The Rector Writes

Dear Friends,

My wife has a bit of an obsession with the time of sunrise and sunset. The fact that the length of day and night changes throughout the year is a source of constant amazement to her. We can be watching a really thrilling programme on TV and she will suddenly chirp up, “Did you know sunset is at 5.37 tonight? That’s 2 and a half minutes later than last week”. Silent Witness just can’t compete with the sheer thrill of know that we have a couple of extra minutes of daylight.

I do find it interesting, and slightly incongruous in a way, that as the days lengthen and get brighter so we enter the most sombre, and some people think the darkest, period of the Church’s year, that of Lent. Lent is often seen as a time of misery, of banging on about how sinful, dirty and broken we are. Not quite the things we want to be thinking about as the snowdrops and crocuses begin to peak their heads through the winter earth.

And yet springtime was traditionally seen as the right time to give the house a good clean. As the days got brighter and the temperature that bit warmer it was the perfect opportunity to fling open the windows and in that spring light dust down the furniture, clean out the chimney and beat the rugs to within an inch of their life. It is actually very hard to see the dirt in the dark.

This is what Lent should be for us. When we spring clean we celebrate the opportunity to get clean far more than we bemoan the dirt. I think we actually find it uplifting and a bit of a relief to tackle those jobs so that our home can be cosy and comfortable once more. We need to stop thinking of Lent as being something dark and dismal and rather think of it as a spring clean for the soul. The chance to sort ourselves out and shake ourselves down ready for what lies ahead.

You will find in this magazine plenty of things that you can do to make your spring clean for the soul a useful, cleansing and empowering experience.   

Yours in Christ,
Ian.

Lent at St. Wilfrid's

Lent is the most solemn period of the Church year as we look at ourselves in the light of Jesus’ self-sacrifice on the cross. We do so mindful of the words of the psalmist in psalm 8, “What is man, that thou art mindful of him”? What are we but so frail, so feeble, so sinful, and yet despite that Jesus came to earth, became one of us, lived among us and died for us. What is the right and proper way to respond to this abundant outpouring of love? That is what Lent seeks to help us do.

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday falls on the 14th February and will be marked with a sung service of Holy Communion at 7.30 p.m. which includes the rite of Ashing, a symbol of our fragility and mortality.

Morning Prayer

There will be a said service of Morning Prayer at 9.00 a.m. in church each weekday throughout Lent. Parking can be difficult so please park at the Rectory.

Compline

There will be a service of Compline each Wednesday evening in church at 7.00 p.m. and will include excerpts from ‘The Screwtape Letters’ by C.S. Lewis.

Lent Study

There will be opportunity for study each Thursday evening when Doorway will be looking at the 2018 York Course entitled “On the Third Day” which will be examining issues around Jesus’ resurrection, the 5 week course includes the following subjects, ‘Have I got news for you!’, ‘ So what? The implications of the Resurrection’, ‘Let him easter in us’, ‘Celebrating and praying Easter’ and ‘A risen Church’. The sessions are held each Thursday from the 15th Feb. in church from 8.00 p.m. 

Keeping a Holy Lent

Someone once described one sign of insanity as “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” I hope that this isn’t an actual sign of insanity because this is something I find myself doing all the time, and if we are honest with ourselves I suspect it is something that afflicts us all.

Few, if any, of us are completely happy and fulfilled in our lives all the time. All of us have things about ourselves that we wish were different, that we wish were better but in general we just keep on doing the same old things hoping, if not expecting that, in the words of Sam Cooke ‘a change gonna come’. Unfortunately, it won’t. Sometimes we seek superficial change, we buy ourselves something new, we try and distract ourselves with new hobbies or pastimes, but this kind of change isn’t even skin deep.

Real change can only come about by implementing real changes, and Lent is something that provides us the opportunity to do this. Lent gives us the chance to deepen our knowledge and understanding of God through study, prayer and the good works that proceed from that deepened relationship. This is something elaborated upon by Fulton J Sheen, onetime Archbishop of the titular see of Newport, Wales -

"Lenten practices of giving up pleasures are good reminders that the purpose of life is not pleasure. The purpose of life is to attain to perfect life, all truth and undying ecstatic love – which is the definition of God. In pursuing that goal we find happiness. Pleasure is not the purpose of anything; pleasure is a by-product resulting from doing something that is good. One of the best ways to get happiness and pleasure out of life is to ask ourselves, 'How can I please God?' and, 'Why am I not better?' It is the pleasure-seeker who is bored, for all pleasures diminish with repetition."

My predecessor here at St. Wilfrid’s apparently used to say, “You are not here to enjoy yourselves!” and he was right. If we make the finding of enjoyment and pleasure the goal of our worship, reading and study then our minds are fixed on ourselves and not God, and how is that in anyway different from the rest of the world, or different from our previous unredeemed behaviour. If however we make God our focus, seeking his will and following the words of Jesus, “your will be done”, then we will find lasting change, last treasure, and lasting pleasure.

Make use of the opportunities that Lent affords, let us turn our minds, our hearts and our eyes towards him so that in our lives we can see that change truly is gonna come. 

Lifebeat

Lifebeat was back on the 7th January when I spoke about Epiphany and the revelation of God in the person of Jesus Christ and how beyond the pretty images our God is real, Jesus’ birth was real, his death and resurrection were real and his living presence with us now is real.

We met on the 14th somewhat depleted as the dreaded lurgy had taken it’s toll, not least on our music group which was quite literally half what it should be. They did a great job though as we offered our worship and praise to God. Rev. Scott spoke of the need for humility in the face of God, humility which gives him space to move and to act in our lives and the lives of those around us.

Lifebeat provides contemporary Christian worship, Biblical teaching and activities and discussion for children of all ages. Our meeting dates in February are Sunday 4th and the 18th from 5.00 p.m. at the Rajar. 
 

Prayer Group

Those with keen observational skills might have noticed the development of a Prayer corner in church in the south east corner of the nave. This is a place for private prayer and personal devotion and is available to use any time the church is open. You will find in that corner a box for written prayer requests which are prayed over by our regular Prayer group that meets twice a month.

The Prayer Group was set up primarily to pray for our Lifebeat venture, which is still one of it’s primary purposes, but it also has a more general remit, as Prayer Groups are wont to do. The Prayer Group meets on the 2nd and last Sunday of each month from 7.45 p.m. in the prayer corner and everybody is welcome to come along and join in. You are free to pray silently or pray aloud as the Spirit moves you. The February meeting dates are Sunday the 11th and 25th.

The Last Spirito

The Spirito concerts began in a barn on Stubbs Lane some 20 odd years ago and since then have both been a focus for some beautiful, exciting, and at times challenging, music as well as providing charitable funding to various group in Mobberley including St. Wilfrid’s Church. The founding father and guiding light has always been Jack Harrison who, as you will know, sadly passed away last year.

The organising committee have decided that the next concert will be the last and will be held in memory of Jack. We have agreed to repeat the excellent memorial concert held for Barbara Cooper, a great stalwart of Spirito alongside Jack, as a fitting tribute. The concert will again feature the Loose Change Buskers, a riotous co-operative of musicians who provide an eclectic mix of music from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s to get your toes a’tapping and your hips a’twitching. Tickets cost £20 which includes a fork supper and there will be a bar. All profits will be split between Cancer Research UK and local charities. If you would like to get a group together we cater for tables of 8 or 10. Do come and join us and you are guaranteed a great night out.

Spirito Spring Concert
featuring The Loose Change Buskers
Saturday 17th March
7.00 p.m. for a 7.30 p.m. start
Mobberley Victory Hall
For tickets ring 872348 or 650207

The Association of Church Fellowships

Fellowship is back after the winter break and I hope that everyone had a happy Christmas. May I wish you all a belated Happy New Year. It will be lovely to see everyone back again, but it would also be nice to see some new faces. This month I am giving a chat about some of the japes my husband Gordon and I had with our Van, before we have a nice cup of tea and a biscuit.

That gives everyone time for a chat and a laugh before going home sometime between 3:00pm and 4:00pm.

Next Meeting
Pam & Her Van
Speaker: Mrs Pam Smith
The Rajar, Town Lane
Wednesday 14th February
1:00pm. for 1:30 start 

Everyone made welcome
Pam Smith

Big Shoes, New Feet

PCC Treasurer

In our last magazine I thanked Robert Mais who has stood down as PCC Treasurer after 14 or so years. Robert isn’t very well at the moment and we keep him and Valerie in our prayers and pray for a swift and full recovery.

I also mentioned in the last magazine that the Treasurer’s job is hugely complex. I am delighted to say that we have a willing volunteer in Ian Barnes to take on the accountancy side of the job, keeping the books and preparing the accounts. Ian was confirmed in this role at the January PCC meeting. We are very grateful to Ian for agreeing to do this and we look forward to working closely with him in the future.

School Governor

Julie Eadie has been a Foundation Governor at Mobberley Primary School for the last 14/15 years and has done a fantastic job. In December Julie decided it was time to step down from this role and on behalf of the PCC I would like to thank her for all that she has done. Julie has helped to maintain strong connections between the church and the school. The school choir are a part of our Harvest celebrations, and children from years 5 and 6 also help in decorating the church for Harvest. Over the last few years the children have made a valued and very touching contribution to our Remembrance Sunday services. Julie has been active in supporting the school services that take place in church, normally two a term, and is instrumental in ordering the service and providing the music.

At our January meeting Mrs Val Baker was elected as our new Foundation Governor to work alongside the Rector on the School Governing Body. The PCC would like to thank her for agreeing to stand.

Ian. 

Church Lane Parking

Some of you may be aware that the Parish Council have put forward plans to imporive the car parking on the verge on Church Lane opposite the church. Cheshire East have developed a scheme to lay perforated blocks which will provide solid and secure parking whilst allowing grass to grow through and so preserve the visual aspect of the verge. Although Cheshire East have provided the scheme they are not looking to fund it and have instead, through the Parish Council approached a number of village bodies, including the PCC to share the funding.

This was discussed at the November meeting of the PCC and whilst the PCC are wholeheartedly behind the scheme there are a number of issues that it was either unclear or unhappy about.

First and foremost it is the opinion of the PCC that, despite Cheshire East’s claim that the land is unregistered, it should still come under the authority of the Highways Agency who do, after all, cut the grass, maintain it and permit Cheshire East to put Portakabins on it when they are doing work around about. That being the case we believe any work is squarely the responsibility of Cheshire East and/or the Highways Agency..

The PCC was also concerned about the future and what assurances are available that Cheshire East wouldn’t at some future date decide to restrict or bann parking on the verge. Finally the PCC was also concerned about liability should any accident occur as a result of the work undertaken.

As you might imagine the PCC are very frustrated that this excellent and much needed scheme might flounder because Cheshire East isn’t accepting it’s responsibilities. In conclusion, the PCC hasn’t yet ruled out giving financial assistance and is willing to be persuaded not as to the merits of the scheme but to the manner of it’s funding.

PCC Report

 At the January meeting, amongst other things, the Parochial Church Council -

agreed to readvertise the position of Organist and Choirmaster. The previous adverts had attracted a little attention but no-one who is yet willing to take on the role full time. Jean Underhill continues to do a great job with the organist rota and we are very grateful for the support or Christipher Foy, Barri Dodgson and Robin Coulthard who are taking the majority of the strain. 

received a report from the Faith & Worship Group which included an update on our two discussion groups and our new Prayer Group, a review of our Advent and Christmas services and a report on Messy Church and Lifebeat. It was noted that there had never before been so many different opportunities for regular prayer and worship.

finalised the date of a site visit to see and hear an electrically operated bell ringing system in operation.

heard that the construction of the new handrail to the north door was now underway and it should be installed shortly.

noted that the repair work to the south wall were now underway and we expected to last about a week.

appointed Mr. Ian Barnes as the new PCC Treasurer.

heard that a structural engineer had inspected the choir screen, which he found to be easily strong enough to take the weight of the projector screen and accompanying equipment. We are awaiting the written report.

appointed Mrs Val Baker to be our new Foundation Governor at Mobberley School replacing Mrs Julie Eadie. Thanks were expressed to Julie for all that she has done in fostering the relationship between the church and he school during her period of office.

were informed of a leak in the heating system at the same point where it always leaks, at the junction between the two wardens pews. Tomkinsons had been informed and will be around to fix it at the earliest possible opportunity.

The Rector Responds

Q.  What is the difference between ‘transubstantiation’ and the ‘real presence’ at the eucharist?

A.  This question related to the bread and wine used at the celebration of Holy Communion and what happens, if anything at all, when the bread is consecrated. The service of the Eucharist, the Holy Communion or the Lord’s Supper (take your pick) was instituted by Jesus himself when he told his disciples to ‘do this in remembrance of me’ and was the defining feature of early Church worship. At what we call the last supper we find an inbuilt tension in the words of Jesus, “Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ 20And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” (Luke 22). Jesus defines what these elements are in the present, “this is…”, and then commands them to do this “in remembrance”. Since then the Church has sought to understand what it means to take something from the past and interpret it accurately and fully in the present. The two extremes of the spectrum are on one end those that cling tightly to the remembrance and play down the ‘is’, therefore making the communion almost entirely a memorial, a remembrance of what Jesus did, and at the other those who emphasise the ‘is’ and believe that the bread and wine are transformed into the very body and blood of Jesus in the present. Clearly on one side of A5 paper I must generalise quite broadly so please excuse the oversimplicity when I say generally Protestant churches tend toward the former whilst the Roman Catholic Church is at the latter end of that spectrum. The belief that the bread and wine at the eucharist become quite literally the body and blood of Christ is called ‘transubstantiation’ indicating that the very substance of the bread and wine have changed. The Church of England, surprise, surprise, stands towards the centre of that spectrum. The defining document of the Church of England is The Thirty Nine Articles of Religion and Article 28 clearly states, ‘Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of Bread and Wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ; but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions.'  In this passage the word ‘repugnant’ simply means ‘incompatible’ or ‘inconsistent’. It goes on to read, ‘The Body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten, in the Supper, only after an heavenly and spiritual manner. And the mean whereby the Body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper, is Faith’. This clearly goes beyond the Communion being simply a memorial meal for it states that Christ’s body is given and received. In that sense therefore Christ is present in a spiritual sense and can only be perceived by faith. Anglicans therefore believe that Jesus is uniquely present in the bread and wine and that by faith we are united with him and strengthened by him when we share together in the Holy Communion.

Ian.

St. Wilfrid's Church Diary - February

Fri. 2nd      Choir Practice 7.30 p.m.

Sat. 3rd      Church Open 12.00 noon

Sun. 4th    The 2nd Sunday before Lent
                  Said Holy Communion (BCP) 8.30 a.m.
                  Sung Holy Communion (CW) 10.00 a.m.
                  Lifebeat 5.00 p.m.
                  Choral Evensong (BCP) 6.30 p.m.

Mon. 5th    Monday Night Group 8.00 p.m.

Wed. 7th   Communion at the Rajar 10.00 a.m.
                  Coffee Morning at the Rajar 10.30 a.m.

Thu. 8th     Doorway 8.00 p.m.

Fri. 9th       Choir Practice 7.30 p.m.

Sat. 10th    Messy Church Preparation Meeting 10.30 a.m.
                  Church Open 12.00 noon

Sun. 11th  The Sunday next before Lent
                  Said Holy Communion (BCP) 8.30 a.m.
                  All-Age Service 10.00 a.m.
                  Choral Evensong (BCP) 6.30 p.m.
                  Prayer Group 7.45 p.m.

Mon. 12th  Monday Night Group 8.00 p.m.

Wed. 14th  Ash Wednesday
                  Communion at the Rajar 10.00 a.m.
                  Coffee Morning at the Rajar 10.30 a.m.
                  Association of Church Fellowships 2.00 p.m.
                  Sung Holy Communion & Ashing 7.30 p.m.

Thu. 15th   Doorway to Lent 8.00 p.m.

Fri. 16th     Choir Practice 7.30 p.m.

Sat. 17th    Church Open 12.00 noon

Sun. 18th  The 1st Sunday of Lent
                  Said Holy Communion (BCP) 8.30 a.m.
                  Sung Holy Communion (CW) 10.00 a.m.
                  Lifebeat 5.00 p.m.
                  Choral Evensong w. Healing 6.30 p.m.

Mon. 19th  Monday Night Group 8.00 p.m.

Tue. 20th   PCC Standing Committee 7.45 p.m.

Wed. 21st  Communion at the Rajar 10.00 a.m.
                  Coffee Morning at the Rajar 10.30 a.m.
                  Compline 7.00 p.m.

Thu. 22nd  Doorway to Lent 8.00 p.m.

Fri. 23rd     Choir Practice 7.30 p.m.

Sat. 24th     Messy Church 10.00 a.m.
                   Church Open 12.00 noon

Sun. 25th  The 2nd Sunday of Lent 
                  Said Holy Communion (BCP) 8.30 a.m.
                  Choral Matins (BCP) 10.00 a.m. 
                  Sung Holy Communion (BCP) 6.30 p.m.
                  Prayer Group 7.45 p.m.

Mon. 26th  Monday Night Group 8.00 p.m.

Tue. 27th   Victory Hall Trust Deed Committee 7.00 p.m.

Wed. 28th  Communion at the Rajar 10.00 a.m.
                  Coffee Morning at the Rajar 10.30 a.m.
                  Compline 7.00 p.m.