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S. Mary's Church News July/August 2015

Bishop's Lent Appeal

Record fundraising for the Bishop's Lent Appeal.

The Friday soup lunches held during Lent raise funds for the Bishop's Lent Appeal to fund relief work both within the Diocese and abroad. This year's lunches raised over £1000 and the team at S.Mary's have received a letter from the Bishop of Lichfield congratulating them on their record total. Well done to everyone who prepared and served the soups, to those who ate them and gave so generously and to William Parker for coordinating the series of lunches.

Tower Open Days

The tower will be open for tours during the Ellesmere Regatta on Sunday 5th July. Teas will be served in Church from 2.30-4.30pm.

On Sunday 2nd August from 3-5pm there will be a Teddy Bears' Picnic at S.Mary's and children are invited to bring along their favourite Teddy for a zipwire ride from the top of the church tower. Teas, coffees and teddy bear biscuits will be served in the church. The tower will be also be open during the Ellesmere Festival weekend on Saturday 12th September

Churchyard maintenance

Although we have not entered the Diocesan churchyard competition this year, we are continuing with our programme of clearing and tidying in the churchyard. Peter Leigh, Mark Spurdens and Roger Ballamy cleared the hedge at the bottom of the churchyard overlooking Mere Motors and Rodney and Adrian Stokes tidied and burnt the very large pile of garden waste which had built up. Although we still have further work to do to top the Laurels and remove some more Sycamore saplings, the view of the churchyard from Mere Motors and Church Street is much improved.

Installation of Churchwardens'

The Annual 'Installation of Churchwardens' for the Ellesmere and Oswestry Deaneries took place at S. Mary's on Tuesday 26th May as part of The Archdeacon's Visitation and The Bishop's 'Confluence' project. We were delighted to welcome well over 200 people to S. Mary's for the evening (lots of tea and coffee making - thanks to Heather and Mark) and to see Rodney Stokes and Ann Harris sworn in again as our Churchwardens for the coming year. A number of workshops were held during the evening on subjects as diverse as fundraising, prayer and dementia.

Garden Trail

Sunday 7th June brought sunny weather for our second Garden trail based around the church with 12 gardens and one home open for visitors to view. A large number of visitors enjoyed some wonderful gardens, views over the town and equally wonderful refreshments along the way. Our thanks go to all those who offered to open their properties and who worked so hard to make them look so good. Thanks also to those who made and served refreshments and especially to Ann Harris who coordinated the whole event as well as opening her garden and serving refreshments. £1100 was raised for church funds.

Parish Lunch

The weather was less warm, but considerably drier than the last two visits to the home of Mark and Jenny Spurdens on Sunday 21st June for our Parish Lunch. Despite a clash with Fathers' Day and The Ellesmere Food Festival, 65 diners feasted on Rodney Stokes' roast beef which everyone agreed was the best ever. Diners also enjoyed new potatoes and salads followed by a selection of over 15 desserts, cheese and coffee. Our thanks go to Mark and Jenny for providing the marquee and working so hard to make everyone so welcome. To Rodney for providing, roasting and carving the beef (ably assisted by Justin Hugheston-Roberts) and to everyone who supplied food. Special thanks also to Jeremy Stretton who helped transport tables, chairs and crockery from the church and to Roger and Elizabeth Ballamy who gave up their whole weekend to help prepare for and clear up after the lunch.

The Parish lunch is always one of the highlights of the church's social calendar and this year's event was no exception.

S. Mary's Church News June 2015

CHURCH DIARY - Dates to remember

Sunday 7th June

Garden Trail from 1pm to 5pm.
Visit twelve gardens all within walking distance of S. Mary's.
After last year's successful garden trail a number of local gardeners have once again offered to open their gardens on Sunday 7th June and we have some new gardens to visit for 2015.
Admission to all gardens is £5 (children under 16 free) and refreshments will be available at three of the properties.

Sunday 21st June

The Annual Parish Lunch starting at 12.30pm will be held at Mark and Jenny Spurdens' home, Leasowe, Northwood, Ellesmere. Tickets cost £10 and are available from Ann Harris
Go along and join parishioners and friends in the marquee for Rodney Stokes' home cooked roast beef, new potatoes, salads and home made desserts.
If anyone requires directions or a lift to the lunch please ask Mark Spurdens or Ann Harris Volunteers are required to provide salads and desserts - there is a list at the back of church.

Sunday 5th July

The Church Tower will be open to visitors. Teas will be served in church from 2.30pm to 4.30pm.


A reduced number of brave parishioners (many of our young people were involved with GCSE examinations on the day) made it to the top of the tower for a 7.30am service on Ascension Day which was on 14th May. Everyone then of course enjoyed a splendid full cooked breakfast in S. John's room thanks to the hard work of Ann Harris and William and Estelle Parker.

June Owen, one of the members of the choir, has very kindly offered to make jams, preserves and chutneys to be sold to raise funds for the church. She would like donations of clean, empty jars (with lids) and there is a box labelled 'June's Jam Jars' in the Baptistry at the back of church.

PCC AGM 2015

The annual meeting of the PCC took place on Tuesday 14th April with all members of the church Electoral Roll eligible to attend, hear reports of the church committees and vote to elect Churchwardens, PCC members and Sidesmen and women for the coming year.

In his annual report Father Philip highlighted the enormous amount of work which had gone on in our church over the year in particular the conclusion of the bell restoration project which saw the eight bells removed from the tower, re-tuned and re-hung and extensive other work carried out in the bell tower and ringing chamber. He paid particular tribute to Rodney Upton and Peter Leigh who led the project and to the Tower Captain Terry Davies and all of the other volunteers who gave over 1100 hours of voluntary labour to the project.

Fr. Philip also thanked Peter Leigh who is stepping down as church treasurer after 10 years and the search is now on for a replacement. In his report, Peter Leigh had explained that whilst the church accounts looked stable, this was only because we had held back part of our annual payment to the Diocese (The Parish Share - over £40,000 p.a. for our church) and we were now £13,000 in arrears with our payments over the last two years. The Vicar explained that the current stewardship campaign had so far resulted in pledges for an additional £3500 per year of giving, for which he was very grateful, but he encouraged everyone involved with the church to consider increasing their giving if at all possible to help the church pay off its debt to the Diocese.

Fr. Philip also paid tribute to Ron Herapath who, having retired, has decided to step down from the post of Lay Reader at S. Mary's.

Ann Harris and Rodney Stokes were both re-elected as Churchwardens for a further twelve months and six members of the PCC were elected to replace four members retiring after three years and two members who have resigned during the past year.

The Churchwardens will be 'sworn in' along with the churchwardens from all of the other churches in the Ellesmere and Oswestry Deaneries at a special service conducted by the Archdeacon of Salop at S. Mary's on THURSDAY 26th MAY. Bishop Mark will also be present and it is hoped that as many of the congregation as possible will make an effort to attend this special event.

Reported by Mark Spurdens

S. Mary's Church News May 2015

Tower Open Days

After the popularity of our Tower Tours over the last two years, we will again be opening the church tower for visits this year.

The first Open Day will be on Sunday 5th July from 2.00pm until 4.30pm. This is the day of the Rotary Club Regatta on the Mere so you can come and look at the boats from a new angle! The Tower Tour is free of charge and any donations we receive will be added to the Rotary Regatta fund raising.

The second occasion is Saturday 12 September again from 2.00pm-4.30pm. This is the Ellesmere Festival weekend. Again there will be no charge for the Tower Tours.

We will give more details nearer the time - but note the dates in your diary and come and have a look at the bells and the view from the tower.

Peter Leigh, for the Tower Captain and Bell Ringers.

Easter Services

The Easter services were all very well attended.

On Palm Sunday, despite heavy rain, the congregation processed into the church from the top gate following 'Lisa', a well behaved donkey kindly loaned by Mr. Dave Mills from Cockshutt. After a litle persuasion, Lisa walked into church and stood quietly by the West Door much to the delight of the congregation.

On Maundy Thursday there was the traditional service involving foot washing and on Good Friday the procession of Witness and Vigil. On Holy Saturday at dusk there was the lighting of the Easter candle and a further vigil followed on Easter Day by the 10.15am service. This was very well attended and we were joined by families for four baptisms.

Lent Lunches

A record amount was donated from the series of soup lunches held during Lent towards the Bishops' lent appeal. Many thanks to all who attended as well as those who prepared and served such delicious soups.

Easter Services 2015

Palm Sunday Service Sunday 22nd March
Preparation of the Easter Garden Friday 3rd April from 10am
Procession of Witness Good Friday 3rd April 11am followed by the last of the Lent Lunches raising funds for the Bishop's Lent Appeal
Easter Vigil Holy Saturday 4th April
Easter Day serrvice at 10:15am on Sunday 5th April