News & Events

The Rector Writes

Dear Friends,

Every now and then a story will appear in the newspapers about some Vicar banning one hymn or another, normally ‘I Vow to Thee My Country’ but there have been other contenders.  It is true that there are several well-loved hymns with really dodgy theology.  I don’t have space here to mention more than a couple so I will pick on ‘How great thou art’, great tune, some lovely lines but ‘when Christ shall come with shouts of acclamation and take me home, what joy shall fill my heart’ is just bad theology.  Christ shall come not to ‘take me home’ but to renew the whole world.  I will also have a little go at ‘Away in a manger’ which contains out and out heresy with the line ‘The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes, but little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes’ which is pure Docetism.  There is another Christmas carol however that is even worse, and that is ‘God Rest Ye Merry, gentlemen’ with the last lines ‘and with true love and brotherhood each other now embrace, this holy tide of Christmas all others doth deface’.  Have you ever pondered what those words mean?  The suggestion is that at best Christmas outshines all other celebrations, at worst it obliterates them and makes them not to exist, which ignores the fact that Easter, not Christmas, is the most important, most meaningful, most celebrated festival of the year.

Easter is the Church’s longest celebration, lasting 50 days as opposed to the 12 days of Christmas, in which we respond with thankfulness and joy to the death and resurrection of Jesus.  People still don’t get why we celebrate Jesus’ death, especially as he died in such a gruesome fashion, but we celebrate the fact that Jesus died willingly, knowing that through his death the whole world might have the chance to enter into a new and living relationship with God.  Jesus’ understanding of his life and his death was fully vindicated in that he rose from the dead; in his resurrection we see God the Father’s vindication, his ‘yes’, to everything that Jesus had said and done.

In the death and resurrection of Jesus our understanding of both the material and spiritual worlds is challenged as we realise, firstly, that this world is not as it appears, that in the power of God the ‘natural order’ can be both turned upside down and transfigured.  Secondly, we can see that in Christ heaven and earth are truly joined in one, that through the death of this man there is found a new and living way to God.

Yours in Christ,
Ian.

Thanksgiving for Baptism

Throughout his ministry Jesus took things that already existed and reinterpreted them in light of his own presence as the Christ of God.  Chief amongst these things was baptism.  Baptism existed in various Jewish sects and was, of course, one of the main features of the ministry of his cousin John.  The baptism offered by John however was one of repentance, it echoed the Jewish sacramental practice of a person using the washing of the dirt from their body to represent the washing away of sin from their lives.

Jesus took this practice but reinterpreted it.  In Christian baptism we share in his death and resurrection and are united with him, made a member of his body.  Baptism becomes the way into a new and living relationship with God, claiming the benefits of his death and passion and so, in dying with him, we are raised to full and eternal life.

This is not something symbolic or representative, but (to use the old world) is something ontological, changing the very nature of our being; in baptism we are a new creation.

Each year we give hanks for our baptism into life in Christ.  We invited back those who have been baptised in the previous year and we celebrate the new life we find in Christ.  Do come and join us.

Service of Thanksgiving for Baptism
Sunday 12th May

10.00 a.m.

Graveyard Maintenance 

Every now and then I find it necessary to put in a few lines about the new graveyard.  The new graveyard is a lawn cemetery and people often comment to me how beautifully maintained it is, however, that can only be done by keeping the grass clear, especially during the growing season.  I respectfully ask people -

  • Not to put vases or any other containers on the grass but on the gravestone pedestals.
  • Not use anything made of glass. 
  • Not plant any flowers or shrubs in or around the graves
  • Finally, if you place wreathes or larger items at graves please also remove them after a suitable period of time.

We are having particular problems at the moment with the ashes section of the graveyard which is strewn with planters, vases and all manner of containers that make it impossible to mow.  Help us to keep the graveyard in a beautiful condition by removing these obstacles.

Thank you for your co-operation.

Memorial Service for the Recently Departed

Each year we hold a special service remembering those people who died in the previous year and light a candle in their memory.  The candles are placed in custom made holders built by Robert Mais who, I don’t need to remind you, died last September and will be remembered at this service.

  Alongside Robert we lost several people from our church community last year but, whilst we grieve our loss, at this service we are reminded of the overwhelming love of God for us, his amazing mercy and grace, and the hope that we find in him who overcame the sting of death and opened the kingdom of Heaven to all believers.  We celebrate and give thanks for their lives and place our hope for them, and for ourselves, in the hands of God who created them, sustained them and redeemed them.

Memorial Service for the Recently Departed
Monday 13th May

7.30 p.m.

Messy Church 

Our Messy Church meets on the last Saturday of the month and is an opportunity for the whole family to join together in arts and crafts around the theme of a Bible story, and to worship together.  We are greatly blessed in this by having a committed group of people who help out each month.  I am grateful to you all for your commitment, enthusiasm and gifts.

It was great to see so many Messy Church families at our Palm Sunday service, I doubt that the presence of the donkey had anything to do with it!  OK, it might have contributed but I hope they enjoyed the rest of the service as well.  Our May Messy Church is all about praying and particularly the need to be faithful and persistent in prayer. 

We have introduced a new attendance card and when a child has been 10 times, however long that takes, that get a little present.  We will also be gathering in the small room at the start when the story of the day is introduced. 

Our next Messy Church takes place on Saturday 25th May at 10.00 a.m. at the Rajar

Ascension Day

The whole of May falls within our celebration of Easter but the smallest hint that Easter is drawing to a close is Ascension Day on the 30th.  Ascension Day falls 40 days after Easter Day and marks the return of Jesus to his, and our, father in Heaven in preparation for the sending of the Holy Spirit 10 days later on the day of Pentecost.

There is an oft-repeated quote about Ascension Day from William Temple, one time Bishop of Manchester and Archbishop of Canterbury, which makes clear the meaning and purpose of Christ’s ascension, “The ascension of Christ is his liberation from all restrictions of time and space. It does not represent his removal from the earth, but his constant presence everywhere on earth.

We will be marking Ascension Day with a sung service of Holy Communion at 7.30 p.m. on Thursday 30th May.

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THE FRIENDS OF ST WILFRID’S

RESTORE   PRESERVE   ENHANCE

ALFRESCO MARQUEE LUNCH

SUNDAY 19TH MAY 2019, 12.30PM
AT ORCHARD LEA, LADY LANE, MOBBERLEY

£20 INCLUDING A GLASS OF WINE
RAFFLE

FOR TICKETS USE THE CONTACTS TAB

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