Celebrating

Posted by on Thursday, June 27, 2019 Under: From the Vicar
Ruth's article from the July/August edition of the Parish Magazine

Thy Kingdom Come (which you will recall from my article last month, is now a global Church prayer initiative that runs during the period between Ascension Day and Pentecost) has been a revelation for St. Peter and St. Paul’s. We have had a wonderful time. The church was open every day and we enjoyed some fascinating encounters with people from all walks of life. A couple of entries in the visitors’ book speak volumes ...

“I’ve lived here for 5 years now and this was the first time I’ve walked inside. What a pleasure. Quite amazing.”

“A wonderful church with a peaceful sense of God’s Spirit at work.”

We also held Morning and Evening Prayer every day and people grew in faith and confidence. Comments written on the prayer stations reveal a real depth of spirituality and a yearning for God’s Kingdom to come.

There were so many highlights it’s hard to pick favourites, but the visit from St. Peter’s school was definitely one of them. On 4th June, years 5 and 6 came to visit the Prayer Stations. Mr Holditch brought them in groups of 12 or so, and we thought 15-20 minutes might be enough for each group. How wrong we were! We ended up with a church full of engrossed children. Thank you to all of them for exploring the prayer stations so wholeheartedly.

I’m looking forward to visiting St. Mark’s School in Eccles this week, so I hope children from there will soon be part of church life too!

So ... onto the next big thing ... the Patronal Festival Celebration Weekend (29th and 30th June). The church’s patronal festival is when we honour the patron saints of our church - St. Peter and St. Paul.

St. Peter and St. Paul were two huge characters in the fledgling Christian church of the 1st century. Peter, originally known as Simon, was a fisherman when Jesus called him to become one of his followers. Peter’s faith in Jesus eventually led Jesus to call Peter the ‘rock’ on which the church would be built, but Peter’s journey to that point was not easy. The Bible stories describe him as unsure and confused by Jesus, and sometimes argumentative. After Jesus was arrested, in fear for his own life, Peter even denied that he knew Jesus. And yet, in the end, Jesus’ unwavering faith in Peter bore fruit.
 
Peter is a great example of what Jesus can do in the life of a very human being; his eventual leadership of the early church showed how Jesus can build strength and confidence from weakness and uncertainty. Peter was martyred for his faith around 64 AD. 

St. Paul has a very different story. Paul, originally known as Saul, was an educated Jew (a Pharisee) and a Roman citizen. Saul persecuted Christians savagely, but was dramatically converted after seeing Jesus in a vision (Acts 9.3-5). From that time on, known as Paul, he poured all his energy into bringing the good news of Jesus to many people. Paul travelled around most of the Roman Empire, establishing Christian communities. His many letters form the bulk of the New Testament. Paul was also martyred, around 67 AD.

As well as being examples of determination and dedication, St. Peter and St. Paul teach us that there is hope, in Jesus, for everyone. No matter how weak or flawed we may be, or think we are, Jesus’ faith in us - his forgiveness, compassion and encouragement can lift us to what we never thought possible. Something well worth celebrating I hope you’ll agree!

The timetable for the weekend is:

Saturday morning – discussion and reflection with Peter Smith - ‘Changing Our World - The Barnabas Way!’ 10am – 1pm in church. (Coffee from 9.30am).

Saturday afternoon – Cream Teas. 2-5pm in church.

Sunday morning – Breakfast in church from 9.15am. Followed by an All-age Celebration Service at 10am.

Sunday afternoon – Barbecue in the Vicarage garden, 12 noon onwards.

See Events for more information.

Please let friends and neighbours know, and come and join in. All these events are for everyone who is interested, and we hope it will be a wonderful weekend of church and community celebrating together.

Every blessing,

Ruth

More news ...

Sunday Club
It’s great to be able to say that, thanks to the kindness of Mr Holditch and St. Peter’s School, we will be able to use one of the classrooms on Sunday mornings from September onwards. So watch this space for more information about Sunday Club for up to 11 year olds (year 6).

The Big Lunch
The Big Village Lunch on 2nd June was great fun. Thank you particularly to Nicola and Martin Bowden and everyone else who helped to make it such a brilliant afternoon.

Combined Service with the Friars
On Saturday 8th June, Father Francis and other Friars came and joined us for a Service for the Eve of Pentecost. It was lovely to worship and enjoy a meal together and we look forward to more times of sharing.

Meryl Walsh
This month, the church and village community lost a much loved friend - Meryl Walsh. You can read about the family’s memories of a wonderful mother in the current Parish Magazine.

In : From the Vicar