St Bede’s Day gift

Today we celebrate St Bede, one of the greatest English scholars of all time, and one of the most European in outlook.  I think he would be saddened (on the 1,283rd anniversary of his passing from this world) by the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation.  Not because its aims are not admirable, but because of its bias towards large organisations (the very ones that caused the problems of data selling in the first place).

For example, because we cannot be sure of any list of emails, we must advertise future events by means of Facebook (a cruel irony).  We should also lobby hard for a removal of the annual fees.  True, they have been waived for the moment, but only temporarily.  If they were to be enforced, they would cost the parish £210 a year.

Enough of whingeing.  Here is the Parish Privacy Notice:

Parish Privacy Notice

Society of Mary

It is part of the ministry of the parish, and certainly a privilege, to welcome parish groups of The Society, mostly from difficult, urban parishes during the summer months:  we forget how beautiful it is round here.

It has been a good summer with various groups coming for a Mass or Sprinkling or both, most notably the re-formed Church Lads and Girls Brigade from St John’s, Belle Isle, Leeds (they camped across the road);  and Mass and a good lunch for SSC at Broughton back in July.

Today, it was the Society of Mary, its active North-West Ward:  Mass, Angelus, Sprinkling, picnic lunch, a short reflection on prayer, Benediction.  With visiting clergy leading the different parts:  the parish was hosting an event rather than putting it on.

And there are already plans to return for something similar with the Society in May 2018.  Small rural churches have a valuable ministry, even if (and probably rightly) the emphasis is now on urban communities.

A lovely day, and the rain held off perfectly while we were outside.SoM 17.09

Fr Alex’s ordination

AnointingMost probably, the first ordination ever held in the parish.  On Saturday, 24th June, Bishop Tony Robinson of Wakefield, with Bishop Robert Ladds and priests of The Society, ordained Alex Ladds, our curate-in-training, to the sacred priesthood, in the Church of St Mary the Virgin, Thornton-in-Craven.  Good weather, a full church, great singing, a wonderful and moving occasion.

The next day, Sunday morning, at the Church of All Saints, Broughton-in-Airedale, Fr Alex celebrated his First Mass, giving individual blessings at the end of the service;  before we all gathered in the church hall for a buffet lunch and presentations.  Fr Damien Feeney, a former curate of Bishop Ladds when he was a vicar in Lancashire, and one time Vice-Principal of St Stephen’s House, gave a memorable homily which can be downloaded here.

The trilogy was completed the next Sunday at the Church of St Peter, Martons Both, when Fr Alex celebrated his first Holy Communion according to the rites of the Book of Common Prayer (complete with the Exhortation).Fr A & two bishops

Fr Alex’s own words:

‘Over a decade ago I walked into a room at Mirfield for an Additional Curates Society weekend exploring vocation; I was surprised (and encouraged) to find that out of the two dozen people in the room I was one of three police officers! Fast forward to the last week of June 2017 and I am reflecting upon being Ordained Priest and celebrating my First Mass. It has been a long journey, not without unexpected twists and turns, ups and downs and the odd dead end.

‘The journey up to this point would not have been possible without the help, encouragement and support of so many people, my family, friends, Father Nicolas and Canon Ann, and last but not least the wonderful parishioners of BMT. Despite all the preparation I was not prepared for the impact that this weekend would have on me. I have tried to explain to others how Ordination ‘felt’ and words fail me. The sense of being supported, uplifted, blessed and loved leaves me with no words.

‘This was followed less than 24 hours later by my First Mass. once again I felt unprepared for the emotions that would accompany this service. The sense of closeness, not just with God but with you all was so consuming and overwhelming; I hope and pray that celebrating the Mass never loses that sense of awe and wonder, that numinosity. I would like to thank all who worked so very hard to make my Ordination and First Mass such a wonderful occasion.

‘The churches looked fantastic, the flowers adding to the beauty of the buildings. Thank you too for all the effort that went into the catering at both services and the magnificent cake! I was very well fed, not just spiritually but physically as well. I am looking forward to continuing my Curacy in the Parish and also for your continued support and patience, I may have been Priested but I am still learning. I am blessed to have so many good friends to help me on the next leg of this exciting journey.’

For more photos, go to the Gallery

Canon Ann retires

Ann preaching

Ann preaching

At the end of 2016, having reached the age of 70, Canon Ann had no option but to retire (that’s the law for parish clergy), from her work as Diocesan Director of Ordinands, as Rural Dean of Skipton, and as Parish Deacon of Broughton, Marton & Thornton, and at the end of some thirty years in ministry.

On the Feast of the Epiphany, transferred to the Sunday (8th January), there was a united service at St Mary’s.  [And thanks to those who gave generously at the collection:  the money will be given the local charity, the Craven Trust.  After which the parish laid on a wonderful lunch at the West Marton Institute.

A tremendous occasion, of great warmth, at which speeches were made and generous gifts given.  A very happy and most successful event even if, sadly, Ann will not be worshipping in the parish for the next six months.

Annette, our resident photographer as it were, took several pictures during the day, and many more can be see in the Gallery.

Thornton Hill Carols

The residents of Thornton Hill Residential Home were filled with festive cheer and song as Paul hosted our third consecutive carol service for them. Listening to BBC Radio Lancashire’s one hour programme called ‘Lancashire Sings Christmas’ where, along with seventy different locations around the North-West of England, we joined in and sung twelve carols and listened to the conversations in-between, which also included a Christmas message from Archbishop John

At this time of year, when the residents feel lonely and recall memories of Christmas gone by, it was great to see so many people from St Mary’s, as well as people from our neighbouring churches in Barnoldswick, come along and support this event, singing and talking with the residents. A great time was had by all. At the time of writing this, Paul has already been asked to host it again in 2017.