Newsletters & Updates

On this page we will publish our monthly Newsletter together with updates in relation to your church, the Memorial Hall and local community.

Welcome to our first Holy Rood Church Newsletter   February, 2021

Due to the lockdown and a loss of editorial personnel we have been unable to publish our monthly magazine over the past few months. The PCC recognises that this has resulted in a loss of communication with our congregation and local community. We will therefore be producing a regular short newsletter and also including items on the Holy Rood Facebook pages.

What a year 2020 was! We are all glad to see the back of it thinking that by 2021 we would return to Church and be looking forward to all our wonderful activities starting up again. We did have a short period when the church was open in December and fortunately we did manage to have the Christmas Day service. To this end we must thank Gary our organist for bringing such joy to the services during this time.  Sadly the PCC agreed with Paul, our churchwarden that Holy Rood should close during the second lockdown. It was a difficult decision especially as Dot had managed to organise cover for our Sunday services up to Easter but it was felt this was the best decision to keep us all safe.

It was very sad that during this time Dot retired and we were unable to celebrate that with her in our usual way. But don’t worry we will make up for that as soon as we are able. We did manage to have a “Zoom” get together with Dot at this time when she was surprised with gifts and a special delivery of afternoon tea organised beautifully by Karen Owen the vicar of St Mary’s Ellenbrook with a little help from some friends. As you will be aware Dot & Barry are still living in the vicarage but are hoping to move into their new home in the next month or so and we wish them well.

It is now looking more likely to be March before we can think about going back into Church and we can’t even begin to plan when the Memorial Hall will re-open. In this tough time for everyone and we would like to thank Pauline Russell and Gary Owen for keeping us going throughout with weekly Church service sheets. We have all had to find different ways to keep ourselves busy and sane!  

A big thank you to our Brownie and Guide leaders who have been having regular “Zoom” meetings since April and Rainbows have started their own meetings recently. It’s great to hear that they have been able to keep this going for all our young people.

Sadly we have lost of the following parishioners and family members during the pandemic: Margaret Bennett, Jill Richards, Joan Schofield, Donald Clough, Kath Bishop, Ethel Sampson, Nigel Bailey, Ken Lee, Mary Barnett, Eileen Narey, Les Hardman, Barbara Armitage, Frances Stoodley, David Brierley, Phyllis Eden, Jean Sharples.

Some of you may not be aware that Dudley’s wife died late last year following a period of non-Covid illness. Our prayers go out to Dudley and his family and we aim to have a memorial service later this year as the funeral service at Holy Rood was limited in the numbers allowed to attend due to lockdown.

Our future aim has, for the past few years, been to progress links with St Mark’s Worsley, St Marys and St Andrews, Ellenbrook, which stalled due to the lack of a vicar at St Mark’s.  One of Dot’s final administrative actions prior to her retirement was to prepare our section of the advert for the joint post of Rector of St Mark’s and Curate of Holy Rood. We are therefore praying that suitable applicants come forward for interview in March.

When we do eventually get back to Church it will be a challenging time and we need to work together especially as the Manchester Diocese proposals are for us to form a “Mission Community” (see below) to comprise: Holy Rood, St Mark’s, Worsley, St Ann’s and St Andrews, Ellenbrook, St Paul’s, Walkden, St John the Baptist, Little Hulton and St Paul’s, Peel. The aim is to bring new life and hopefully young families into our church and community hall life

The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, recently sent a report “Money, People and Buildings” to diocesan secretaries and will give further details on February 25 of a programme to transform the C of E institution into a “Jesus-shaped church” focused on a wider world to attract a younger, ethnically diverse membership. This was prompted by the collateral damage of the pandemic on church activities, for example, data following the first lockdown suggests up to 20% of regular worshipers may never return.

The Manchester Diocese proposals for future changes

The diocese had identified the need for change with deanery numbers decreasing from 20 to 7 new but larger deaneries, each with a full time Dean from June 2021. The Bishop, Dr David Walker, appointed a Leadership Team in May 2020 to “look at how we best work together and allocate our resources at the parish level to achieve our vision for the future of the diocese”. The diocese already recognised that a more mission-focused and financially sustainable structure was needed with the pandemic accelerating this process. The proposals are based on the success of 11 churches in Rossendale who formed a community group of clergy to support each other and combine their expertise and experience. The proposed changes are available as a pdf document on the diocese website document “Briefing on Mission Communities”.

Discussions with church members of this 10 year plan have started and would welcome feedback and suggestions from individuals and groups on all aspects of the proposals in order to shape the final proposals by May 2021. The aim is for groups of local parishes, of about 10 churches, to pool their expertise under a team leading stipendiary cleric assisted by stipendiary clergy, curates, retired and self-supporting ordained ministers and trained lay persons as “Mission Communities”. Such community groups will be formed from a population area of about 60,000. The numbers suggest that a regular church attendance of around 100 essentially supports a stipendiary cleric, hence by pooling our resources our local parish churches would be able to continue. Before the pandemic, Holy Rood was able to meet its parish share of the diocese funding needed to support the Manchester Diocese, including all stipendiary clergy. Our local community support through our Memorial Hall activities has also enabled us to provide an eco-friendly environment for a wide range of social activities. These various youth and senior events will need to be encouraged and fostered again once current restrictions are eased.

The Manchester diocese proposals are based on 2018 census figures of a total population of 2,173,296 and an average weekly church attendance of 14,784, for which there will be 120 stipendiary posts. These will be divided between 38 Mission Communities with each post based on an average weekly church attendance of about a 100. Each of the 7 deaneries will be responsible for between 4 to 7 Mission Communities, each with between 6 to 11 parishes.  The Salford and Leigh Deanery will have 26 stipendiary posts and 6 Mission Communities.

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