I would like to thank everyone who gave to the Children’s Society through the boxes. Many thanks must also go to Abbey Raynor for all her help with the counting! After the last box was emptied, the total raised this year amounted to £643.08 (plus several Euros, some old £1 coins, a selection of random foreign coins and a button!). Seriously though, this has been a tremendous effort by everyone involved at a difficult time for us all. Thank you all very much.
The annual subscription for the Bible Reading Notes is due in now please. It is £14.10 for the three copies. Due to the pandemic, it is necessary to make cheques out to me at 7 Sycamore Close. If you are shielding and therefore unable to do this, please telephone 535308 to make other arrangements.
The Revd Peter Crumpler, a Church of England priest in St Albans, Herts, and a former communications director for the CofE, considers romantic love.
You do not see many Zimmer frames, wheelchairs or hearing aids on Valentine’s Day cards. They mostly seem to be full of young love, hearts and roses.
Young love is wonderful and beautiful, full of optimism, and plans and hopes for the future.
But love in later life is precious too. It is a love that has been forged through years of shared experiences and joy, maybe raising children together, perhaps enjoying grandchildren.
It’s a love that’s stood the test of time, and deeper, much deeper, than any shop-bought Valentine’s Day card can describe.
That long-term love can also be shown by the devoted wife or husband who visits their spouse in a care home each day, gently talking with them when they are, perhaps, deep into dementia. Or sitting for long hours by a hospital bed. Or dutifully caring for them at home.
Love is a marathon, not a sprint. It starts with white lace and promises and grows over the years.
Mature love is about the commitment that spans decades and is seldom shown on the cards on sale in the High Street this Valentine’s Day.
As a priest, when I marry a couple and take them through their wedding vows, I hear them make their lifelong commitment “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part…”
It’s so wonderful to see the bride and groom smiling, and enjoying this precious moment, making vows that will, hopefully, span the rest of their lives. I love taking weddings – it’s an immense privilege to be part of a couple’s special day.
And I find myself pondering what the future will hold for them. I wonder what shape that lifelong commitment will take, as I pray a blessing on their marriage.
How much wealth or poverty will come their way? Will it be sickness or health that will accompany them through the years? How will they support each other as the years go by?
‘Love is patient. Love is kind.’ These are familiar words from the popular wedding reading in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. That patience, that kindness are qualities that can develop over years of marriage.
Just how much patience will be needed in the years ahead cannot usually be known on the wedding day.
So, this year, as I look at the rows of red or pink Valentine’s Day cards on sale in the shops, I shall look out for cards that have a deeper message.
I shall seek out cards that celebrate long-term love. Cards that say something about the joys and challenges of growing older together.
Cards that go beyond hearts and roses to the deeper love that transcends love’s first blossoming. I just hope I can find some…
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.
Our next working party for tidying the area around the memorials at the Knutsford Road Cemetery will be held on Saturday 5th September at 9.30am until 11am.
Unfortunately many of our regular volunteers will be unable to attend due to COVID restrictions, but if you are able to help you would be very welcome. We will maintain social distancing to keep everybody safe. Please bring hand shears,weeding tools and something to kneel on.
David Peake and Mike Street have been busy clearing, cleaning and painting the mausoleum at the cemetery, so I will open the doors on 5th September to give you the opportunity to admire their hard work!
The Covid-19 lockdown has meant that many churches are now facing severe financial issues, so this piece from John Farrow is very timely…
Riding home after church one Sunday morning, a mother commented, ‘The choir was awful this morning.’ And the father said, ’I thought the sermon was far too long.’ Their cheeky 7-year-old daughter piped up from the back seat, ‘You have to admit though, it was a pretty good morning out for a pound.’
Did you smile at the above quote? Sadly, it actually reflects the attitude some people have to church-going and church giving. How did you decide on the amount you currently give to your church each week? When did you last really think about how much you choose to put in the weekly collection envelope, or in the basket, or in the Standing Order? And more importantly, why do you choose to donate anything at all? No-one makes you pay anything to attend church. You are welcome to go every week and no one would demand that you pay even a £1, as the family above did. But think for a moment of all that God provides for us – life, family, friends, health, the riches of nature, music, beauty, art, and even his own Son to die for our sins on the cross and rise again to give us everlasting life. Yes, God gives freely, even abundantly, so isn’t it reasonable to ask how should we respond to his generosity?
Each church is where it is because, in the past, people have given generously. Many people would see the building as the church, but in reality it is the people who worship in it that are the ‘real’ church. We are a community gathered in the love of God, seeking to share the good news of that love. Part of our worship is to give thanks to God for all he has done for us. And in response we can give our time, and our skills, but also a regular gift of money. The church needs all of these to function properly. It is often said that people only value what they pay for, so isn’t it reasonable for us to think of the value of what God has done for us? Surely, we can’t argue with this quote from the Bible: ‘Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.’ (Matthew 6:21)