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.

Easter Is (nearly) Here

Our Churches are ready ,  the final preparations made.     All we need now  are the candles being lit  –  the light of Christ  entering in on the day of Resurrection  10:30 at St Mary’s and St Peter’s in the morning

A happy and blessed Easter to you all

Below is St Peter’s  waiting  for the morning   IMG_0085

The second half of Lent !

Always seems busier than the first part and this year is no exception.

Sunday 11th March the 4th Sunday in Lent is also Mothering Sunday or Mothers day and we are having family services in St Mary’s and St Peter’s.   Both services will be looking at the example of two different biblical mothers but in different ways.

The sunday after is Passion Sunday  with our normal services, then on Palm Sunday we are all getting together as a United benefice at St Peter’s,  for those who are able to we will meet at the junction  of RochdaleRoad, Hollins Road and St Peter’ gate to Process up to the church.

Then Holy Week –  services every day at St Mary’s in the evening,  then on Good Friday all the churches in the town  will gather at St Joseph’s and process to Pollination Street next to central Methodist for a short service there.  There will also be a hour at the cross meditation at st Mary’s

On Easter Day, we will celebrate the Resurrection  in different styles of services , more formal at St Mary’s and a family service at St Peter’s (which will involve an easter egg hunt !)

God Bless you all during this special time


Lent is Under Way

Lent is well  under way in Todmorden,  with Lent groups  meeting all over including at St Mary’s on a Wednesday evening and  in Walsden on Thursday daytime.

There will be  family services in the Benefice  on March 11th (Mothering Sunday) at 10:30 at St Mary’s and St Peter’s    and  we will have special events closer to Easter over Holy week

A quiet time !

This is a quieter time in our year  –  we are still in the time of wonder that follows on from Christmas and we consider the nature of Jesus but without all the  Holiday excitement.

It is also a time of refreshment and renewal when lost in the wonder of the incarnation we offer ourselves anew to God.

This is a lovely Celtic prayer of commitment

God to enfold me,
God to surround me,
God in my speaking,
God in my thinking.

God in my sleeping,
God in my waking,
God in my watching,
God in my hoping.

God in my life,
God in my lips,
God in my soul,
God in my heart.

God in my sufficing,
God in my slumber,
God in mine ever-living soul,
God in mine eternity.

Happy New year !