Easter Activity Day

We will be running our first Easter Activity Day on Thursday 5th April. Starting at 9.30am the day will be filled with activities including craft, forest school, easter activities, sport and lots of fun.

The day is open for children in years 3-6 but parents and family are welcome to stay and join in. The day is free but we ask that you bring your own lunch.

Places are limited, to book your place, contact Karen in the Parish Office on [email protected] or 0161 439 3989

Mothers Union: By Royal Appointment

MOTHERS’ UNION FUND RAISING EVENT

FLOWER DEMONSTRATION AND TALK

 THURSDAY 22ND MARCH 2018 AT 2PM

 “BY ROYAL APPOINTMENT” – ROSEMARY HUGHES

 Rosemary is the Official Supplier of Nosegays for the Maundy Service and was responsible for flowers at the Re-internment of Richard III

 All are welcome to attend. Tickets are £5 and can either be reserved in advance or paid for on the door. They include refreshments. To reserve tickets contact Karen (Parish Administrator) on 0161 439 3989 or email [email protected]

Pilgrim Course

Pilgrim is a major teaching and discipleship resource from the Church of England. It aims to help every local church create a place where people can explore the Christian faith together and see how it can be lived out each day.

Pilgrim takes a different approach to other Christian programmes. It approaches the great issues of faith not through persuasion, but participation in a pattern of contemplation and discussion with a group of fellow travellers.

Our Pilgrim sessions will follow the Follow Stage of the Pilgrim Course which  explores the heart of Christian belief through the six questions candidates are asked at baptism. These questions include:

Do you turn to Christ?

Do you believe and trust in God the Father?

Do you believe in his Son Jesus Christ?

Do you believe in the Holy Spirit? 

Do you repent of your sins? 

Do you renounce evil?

Reflections on Narnia – The Cast

Mr Tumnus (David Taylor)

It was a real privilege being the first to see the absolute delight on the faces of the children over the first 3 days as they entered Narnia through the wardrobe. To my amazement this joy and excitement continued as we opened the wardrobe to the general public. There wasn’t a single occasion where both children and adults weren’t blown away by the experience.
The support and encouragement of the wider church community and the fun and joy of working with the Narnia team has and will continue to have a lasting effect on me. The experience is one I shall treasure.

The White Witch (Jill Elston)

Firstly, it was fantastic and beyond my wildest dreams!

It did feel like a big family being “In Narnia” – a family that prays together, eats together, supports each other and grumbles with each other – a typical loving family.  Narnia provided for a growth within the church community and some examples of people showing great service, fortitude, bravery, courage and imagination.

The reaction to Narnia was overwhelming. It was obvious from the comments that people appreciated the amount of effort, planning and person hours that went in to making Narnia so fantastic.  The planning, staged publicity and Chinese whispers was definitely worthwhile.

We were able to share a story that is worth telling. It was a privilege to be part of something so amazing and to be alongside everyone who contributed to Narnia.  My favourite quote of the week was ‘how wonderful to see people queuing to get into a church event!’

Mrs Beaver (Janet Kettringham)

I still find myself humming the Narnia music, with a huge smile on my face.

I believe the wow factor started that first Sunday when we began walking into a tree’d-up church and realising that the whole was greater than the parts.

So many people had parts to play, from the planning team buzzing with energy and ideas right from the start, to gradually widening that group to include fabricators of all kinds, enthusiastic parishioners, schools, youth groups, music and art students… the list goes on.

The  scripts fired imaginations, allowed joy and delight to seep into the work and bring so many people to St Michael’s.

And I found throughout the whole event, from setting up to striking down a wonderful family feeling of goodwill to each other. Whatever ‘magic’ that made it so uplifting, whatever warmth and inclusivity that was palpable to everyone who came, we must try to instil that vital spirit in any future endeavours.

Sue Taylor (Lead Planner – Head Narnian)

14 months ago a group of keen committed members of the congregation met to talk through the possibility of staging a second festival at St Michaels. Buoyed on by the success of the Angel Festival, the previous December. Ideas were aired, thoughts shared and a consensus easily reached , it had to be a Narnia Festival!!!

Jill and I leapt on a train to Liverpool, they were staging The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe at St George’s Hall. We came away hooked, we could do it , we should do it !!

From then on, at each planning meeting creative juices flowed and excitement built. We should aim high, go for the wow factor, deliver the story, put St Michaels on the map.

Over a year in the planning, an unbelievable week of setting up and success we hardly imagined possible, we did it. Being part of the planning team was a privilege, such determination, such commitment and such great fun. Hard work: undoubtedly, community building: certainly and an experience that will never leave those involved.

Sermon – Sunday 14th January – Jessica Piper

 [John 1. 43-51]: ‘Come and See’ – Encountering Jesus

 

I wonder how it is, you came to be here this morning… for some of us, coming to church is something we have done every Sunday, week-in-week-out, for many a year, perhaps for some of us longer than we care to remember. While for others of us, coming to church every week might still be a relatively new thing. One of the things I love about my job, is sitting with people and listening to them tell their stories. Stories of how they came to faith, and stories of how they came to belong to the Christian community of which they are a part. And one of the recurring things I hear in these stories is the words: “someone invited me.” That is certainly true of my story…

I was 10 years old when the invitation came. And, even though I’d been brought up in a Christian home, and went to church every week with my parents, it wasn’t until this invitation came that I began to think things through for myself. The invitation came via my school. Someone from the local Anglican Church had come in to help with our RE lessons, and it was there where he showed an interest in my work, saw something in me that I didn’t at the time see in myself, and invited me along to the after-school club he was running. And when I look back on that part of my life, 15 years later I realize what a remarkable difference that invitation made. For it was there, on a normal Monday afternoon, that I first encountered Jesus. And all of that happened because, like Philip in our gospel reading, someone had the courage to say: ‘come and see…’

And those three simple words, that invitation to ‘come and see’, is not simply for John, the heart of this opening scene, but the message of his whole gospel.

Again, and again, from these early disciples, to the Pharisee named Nicodemus, to the Samaritan woman at the well, to the man born blind, to Peter and Pilate, and eventually to Thomas, characters throughout John’s gospel are encountered by Jesus. And to each one, in one way or another, he says the same thing: come and see… come and see God do a new thing. Come and see as your future opens up in front of you. Come and see the grace of God made manifest and accessible and available to all. And at that point, like I did on that Monday afternoon in a Christian after-school club, each of us has a choice – will we accept Jesus’ invitation and follow, or will we not? And that is essentially what this Epiphany season is all about. Recognizing and responding to this Jesus, who reveals himself to us in unique and different ways.

Nathanael’s way of responding – with instant questioning, and doubts that anything good can come out of Nazareth, to instant recognition of Jesus as the Son of God, once he had been personally revealed to him, is just one way. But there are multiple other ways in which people respond too. Last week, for example, in Bowdon, we explored how King Herod responded by feeling threatened, and in turn, by rejecting Jesus. We explored too of how the Scribes and Pharisees – the Jewish clergy of Jesus’ day – had all the head knowledge, but couldn’t seem to compute that into heart knowledge, and so neglected Jesus and the relationship which he offered. And we looked, at the Magi – those wise, and learned men, who didn’t know fully who was laid in front of them, when they visited Jesus in the stable, but who choose to accept and worship him anyway. As we look at those four different ways in which people have recognized and responded to Jesus in the gospels, I wonder if you see something of yourself, or someone you know in these responses? Since, while it is wonderful to see so many people in church this morning, I stand here looking round, and notice that there are still a significant number of people missing. People like Nathanael. People like the Scribes and the Pharisees. People like Herod, even… and I wonder why that is?

The world we live in is a very different one from the one many of you grew up in. Churches are not places which people have ownership over anymore. People struggle to walk through the doors of our buildings, and their interactions with and experiences of faith are far more limited than our own. We can no longer assume the ‘come to us’ approach. But instead, must follow Philip’s example and invite people to ‘come and see’. This isn’t easy. And while receiving those words is wonderful, I suspect when its our turn to utter them, we struggle to actually say them to someone. Not because we don’t want them here, but because more often than not, we are scared of rejection, or worse still, scared that they might actually say ‘yes’, and we won’t know what to do after that! I’m right there with you! But take heart, in my experience, it’s much easier than you think!

 

The heart, not only of John’s gospel but of Christian evangelism is the call to simply extend an offer of invitation to someone to come and see what God is doing. And we do that, by simply saying what we see. What is God doing in your life right now? What has he done for you in the past? What stories have you heard? Each one of us will be able to answer those questions, both individually and collectively as a community. And I encourage you to do so, before you leave this place today. Because, it seems to me, from the little time I have spent here, that there is much that God is doing in and through the lives of all those who belong to St Michael’s. And that is good news which is worth sharing!

And so, before you leave this place today I ask you this: who is God asking you to invite? And what are you going to invite them to? A Sunday morning service? The Mothers’ Union? The Narnia Festival? Whatever it is, can I encourage you this morning, instead of being like Nathanael, who is always questioning, be like Philip who has courage to utter the words ‘come and see,’ because when you do, you will see that indeed good things do come out of Nazareth – far better things than you could ever ask or imagine!

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Narnia Lion Trail

In various locations around Bramhall village there are about forty Lions. See if you can find twenty 

 

of them, and write down where they are on the list above.  Hand in to Reception at St Michael’s Church or put through the letterbox there.  The prize draw will take place on Sunday, 11th February after service at 4pm.

 

You can download the Lion Trail sheet here.

Ministry Update

We are delighted to announce that, following discussions with Bishop Libby and her discussions at a Diocesan Level, Bishop Peter has agreed that Calum is to continue in Ministry at St Michael’s as long as the parish is without a vicar exercising public ministry.

We are delighted with this news – as we know you will be – and look forward to continuing to work with Calum into the future.

Louise and David

Churchwardens

Reflections on Remembrance

Every November, at 11 o clock on the 11th of November this country, joined by countries around the Commonwealth and Europe falls silent to remember those who have died in war from World War 1 right up to the present day. This year in particular, the nation has remembered specifically the Battle of Passchendaele. I don’t know if you watched the coverage of the commemorations or if you have even visited the battlefields themselves, but I was struck afresh at the numbers.

550,000 Allied and German Troops killed at Passchendaele. Many more injured.

550,000. The number of dead would fill up the seats in Old Trafford 7.2 times.

Each number represents someone who had a family and had a whole future ahead of them. They died for the sake of freedom, liberty and justice. When we stop at 11am, we stop not just to remember the violence and the horrific sacrifices made, but we stop to reflect on the ongoing fight for freedom, justice and peace and to commit ourselves afresh to that cause.

2017 also marks 100 years since the creation of the first all-female unit in the British Army, the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps. Within one of the darkest hours of the world, when many were forced to experience sacrifice, there a recognition that everyone, no matter who they were, had a part to play. That is as important today as ever.

We all have a part to play in building a world marked with the values of peace, justice and freedom. A world based on hope. As we stop, I encourage you to ask the question; What is my role in building this world of peace and hope? And as you do, remember the words of Jesus: ‘Love one another as I have loved you’. (John 15:12)


Written by Revd Calum Piper, Interim Minister

Originally published in November 2017 in the Monthly Bowdon Church News.

Autumn Update

Following on from our Kaleidoscope service in August the PCC have spent a lot of time thinking and praying through how we as a church welcome people into our community whilst also exploring new ways of ensuring our building remains welcoming. One discussion that has taken place is on the subject of communication and keeping in contact with all members of the community at St. Michaels. This letter is fruit of that discussion, we hope you will find it useful in finding out some of the things that have been taking place as well as what is lined up for the next few months.

Looking Back

Thank You and Welcome

Over the last couple of years we have been very fortunate to have had the care and ministry of a number of priests. We are very grateful to Fr. David Stoter and Fr. Bob Read, both of whom devoted much time and energy to our parish, and we were sorry to see them leave in the last year.  Fr David Parker, a well known friend of St. Michael’s, has also been a blessing to us with his ministry. We are delighted that Fr David continues to offer his ministry her at St. Michael’s, although currently is taking a well deserved rest.

Revd Calum Piper joined us in July as Interim Minister until Christmas. He has come from a Curacy at St. Hilary’s Church in Wallasey on the Wirral, before that training at St. John’s College in Nottingham. He is married to Jess who is curate at St. Mary’s Church in Bowdon. He enjoys walking, running and touring the country with Jess during his time off. Calum’s passion in ministry is about building communities of disciples centred around the cross.

Churchwardens

At the annual meeting in April, Sue Taylor stepped down as Churchwarden after six years. David Walker was elected as the new warden and works alongside Louise Richardson.

Dave has been part of St Michael’s for the past 33 years. He is the Electoral Roll Officer and was a sidesperson until he took up the role of Churchwarden. Dave is married to Ann and has two children, Stuart and Andrea, and five grandchildren. Dave worked for British Telecom for 38 years, retiring 16 years ago. He has enjoyed being a member of ’79 Probus Club of Bramhall for 13 years being chairman from 2011 to 2013 and also volunteers with Ann at the Avro Heritage Museum in Woodford.

Louise was elected warden in 2015 and generously dedicates her time to St Michaels as a Churchwarden whilst also being Chair of the Board of Corporation at Stockport College, and owning of her own consultancy practice.  Louise is an accomplished musician and singer, having previously served as Music Leader here at St Michaels, and remains heavily involved with the church’s musical life, including singing in the choir at services.

For Young and Old

During the summer we again hosted the I Love Bramhall Tea Party on the lawn and in the church hall. Over 300 members of the local community came and had afternoon tea served and entertained by local acts and young people from Bramhall High School. It was delight to host such an event and we look forward to getting involved again next year.


Teddy Bear Sunday

On Sunday 17th September, we celebrated four years of our Kaleidoscope ministry by holding Teddy Bear Sunday. The church was full, not just with the sight of teddy bears, and we thought about the loyalty and safety that God provides for everyone which is reflected in each person’s teddy. We also prayed for everyone in new places but especially those starting new academic years at school.

Autumn has arrived

Advent is already just round the corner and is traditionally a time for preparing for Christmas but also looking for Jesus’ return. Our Advent Carol service will be held on Sunday 3rd December at 6.30pm and will provide space for everyone to reflect on the coming story of Christmas whilst singing all your favourite advent hymns.

The Countdown to Christmas

Christmas promises to be an exciting time as ever with St. Michaels playing host to many carol services and concerts. Please find enclosed an invite to our Christmas services. We hope you can join us as we celebrate that God is with Us.

Narnia Festival

Following on from the success of our Angels Festival next February we will be hosting a Narnia Festival where we hope to welcome 10% of the parish population into church to discover the Narnia story afresh and explore what the story means to them in greater detail.

All are Welcome

St. Michael’s continues to faithfully meet each week to worship God on a Sunday and throughout the week. We also have a wide programme of groups and activities for everyone to get involved in. Whether you are a regular attender or haven’t been in a while, we hope you will have taken encouragement from all that has been going on and we hope to see you at something soon. If you would like to speak confidentially with one of the wardens or clergy about anything please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Enclosed you will also find our new activities and groups leaflet.

With every blessing,

 Mrs Louise Richardson                     Mr David Walker

Churchwarden                                    Churchwarden