The weather could not have been better for our first ever Autumn Plant Sale. A great crowd turned out to select their winter bedding and perennials and the stocks were soon going down. Out came the watering hosepipes as the day got warmer, while inside the church, the bulb stall was a big favourite and the craft stall and refreshments were well attended. Such events are major social occasions for villagers and visitors alike and it was good to be able to hold it while maintaining all the safety measures required. Our thanks go to all who helped, laying out the plants, keeping them filled, taking payments, making signs, carrying to cars, providing refreshments, manning stalls, ensuring sanitisation, helping visitors, erecting tents and cleaning up and to all who supported the event. Without the help and support, such an event is not possible and we are delighted to announce that we made a wonderful £2,227 on the day.
There was a good turn out for our patronal service today, the actual St Bartholomew’s Day being on the 24th. We celebrated with a Service of the Word and with refreshments afterwards. The old rhyme for St Bartholomew’s Day says, ” All the tears that St. Swithin can cry, St. Bartholomew’s Day can dry”, so maybe we should hope for a dry day to help with a good harvest.
We, at St Bart’s, are delighted to say that the contractors have been able to return to work and the interior of the church is now finished. Those who saw the work almost completed at our last service in March, were unanimous in their praise for the difference it had made. All have commented on how big the church now looks; the flexible open space at the West end has great potential; the welcome table is a great addition; the new heating system is very effective and efficient; the panelled walls, which are a return to the Georgian design of the church, look like they have always been there and the replacement of the Victorian pews with Georgian ones, again returning to the original design of the church, look fantastic. We also have improved access to the organ with the space behind it and the big surprise is that the seating capacity has risen by 100 not the originally planned 60. All will have a clear view of the church front and at weddings, the brides family can now watch the service from the front left pew, previously obstructed by the pulpit.
Our only outstanding part of the remodelling is the delivery of the new wooden chairs, which will follow when circumstances allow.
The vicar and churchwardens have met to plan for the reopening of the church, initially for private prayer, as soon as we are allowed. Please watch this website for further imminent information.
The Rt Rev. Mark Tanner has been named by Downing Street as the new Bishop of Chester, succeeding the Rt Rev. Dr Peter Forster who retired in September 2019. Bishop Mark is currently the Bishop of Berwick in the Diocese of Newcastle. He said, “It will be hard to say goodbye to the North East, “however, Lindsay and I are really excited to return to Chester where I was ordained, and both of our children were born.”
We might have been under ‘lockdown’ over the weekend for the Coronavirus Pandemic, but it didn’t stop the residents of Church Minshull from displaying a bit of wartime spirit. At 3pm on the 8th the bells rang out as neighbours gathered in their own gardens or on driveways, to have tea as requested by the Royal British Legion. The weather was hot and sunny, a complete contrast to a chilly 10th, when the bells sounded again, with sirens and wartime songs broadcast across the village.
To join in the VE Day 75th Anniversary, when all events have had to be cancelled because of the pandemic, there will be a couple of broadcasts in the village centre. After the success of Amazing Grace being played on Good Friday, we have decided to repeat the idea of playing music on the 8th and 10th May at 3pm. On Friday the 8th, there will be bells played to coincide with the Royal British Legion call for people to have a cup of tea in their own front gardens and on the 10th there will be bells and music to repeat the tea in the garden idea. Sadly, our church is closed and cannot participate in the anniversary, but we do encourage you to ‘take a moment out’ (while observing social distancing) to remember all those who gave so much and to celebrate the many years of peace we have benefited from since.
With the weather forecast set to be hot on Friday and then cold on Sunday, please wrap up warm on the day and remember to stay safe.
God Bless from all at St Bart’s.
75th Anniversary of VE Day, 8th – 10th May. Due to the Coronavirus outbreak cancelling all our village and church events from the 8th to the 10th May, there is now to be a national response in which we can all participate without leaving our own homes. The Queen will deliver a televised address to the nation at 9pm on the 8th, the exact moment her father, King George VI, gave a radio address 75 years ago. Other plans include a public sing along of Dame Vera Lynn’s We’ll Meet Again, a song synonymous with World War Two. The government had moved the traditional early May bank holiday from the 4th to the the 8th of May to allow for events to take place, which had included a service in Westminster Abbey, veterans’ processions and street parties. The BBC will also air messages from The Archbishop of Canterbury, Prince Charles, who will read an extract from his grandfather King George VI’s diary from VE Day and extracts of Sir Winston Churchill’s famous victory speech to the nation announcing the end of the war in Europe.
Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said although celebrations will now take place “in our homes and on our doorsteps” he is confident the nation will “come together to mark this historic occasion”. People in lockdown are being urged to show their support for the commemorations by following the Royal British Legion’s launch of its “Tommy in the window” campaign, producing specially-designed figures of soldiers for people to place in their windows.
A pack with ideas for homemade VE Day bunting, original recipes, games, and educational and creative activities for children has been produced by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, so families under lockdown can create their own experiences at home.
The BBC will also air a pre-recorded video message from Prince Charles, who will read an extract from his grandfather King George VI’s diary from VE Day.
Extracts of Sir Winston Churchill’s famous victory speech to the nation announcing the end of the war in Europe will also be broadcast.
Tony Hall, BBC director general, said: “At a time when many are looking for unity and hope, the BBC will bring households together to remember the past, pay tribute to the Second World War generation and honour our heroes both then and now.”
Victory in Europe (VE) Day in 1945 marked the formal acceptance of Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender by Britain and its Allies following almost six years of WW2.
It saw spontaneous celebrations break out across the country, and the Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, ventured out with a group of friends, including her sister Princess Margaret, to experience the excitement in London.
Helen Chantry has announced today that she will be moving to become Vicar of Hucknall in Nottinghamshire. She has told the Chapter that her position as vicar of Audlem and Rural Dean of Nantwich is vacant from the end of June. Hucknall is an ex-mining town in the north of Nottinghamshire and Helen describes it as ‘Crewe on a smaller scale’.
We remember when Helen was assistant vicar to our benefice at the time of Donald Brockbank and was very supportive of all we did. We wish her every success for the future in her new parish.
Not withstanding we have the strangest of Easters this year, we thought we could at least uphold one of our traditions. Every year there are Easter flowers and although the church is closed, in line with the Coronavirus restrictions, we have taken photos of silk flower arrangements in church, even though nobody can see them other than on here. We also have a lovely photo from the Boote family of a cross the children have made. Happy Easter everyone. He is risen, Hallelujah!
If you are at home, as we probably all will be, on Friday morning (10th Apr) and you open your window for 11am, there will be a surprise played from the tower of St Bart’s to mark Good Friday. We hope you enjoy it!
(*!* UPDATE & VIDEO BELOW *!*)
** UPDATE 10/04/2020 **
Thank you to all those who came out to listen to ‘Amazing Grace’ played over loudspeakers from the church tower at 11am this morning. Also to those who stopped work, stopped on the road, came out into their gardens and applauded. It was quite a crowd and everyone observed social distancing. Stay safe everyone’!
Thanks to Judy Collins and the Choir who sang this beautiful rendition.