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Sunday, 28 June 2020

Hymns, shopping and puddles

This morning it was my great privilege to be part of a zoom welcoming service for Amy. Amy is now part of the clergy team here at St.John the Baptist Hey. She will be a lay worker until she is ordained later in the year. The service concluded with two members of the choir singing Amy’s favourite hymn, Love Divine all loves excelling and very well sung it was. Co-incidentally this is also one of my favourite hymns. I have always considered the singing of hymns as a way of praying and none more so than this hymn.  I have really missed this important part of worship during lockdown. I wonder what you have missed.

A few weeks ago I spoke of how I missed my grandaughters and how wonderful it was to see them again. It was my granddaughters birthday on the 6th of June and I promised to take her shopping. Not yet decided when that will be but I am really looking forward to it. It is so good to have something to look forward to. It can really lift your spirits and lighten your mood. Are you looking forward to something, please do let me know? Or maybe now that lockdown is gradually being lifted you have done something that you have really missed or was so looking forward to. 

My grandson Archie is a real water baby. When we go out for our daily walk, he almost always finds some water that he can splash about in. On this particular day, we were on our way to see the Alpacas but he was sidetracked by this big puddle. We never got to see the alpacas. Archie had a wonderful time, so did nana splashing and jumping about in the puddle. He went home very soggy indeed. He is quite a hardy little chap, being wet or cold doesn't seem to bother him.

Amy's welcome service

Our contacts list needs updating so apologies to those who wanted to join and didn't get an invitation, also some people wanted to join but didn't have the technology so here is a video of our service of welcome for Amy Sheridan, our new Curate.

Saturday, 27 June 2020

Service of Welcome and notices

The service on Sunday 28th June will take place using "Zoom" as we have to welcome Amy Sheridan, our new Curate.  For this reason, there will be no service on the blog.  I will ask everyone's permission, and if I get it, I will record the service and then post it on the blog.  This means that it could be on by lunch time so please watch out for a new post later in the day. 

When the government announced that churches could be open for private prayer, no one had time to do all the necessary preparation to ensure the safety of anyone wishing to visit for prayer.   At the time I had pulled a muscle in my back and was in no fit state to do the necessary moving of furniture and cleaning.  The PCC met via "zoom" to discuss this and the feeling at the time was that we should not open for several reasons which I will happily discuss with you if you choose to ring me.  

Since then I have been into church to carry out a risk assessment and measure 2 metre distances between chairs.  I have found that we can have 1,2 or even 3 people of the same household on every third row.  This means that if people sit singly we can seat 10 people, if 2 from the same household, 20 people and if 3 from the same household, 30 people.  I suspect that we would have a mixture of mainly 1s and 2s.  Rev'd Chris and I have moved chairs and cordoned off seating that cannot be used.  I intend to call another PCC meeting to see if people feel safe to proceed once I have completed the floor marking (we need a 1 way system with arrows indicating the direction of travel).  There will be a separate entry and exit door.  We will need an absolute minimum of 2 stewards but preferably 3.  Now that Amy is joining us we may be able to proceed.  I will update you after meeting PCC.

The government have said that from 4th July we can meet for services but please be aware, services will definitely not be as they were.  I'm still waiting for specific information for churches in Manchester Diocese but here is part of a statement from the Bishop of London:

“We will not be returning to normality overnight - this is the next step on a journey. We’ve been planning carefully, making detailed advice available for parishes to enable them to prepare to hold services when it is safe and practical to do so. It is important to say that the change in Government guidance is permissive, not prescriptive.

Not all church buildings will be ready to hold regular services from 4 July 2020 but we are providing whatever support we can to enable them. There will still be restrictions and we must all still do everything we can to limit the spread of the virus to protect each other, especially the most vulnerable. The online services and dial-in worship offerings we have become used to will continue.

Churches and cathedrals have risen to the recent challenges, finding new ways of meeting for worship, of serving our neighbours, and of reaching new people with the love of God. The challenge before us now is to take the next steps carefully and safely, without forgetting all that we’ve discovered about God and ourselves on the way.”

Read the full statement from Bishop Sarah Mullally here.

Bishop David has also welcomed this development and reaffirmed his commitment that Manchester Diocese will to continue to provide updated guidance advice and support to parishes and clergy over the coming days and weeks. The diocesan guidance will reflect the detail of the Church of England advice once it is available after detailed Government guidance is published.

When I get more specific information re services in Manchester Diocese, I will let you know.


The weekly prayers for this Sunday can be found here

Friday, 26 June 2020

Memories of a verger Part 1

A Verger’s memories of St. John the Baptist

Robert – ‘Bob’ Kirkpatrick became verger at Hey on 4th April, 1943 and he came to The Ladies Society twice to entertain us with his memories, we recorded his recollections and I here is a transcription of the tape recording.  With only minor editing for interruptions etc. what you are reading are Bob’s own words……

‘I began at Hey St. Johns 5th April, 1943 and when I went for the interview, and was accepted I wondered what I had let myself in for, because it was Caretaker at the Day School, Verger and Sexton (which is a new name for grave digging of course) and Pew Rent Collector.  Seven shillings a year was the Pew Rent, and woe betide anybody who sat in the wrong seat, there was no words exchanged but the faces showed, of course.
I had an old friend who was at the Day School at that time, and a chap called Baggot was the Headmaster, of course, I got a lot of information from him.  The school was a difficult building, it was a massive great height, the hall, as was the Infant School – a terrific height and the three pokey little classrooms and it was terrible place in winter, freezing cold.  It used to blow over the open fields from Austerlands top and all the toilets were at the top end of the yard, thirty or forty yards away and the doors were left wide open and the result was that I finished up about a couple of degrees higher up at tea time than I did when I started.

But anyway, to begin with the church I think you all know the history of it where you had to go to Ashton to be baptised, or married, that was a long trip wasn’t it, so there was a little Chapel of Ease built.  There was no Waterhead, no Scouthead, no Lydgate no Leesfield, nothing, and it was all on it’s own was Hey, and it came under the diocese of Chester and it started off from there and of course it grew and grew and we have it as it is today.  It did undergo one outside change, the windows were arched Norman style, whereas now they are pointed, so … to get into the interior, one of the first major changes was during Ernest Buckley’s stay at Hey, and the galleries ran all the way right round from the East wall, right the way round the choir and the organ right the way to the other wall.  Ernest decided he would open the Chancel up because it was badly overshadowed.  He decided the gallery would have to be cut back into the Nave, quite a way and that opened it up, but he took a terrific amount of stick over it because it was all right up to a point, but when it had been done the massive pulpit stood out like - oh I don’t know what it stood out like. It was on a plinth and a pedestal and there was an alabaster staircase up to it and it was really, oh a long way up.  Of course the balcony in those days would be full, preaching to a full church then - the Reverend Grundy.  His tablet used to be on the floor in the Chancel and it was taken up and put on the wall, and Ernest decided he would remodel it and the pulpit stood out, massive thing it was.  I don’t know how many pieces it was in, he had a monumental mason pull it to pieces, rebuild it and lowered it - very much so.  So that was that for the time being, but the Stamford Mill at that time wasn’t a mill any more, not spinning, and the mill lodge was being filled in and some of the pulpit finished up on that fill-in – oh there was a meeting in church about that.   But he did a good job for me, in my opinion for what it’s worth, it was a jolly good job.  As for the parish itself, it boasted three Sunday Schools, one was at Strinesdale, it’s only about a couple of fields below the Roebuck Inn, one was Austerlands on the corner of Thorpe Road, and one was Shelderslow in Cooper Street.  The Whit Friday walk – that was the walk that was.  We used to assemble outside the church, and the band came from Horbury near Wakefield and they came for over sixty years, and they began hymn singing outside the church, and they marched down to Lees square, there was no library, or any shops, just a police station (it was manned) but also a police cell there if anyone got out of hand.  They used to have a mass sing there, then they all peeled off different ways, and ours was up Oldham Road, Springhead.  We used to sing at Shelderslow School, then march up to Heywood Lane and sing at Austerlands Sunday School, down Austerlands to Stamford Road, and along Stamford Road and that was the finish and you got your bun and your tea.  It was all morning, 9.00am set off to 12.30, this was Whit Friday as it was then – not Whit Sunday, then in the afternoon to the football field, Phoenix, and then later to Woodheads field.

The parish itself has had its fair share of those dark satanic mills, Austerlands, still standing of course,
And then you came down into the village itself, Hey Spinning Company and going along Turner Street, still in the parish was Dowry Mill, and the Oldham & Lees Spinning and coming back into Hey was
Further Hey Mill there, so quite a few for a small parish.  But that was how cotton was, it was ‘King Cotton’ and Waterhead was alive with mills.

The church itself blossomed to the church as it is today, but the second disaster was the fire, during Bernal Kelly’s day, of course once the fire was confined to the roof it was finally decided that the whole place should be cleared out but it was a disaster in itself, it was a masterpiece of an organ that was ruined.  Of course the Fire Brigade are there to get out the fire quick, they get that water going and everything else comes second.  The Greenfield Architect, Mr. Howcroft, did not get on with the job as the PCC would like so he was replaced, and along came John Ashcroft, and they gave him a free hand to set about the whole place, which he did, and as you know it was absolutely cleaned out wasn’t it, the pews the lot, the floors, everything that was wood was out, and he set about restoring it and you have it in its present form now.

A very quiet parish years ago, acres and acres of open land which the developers spotted, and of course they went in, and the parish as it is today unlike its neighbour Waterhead, it was developed and Waterhead was more or less gutted a jolly good knocking about, they smashed it up really and made a lot of old people unhappy.  So anyway then, I’ll just drop in at Waterhead for a minute or two, that was a hive of activity, shops all along Huddersfield Road, whereas in Hey there was very little in shopping.  Dunkerley's shop, which was the subject of a little bit of television, still going, and further down was a Bakers and Confections shop then going to where the Paint and Paper is now was a little branch of the Co-op and then you went down into Lees for the main shopping.  Lees was a thriving township.  Huddersfield Road near Hestair Hope, there’s a sign there, Oldham Metropolitan Borough, Lees, and further up the road is a Boundary stone.  This isn’t the one I rescued that one morning when a YTS group arrived and were going to crack it up. They were getting ready with a sledge hammer, a gang of youngsters, very happy go lucky – hang on a minute, hang on I said.  I went up to Mr. Kelly and told him what was going on, if you want to save it he said you get it saved.  Anyway there it stands now; you can nearly fall over it as you come out of the west door, can’t you.

The old School was given by Austin Ogden, a cotton merchant I suppose he would be because the Ogden family were quite wealthy.  It was 1884 that Rev. Grundy’s wife opened it, and it was run by a group of Managers,  and the Vicars at that time had very little say, but they had a seat on the Board of Managers, but that was the way it was in those days.  But it niggled the then vicar, he was a bit upset I think was Richard Jenkins.  Inside there was a mounted brass plaque, most of you have probably seen it.  There are fifteen children on there, and the fifteenth was Decimus Quintus!    In the old records down in Manchester, the comment was ‘Robbed by guile of his situation’.  There might have been a bit of skulduggery there you know.  I don’t say it applied to Mr. Mattinson himself, but it’s written in, ‘robbed by guile’.  Inside the church there was at least a dozen graves which they found during the main restoration, they scooped the whole floor, lifted the soil up, and where the two pillars are, where you came in at the main door, at the bottom of one is an iron coffin, how that happened I don’t know.  One of the workmen said ‘here what do you make of this’ – it was a new one to me.  There must be a dozen graves inside so it must have been built on a burial ground, must have been - surely they wouldn’t have built it and then started burying people inside!
(A little discussion followed with reference to a letter received a long time ago, from the then Bishop of Chester, saying that they could not bury people in church, something which had begun to happen because of grave robbers, so Bob agreed that this might explain the graves inside the church).

Kath Sellars

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Morning has broken 2

Pictures have now been added to Rev'd Lyn's post from yesterday  Check here

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Morning has broken

Good morning everyone.  You will know by now that Dave and I take a walk each morning, and, by whatever route, we end up in our prayer field.  As we reached the field, early on Sunday morning, I noticed that where it had rained in the night, little droplets of water had rested on the grass and were sparkling in the morning sunlight, especially when there was a slight breeze that made the grasses sway as if dancing.  It was like a field full of diamonds, it was quite beautiful and lifted my spirits so that I burst into song, singing "Morning has broken".  I just wanted to praise God for His creation. ( I know I don't sing well but I have pictures on my fridge that my grandchildren have drawn, they're not spectacular pieces of art, but I love them because they were made especially for me, and that how I like to think of God rejoicing in my less than tuneful singing.)

Dave and I commented on all the different grasses that had grown in the time that we have been praying in that field.  The field is full of different shades of green, cream, pink and lilac.  The grasses are interspersed with white clover, yellow buttercups and some pink flowers that I don't know the name of.  And as I looked around, particularly at all the different grasses, some short, some very tall now, I thought about how our church is made up of lots of different people, with different backgrounds, different personalities, different politics even, but one thing we all have in common is that we want to praise the Lord.  That is what unites us.  Like different grasses in one field, God placed us all together.  Let us therefore take joy in one another.  Instead of wanting everyone to be like us, let us appreciate the differences that make us one church, one body, strong because of our different gifts and skills, joining together.  Maybe then we will begin to sparkle, we will become so attractive that we catch the eyes of passers by and make them want to stop and praise God.

Sunday, 21 June 2020

Buddeleia globosa, fairies and care homes.

In my blog last week I asked if anyone knew what the above plant was called. Our resident gardening expert, Edna came up trumps but she did admit that she had to look it up. Edna says "it is a buddleia globosa, very unusual for a buddleia but the leaves are like others". 

Also, last week I told you about the fairy village but that it no longer exists. Well, apparently there is a rumour going around that the fairies are setting up home elsewhere in the valley. I know of one little boy who will be absolutely delighted if they do. Watch this space.

Something beautiful and lovely happened in a local care home this week. Revd Lyn and a few others held a short service via zoom, There were a few technical problems which caused some hilarity but otherwise, it was a great success. More services are being planned for the coming weeks.
Thank you, God, for all who work in our care homes, bless the residents and the staff. 

My grandson Archie is growing up to be a very independent boy. He took great pride in dressing himself this week and as you can see he is absolutely delighted with his efforts. Personal dresser in the making!

And finally:

Thank you for the anonymous comment on my blog last week. It was indeed an amazing reunion.

Links for the Notices post


There was a meeting of PCC members who had access to "Zoom".  The main topic discussed was the government's announcement about the re opening of churches for private prayer.  There are many things to consider, especially health and safety under the current conditions.  The set up of the church, the frequency and level of cleaning between visitors, the volunteers required and their availability were all factors discussed. 

The government made the announcement before the church had time to consider the safety of its members and any visitors that might wish to come and pray.  When it was announced, unfortunately I had pulled a muscle in my back and was barely able to walk, much less do the necessary moving of furniture to facilitate social distancing and allow for the use of  more easily cleanable seating.  Our Church Wardens are both in categories which mean that they would not be allowed to help.  (Please see the notes in the documents that I will ask David Green to put on the blog as links later today.)

Insurance cover, and the permission of the Church of England, relies on our doing a thorough risk assessment before opening.  Churches did not have opportunity to do this prior to the given dates for opening.  I am in the process of doing a risk assessment but at the meeting of the PCC members with access to zoom, it was decided that, certainly at present, it would not be safe for St John the Baptist to open for private prayer.  I will put a notice on the blog as soon as the risk assessment is complete and I have discussed it with Church Wardens and PCC members. 

One big issue was that of people in the "clinically vulnerable" group, which includes those over 70, regardless of their general health or lack of underlying health conditions.  You will see, after wading through the huge amounts of information given (which changes so quickly from day to day) that the latest information is that people in this category should be "strongly discouraged" from attending for prayer as they should stay at home as much as possible, however, the latest information is that while they should be strongly discouraged, if they do come, they should have a separate time from anyone else.  It remains against the current guidelines (and insurance, certainly with EIG, I will check with Trinitas) for anyone over 70 to help as a steward or a cleaner.  A notice will be put onto our facebook page to ask for younger volunteers so that we might, at a later date, be able to open, should the risk assessment allow it.

Please do put a comment on this blog post if anything is unclear and I will check regularly and try to answer as best as I am able, with the latest updated information from the government, the NHS, the Church of England and the Diocese.

Fathers' Day

Happy Fathers' Day to all you Fathers and Father figures.  Like everything else, it will be different this year but do your best to treat yourselves in some way and hopefully there will be phone calls, facetime calls or zoom parties going on.

God bless


Saturday, 20 June 2020

Trinity 2 HC

Hymn: Come ye faithful, raise the anthem

Hymn: Lord for the years

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

An easy way of avoiding the stock piling of envelopes is to set up a direct debit.  This is easier for you and much better for the church.

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

It's Tuesday evening and after a busy day, I have produced a sort video for our Wednesday worship.  Sadly, for some reason I'm unable to post it on the blog.  I will keep trying but I might have to post it in the morning, which means that some of you might not get it until Thursday.  Watch this space!

God bless


Sunday, 14 June 2020

Fairies in the woods

Fairy Magic.

Of course, we all know that there are no such things as fairies, but try telling that to a young child, especially if they have recently visited Ashworth valley. Ashworth valley is a beauty spot on the edge of Rochdale and during the weeks of lockdown, multiple faires have been living there.
I am not sure how the fairies first came to appear in the valley but during the lockdown, the fairy garden has enthralled many children and adults.
I was sad to learn the fairy garden has now been demolished but so pleased I was fortunate enough to visit the fairies with my grandson Archie before this happened.
Below, one of several trees adorned with fairy doors and their belongings.

 where part of the fairy garden as well

Archie gets excited when he sees a van with a ladder on top of the roof and so was extremely happy to find a fairy ladder and help the fairy climb it!

Yesterday I walked into Norden village and spotted this tree. The flowers which were like little orange balls looked beautiful in the spring sunshine.
Judging by the number of bees on it, it was a real magnet to them. Any gardeners amongst you who can tell me what it is, please?

I have mentioned in a previous blog about Canon Marcia Wall and yesterday at the start of evening prayer she asked if I anything had happened this week that you would always treasure the memory of.
I thought yes it has because yesterday I saw my two granddaughters who I  haven't seen since before lockdown. It was wonderful to see them and spend some time with them.  I shall always treasure the memory.
Thank you, God, for our families.

Saturday, 13 June 2020

Trinity 1 Holy Communion

Hymn: All people that on earth do dwell

Hymn: God is working his purpose out

Sunday, 7 June 2020

A Haven for God's Creation

A Haven for God’s Creation.

Once again Edna has given us a glimpse of her garden which is so very beautiful and lovely and a real haven for God’s creation.

Edna writes – bees this week, 4 different species visiting flowers in the garden and hopefully pollinating my broad beans, although some of the larger bee’s cheat and cut a hole in the base of the flower for the nectar.

I also managed to get a photo of the 3 crow chicks just before they fledged.

My blog last week also brought back some fond memories of Edna’s childhood days.

I was watching an interview with Captain Tom the other day, I think it was on Countryfile, and he was talking about catching sticklebacks as a child, I remember that’s something we did, we were lucky to live near Alexandra Park and used to fish with our nets in the boating lake and bring home our catch in jam jars.  We used to look for caterpillars on the tree trunks down the main walk and have races with them!  I don’t remember the ice-cream van coming round, only the rag and bone man, that makes me feel old!
Today being Whit Friday I’ve been enjoying looking at various videos of previous years whit walks and band contests and some made for today posted on Facebook - #saddleworthdayofmusic.
I hope people enjoyed looking at the photos from our whit walk last year posted by David on the blog.  The weather seems to be better on Whit Sunday than Whit Friday, perhaps there’s a message there.

I remember the rag and bone man and my nana always got a donkey stone from him. I wonder how many of you know what a donkey stone is?
I also have fond memories of the Whit walks. I was always taken to Silvana’s in Manchester, think it was in the Ancoats area to buy the dress. Don’t think it exists any more. My memories may serve me wrong but I don’t remember any Whit walks were the sun didn’t shine. Maybe it’s my rose-tinted glasses!

And lastly, Archie is learning the art of improvisation. You may think they are goal posts but they aren't. The little green ball gives you a clue. Maybe he is going to take after his daddy and be a golfing fan. Incidentally, Archie set this up himself. 

Saturday, 6 June 2020

National Service for Trinity Sunday

"Join us for a farewell service for The Archbishop of York.

John Sentamu will be joined by representatives of charities he founded, BBC News presenter Huw Edwards, and Tariro Matsveru, a student at Cranmer Hall."

Trinity Sunday Holy Communion

Hymn: Holy, holy, holy

Hymn: Thou whose almighty word

Morning Prayer for Trinity Sunday

Morning Prayer on Sunday
Sunday, 7 June 2020
Trinity Sunday

O Lord, open our lips
All and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.

Hymn: Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God Almighty

1 Bless the Lord all you works of the Lord:
sing his praise and exalt him for ever.
2 Bless the Lord you heavens:
sing his praise and exalt him for ever.
3 Bless the Lord you angels of the Lord:
sing his praise and exalt him for ever.
4 Bless the Lord all people on earth:
sing his praise and exalt him for ever.
5 O people of God bless the Lord:
sing his praise and exalt him for ever.
6 Bless the Lord you priests of the Lord:
sing his praise and exalt him for ever.
7 Bless the Lord you servants of the Lord:
sing his praise and exalt him for ever.
8 Bless the Lord all you of upright spirit:
bless the Lord you that are holy and humble in heart.
All Bless the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit: sing his praise and exalt him for ever.

Psalm 86.8-13
All nations you have made shall come and worship
you, O Lord.

8 Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord,  nor any works like yours.
9 All nations you have made shall come and worship you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name.
10 For you are great and do wonderful things; you alone are God. R
11 Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; knit my heart to you, that I may fear your name.
12 I will thank you, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and glorify your name for evermore;
13 For great is your steadfast love towards me, for you have delivered my soul from the depths of the grave. R
All nations you have made shall come and worship you, O Lord.

God of mercy, who in your great love
drew your Son from the depths of the Pit,
bring your people from death to life,
that we may rejoice in your compassion
and praise you now and for ever.

All Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning is now and shall be for ever. Amen.

Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead
All And Christ shall give you light.
You have died and your life is hid with Christ in God.
All Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead.
Set your minds on things that are above,
not on things that are on the earth.
All And Christ shall give you light.
When Christ our life appears you will appear with him in glory.
All Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.
from Colossians 3

Gospel Canticle
1 Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel,
who has come to his people and set them free.
2 He has raised up for us a mighty Saviour,
born of the house of his servant David.
3 Through his holy prophets God promised of old to save us from our enemies, from the hands of all that hate us,
4 To show mercy to our ancestors,
and to remember his holy covenant.
5 This was the oath God swore to our father Abraham: to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
6 Free to worship him without fear, holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life.
7 And you, child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
8 To give his people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of all their sins.
9 In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
10 To shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Luke 1.68-79
All Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning is now and shall be for ever. Amen.

The Collect

Let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.  And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.  For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever.

Hymn: Thou, whose almighty word

The Conclusion
The Lord bless us, and preserve us from all evil, and keep us in eternal life.
All Amen.
Let us bless the Lord.
All Thanks be to God.

Hail Smiling Morn

Saddleworth Musical Society sing for Whit Friday watch the video here

Friday, 5 June 2020