Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Christmas at All Saints

"It's the most wonderful time of the year" or so the song goes. So this Christmas why not take the Bethlehem Challenge. Forget Jeremy Clarkson in a clapped out old Alpha, or Captain Slow in something boring but reliable. Take a journey to Bethlehem, find out why wise men, shepherds, Angels and billions of people the world over think that a stable is the place to be this Christmas.

Sunday 29th November
6pm "From Darkness to Light" - readings and prayers for Advent

Sunday 6th December
6pm - "A Christmas Present" - Music and drama to unwrap Christmas

Saturday 19th December
10am- Noon - Carol singing on the shopfronts

Sunday 20th December
6pm - All Saints Community Carol Service - a traditional serice of lessons and carols with just a touch of Christmas Spice

Thursday 24th December - Christmas Eve
3pm - "The Bethlehem Challenge" - A Christmas Crib Service for the Whole family

Friday 25th December - Christmas Day
9:30am - Christmas Communion - "What God REALLY gave you for Christmas!"

This year let's take up the Bethlehem Challenge and find out what a real Christmas present looks like!!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Key facts about the Church of England - Interesting Reading

Church attendance and visits

  • 1.7 million people take part in a Church of England service each month, a level that has been maintained since the turn of the millennium. Around one million participate each Sunday.
  • 3 million participate in a Church of England service on Christmas Day or Christmas Eve. Thirty-nine per cent of the population attend a Christmas service of some sort, rising to 43 per cent among households with children and, nationally, 23 per cent among those of non-Christian faiths.
  • The Church of England has the largest following of any denomination or faith in Britain today. Almost half the people in England regard themselves as belonging to the Church of England, while 7 in 10 consider themselves Christian.
  • People support their local churches in many different ways at different points in their lives. Each year 3 in 10 attend regular Sunday worship and almost half attend a wedding in their local church, while still more attend a funeral there
  • In 2007, 43 per cent of adults attended a church or place of worship for a memorial service for someone who has died and 20 per cent were seeking a quiet space. Both these proportions are increases on 37 per cent and 19 per cent respectively in 2003 and 29 per cent and 12 per cent respectively in 2001.
  • 85 per cent of the population visit a church or place of worship in the course of a year, for reasons ranging from participating in worship to attending social events or simply wanting a quiet space.
  • Every year, around 12 million people visit Church of England cathedrals, including 300,000 pupils on school visits. Three of England's top five historic 'visitor attractions' are York Minster, Canterbury Cathedral and Westminster Abbey.


  • Seven in ten (70%) of the population agree that Church of England schools have a positive role in educating the nation’s children.
  • One in four primary schools and one in 16 secondary schools in England are Church of England schools. Approaching one million pupils are educated in more than 4,700 Church of England schools.


  • At the end of 2007, there were 20,355 ministers licensed by Church of England dioceses, including clergy, readers and Church Army officers: one minister for every 2,500 people in England. The total does not include almost 1,600 chaplains to prisons, hospitals, the armed forces and in education, nor around 7,000 retired ministers with permission to officiate.
  • The Church recommended 595 future clergy for ordination training in 2007, maintaining the upward trend since the mid-‘90s. In 1994, 408 candidates were recommended for training.
  • It ordained 552 new clergy in 2007, the highest number since the year 2000. Overall, 262 women and 290 men were ordained in 2007, with nearly half ordained to full-time, stipendiary ministry: 162 men and 102 women.

Community involvement

  • More people do unpaid work for church organisations than any other organisation. Eight per cent of adults undertake voluntary work for church organisations while sixteen per cent of adults belong to religious or church organisations.
  • A quarter of regular churchgoers (among both Anglicans and other Christians separately) are involved in voluntary community service outside the church. Churchgoers overall contribute 23.2 million hours voluntary service each month in their local communities outside the church.
  • The Church of England provides activities outside church worship in the local community for over half a million (515,000) children and young people (aged under 16 years) and 38,000 young people (aged 16 to 25 years). More than 136,000 volunteers run children / young people activity groups sponsored by the Church of England outside church worship.
  • Church of England congregations give more than £45 million each year to other charities - that's even more than the BBC's annual Children in Need appeal.
  • More than half a million worshippers subscribe to tax-efficient giving schemes such as Gift Aid, accounting for half the voluntary income of parish churches.

Church buildings

  • Nearly half the population (46%) think that central taxation, local taxation, the National Lottery or English Heritage should be ‘primarily’ responsible for providing money to maintain churches and chapels. These churches and cathedrals are largely supported by the efforts and financial support of local communities. Often, they are the focus of community life and service.
  • There are 14,500 places of worship in England listed for their special architectural or historic interest, 85 per cent of which belong to and are maintained by the Church of England.
  • The Church of England has more than 16,000 churches, serving every inch of the country and open to every local inhabitant. There are 42 mainland cathedrals, plus one in Peel on the Isle of Man and the Diocese in Europe’s cathedral in Gibraltar.
  • People value their local church and 72% consider it an important part of their local community: 58% believe it makes their neighbourhood a better place to live and 63% would be concerned if the local church was not there. Those who would be concerned include 38% of people with no religion and 38% of adherents of other faiths.
  • Three church and cathedral locations are World Heritage Sites: Durham Castle and Cathedral, Canterbury Cathedral, St Augustine's Abbey & St Martin's Church, and Westminster Abbey and St Margaret’s Church.
  • Necessary repairs to all listed places of worship in England have been valued at £925m over the next five years, or £185m a year. £110 million is currently spent on repairs to Church of England churches per annum, 70% of it raised by the congregations and local community.


Church Statistics 2003/4, 2004/5, and 2006/7

Opinion Research Business national polls 2000-2007

English Heritage and Church of England Cathedral and Church Buildings Division Joint Research

Church Life Survey 2001

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sponsored Cycle Ride

Woodlands - All Saints

Well - Here goes - leaving All Saints at 12:40pm on Sunday 21st June - Why I chose Father's Day to do this is beyond me! Accompanied by my wife Jacquie and Malcolm (who cycles 20 miles each way to work every day)

Adwick - St Laurence

Well - that was the easy bit - down the hill free wheeling most of the way. If only the whole deanery was going downhill

Hmm! Perhaps that didn't quite come out quite as I meant it to...

Skellow - St Michael

Isn't it amazing how when driving in a car you don't notice when a road is very slightly uphill but when you are on a bike and realising that you really aren't as fit as you ought to be the hills suddenly appear...

Somehow Sprotbrough seems to be getting further away!!!

Burghwallis - St Helen

My first ever visit to St Helen's with a very welcome cup of Apple Juice - it is Heritage Day today - Ah that is why we are doing this today!

Sadly our first setback - Jacquie's back wheel has a puncture - thankfully between Malcolm (our resident cycle expert) and one of the Church Wardens (Burghwallis' resident cycle expert) we are sealed, pumped and on our way, but a little behind time.

Campsall - St Mary Magdelene

I've driven past a few times but never stopped. What an interesting frontage, but with the time we lost fixing the puncture we've no time to stop - maybe next time!!

Off for the last climb up to the Askern Pit Top and then downhill at last!!

Actually the climbs up to Burghwallis and Campsall weren't as bad as I feared - I'm not looking forward to Richmond Hill on the last leg to St Mary's in Sprotbrough though!!

Askern - St Peter

Askern at last! From here it should be fairly straightforward at least until we get to St Edmunds!

Sadly we are down to 2 cyclists - the repair on Jacquie's rear wheel gave way just above Campsall and she had to gracefully retire!

Thanks to Darren for rescuing her!

Owston - All Saints

It is amazing how short a distance feels in a car but how long it feels on a bike - at least the road from Askern to Owston is flat - but boy oh boy cars going past at 60mpg is a bit hairy!!

Another wonderfully cold cup of juice to revive tired limbs.

New Bentley - St Philip and St James

The longest leg to here and some of the bridges between here and Owston are a bit steep - I'm beginning to appreciate the level crossing ahead in Arksey, but at least we got a glimpse of home - All Saints set on the hill over to our right!

New Bentley is similar to All Saints - red brick with white plaster - yet so wonderfully different

A quiet moment at the back of the church
Our worship styles are VERY different
but the truth of our relationship is
One Church, One Faith, One Lord.

Arksey - All Saints

The third All Saints on our route and a church whose layout and architecture has a story to tell - it will have to wait for another day.

Arksey marks the eastern edge of the Deanery - Go West Young Man!

(Well - not so young any more but hey!)

Bentley - St Peter

The range of Church architecture in the Deanery is fascinating but once again there is no time to explore. Only a brief pause whilst Rev Mark Wigglesworth and Rev Ali Dorey from Askern meet up with us.

The plan had been to cycle together from Askern but Jacquie's puncture put paid to that.

Now to try and find St Luke's in Scawthorpe
- any ideas Mark??

Scawthorpe - St Luke

We've found it!!!

Where a church should be - in the heart of a community, not far from the shops.

A gentle reminder that
"man looks on the outside
but God looks on the heart!"

Scawsby - St Leonard and St Jude

Crossing the A638 York Road was easy - no traffic, but the A635 Barnsley Road was much harder. In the end I got off the bike and crossed at the pelican whilst the others took advantage of the red light and turned right into the cark park.

I presume that the No Waiting sign painted on the ground didn't apply to us Father Pay - did it?

Anchorage Lane - St Edmund

Via the Great North Road and a quiet cycle path leads to our penultimate church.

Not far to go now - Just Richmond Hill stands between us and the finish line at Sprotbrough.

Mark and Ali are doing the full circuit - for them Sprotbrough is only another waypost, for us it is mission accomplished!

Still at St Edmunds

It is nearly 4pm but we have just enough time to say hello to Rev John Richards and Rev Katie Francis as they host Sprotbrough's Annual Re-enactment of the moment the Disciples were met at the Empty Tomb by two people dressed all in White.

Sprotbrough - St Mary

Journey's end - for me at least - Mark and Ali are heading off for their next leg - Malcolm is cycling home.

It seems ironic that my cycle ride was from All Saints
to St Mary's as it was here in Sprotbrough that my own journey of faith began when I first worshipped here aged 4.

Strange how God works sometimes.

Anyway - 20.74 miles ends here ... or does it?

Skelbrooke - St Michael

I felt so guilty about missing out Skelbrooke that I decided to extend the day and here I am - stood with my bike outside the last of the Deanery Churches...

but then a confession.

It was a 2.0 litre Diesel Injection engine which provided the power for this journey rather than a 2 leg power Vicar on a bike.

Ah well Skelbrooke - Maybe next time!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Monday, January 12, 2009

2009 - and counting!

I said to the man
who stood at the gate of the year,
'Give me a light that I may tread safely
into the unknown.'
And he replied ,
'Go out into the darkness
and put your hand into the hand of God.
That shall be to you
better than light
and safer than a known way !'
So I went forth
and finding the Hand of God,
trod gladly into the night .
And he led me towards the hills
and the breaking of day in the lone East.

Minnie Louise Harkins 1875-1957

Whatever 2009 holds,
whatever struggles we will face,
whatever joys we will encounter,
whatever people come our way,
whatever work needs doing,
wherever we go,
wherever life may take us

we know that God will be with us
as long as we choose not to let go of his hand.

Let's face the adventure of a New Year determined to Know Jesus better,
to Show Jesus through our love for one another and our community
and to Share Jesus with everyone that we may meet.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

All Saints Calendar of Events