Vicar’s Letter March 2019

Dear Friends,

Actions speak louder than words … Or so the saying goes!

The brilliant thing about Jesus’ life is that he spoke powerfully AND he consistently acted with compassion and integrity. Just take a look at his life: he healed lepers who everyone else avoided, he crossed social barriers to help those who were desperate, he engaged with foreigners who needed his help and he befriended rich people whose lives were empty. Jesus had time and kindness for each of them.

Wednesday 6th March is Ash Wednesday – the start of Lent – a 40 day season of personal spring cleaning!  During Lent we think about Jesus’ wonderful life and the life he brought to others. And during Lent we celebrate that we are not alone but that God is with us challenging US to live His life of generous love.

This Lent at Church we will continue to celebrate all that God has done for us AND we will be trying to live Jesus’ way by responding to a “40 Acts” Challenge. Each day of Lent this initiative emails any of us that want to participate a challenge to show kindness and care to someone within our orbit.

If you would like to take part, simply type into your search engine: “40 Acts” and it will tell you what to do. The daily challenge comes with an inspirational message and is pitched at 3 levels: easy, challenging and committed – always remembering that this is you and God working together.

So, as Lent begins: Are you up for some action?

Peter Chantry

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All Saints’ Church Membership

Under the Church Representation Rules a new Church Electoral Roll is being prepared. All persons who wish to have their names entered on the new Roll, whether their names are entered on the present Roll or not, are requested to apply for enrolment not later than

_________________SUNDAY 24TH MARCH  2019_______________

The new Roll will come into operation on MONDAY 22ND APRIL 2019

The new Roll shall be published for not less than 14 days from 7th APRIL 2019.

Under the Church Representation Rules any lay persons are entitled to have their names entered on the roll if they—

           (i)     are baptised and aged 16 or over;

          (ii)     have signed a form of application for enrolment;

                   and either

         (iii)     are members of the Church of England or of any Church in communion with the Church of England being resident in the parish or (not being resident in the parish) having habitually attended public worship in the parish during the six months prior to the application for enrolment;

                   or:

         (iv)     are members in good standing of a Church (not in communion with the Church of England) which subscribes to the doctrine of the Holy Trinity declaring themselves also to be members of the Church of England and having habitually attended public worship in the parish during  the period of six months prior to enrolment.

Forms of application for enrolment can be obtained from the Trevor Downs, 10 Heather Glade, or at the back of church. In order to be entitled to attend the annual parochial church meeting and to take part in its proceedings, forms of application for enrolment must be returned by the earlier of the dates shown above.

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Vicar’s Letter February 2019

Calling all Brides and Grooms!

With Valentine’s Day this month, may I encourage YOU to consider getting married at All Saints’ or St Margaret’s.

In previous generations most people got married in church but now weddings take place almost anywhere!  So … Why consider getting married in church?

Firstly because the church is at the heart of our community.  So many important occasions have taken place in church with great joy and celebration AND right in the middle of where we live.  The Church building reminds us that God IS with us AND that He wants the very best for us (and our families).

Secondly because marriage is both joyful AND serious.  Of course, we all want our wedding days to be full of fun and laughter but as husband and wife you are making incredibly serious promises to each other and the church building and the wedding service gives a certain gravitas to the vows that you are making in the presence of your families, friends AND of course, our loving God.

And thirdly because God IS love!  The marriage service says: “God is love and those who live in love live in God and God lives in them.”  God’s greatest desire is to resource YOU! – Day by day to help YOU to love and care for each other … for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health.  God wants to help and bless you both in your GROWING in love. 

Romantic love is the spark that brings people together; but deepening persistent love is the crucial ingredient to help your love to stay fresh and strong.

Getting married in church is NOT as expensive as it may seem.  The basic charge is less than £500 (which includes all the legal stuff).  People who have been married before are NOT barred from a wedding in church.  So, why not get in touch and come and find out more!

Happy Valentine’s Day.  PS – I love taking weddings!

Peter Chantry

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Vicar’s Letter Christmas 2018

Dear Friends,

In church we very often address God as: “Almighty God” out of reverence and respect.  But is that the only and best way to think of God?  … Almighty? 

As we prepare to celebrate Christmas and the birth of Jesus, we see God in a very different light.  There is very little that is “almighty” about a new born!  A new born even at the best of times is vulnerable, delicate and fragile as was the baby Jesus.  And even more so because Jesus’ mother gave birth a long way from home, without the support of family and friends and in the equivalent of a shed round the back.  Jesus was little, weak and helpless!

So rather than addressing God as “Almighty” might we instead say “Vulnerable God … ” and perhaps continue:

… you risked everything by emptying yourself to become a human being.  You come to us as a fragile child to share in our weakness and struggle.  You grew up and lived in a country surrounded by turmoil and uncertainty.  Thank you Vulnerable God that you are “God with us” – not judging and condemning from on high but understanding and sharing our humanity in the here and now of everyday life.  You know what it’s like to grow up in an earthly family with all the hassles and tensions, the joys and the sorrows.  You know what it’s like to do hard physical work for small wages.  You know what it’s like to loose family members and friends who you’ve loved.  You know what it is to suffer injustice and unfairness.  Thank you Vulnerable God that YOU know and understand and care and want to help.

When we address God as “Almighty” we can easily think of God as OUT THERE – a long way away – remote and uncaring.  When we address God as “Vulnerable” we are recognizing that God is right here and along side us – in the thick of it – in the messiness of life – in the daily struggle.

This is our vulnerable God who we celebrate and worship.  Do join us for Christmas worship this year as we celebrate again the loving kindness of our God who became vulnerable to help us all know that we are NOT alone and His love reaches out to us whatever we are struggling with this Christmas.

Peter Chantry

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Vicar’s Letter November 2018

As I’m sure you know, Remembrance Sunday this year is extra significant because of it being the centenary of the end of the First World War.

Mercifully the guns fell silent at 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month 1918.  After millions of fatalities and terrible suffering,at last, there was silence from the roar of canons and ammunition.

Silence

And silence is how we will try to remember all those who gave their lives in the service of their country.

Silence is fitting because no words are adequate to describe the devastation that that war and all conflicts wreck on innocent lives.

Remembering is not only respectful but it is vital – that we, who live in relative peace, try to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice under horrific circumstances: … We WILL remember them.

Jesus said: “Greater love has no man than that he lay down his life for his friends.”  Understanding what it must have been like is almost impossible but nonetheless we must think and pray and remember as best we can.

Remembering is a vital part of Church life because each week at Holy Communion we remember Jesus’ sacrifice.  His broken body sacrificed for the sins of the world.  We also picture Him opening wide his arms of love upon the cross to embrace the whole family of humanity with compassion and kindness and forgiveness.

We will remember them.

Peter Chantry

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Vicar’s Letter October 2018

On Sunday 7th October we will be celebrating Harvest Festival and many of us think of tins of beans and packets of cereal and the wonderful display of produce: cauliflowers, ripe tomatoes, stripy marrows and the rest – not forgetting the Harvest Supper to remind us of a time before Supermarkets and on line shopping

Harvest Festival may seem like a thing of yester year but celebrating God’s goodness to us and the work of our farmers and gardeners still needs to be done.  In this country we are well fed because of the AMAZING work of our farmers and horticulturalists, our retailers and dieticians, our agronomists and our distributors – they do a wonderful job on our behalf and in partnership with God Almighty.

Over this last year, at both happy and sad occasions we have used the modern version of the much loved hymn: We plough the fields and scatter…  Frank Low’s words hold together both the ancient and the modern, the technical and the ethical.  But fundamentally, the hymn reminds us of our everyday blessings and the source of our nourishment:

We plough the fields with tractors

With drills we sow the land

But growth is still the wondrous gift

Of God’s almighty hand.

We add our fertilizers

To help the growing grain,

But for its full fruition

It needs God’s sun and rain.

           All good gifts around us

          Are sent from heaven above

         Then thank the Lord,

         O thank the Lord,

         For all His love.

With many new machines now

We do the work each day.

We reap the fields with combines

We bale the new-mown hay.

But still ’tis God who gives us

Inventive sills and drive

Which lightens labour’s drudgery

And gives them fuller lives.

 

He only is the maker

Of galaxies and stars;

Of birds and beasts and flowers,

And any life on Mars.

Atomic powers obey him,

Yet still the birds are fed;

By him our prayer is answered:

Give us our daily bread

 

We thank Thee then O Father

For life so rich and good

For seed time and the harvest

The wealth of daily food

No gifts have we to offer

Such as thy love imparts

But what thou most desirest

Our humble thankful hearts.

 

Can I invite you to join us for worship and come and sing the hymn for yourself and let’s praise God together.

Peter Chantry

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Vicar’s Letter November 2017

One of the privileges of my work is meeting some amazing people – amazing not because they are celebrities or high profile people – but amazing because of what they are doing and how they are coping in the face of adversity.

Like the couple who are quietly supporting each other through terminal illness and making the most of the time they have left together.

Like the mum who is doing her best to support her young adult children as they find their way in life in the midst of all the comings and goings of a family home.

Like the person who refuses to let her cancer treatment suck the life out of her.

I am humbled by their strength of character, their positive mindset and their ability to see life beyond their own challenges.  I am sure they must have their dark moments – but I find them inspirational.

And my prayer for them, as it is for all of you, is that they will know God’s peace – helping them through those dark moments; reminding them that THEY are precious to God; encouraging them that they are NOT alone and NEVER will be.

Hard times come to us all.  Some people seem to get more than their fair share of troubles and it is difficult to imagine all the headaches and heartache that some people have to endure.  But we all have a role to play in supporting each other: being willing to listen, slow to judge and ready to help where needed.  And when we do this, we are truly fulfilling God’s call to love our neighbour as ourselves.

So, may you know God’s peace, strength, wisdom and help in the midst of the challenges you face and may you be a channel of God’s love to encourage neighbours, friends and family around you.

Yours,

Peter Chantry

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Vicar’s Letter August/September 2017

I’ve just started watching the BBC Drama called “Broken” – a friend thought I’d like it. It is about a Catholic priest trying to care for his flock – emphasis on “trying”! Life in Father Michael’s parish is very tough for many of his parishioners and he himself carries “ghosts” from the past and family challenges in the present.

The series is refreshing because it rings true. However much we might like happy families, happy endings and Disney storylines – life so often is just not like that – even in good old Madeley. Many of us know that we are “the lucky ones” – or to put it in religious language – we are blessed. But all around us, people are grappling with complicated, messy, stressful lives and mostly doing an amazing job of surviving.

In the first episode, a young mum’s life is going belly up. She is trying her best to bring up her family and doing everything she can but, every time she thinks she’s coping, something else happens. Father Michael does his best to be supportive and understanding but he too finds that life is loaded with complications and contradictions – especially in his own family.

In contrast to many TV clergy dramas and sitcoms – there is an honesty and an authenticity that makes this worth watching. Father Michael is not depicted as a Saint or a paragon of virtue but as someone who genuinely longs to help and to point people to Jesus’ love, compassion and understanding.

I have been struck recently about the importance of “noticing” people and situations and hopefully not passing by on the other side of the street. Our family members and neighbours need our understanding, a slowness to judge and a readiness to help. All of which isn’t easy and won’t always be welcome but compassion is fundamental in God’s work of supporting broken lives.

Peter Chantry

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Part-time Job in All Saints’ Church Vicarage Office

All Saints’ Madeley – Parish Secretary

Advert – Is God calling YOU?
– Are you good on the computer and with admin?
– Can you work well in a team? Then …

All Saints’ is looking to employ a new Secretary –
(6 hours/week, exact hours by agreement) working in the Vicarage Office, in Madeley Vicarage, to facilitate the smooth operation of our church.(working in conjunction with St Margaret’s Betley)

The purpose of the role is to enable the smooth ministry and mission of All Saints’ Church by providing efficient and thorough administrative support.

Your place of work will be at Madeley Vicarage

Rate of Pay – is paid according to the School Support Staff Scale Points scale 16-19 – currently in the region of £9-£10 per hour.

Please contact the Vicar, Peter Chantry (01782 750205) for further details.

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Vicar’s Letter September 2016

Dear Friends,

“We human beings don’t realise how great God is. He has given us an extraordinary brain and a sensitive and loving heart. He has blessed us with two lips to talk and express our feelings, two eyes with which to see a world of colours and beauty, two feet which walk on the road of life, two hands to work for us, and a nose which smells the beauty of fragrance, and two ears to hear the words of love. As I found with my ear, no one knows how much power they have in their each and every organ until they lose one.” 

The quote comes from the autobiography of Malala – the girl who became famous for being shot by the Taliban because she wanted to go to school!  Her book is an inspirational and fascinating read – I read on holiday and strongly recommend it.  It shows incredible courage and resilience of character.

She continues: “I thank God for the hard-working doctors, for my recovery and for sending us to this world where we may struggle for our survival. Some people choose good ways and some choose bad ways. One person’s bullet hit me. It’s swelled my brain, stole my hearing and cut the nerve of the left side of my face in the space of a second. And after that one second there were millions of people praying for my life and talented doctors who gave me back my own body. I was a good girl. In my heart I had only the desire to help people. It wasn’t about the awards or the money. I always pray to God: I want to help people and please help me to do that.”

Malala is a Muslim and her belief in a God of love and generosity appear, in this reading, to be the same as my understanding of the God I meet through Jesus in the Bible. In these days when awful violence and terror are perpetrated by people who call themselves Muslims, do remember the Muslims of good faith who are appalled by the way their faith has been claimed by people with very contrasting and violent views, just as we are when people who claim to be Christians speak words of hatred and violence.

We live in an instant era of news and the headlines can be shocking and evoke knee-jerk responses.  As a Christian, I know I mustn’t jump to conclusions but above all else be prayerful and faithful to the God of love that I know, love and serve.  I thank God for Malala’s faith and testimony.

Peter Chantry

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