Vicar’s Letter May 2022

This year from May to July, All Saints’ Madeley and St. Margaret’s Betley are planning on running an Alpha course on Tuesday evenings. Beginning on the 3rd of May, Alpha makes space for people who are exploring faith to ask the difficult and challenging questions. We’ll be meeting on Tuesday evenings and hoping to tackle some of the key questions in relation to Christianity and faith in Jesus. We’ll be talking about questions like, “why did Jesus die?” “How can I make the most of the rest of my life?” and “How does God guide us?”

The course is particularly focused on those who do not have a faith and are looking for a place to explore that faith.

If this is something you’re are interested in finding out more about, please do get in touch! The course starts on the 3rd of May with a taster session that will seek to address the question, “is there more to life than this?” – without wanting to give too many spoilers, as the vicar I’d want to chip in and say that the answer may well be, “yes, there is more to life than this!”

Rev Tim



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Vicar’s Letter Easter 2022

In the build up to Lent I watched the television in disbelief to see images of Russian forces invading Ukraine. And in the weeks that have since passed, the images from the news have just got worse and worse. Shelling near nuclear powerplants, the Chernobyl site being attacked. News of millions of refugees. Protests in Russia. Sanctions across the world. And at the heart of it, people, people whose lives have been torn apart. Teachers making Molotov cocktails, lawyers holding machine guns. families being split up. Families grieving the brutal deaths of much-loved family members. Some countries opening their doors to refugees. Some doing less.

It all feels like a relic of the 20th century is actively taking place in the 21st century. And it is utterly tragic. Who knows what the state of things will be by the time you read these words in April…..

Lent is the season of the Church’s liturgical year when we are encouraged to reflect on our mistakes, on the way we live our lives and to begin to look towards Easter, when the death and resurrection of Jesus brings about a hopeful new future for humanity.

This year the need for hope feels more and more important than for a long time. And the hope we have in Jesus is once again, a timeless hope, a hope we can hold onto when all the world feels like sinking sand.

Peace.

Rev Tim

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Children, Youth & Families Minister Advert

Vision 20×22 moves forward – the advert for the job is now live, and open for applications. As we have the 22 pledges we asked for, for the full £20 per month, if anyone would like to assist at a lower level, we’d be delighted now too to accept payments of £2, £5 or whatever amount per month you can afford for our Children, Youth & Families Minister! Full details at https://bit.ly/CYFM-MadeleyBetley
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Vicar’s Letter March 2022

Just two days into our sojourn through March we’ll find ourselves in that great penitential season – Lent. A time to pause, a time to reflect, a time to lay things down, a time to consider the way we live, a time to prepare for the long road to Easter and the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

This year across the churches in Betley and Madeley we’ll be exploring some contemplative practices at some “Be Still events” – flyers available from both churches! Our churches will also be partaking in some Guerrilla Examen on Sundays in Lent, do come along one Sunday to find out more! And also in Lent we’re encouraging people to read the late Desmond Tutu’s book, “In God’s Hands” and at some point in early April I’m hoping we’ll have the opportunity to get together with the book and a glass of wine and have a conversation about it.

As well as the long pilgrimage going on through our worship in church this Lent I’m so very conscious that for many in our communities the long walk from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday might actually be the long walk of worry and anticipation ahead of huge price hikes for energy bills. We can expect that many more families in our communities might find themselves thrown mercilessly into fuel poverty – with that in mind, please do continue to bring donations for the Foodbank throughout Lent. Be mindful of each other in this season, some people will be carrying crosses that no one else can see.

Blessings, Rev Tim

Children, Youth and Families Minister – Update

Since the report last month we are delighted to report that we have now reached the 22 pledges we were seeking, with 21 of these already paid into the fund for the first time. It is wonderful too that Betley now wishes also to fund additional hours for the post. We are looking to advertise by Easter, as soon as the details of what Betley is looking for have been added to the job description.

Reaching our target does not mean that we would not still very much welcome  further contributions, but these could be for any amount you feel able to pledge, and would no longer need to be for the full £20 – £5, or any other figure, would be most helpful.

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Offley Arms Reopens

Reopening today at 12 midday today with Mark and Vicky at the helm!

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Children, Youth and Families Minister for Madeley

Over the last five months or so you may well have heard about our plans to recruit a part-time Children, Youth and Families Minister to work in Madeley. We are planning on making use of the Beryl Ikin bequest to part fund the post. We are delighted that Betley now wishes also to fund additional hours for the post.

Alongside this very generous bequest we have launched our 20×22 Vision campaign. Encouraging 22 givers to pledge to donating £20 per month to fund the other part of the salary for the post. At the time of writing, we have just reached 22 pledges, with 21 of these already paid into the fund for the first time. Thank you to all those who have come forward and offered to support this great work. If you’d like to find out more about the scheme please contact Rev Tim or our Treasurer Stephen Clifford.

Our work with children, youth and families is already really good and we would love to see this work grow and develop to its full potential. Our new Children, Youth and Families Minister will work with others to build up the work that already happens at All Saints’. They will also be involved in taking the church forward into new areas of ministry, new ways of engaging with children, young people and their families. There is so much to look forward to!

The Job Description has been written, the practicalities are being handled, like adding a Betley specific section, and we’re heading towards advertising the post. Your prayers are appreciated as we go forwards.

Rev Tim Watson

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Vicar’s Letter February 2022

With the onset of February it feels like we are well into 2022 and the new opportunities and challenges that a new year brings. In the benefices of Betley and Madeley our churches are having to come to terms with significantly less clergy time than at this point last year, with Rev Pamela and myself all that is left of a previously larger team. The fullness of the challenges this brings are still making themselves known. The wider impact of this on the work of our parishes presents us with significant difficulties as we seek to develop the work of the church in our villages. Thankfully we have teams of wonderful lay readers and other volunteers who help develop the work of our churches.

We also face the challenges of coming to terms with what our church communities look like nine months after we returned to ‘presential worship’ (thank you for that term Rev JBP!). St. Margaret’s and All Saints’ both look very different to what our 2019 statistics show.

Among the challenges there are points of excitement. The possibility of new creative and missional activities during Lent. The relaunching of Living Streams – our monthly evening service, with a strengthened vision and purpose. The possibility of a Spring Alpha course – the success of which will depend on people inviting friends and family to attend the course!

We have much to give thanks for, and much to continue to pray about!

Blessings, Rev Tim

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Vicar’s Letter Christmas 2021

And we are off! The non-stop, edge of your seat run towards Christmas and beyond. Have you started the Christmas cake? Made your list of gifts? Worked out who is coming for food and when (hoping for no restrictions)? Have you bought the booze (preferably red) and the presents for the baby (always buy a size up)? Is the Playstation 9 pre-ordered or will you be queuing on Deansgate at 4am on a bitterly cold Saturday morning? Are you confident that this year you won’t be trawling around supermarket garages at 11:50PM on Christmas Eve looking for that last thing you’ve forgotten “do you sell stuffing? And bacon? And a selection of cheeses?” Have you prepped your itinerary? Worked out whether this year you are visiting auntie Sharon or if auntie Sharon is visiting you? Have you decided if you are going to a service this year, to sing some carols or go to the one with the orange, the sticks and the candle (don’t forget the sweets)? Have you steeled yourself for the moment two days before Christmas when you see all the presents you’ve just bought advertised at half-price in the new, “Mega-Pre-Post Christmas Sale Sale”? Are you ready?

I don’t know about you but I’m exhausted just thinking about all that. The cost. The busyness. The expectations. It’s easy to forget the joy at the centre of it. Because there is joy at the centre. There’s a baby, wrapped in swaddling cloths and placed in a manger. A baby that grows up to be an adult who tells us we are loved. Who tells us to come to him when the burdens are too much. Who tells us there is a hope. Whatever Christmas throws at us this year, let’s keep our eyes open for the baby.

Blessings,
Rev Tim



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All Saints’ Church Vision 20×22

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Plans were announced in October drawn up by the PCC for the use of the Beryl Ikin Bequest in our Vision 20×22: We had already said that standing order & gift aid forms were now available. After meeting on 24th November, together with members of Betley PCC, when we had an inspiring address from Laura Edwards. Diocesan Evangelism Enabler (0 – 12), the PCC has now definitely decided to go ahead and a job description is being completed, for advertisement in the Spring. We already had 17 pledges and more came in after the service. We now ask those who have pledged to go ahead and set up standing orders please for January 2022 onwards.  Paper copies are available in church and you can of course set up the standing order online if you wish – you can also download the mandate and gift aid undertaking here:

If you already have a gift aid agreement with All Saints’ of course you will not need to do this again, but will anyone else please complete this and give to Lynn Knight. If you have an existing standing order to the church, we do ask you to make Vision 20×22 an additional payment, and not to add this amount to your regular giving – this is to ensure that all funds, including gift aid from the government, given for this important new venture, and interest earned, are attributed to the Ikin Fund and not used for any other purpose.

Blessings,
Rev Tim

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Tim announced in October our intention to appoint a part-time Children, Youth and Families Minister. Our hope is that whoever is appointed will spend time helping us to develop and support what already exists, such as Sunday Kids and assembly links with schools. But we also want whoever is appointed to explore new opportunities and avenues for mission and engagement with children, youth and families within our communities.

This is such an exciting opportunity – made even more exciting by our intention to create an ongoing role, not one limited to two or three years of funding but one that is given space and time to develop.

To make this happen we are very blessed to be able to use the incredibly generous Beryl Ikin bequest to part-fund the post. So that we can make this role the best that it can be, we are also seeking to part-fund the post from our congregations and beyond.

In a giant step of faith as a key part of our 20×22 vision we are looking for 22 people to support the project by £20 per month. We know this is a big ask, but rather than only funding the role through the bequest (which would limit the time of the role) we want to build up that sense of partnership that occurs when people are spiritually, emotionally and of course financially invested in a project.

This is such a wonderful opportunity and we’d be delighted to hear from individuals or organizations who would like to explore how to make this happen.

The PCC plans to use all of this hugely generous bequest to help others, and not spend any on the church building or running costs – £50k to support this exciting new work in the community and £5k to meet our commitment to use 10% of our income for outside giving.



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Vicar’s Letter November 2021

A couple of weeks ago I went to a live event. A live event where there were other actual people present. The people weren’t sat at home in their pyjamas with mugs of tea in their hand. No, the people and I were in the same room. We’d all gathered in a historic old room to listen to someone talk about a particular thing. And the people in the room had all gathered in the same physical space to hear someone talk about something because of a shared interest in that thing.

Now, if I was writing this in 2019 the response might well be, “…and so…. your point is….” But as I sat in this historic and beautiful room while the person talked about a particular subject I was suddenly taken aback by how much I had missed being in the same space as other people with such a shared interest.

In my case, it was a poetry reading and it was fantastic! A week or so before the poetry reading the latest James Bond movie, No Time To Die had been released and I thought of all the avid Bond fans who had waited for an extra long time to see this film and who would be frantically buying tickets to see the film.

Suddenly, a little bit of what would have been normal feels full of anticipation again.

I recently booked concert tickets for a gig in Manchester and one in Liverpool in 2022. It felt strange booking tickets, something that had used to feel so mundane. The tickets are booked, with the hope that in the build up to the gigs there will be no positive Covid result in the family.

These truly are extraordinary times, when the simplest of things can feel like an out and out adventure.

Blessings

Rev Tim.

Plans were announced on Sunday 26th drawn up by the PCC for the use of the Beryl Ikin Bequest in our Vision 20×22:

Tim announced our intention to appoint a part-time Children, Youth and Families Minister. Our hope is that whoever is appointed will spend time helping us to develop and support what already exists, such as Sunday Kids and assembly links with schools. But we also want whoever is appointed to explore new opportunities and avenues for mission and engagement with children, youth and families within our communities.

This is such an exciting opportunity – made even more exciting by our intention to create an ongoing role, not one limited to two or three years of funding but one that is given space and time to develop.

To make this happen we are very blessed to be able to use the incredibly generous Beryl Ikin bequest to part-fund the post. So that we can make this role the best that it can be, we are also seeking to part-fund the post from our congregations and beyond.

In a giant step of faith as a key part of our 20×22 vision we are looking for 22 people to support the project by £20 per month. We know this is a big ask, but rather than only funding the role through the bequest (which would limit the time of the role) we want to build up that sense of partnership that occurs when people are spiritually, emotionally and of course financially invested in a project.

This is such a wonderful opportunity and we’d be delighted to hear from individuals or organizations who would like to explore how to make this happen.

Blessings,
Rev Tim

The PCC plans to use all of this hugely generous bequest to help others, and not spend any on the church building or running costs – £50k to support this exciting new work in the community and £5k to meet our commitment to use 10% of our income for outside giving.

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