The Rector Writes

Dear Friends,

Yay! Another General Election and my cup runneth over! I have a suspicion that the bloke dragged screaming off the jet recently knew it was about to be announced and was trying to flee the country, the security guards were saying, “Oh no you don’t sonny! You will have to suffer it like the rest of us.” My personal joy is exceeded only by Brenda from Bristol last week who when told Theresa May had called a snap election responded, “What! Not another one. There’s too much politics going on.”

She is of course right, but also wrong, because there is always politics going on, whether it’s too much is simply a matter of interpretation. Politics of course affects every element of our lives from shopping to work to entertainment to the values of our society. What I think we have been seeing over the last few years however has been an erosion in the trust that people have placed in institutions. We have seen it in the Church, we have seen in in the community organisations of the last 100 years and we are now seeing it in political life.

You may remember when the film ‘The Life of Brian’ came out, John Cleese and Michael Palin we interviewed on the television show ‘Friday Night and Saturday Morning’ alongside Malcolm Muggeridge and Bishop Mervyn Stockwood, then Bishop of Southwark. The arrogance of Muggeridge and Stockwood, their refusal to listen to others points of view, their sense of self-righteousness and privilege was astounding and Palin’s distress in the face not just of their hostility but their pomposity and arrogance is plain to see.

Mervyn Stockwood was in many ways a very fine man but even his biographer noted that he “loved the trappings of wealth, privilege and royalty.” Yet it wasn’t just him, too often we have seen the same things in our politicians, and have an ever-increasing sense that they are out of touch with the reality of many if not most people’s lives. However politics, by which I mean the governance of our nation, rolls on and however disillusioned we may be, however fed up, it is important that we seek the right people to represent us in parliament. Don’t switch off from the campaigning, don’t switch off from the electoral process and, equally, don’t switch off from the calling of all God’s people in Deuteronomy 10, “For the LORD your God is God of gods… who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and who loves the strangers, providing them with food and clothing.”

Yours in Christ,
Ian.

Band in the Barn

Our big social event this summer is the return of ‘The Band in the Barn’ at Kell House Farm. Set in a giant barn in the beautiful Cheshire countryside this is the perfect location for a party.

Live music will be provided by the awesome party band, and I think hugely appropriately named, The Revs. There will be a licensed bar and great food a brilliant night out is guaranteed and all at a cost of £15. Tickets are on sale now so have a chat with your friends and bring them along with you, the more the merrier.

As the event is on a working farm I am afraid we cannot permit children under 13 to attend.

Band in the Bard
Friday 30th June
Kell House Farm, Kell House Lane
7.30 - Late

Church Spring Clean

OK, I accept that by the time it takes place it is closer to being a summer clean but never-the-less it is still all about giving the church building a good, deep clean.

We need people to help in every area of cleaning the building and doing any other maintenance jobs that are required. This can mean everything from brushing the walls, dusting the pews, polishing the brasses and sweeping the floors to clearing the gutters, digging out the soakaways, scrubbing the flagstones to remove moss and creosoting the gates and everything in-between.

There are no special skills required, although cleaning tools and materials are useful to bring with you, and work will always be found for anyone and everyone that turns up. So, why not give us a couple of hours or more of your time and help make the church an even more beautiful place to visit.

Church Spring Clean
Saturday 20th May
From 9.00 a.m.

High Days and Holy Days

Holy Days fall into 4 categories. The ‘highest’ of these are the nine Principal Feasts which include Christmas and Easter Day as well as days of special observance, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday for example.The next level are Festivals which include the New Testament saints as well as historical days of celebration including Holy Cross day and Corpus Christi.The next level is Lesser Festivals which include saints that might be observed locally, St. Wilfrid for example falls into this category.The final category is Commemorations, these are people that may be included in intercessions but would not normally be celebrated with a specific service.The first two of these categories were marked in lectionaries in red ink, hence the phrase ‘red-letter days’.

In May we have three Festivals, St. Philip and St. James, St. Matthias and the Visit of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and one Principal Feast, Ascension Day.Unfortunately due to other commitments only one of the Festivals, the Visit of the BVM, can be celebrated this month.The Principal Feast we shall be marking with a sung service of Holy Communion in church at 7.30 p.m. Please do join us.

Messy Church

In April we looked to Jesus death and resurrection, concentrating on Mary of Bethany who anointed Jesus feet will costly oil, giving to him the best she had to offer. In May we switch to the Old Testament and the story of Elijah who, when his faith was wavering and filled with fear, he heard the still, small voice of God amidst the roaring earthquake and rushing wind.

Messy Church is for young families and involves arts and crafts, stories and songs to explore the Bible. We meet the last Saturday of the month so do come and join us.

Messy Church
The Rajar
Saturday 27th May
10.00 – 11.30 a.m.

The Association of Church Fellowships

It was lovely to see so many of our members again at our April meeting when we listened to a very interesting talk from Mrs. Pat Richy. She told us how, 11 years ago, she became a practising Christian and started to attend Holmes Chapel Church. From there she went on to Cursillo which is a method of helping to gain strength in God’s love and going out to do his work.

She has now trained to help prisoners face up to the repercussions of what they have done and the way it affected other people’s lives. May God go with her in this arduous task she has undertaken.

Next Meeting
Strawberry Cream Tea
& Bring and Buy Table
Wed. 10th May
The Rajar
2.30 p.m.

Everyone made welcome
Pam Smith

Messy Church

In March we heard the story of the unforgiving servant who was released from his great debt by the King but who then had a servant thrown into prison for failing to pay him back a considerably smaller debt. In our activities we body painted stitches, joining wounds together and allowing them to heal. We made in-gaol cakes, fairy cakes with sad icing faces behind strawberry lace bars, and shackles from string and aluminium foil. We are all of us imprisoned by our faults but by forgiving and being forgiven people can find freedom in God.

In April we look to Jesus death and resurrection, concentrating on Mary of Bethany who anointed Jesus feet will costly oil, giving to him the best she had to offer.

Messy Church is for young families and involves arts and crafts, stories and songs to explore the Bible. We meet the last Saturday of the month so do come and join us.

Messy Church
The Rajar
Saturday 29th April
10.00 – 11.30 a.m.

Memorial Service

Our annual Memorial Service for the recently departed will take place on Tuesday 23rd May at 7.30 p.m. in church.

To this service we invite the families and friends of all those whose funerals have taken place through St. Wilfrid’s in 2016. We offer prayers of thanksgiving for the memories we share and we light a candle in their memory.

Memorial Service for the
Recently Departed

Tuesday 23rd May
7.30 p.m.

Though for the Moment

There is a lot in the newspapers about Prince Harry opening up over his mental health issues stemming from the death of his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. However, I am concerned that this is being reported very lazily in the press and other media where, it appears, sorrow following bereavement is being equated with a mental health issue. Grief is the normal, proper and indeed healthy response to bereavement and are not things that should be treated with a pill.

As Prince Harry himself said, it is the failure to acknowledge grief and respond appropriately at the time that can lead to problems later. Sadness and grief are normal and healthy responses to the death of a loved one and need to be worked through, not ‘cured’

The Rector Responds

Q.  Was Judas Iscariot predestined to betray Jesus and had he repented at the last minute would someone else have betrayed Jesus to fulfil the scriptures?

A.  Within Protestant theology there is a continuing argument between two different theological assumptions. The first is Calvinism, which broadly speaking argues that people have very little free will and that some are pre-destined to be saved and other pre-destined not to be. This is an essential element to God being sovereign, of having complete authority over the creation. The other is called Arminianism which argues that everybody has the choice and can make the decision to believe in Jesus, this is the essential element of free-will. Both sides can find portions of scripture that support their position. Depending where you stand there are, as you might expect, two different answers to this question.

Calvinists would say that Judas was predestined to betray Christ and had no real choice in the matter, it was his nature. If we struggle with this then we need to make sense of John 17:12, where Jesus prayed, “I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled.” Jesus himself had prior and seemingly certain knowledge that he would be betrayed and knew who it was that would betray him. He also understood that the death he would suffer because of that betrayal was the whole reason for his coming to earth. This could present a problem to Arminian theology, had Judas at the last second repented and not betrayed Jesus then he might not have been crucified and our salvation have not come about.

However, there is a distinction that is often made between predestination and foreknowledge. Although Judas was not predestined to betray Jesus God, who is outside of time and space, knew that he would. In this way God, through his knowledge of all things, is still sovereign as through his knowledge he can use all things to work to his plan and make them a part of his design. Let us remember that, as one of the 12, Judas had previously been given authority over demons and had gone with the others proclaiming the coming kingdom of God. He turned to evil very specifically at a point when, we are told, ‘After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “Do quickly what you are going to do.” John 13:27.

The Arminian answer to the question is therefore no, Judas was not predestined to betray Jesus, in the sense that he could always of his own free-will make the choice to repent and turn from his actions however God knew that he didn’t and thus Judas’ act of rebellion and betrayal was taken and used by God to his glory.

Ian.

This Month at St. Wilfrid's

Mon. 1st St. Philip & St. James
Monday Night Group 8.00 p.m.

Wed. 3rd
Communion at the Rajar 10.00 a.m.
Coffee Morning at the Rajar 10.30 a.m.
Staff Meeting 11.00 a.m.
Wedding Rehearsal 7.00 p.m.

Thu. 4th
Mobberley Trust Meeting 8.00 p.m.
Doorway 8.00 p.m.

Fri. 5th
Choir Practice 7.30 p.m.

Sat. 6th
Church Open 10.00 a.m.
Friends of St. Wilfrid’s 11.00 a.m.
Wedding 2.00 p.m.

Sun. 7th The 4th Sunday of Easter
Said Holy Communion (BCP) 8.30 a.m.
Sung Holy Communion (CW) 10.00 a.m.
Choral Evensong (BCP) 6.30 p.m.

Mon. 8th
Monday Night Group 8.00 p.m.

Tue. 9th
Wedding Rehearsal 7.30 p.m.

Wed. 10th
Communion at the Rajar 10.00 a.m.
Coffee Morning at the Rajar 10.30 a.m.
Association of Church Fellowships 2.30 p.m.

Thu. 11th
Doorway 8.00 p.m.

Fri. 12th
Wedding 1.30 p.m.
Choir Practice 7.30 p.m.

Sat. 13th
Church Open 10.00 a.m.
Messy Church Preparation Meeting 10.30 a.m.

Sun. 14th The 5th Sunday of Easter
Said Holy Communion (BCP) 8.30 a.m.
Thanksgiving for Baptism Service 10.00 a.m.
Choral Evensong (BCP) 6.30 p.m.

Mon. 15th Matthias, apostle
Installation at St. Philip, Alderley Edge 7.30 p.m.
Monday Night Group 8.00 p.m.

Wed. 17th
Communion at the Rajar 10.00 a.m.
Coffee Morning at the Rajar 10.30 a.m.
Visiting Bellringers 11.30 a.m.

Thu. 18th
Doorway 8.00 p.m.

Fri. 19th
Choir Practice 7.30 p.m.

Sat. 20th
Church Cleaning 9.00 a.m.

Sun. 21st The 6th Sunday of Easter
Said Holy Communion (BCP) 8.30 a.m.
Sung Holy Communion 10.00 a.m.
Evensong with Prayers for Healing 6.30 p.m.

Mon. 22nd
PCC Meeting 7.45 p.m.

Tue. 23rd
Memorial Service for the Recently Departed 7.30 p.m.

Wed. 24th
Communion at the Rajar 10.00 a.m.
Coffee Morning at the Rajar 10.30 a.m.
Archdeacon’s Visitation 7.30 p.m.

Thu. 25th Ascension Day
Sung Holy Communion 7.30 p.m.

Fri. 26th
Choir Practice 7.30 p.m.

Sun. 28th The 7th Sunday of Easter
Said Holy Communion (BCP) 8.30 a.m.
Choral Matins (BCP) 10.00 a.m.
Choral Evensong (BCP) 6.30 p.m.

Mon. 29th
Monday Night Group 8.00 p.m.

Wed. 31st Visit of the BVM to Elizabeth
Said Holy Communion at the Rajar 10.00 a.m.
Coffee Morning at the Rajar 10.30 a.m.
Said Holy Communion (BCP) 7.00 p.m.