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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.


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 August/September 2018

It is a great pleasure to welcome John Beswick Pallister, Laura and baby Matilda to Madeley and Betley.  John will be our Curate for the next few years and our job is to train him to be a good Vicar!

John comes with experience of working for the Post Office and having spent much of his life living and working in Portugal.  Laura is a modern languages teacher.  They have both worked with students in helping to nurture the Christian faith of young adults.

John and Laura do have relatives locally but don’t know much about the Potteries, the pits and which towns really do make up the six?  Is Newcastle one of them?

John has been called by God to serve as an ordained minister.  He comes with lots of learning from college about God, the Bible and what our Christian faith means for life today.

As we welcome them amongst us, together we share in responsibility for supporting and encouraging them and crucially in helping them to see what God is doing in our villages – not just through our churches but in our community groups, our schools, our local businesses and our neighbourhoods.

Madeley and Betley are strong communities with lots of good things going on but there are always challenges and sadnesses.  John needs to hear about those too.

Believing that God is among us and that God is at work in Betley and Madeley – please share your experiences of life and God and faith to encourage John and to help to form him as a good pastor, a prayerful leader and a strong community player.  Welcome John, Laura and Matilda.

Peter Chantry

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Vicar’s Letter July 2018

Following in the footsteps of St Cuthbert.

In mid May, 12 of us pilgrims from Madeley and Betley walked the 62 miles of the St Cuthbert’s Way from Melrose in Scotland to Holy Island on the NE coast.  We had a wonderful time: stunning views, beautiful countryside, good company and the chance to think again about how Christianity came to these shores.

The Celtic Saints were inspired by the desert Fathers and the early monastic movement in their simplicity of life and devotion to Christ and their service to their surrounding community.  Saints like St Ninian, St Patrick, St David and St Aidan established communities based along similar lines.  No pomp and privilege for them but a life of devotion and service.

Their way of travelling was of course largely on foot meeting people along the way.  Sharing whatever they had and helping people to connect not just to the God of creation but also to God as shown in Jesus Christ.  The Celtic saints were prayerful men and women who lived a very simple life.  Their Christianity contrasted with Roman Christianity which also came to these shores.

The communities the Celtic saints established were based on hospitality, education, medical care, teaching the faith and serving their hinterland.  They are sometimes referred to as “Colonies of heaven”.

One of the saints we heard about on our pilgrimage was St Farcey who was known for his visions, dreams and intuition.  He encouraged everyone to look beyond that which we see, to what lies behind it: the creation speaking of the Creator; the people we meet can teaching us about God.

On our journey we did meet some lovely people: an artist on Lindisfarne who helped me find a Cuthbert stone; a young couple from Alaska; Richard, a church pastor who was rebuilding his church by hand and with the help of other local volunteers.

Pilgrimages present a wonderful opportunity to connect with your fellow travellers, to enjoy the glory of God’s creation, to sense the importance of history and of place and to think deeply about who you are and what God is calling you to be and to do.

Welcome to John and Laura Beswick Pallister

Our new Curate John Beswick Palliister has been called to serve in the parishes of St Margaret’s Betley and All Saints’ Madeley.  He and Laura and their 6 month old daughter Matilda are coming from Cambridge where John has been training for the ordained ministry following work with the Royal Mail.

John and Laura’s Christian faith is an international one having lived and worked in a number of European Countries with special links to Portugal.

To this end, we are having a welcome BBQ to meet them on Wed 18th July 5pm at the Old Vicarage by kind invitation of Roger and Gill Goodwin.  Do come and meet them – they are very keen to meet us and get to know about life in Madeley and Betley.  Please consider yourself invited – see poster for details.

Peter Chantry


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Vicar’s Letter June 2018

Earlier this year, we did a “Prayer Stations” project around church.  Our School children were invited to come and spend time thinking about the world, their lives and God!

It was wonderful to see them enjoying the church’s holy space and spending quiet time engaged with big questions and to think about their prayers for the world.

Amongst other activities, they were invited to write their names on a BIG HAND to signify God’s love for them.  They also hung “doves of peace” onto a prayer tree and wrote the names of places around the world undergoing tension.

What was particularly fascinating was to read the Questions that the children had for God.  They included: Is it nice in Heaven?  Why do people fight in wars?  Why do you let so many people suffer?  AND … What do you think about me?

What excellent questions!

Thinking deeply about what’s going on around us and who we are in the bigger scheme of things is important for us all, whatever our age.  The answers to the children’s questions aren’t always easy but that doesn’t mean to say they aren’t important.

The concept of heaven is both comforting and challenging – especially when we pray: your kingdom come, your will be done on earth … as it is in heaven.  Heaven conjures up all manner of images – some helpful, some not – but the Christian understanding of heaven is that it is full of God’s loving kindness – something God wants to give to all people.

We live in a fearful and unjust world.  People often say: It’s not fair!  … and it isn’t.  We who call ourselves Christians are called by Jesus to be channels of hope and help and advocacy.  If we say that “God is love” (as the Bible does) then how are we sharing that love to make this world more like heaven?

Coming soon to Madeley and Betley: a new Curate!

John Beswick Pallister, his wife Laura and their 6 months old daughter Matilda are moving to M & B at the end of this month.  John will be working at St Margaret’s and All Saints for the next few years.  As a Curate he is a training Vicar.  John comes with experience of working for the Post Office.  Laura is a modern languages teacher.  They are greatly looking forward to meeting us all.

So, please pray for them all but especially for John as he is ordained deacon at Lichfield Cathedral on Saturday 30th June at 6pm.  We look forward to welcoming them all to our services on Sunday 1st July.

Peter Chantry

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Vicar’s Letter May 2018

In May this year we celebrate two vital events in the life of the church: Ascension and Pentecost.

The first happens on a Thursday and is often overlooked.  The second commemorates a weird and wonderful event: the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2).

Both of these events, Ascension and Pentecost, are vital parts of Jesus’ story and vital parts of OUR story.

Easter will always be the most glorious festival for those of us who believe – death is not THE END, Jesus is alive, evil is overcome with good, Jesus has proved himself to be the real thing: God with His people, showing us all the way.  But even Easter isn’t an end in itself.  Jesus was preparing his friends (and by extension us) for the next phase of God’s work on earth.

Jesus’ life remains the inspiration for our lives but he needed to go away – which is what we celebrate at Ascension.  He went away in order that God the Father would send the Holy Spirit to all of his people: young and old, rich and poor, religious and non-religious.

At Pentecost we celebrate God at work in each and every one of us to inspire us to be the best versions of ourselves that we can be – the Holy Spirit: encouraging, cajoling, challenging, disturbing, comforting, equipping God’s people for acts of service and works of goodness.

This year between Ascension (10th May) and Pentecost (20th May) the church at large is being encouraged to pray for God’s work in the world today: Thy kingdom come.  Our Archbishops and bishops are encouraging us to pray for our communities and ourselves, that we will each use our gifts and talents to make a difference amongst the people with whom we rub shoulders, after the example of Jesus Christ our risen, ascended and glorified Lord.

Peter Chantry


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Notice of Uncontested Election for Madeley Parish

Please follow the link to see the full list of Parish Councillors elected unopposed to take office from Tuesday 8th May. NOTICE UNCONTESTED ELECTION

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Vicar’s Letter Easter 2018

Easter Day this year is April 1st – April Fool’s Day!  And what a day to celebrate Easter!

Jesus has been described in many ways: “an inspiration”; “a miracle maker”; “a subversive game changer” – but he has also been described as “a fool”!

Why a fool?

Who else would prod with a stick a hungry alligator?  Who else would shout out criticism of the ruling elite?  Who else would champion the cause of people thought to be untouchable?  Who else would put their own life on the line to highlight the corruption and abuse of all those in power?

A fool?  A brave man?  A man on a mission?

Jesus was all those things.  He flouted convention.  He risked the hostile stare.  He had no truck with a culture that made some rich and left others in the gutter. He spoke truth to power and lived with integrity – in a way which showed how everyone matters to God and everyone is worthy of respect and understanding, dignity and love.

All of this resulted in him being arrested, tried in a jumped up court and sentenced to death.

Jesus: a mad idealistic fool?

St Paul reminds us that “the foolishness of God is greater than man’s wisdom”.  Jesus’ death on the  cross appears like madness  and yet … through Jesus’ sacrificial death … something truly wonderful, truly revolutionary, truly life-changing happens.  Christians call this: the forgiveness of sins.

April Fool’s Day is a day of surprises and the greatest and most wonderful surprise of all is that Jesus is no longer dead but alive again and because of that none of us need fear death.  New life bursts from Jesus’ tomb and that new life is available to all of us who believe.  That new life transforms EVERYTHING and offers new hope and new purpose to us all.

Happy April Fool’s Day and Happy Easter and may you know the life-changing power of Jesus’ resurrection.


Peter Chantry

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Whodunnit Murder Mystery 19th May at The Madeley Centre

There will be a Whodunnit Murder Mystery at The Madeley Centre on 19th May, starting at 7:00pm.

Tickets cost £10 and include a cold buffet.

Follow the link below for further details.


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Parish Council Elections 3rd May 2018

The next Parish and Town Council elections will be held on 3rd May 2018.

Have you considered standing as a Parish Councillor?

Please follow the link below for further information on the role and expectations of a Parish Councillor.

Elections – Council Elections 2018


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