Madeley Manor Development

There are proposals to develop the old Madeley Manor into a number of 3+4 storey apartment blocks, to provide 52 apartments.

While development of the existing buildings which used to be a care home is reasonable, there are a range of reasons why this development as it is proposed may be a problem.

Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council have an objection page for you to note down your comments.

Some objections and details have been provided in a document you can download and print here (ideal if you need to share with someone without internet access.)

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Vicar’s Letter March 2021

As March 2021 begins we are in the midst of the season of Lent. It’s the season when the church prepares to celebrate Easter. It represents something of a pilgrimage that leads through the days and weeks towards Good Friday and Easter Sunday. 

Traditionally many Christians have abstained from something over Lent as a way to focus on the season itself – perhaps by giving up chocolate or alcohol throughout Lent, perhaps by choosing one day a week to fast. 

In recent years many Christians (and indeed many others) have taken on something extra, challenging themselves to undertake an act of kindness each day as part of the 40 Acts of Kindness initiative. For a number of years I have run an initiative called #40thoughts that tries to encourage people to reflect on different themes throughout lent. 

As we approach Lent in 2021 I wonder how you feel about the idea of laying something down or taking something extra on? Given we are in the midst of a pandemic and lockdown haven’t we all given enough up? No longer able to visit family, no longer able to go to the thrash metal concert you’ve been waiting for, no longer able to meet a group of friends for a drink… 

And haven’t we all had to take on so many other things? Becoming literate at the use of new technologies, getting used to face masks and restrictions, home-schooling…. 

How about this Lent we take the opportunity to be attentive?  Attentive to the beauty of the world around us.  Attentive to friends and neighbours in distress. 

Perhaps the very act of being attentive is all the preparation we need as we journey towards Good Friday and beyond. 

Blessings,

Tim Watson

Films and Theology

Back in February a group of us met on a Saturday night via Zoom to discuss the Matrix film from 1999. It had been mentioned in a sermon a few weeks before and there was clearly an interest in having a discussion. With a new chapter of the Matrix due in 2021 the time was right to dig in! 

And so a group of people gathered online to talk about the film, to explore any cultural, philosophical ideas as well as to reflect on any theological themes and connections. 

I always find these kind of conversations fascinating and enriching. I love movies, visual art, poetry, music and I especially love the way the different mediums help us to engage with some of the bigger, more existential themes. Whether we like opera, jazz, renaissance paintings, silent movies from the early 20th century, beat poetry or K-Pop, the arts can speak to us in very powerful ways. 

I wonder what do you love to do? Get stuck into an epic novel? Play piano? Binge-watch Netflix boxsets? Pogo around the kitchen to punk while you wash up? 

What place does art and all that creative content play in your life? 

If you’re not sure, why not take time to experience something you wouldn’t normally:- listen to some free jazz when you’d rather be watching Corrie. Watch Corrie when you’d rather be listening to free jazz? Why not take the lockdown opportunity to engage with the stuff you wouldn’t normally engage with? Maybe by doing so you might encounter something that moves you and helps you to get through these strange and difficult days. 

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Vicar’s Letter February 2021

And we’re off!

It feels like 2021 has only just begun and yet we have already gone through so much! After the positive and exciting news about Covid-19 vaccines at the end of 2020, January 2021 has seen us step back into lockdown as cases of Covid-19 spiral out of control. We’ve got a more contagious variant that emerged in the south of the country, and then we have news of a new variant emerging in South America. It seems like some of the joy of news about the vaccines has lost some of its sparkle. There is good news, there are things to be hopeful about and yet…

We know people who’ve had to go back into isolation. We know people who have been infected with this new strain. We know children who had gone back to school who are now back taking lessons online.

Every week seems to bring a new news conference, new statistics, new hopes, new worries, threats, hope, fear, hope, worry, fear, hope, worry, fear, hope and on and on and on in a seemingly never-ending cycle. These changeable times can feel unnerving, the sands shift continually beneath our feet. For some in our communities where folk once felt secure they may now feel a lack of security. For some in our communities where folk once felt insecure, they may now feel positively at risk of falling.

Our natural instinct may be to stand together with our neighbours and form stronger bonds of support and encouragement, and yet here is where the Covid pandemic has cut very deeply. In this crisis we may well be feeling disempowered from being able to be there with and for our neighbours. Covid has torn at the hearts of community and those threads of connection feel stretched and tattered.

As we journey on through this phase of the pandemic we need to keep thinking of safe ways that we can support and care for our neighbours and community. But more than just this, as the pandemic continues we need to guard our hearts against a general denigration of our care and support for our neighbours and community once this pandemic is over. While we may have had to withdraw somewhat at this time we must endeavour to keep our hearts open in love and care for our neighbours and community for such a time when we can more easily walk with one another and share life together again.

In the meantime, stay safe!

Blessings,

Rev Tim Watson

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Christmas Services in Madeley

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Letter from our new Vicar

                  

A message from our new Vicar

As we journey towards Christmas and the end of 2020 we may well be feeling many different things. Many of us will be glad to see the back of 2020. Many will be excited by the promise of 2021. Many will be worried that 2021 will just be 2020 version 2.0. Many will be holding to wonderful memories of 2020. Many will be longing to forget the hardships of this year.

This year I attended my nan’s funeral via a video link, 7 hours drive away from the funeral chapel – I hope I never have to attend a funeral by video link again. This year our family welcomed baby Joshua into the world, back at the height of the first lockdown – his birth was a sign of hope and life in the midst of the most difficult of years. 

From the end of January 2021 I will be the new vicar of All Saints’ Madeley and St. Margaret’s Betley, so I should really be doing the proper vicar thing of saying that just as baby Joshua was a sign of hope for our family in dark times, the birth of baby Jesus some 2000 odd years ago was a sign of hope in dark times…. you get where this is going. But I’m not going to go there for two reasons: 

1. Because baby Joshua isn’t the messiah, and he’s not even a very naughty boy (thank you Monty Python). 

2. And also because this isn’t the time for twee and overly sentimental answers all wrapped up in swaddling cloth…. 

Actually, scrap that, because this is exactly the time for answers wrapped up in swaddling cloth and laid in a manger. The birth of Jesus 2000 years ago was a sign of hope and light in the midst of a dark time. His birth was and is a reminder that while it might feel like all is falling to pieces, God is still present. God promises to be with us, his people. As the beginning of John’s gospel reminds us, ‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.’ 

Now more than ever we need to be reminded that even in the midst of this darkness God is with us, God is present. Just as a small candle can light up the darkest night, so too can the knowledge of God’s saving love for us be a sign of hope in these dark days. 

My family and I are really excited to be moving to Madeley in January and can’t wait to explore some of these ideas with you in the years to come. In the meantime, peace to you all, have a lovely Christmas and a hopeful beginning of 2021. 

Cheers 

Rev Tim, Clare, Evie, Lucie and Joshua Watson. 

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Curate’s Christmas Letter

All I want for Christmas is…

What is Christmas all about for you? The family gathering? The presents? The turkey? A walk on Christmas day when you feel like you can’t move, after eating so much?

For me, family and Christmas pudding are two of the key ingredients. Having grown up in Portugal, I had lots of delicacies at Christmas, but I didn’t discover Christmas pudding until I was an adult. There is no going back now!

I suspect we’re ready to say goodbye to 2020, a crazy and difficult year – but it would be great to have something of a normal Christmas before we finish, wouldn’t it?

But of course, we don’t know what things will be like. And because of this, it’s very tempting to either feel glum, or to throw ourselves into the busyness of making alternative plans – online shopping, zoom family gatherings, etc..

However, I think there is a better way to go about this. When we remember the first Christmas, we have these images of blissful nativity scenes, with well behaved animals and a baby Jesus that doesn’t cry. If only nativity scenes could replicate the smells of a stable, then we’d get more of the picture of how messy the whole thing was!

It started with an unplanned and irregular pregnancy. Then, there was that long journey on donkey back, for a very pregnant Mary. Joseph is totally frustrated that he can’t even find a room for the birth. They weren’t in lockdown, but they couldn’t be with family at this most crucial time. The forced journey was brought about by greedy politicians who were making everyone go and register, so they could charge taxes.

And then the first people to come and meet the baby are smelly (and probably dodgy) shepherds.

It doesn’t get messier than this – but this isn’t an accident. This messy birth is the beginning of a life that comes to its climax at the cross, where Jesus took all our mess (also known as sin) on himself, dying on our behalf, so that he could unmess our lives and the whole world.

As we celebrate Christmas in 2020, I invite you to look away from all the mess in and around us, and to look with fresh eyes at the nativity scene, the messy but beautiful start of a new story – a story of God entering the mess, to take it all away, to give you a new life.

So – in church or online – come and join us this Christmas for some festive joy!

John Beswick Pallister

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Almshouse Vacancies

Sir John Offley’s Almshouses, Madeley

We will have vacancies in the New Year for two one bedroom units at our Station Road site.

The residency charge is expected to be £73 per week. Residents pay their own utility bills.

Applications can be made by contacting the Clerk to the Trustees, Mr John Sheridan, 07854 989656, who will supply an application form.

For a year from date of submission, applicants form part of a waiting list who will be given first consideration when a vacancy is identified. After those 12 months, re-application is expected.

Appointment of residents is by the Trustees, either in full session or acting through nominated members of the Trust. We seek to provide accommodation in the Parish for persons of good character, ideally with a family or residential connection with Madeley, at as low a cost as we can achieve given the need to maintain the properties in good condition.

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Rev Alan Bailey’s Letter November 2020

Dear friends,

We have turned the clocks back and entered the season of ‘dark nights’! November is the month when we remember the sacrifice made by many thousands in the First World War and other conflicts since, and that sacrifice must never be forgotten.

But this year there is an added poignancy as we remember that over forty thousand families in our nation alone, and many more world-wide, have faced the grief of losing loved ones to Covid-19. This is not in any way to overshadow the significance of Remembrance for those who died in war, but to sit alongside that act. Whilst the cause and the politics of those deaths might be different, the grief felt by loved ones who are left is as intense, and our thoughts and prayers are with all who grieve.

You might look to this opening page for encouragement and would be right in thinking that there is nothing so far to lift the spirits!But November, our ‘dark season’, precedes December, our Advent season, a time of waiting and preparation followed by our Christmas season, when we remember that Jesus, the ‘Light of the world’, was born a baby in Bethlehem.That is for next month’s contributor to pick up on but for now consider the words of Jesus to his disciples: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”(John 16:33)

Christian faith is not a magic wand which, with a wave, sprinkles magic dust on all our troubles and they evaporate into thin air! Christian faith is trust in a real person, Jesus Christ, who knows our troubles and walks with us, carrying us if necessary, through those difficult times.

I once heard a Christian speaker say, “Faith in God isn’t ‘pie-in-the-sky-when-you-die’; it’s ‘steak-on-your-plate-while-you-wait’”! In other words, the promise of peace that Jesus offers isn’t for some timein the future; it is for now – and always. So, however uncertain and unsettled you might feel, allow the light of Jesus to shine in your life – and share that light with others you meet in the days ahead.Shalom, peace be with you.

Alan Bailey

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New Vicar appointed

The Parish Church Council is delighted to say that the Wardens of the two parishes have been authorised to announce that:

Subject to the required safeguarding checks, the Bishop of Lichfield has appointed the Revd. Tim Watson, currently Leesland Pioneer Minister in the Diocese of Portsmouth to be the next Vicar of Madeley and Betley. We hope for a licensing by the Bishop of Lichfield early in the New Year. Please pray for Tim, his wife Clare and their 3 children.

Tim writes: ‘Greetings from Gosport on the South coast! I’m delighted to take up the post of vicar of All Saints’ Madeley and St Margaret’s Betley. As yet there are no fixed timings but we hope to be with you all before too long (Covid allowing!) We’d be grateful for your prayers as the Watson family prepare for the move. Many thanks, from, Tim, Clare, Evie, Lucie and Joshua Watson.’

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Church Letter October 2020

Welcome to our Parish Magazine, it’s so good to be back in print.  Who would have believed at the start of the year how things were going to be.

It was a great sadness to have to close the Church at the end of March and although we were able to meet via the internet for services, Kids Groups and House groups this was not an option for everyone.  It was a great joy to be able to re-open the Church for private pray in July and then to start having Holy Communion services again in August beginning on a Thursday morning and now  our fortnightly Sunday service.  The Church building conforms to all the COVID19 safety measures which means sanitising hands on the way in, wearing a face mask and sitting 2 metres apart but in these difficult times we feel this is a small price to pay for the chance to worship together and celebrate Holy Communion.

‘For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’.

These words were written by the prophet Jeremiah from Jerusalem to the Israelites who had been taken away in to slavery in Babylon circa 626BC.  He was inspired by God to offer them hope during a time of great change and despair.  Each of us has been through our own time of change and for some despair but we too, like those ancient Israelites should take comfort from Gods words in the knowledge that despite the events that over take us and the mistakes we make God is in charge and if we live our lives believing and trusting in Him we can have hope for the future.

May God bless you with His peace in the days ahead.

Elizabeth Walklett – Church Warden

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