Operation Christmas Child

We are supporting Operation Christmas Child once again this year as a local collection point for shoeboxes to be dropped off.

The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to show God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world, and together with the local church worldwide, to share the good news of Jesus Christ. Since 1990, more than 157 million children in over 160 countries have experienced God’s love through the power of simple shoebox gifts from Operation Christmas Child.

Shoeboxes for some children can be the only gift they receive at Christmas. You can find out more information about what to put in a shoebox on the Operation Christmas Child website here

The Parish Centre is open Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 1.30pm and on Sunday mornings. The shoeboxes will be collected from St. Michael’s on Monday 19th November.

 

Ministers Message – November 2018

From War to Hope

As I write this, we are in the throes of cutting out red paper poppies and bringing them together forming one large installation to commemorate and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Every day more poppies arrive at church and sit waiting to be joined together, it feels a little chaotic and slightly overwhelming. Why did I think 7000 would be a good idea?

In the grand scheme of things pulling 7000 paper poppies together for a community art project is nothing compared to those that were left when the war ended with the feelings of grief, anger and chaos. It must have been very disturbing, if not overwhelming.

100 years on from the armistice, even though it did not end the notion of war, the world is a different place. Nations who were once enemies now sit down together peacefully, landscapes that were destroyed by firepower have regrown and flourish with beauty, and discrimination because of identity is widely condemned. Out of mass destruction has come hope.

This hope for a better place is what Isaiah foretells in Isaiah 11:

The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. (Isaiah 11:6)

Isaiah tells of a vision where enemies by natural order sit together in peace. Whilst today’s world is far from perfect, to the people of 1918, the world probably looks much better. In 1918 there were brave men and women who stood up to say, “let’s build a better world where our sons and daughters won’t live in fear”. And then they did!

Whilst we have come a long way, Isaiah’s vision is still not fulfilled, and our world still has many problems. Even in 2018, we need to continue to work together for what is right, we must continue to tell a better story marked by hope, and we are called to lead the way in being people of forgiveness and truth and reconciliation, even in the hardest of places following the one who made the perfect sacrifice.

Visiting ‘Bramhall Remembers 100’ Poppy Display

For the last few weeks, people throughout Bramhall have been creating paper poppies as part of the Bramhall Remembers 100 project. These poppies are being brought together to form one art installation representing the unity of Bramhall in its remembrance and thankfulness of those who fought for justice, freedom and liberty in war.

You can visit the poppies from Sunday 11th November 2018 at the following times:

Sunday 11th November

11.30am to 6pm

Monday 12th – Friday 16th November

9.30am to 1.30pm

5.30pm to 7.30pm

 

Group Visiting

If you want to bring a group to visit the poppies we can offer a flexible session exploring some of the themes of remembrance and some of the people from Bramhall who have their lives in the World Wars. To book a session contact Revd Calum Piper on [email protected] or 0161 439 3989

Journey into Light Exhibition

An exhibition of prisoner artwork will be on display at St. Michael’s Parish Church from Monday 12th November to Friday 16th November 2018. The aim of the exhibition, titled Journey into Light, is to demonstrate to visitors that behind every prisoner’s conviction and sentence is a personal story of love, hope and loss.

The exhibition is made up of more than 50 individual pieces of art produced by prisoners from HMP Styal and HMP Thorn Cross, Cheshire.

Debbie Dalby, Director of Social Responsibility at the Diocese of Chester, says: “We want people to view the exhibition and leave with a greater sense of empathy and awareness of prisoner experience. There is life beyond prison and we want to celebrate renewal and restoration and the hope of a brighter, more optimistic future.

“By seeing the creativity of prisoners and hearing their stories, people will be able to better understand some of the choices, mistakes and circumstances that they have faced in their lives.”

The Diocese of Chester has been working with prison chaplains from HMS Styal and HMS Thorn Cross who have worked with the prisoners to produce the pieces of art. The exhibits differ in style from large acrylic paintings, abstract landscapes, and self-portraits.

The Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Dr Peter Forster, says: “Prisoners are often viewed as “the other” yet they live in our midst, are a part of our communities, and contribute to our societies. The Bible has much to say about the plight of prisoners and the Christian faith recognises that every person is made in the image of God and is valued despite our individual mistakes and regrets. This exhibition allows us the opportunity to understand better the lived experiences of prisoners in Cheshire.”

You can visit the exhibition in St. Michael’s every day during the week of Monday 12th November between the following times:

Mornings: 9.30am to 1.30pm

Evenings: 5.30pm to 7.30pm

 

Also on display will be the Bramhall Remembers 100 poppy installation.

 

 

Statement from the Bishop of Chester relating to Simon Marsh

A statement from the Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Peter Forster, following the Judgement of the Clergy Discipline Tribunal in the case of the Revd Simon Marsh:

Following the decision of the Tribunal fully to uphold the charges against the Revd Simon Marsh, I am greatly saddened that a member of the clergy in the Diocese of Chester should so misuse his position and abuse a vulnerable young woman.

I would pay tribute to the courage of the Complainant in supporting the formal complaint and being willing to submit herself to cross-examination during the hearing. I apologise unreservedly to her on behalf of the Church, and we will continue to offer pastoral support to her.

This is a sad and inexcusable tale of the abuse of trust and power by a priest of the Church of England. We will do all that we can to minimize the likelihood of the recurrence of such abuse.

It is now nearly 5 years since the original complaint was made to the police. This has been a very difficult time for the parish of St Michael, Bramhall, and I pay tribute to all those who have enabled the worship and wider life of the parish to continue with admirable resilience.  We will now move as quickly as possible to appoint a new Vicar.

Rt Revd Peter Forster
Bishop of Chester

Read the full judgement and penalty decision on the Church of England website.

Service of Light and Commemoration

Our annual service of Light and Commemoration will take place on Sunday 4th November 2018 at 6.30pm. The service will provide a quiet and reflective act of worship including hymns and readings and during which loved ones who have died can be remembered and with thanks being given to God for them.

During the service we shall be reading out a list of names of those we would like to remember. If you want your loved one to be remembered in this way please contact the Parish Office on [email protected] or 0161 439 3989 by Wednesday 31st October

 

 

Festival 2020

After the Narnia Festival, the organising group awarded itself time off, having first agreed that the next St M’s Festival would be in 2020 – dates to be decided – and that, given the ‘lead time’ required organisationally, the first meeting of the Festival 2020 group would be six months later.  The six months now up, the meeting in the Lounge on Thursday 18th October, at midday.  All are welcome to come along, whether you want to be involved in organising Festival 2020 or want to find out a bit more before committing yourself.  If interested but unable to attend, please contact Parish Office on 0161 439 3989.

Garden of Remembrance

At the East of end of the church grounds is the Garden of Remembrance. In part of the garden there are currently two large flower beds that were planted with hydrangeas around 20 years ago. Following the hot summer, it has been decided that it is time to refresh this area of the garden. The plans are to replace the current hydrangeas with roses and to install another rose bed along the adjacent path. This further bed will be opposite the peace roses that were planted two years ago.

Each rose will cost £15 and we hope to prepare the beds and plant the roses during November. Whilst the church has already committed to the work being undertaken, we wanted to offer you the opportunity to make a donation towards the cost of a rose in memory of your loved one.

If you choose to make a donation, cheques can be made payable to St. Michael & All Angels PCC. Please mark clearly that your donation is for the remembrance garden.

Ministers Message – September 2018

New Year

For a lot of people September has come to be another point at which New Year is marked with the start of the new academic year. New teachers will be let loose on their first classes, students will meet new teachers if not new schools, and many parents will give a sigh of relief as the holidays come to an end. September is also a time when families will travel to distant cities to drop off loved ones at university too.

All these new starts will require change. Adapting to new syllabuses or routines, learning new names and getting to know classmates, and even discovering new cities and how to live alone or in a house with strangers.

For those in the education system I think the arrival of September can sometimes feel like it’s a time when you are pushed out of your comfort zone. The start of this new academic year might also be a time when you could challenge yourself to something new and something that might broaden the horizons or deepen the roots of your faith. There are a number of new things starting and I want to take the opportunity to make you aware of them:

Knit and Natter starts on the Second Thursday of the month at. You could join to learn a new skill or rekindle an art of old whilst getting to know others a little bit better.

A weekly bible study will start on Wednesday 12th September, every Wednesday at 5.30pm in Costa on the high street. It will be a simple session looking at what a passage might mean to us as Christians today and open to all.

We will also be launching a free soup lunch on the 3rd Wednesday of every month at 12pm following our midweek communion. A chance for people to come and share fellowship and eat together – something Jesus showed was important.

So I hope even if you have long left the academic world, you might take time this September to ask yourself, what new challenge can I rise to? What else could I do or change to help me grow as a disciple of Jesus?

Soup Lunch

Come for a Cuppa, Stay for some Soup

We believe that eating together is really important. Every week we share Holy Communion which first started in the context of Jesus sharing food around a table with friends.

Every month on the 3rd Wednesday of every month you’re invited to join us for a free soup lunch at 12pm. There will be soup, bread, tea and coffee and there is no charge, but donations are welcomed.

For more information contact Calum in the Parish Office