The Rector Writes

Dear Friends,

Two of the most formative experiences of my Christian life took place within about 20 months of each other and involved 2 very different, although also strangely similar, people.  The first was in 1982 when I went with our local Catholic church in Eccles to see Pope John Paul II at a service in the old St. Ninian’s Park in Cardiff.  The second was in 1984 when, with our local Evangelical church, I went to see Billy Graham during his ‘Mission England’ event at Anfield Football Ground.  With the former I was simply a guest but with the latter I was involved in the organisation of it at a local level and went as a Christian Counsellor.  Prior to the Billy Graham mission those involved in local planning were invited to a lunch with Billy Graham.  With delusions of grandeur I imagined that this would be a hundred people having a formal meal around tables when in fact it was a few thousand enjoying a butty on their knees in a giant conference hall at the NEC in Birmingham.

Although very different people theologically and in terms of Church tradition they were similar in that they both had great charm and charisma, and a faith that found expression in the preaching of God’s love for a fallen race.  The word ‘charisma’ comes from the Greek meaning ‘gift of grace’ and these man, both of whom have now passed into glory, had received the gift of grace but just as importantly shared that same gift through their lives and ministries.

Billy Graham wrote in his autobiography that he gave his life to Jesus on the 18th green of the Temple Terrace Golf and Country Club in Florida and first preached to the birds, alligators, and cypress stumps, a story not dissimilar to that of our own St. Eddi preaching to the ox and donkey at Christmas.  In a strange way this set the template for the rest of Graham’s life, he would preach to anybody who would listen even when the message might not be well received, telling a mission in Tennessee, “we have been proud and thought we were better than any other race, any other people. Ladies and gentlemen, we are going to stumble into hell because of our pride.”

Graham’s death brings about the end of an era, a great preacher, speaker and Civil Rights activist, an advisor to Presidents but first and foremost someone who lived to share the gift of grace.  May we be inspired to share the gifts that we have received and share the grace of God in the world.   

Yours in Christ,

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.

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.


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. 

Mothering Sunday

There are many explanations as to the source of Mothering Sunday and the reality is that the custom was an amalgamation of different traditions both religious and secular.  What is more important than what it meant in the past is what it now means in the present.


       Mothering Sunday is the opportunity to give thanks for all who Mother us.  All who show us that tender care, compassion and love that for most people is synonymous with, but not necessarily exclusive to, our own mothers.  Above all, of course, we give thanks to God whose infinite love was revealed to us in the sending of his own Son to die for us as we read in John 3:16 -


‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.’


       The love of God is infinite and perfect, beyond even that of our mothers, as William Cowper so beautifully recognised in his hymn, ‘Hark my soul, it is the Lord’ -


‘Can a woman’s tender care cease toward the child she bare?
Yes, she may forgetful be, yet will I remember thee.’

Mothering Sunday
Sunday 11th March
Family Service 10.00 a.m.

Holy Week & Easter

Sunday 25th March  -  Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday has been a celebration of the Church going back as early as the 4th century.  It was common even then for people to celebrate with palm leaves and palm branches, a custom we retain in the use of the palm cross.  The hymn often sung on this day is ‘All glory, laud and honour’ which was written in the 8th century by Theodolph of Orleans.  Our service is one of two parts, the first commemorating the events of Palm Sunday and the second being the reading of the Passion Gospel recalling Jesus crucifixion and death.

Weekdays in Holy Week

On the weekdays in Holy Week there will be a service of Morning Prayer in church at 9.a.m.  This is an opportunity to reflect upon Christ’s passion as we walk with him on the way of the cross.  On the Monday to Wednesday evenings there will also be a service of Compline in church at 7 p.m.  This gives us time and space to reflect on the day that has passed and how we have used our time.

Thursday 29th March  -  Maundy Thursday

From the Latin word mandatum meaning ’commandment’ the name Maundy is taken from the gospel reading on this day when Jesus says to his disciples, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.”  On this day Jesus set the example of loving service by washing his disciples’ feet and by offering to them the Last Supper with another new commandment, to “do this in remembrance of me.”  This service ends with the stripping of the altar and a one-hour vigil.

Friday 30th March  -  Good Friday

The word ‘good’ has a meaning beyond something that is wholesome and relates directly to being ‘holy’.  On this most sombre of days we reflect on Jesus’ death on the cross and on what caused him to be nailed there.  Whilst we proclaim the glory of the cross we confess also our sin and brokenness, recognising that it was for love of us that he faced torture, humiliation and death in this most sordid way.

Sunday 1st April  -  Easter Day

Some things, even some very important things, are at heart a matter of opinion and a matter of choice, the resurrection of Jesus isn’t one of them.  Jesus either rose from the dead or he didn’t.  If he did then we must believe and trust in all that he did because he wasn’t simply a special person, he was a unique person with an authority above and beyond any other.  If he didn’t then much of what he said and did pointed forward to his death and beyond and so the authority of his teaching would be fatally undermined.

At Easter we celebrate the most astounding event in human history, and we give thanks and praise to God that the gates of heaven have been opened to any and all who believe and trust in the name of his son Jesus.  There will be two services on Easter Day.  A said service of Holy Communion at 8.30 p.m. and a sung service at 10 a.m  

Easter Flowers

We need help to decorate the church for Easter. All volunteers will be warmly welcomed. You do not need to be skilful, just willing!  If you can join us, please sign the list of arrangements on the notice board at the North Door and bring a bunch or two of flowers and some greenery.

The church will be decorated on Saturday March 31st at 9.30 am.  Easter colours of white, yellow, cream & lots of green please.  If you are able to help tidy up, please come along after 11am to assist.

Please would arrangers remove their flowers either after Evensong on Sunday April 8th or on Monday April 9th.

You may use your own containers for window sill arrangements if that makes life easier.


Lifebeat holds a unique place on our worship map of the Parish offering contemporary Christian worship, Biblical teaching and activities and discussion for children of all ages.  

We are lucky to have four gifted people who lead us in worship, Vicki, Lee, Cassi and Abi (your name doesn’t have to end in an ‘I’ but it helps) and they make up our music group.  We begin with a simple meal together from 5.00 p.m. then at 5.30 we meet together for songs and worship.  At 6.00 p.m. we split up into the different ages groups, of children, teenagers and adults (although people are free to go wherever they wish) for teaching and study before getting back together at 6.30ish for our concluding worship and prayers.


Our meeting dates in March are Sunday 4th and the 18th from 5.00 p.m. at the Rajar.  Do come and join us.

Messy Church

At Messy Church we are attractive ever more families and children, which is fantastic, however it does mean we need more people to help.  A number of people have said they would like to help but have said they are no good with arts and crafts, that really isn’t a barrier as most of the activities are really very simple, so simple that even I can manage them.  We also need help welcoming people, making drinks and general gophering.  If you think you can help then please speak to either the Rector or to John Hennerley.


Our March Messy Church will take place on Easter Eve, Saturday 31st March, from 10.00 a. m. to 11.30 a.m.  It is really great fun so why not join in?


March Messy Church
Saturday 31st March
10.00-11.30 a.m.

The Association of Church Fellowships

It was a bit of a blustery day when we had our last meeting, so only a few of our stalwarts were able to attend.  Those that did come appeared to enjoy my talk, especially when I told them how I came to be run over by Gordon.  We were on a campsite at a town called Lasize on Lake Garda, during siesta when I screamed, woke the whole campsite, and was rescued, grazed and shaken, by an elderly couple.  When we had a chat with them later we discovered he had been a head teacher at Macclesfield Kings school.


            During our chat about the future of the fellowship, we took a vote and agreed a donation of funds should go to The East Cheshire hospice.  We will be able to give it to our next speaker, Mrs D. Masson who will be talking about the hospice.


            We also agreed to put our tea and biscuit money up to 50p, and our annual subscription to remain at £13:00 . It’s that time of year when our annual subscriptions are due.  Doors will be open at 1:30pm for a 2:00pm start.

Next Meeting
‘Cheshire East Hospice’
Speaker:  Mrs D Masson

Wednesday 14th. March
The Rajar, Town Lane, Mobberley

Everyone made welcome
Pam Smith

Annual Parochial Church Meeting

Our Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM) will take place on Sunday 22nd April at 11.15 a.m.

This is an important meeting in the life of our church.  At it we receive the Annual Report, approve the accounts and appoint our Churchwardens, Sidesmen and women and PCC members.  In preparation the Electoral Roll is being reviewed, if you aren’t on the Electoral Roll and would like to be then please fill in an Electoral Roll form over the next few weeks.  If your personal details have changed please make those alterations on the Electoral Roll now on show in church, no further changes to the Roll can be made for 2 weeks prior to the meeting.

All notices will be posted shortly and I encourage you to consider standing for these position.  We are particularly short of Sidesmen and Sideswomen who are the ‘face’ of the church when people come on a Sunday.  This year there are also PCC vacancies to fill so please consider standing for this and have an active role in the governance of our church.

The APCM is in fact two separate meetings combined.  The first is the Annual Vestry Meeting which serves solely for the purpose of electing the Churchwardens.  This is open to everybody and those on the Electoral Roll and everybody who is resident in the parish is permitted to vote.

The second meeting is the AGM which transacts all the other business.  Whilst any may attend only those on the Electoral Roll are permitted to vote.

Attendance at the APCM is a right and a responsibility of all church members so please do make it a priority to attend.


The Rector Responds

Q.  Isn’t it true that the story of the empty tomb was made up a long time after the death of Jesus? 

A.  There is very little in the attacks on the Christian faith that is new and the same arguments and objections simply recirculate.  Suggestion that Jesus either didn’t die, or died and wasn’t resurrected, have been around almost from the beginnings of the Church.  

When it came to crucifixion the Romans were well practised and very efficient.  In antiquity there is only one example recorded of a person surviving crucifixion, he was one of three friends who were briefly crucified before being taken down.  They all received the best medical care available and even then two of them still succumbed to their injuries.  Jesus was crucified for approximately 6 hours but just to ensure he was dead a soldier thrust a spear up into his heart and out of the wound oozed a mixture of blood and water, another clear medical sign that he was dead and one that wouldn’t have been understood by the gospel writer.  After his death he was taken down, laid on a stone shelf and wrapped in bandages within which was placed 75 pounds of spices and ointments.  The authorities were already concerned that there might be some shenanigans concerning the body, Jesus had after all said he would rise again, and so they set a seal and guard upon the tomb.  The idea that a human being could have survived this treatment and have managed to escape through the sealed door of the tomb and past the Roman guards is the real nonsense.  

Yet, despite all this, when the tomb was opened on the Sunday his body was indeed gone.  Some have suggested the women went to the wrong tomb and misunderstood a helpful person who was trying to direct them to the correct one.  But that doesn’t bare any scrutiny.  Firstly, is it really likely that all three of them would have forgotten the location of the tomb they had so lovingly helped prepare only 36 hours previously?  Secondly, if it was a case of misidentification why didn’t the Roman authorities, once the stories started circulating, just produce Jesus’ body?  

Finally, if they disciples had themselves stolen Jesus’ body away why were they so willing to die for a cause they knew to be a lie?  These events certainly seemed to put the wind up the Romans, a tablet dating from the 1st half of the 1st century has been found, strangely but most probably coincidentally in Nazareth, which outlaws the removal of corpses from tombs, the transfer of bodies and tampering with seals on tombs on the pain of death.  

What is clear that the belief in Jesus death and resurrection was the principal creedal statement of the early Church.  St. Paul, writing around 20 years later wrote in 1 Corinthians 15,For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures.”  Paul received this within 2 years of these events taking place, 33 or 34AD, and includes over the next few verses a list of eye witnesses to these events, “most of whom are still alive”.  The resurrection of Jesus was the fundamental message of Christianity from the very beginning.


St. Wilfrid's Church Diary - March

Thu. 1st          Morning Prayer                      9.00 a.m.
                        Doorway to Lent                    8.00 p.m.

Fri. 2nd           Morning Prayer                       9.00 a.m.
                       Choir Practice                         7.30 p.m.

Sat. 3rd          Church Open                          12.00 noon

Sun. 4th         The 3rd 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 (BCP)         6.30 p.m.

Mon. 5th         Morning Prayer                       9.00 a.m.
                       Monday Night Group               8.00 p.m.

Tue. 6th          Morning Prayer                       9.00 a.m.

Wed. 7th         Morning Prayer                       9.00 a.m.
                       Communion at the Rajar         10.00 a.m.
                       Coffee Morning at the Rajar    10.30 a.m.
                       Compline                                 7.00 p.m.

Thu. 8th          Morning Prayer                       9.00 a.m.
                       Doorway                                  8.00 p.m.

Fri. 9th            Morning Prayer                       9.00 a.m.
                       Choir Practice                         7.30 p.m.

Sat. 10th        Church Open                           12.00 noon

Sun. 11th       The 4th Sunday of Lent / Mothering Sunday
                       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       Morning Prayer                        9.00 a.m.
                       Parish Lunch                           12.30 p.m.
                       Monday Night Group               8.00 p.m.

Tue. 13th        Morning Prayer                       9.00 a.m.

Wed. 14th       Morning Prayer                       9.00 a.m.
                       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.
                       Compline                                 7.00 p.m.

Thu. 15th        Morning Prayer                       9.00 a.m.
                       Doorway to Lent                     8.00 p.m.

Fri. 16th          Morning Prayer                      9.00 a.m.
                       Choir Practice                        7.30 p.m.

Sat. 17th         Church Open                         12.00 noon
                       Spirito Spring Concert           7.30 p.m.

Sun. 18th      The 5th Sunday of Lent
                      Said Holy Communion (BCP)  8.30 a.m.
                      Wilmslow Half Marathon - No 10.00 a.m. Service
                      Lifebeat                                    5.00 p.m.
                      Choral Evensong w. Healing   6.30 p.m.

Mon. 19th       Morning Prayer                       9.00 a.m.
                       Deanery Synod                       7.30 p.m.
                       Monday Night Group              8.00 p.m.

Tue. 20th        Morning Prayer                       9.00 a.m.
                       Victory Hall TDC                     7.00 p.m.
                       PCC Meeting                          7.45 p.m.

Wed. 21st       Morning Prayer                      9.00 a.m.
                       Communion at the Rajar        10.00 a.m.
                       Coffee Morning at the Rajar   10.30 a.m.
                       Compline                                7.00 p.m.

Thu. 22nd       Morning Prayer                      9.00 a.m.
                       Doorway    to Lent                 8.00 p.m.

Fri. 23rd         Morning Prayer                      9.00 a.m.
                      Choir Practice                        7.30 p.m.

Sat. 24th        Church Open                         12.00 noon

Sun. 25th      Palm Sunday

                      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 of Holy Week
                      Morning Prayer                        9.00 a.m.
                      Compline                                 7.00 p.m.

Tue. 27th       Tuesday of Holy Week
                      Morning Prayer                         9.00 a.m.
                      Compline                                  7.00 p.m.

Wed. 28th      Wednesday of Holy Week
                      Morning Prayer                        9.00 a.m.
                      Communion at the Rajar         10.00 a.m.
                      Coffee Morning at the Rajar    10.30 a.m.
                      Compline                                 7.00 p.m.

Thu. 29th       Maundy Thursday
                      Morning Prayer                        9.00 a.m.
                      Eucharist & Vigil                      7.30 p.m.

Fri. 30th         Good Friday
                      Morning Prayer                       9.00 a.m.
                      Proclamation of the Cross      10.00 a.m.

Sat. 31st      Holy Saturday
     Messy Church                        10.00 a.m.
                     Church Open                          12.00 noon