From The Vicarage

Dear friends,

Without face to face contact and larger services, I am not having the same sort of conversations I remember before lockdown.  It’s frustrating.  You may be experiencing something similar.  Communication is not the same. More than that, the limitations seem to hamper our progress in friendship and as a church fellowship.

As we launch the Organ & Lighting Project, I have imagined two conversations which might have happened over in the church hall after a harvest service, in normal circumstances. These may be helpful in answering your questions, or the sort of questions which come from interested friends or neighbours.

Interested questioner: What’s wrong with the present organ? It sounds lovely to me!

Vicar, on back foot:  The organ is much loved I think, but it’s not really fit for purpose going forward.  The Diocesan Organ Adviser is clear that it has problems, and is not worth servicing or maintaining.  So the PCC agreed that replacement was our favoured option.

Questioner:  But I’ve never heard anyone complain about it.  It’s part of our history and we shouldn’t just discard it.

Vicar: We’ve been grateful for it over the years but it’s in a bad way.  The adviser said, ‘The note switching system is now time expired, the detached console requires major overhaul, and tonally the organ is really poor. It is quite inadequate and unable to support the singing of a large congregation.’  I guess we just got used to it, and didn’t realise the deterioration.

Persistent questioner: How have you come up with £55,000?  Why so much?

Vicar, doing his best, on definitely not his specialist subject:  It sounds a lot but actually it’s much cheaper than the other options, like a brand new pipe organ.  It’s more long-lasting and in keeping with a historic building than a digital organ.  It’s an organ with a lively sound to suit our dull acoustic. The cost is mainly the moving and refurbishment, and we accepted by far the most favourable reasonable quote.

Question:  Do we really need new lights?

Vicar:  I think so.

Question:  Just get better bulbs.

Vicar:  There are a few important issues.

Question:  More important than helping the poor?

Vicar:  Let me tell you a story about my previous parish.  Everyone agreed the pews were very uncomfortable, the heating system needed post-Victorian pipework, and it all needed a lick of paint.  But there was resistance to spending £60,000 of the £400,000 project budget allocated to a new lighting system.  However, afterwards, people were delighted. And the thing which delighted them most?  The thing most worth the money?  The lighting! With a warmer brighter space, and including coloured LEDs on the pillars and ceiling, the building felt new.  It transformed the place and made so many services and events that extra bit special.

Questioner needed another cup of tea.

Do ask your questions, as this Organ and Lighting Appeal has been well-discussed and carefully considered, and is now enthusiastically brought to you.

Yours prayerfully,

Canon Rob

Happy Harvest

This Harvest will be different from previous years because of the consequences of Covid-19 – but it won’t be so different.

It is Harvest Festival and we can still offer our thanksgiving for the ways our needs have been graciously met over the last year. God is good and we have received much that is good, even in times which are bad.

We can express our thanksgiving by supporting the local foodbank, Storehouse, based at the New Life Church in Congleton.

Please leave your gifts of packeted dry food and tins (see items needed below) in the chancel after the service on Sunday 4th October from 10 am to 12.30pm.  Please wear a face-mask when in church and observe social distancing.

And don’t forget to admire the special harvest loaf baked each year for us by Mandevilles and brought to church again by Barbara and Mike Street.

Canon Rob McLaren

Time For A Smile


I have just seen a man running along the street with a cape on.

“Are you a Superhero?” I asked.

“No. I haven’t paid for my haircut!” he replied.

Car Insurance

I renewed my car insurance over the phone today and as I was about to hang up the woman on the other end asked if I had a pet.

I said, “Yes, I’ve got a dog.”

She said, “Would you like to insure him too?”

I said, “Don’t be daft, he can’t drive!”

Rugby Ball

I tried to smuggle a rugby ball through customs… I thought it was worth a try!


I watched a coughing contest on TV between residents of Botany Bay, Whitley Bay and Morecambe Bay… I love the Great British Bay Cough!

King James

A grandmother showed her granddaughter the special family Bible explaining that it was an old and beautiful King James Version.

The girl had a few questions, but Grandma was completely speechless when she asked, ‘So which virgin was the mother of Jesus – the Virgin Mary or the King James virgin?’

Quasimodo’s Hump

Quasimodo goes to the doctor about his hump.

The doctor asks Quasimodo to take off his raincoat.

“Remove your overcoat as well, please”, adds the doctor.

“And your jacket…”

“And your waistcoat…”

“And your shirt…”

“When did you last go to school?” asks the doctor.

“About 15 years ago”, replies Quasimodo.

The doctor asks, “Did you ever wonder where you’d left your satchel?!”

Piece of Rope

The other day I was walking along pulling a piece of rope behind me.

A chap asked me why I was pulling along a piece of rope so I told him, “You try pushing it!”

One Door Closes…..

When one door closes, another door opens… I think I need a new car!

Bag for Life

Why is it that supermarkets charge the same for a Bag for Life irrespective of how old you are when you buy it?

Parish Magazine Developments

It is hoped that we will be able to resume publication of the Parish Magazine with effect from the November issue, although this will very much depend on any future developments regarding precautions surrounding the Covid19 pandemic.

Some changes have taken place since the April edition was printed. Our magazine’s printers for almost 20 years, Tom and Jos Higgins of Cranmore Instant Print in Macclesfield, have decided to retire and the business will shortly be closing down. I would like to publicly thank them both for the excellent service that they have provided to us over the years. They became personal friends to Jacquie and I, indeed a trip to Macclesfield for a chat and a coffee with Jos, whilst I went over the magazine with Tom, became a highlight of Jacquie’s month. No longer will the cry of “Jos, how many copies?!” ring out across Crompton Road Mill! I am sure you will join me in wishing them both a long and happy retirement!

I am pleased to say that production of the Parish Magazine is being transferred to The Print Room in Church Walk, with whom I look forward to enjoying a long and successful association.

Finally, a big thank-you to Lew Riches and Rod Pickles who have been sharing the logistical task of collecting the finished magazines from Macclesfield each month and delivering them to Sue Wood in Cranage.

Alan Rickards

Focus in October

Trish and Will Litchfield will present ‘Santiago and Easter Island’ via Zoom conferencing on Friday, 16th October at 7.58 for 8.00pm. 

Meeting details and password will be emailed to all who wish to participate closer to the date.  The meeting will be in two sessions with a short ‘refreshment break’ between them.  All are welcome. 

For further details, please contact Barbara Smith on 537301 or at