Honolulu – It’s got everything. Sand for the
children, sun for the wife, sharks for the wife’s mother.
Ken Dodd, comedian
Firstly, I love my mother in law – unlike, obviously, Ken Dodd.
But secondly, I wonder if you have had – like me – to cancel or to
reorganise your holidays.
You may be feeling OK about it, or you may be really annoyed,
especially if you just missed the Eurostar or the ferry from France before the
quarantine was imposed.
Having had a couple of staycations, I certainly miss the more normal
But I am left thinking, why on earth do we miss our holidays so
Is it because normal life is unbearable? Hardly! (I think! Feel free
Is it because we’ve got used to our luxuries? Possibly – but that doesn’t really feel like enough of an explanation.
Then, I remembered – forgive me, this is how this curate’s brain works
– that on the story of creation, God – yes, God! – “rested on the seventh
day from all the work that he had done” (Genesis 2.2)
Please keep reading, even if you’re a bit
lukewarm (or positively chilly) about religion!
Isn’t that an extraordinary statement? The all powerful, the almighty,
the creator of everything – resting?!
Was he tired? Had it been too long a shift? Or just too long a week?
What is going on?!
Well, even if you’re not very keen on believing in God, this story is
clearly saying that rest (and a change) is a very important part of a healthy
lifestyle. What stronger way is there to say it (to religious people) than to
say that God himself had a rest?
It’s building it into the structure of the universe, into the patterns
We need time to stop our usual routines. We need to pause and
reflect on what we have done – sometimes to critique it, yes; but dare I
say, we don’t often stop to appreciate what we have done, because we are
too worried about the next thing that needs doing.
I find it comforting that God would want to stop, even if he doesn’t need to (unlike me). And that when he does so, he is pleased: it’s all very good! (Genesis 1.31)
So I really hope that you have had – or are soon having – a chance to
stop and get a change of scene.
And if you can’t go away – because of health, or work, or family
commitments, that you nevertheless get some moments of pause. It may be ‘just’
a couple of hours in a place you love, that you haven’t been to for a while –
or even ‘just’ a good long catch up on the phone with someone you love, but
haven’t been able to see for a long while.
And when you stop, imagine – just imagine – that there is a God
somewhere out there, who cares so much for you, that he cares for your rest?
The advert is now on the Diocesan web site here, with a closing date of 1st October. This is about a month earlier than we’d thought was the best we could hope for – if all goes well there could be a new Vicar appointed by Christmas and in place by the start of February.
that a casual vacancy has occurred in the office of Councillor for the Madeley Parish Council following the resignation on 31st July 2020 of Nigel Paul Orme.
5(2) of the Local Elections (Parishes and Communities) (England and Wales)
Rules 2006 now applies.
rule allows TEN ELECTORS for the Parish
in which the casual vacancy has arisen to request the Returning Officer to hold
an election to fill the vacancy. That request must be made within FOURTEEN DAYS, calculated in accordance
with the rules,
of the date of this notice. The fourteen
day period ends on Tuesday 25th August 2020
6 of The Local Government and Police and Crime Commissioner (Coronavirus)
(Postponement of Elections and Referendums) (England and Wales) Regulations
2020 currently defers an election (if called) until Thursday, 6th
May 2021. It should be noted however, that the Government has indicated that
the situation will be kept under review and, if safe to do so, further
legislation will be laid that will permit an election sooner than this date.
What if a request to hold an election is not
received during the permitted time?
5(5) of the above Rules will apply. The
Parish Council must, as soon as practicable after the expiry of the fourteen
day period, co-opt a person to fill the vacancy.
Returning Officer’s address is:
Electoral Services, Castle House,
Barracks Road, Newcastle under Lyme, ST5 1BL
telephone number for further guidance is 01782 717717
This notice is dated 5th August
Clerk, Madeley Parish Council,
10, Freebridge Close,
 There is no form of
words for this request, which might simply be a letter headed with such words
as “We the undersigned being electors for the (Ward of)….Parish, call for an
election to fill the vacancy arising from the (death)(resignation) of….”. It is helpful if the ten signatures are
accompanied by printed names and addresses.
 In calculating the
notice period, day one is the day following the date of this notice; a
Saturday, Sunday, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Good Friday or a Bank Holiday
or day appointed for public thanksgiving or mourning shall be disregarded,
and the period closes at midnight on the fourteenth day after the date of this
notice. Rule 5(2) of the Local Elections
(Parishes and Communities) (England and Wales) Rules 2006 now applies.
You may be aware that the Borough Council has a Register of Locally Important Buildings and Structures and reviews the list every 2 years. The Council would like to now invite nominations for consideration of this year’s review. Please visit www.newcastle-staffs.gov.uk/localregister<http://www.newcastle-staffs.gov.uk/localregister> for more information on the list, how to nominate and the buildings and structures that are already on the list and the criteria. The deadline for nominations this year will be 7th September 2020.
You will need to apply for a building to be considered online and the form can be found on the local register page – see above link. If you have one, please give as much information as possible so your nomination can be properly considered against the criteria. Buildings should be historic, authentic, have some architectural merit and have value to the local community.
This is the last letter I will write as Vicar of All Saints’
and St Margaret’s. After nearly 7 years,
Helen and I are up sticking and moving to Nottinghamshire to be nearer to our
It is with much gratitude that we journey on with very many
happy memories of this season of our lives.
It has been an enormous privilege to be your Vicar and thank you to you
all for your friendship, good humour and fellowship in the life and work of
God’s kingdom in these parishes.
This morning I gave a “thought for the day” on Facebook – something I never dreamed I’d be doing 6 months ago. But these are exceptional times and I for one have really enjoyed the challenge of learning new skills in these Lockdown days.
The focus of my “thought” was Abraham – sometimes called
“Father Abraham” because he was the founding Father of our faith. God called Abraham to be his friend. He wanted to bless Abraham and his wife Sarah
and to make them into a great nation – quite an idea at the age of 75!
God asked Abraham and Sarah to up sticks and to move to
Caanan – a land that was “flowing with milk and honey”. He wanted to bless them and their descendants
in order that they would be … a blessing to the other nations of the world.
There remains today much sadness and isolation and all the
more in our post Lock down world. The
world needs people of hope and faith and love.
Abraham and Sarah were such people BECAUSE they felt secure within the
love of God.
I hope and pray that you too know God’s love for you and
your family and that that will enable you to have the confidence to be generous
to those in need around you.
God has always and only ever wanted one thing: that we
should know Him as our Friend and Saviour – the One whose love is unconditional
– the One whose love for us enables us to reach out in love to one another –
the One whose love for us drives out any fear.
May God bless you and keep you; May the Lord His face to shine upon: May the Lord lift up the light of His countenance upon you and give you peace now and forever more. Amen.
The Parish Magazine for July and August is available online here
Services Suspended during Coronavirus Precautions – but CHURCH NOW (22nd JUNE) OPEN FOR PRIVATE PRAYER. This ends at the end of July, as we have Thursday services in church from 6th August, and a streamed Sunday service from church:
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 10.30 – 12.30 each morning. (Wednesdays Food Bank open, Sundays online services)
There will be All Saints’ Church members present to help and assist (and if necessary control numbers entering). We are so glad to be partly back – in addition to all our online services. Sanitiser and washing facilities are available, but if you wish to wear a face mask please bring your own.
You have probably heard by now that Helen and I are on
the move. After nearly 7 years as Vicar
of All Saints’ and St Margaret’s we have made the difficult decision that it is
time to move nearer to our grown-up children.
I will therefore be moving at the end of July over to Nottinghamshire
where Helen has recently been appointed as the next Vicar of St Mary’s and St
It is, of course with sadness AND with gratitude that we
will be moving. It has been an immense
pleasure and privilege to be your Vicar for these years. I have greatly enjoyed your fellowship and
partnership in the life of our communities, and I am confident that God’s
blessings will continue to be poured out upon Betley and Madeley – however
tough these current times are.
In preparation for moving, Helen and I have hired a
skip! We have been sorting through all
our “stuff” and it is amazing how much you accumulate over the years. Before we put all our unwanted items into the
skip, we decided to have an impromptu stall outside our house inviting people
to: Help yourself. What we had not
expected was the delight that this gave to various people to reuse, repair and
Girls from along the road were delighted to take some
board games; 12 paving stones that we’d taken up a couple of years ago were
snapped up; and a very weathered Iron bench was taken away with great joy at
the prospect of a restoration project!
Out of the tiredness and unwanted debris of life, can
come new possibilities. One lady was so
thrilled at taking away a “telephone table” that she insisted that I take £10
for Christian Aid – even though I didn’t ask for it!
Life is tough at the moment with the Corona Virus and of
course, very tough for some. But even in
the toughest of times there are moments of light and colour and joy and
solidarity – as revealed by our impromptu stall.
We can (and do) feel overwhelmed by the uncertainty of
our current circumstances. But I believe
that God is right in the middle of hard times.
He is no stranger to heartache, uncertainty and pain. The Christian story remains one of hope and
joy in the morning and our faith in Jesus, calls us to look out for Him, even
and especially in the midst of our human struggles.
May God bless you and your family.
The Church Magazine for June can be read online here
What surreal (and for some tragic and
anxious) times we are living through. Mercifully, in Madeley and Betley we have
been spared some of the worst aspects of the virus but of course our thought
and prayers are with the bereaved, the traumatised and the front-line staff.
For many of us we have had to adopt
new behaviours and observe important protocols and perhaps we are getting used
to life in Lock down? There has never been a time like this in living memory
and we may well feel overwhelmed.
However, and believing in the
resurrection, there is new life ahead of us and we must look for the positives
and think about lessons we can all learn.
So, amidst the all the difficulties
and uncertainties, what has been good?
A greater sense of community – people
volunteering to help with the NHS and local helplines, increased
neighbourliness and a heightened awareness of the vulnerable down our streets.
It has been impressive to see many younger people step up and put themselves
out for others – at the Food bank, collecting prescriptions and running
errands. Thank you and well done.
New ways of being church and good
organisations – the church buildings are closed but God’s people are finding new ways
to worship together and to keep in touch with those on their own. Zoom
Services, on-line prayer meetings, pastoral visits via video link and a
resurgence of the good old rag and bone (phone). It’s not the same and we greatly look forward
to being together again but we have learnt some new skills and been challenged
to find new ways of keeping in touch.
The importance of exercise and
greeting friends whilst on the move and at a “safe” distance. Thank
God that we live in beautiful villages with green spaces to walk and take our
dogs out. The weather has been really kind and stunningly beautiful – perhaps
something we’ve noticed more under these circumstances – I love the Cherry Tree
blossom , the buds on the trees, the freshly ploughed fields.
Not to take people for granted – Our NHS
staff have rightly been heralded for their courage and commitment. But there
are other frontline staff who don’t always get the recognition they deserve.
The staff of Care Homes, our Refuge Collectors, those who serve us in retail,
both in our shops and in supplying our bodily needs all deserve our respect and
our appreciation of their service. It is very easy to take each other for
granted but we shouldn’t. Noticing the commitment and service of others when we
are the beneficiaries should be part of our everyday mini celebrations.
… Now, none of this is to ignore
the deep-seated anxieties that are very real for many of us as we face the
consequences for our economy and personal prospects. The future will
bring further challenges, struggles and needs. Pulling together and practising
consistent generosity of attitude and behaviour will be vital as we adapt and
change again. We may well have to adjust our sights and lower our expectations
– not forgetting that we still have so much to be grateful for.
I believe profoundly that God remains
in the midst of us, wanting to sustain, inspire, resource and equip us
for the future that lies ahead. The Bible tells us that He does not leave us
abandoned but equips us with His Spirit to rise to the challenge that lie
around the corner.
May you know God’s wisdom, peace and strength as you journey on. And may God bless and keep you in His good care.