View From The Vicarage


The Vicar's Monthly Magazine Articles

  • Mark Ireland, Archdeacon of Blackburn - January 2020 New Year, New BeginningsBy the time you read this, we shall have a newly-elected government, which will doubtless bring joy to some and disappointment to others in our divided country. Those whom we will have elected deserve our respect and our prayers as they work to heal the nation’s divisions and get to grips with the difficult challenges that have stalled Parliament for the last three years.The New Year also brings a new season of church life, with the Feast of the Epiphany on 6 January. For those of us who were in the Holy Land a few weeks ago the Epiphany, when we celebrate the revealing of Christ to the world through the coming of ...
    Posted 31 Jan 2020, 08:04 by Richard Jones
  • Peter Howell-Jones - Dean of Blackburn December 2019 Vicar’s MessageReconnecting with what is important  As we prepare to enter the Advent season with our eyes focused on the birth of the Christ Child, I can’t help but reflect on how detached our nation has become from the detail of the Christian story that frames much of our festive activity.  The cards we send, the carols we sing and the story we tell are all wrapped up in the disturbing reality of a homeless family, who make the difficult decision to become political refugees, driven out by a corrupt and tyrannical regime – sound familiar?   Closer to home, with elections looming and our future relationship with Europe and the rest of the world still to be determined ...
    Posted 17 Jan 2020, 09:10 by Richard Jones
  • Gary - November 2019 Vicar’s MessageDear friends,I hope that you will excuse me for starting this letter with a poem (not by me, but by Thomas Hood 1789-1845). It's called 'November'.No sun - no moonNo morn - no noonNo dawn - no dusk - no proper time of dayNo warmth - no cheerfulness - no healthful easeNo comfortable feel in any memberNo shade, no shine - no butterflies, no bees,No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds, NOVEMBER Is this an exact descriptive poem about the hopelessness of this often dreary month? Or does it rather describe a clinically depressed person who does not realise that bright health is near (not too far to Christmas), but who is so ...
    Posted 23 Nov 2019, 07:22 by Richard Jones
  • Father Roland - October 2019 Vicar’s Message“The Word is like a Seed” My Dear FriendsThis is the time of year when all around the country in Parish Churches the HARVEST is celebrated.A seed is a marvellous thing – it can make barren ground fruitful – BUT a seed is extremely weak and vulnerable. It depends entirely on the kind of soil in which it is sown. If the soil is lacking, the seed will come to nothing; if the soil is good, it will produce a rich harvest.So it is with a word. A word is a powerful thing. It can comfort, inspire, teach, correct, challenge, change a life – OR it can come to nothing. It is completely dependent upon the attitude ...
    Posted 1 Nov 2019, 08:43 by Richard Jones
  • John Hartley - September 2019 Vicar’s MessageDear Friends Whilst thinking about what to write as my contribution to this month’s ‘clergy offering’ for the United Benefice I was shown some thoughts about life, based on the theme of Noah’s Ark.   I am pleased to share with you the thoughts – passed on to me by Sue Brown (of Mellor) who received them from ‘a friend of a friend’. The piece is entitled ‘Everything I need to know about life, I learned from Noah’s Ark….’   1 Don’t miss the boat.  2 Remember that we are all in the same boat.  3 Plan ahead.  It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark.  4 Stay fit.  When you are 600 years old ...
    Posted 27 Sep 2019, 08:22 by Richard Jones
  • Rev Jane - July and August 2019 Dear friendsHaving spent almost 20 years as a primary school teacher in my previous working life, the six-week summer holiday was a   treasured time to relax, recharge, regroup, and prepare for the rigours of the next academic year. A fortnight’s holiday to foreign parts was a chance for a much needed break as I immersed myself in a foreign culture – hopefully with some sunshine!From the Gospels, we know that Our Lord periodically took Himself off to recharge both His physical and spiritual batteries, and to give Himself time to hear afresh the voice of God speaking to Him.  Surely if Christ Himself felt the need to take time-out, how much more should we?In the ...
    Posted 2 Sep 2019, 09:30 by Richard Jones
  • John Hartley - June 2019 Dear FriendsThe Anglican Church keeps 24th June as The Birth of St John the Baptist. ‘There was man sent from God, whose name was John. He came to bear witness to the light.’ John 1.6-7.The great fact about John was that he knew what his mission was and he was content to fulfil it. He sought no greater office and sought no greater reward, than that of doing the work to which he had been called. He prepared for the coming of Christ and, as a signpost, he pointed the way to Christ.His task was one of both privilege and responsibility. His modesty was outstanding, as was his candid truthfulness. He was content to ...
    Posted 25 Jun 2019, 04:18 by Richard Jones
  • John Hartley - May 2019  Dear FriendsThe hymn ‘What a friend we have in Jesus’ quite plainly has, as its theme, the friendship of Jesus.   Strangely enough there are few hymns that deal with this subject and what’s more, the title ‘friend’ is never directly given to Jesus in the NT.   His critics, in contempt and derision, did refer to him as ‘the friend of sinners’. Even so, the title is true. Jesus was, and is, the friend of sinners, which means He is our friend.Now a friend differs from a relation.   We have no choice as regards our family – bound by blood ties, by birth.   But we are free to choose our friends and such a choice is very important one ...
    Posted 29 May 2019, 09:26 by Richard Jones
  • Reverend Roland - April 2019 My dear friends WHAT DOES EASTER MEAN FOR YOU ? For me this is a very important question for all of us to consider...is it just another chance to have a holiday...to indulge with a few chocolate eggs or maybe buy something new to wear for Spring ?  BUT no matter what we think .. the CROSS, EASTER and THE RESURRECTION remain pivotal to our Christian Faith. As a young boy (a long time ago) I remember how on GOOD FRIDAY along with my mother we would stand in a queue at Bennets Bakery waiting to buy freshly baked ‘Hot Cross Buns’ they were special....those days have gone as now you can buy them all year round...also I remember ...
    Posted 14 May 2019, 23:43 by Richard Jones
  • Letter from the Area Dean - March 2019 One of Jesus' most memorable sayings, found in Saint Matthew's Gospel as part of the Sermon on the Mount is, 'blesséd are the peacemakers'; which was misheard in Monty Python's Life of Brian as 'blesséd are the cheese makers'. No doubt cheese makers are as deserving of being blest as anyone else, especially if they make creamy Lancashire(!), but in reality it was peace and not cheese that Jesus was thinking about when he taught the crowds who had gathered to hear him on a Galilean hillside nearly 2000 years ago. The dictionary defines peace as; freedom from war, noise, disorder, or mental agitation. It describes it as quietness, calm, serenity, and harmony. Not surprising therefore that Jesus ...
    Posted 2 Apr 2019, 02:37 by Richard Jones
  • Rev'd Charles - December 2018 “What’s in a Name?” Well surprisingly quite a lot. For instance, “P.G.Tips” , the tea monkeys loved to drink, started out in the Second World War as “Digestive Tea” which eventually became “Pre-Gestee”, a variant of the name, and then abbreviated to P.G. “Hovis” – once our favourite brown bread - started life in 1887 as “Smith’s Patent Germ Bread” – hardly a mouthwatering prospect. So a competition was arranged with the winning entry being “Hovis” – taking the Latin words “hominis vis” (strength of man) and then subtracting the middle bit! “Jelly Babies” began life in 1864, invented by an Austrian immigrant working at Fryers of Lancashire and were originally marketed as “Unclaimed Babies”! By 1918 they ...
    Posted 10 Jan 2019, 02:51 by Richard Jones
  • Rev'd Charles - November 2018 View From the Vicarage “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” (George Santayana 1863 -1952)  Wise words and certainly needed in our world today because it’s reckoned that since the end of the Second World War there has never been a day in which there has not been a conflict somewhere in the world. That is why this year, the celebration of Remembrance is especially poignant because with the ending of the First World War there was the hope that this would indeed be ‘the War to End all Wars’.  But why do wars begin? After all, you would have thought that the human race would have realised that conflict inevitably leads to misery with ...
    Posted 9 Dec 2018, 01:26 by Richard Jones
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