Looking Forward!

As the summer holidays arrive and we wish  all the pupils in our school  a good break and all the best to those who are moving school or going on to jobs or university, we have some news !

On  September 11th  we will be welcoming Rev John Jukes as  our new full time priest-in-charge.    We are are going yo be welcoming Rev John Bell of the Iona community at the beginning of November for a weekend,

Rev Martin Parrot  who has been our part time interim Priest in Charge is leaving and we will be saying goodbye to  him on the 25th August at a joint service at St Marys on that day.

It is all go at the moment  !!   I  think I need a holiday !!



Easter’s Been and Gone !

The really busy  time of the year has  flown by  and suddenly  we  are in  the new sunlit uplands  of the time between Easter and  Pentecost!

This  Sunday coming  ( 5th May )  we have some more exciting stuff happening.  A  folk  Communion at St Mary’s and  a Cafe Church at St Peter’s – two very different ways to worship and  meet with God both happening at 10:30 so sadly you cant go to both, for the traditionalists there is a our Monthly Evensong at St Mary’s in the evening at 6:30.

I was wondering over Easter why  it is that the English word  for  Resurrection  Sunday is unlike nearly all other European languages. For some reason we use the name of a the Saxon spring goddess (Eostre)  where are everyone else  uses a word  like  Pasg (welsh) or Pasque (french), which in turn echo the Hebrew for Passover (pesach).      I think its a shame in some ways,  but in another it speaks of the universal appeal  of the festival,  Saxon names remain in  English  for  the  real things  – eg  sheep and cow  – Norman french  gives us the words for  Mutton and Beef,  the posh expensive  things.   So perhaps  using Easter means that this is  for all of us and that the hope and joy  of Jesus rising from the dead as the firstborn promise  for us all speaks to all humanity.





March – Already!!

It is –   and this week sees the start of Lent!

It is a good time  lent as it gives us time to prepare for Easter, by taking up something good or giving up something bad.   There are sorts of things we can do.

We can remember to pray more often, perhaps  to give more to charity, go to a weekly bible study.   It is import to do something though because then we will remember we are looking forward to a big event –  Easter!

We are  are doing something again this year we did a few  years back.  In the week before Easter on the Thursday – Maundy Thursday we are having a special meal that attempts the recreate feel of the last supper and we will be holding this at St Peters

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Happy New Year

A  bit belated I know,  but my Dad  before Christmas and it was a long wait for  for the funeral so  I have been distracted.  He was a Methodist minister and  I  spoke at his funeral and remembered what the Apostle Paul said  about love in his letter to the Corinthians,  he reminded us  that it lasts,  persisting even through death.   The love  we share with people  will never fade and binds  us still to those who have gone before us into the arms of  God

It is is Of course still Christmas  in the church calendar until  the 2nd  of  February – or the feast of Candlemas to use the old name!    St Peter’s is  having a Cafe church  on that day at 10:30,   St Mary’s is  holding its usual  8am and 10:30 am  services.

The churches in the town are marking the week of prayer for Christian Unity this week, when we  celebrate all that binds us together as Christians.

Wishing you all the best  for this new year,  each year is different and we never st growing and learning.  God  go with you as you go on.




Advent Is up and Running

It has started  –   the  looking forward to Christmas.   It is  funny time of year  because we  try  to forget what we know is the end of the story  but  at the same  getting excited because we  know  !

Special events  are happening in our benefice,   A family Carol service and communion on Sunday  at St Peters,   Bp Jonathan taking the service at St Marys on the 23rd  –  Messy Christingle on the 16th at St Peter,  school concerts  in our churches  all sorts of stuff!

perhaps  the best service of all are the crib services  (both at 4pm)  at St Peters and St Mary’s  when we  remember the real  meaning of  what Christmas is about  – in peaceful but happy and fun celebrations.


What !! Its nearly December ? Cant Be !

Well yes it is  –  I don’t believe it either!   Advent Starts a Week on Sunday  and then it will be Christmas.

Well we  are starting off with a bang  –  Bishop Nick  –  the Bishop of Leeds is coming to to lead our worship on Advent Sunday  (2nd December) at  St Mary’s  at  10:30 followed  by a Jacobs Join (Trans:  Faith Lunch )

Then we  have  a Messy Christingle  in support of the Children’s Society at  St Peters  at 10:30  on the Sunday after.  The Children’s Society  are a great bunch of folk who work  with the most difficult age  – teenagers !!  – all over the UK.   Come along and make you own  christingle  ( never made one – dont know what it is  ?  come and find out!!)

The are lots of other events  of course,  Carol services, Crib services,  all the usual special Christmas events,  which  we will  publicise on  here and our Face book pages


The Holidays are over – Already!!

Well its true!  The schools are back,  reception classes are taking little ones into school for the first time.  University student are planning their returns or the first time away from home.  Our prayers are with them all and all their teachers.

We are starting to gear up for what is the busiest time of the,  autumn always brings  lots of events.   This year we will mark 100 years since the end of World War I,  which hopefully will be a time to reflect on the human cost of war.  I was shocked to learn of those  troops who were ordered by their officers into battle on the 11th November 1918,  made to fight right up to 11 o’clock,  most others were allowed to breathe a sigh of relief and to wait safe in their trenches.

My granddad served through the whole of the war in The 14/15th battalion of the Suffolks,  they saw active service in the middle east,  they were at Gallipoli ,  Suez and Palestine,  a very different war to the more familiar picture of the devastated  mud bath of France.  It truly was a war that affected most of our world.

We pray that this years special commemoration will truly be a time to reflect on the lessons to be learned from our human history and to try and not to repeat those mistakes again  as we give thanks for sacrifice of those people like my Granddad,   who came back different people  and of course for those who did not come back.

Mark Johnston

Summer Holidays are nearly here

This Friday our schools break up here in Todmorden  and our thoughts are with all those young people  who are moving on to new situations  after these hols.  The year 6 pupils who will be going to high school,  the one leaving High school for college  and then perhaps onto university.   We pray that they will do well in their new situations and prosper and grow.

We give to all the Year 6 pupils in our church schools and more widely too  a special booklet to help in their move

I attended the end on year performance at Walsden St Peter school last night and I was blown way by an amazing performance of  ‘I’m proud of you son’, a play about the 1st World war that dealt with incredibly difficult issues around they with such care and skill.  My youngest son (now at Uni)  was shocked that I was going to a school play where I had no family in the show,  well  if he had come he would have known why!

That reminded me that teachers also come to a time when they need to move on  and we at Walsden are sad to see John Spooner leave our school.   He wrote and directed last nights play and he is going to missed not just for the major contribution he has made to music and drama at the school but as a dedicated and committed year 6 teacher.  We are also losing another equally  wonderful  teacher too Nichola Dugdale who taught year 5.

Other schools  will also be saying good bye to wonderful staff and be wondering how we will replace them  but there will be new teacher coming in and their gifts and skills will refresh  the lives of all schools,  as will the new years 7 and the new reception pupils coming in.

So to all our pupils,  teachers and teaching assistants(an often overlooked essential part of school life) and all school workers,  have a good holiday and  may God go with you in your time of rest and into the new school year.


Trinity !

Well we have had the challenge –   Trinity Sunday has passed and  the preachers relax again.

It was also the Sunday we marked 50 years as a reader for Frank McManus at St Mary’s,  Well done Frank, true and faithful servant !

It also marked the beginning of half term and the weather is still sunny !  Amazing!  Although today those of us who remember Boxing Day 2016 will be praying for the people of the midlands who suffered the flooding yesterday.

Our first Sunday in June will be our family services Sunday,  in walsden we will looking at Rules  and should we always obey them (typical Walsden !)

We are also very happy to Martin Parrot our Priest in charge getting back in the swing of things after a long time off sick,  great to have you back Martin!

God Bless

Mark x

Folk Eucharist

Well it was a busy and exciting Easter and just as we are settling down again but this Sunday coming it is another big do!

It is the Folk Festival in Todmorden  this week and we are getting involved with a folk Eucharistic at St Mary’s on the 5th May at 10:30  and the Bishop is coming too and it a joint benefice  service as well.

A new thing for us  – so something different to look forward too.