Welcome to the October edition of ‘From the Vicar’ and my introduction to All Saints-Tide.
Every day I rejoice that we are called ‘All Saints’. Every day our name reminds me of our calling to be a vibrant, missional and multi-generation Christian family. A church of all the generations worshipping the God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, living our daily lives as worship and sharing our faith with Ecclesall and beyond.
It is also a wonderful reminder that we stand on the shoulders of all the generations of Saints who have gone before us in the faith. The New Testament makes regular references to the ‘glorious inheritance of the saints’ and to the ‘great crowd of witnesses surrounding us’. While in the communion service we often pray ‘Bring us at the last with all the saints to the vision of that eternal splendour for which you have created us; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, by whom, with whom, and in whom, with all who stand before you in earth and heaven, we worship you, Father almighty, in songs of everlasting praise’.
In last month’s ‘From the Vicar’ I talked about Enid Hague whose legacy supported the building of the Chapel of the Holy Spirit at Whirlow, the building of the ‘proper church’ at St Gabriel’s, and substantial building works at All Saints. We have huge cause to give thanks to God for the inheritance Miss Hague left to us. She is one of the many Saints whose stories we need to remember and celebrate. I have asked Margaret Naylor to research Enid’s life. I look forward to sharing it with you when we know more.
At All Saints, we begin October with Vision Sunday when we think about our church family finances for the year to come. This year our theme is very much ‘Thanksgiving and Renewal’. We have much cause to give thanks to God for the progress we have made with our finances. Nonetheless, we need to keep up the momentum or we will all too easily start slipping backward. For 2018 we have a real challenge to increase our giving by £25,000. Please set aside time to read and to pray through the stewardship brochure before completing the ‘commitment page’. Every new or increased pledge would make a real difference.
October traditionally ends with ‘All Saints or All Hallowed One's Eve’ on October before All Saints Day on 1 November – which is effectively our Patronal Festival Day or Church Family Birthday. In most years November clashes with the school half terms, when many families go away for an autumn break or when grandparents travel to other parts of the country to look after their grandchildren. This means that too many All Saints Days pass by without a proper celebration. This year we are experimenting with starting ‘All Saints-Tide’ on Sunday 22 October so that the whole church family can share in the celebrations.
Have you noticed during the last few years that the supermarkets have started selling potted chrysanthemums?
This is in response to a century-long tradition shared by numerous European nations. It began in France, just after the First World War as hundreds of thousands of widows laid chrysanthemums on the graves of their deceased husbands. Today millions of people across Europe remember loved ones by buying potted chrysanthemums for 1 November.
Starting on 22 October, we hope to fill the church building with potted chrysanthemums to remember family and friends who have gone before us. If you would like to bring a potted chrysanthemum to the church or the office during the week of 16-22 October that would be wonderful.
On 22 October our theme for the day will be the ‘All Saints-Tide - Past, Present, and Future.’ The Communion table will be brought forward and the chairs re-arranged especially for the day. The music for the 9.15am service will be chosen especially on the theme while the 11.00am service will be a very interactive All Age service of Holy Communion. This will be followed by an All Saints-Together Bring and Share lunch in the church building for everyone, masterminded by Jo Hird.
The 6.00pm service will be a special ‘All Saints-Tide’ Taize service, where we will be joined by the Sheffield Taize community.
Sunday 22 October is going to be a very special day.
Please make sure that you have the date in your diary.
All Saints Big Church Weekend Away
Looking further ahead we are in the process of booking the Palace Hotel in Buxton for the All Saints Big Church Weekend Away from 25-27 January 2019. We will be taking over the whole hotel and booking spaces for 300 people. We will start advertising properly this coming January, giving everyone a year’s notice. But if you have a 2019 diary please put the dates in now.
We have invited Daniel McGinnis to speak on the book of Acts. He is a lot of fun and very engaging. In addition, we have asked Bishop David and Helen Williams to come as hosts and chaplains. While Joy Adams has agreed to offer optional early morning and night prayers in the Whirlow style.
It is going to be a great weekend. We are keen for everyone to come! The hotel is very comfortable and suitable for all ages. It has an indoor swimming pool and is within walking distance of historic Buxton including the Crescent, Opera House, and Pavilion. I can’t wait!
Happy All Saints-Tide