St Mary’s News November 2023

Remembering our loved ones during All-Saints and All-Souls

You may not be a great fan of All Hallows Eve, or of all the modern shenanigans which seem to now be part and parcel of the night. It’s all about trick or treating, dressing up in old bedsheets and decorating our houses with cobwebs, pumpkins and fake blood.

Before this American phenomenon took over, we had our own ways of remembering, respecting and celebrating the dead.

Before 1800, this festival was mainly about getting together with family and friends, inviting our neighbours round to share food, song and stories. Hallowtide was both Christian and pagan, the word meaning ‘holy’ or to make holy. It was thought that around this time, the veil between this world and the next was unusually thin. For most, it was a time of remembering loved ones, giving thanks for good health and harvest, for home and hearth.

Today, we tend to go large on the spooky bit (you only need to go into any supermarket to see that) and ignore the part where we celebrate the saints, including those who are dear to us, who we see no longer.

As a society, we tend to shy away from talking about death and those who have passed away before us. We’d rather be in celebration mode. But, sometimes, we have to sit and be still. We need to acknowledge the fact that someone special has died. Unlike the poem by Henry Scott-Holland suggests, death is not ‘nothing at all’ and the person we mourn has not ‘slipped into the other room’. As much as we want to be comforted, we also need to be truthful.

Death is the end. For now.

If you have a faith, we know that we will see our loved ones again because death is not the ultimate full stop, but a time between now and when we meet again. Nothing God has made is wasted or unloved, as hard as that might be to fully appreciate or understand. Everything and everyone is part of a process, a moving towards an appreciation of this world of ours, our place in it and of the One who made us.

At this time of year, we are in transition.

We move from the rusty oranges of Autumn towards winter.

We move from remembering to looking forward.

What parts of your life do you need to pause to consider?

What areas need special attention?

As we remember those who have gone before us, we give thanks for their examples, sacrifices and hard work and for the love they have shown us and for the world they have left us. We remember those who have died in war, and those still dying in war, especially women and children. We also remember that, as the world seems to be full of fear and sadness that we are a people of hope.

Dawn will come.

The sun will rise.

A new day will dawn for all of us, here or in the hereafter.

The Revd Canon Nathan Jarvis

Church News

Our Day of Imagination (at Foxhills, Frodsham) included a variety of our churchgoers, from aged 7!   With lots of ideas forthcoming, we are in the process of pulling all this together, big thanks to Nathan for organising and chairing the event. 

Note the All souls service on Thursday 2nd November at 7pm.  Everyone is invited to our annual service of remembrance to light a candle and be still, as we give thanks for those who have gone before us.  Please bring the names of the people you’d like us to pray for and place them in the basket as you arrive.  They will be prayed for by name, the service will be followed by refreshments.

Our dates for November are:

  • Remembrance Service at 10.30 on Nov 12th.
  • Coffee at De Trafford Nov 14th 10.30 am.
  • Lunchtime Concert at the Methodist Church on Nov 13th. Lunch from 12.00 noon. 
    Cheethams students play for 45 mins from 1pm. EXCELLENT STANDARD.

Looking ahead to December. Nathan’s plans are taking shape and there is much to look forward to. 
The Christmas Eve services will be at 2pm and 10pm plus a service on Christmas morning and New year’s Eve. busy busy!

I would like us all to share our thanks for all the wonderful cleaning, Altar dressing, Choir, Bellringers, weekly and Festival flowers. All these things make worship at St Mary’s a pleasure.

Behind the scenes a huge amount of work has been undertaken this past year by members of various Committees, particular mention should be made of the team working on a contract to ensure continued use of the Parish Hall after the Restoration work to be undertaken by the Parish Council is completed.

Wishing the best for you all.


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