From our Clergy

Last edited by webmaster on 24 May 2017 - 10:13am

     


From our Vicar, the Revd Paul Mason:

 Address to Annual Church Meetings on Sunday 23rd April, 2017 

 


Letter for June 2017

Dear friends

A few weeks ago at our Wednesday morning Communion service, there was a reading from Acts where the prophets and teachers in the Christian church in Antioch (in modern day Turkey) set apart two guys called Barnabas and Saul (Paul) for a particular ministry. No big deal you might rightly think but the reason I raise it is because of how they sent Barnabas and Paul off on their journey. They prayed for them – fair enough – but then they laid their hands on them. It got me thinking about the laying on of hands because it is something we do in church that isn’t part of everyday life. I can think of three examples.

First - at a Confirmation service many of you will remember how when you went and knelt in front of the Bishop for your confirmation the Bishop placed his or her hands on your head. Why?

Second – during the Communion service the President when saying the Eucharistic prayer lays his/her hands on the bread and wine. Why?

Thirdly – and this is very relevant this month – during the Ordination service, the Bishop lays his/her hands on the head of the person being ordained. Why?

The answer is that when hands are laid-on the person in the case of confirmation and ordination, and the things i.e. bread and wine, in the case of communion, symbolically they are being set apart. What for? Well in the case of bread and wine they are set apart for use in the communion service for remembering the self giving of Christ. There are all kinds of ideas as to what happens to the bread and wine at Communion but whatever view you take the laying on of hands says this bread isn’t for making a sandwich, this wine isn’t for having a glass with your sandwich – this bread and this wine is for Communion- it is set apart for that specific purpose.

For Confirmation candidates the laying on of hands is a symbol that the life of the confirmee is now set apart to be a follower of Christ. In the service the Confirmation candidates answer a number of questions but perhaps the most important is – ‘Do you submit to Christ as Lord?’ to which the reply is- ‘I submit to Christ’. In other words a Christian is someone who hands over their life to Christ and Confirmation symbolically sets a person apart so that they no longer live for themselves but Christ.

For Ordination hands are laid on the candidate by the Bishop to signify that the person is being set apart by the Church and indeed God himself for a particular ministry within the Church, either as a deacon or a priest.

This month Gail, our curate, will be going on retreat before being ordained priest by Bishop Peter at Chester Cathedral on Saturday 17th June at 5.00pm. In the Church of England, a deacon is ordained priest a year after they are ordained deacon (don’t ask me why!!). From a practical point of view, Gail will now be able to do the things she was not permitted to do as a deacon i.e. preside at Holy Communion and Bless the people in God’s name. Her first two Communion services will be on Sunday 18th June at the 8.30am and the 10.00am services. That is also our Thanksgiving Sunday when we all review our Christian giving. I do hope you will be able to join us for one those services as Gail takes this important step in her ministry.

Your friend and vicar,

Paul


Letter for May 2017

Dear friends

In my letter last month I was telling you about the funds my family and I were hoping to raise in memory of my wife, Sue, for research into treatments for Lymphoma at the Christie. We haven’t got a final total yet but it looks likely that the total raised will be nearly £5,000. This has far exceeded our expectations and I want to express a huge thank you to all who contributed in any way. The generosity of so many people, including many from here Holmes Chapel, has been very humbling and inspiring. My hope and prayer is that it will help future Lymphoma patients to find healing.

This month we are holding our Music Festival. This has been inspired by our musical director, Wendy Macdonald, and is the second such weekend. You might wonder what a music weekend has got to do with church and faith. I could turn that round and ask what has church and faith got to do with music? I would contend that church and faith are to do with life – all of life, not just an hour’s service on a Sunday morning. Music is a huge part of most people’s lives. It is the most accessible of all the art forms. Not everybody is into art, or sculpture, or the theatre, or literature, or poetry, or dance, or architecture but virtually everybody appreciates music. The arts are unique to humans in the created world. They are a reflection of God in the sense that God is a creative God. The first sentence in the Bible says ‘in the beginning God created’.

The dictionary definition of art says: Art is the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.

No one can argue that music has both beauty and emotional power. That is true of classical music but also true of pop music. Why is pop music so popular with young people? There is no doubt that it a part of youth culture but it impacts on their developing emotions and they seem to listen to it almost nonstop. Music is powerful. It has the power to make us laugh, to dance, to clap, to march, to conduct, to cry, to make is feel alive. It is a sublime gift that is so easy to take for granted. Our weekend celebrates that gift of music. That gift is something we as Christians use to give to God in our worship. For centuries music has been at the heart of worship. Sometimes our services can be too wordy. Sometimes it is good to have silence. Sometimes we need music to express ourselves. At St. Luke’s we are able to offer that worship in another work of art – our church building. What a thing of beauty. How fortunate are we to worship in such a beautiful environment.

Lots of music will be heard and played over the weekend climaxing in a service of music – Songs of Praise - on the Sunday morning at 10.00am. I do hope you are able to join us some time over the weekend as we celebrate the wonder of music and the wonder of God.

Your friend and Vicar

Paul


 Review of Services - March 2017

You may remember a few weeks ago that the PCC decided to have a review of the regular church services to see if there was need for any changes in our pattern. To that end we did a survey of the worshippers both at the 8.30am service and the 10.00am service. We had over a hundred responses and the information gleaned from that survey was analysed. And the results.....?

It is a well known cliché that you can’t please all the people all the time but the survey quite overwhelmingly suggested that at St. Luke’s we please most of the people most of the time- at least as far as the service pattern is concerned! The result means that the PCC decided to keep the status quo and there will be no changes to our existing pattern. There may be tweaks here and there done by the ministry team but the pattern will remain as follows.

At 8.30 am there will always be a service of Holy Communion alternating between Order 1 and Order 2. At 10.00 am there will be at least two services of Holy Communion on the 2nd and 4th Sundays, a more traditional Morning service on the 1st Sunday and a more informal service on the 3rd Sunday. We will continue to use a variety of music at the 10.00 am services using the choir, the organ and the music group.

Thank you to all who filled in the questionnaire and I hope the results meet the needs of most people as we gather together to worship our great God.
 
Paul