Vicar’s Window September 2017

Dear friends,

This has been a busy month. The Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady was kept wonderfully on the Sunday afternoon at S. Werburgh’s and at Holy Trinity on the day. Thankfully, a number of people and priests from neighbouring parishes joined in our celebration. I say thankfully because a number of our own people were either on holiday or employed in more important matters. I fail to understand the inability of Christians to fulfil their Christian duty on Holy Days of Obligation. There is a great danger that the total Christian observance is restricted to Sunday morning mass – if that! We have a duty to offer worship to God. I suppose a lot depends on our desire to go to heaven or hell. Beware of thinking that God takes discipleship lightly.

I was made very conscious of this recently. A colleague died and I felt it imperative to offer a mass of requiem for the repose of their soul as soon as possible. “And lo between our sins and their reward, we set the Passion of thy Son, our Lord.” When mass is offered for the repose of a dead person then that is exactly what we are doing. I fear this taking for granted that we will all be united in heaven on the strength of our own goodness. Christ is the REDEEMER. He wins us back from the jaws of hell though his death on the cross. Holy Cross Day celebrates the finding of the True Cross in Jerusalem by S. Helena, the Emperor Constantine’s mother. ‘We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you. For by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.” Let us be certain that our salvation is wrought by none other than the Lord of Glory. Come to mass on that feast day September 14th.

Then there was the trip to Llandudno. A lovely day with lovely weather in a very jolly place. Read Ruth’s articles and note that we managed to turn it into a mini-pilgrimage with mass to start with and prayers at an holy well to (nearly) finish. All this in the company of Sister Mary Catherine of the Benedictine Community of the Holy Cross (the Cross again!) who was holidaying back in her former parish. Carol Smith was a faithful worshipper at Holy Trinity before taking the veil. Note, also, that she was on holiday and still observed the Feast of the Assumption.

Sad to report that Pauline Martin died in a nursing home in Stafford. Her funeral was at Sneyd Church before her interment in the burial ground of Stafford Crematorium. Pauline was a member of the Mothers’ Union and spent time faithfully worshipping with us and then more intermittently. Let us not forget Our Lord’s teaching about keeping the hand to the plough.

Ruth’s husband, Fred, was laid to rest last month. His funeral requiem took place in our church and his ashes received into Salem Church, Smallthorne, where he was a faithful worshipper. A goodly number of worshippers and friends gathered on both occasions. Kim, the minister, then said prayers as Fred’s ashes were laid to rest.

Oh dear! Lots of death’s this past month. Alan Shutt, long-term organ tuner and builder – and faithful and long- suffering helper of myself when rebuilding the Compton organ at Sneyd Church. Alan was a lovely, gentle, person and was very patient when I came up with complicated ideas and snags when adding to the pipework, He and Josie were married at Sneyd church over twenty years ago. More recently he was organist and very faithful worshipper with Josie at the United Reformed Church in Porthill. I was able to attend and speak briefly | about Alan. Please keep them both in your prayers.

And a wedding! Alexis, Hilda Burgess’s niece (former organist and M.U. member) was married to her partner Lee at an amazing church off the coast of Anglesey. It is called ‘The Church in the Sea” and can be found on “t’internet”. A lovely day with lovely weather. Hilda and her sister, Norah, would have been thrilled.

Nothing else exciting to report. The profile for this parish and for S. Werburgh’s has almost been completed The next stage will be to advertise and see if there is a priest who believes himself to be called to serve in these two parishes in the near future. If someone is appointed soon then it will be good for me to have full-time colleague to work with so that this church and S. Werburgh’s may flourish in the future. For the present (as always) it depends on everyone in both congregations. Are we faithful in worship? Do we welcome the stranger in our midst? Do we reach out to others to draw then to Christ? Does our lifestyle attract or repel? Do people know that we the Lord’s people?

Enjoy the rainy season and return from holiday refreshed.