Christmas Fundraising 2015
The draws for the winners of the Christmas Fundraising were made at Crafty Coffee on Wednesday 9th December by The Vicar, Carole Sweet and members of the group.
The Festive Hamper was won by Susan Finnis with ticket number 165. The dolls name Tiffany was chosen by Julie Knight and finally the weight of the cake was guessed exactly by Sue Buckley at 5lbs 4oz.
We have raised £300 to add to the church funds. Thank you to everyone who participated in any way.
The day arrived all to quickly. After what seemed like weeks of preparation, Chris, Alan and I met at the Mews at 9.15am and were soon joined by Colin Newton. Colin had very kindly come to help on his day off.
First job after unloading all the shopping and equipment from the cars was to set the tables. This was followed by preparing the vegetables and getting everything cooking and kept warm in the hot cupboard.
All too soon the first of our guests started to arrive. The Vicar said an appropriately worded Grace and whilst Colin, Chris and I plated the food Alan and Teresa served everyone, with Howard kindly acting as wine waiter.
Following the Christmas pudding gifts of port and chocolate were distributed to everyone.
The Vicar gave a vote of thanks and entertained everyone with a rendition of ‘Mary’s Boy Child’. Conversation then flowed whilst Pam sold tickets for her Christmas Hamper and Linda Pinder sold tickets for the Guess the Dolls name and the weight of the Christmas cake was guessed.
Chris and I would like to thank everyone who helped in any way and for the lovely comments on the food we have received. We raised £96.61 for church funds but most importantly had a super pastoral event.
The next Pastoral lunches will be the Lent lunches starting in February 2016.
Wine Tasting 2015
The recent wine tasting evening was a great success with a fun filled atmosphere.
Our expert for the evening was Mark Brookshaw who entertained us and was very knowledgeable. We also sampled six of his Rothschild’s wines. Mark very generously waived his fee and costs for the evening, enabling us to raise £300 for church funds.
We also launched the Christmas Hamper Raffle, guess the weight of the Christmas Cake, Name the Doll and Glass Angel sales for our Christmas fundraising.
St Mary’s Flower Group have once again provided a very thought provoking display for our Remembrance Service this year.
The Theme was the end of the war in Japan and Burma. The main display was made possible by Mrs Gillian Summers who worships at St Peter’s. Gillian’s father Sir Philip Toosey was the real life colonel who built the Bridge over the River Kwai, and she lent us some of her personal artefacts such as nails from the railway and a telegram that was received from Prince Philip on the death of her father in 1975.
Sir Philip was known to his men as ‘The Colonel’. He was an outstanding leader in the Japanese prisoner of war camps in Thailand from 1942-45. Over 12,000 Allied soldiers and some 73,000 Burmese, Malay and Tamil workers died during the construction of the railway.
When the 1957 film ‘Bridge over the River Kwai’, was released the former prisoners of war saw it as a wholly inaccurate portrayal of their plight and an insult to the memory of their ‘Colonel’. Initially Sir Philip refused to speak out about the film, being too modest to seek any glory. He was eventually persuaded to write a letter to the Daily Telegraph. Several years later Sir Philip agreed to be interviewed on the understanding that the interview would not be released until after his death.
Sir Philip’s eldest granddaughter Julie Summers has written a book about her grandfather called ‘The Colonel of Tamarkan’ which was published in 2005.
The Flower Group and members of Saint Mary’s would like to thank Gillian for the loan of her treasured items.
Confirmation - Our Journey
When Simon and I began our "Confirmation Journey" back in March this year, we really had no idea of the amazing Spiritual Gravity we both would feel when Canon Chris and Bishop Keith guided us through what was a wonderful ceremony, culminating in our Confirmation.
The weekly gatherings with fellow Church members in the Mews were really mind stretching and a fascinating exploration. We covered a diverse range of Biblical topics, helped and encouraged as always by Pauline and John also, whose knowledge and patience with us we admired greatly. We also made great friends along the way!
On the day itself, we felt very humble sat in the front pew and ever so slightly nervous! For Simon and myself, we felt an enormous feeling of love, peace and comfort when we knelt before Bishop Keith for our blessing. He is an amazing, kind person and very approachable.
Being able to engage fully with Communion and to take the bread and the wine completed what for us was a truly wonderful day.
Confirmation - A Personal Reflection
I feel particularly fortunate to have enjoyed not one but two truly memorable occasions in the space of a few months - firstly my marriage at ST MARYS then my confirmation at ST PETERS
That I have been able to enjoy two such events is entirely down to the guidance and spiritual leadership of Canon Chris
The confirmation classes we undertook were both challenging and fulfilling in equal measure
The classes interpreted the teachings of the Bible in such a way that they became relevant to the modern world even though these teachings are 2 thousand years old
The event itself was a wonderful event . It was amazing to see a church bursting with people and was an inspiring sight to behold
The candidates who were brave enough to do a reading - I was not I am afraid ! - did so faultlessly like seasoned veterans
Bishop Keiths sermon was both moving and inspiring in equal measure
To anyone considering a adult confirmation I would recommend it without hesitation
Indeed as an adult I believe that I am far better able to understand my place in the scheme of things than when I was younger
To everyone from ST PETERS that made the it possible, I offer mine , and I am sure the other candidates , heartfelt thanks for making the confirmation and baptism such an amazing experience
Many thanks to all that attended and all that were involved
Harvest Supper 2015
The Harvest Supper is always sold out and this year was no exception, though there were a few of our regular supporters who were unable to come because of illness. Get better soon. We altered the menu a little this year but I don’t think anyone noticed!! We had a very good raffle containing many prizes so we split the distribution of these into 2 sections. Martin Allen gave us a most enjoyable musical interlude and the quiz organised by Eileen Lees was a most unusual one which tested everyone. Thank you to all the fundraising committee who do such a lot of work to create and organise all of these events at the same time as running very busy home lives and to all the extra helpers who did so much on the day. The event raised over £400.
The Apple Pressing was held on Saturday 10th October whilst the Flower Team were decorating the church and porch so beautifully for our harvest service. Clive Richardson brought everything needed (except the apples) in order to make the most delicious juice. This will keep for about 10 days in the fridge and can be made into other dishes or frozen for later use.
We had a steady number of parents and children enjoying the task of crushing the apples and then transferring the pulp into the press. This involved much turning of handles and watching the juice trickle into the bucket ready to be transferred to bottles. The children of all ages enjoyed this part very much and everyone had a go. Much sampling of juice followed and when folks needed a rest they transferred to the mews where Teresa Finney was busy in the mews organising harvest crafts to amuse the children. Peter Hayward and Carole Sweet served a variety of refreshments it was a very successful event and raised £140 for our church funds.
For the past eighteen months the Crafty Coffee Ladies have been working on new pew runners for the front row of the choir stalls and Vicars seat. Special thanks to Dorothy Asbury who did the hard work, fixing the hessian backing and foam filling.
The runners were funded by the Crafty Coffee Ladies and the Church. They are to dedicated at a service when all the new pew runners are in place.
Pictured are some of the ladies who have worked on the runners.
The Big Autumn Spring-Clean
It’s a contradiction in terms but the weather was spring-like when we gathered for the big clean on 3rd October.
Some willing volunteers had come into church and done their bit the previous day so when a dozen more arrived on Saturday to dust, sweep and scrub, clean, polish and hoover both in church and in the churchyard, there was less to do and the lovely sandwich lunch, kindly provided by Alan and Chris and eaten in the porch, marked a satisfying end to a rewarding morning.
One photo shows some of the men as they polished off the last sandwiches. I’m not sure they believe George’s story about the one that got away…. And take a look at the ladies present: they don’t believe him either!
Thank you to everyone who took part and also to all who take their turn at cleaning St Mary’s every five weeks all year round. We have a church to be proud of.
United Benefice Choral Evensong with Chester Cathedral Choir
As a frequent visitor to Choral Evensong at Chester Cathedral myself, it was a real delight to have the cathedral choir visit us at Whitegate! The cathedral maintains two groups of choristers who sing with the lay clerks and it was the girls' group who visited us on September 27th, including our very own Hannah and Emma Bloor, who can be seen in the St Mary's choir from time to time. The choir arrived at 4 o'clock in time for a rehearsal and were then treated to a tea provided by members of the men's breakfast group. One of the lay clerks commented that they were the best egg sandwiches he had ever tasted! The church was pleasingly full for the service which included a setting of the canticles by Thomas Weelkes and the Tudor theme was continued with an anthem by Richard Dering. Cathedral organist Philip Rushforth commented afterwards that he was particularly impressed by the organ, and indeed said that he could play on our swell flute for hours! Along with our Parish pilgrimage to the cathedral it is good to see these links being strengthened with our mother church.
Autumn Lunch 2015
This was held in The Mews on the 29th September, during the Indian summer we were enjoying at the time. There was sunlight outside and a sparkling quiche and salad meal inside for a full table of eager guests.
Now in its’ second year, this lunch was a great success, and one which combined fellowship and thanksgiving in equal measures.
Our thanks go to all who attended, and especially Linda and Chris who prepared and presented the splendid meal.
What a lovely way to spend an afternoon!
On Tuesday 18th August twenty-five ladies from the Parish joined together at Abbeywood Gardens for a delightful afternoon tea.
We were served with tea and coffee a plenty and a selection of fresh sandwiches, cakes and scones served with jam and clotted cream.
Conversation and laughter flowed, with everyone finally deciding that they should go home at 4.30pm full and relaxed, ready for the next time.
Here are some of the people we met and the things we learned at Holiday Club on God’s Big Expedition.
Peter was one of Jesus’ closest friends and followers, but he made an awful lot of mistakes, in fact when Jesus was arrested, Peter denied that he even knew him.
But when the Holy Spirit came, Peter preached an amazing message to all the people, many came to know Jesus and the early church was formed.
We learned that we can Never Make Too Many Mistakes to be part of GOD’S BIG EXPEDITION, but you have to have the right shoes for an adventure, not high heels (although some of the boys did enjoy trying them on).We also learned that we leave Kingdom Footprints when we take the message of God’s Peace to others, so we decorated lots of footprints and made a footprint banner.
Stephen was chosen to help the apostles by organising the food.
Although this didn’t seem like a glamorous job, the Bible tells us that Stephen was full of the Holy Spirit, as well as grace and power, and he did many signs and wonders.
We learned that you are Never Too Ordinary to be part of GOD’S BIG EXPEDITION, but you need the right food to be an explorer, so we made pitta bread pizza and talked about which foods are healthy foods for an explorer to eat.
Philip had a very successful ministry preaching God’s Word in Samaria, but God called him away to travel on a desert road. Because of Philip’s obedience, the Ethiopian came to know Jesus.
We learned that you care Never be Too Near or Far to be part of GOD’S BIG EXPEDITION, and we thought about how God’s message of love has spread all around the world. We looked at maps, and made some of our own.
Saul had been one of the key enemies of Jesus and his followers – he’d even had Christians killed!
Jesus met Saul on the road to Damascus; Saul spent the rest of his life following Jesus and sharing his good news and changed his name to Paul, and he wrote lots of letters, so we made post cards.
We learnt that No one is too Bad to be part of GOD’S BIG EXPEDITION, so we thought about some baddies who had become goodies, and we made Forgiveness hearts because God forgives us.
Timothy was a young disciple who had been brought up by a godly family.
Timothy, despite his youth, had great character and was picked by two of the church’s major players (Paul and Silas) to go on mission with them.
We learnt that No one is too Young to be part of GOD’S BIG EXPEDITION, so we thought about who we could tell about Jesus where we live, or if that seemed a bit scary, who we could pray for, and we marked on a map where we lived and realised that that way we could cover the whole of Winsford in prayer.
We made journals to record our thoughts and prayers in, and hung up snap shot photos of our favourite bits of Holiday Club. This was a bit of a surprise, as out of all the fun and craziness that was Holiday Club, the majority of the children chose to draw the tea-light prayer activity as their favourite!
A BIG, BIG thank you from myself, and the 18 children who attended Holiday Club, goes to the 6 volunteers who made all the fun possible. I couldn’t do it without you.
Summer Lunch 2015
As I opened the door to the Mews , I thought, Wow! The tables were set so beautifully with sweet peas adorning the centre.
The Pastoral Summer Lunch was held on Tuesday 28th July. Thirty sat down to what I could only describe as a delicious 'feast'.
Canon Chris said Grace and we then tucked into a wonderful beef and ham salad with warm new potatoes and all the trimmings. This was followed by strawberries, profiteroles and cream.
The chat on our table was from the weather to "When is the next luncheon" As I looked round the room everyone was chatting and laughing. A sure sign it had been a very enjoyable and successful meal.
Our thanks must go Linda Dutton and Chris Newton for yet again putting on a superb lunch.
The Autumn Lunch will be held on the 29th September.
Garden Party & Hog Roast
The St Mary’s Church Garden Party was held on Saturday 11th July at Kingswood Dalefords Lane
When you are holding a garden party during the English summer, you inevitably keep at least one eye on the weather forecast and the other on the sky. This year’s event avoided the rain of early July and it was warm enough to dine out under an open sided marquee.
A hog roast and a well patronized Pimm’s tent provided the refreshments, while the partygoers were induced to support a ‘green’ tombola, a raffle with a Spa Day prize and Linda’s Garden Quiz of horticulture and anagrams.
A three hole golf course was run and patrolled by vicar Chris, with the overall winner being David Finney (playing under the stage name of Tom Piper.)
When we’d all had enough, the rain came, visitors left and the ‘hard working’ events committee cleared the site, having made a respectable £380 for church funds.
We have many people to thank for all their hard work. First of all to Linda and Kevin Pinder who have a lovely garden, which we all enjoyed. To Jenny and Robin Creed for the use of their field which was opposite the garden for safe parking. To the many hands who prepared the food and the entertainment and last but not least to Pam and Mike and David Hughes who lent us the marquee and pimms tent in case of rain.
Any takers for next year?
Christian Aid 2015
Congratulations and huge thanks to everyone who helped in any way; this year’s appeal has achieved a fantastic result. Readers of the weekly bulletin at St Mary’s will already know that with the Whit-Funday Afternoon Tea and Mike Venables’ sponsored bike ride to Chester Cathedral, we raised £1,978.00 for Christian Aid this year, but we’re pleased to announce that a couple of late donations have boosted the final total to £2,008.00.
About 60 people attended the Whit-Funday Tea, taking advantage of the fine weather to enjoy some well-earned relaxation and “down time” in the garden after all the work involved in the May Fair. Thanks must go to the team involved in setting up the marquee and the gazebos and preparing and serving the mountains of sandwiches & cakes and pouring tea from Pam’s fabulous big teapot. Everyone was able to let off steam by hurling soaking sponges at Canon Chris, who was at least suitably attired for the occasion in wetsuit and Christian Aid tee-shirt.
The tea, the raffle, the “Guess the weight of the cake” (a beautiful Dundee cake made by Dorothy Asbury and won by Howard Davies), the “Soak the Vicar” and the generous donations made £800, that sum itself being more than traditional collections have raised in previous years.
Mike Venables’ cycle ride to Chester the following Wednesday lifted our efforts to another level, so more thanks must go to Mike himself and to his generous supporters. Mike and Pam had contacted friends all over the country as well as here in Mid Cheshire, so the £1,208.00 brought donations together from all over the country.
The day was sunny and bright and Mike was waved off from Saint Mary’s by his host of fans, the Crafty Coffee ladies. He took the country lanes, through Little Budworth, Utkinton, Waverton & Christleton, taking photos along the way to prove he wasn’t cheating! He arrived at the Cathedral at about 1.45 and after the obligatory photos to witness the feat, he got back on his bike and pedalled off – to the station at Chester to get the train home!
According to Mike, there is no nicer way to spend the day. When thanked for his efforts, he echoed the thoughts of us all, saying, “It’s always rewarding and enjoyable to pull together as a team in the community.”
Village Fair 2015 - A great vintage
Whitegate May Fair marks the start of the summer though this year, as often before, it seems that climatic forces have failed to take note of that. However Saturday 16th May dawned sunny, if rather cool and windy.
The weeks of preparation and planning came good and on the Friday evening the set up team launched into action. Stands, chairs, tables and even a marquee appeared, as if from nowhere, together with willing helpers to erect everything on Church Green, prepare the Mews and the School for teas and mark out the car park
And so to Saturday, when the stage and maypole were decorated and stallholders arrived with carloads of goods for sale, games to play and food to eat; towards midday came the children, ready to dance and parents armed with cameras to record the scene. Throughout it all, sandwich-making continued unseen, in the Mews and School.
Once the fun started, it ran like clockwork – well, almost. But it’s the little glitches that make for the charm of this hugely popular village event. The vicar gave a splendid opening speech, but then forgot to actually declare the fair “open”. A shoe lost in the dancing made everyone smile –even more so when the little one ran back to retrieve it, causing a pile up with the other dancers skipping on regardless. Memories are made of these!
St Mary’s was open of course, and those who wanted time out from the hustle and bustle were entertained by Andrew Millinchip who gave a short organ recital. Towards the end of a fabulous afternoon in the sunshine, the raffle was drawn and the Joan Leadbeater Cup for the best-dressed stall was awarded, this year to the Mews Teas.
The fair was a huge success, financially the best ever as it made a profit of £5,820. Hundreds of people played a part in that splendid result and we thank every one of them. There was a real buzz around the fair and it was thrilling to witness the community spirit evident from planning and preparation right through to the final clear-up. Roll on 2016!
Woodland Walk & War Time Tea
It’s difficult to predict exactly when bluebells will either be out or at their best. The week preceding the Bluebell Walk had been unusually dry and the flowers were only just emerging. Nevertheless the walk through Church Wood and round the Rookery Pool was a delight. In particular, refreshed by morning rain, the bursting beech foliage shone translucently.
Our guides, Graham and Carol, led the two groups through the impressive Church Wood, where the local conservation group has made a spectacular contribution to the management of this parish treasure. Selective felling and a commitment to planting native species have enhanced the site.
Enjoy a walk yourself. There is much to see throughout the seasons.
We also visited some local gardens along the way, before retiring to the Mews for a celebratory War Time Tea, which inevitably included spam sandwiches, seed cake and a welcome cup of tea.
Our thanks go to all who contributed to make it a memorable afternoon.
On Friday 25th March the 45 members of the Grange School senior choir, Cantores Roborienses, gave a concert at St Mary's in aid of church funds. The concert of sacred choral music was designed to be a preview of the programme being prepared for the choir's tour to Paris in April. It was good to see such a large audience turn out for the occasion; the very useful plug on that morning's BBC Radio 3 Breakfast Show may have helped!
The all-sacred repertoire reflected the requirements of the French churches but comprised a wide variety of styles and both accompanied and unaccompanied music. The concert began with the famous Miserere by Gregorio Allegri, once restricted for use only in the Sistine Chapel until Mozart heard it and wrote it out from memory afterwards! The infamous top Cs were negotiated skilfully by Amelia Shackleton and St Mary's chorister Kate Blayney. There followed a set of four items in honour of the Virgin Mary: a Hymn to the Virgin by a youthful Benjamin Britten, a setting of the Ave Maria for soprano and tenor soloists and unaccompanied choir by Andrew Millinchip, Hymne a la Vierge by the 20th century French composer Pierre Villette, and back home again for the teenage Elgar's setting of Ave Maris Stella, written for St George's RC Church in Worcester where his father was organist.
Paris was home to an important school of organist-composers in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, inspired by the large number of fine organs built by the influential builder Aristide Cavaille-Coll, and our organist Andrew was keen to play an item from this repertoire - he chose the energetic Intermezzo from Widor's 6th Symphony, which sounded well on the Whitegate organ. Because the choir was to perform in the Madeleine Church where the composer Faure was director of music, the choir then performed two movements from Faure's well-known Requiem - the Pie Jesu sung by all the girls and the atmospheric In Paradisum. The remaining items in the programme were eclectic to say the least - the English cathedral tradition was represented by Stanford's Magnificat in B flat and the dramatic Evening Hymn by Balfour Gardiner, and the concert concluded appropriately enough with a blessing by John Rutter - Go forth into the world in peace.
A couple of weeks later the choir set off at 5am on the long coach and ferry journey to Paris. Beautiful spring weather had been specially arranged, and the singers enjoyed stunning views from the top of the Tour Montparnasse before making their way to a warm welcome at the Madeleine Church - all were excited to be singing the Faure Requiem in the exact spot where it was first performed. An evening tour of the sights of Paris, culminating with arrival at the Tour Eiffell just in time for the 10pm light show completed the first day. Saturday dawned wet and windy but our spirits were not dampened as we travelled to the city of Chartres to sing in its world-famous cathedral. Once again beautiful surroundings and excellent acoustics enhanced the choir's performance. Later that evening, the choir and the school barber's shop group gave an informal performance at the hostel where we were staying, to the delight of a group of teenagers from New Zealand who were also staying there. The performance metamorphosed into an informal jam session with the two groups joining together for some memorable singing and playing. Altogether a great experience and it was good to have had the chance to sing the programme at St Mary's and to raise such a large sum for the church in the process.
Linda & Chris would like to thank everyone who supported the Lent Lunches this year.
The selection of soups were enjoyed by all, with the fellowship amongst those present being the most important. Together we raised a super £521.38 for church funds.
More than 75 members from the Middlewich Deanery joined us for our first Mothers’ Union Deanery Service and the evening, with tea and cake afterwards in the Mews of course, was a big success. In his address, Canon Chris took the opportunity of telling something of his life to date and reminded us of the need to accept the challenges that life offers us, remembering that together, anything is possible. Janet Kite played the organ for us.
The collection raised £200 and will be sent to two Mothers’ Union appeals: a local one (Away from it all) offering holidays to families who would never otherwise get a seaside break and an international cause, the Mothers’ Union in Vanuatu, who will be doing all they can to help the victims of cyclone Pam.
Pictured here are Canon Chris Humphries, soon to be commissioned in the role of Diocesan Chaplain, Eileen Lees, MU leader at St Mary’s, Teresa Finney, MU member and Youth Worker holding our fine banner, Angela Klabou, Diocesan President and Diana Bancroft, Middlewich Deanery leader.
The Crafty Coffee Ladies have over the last few weeks been making Easter Chicks.
These chicks contain a chocolate egg and will be on sale at £1 each, in the Mews following the Sunday morning services from Mothering Sunday until stocks are gone.
The proceeds from the sale are for the Mothers’ Union.
Gardeners Question Time
The Valentine's Day panel of Simon Tetlow, John Kealey, Keith Webb & Albert Bailey inevitably turned their attentions to the planting and care of roses. Here aggressive pruning, mulching, feeding and the value of planting bare rooted specimens in a suitable soil was agreed by the experts.
There was little disagreement amongst them, especially when the eradication of invasive weeds such as mare's tail was discussed.
We benefitted from all those dedicated years of experience and were introduced to 'microwave' gardening, not for the excellent pies for supper, but for preparing compost.
A very enjoyable and informative evening enjoyed by all, many thanks to the social and fundraising committee for organising the event. We raised £575 for church funds and are grateful for everyone's support.
Consecration York Minster
It was a day to remember, and a very early start! At 6.30am we left Whitegate Vicarage, as Canon Chris chauffeured Pauline, Sue Cameron and me to York Minster for the Consecration of Rev. Libby Lane. As Libby is the first woman to become a bishop in the Church of England, this of course was a significant milestone.
We were there in plenty of time, but the Nave was very full, mainly with ticket holders. We sat in the side aisle by the side of a large television screen in order to have a good view.
Minutes before the service started, a steward asked us if we would like to move into the Nave and sit on the chairs marked ' yellow ticket holders.' These were VIP seats. We were six rows from the front and could see the service without interruption of television screens. It was spectacular.
The service was very much female orientated. The Minster girls led us in singing. Libby's friend of long standing read the Old Testament reading. The New Testament reading was read by The Very Reverend Vivienne Faull, Dean of York. Another great friend, The Venerable Sarah Bullock, Archdeacon of York preached the sermon.
There were five women bishops who had travelled from various parts of the world.
At the laying on of hands, approximately fifty bishops were in attendance. The Most Reverend Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, attended as a bishop visiting York Province.
It was then that the Reverend Libby Lane became the Right Reverend Libby Lane, Suffragan Bishop of Stockport.
The warmth and fellowship was palpable and Archbishop Sentamu led us in applause.
We were delighted to see former Bishops of Stockport and Birkenhead and a bonus was chatting to Bishop Donald Allister of Peterborough.
With such numbers in the Minster, communion was given out at several different places. However, because of the kind steward moving us into the Nave, we received from Bishop Libby herself.
We all felt we were part of a unique occasion, and extremely proud that the first woman bishop is from the Diocese of Chester.