This fortnights news letter from Steve
25th July - 13th August 2021
This newsletter is a little earlier than usual as I said I would share with you the pace and direction we are going with worship on a Sunday, as soon as I was able, following the guidance issued by the government and Church of England.
The Wardens and I have carefully considered the guidance and have concluded that the right way forward in respect to our worship on a Sunday, at the moment, is as set out below. This will be reviewed mid-August.
What will church look like on Sunday and in the coming weeks?...
Prayer before our service: this will begin again from Sunday 25th July in the ‘Leigh Chapel’. Anyone who would like to support our worship with prayer beforehand are invited to come along for 5 / 10 minutes of prayer at 10.30am. For the time being masks will be worn for this, and chairs will be socially distanced in a semi-circle.
Hand gel: from 19th July our church family will still be encouraged to use hand gel on entering and leaving church building.
Collection of Test & Trace information: this will continue.
Seating: the seats are now looking back to normal in church. When you come in to church you are able to sit where you like, and with who you like. However, if you would prefer not to have someone sit too close to you in church there will be little indicator slips which you are able to put on seats next to you if you would like to keep them empty. These will be available when you arrive.
Masks: from 19th July these will no longer be obligatory. However, we are encouraging our church family to carry on wearing masks for the time being … not only to protect themselves but also to care for others in our church family.
Singing in church: we will ease in to congregational singing when the timing is appropriate. At this moment in time, however, we will not be singing inside our church building but will, from time to time, have singing outside at the end of a service.
Sharing ‘the peace’: this will still be ‘verbal only’ for the time being.
Holy Communion: this will continue as it has been for the last few months.
Refreshments, social distancing and conversation in church: while it will be possible to chat in church before the service from 19th July people are encouraged not to congregate near the church entrance, to continue to maintain social distancing and to ensure they are seated for the service at 10.55am. Refreshments will not be reintroduced immediately. We would encourage you not to hug others … this might be quite frightening for some people at this moment in time, and it might cause uncomfortable moments too.
Of course if anyone is showing covid-19 symptoms before a service you are asked not to come to church. And if you develop symptoms within a few days of attending church you are asked to let our Wardens, Pat and Nicola, know.
In September we are hoping to start ‘Childrens Church’ again. However, this of course depends on how things are going with the infection rates, hospitalisations, restrictions & guidance, etc. Over the last few weeks Christine and Jane have decided it is time to step back from this ministry after many years of faithful service between them. We are so thankful for their ministry to the children and young families attending worship. We are also thankful for the small team of people who have stepped up to take the reins of this really important and ‘lots of fun’ ministry. With Joanne’s help they will be thinking about what ‘Childrens Church’ might look like moving forward, and this might impact on our services in regard to how regularly we have ‘All Age’ services for example. I will keep you posted on this.
Baby & Toddler Group and Walshaw Community Choir
We are also hoping to be able to start our Baby & Toddler Group and Walshaw Community Choir again in September, but this again depends on the situation we find ourselves in. We will keep church and our community informed about this including our start dates, through social media, emails, notices, etc.
Still missing you!
I do hope that those of you who have not yet been to church yet since the restrictions started will be able to join us soon … as the vaccination programme continues to be rolled out and as things start back to normal. I hope you are assured that we will not be rushing too quickly back to where we were pre-pandemic. I believe coming to church will probably be one of the most covid-19 secure places you can go to in the coming weeks and months. We are missing you … seeing you and sharing in worship together.
There are lots of things vying for our attention on Sundays … leisure activities, visiting family, and more …things which we managed to do prior to the pandemic but at the same time we were able to still prioritise worship on a Sunday morning. While our churches have been closed, and restrictions have been in place, it has been easier to stop prioritising worshipping together, and in some cases necessary as we are shielding or caring for those we love.
However, I do hope that all of our church family will be prioritising returning to church and coming to worship on a Sunday soon …“not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing” (Hebrews 10:25); and when we have a service of Holy Communion doing what Jesus commanded us … “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11: 24).
Services coming up
Sunday 25th July 11am
Morning Worship led by Frank and Norman will be helping us to reflect on God’s word.
Sunday 1st August 11am
Morning Worship led by Frank with Paul helping us to listen to God through His word.
Sunday 8th August 11am
We will be sharing in a service of Holy Communion and celebrating the baptism of Richard & Lisa’s youngest, Isla, too. Steve is leading and Frank will be speaking.
Sunday 15th August 11am
This Sunday we will be having a very special All Age service outdoors … ‘Woodland Worship’ when we will be actively thinking about the Fruit of the Spirit with the help of our beautiful surroundings. Joanne will be leading and Steve speaking plus there will be songs, games, and more. Please bring your own chair if you are able (and bring one for a friend if you can) … but don’t worry if you can’t. We will be gathering together at the back of church on a grassy area so please do not drive in to the church grounds on this Sunday unless you have difficulty walking … in which case please park at the front of the church. Please pray for good weather. More information to follow.
If you have any urgent prayer requests for yourself, or someone you know (who has given their permission to be included in our prayers), please contact Clive who will pass it along the prayer chain: email@example.com / 07525 812 938
Online Holiday Club 2021
This summer the diocese is hosting a ‘W2G Online Holiday Club 2021’ with the ‘Stories Jesus Told’ as the theme. It is aimed at primary school age children and it runs on the four consecutive Mondays in August. And it is free!
You can join the fun by going to You Tube and searching ‘Diocese of Manchester Education Department’ or by clicking on this link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqEbPqHVuK5SDbHVuMh1ecQ
Opportunities to serve
Bill will be stepping back from being our church Treasurer next year, after many years of faithful service, so we are looking for someone to step up and replace him. You don’t need to be an accountant or have any financial services background … you just need to be organised and reasonably good with numbers. For the next few months you will be able to shadow Bill and when you have taken over from him Bill will be there with advice, if it is needed. You will also have the support of the Wardens and myself. If you think this opportunity to serve might be for you please have a word with Bill or myself. Please pray and ask God if He is calling you to this.
Worship ‘Production Teams’:
We have two fantastic teams who look after the audio and visual elements of our services on a Sunday … the ‘sound team’ who make sure we can hear everything on a Sunday, and the ‘Power Point team’ who produce the slides and make sure we can see them. Both teams are looking for people to join them. Training will be provided. Most of our team members had never done anything like this before they ‘stepped up’. The rota for each team is flexible, and with one or two folk stepping up it wouldn’t involve being rota’d more than once a month generally. For more information please speak to Andrew B in regard to the ‘Power Point team’ and Helen C about the ‘sound team’. Please pray and ask God if He is calling you to this.
Prayer meetings online
Bury Churches Together will be praying together online in August & September using the same link below. The dates are:
• Friday 30th July, 7pm … the pray focus for this time will be the work of Christians Against Poverty (CAP)
• Friday 13th August, 7pm
• Friday 27th August, 7pm
• Friday 10th September, 7pm
• Friday 24th September, 7pm
You can join the Zoom Meeting here:
Meeting ID: 994 3266 8530
Forgiving What You Can't Forget: Lysa Terkeurst
How do you forgive the unforgivable? How do we stop hurting? How do we heal after we have been hurt?
In this short, 12 minute interview, Lysa Terkeurst, a New York Times No 1 best seller Christian author, helps us think about the need for us to forgive others as a way to caring for and sustaining ourselves. And Lysa has had her share of hurt coming out of her marriage … her husband was repeatedly unfaithful over two decades ... but she has come out the ‘other side’. She and her husband renewed their marriage vows in 2018.
You can watch this video here:
Book of the Month
‘Rejoice & Tremble’ by Michael Reeves
If you enjoyed ‘Gentle & Lowly by Dane Ortland’ (a recent ‘Book’) then you might want to have a read of this book by Michael Reeves from the same series.
Fear is one of the strongest human emotions – and one that baffles Christians. In the Bible the picture can seem equally confusing: Is fear a good thing or a bad thing? And what does it mean to fear the Lord?
In this book Michael clears the clouds of confusion and shows that fear of the Lord is not a negative thing at all, but an intensely delighted wondering at God our Creator and Redeemer.
If you remember Michael Reeves spoke on the Trinity last year in one of our Going Deeper videos. He is a Professor and President of Union School of Theology in South Wales as well as a church minister and Director of the European Theologians Network. He has written numerous books and he speaks around the world.
You can the book from various outlets for around £10.
Steph and I are so thankful to God for his blessings. We are really thrilled that our son Sam and his wife Holly are expecting their first baby in October, and that Josh got engaged to Jess this week too ... they are planning on getting married next year before he is ordained.
That’s it for now.
As it’s the holidays my next newsletter will be Friday 13th August … but I am sure you’ll agree there is plenty this week to keep us going.
Can I encourage you to care and prayer for one another and keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.
From Steve's 11th July newsletter ....
Who pays to keep Christ Church Walshaw afloat?
Did you know
Christ Church Walshaw is a registered charity?
Did you know
Christ Church Walshaw has to pay money into the diocese to cover the Vicar’s stipend, housing, training … to support churches in very deprived areas … and more (this is called our ‘Parish Share’)
Our church pays the Vicar’s council tax, water rates and expenses?
Our church receives no funding from national Church or the diocese to maintain our building or grounds, to fund our utility bills, to cover our ministry and mission costs, etc?
Our church has to keep itself afloat financially?
It costs over £60,000 a year to ‘run’ our church.
Our church depends on the giving of our church family to make ends meet?
If every person on our electoral role gave, through Tax Aid, £1.60 per day (£11.26 per week) … less than the cost of a coffee at Starbucks … our costs would be covered
Did you know
Giving to the ministry and mission of the church is a Biblical principle and command, running throughout the Bible for the people of God? (the Bible says we should give 10% of our income back to God who provides all we have in the first place)
‘God loves a cheerful giver’?
The finances of our church have been severely affected by the pandemic … making it very very difficult for us to continue some of our ministry and mission and to look after our church building and grounds properly?
You can support our church by giving through a standing order on a monthly basis (see Steve if you would like more information on this)?
You can support our ministry by giving ‘on the plate’ in church on a Sunday morning?
You can give using your debit / credit card on the card machine near the entrance of church when you come on a Sunday morning?
You can give a one off gift to the church to help us at this difficult time?
through our ‘give a little’ page here: https://givealittle.co/campaigns/1313773b-56b0-4569-8ac0-37f671841ba9)
by making a donation directly from your bank to the church bank account
'Parochial Church Council of Christ Church Walshaw'
Barclays Bank, Bury
Sort Code: 20-16-08
Acct No: 80255300
Did you know
You can increase the size of your giving to church by 25% through the Gift Aid scheme … the government puts the additional 25% in if you are a tax payer and you have completed the appropriate form. If you would like to help us in this please contact Diane (firstname.lastname@example.org)
If Christ Church Walshaw holds a special place in your heart can I encourage you to watch this short video made last year (you might even see yourself ‘on screen’) (https://video.wixstatic.com/video/4de4b2_bd0eb44606f44192b5d8806bc23e48d3/1080p/mp4/file.mp)
and have a think about how you can join in with the ministry and mission of Walshaw Church.
Thank you to all of you who already give so generously to the church. I am so thankful for your partnership in the ministry and mission of God in our village and beyond.
“Each man is to bring a gift as he is able, in proportion to the blessings that the Lord your God has given him.” (Deuteronomy 16: 16 – 17)
If anyone has any items to share with our church family please let me know and we’ll see if we can include them in my newsletters.
Please keep the financial situation of our church and one another in your prayers.
From Steve's 27th June newsletter ....
Whats been happening at Christ Church Walshaw over the last 3 months?
We have been ‘open for business’ but not ‘business as usual’ ….
Over the last 12 weeks we have been busy with
Easter in church and online: Good Friday, Maundy Thursday and Easter Sunday
We provided Easter activity bags for the children we had contact with through B&TG … collected at the vicarage
Monday to Thursday of Holy Week we had ‘Praying through Holy Week’ online each day … reflection and prayer
Sunday morning services in church resumed 21st March with our average congregation of 37 people, and on Easter Sunday we had a ‘full to capacity’ church with a congregation of 53
We had our first mission Sunday for over a year … Tearfund Sunday
We’ve kicked off our ‘Living in Love and Faith’ series of talks
We have been providing activities for any children who come to church on a Sunday in activity packs.
We have had a short time of prayer online … ’10 minutes with God’ … on a fortnightly basis.
We started our fortnightly ‘Picnic Praise’ in the grounds of the church for families / carers with toddlers (while we are unable to have Baby & Toddler Group face to face) … Wednesday mornings 11am
Walshaw Community Choir has continued to meet weekly online via Zoom for a social time together
We have had 3 classes from school visit the church to find out about baptisms (another older class is coming in July)
We have provided fortnightly recorded school assemblies for Christ Church Walshaw CofE Primary School … last term looking at ‘God has a plan for us’ and this term ‘The Bible’
We have collected for Porch Boxes in church for members of our church family and at the vicarage for members of our community and our church family who are not yet attending on a Sunday … 10 bags this week at the vicarage
We have been sharing discipleship resources with our church family … including our weekly Lent course ‘Being Human’ with Tim Keller, and our fortnightly Going Deeper videos and a monthly Book of the Month
We have had one funeral and one burial of ashes and we have been planning for baptisms coming up over the next few weeks (3 in July & August plus 5 others to follow) as well as contacting again wedding couples who had their weddings postponed and will be taking place in 2022 (6 at the moment)
Pat & Nicola were commissioned as Wardens at Bolton Parish Church 3rd June
Paul & Jane have continued with their Authorised Lay Ministers training and Joanne has been a participant on the diocesan ‘Mission & Evangelism’ lay ministry training course
We had our APCM online 13th May
We have kept in touch with our community through FaceBook and YouTube
We have kept our website up to date, and
We have of course, also, been looking after and developing our grounds and building including having the organ serviced
I hope you are encouraged by all of this, and I would ask you to continue to hold the ministry and mission of our church in your prayers.