Thursday, 24 March 2011

Today's Good News

Good News for the Fabric Appeal at St Mary's...from Today's Halifax Evening Courier

Published on Thursday 24 March 2011 09:33

Elland’s historic parish church will undergo major refurbishments thanks to a £157,000 grant.

St Mary the Virgin Church at The Cross received the grant from English Heritage under the Repair Grants to Places of Worship scheme supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Grade-I listed church needs work doing to its east, west and south walls, a new drainage system, repairs to monuments and windows and a roof security system.

But a further £25,000 is needed to complete the work, which they hope to raise through more grants and fund- raising events.

Peter Uttley, church warden and treasurer at St Mary’s, said: “The grant will enable this historic building, which has served the local community for over 800 years, to continue to provide support and a place of worship for the next generation.

“I am hopeful that this can be achieved by contributions from a number of sources including the local community.”

An English Heritage spokesman said: “St Mary’s dates from 1180, making it one of the oldest buildings in Elland. It is at the centre of the town’s historic core.”

The church received a £105,000 grant from the fund last year. That was spent on roof repairs, guttery, masonry and drainage.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Quinquagesima Thoughts

Quinquagesima, meaning Fifty Days, the traditional title for the Sunday before Lent, Fifty days before Easter Day.

With such a long pre-Lent this year, I had thought it would leave good time for getting together the various bits and pieces we need to have ready for the beginning of Lent, but, in the end, as ever, the last few days have been marked by a great rush. School Half-Term did include a few days off, some of which was shared with the flu and generally feeling 'not good'. I did however, mange a trip to Heptonstall, and the chance to take a few atmospheric photographs on a wet and windy day, around the ruined Church of S.Thomas the Apostle and S.Thomas Beckett, and its Victorian replacement.

Black village of gravestones.

Life tries.

Death tries.

The stone tries.

Only the rain never tires.

...from Heptonstall, by Ted Hughes.

..and, because I was very cold and wet by now, just one of Heptonstall's marvellous octagonal Methodist Chapel.

Last week I was asked to speak to the final year Ordinands at the College of the Resurrection, Mirfield, on aspects of ordering the day, and managing the Study. While the sum total of what I know about administration can be found here, courtesy of the excellent Dave Walker, there were some interesting conversations around boundaries and managing expectations. In particular, I was grateful for thoughts on both the opportunities and pressures caused by the expectations of 24/7 availability; how difficult it is now to walk away from the i-phone and e-mail, especially on what is supposed to be time off.

At the time I was there, the College was undergoing an Inspection, and I was told that it was likely that one of the Inspectors would sit in on my session. It was therefore a little bizarre to discover that one of the Inspecting Team was my old Theological College Warden, Archdeacon Bill Jacob; he came to say 'hello', but then did the decent thing and passed me over to another member of the Team, thereby displaying a fine Christian act of charity in not seeking recompense for certain incidents all those years ago....A veil remains drawn.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Lent and the Parish of Elland

In 2011, we are marking 400 years of the Authorized Version (AV) of the Bible, also known as the King James Version. Although it was by no means the first translation of the Scriptures into the English language, this version, translated by a gifted collection of scholars and Saints, and based on what had gone before, has become known and loved throughout the English speaking world and beyond. It is still read by many and used in a number of Churches, including the monthly Evensong at S.Mary’s. Elsewhere on this blog you can read an article by Tony Murphy about Sir Henry Savile, the Elland Parishioner who helped to translate this Bible.

Each generation has an opportunity to rediscover the message of the Scriptures. The Bible is indeed the Book of Life, for in its pages, we encounter our Lord Jesus. One way to study together is based around Lectio Divina, a traditional and rewarding way of reading and praying with the Scriptures, used by Religious Communities, in Parish Communities and Groups, and by individuals. It forms the heart of the Lent Course we will be using this year, entitled Praying the Scriptures. The Course has been put together by a group representing the Roman Catholic Dioceses of Leeds and Hallam, as well as our own Diocese of Wakefield.

ASH WEDNESDAY, the first day of Lent, falls on 9th March. It is a day when each one of us should be in Church, to receive the Sign of the Cross in Ash, and to dedicate our observance of this holy season to the Lord. There will be a said Mass that day in All Saints at 12 noon, and the Parish Eucharist in S.Mary’s at 7.30pm. In addition our School will be marking the beginning of Lent in S.Mary’s at 1.30pm, and there will be an opportunity to be ‘ashed’ at this service as well.

On the First Sunday of Lent, we will launch our LENT APPEAL. This year we are supporting OVERGATE HOSPICE, and we hope everyone will take a collecting box away with them, and return them to Church on Maundy Thursday. Our Preacher on March 20th will be Dr Eilidh Gunson, who is one of the Doctors at the Hospice, and also a Methodist Local Preacher. All care given by the Hospice is free, but to fund that, each and every day the Hospice needs to find £5000.

Many people make the effort to attend an extra act of worship in Lent. Perhaps it is by coming along to one of the daily masses, an extra Sunday evening service, or the STATIONS OF THE CROSS, every Friday in Lent in All Saints, beginning on 8th February at 7pm. This simple yet moving devotional service takes around 30 minutes, and helps us to walk with our Lord on the way to Calvary, and the empty tomb.

Lent is a time when we are challenged to think about our financial giving to God’s Church. As a Parish we have a number of financial needs, together with development work, and it is absolutely crucial that we meet our obligations to the mission of God’s Church through our Share of Diocesan costs. 

Lent is also a time when all of us are challenged to take to heart the call to repentance proclaimed in the Gospel. Perhaps, this year, it would be right for you to arrange to meet with me, or with any of priests to think about the Sacrament of Reconciliation, that is, Confession. Any one of our priests would be delighted to give you an opportunity to talk over any of the events listed here, or any aspect of the Faith. Lent is God’s springtime, God’s gift to all of us, helping us to prepare for our celebration of Holy Week and Easter.

May God our Redeemer show us compassion and love.