July 2020 Magazine

St Mary’s Wistaston

& St Luke’s Willaston

Christian Life Online Magazine
July 2020

This month in the Christian Calendar we celebrate :

03 July – St Thomas
22 July – Mary Magdalene  
25 July – St James the Apostle 

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Ministry Letter
by Revd Malcolm Shaw

Dear friends,

In early March life seemed to be going along so sweetly, we were just getting into what to a good lent course, and our Sunday worship services during Lent were leading us along the path to a glorious Easter.  Yes, we had all heard of the Coronavirus but it seemed so far off and I for one never expected that we would have to be isolated, locked away from the rest of society for three months. That the unthinkable act of not sharing Easter with like-minded Christians in worship, celebrating the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ would ever happen . Then we started to hear some of the horrendous facts and details of nearly 1,000 deaths per day on the news briefings that came out every day,  and the greed of some people who stripped the supermarket shelfs of toilet rolls. If you were like me you may have wondered where was all this going to end.

 It was at this point that I began to see the sign of the rainbow appearing in windows, just child like drawings but rainbows never the less, and I was reminded of the promise that God made us when he first gave the sign of the rainbow. That He would never again destroy his people, I was reminded of a verse from Isaiah 5:21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight .and realised that I had let all the bad things that I was seeing and hearing cause me to have doubt and weaken my faith. Then I was also reminded of  Christ crossing the sea of Galilee  in the storm Matthew 8:26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

 It was at this point that I began to see the stories of captain Tom Moore who raised 32million for the NHS staff, of people volunteering to take food and medication round to those that could not get out and many other selfless acts of kindness.  It had been so easy without the regular feed of communal worship and meeting with likeminded people for the worry and doubt to creep in. We have to guard against this and what I have found over the past three months is that I have had more time for an idle mind to wonder away.  Most of us have spent time during the lock down doing all the jobs round the house or painting and decorating that has been needed for many months, but how many of us have spent some of that idol time looking after our spiritual lives with more time in prayer or bible reading?

We will return to our more usual patterns of life, our regular worship and meeting together, but only when it is safe to do so. In the mean time look after your spiritual lives just as much as your physical lives and keep yourself safe so that when the time comes, we can once again enjoy each other’s company in worship at St Marys and St Luke’s.

God Bless,


Sunday Streamed Worship

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Holy Days in July

Articles are taken from Exciting Holiness which is available online for most saints days at: almanac.oremus.org

St Thomas

03 July

Thomas is mentioned among the number of the apostles in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke but it is in John’s gospel that his significance is revealed. First, he is heard encouraging the other disciples to go to Judea with Jesus; then, not knowing what Jesus meant when he talked about where he was to go elicited the answer that Jesus was himself the Way. But probably most famously he was the apostle notably unconvinced by reports of the resurrection of Jesus, causing Jesus to show him the marks in his hands and side. Thomas then acclaims the risen Christ with the words that have been described as the great climax to John’s gospel: ‘My Lord and my God!’

Mary Magdalene

22 July

All four gospels give Mary Magdalene a unique place among Jesus’s followers. Probably from Magdala by the Sea of Galilee, she is described as having been healed by Jesus before accompanying him during his ministry. Along with other faithful women, she stayed beside the cross during the crucifixion and was the first disciple to discover the empty tomb on Easter morning. She was privileged with the first appearance of the risen Lord, who sent her to take the good news of the resurrection to the other disciples. This commission earned her the title ‘Apostle to the Apostles’ in the early Church.

St James the Apostle

25 July

James, often called ‘the Great’, was a Galilean fisherman who, with his brother John, was one of the first apostles called by Jesus to follow him. The two brothers were with Jesus at his Transfiguration and with him again in the garden of Gethsemane. They annoyed the other followers of Jesus by asking to sit one on his left and the other on his right when he came into his glory, and they were present for the appearances of Christ after the resurrection. James was put to death by the sword on the order of Herod Agrippa, who hoped in vain that, by disposing of the Christian leaders, he could stem the flow of those hearing the good news and becoming followers in the Way. James’s martyrdom is believed to have taken place in the year 44.

Hello to all LAG members!

From what we hear, you have all adapted with great fortitude to the difficult circumstances that have faced us. We now feel that with the easing of the lockdown we can begin to take a more optimistic view of the future. We must add that even the most sceptical of us have to admit that modern technology has been a great help in keeping us in touch with our loved ones and in sharing the Sunday Service from our church.

Best wishes to you all. Audrey and Marian.

St Mary’s Reopens!

On Monday 28 June St Mary’s opened for Private Individual Prayer, this is the first time since all churches were closed on for Public Worship on 17 March. It’s been a long time and it’s taken time to put the correct measures in place that allow us to take this first tentative step to reopening for Public Worship.

We have had to rope-off many of the pews with currently only 9 available, each pew is per household, so it could be one person or a 8 people, but they have to be from the same household. You can see the issue we have with the layout of the building as we think about returning for Public Worship which is permissible from 4 July. St Luke’s has even more issues under the current guidelines!

For these reasons, the PCC have agreed unanimously to not reopen for Public Worship for the time being (in line with the guidance from the Church of England & the Diocese) and to continue with Private Prayer sessions through July and continue to ‘stream’ our services. You can read a letter about the reopening of churches in the Diocese from Bp Keith by clicking here.

The dates and times of the Private Prayer sessions will be different each week in order to enable as many people as possible to attend. They will be published on the St Mary’s door, Noticeboard and on our social media channels on the Sunday of each week. If you can’t access those you can ring me on 01270 665742 on a Sunday Afternoon and I will let you know.

With all God’s blessings, Revd Mike

Mothers’ Union 

We are keeping in touch with one another in so many ways as our theme is “Building Hope and Confidence”. We are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel even if it is only a flicker.

Our application for funding for the defibrillator unit at St Luke’s has been successful. The Small Grant Scheme was set up for branches with projects which profile and support the work of the Mothers’ Union. A plaque will be placed by the unit to show this.

The Council Meeting for June was postponed until November, hopefully we will be able to meet. Any completed knitted blankets will be taken then.

The AFIA scheme in 2019 benefitted almost 2,000 people throughtout Britain and Ireland. In our own diocese last August 14 families and 33 children benefitted, this was appreciated by them all. A new leaflet will be produced for our scheme in Chester, this will help social workers and sponsors, as delays occur when application are made to MSH. This has been made possible through the Sally Spencer Fund.

The Coronavirus Appeal is going well, it will help to maintain the work of the MU throughout the world, with staffing, safe guarding, developmemt work and governance.

MSH has asked members to complete an online survey regarding feedback for the proposed new publication to replace Families First and Families Worldwide. It is felt that MSH isn’t listening to members and it is important that our views are heard. The survey can be found on https://rl.dotmailer-surveys.com/6c I i8y57-d54js7ed or type in bit.ly/publicationquestionnaire. It takes between 5 and 10 minutes to complete, the deadline is 31st July, 2020.

I hope to have the new catalogue soon so orders can be taken.

A word from our MU Central Chaplin, Bishop Emma, “Think prayfully about different relationships in which you are called by God to love.”

Take care everyone


From our Wardens…

Sue writes…

Musings from a Warden

A few years ago I was asked if I’d consider being a Warden at St Mary’s and St Luke’s.  This wasn’t long after I’d ‘retired’ from working in the Church Office and felt I needed a break before doing anything else ‘churchy’.  Later on other people had also suggested it but I thought it was too soon, or I wasn’t capable, or not the right person.  Basically, lots of excuses as to why I couldn’t do it !!  The thing was though, that these were people whose opinion I valued and who are also Christians.  So………………………maybe God was telling me something through these people and I just wasn’t listening.  Anyway, to cut a long story a bit shorter, I finally agreed last year, (3 years later) and was inducted or whatever it’s called, as a Warden at the APCM, together with Joy.  It’s been good having someone else to share the load with and we’ve been blessed with previous Wardens who are always willing to help us when we get stuck, or don’t know what we’re supposed to be doing.  So thanks to Simon, and Mike & Di Carter.

After an initial settling in period with lots of new things to learn about and some reading to do, things picked up pretty quickly with a big paperwork project which involved going to Chester Records Office on a few occasions.  The first time was with Joy and the second time with Joy, Mike the Rector and Catherine.  Although it was a time consuming task, it was also fruitful to spend time with each other, away from normal jobs and routines.  Even finding things out about each other which we probably wouldn’t normally have done!  This was also a big learning curve as we were still just settling into the job of Warden.  OK, what’s next!!……………………..Bang!

Yes, you know what’s coming.  Initial reports of a new virus outbreak in China was in the news; of course this has happened before but not really affected us here.  Maybe small scale.  The last one I remember was the swine flu a few years ago.  However, it soon became apparent that this was a world spreading pandemic and the speed of the infection, together with the death rates was pretty scary.  It still didn’t feel it was affecting us here, until I saw an ambulance near the Peacock roundabout, with the driver dressed in a full hazmat suit.  Everything seemed to suddenly go at breakneck speed with trips to visit family cancelled, and life as we knew it being curtailed, changing drastically.  Initially, there was so much new information each day, it was a job to keep up with it all.  I actually felt a sense of excitement as a new challenge loomed, particularly on the practical front.  But I’m afraid this didn’t last as the seriousness of everything unfolded.

I’d say I’ve been through a gamut of emotions – anxiety, fear, not being in control, but also hope, joy, peace, to name a few.  I can remember a particularly bad day, feeling so tired and waiting yet again in another queue and there not being the supplies needed and the palpable fear of those around me.  I just wanted to get out of there (supermarket) and just felt like crying or hitting someone with the frustration of it all.  Of course I would not have done that.  I think that day was Maundy Thursday and watching the live stream that evening, the words of “too tired to pray”, “too tired to talk” really resonated with me.  It was a time to get back in touch with God and realise that through this storm, we as Christians, are all in the same boat and God will lead us through the storm and to the shore.

Some good has come from this time and memories of rainbows, clapping, meeting new neighbours on VE Day, candles in windows, on-line prayers and services, pandemic beatitudes, the Rector cooking pancakes in the kitchen! Other Lockdown saviours for me include Monty and Gardeners World and Chris Packham and Countryfile, both adapted for the situation.  Daily walks around Joey the Swan.  It also helps to get on with the one you’re living with!!

It has made me realise how lucky I am and thankful for so much.  Lucky to have a home and big garden which I’ve been busy in and managed to grow some potatoes in the veg plot (see picture).

Lucky to have family and friends and of course the church family who are always there to help each other.  So, not only lucky but thankful for these things and for God using these people to show the power of love.

See you sometime soon

Sue Squirrell 

Joy writes…

Hi everyone, I hope that you are all safe and have kept well since we last saw one another in mid-March.  Unprecedented times indeed!!!!  It is now looking much more positive about us being able to meet together physically; even though that may be quite different initially.  Each one of us will have our own story to tell, missed birthday celebrations, special occasions, holidays postponed and very sadly not being able to say some goodbyes.

I am sure that I speak for everyone when I say that Mike and our team of clergy have really worked tirelessly over the this period of time in keeping those of us who can access IT spiritually fed and our spirits raised. 

I thought that I would write this article reflecting on my thoughts over the past months.

I am a people person who so enjoys the company of others and does not care too much for spending time alone.  Being still, was a quite alien to me and although I have been fortunate enough to be locked down with Dane; it hasn’t been without its challenges as we normally both lead very busy lives and we very much had to adjust to our new found living parameters!  We did feel very blessed to be living in this wonderful area for daily exercise- walking our dog and having a garden to enjoy all that early glorious warm weather and yet I still had quite a few wobbles.  So much has changed from the very start of lock down to what is being referred to as the “new normal”.  Along the way we have all learnt so many new words……….. social distancing, daily briefings, flattening the curve, PPE and zoom to name just a few.  We have seen so very many acts of kindness shown to others and yet we have seen people not observing the 2 metre rule and gathering on beaches and leaving their litter behind and selfishly clearing whole shelves of toilet rolls etc!

I entered the early days of lock down full of good intentions and be like Martha (Luke 10:38-42) spring cleaning the house and each morning for the first week I did early morning exercises with Joe Wicks, instead of making my first task of the day to read a passage from “Word for Today”.  However, my good intentions did not last – the house is no cleaner than when I had to fit it in around 100’s of other things.  Meals on the whole were more nutritious and unhurried but snacking was also much easier too – (not just the hair has grown during lock down!).  A trip to the shops for our once a week provisions was filled with excitement to escape your four walls and trepidation too and finally relief when you were safely back home.

In those very early days, I found it especially hard to concentrate, I couldn’t settle to read a book or even a magazine and whilst I slept well, I woke not feeling refreshed.  It was though especially nice to see God’s wonderful world unfold in Spring before our eyes and see blue clear skies, wonderful sun rises and sun sets.  The quiet in lots of ways reminded me of the time when Sundays were special, and shops were not open and that was over 25 years ago.

Physical touch is the thing that I have missed the most; not being able to comfort a former neighbour when I learned he had lost his wife and only being able to give limited help to another neighbour who fell in her garden or cuddle our beautiful grand-daughters.

Fast forward and I am so looking forward to seeing you all again, to worship in our beautiful church and enjoy a time of fellowship but until then to help with the challenges that still lie ahead of us I would like to quote from Colossians 3:12 “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience”.

Keeping you all in my prayers.


From Charlotte Our Rose Queen

My year as Rose Queen has flown by already! I was very happy to be invited to continue with my attendant Lucia for another year due to the Covid-19 situation meaning that there wouldn’t be a fete to retire at! 

It has been a wonderful opportunity to be Rose Queen and the opportunity has helped me to develop my confidence to talk in front of large groups of people (though I still have a few of those nerves). 

I have loved raising money for my chosen charities – Parkinson’s UK and the local Crewe and District branch. I have run lots of different events including, a beetle drive, a Madhatters Tea Party, cake stalls after church, a stall at the duck race and a stall at the village fete. I have enjoyed the social side of the events too,sharing in a lot of fun and laughter.  I hope to do many more in the upcoming year.

I also attended Reverend Ken’s coffee evening in aid of Diabetes UK,  where I met the Mayor and Mayoress of Cheshire East. It was lovely to see the group receive an Inspire award for their efforts in fundraising over £140,000 for the charity since 1996.

I was invited by Ann Stubbs to spend an afternoon at Richmond Village where we enjoyed an art workshop with the residents and helped run a quiz (which became very competitive between the two teams!) While I was there, I took some of the residents a cup of tea and had a wonderful chat with them.

During lockdown, I have been trying to keep going with the fundraising by selling packs of cards and some old games. So far I have raised £1200 over the year for my charities and I am very grateful. 

Thank you for all the support you have all given me throughout the year, I hope to see you all again very soon.


Giving to our church Online or by Phone Banking

It’s simpler than you may think

A message from Revd Mike.

May I thank everyone who has kept their giving going during the past 3 months, it has been a challenging time and also challenging financially. From a church perspective, most of our outgoings remain the same whether the buildings are open or closed, so the challenge has been keeping the cash flow going to cover these costs. I am grateful to those who have been able to give extra and have given extra to the church.

Handling cash and cheques has caused us an issue during the pandemic and will continue to do so. Cash as we’ve not been able to allow anyone to process cash giving during this time, not that we’ve had much given in this way and cheques mean me having to visit the bank with them.

Joy & Sue attended an online Webinar about encouraging and managing giving during this time which advised that we should encourage people to move away from giving via cash & cheques and ask them to give via online or phone banking.

If you normally give via the plate each Sunday you can give securely via Give a Little by following the link below. If you’d like to give via online banking, which means we don’t lose the Fees, the details are below. You can set this up on your own online or phone banking unfortunately, we can’t process paper forms at this time.

Thank you for your support. Mike (Rector)

Online One off giving

You can give via our very simple online giving partnership with Give a Little and Sum Up. Simply click the button below. Sum Up take a small transaction fee from what you give.

click here to give online

Giving via your bank

You can give via your bank via online banking or telephone banking. If you do it this way we receive 100% of the money you give, there is no transaction fee. Here are the details you need to make a payment directly into the church bank account. For phone banking you may need to take a look at a statement from your bank and it normally has the details of how to do this on the back. You can give once or set up a monthly payment. Please remember to never give passwords over the phone and only call the official number on your statement.

Account Name: St Mary’s Wistaston PCC
Sort Code: 08 92 99
Account No: 65067004
Ref: << your initial & surname>>


A very simple way to give, if you shop online or do click and collect, is through Easyfundraising – it doesn’t cost you a penny as by using Easyfundraising a percentage of what you but gets given to the church.
In total we’ve raised over £1600 through Easyfundraising. For more information on this please click the button below.

find out more


Nature Notes by Di & Mike Carter

Lockdown has made many of us aware of the wild life around us and personally, our garden is my “church” as I find that just wandering round brings me nearer to God. 

Have you heard the birds singing more clearly? We have a nucleus of 40 sparrows – all nesting and often rearing a second brood. Blue Tits have fledged, but only five or six instead of the ten to fifteen eggs that have been laid – perhaps a lack of insects in the Spring was the problem. 

However the Bee population has thrived, delighted to see at least one hundred Honey Bees on the Ceanothus, also Bumble Bees – Buff tailed, White tailed, :and Red tailed. Also seen have been butterflies and moths – Tortoiseshells, Small White and Painted Lady. A day moth is the Small Magpie – an attractive patterned black and white – hence it’s name. 

The weeds have grown vigorously – Cow Parsley, Buttercup, Daisies, and Foxglove growing in the hedgerows. 

Our daughter, Alex, who lives in Bedford Street, besides having large numbers of a variety of birds – goldfinch and starling amongst them – in her garden has had a visit from Hedgehogs and 3 Fox cubs. Alex is also recording the variety of Bat flying above – 3 so far. When you consider she is about 900 yards from Crewe Alex and the railway, her variety of wild life is remarkable. 

We feel very blessed where we live looking over fields to the North and East besides a garden that offers us much peace. 

Di & Mike

Wistaston and Rope War Memorial Project

An article and photos by Jonathan White

The names of the sixteen local men who died in the two World Wars are commemorated on the Memorial cross in the grounds of St Mary’s Church, Wistaston.The area around the Wistaston & Rope War Memorial in the grounds of St Mary’s Church on Church Lane in Wistaston has been modernised respectfully and made safer to visit. We must never forget the ultimate sacrifices made from the two warfares. We will remember them always.The War Memorial is in an elevated and prominent position adjacent to the chancel of St Mary’s Church and consists of a rough-hewn stone Celtic cross on a tapered rectangular plinth. The memorial was built after the First World War and was dedicated on 20th February 1921. The inscriptions on the memorial contain the names of the sixteen men from Wistaston and Rope who lost their lives in the First World War and the sixteen men from Wistaston and Rope who lost their lives in the Second World War.The project work around the War Memorial began in March 2020 and completed in June. Numerous improvements have been made to the site. The path to the memorial and around the memorial has all been widened and tarmacked and the rope top terracotta edging has been reset. A cast-iron safety railing has been added adjacent to the memorial to make the area safer for viewing and for the laying of wreaths. Cart-stone sloped paving has been added between the safety railing and the top of the existing retaining wall. Shrubbery hedging surrounding the memorial has been removed or trimmed back. The cross and its inscriptions, the plinth and the flagpole were not affected by the works. The enhancements will make it easier and safer for villagers and visitors to pay their respects to the fallen.There is also a new area set aside to develop a place to remember non-combatants who lost their lives during the two world wars and those who have died in the service of the country since the Second World War.The £12,500 project was organised by St Mary’s Church in partnership with Wistaston Parish Council and Rope Parish Council. The consultants were Graham Holland Associates, Architects & Historic Buildings Consultants – grahamhollandassociates.co.uk – and the Contractors were GB Davies Ltd – gbdaviesltd.co.uk .The significant improvements were funded by St Mary’s Church, Wistaston Parish Council, Rope Parish Council, with donations from Bentley Motors and from members of the public. The Church has underwritten the financial shortfall of the project by £3,000, donations toward the refurbishment and the ongoing upkeep of the memorial would be gratefully received. Please address any donations to St Mary’s PCC, The Church Office, Church Lane, Wistaston. CW2 8HA. Or give securely online at: bit.ly/stmaryswarmemorial 

Rev. Mike Turnbull, St Mary’s Church, Wistaston, said: “I am so pleased that we have finally completed this project in partnership with Wistaston and Rope Parish Councils. The refurbishment of the paths and surroundings will enable current, and future generations, to continue to remember, with gratitude, those who have given their lives that we may continue to live our lives in freedom. This is an important part of our village’s history and should never be forgotten or neglected. I am pleased that we have been able to make it accessible to all once again. Next time you are walking by St Mary’s, please do take a walk along the path to the War Memorial, we want it to be visited and valued by the local community as a place to reflect and remember. We would be grateful for any donations that people are able to make that will help the church to continue to enhance the area around the War Memorial.”

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12 June Michael YEOMANS 54
16 June John Francis HARVEY 90
22  June Eileen Muriel CHILTON 89
23 June Albert WATKINSON 89
26 June Jacomina (Miep) Alida DAY 95


None this month


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