Stay at home!

undefined How quickly we learn to adjust to new situations! A little over a week ago I was lying on a sunny Mexican beach watching squadrons of pelicans flying overhead. Arriving back at Manchester AirPort, we were collected by our taxi driver, who, bless him, had refused to leave us stranded.  We learned on the journey back that he had managed to secure work as a delivery driver for one of the big supermarkets as his own work had completely dried up.

My children had left me a fridge full of food, a bouquet of flowers and a gift basket to celebrate Mothering Sunday. What a welcome Home but even the lovely gifts couldn’t make up for not having my customary hugs!

So began seven days isolation as I was mixing with so many Americans, Canadians and Italians while I was away. I decided that if I am to be isolated I need to do some exercise so I am now doing a daily three mile walk around Wybunbury trying to avoid other walkers, those exercising dogs and a myriad of cyclists! At least I have discovered that the British sense of humour is not lost when a lady dashed past me shouting ‘coming, ready or not!’

The Lords prayer has become even more important to me. I find that I am saying it in my head when I am walking and at many other times of the day. What do people who don’t have a Faith think about? The online services lead by Rachael are also a great comfort. It makes me feel so much better knowing that my church family is also online!.

I now have my own personal shopper, my son Dave, who delivers to my door with a stern reminder to wash my hands after handling the bags. This new arrangement brings with it its own restrictions. Just as Dave is trying to keep me as safe as possible, I too feel a responsibility to get him out of the supermarket as quickly as possible  by not asking for anything that isn’t essential. This means that snacks of crisps and nuts are out of the question and I am using up every last ounce of fruit and vegetables and ensuring that every last drop is squeezed from the toothpaste tube and other toiletries to extend the time between supermarket visits! The upside of this, together with the additional exercise will hopefully result in a leaner, fitter me!

I have never been so grateful for technology! I am able to keep in touch with friends and have video calls with my sister in Turkey who is in complete lockdown with the threat of arrest if they try and leave the house! Thankfully they too have special friends who are keeping them supplied with food.

I am receiving so many emails and texts that I am now making a list of those I have spoken to so that I don’t forget any of the special people in my life. I think the funniest comment I seen was from someone who was asking if anyone had tried switching off 2020 leaving it 15 seconds and then switching it back on again! If it was only that easy!

Did you join with me last Thursday clapping in support of the NHS? My niece in Preston lives near to a hospital and while they were clapping they could hear cheering and shouting! They learned the next day that NHS staff came out of the hospital and were responding to the clapping with cheers of their own.  Everbody I know was in tears but definitely worth it.

I hope to talk to you again in the coming weeks just as a way of keeping in touch and letting you know that yes, life is different but so much is still the same! If you feel like a chat don’t hesitate to ring!

The stars were out in Shavington and Weston this Christmas

In 2018 we made and offered to the community in Shavington & Weston 400 plus angels

by leaving them in hedges on walls etc. which proved to be popular.

Then in 2019 just under 700 Stars came out to shine, once again these were collected and hung on trees in the parish.Huge thanks go to everyone who knitted/crocheted them, and helped us reach out to so many people

Watch this space for the 2020 challenge, may ring a few bells!!

Journey into Light

A huge thanks to all who donated for the Journey into Light gift bags appeal for Christmas gifts for those in local prisons this Christmas. Across the parish we have been able to donate 18 bags to the appeal.

Sharing Christmas gifts is one simple way of sharing the love of God with prisoners.

Parish Craft Fayre

On Saturday 23rd November the parish hosted its annual Craft Fayre at St Mark’s Church Shavington and despite the definite wintery weather we welcomed many customers!

Both the hall and the church were ablaze with colour from the 18 very different craft stalls that were set up. The products, all made by local craftspeople included: knitted toys, clothes, Christmas planters, vintage paper craft supplies, crocheted animal heads, non-plastic Christmas items, fudge, woodwork, button crafts, Christmas boxes, bunting and gifts in all shapes and sizes.   Judging by conversations had with customers, many had a very successful time Christmas shopping.

The stall holders reported a good day too with one saying:

There was a lovely range of stalls and a warm welcome from the volunteers from St Mark’s. The event was a pleasure to be a stall-holder at and I look forward to being at your next craft fayre. 

And of course no shopping trip would be complete without a cup of tea or coffee, with the option of biscuits or a “bacon butty”, provided by our hard working ladies in the kitchen.

If you made it this year, thank you for supporting us and see you again; if you didn’t, we look forward to meeting you next year!

Remembering and giving thanks

All Souls’ Day is the time in the church’s year when we come together to give thanks for people who are no longer with us, and yet whose lives continue to matter to ours. We remind ourselves that all of those lives, no matter how long or short they were, also matter to God, in whose care they now rest. Therefore, an important part of commemorating All Souls’ Day is to remind ourselves what God is like. In his letter to the church in Corinth, Paul says that love is the best word to describe God: love that is patient and kind, love that is generous and forgiving, love that wants the best for each of us, and love that endures through every circumstance. God is love, and therefore we trust that those whom we have loved and lost are held in his embrace.

However, trusting that our loved ones are safe in God’s care does not mean that we should not, or will not, feel the pain of their loss. When we lose someone we love, whether that someone was part of our lives for many years or for just a few, short hours, it can feel as though we are cast adrift on a stormy sea, unable to navigate our way through the huge waves of grief that threaten to overwhelm us. We need to find a way to pass through this storm, before we can re-enter the harbour and return to still waters. The problem is, some people want to hurry us through the storm. They use words like ‘moving on’ or ‘getting over’ our grief and returning to ‘normal’ life. But to move on from or get over our grief implies somehow leaving behind the person whose loss we are grieving, and we know – from personal experience and from what the Bible says – that love never gives up. Love never loses faith, is always hopeful and endures through every circumstance. Love lasts forever, because God is love. Therefore, we don’t stop loving someone simply because they are no longer with us. We continue to love them, and to feel the pain of their loss.

This does not mean that we will always be overwhelmed by waves of grief which threaten to engulf us. However, I think we never completely return to still waters. We somehow weave the threads of that person into our own life story, and in doing so, find that there are times when we have re-entered the safety of the harbour and the calmer waters within. However, there will also be times when we are cast adrift again and waves of grief wash over us. Sometimes we have a sense when a storm is approaching – Christmas, anniversaries, birthdays…But sometimes the storm comes out of the blue, perhaps triggered by something we have seen or read, or something someone says to us. And without warning, we find ourselves overcome by sadness again.

In these moments, we can remind ourselves that not only are our loved ones held in God’s embrace, but we are too. God does not leave us to navigate a way through on our own, but rather, he gets inside our little boat and rides out the storm with us. He knows us, and loves us completely, and there is nothing that will ever be able to separate us from his love. Therefore, we trust that Paul was right when he wrote that three things will last forever – faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is love. 

You can join us to remember loved ones at our special services on 3rd November

A Fashionable Evening

Last night a good time was had by all as 50 people joined us at St Mark’s for an evening of fashion from Edinburgh Woollen Mill.

We even had seven members of St Mark’s stepping up to model the latest styles.

£375 was raised for St Mark’s New Build Fund. With thanks to Sandra the supervisor from EWM in Nantwich for her help with the show.

Gaynor is Licensed as Reader

We have had a very exciting weekend in the Parish!

Saturday 12th October 2019, saw the fruition of 3 years study after being called to become a Reader (lay Minister) in the Church of England; when at Chester Cathedral myself and 6 other colleagues were received into the Church of England as Readers and I was given a license to work in the Parish of Weston (and Shavington) by Bishop Keith of Birkenhead.   It was a wonderful day which was shared with my family, the congregations of both churches and close friends. I now look forward to working with Rachael and the other Readers in my new role within the Parish, whilst continuing to be a volunteer Chaplain at Leighton Hospital.

And on Sunday afternoon we had tea and cake followed by a Songs of Praise service to celebrate the start of Gaynor’s new ministry.

Crafting warmth for new mums

Last week our Craft and Chatter group sent off another (very large) package of knitted cardigans, hats and blankets to Greenfields Africa, helping new mums and their babies.

 

Craft and Chatter

Chatter Craft and chatter is now in its 7th year. Each Thursday afternoon you will find there is lots of chatter and refreshments as well as a variety of crafts. This changes each week with the numbers attending each week, knitting, crochet, card making, patchwork, painting and embroidery some weeks. New members have come along to learn how to crochet, or knit, and members have helped them achieve this. Resources are shared and it is a place to make friends whilst doing something productive.

Update from Greenfields Africa

We have continued to support Greenfields Africa by making blankets, cardigans and hats. Getting clothes into Africa has become increasingly difficult and uneconomic. Currently because of this the warm clothing and blankets are being sent to Syria, where there are many desperate people in need. The trustees constantly review all their projects and, with regret, have decided that, for a number of reasons, this project will not be sustainable for the whole of 2019.

All the stock in the warehouse in Telford will be collected in July by Medic Relief International and will be delivered to Syria or other war-torn areas who are in need, ready for the Winter of 2019/20.

The work of Greenfields Africa in Kenya continues.  Our fully accredited hospital is developing at an exciting pace in delivering excellent life changing healthcare, child development and safe maternity services. We are making great strides in controlling and reducing the incidence of Jiggers infection in schoolchildren and the Girls’ Gear project is now providing schoolgirls through the provision of free sanitary protection, the opportunity to compete on equal terms with boys.   Previously they often had to miss 3 or 4 days of school per month.

We are delighted to tell you that of the 20 children we sponsored through Secondary School, eight are now at University, reading medicine, public health, journalism, hospitality and tourism and similar subjects. The remaining 12 are doing vocational courses, all of which will help them gain employment and so enable them to support their families in the future.

The last collection from Craft and Chatter will in fact be on 20th June but we are keen to support other charities. Many of the charities who would send knitted/crocheted items overseas are finding transport costs prohibitive so no longer ask items.

If you have a charity you think we could help please let us know and it will be put to the group for consideration.

We have taken part in the St. Mark’s Craft Fayre, giving us a chance to meet many more people and appreciate the crafts made by others. Currently we are also preparing for the 2019 Craft Fayre in November

If you have any wool lurking in a cupboard or drawer that you have no use for we would be delighted to make good use of it for you.

We are at St. Mark’s on Thursdays from 1.30pm-3.30pm and new members are always welcome, perhaps you would like to learn about a craft or would like to share what you do with others just come along on a Thursday afternoon and you will be made very welcome. Why not come along and give it a try? There is no entrance charge, but donations towards the cost of heating, lighting, refreshments and materials are on a voluntary basis.

We won! With a Whale of a Time

The children at GLOW have been working hard to create St Mark’s entry for the Shavington Scarecrow Festival.  A magnificent display depicting the story of Jonah, you can just see his feet sticking out of the whale!

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Extremely pleased to announce that we actually won the village scarecrow competition with our version of ‘Jonah & the Whale’
Thank you very much if you voted for us &/or donated bottles/ milk bottle tops 😁

A message from our new Vicar

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First of all, I would like to express my sincere thanks for the wonderful welcome I received at the induction service on May 3rd. It was lovely to be greeted by so many friendly faces, and afterwards, to enjoy the wonderful hospitality of both churches. I don’t think I have ever seen so much cake! I am both excited and humbled by the opportunity to be vicar of All Saints and St. Mark’s, and am really looking forward to getting to know you all. I do enjoy a cup of tea and a chat; my usual working days will be Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday. I am based at the vicarage in Weston where the kettle is always on, and the coffee machine primed and ready to go! Please do feel free to pop in and say hello, or to arrange a time to meet. I will also be out and about in both communities, and I hope to see you at one of our many groups, services or events taking place throughout the year.