.
Congregational singing indoors is still not allowed and people find this difficult to understand when all these football fans have been singing in stadiums throughout the Euros.
Reverend Andy and Reverend Catherine received a very encouraging letter from Bishop Jill regarding the Benefice service for ‘Thy Kingdom Come’. This is printed in the July/August Newsletter if you wish to read it.
Our church wardens Daphne and Valerie were sworn in at St Jame’s Church Clitheroe. Due to restricted numbers just the wardens and incumbents from around the Whalley Deanery could attend. Our thanks go to both wardens for all their hard work during the Pandemic which has been a very challenging time. Please continue to remember them in your prayers as we begin to move out from lockdown and look to the future.
On the 18th June 2021 I attended a Vision Champion gathering on zoom led by Carolyn Barton, Vision Champion Coordinator. The aim of the meeting was to discuss the updated Vision 2026 plan ‘Healthy Churches Transforming Communities.’
The meeting broke into breakaway groups of four and we were given three questions to discuss and feedback to the rest of the group.
These related to the ‘Unlock - Lament- Thanksgiving- Mission theme which I referred to in my May update and the unlocking of the Diocese of Blackburn.
We discussed what we lamented during lockdown what we could give thanks for and the areas of mission which were opening up as a result of the Pandemic.
One thing that emerged from our discussions was that there were far more positives in church life as a result of the Pandemic than negatives. Who would have thought that?
Carolyn gave us a brief recap of the Vision 2026 document. She said that a culture of faith and growth had taken place across our Diocese and there was increased of people exploring their vocation.
The demand for devotional materials had increased and an encouraging increase in prayer events.
Carolyn also told us that many clergy were interested in coming to work in the Diocese because of what they were seeing with Vision 2026.
The main change in the new plan is a step change in that rather than prioritising work with children we should be encouraging and inspiring our children and young people.
The updated plan is a new start and that we should be looking at our vision for our own churches within the overall umbrella of Vision 2026.
This is what we have been doing at Christ Church, ensuring our vision encompasses the principles of Vision 2026.
Carolyn said that each church would have differing visions but we should be aiming for ‘healthy churches’ both looking in and out. It will be important to set priorities for the next 3 to 5 years. Volunteers can be in short supply but we must pray as a team, however small, exploring God’s work for our church.
On June 22nd 2021 we held an open meeting which was called ‘The Way Forward’ to enable us to discuss how we can move forward in our church and community following lockdown. It is an opportunity to revisit the work we undertook in the Mission and Worship group and to build on it.
Eleven people attended and a very productive meeting took place. Members of the congregation who could not attend were invited to make comments on a special form under different headings.
The headings were -
- Children (groups, school, during services)
- Types of services for Worship
- Social events which draw people together
- Mission which draws people into church
- Special services and events
- Our church building
- Fund raising
- Community looking out (working with other groups)
- Groups and activities (in and out of church)
- Advertising the church in Chatburn (paper, Website, Facebook)
There is still time to make comments and forms can be found at the back of church. Reverend Catherine has also written an article in the July/August newsletter asking the village for any comments they would like to make about the church.
Once these have been collated the results will be made known and an action plan will be forthcoming. One thing is clear we will need more volunteers to come forward and help if we are to deliver our vision. Would you consider volunteering?
During the month a very enjoyable All Age service was held ‘Growing the seeds of God’s Kingdom’.
The service focussed on the Parable of the Mustard Seed. Reverend Catherine told us that the kingdom of God can be grown with the smallest of actions, it is fast growing and strong. A time lapsed video of a seed growing into a beautiful sun flower was shown on the screen and Joanne found the beautiful anthem ‘For the beauty of the earth’ by John Rutter to accompany it. Thank you Joanne I was inspired (but I always am with anthems by John Rutter)
At the messy activity at the back of church Ben, Jack and Grace had planted some cress seeds which they showed to the congregation. Ben brought in his sunflower plant that he had grown from seed.
We all received a packet of mustard seeds and a tomato plant that Reverend Anne had brought to the service.
The Memorial Garden on the right at the back of the graveyard was in a very sorry state and needed urgent work to make it tidy, manageable and more importantly respecting the fact that people’s ashes have been interred here.
A good start was made weeding the area and some new turf laid. Work will continue over the following weeks to transform this area and the area of garden next door which has not been tended for some time and is neglected. It is hoped to fasten some bird boxes and bee hotels to the mature trees. This may be an area for our Sunday club children to become involved with.
A new leaflet relating to the graveyard and Memorial Garden is currently in hand and will be available soon.
It was good to enjoy refreshments outside following the Holy Communion Service on the 29th June 2021. (Much needed sustenance for the work on the Memorial Garden which followed the service)
Whalley Abbey is now looking for volunteers in different areas. To find out more there is an article in the July/August newsletter or for an informal chat contact Adam Thomas, Whalley Abbey or call on 07968434328.
I leave you now with a very appropriate blessing.
‘Jesus the Sower of mustard seeds send us into the world to reveal your kingdom in all its suprising ways.
Help us to be seeds of hope, that from small things, large trees grow, birds find shelter and people will be drawn to you.
Bless us and the people we meet along the way.’
April 2021 Update
Well where did April go to?
What lovely weather we experienced which certainly helped in raising spirits that the opening up of society would keep on track.
On Good Friday Reverend Anne Hardacre led our service which was based on a series of Reflections on the sayings of Jesus from the cross, prayers, readings and music. This was a very emotional and sacred devotional time and was appreciated by those who attended. Thank you Anne.
On Easter Sunday we celebrated Holy Communion and were allowed our small choir to sing inside church. Following the service, for the first time the congregation all socially distanced of course were able to sing outside. What could be better than a rendition of ‘Thine be the Glory’ to the tune Maccabaus.
The church was decorated beautifully with daffodils and ivy taken from the churchyard. Daphne Porter our church warden created a Garden under the altar which showed that Jesus had risen from the tomb and the three crosses in the background. Thank you to Daphne for her beautiful flower arrangements and creativity which no doubt she would attribute to gifts from God.
Outside the church entrance three crosses made by Derek Hardacre were displayed. These were made originally for The Easter Experience which had to be cancelled last year. We look forward to using them next year as they were intended.
Church members were delighted to receive an Easter gift and card from the Christ Church. The gifts which were boxed for delivery through letter boxes were kindly donated and made by Julie. Thank you Julie you are so generous and talented too. In the box there was a teabag, packet of biscuits and two small Easter eggs along with an Easter greeting.
During the month it was announced that HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh had died peacefully. This dominated most of the news and a special prayer was said at our All Age worship and the National Anthem was sung by a small number of singers.
The Queen and the Royal family followed the rules for a funeral at this present time. Pleas to the government have been made about the strict guidelines that are in place and let’s hope these will be relaxed in the not too distant future.
At the service Reverend Catherine took the theme of ‘Doubting Thomas’. Justine read the lesson and Grace undertook the prayers. We thank everyone who volunteers for this ministry it is not easy to stand up before people and prayers take a considerable time to plan. If you would like to read or undertake intercessions in church please contact Reverend Catherine.
Our small group of singers sang a new song Shalom: Shalom. Shalom is a Hebrew word which means peace and harmony.
‘Shalom, Shalom, may peace be with you.
Shaolm, Shalom, in all that you do let peace be with you,
The service ended with the singing of ‘Lord for the Years’ with words by Timothy Dudley-Smith. This was a very appropriate hymn given the Duke’s commitment and loyal service to the UK. Little did Reverend Catherine know that we would be mourning the loss of HRH.
‘Lord for our land in this our generation, spirits oppressed by pleasure, wealth and care, for young and old, for commonwealth and nation;
Lord of our land be pleased to hear our prayer.
Lord for our world;
When we disown and doubt him, loveless in strength and comfortless in pain;
Hungry and helpless, lost indeed without him,
Lord of the world, we pray that Christ may reign.’
The Annual Report regarding Christ Church is now being circulated in readiness for the Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM) which will be held in church on the 18th May at 7pm. This will be our first face to face meeting since the latest lockdown.
The preparation of an annual written report including the accounts is the responsibility of the PCC. It puts all the PCC’s financial statements into perspective and relates to the wider life of the church. It reviews the past year 2020 and links financial plans to the vision of the future. Christ Church has recently been helped this year by the generosity of so many of you, when much needed funds were needed to fill the shortfall created by a lack of fund raising due to the Pandemic.
Reports available for view / print on this link.
You may see in the accounts that there is an Arthur Farnell Trust. I understand that Mr. Farnell lived in the village and wanted to make sure that the church was well provided for. The terms that were agreed were that only the interest from this bequest can be used and the capital sum cannot be touched. The interest I understand is paid into the fabric account.
I think it is important to stress this point because finance plays an important part in Vision 2026. The Parish Share which Christ Church has to meet on an annual basis goes to the Blackburn Diocese not only to pay for clergy salaries but to further God’s kingdom and spread the Good News. Whatever our vision for Christ Church for the future the terms of this legacy prevent us from using the capital sum to fulfil this vision or to lessen the shortfall in income. I wouldn’t like you to think that Christ Church is well off by any means. This trust fund of £40,584 unduly inflates our balance sheet but we can only use the interest and given the current rates the return is quite low.
As a follow up from #Live Lent the Church of England is running a series of reflections on prayer. The series is written by the Right Reverend Bishop of York Stephen Cotterell. The app can be down loaded from the Church of England website if you are interested.
Between May 13th and 23rd the ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ initiative will run again. This is a gift to refresh our faith, especially if isolated from our community or our church during this difficult time. Thy Kingdom Come Prayer journals are available at the back of church if you would like one or you could leave a message on the website and one will be delivered to your home.
I received a lovely Easter card from a friend which has some very simple prayers which you might like to use.
March 2021 Update
During the month we have enjoyed zoom Sunday services with Reverend Andy from St Mary’s Church Clitheroe. On Mothering Sunday an All Age Benefice service was led by Reverend Catherine. Virtual services continued to be provided by Reverend Catherine and husband John until the 21st March when we were able to reopen our church. Thank you to all those who have been involved.
As our churches reopen let us hope that those who have been touched by on-line ministry find their way into deeper Christian community. It is now up to the church to continue to learn, grow and adapt in these changing times.
Although Christ Church has reopened this is still not a return to ‘normal’ worshipping practices. It is still important that we stick to guidance, especially around gathering, dispersal, masks and singing.
At our opening service a minutes silence was held during the intercessions to mark a National Day of Reflection when the Anniversary of the first lockdown took place. We remembered over 126,000 people who had died from Covid during the year.
On the 23rd March people were urged to keep silent for one minute at 12 noon and encouraged to place a light or candle in our window in the evening.
The vaccination programme has been an extraordinary achievement for which we are so thankful. At the time of writing some people have now received their second jabs.
Lent study on zoom proved very successful, meeting up with others from around the Benefice to study parts of St Mark’s Gospel. Sharing our faith with other Christians and discussing the relevance of the Bible during these Covid times was an opportunity not to be missed. Reverend Andy introduced us to the "Little Apocalypse" which provoked a great deal of discussion.
Some Christians fear talking about their faith, because they do not think they know enough about it or they wouldn’t be able to answer difficult questions. Most of us however aren’t called to be great theologians or preachers. All we are asked to do is to tell our own story of faith.
Sometimes we are too quick to speak, too slow to ask and to listen. When we talk about being a witness or sharing our faith we can make the mistake of thinking it’s all about speaking the things we believe are true. Jesus reminds us that meaningful communication, conversation which leads to change often it begins with a question and listening to what is said.
Mothering Sunday plants and a gift card were distributed around the village and beyond.
Joanne Travis our Sunday Club Leader led a Messy Zoom service on Palm Sunday which followed the story of Jesus arriving in Jerusalem on a donkey. Children’s activities have been limited during Covid and the session was enjoyed by all participants. The waving of home made palms and making donkey noises were all part of the fun.
A PCC meeting was held during the month on zoom with a very full agenda. Although in lockdown the church family have been very busy telephoning people to keep in touch and planning events for when we are able to meet socially.
Church members Christine and Julie made Mother’s Day teas for people they knew in Whalley and raised much needed funds for Christ Church. For Easter they were planning to provide small gifts which could be posted through letterboxes along with an Easter card.
We still await the Vision 2026 final plan for Years 2021 to 2024. An invitation by Bishop Dr. Jill Duff to join with nine other churches as part of ‘#ThyKingdomCome’ with a virtual service which will be held on May 14th 2021 has been received. This is still in the planning phase.
It doesn’t seem a year since the first lockdown when shelves were empty and there was a fight to get those elusive toilet rolls. It was at this time that I began a series of reflections, mainly inspired by walks around the area.
Already I have noticed the frog spawn where it was laid last year and the newly born lambs leaping around the fields. The circle of life isn’t a concrete thing that you can point to or look at. Rather it’s a symbolic term for a series of events that unfolds on earth, bringing us from cradle to grave, through ups and downs, love and misfortune.
The circle is a universal symbol with extensive meaning. It represents the notions of totality, wholeness, original perfection, the self, the infinite, eternity, timelessness, all cyclic movement, God. ('God is a circle whose centre is everywhere and where circumference is nowhere’) Hermes Trismegistus.
I would like to share with you the following Covid Poem written by Kelley Fanucci from Christian Aid.
When this is over, may we never again take for granted
A handshake with a stranger,
Full shelves at the supermarket
Conversations with neighbours
A crowded theatre
Friday night out
The taste of communion
A routine check up
The school rush each morning
Coffee with a friend
The stadium roaring
Each deep breath
A boring Tuesday
When this ends,
May we find that we have become more like the people we wanted to be, we were called to be and may we stay that way- better for each other because of the worst.
This prayer was circulated in the Diocese in Europe by Andrew Caspari.
God of grace and mercy, your son
Jesus wept at the tomb of his friend Lazarus.
Send your Holy Spirit on those who grieve who struggle and all who fear.
Meet us in our times of questioning, anger and doubt.
Show us what we can do to enable one
Another to overcome isolation, distress and despair.
Make us a humbler people who know our need of you.
In Christ’s name Amen.
February 2021 Update
The first lockdown began in Lent 2020 and who would have thought that we would still be living under such tight restrictions.
Following the Prime Minister’s announcements there is now a sense of relief about the gradual ending of restrictions. Many of us have now received our first vaccinations.
Though still some way off we need to be patient and as Professor Van-Tam advises ‘Do not wreck this now, we’re so close’ as virus rates started to increase in some areas. He warned that it is too early to relax and we must continue to be disciplined and hang on a few months.
During Lent, it is traditional to echo Christ’s time in the desert by committing ourselves to a discipline. ’Giving something up for Lent’ is one example. However this has not been a normal year we have been reminded of our mortality for the past 365 days. In a way Lent didn’t end last year.
Perhaps this year we should think about other Lent themes of hope, faith and grace and if we lean into Lent this year, even if we don’t want to there is an opportunity to recapture joy in making it through this pandemic.
A Prayer from World Vision.
Have mercy on me,
have mercy on me,
for in you I take refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.
On Ash Wednesday we celebrated a Benefice zoom service and imaginatively instead of ashes made the sign of a cross in water on our own foreheads.
Reverend Catherine has been busy producing virtual services including special themes for St. Valentine ’s Day / Transfiguration and Ash Wednesday.
Many of us have grappled with technology and have now become efficient using zoom to share services and take part in the Benefice Lent Bible Study.
Over 20 people joined our first zoom study group which started on the 23rd February 2021 in the evening. We are getting to grips with St Mark’s Gospel and using the Lent Devotional Booklet ‘Read Mark and Learn’. If you would like to join in with a really friendly and informal group discussion or just listen details can be found on the Christ Church website along with the booket which you can download. Alternatively I have been using The Church of England #Live Lent reflections. You can download the app if you wish.
Other activities during the month have centred on Candlemas with villagers encouraged to place candles in their windows.
Service sheets have been delivered to older members who do not have access to the internet. Canon Mewis has kindly printed off the Diocesan weekly service sheet and this has been delivered locally or posted.
Outreach has continued with the telephone ministry, monthly newsletter, Church website and Face book.
I have continued my walks, but these were curtailed in the icy weather and also due to a painful foot.
I saw my first catkins and early on in the month. Hazel has a reputation as a magical tree. A hazel rod is supposed to protect against evil spirits, as well as being used as a wand for water-divining. In some parts of England, hazelnuts were carried as charms and/or held to ward off rheumatism. In Ireland, Hazel was known as the ‘Tree of Knowledge’, and in medieval times it was a symbol of fertility.
The weather improved over the month and in mid February we had beautiful blue skies.
Reverend Catherine gave us the good news that Christ Church would reopen for services on Sunday, the 21st March at 11am and Tuesday services would recommence on the 23rd March 2021 at 10am. Singing will still not be permitted and the need to follow strict guidelines will continue for the immediate future.
Both primary and secondary schools have been open to children of key workers throughout the lockdown.
On March 8th 2021 there will be a big change with the full return of staff and pupils. Head teachers and all their staff will particularly need our prayers and support at this time.
Please remember in your prayers, our own school here in Chatburn and all local schools, including the teachers and children who are part of our congregation.
A Prayer On Behalf of Teachers.
you who have called and equipped the teachers in our community,
we pray for them today.
Watch over them,
provide for them,
May you be their sun and shield,
so that they might do the work that you have entrusted to them and sense your care in these uncertain times.
In Jesus’ name
The Church of England has embarked on a major project of Christian teaching and learning about identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage ‘Living in Love and Faith (LLF)
The See, the monthly Diocesan magazine has been discontinued and will not be available in the future.
January 2021 Update
On the 4th January 2021 the country was plunged into a third lockdown, due to the rising number of infection rates attributed to the new variants of the Corona virus being detected.
Towards the end of the month there was the grim news of over 100,000 Covid deaths being reached since the pandemic began almost a year ago.
Lancashire Directors of Public Health were becoming very concerned particularly about the rise in Lancashire and sent a letter via social media to all faith leaders, strongly requesting that church closures should be considered, although nationally they could remain open.
The decision to close Christ Church along with others in the Benefice was made particularly to protect our more vulnerable church members. The Diocese reports that now a good rapport has been established between the Department of Public health and faith communities. It is acknowledged that the role churches are playing is beneficial in serving the needs of their communities, especially to the most vulnerable.
Throughout the month our telephone ministry has continued and a Sunday Diocesan Service sheet is now delivered to over 15 people in the village who do not have the benefit of the internet.
Once again Reverend Catherine and her husband John have provided us with weekly services via Facebook, the Website and YouTube. These have been appreciated by all and a huge thank you goes to John who I suspect could never have imagined becoming a film producer when Catherine took up her post here!
Despite being unable to meet, January has been a very busy month. A planning meeting was held early in the month on Zoom and opportunities for mission, charitable and fundraising initiatives were discussed. It was good in that zoom allowed younger members to participate and many good ideas were shared.
On the 10th January 2021 an All Age Benefice Service on Zoom was held which celebrated the Baptism of Jesus. Prayers and readings were given by younger members, Grace and Charlotte. This was a first joint zoom service and it was good to get together with our partner churches.
On the 19th January 2021 a PCC meeting was held again on Zoom were the shortfall in our church income was discussed and initiatives to increase giving were discussed along with other mission opportunities.
In Lent, a four week study course is planned by zoom based on the Diocese Lent Devotional booklet ‘Read Mark and Learn’. For those unable to join the group, booklets will be delivered. St. Mark’s Gospel is going to be used. Do consider joining the group sessions are usually very informal and no in depth knowledge of the Bible is required.
We have been invited to pray for our nation by our Archbishops in response to the terrible news of deaths from Covid19. From the 1st February 2021 at 6pm every day we are asked to pray for one another.
‘We remember before God those who have died and we pray that God’s love will surround all who mourn them, now and always.’
On a positive note there are plenty of good signs in that people have been vaccinated in Lancashire and the infection rates are starting to come down.
It is plain however that patience will be required over the coming months.
During my walks green shoots have been seen, crocus, daffodils and snowdrops (Candlemas Bells) reminding us of a sign of growth and renewal, despite being in the frozen ground.
This reminds me of the present time we are ‘frozen’ in lockdown, our churches are closed, but the church is still active in so many new ways which would never have been considered before.
The coming of spring and the hope that it brings during these difficult times will keep us going.
If ever there was a time when hope is needed, surely it is now. For those of us for whom belief and spirituality are important then our hopes are rooted in the saying of prayers and believing in a higher power who loves us.
Hope is a precious thing, not something that can be grasped with our hands, but something which has to be protected and nurtured.
The tiny shoots in my garden tell me that hope starts small and grows. The blossoming of a garden suggests that lots of tiny ‘hopes’ build together into a force that moves people forward towards a better future.
I found this prayer written by Kerry Weber which I would like to share with you.
A Corona virus Prayer for this Weary Winter.
Jesus Light of the World, You understand what it is like to feel alone in the midst of suffering
Remain with us as we continue to endure the Corona virus pandemic.
Awaken our hearts as we bear witness to the sickness, the sacrifice, even death.
In these dark months we cry,“ How long, O Lord?”
Help us to watch and pray for signs of your hope.
When we long for a world returned to normal, inspire us to work toward a world transformed.
When we feel forgotten and lonely, help us to find solidarity through your love.
When we cannot see your face, help us to see you in others, especially the essential workers, first responders and medical professionals who labour tirelessly.
When we feel only sorrow in our souls, help us to know that the joy of the Gospel remains as true as ever.
When we feel only grief in our hearts, help us to find consolation in knowing that those who are sick or have died are held in your loving embrace.
As we walk through this time of darkness, give us faith that we are heading towards brighter days.
Give light to our eyes. Let us show that light to one another.
Even in winter, when the ground appears barren, it is warmed by the light of your creation; seeds are nourished and green shoots are pushing up towards the sun.
Jesus Christ, be our light.
What is Vision 2026?
"Healthy Churches Transforming Communities"
We desire to make the Good News about Jesus Christ more widely known, because we believe:
- He is the One who brings "life in all its fullness"
- Healthy church communities have a positive and transformative impact on our society.
We will work together to achieve this by:
Making disciples of Jesus Christ
- Knowing the Scriptures better through reading, teaching, preaching and study
- Praying with greater depth and urgency for the Kingdom of God to come
- Giving generously of our time, talents and money to the cause of Christ
Being witnesses to Jesus Christ
- Sharing the Gospel of salvation with confidence
- Holding regular enquirers courses in as many local churches as possible
- Showing God's love in action through projects that meet a local human need
- Offering thorough and accessible Baptism preparation and follow-up
- Planting or renewing 50 new strategic congregations by 2026
Growing leaders for Jesus Christ
- Supporting and equipping the current leadership for today's context
- Enabling missional leadership in every Christian community
- Liberating lay leadership for greater participation
- Creating the varied patterns of Sunday and weekday worship necessary to welcome all kinds of people, especially the newcomer
Prioritising work among children, young people and schools to raise up a new generation for Christ
The Diocesan Vision Prayer
Heavenly Father, we embrace Your call for us to make disciples, to be witnesses and to grow leaders. Give us eyes to see Your vision, ears to hear the prompting of Your Spirit and courage to follow in the footsteps of your Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen
New Vision Champion for Christ Church.
- My name is Lynn Farrimond and I will be commissioned on the 20th May, 2019 at Accrington Parish Church.
- I am a regular member of the congregation here at Christ Church, having moved to the area seven years ago, from St. Georges, Tyldesley in the Manchester Diocese. I have served in various church roles for over 50 years. Now retired, I am currently a member of the Parochial Church Council here at Christchurch and help out with Children's activities, reading lessons and leading prayers at Sunday Worship amongst other things.
- I see my new role being to gently nudge and encourage our parish and Benefice leaders and the congregation to plan and deliver activities that make disciples of Jesus, be witnesses to Jesus, grow leaders and prioritise work among young people.
- At Christ Church under the guidance of Reverend Catherine, we have formed a Worship and Mission Group so that we can focus on developing our Mission and vision for the church and community here in Chatburn.
- We will all need to work together to develop our action plan using our discipleship to the full.
- Over the years Christ Church has been undertaking discipleship and mission in the community and has established strong and close links in the village, with the school, nursing home and with the Methodist Church. A lot has been achieved so far with people's commitment and dedication over the years.
- We hope to build on this established foundation to enable Christ Church to move forward and become an even more effective church hub in the village and to make sure that our doors remain open in the future. We must also be aware of our commitment to the Diocese and the world-wide church.
- I feel my role is to be an advocate for our vision and mission here in Chatburn, linking with the Vision Champions in our partner churches, ensuring that our local vision is an integral part of the Blackburn Diocese Vision 2026.
- I will not be a high profile figure, but working to support the vision quietly and encouraging people to become disciples and leaders in our Christian community and in line with the Diocese priority for 2019. I hope to keep you informed of our progress over the following months. This is an exciting time in our church life although it is recognised that this can be rather daunting for some people.
- If you have any comments which you would like to make please feel free to do so. I welcome comments that could be fed to the Worship and Mission Group regarding how you see the church helping in our local community and any specific needs, or if you have any feedback on Church Services.
Please give us some