The Rector Writes – October 2014

It’s seems like forever since I last wrote a letter for the parish magazine. And, given the vagaries of my health, I have to admit it has been a little while. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for the love and prayers since my stay in hospital in July. I’d particularly like to thank Alison Mills and Jane Cawley, our lovely Church Wardens, for rising with such skill and sense to the challenge of having me out of action. I very much hope that you both appreciate their work and join me in praying for them. It can be a challenge being a church warden at the best of times, let alone when the Rector is poorly.

Some of you may be wondering what the future holds for me. I am pleased to report that since coming out of hospital I’ve been reasonably stable. My medication – a regime already with side effects – has been doubled and I’m hoping this will bring some of the active Crohn’s under control. I’m dealing with some less than lovely side effects from the drugs and there is a big question over whether the NHS will support the increased dose (one of the drugs is eye-wateringly expensive), but I’m sure we’ll get there on that front. The surgical aspects are more complex.

I am hoping to avoid any more major surgery. Alas, I’ve had so much surgery in the past that any intervention in the abdominal area will be tricky. It is very much a last resort, but given how serious things were in July it remains a real prospect. I have some serious narrowings in my remaining bowel and surgery may be unavoidable.

However, before that becomes the main option I’m hoping that a smaller surgical procedure will do the trick. It is possible to dilate sections of bowel, opening them up so that food can pass more easily through. I’ve had this done in the past and it provided temporary relief. My consultants and I are hoping that it might provide more than temporary relief this time. However, there is no guarantee of this. Equally, I am in a bit of limbo as the person who is capable of carrying out the procedure might yet decide that my particular case is too tricky.

As you can imagine, all this uncertainty is a little unsettling. I continue to welcome your thoughts and prayers at this challenging time. However, I also want you to know how encouraged and hopeful I am about the future. It seems to me that seeking to live faithfully in the midst of the Living God is about trusting. The way of God is always precarious. It would be easy to imagine the Way of Christ as some sort of clear road-map that – with the right ‘skills’ – offers a clear and direct path to some glorious future with God. That has always struck me as appealing, but ultimately childish. God more often offers enough grace for the day, the hour, the minute ahead. Sometimes, when pain or distress is great, it can seem as if there is no grace at all. I don’t know what the future holds, but does that really matter? I see lots of options and expect lots of challenges. But God is to be found in all of them, sometimes in the most bleak and scary places. It was always thus. And – for all of us – so it will always be.


The Rector Writes – September 2014

Dear Friends,

We are resuming normal service at St.Nicholas on a gradual basis.

It is good to report that Rachel is back with us but she is taking a couple of Sunday’s off as holiday.

We have been fortunate to welcome a number of visiting Priests to take our Wednesday and Sunday services. With the help and support of our Area Dean Rev’d Stephen Edwards we managed to cover every service during Rachel’s absence .

As I write this letter Rachel, Ollie, the cast and crew of our new production ‘A Tree of War’ are very busy in the final week of rehearsals. Burnage Community Choir are singing in the musical. We are very pleased to report that Manchester City Council have awarded us a grant to help with funding for the event. All we need now is a full house at each of our performances. Tickets are available on line via the church website or can be purchased via a telephone ticket line 0161 432 7009. We do hope you will come and experience this wonderful event commemorating WW1.

September brings National Heritage Weekend and we will be opening the church doors to welcome visitors to our Grade 2* listed building. Do pop in between 10.00 and 4.00pm on Saturday 13th or Sunday 14th September and have a good look round the building—we will have guides available to take you on a tour. Our Harvest collections for Burnage Food Bank and Barnabus Charity for the Homeless will continue until Harvest Sunday on 5th October.

As the schools and colleges return for a new term it always feels as though our new year starts at this time of year. Two of our young people will be starting a new phase in their life as they leave for University in late September. Good luck to Emily Crossley off to Sheffield Hallam University and to Clare Lancaster who is to study at University of York.

The repairs to the church roof are entering a new phase. Initial surveys have been completed and we have been granted the next phase in the Heritage Lottery Funding. More grant applications will be made to help us to fund the work required. As a congregation we have to raise funds to contribute to the grant funding. You can all help by supporting our fund raising events.

After a hectic few months we should perhaps reflect and be grateful for all the wonderful support we have received from so many people…..

With love, Alison & Jane


The Rector Writes – August 2014

Dear Friends,

As I write this note on Saturday 19th July and prepare the August edition of the Church magazine, Rachel is unfortunately spending a few days in hospital. We hope she will be home soon, we have sent her our love, prayers and good wishes for a speedy recovery.

In the magazine you will see we have a busy two months ahead….. From 4th to 8th August we are hosting another Holiday Club, on 5th and 6th September there will be a performance of a new production entitled ‘The Tree of War’ written by Rachel Mann and Ollie Mills to commemorate the centenary of the First World War and the church building will be open on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th September from 10.00 to 4.00pm as part of National Heritage Weekend. The event will include a coffee morning on Saturday 13th from 10.00 to 12noon and an all- day café with guided tours of the church building. We need your help to provide refreshments and tours of the building….it is great showcase our unique church building and to demonstrate its versatility with a variety of events. More details of these events and ticket information is in this magazine.

Harvest collections are well underway for Burnage Food Bank and for Barnbus Charity for the homeless. Please remember to take advantage of two for one offers and bring along the spare items to church, toiletries, new underwear, socks, hats, gloves, tea bags, tins of soup, tomatoes, beans and other tinned goods. Thank you…

Please keep Rachel in your prayers,

With love and best wishes, Alison, Churchwarden.

The Makers Club (Sunday School)

The Makers Club (or as some may know it as ‘The Sunday School’), meets every Sunday at 10:15 a.m. in the Vestry.

All children aged 3 years and upwards are very welcome to attend!

For more information please contact Mrs. Margaret Witty on 0161 432 2933

Women’s Fellowship

St. Nicholas Women’s Fellowship held on the second and fourth Wednesday afternoons of the month from 2.30 to 4.00pm

We are a group of women who meet every second and fourth Wednesday of the month at 8p.m. when after a talk by a visiting speaker, we have a chat and refreshments.

We enjoy visits to the theatre, meals out and coffee mornings which are usually well supported and enjoyable. Our programme runs from September to May, but members are free to join us at any time.

Find out more about what is going on with the Women’s Fellowship by clicking here

For any information, please call Mrs. A. Holmes (Chairperson) on 0161 434 2245


For girls aged 5 to 7 years.

We meet every Wednesday evening, 6.00 p.m. to 7.00 p.m. in the church hall.

Service Times

First Tuesday of the Month
7:30 p.m. Taize evening prayer

Every Wednesday
10:00 a.m. Eucharist

Every Sunday
8:30 a.m. Holy Communion (BCP)
10:30 a.m. Parish Communion & Young People’s Church

Everybody is welcome!

About Our Church

St.Nicholas Church is a Grade II* listed building.

It is the first church designed by the architect Nugent Francis Cachemaille Day.

In 1931 The foundation stone was laid. The ‘old’ hall was built and used for services.

In 1932 the building was completed at a cost of £11,600.

From 1963/64 an extension was added to create choir stalls to the rear of the building.

In the late 1990’s the rectory and two halls were demolished and the land sold in preparation for the restoration project.

At a cost of over £1million a complete restoration was carried out in 2000/02 under the guidance of the architect Anthony Grimshaw.

The interior was redesigned with the rear (West End) of the church , including the choir stalls , being converted into a hall for community use. The new hall and worship area are separated by a moveable screen and a striking glass circular meeting room has been constructed at first floor level. The exterior remains as in 1932.

As a part of the restoration a new rectory was built on the corner of Kingsway and Poplar Road.

The new building was dedicated by the Bishop of Manchester in June 2002.

WikiPedia – Nugent Francil Cachemaille Day

Find out more about the history of St Nicholas Church

The Symbolism of the Altar Cross

Individual parishioners and visitors to St. Nicholas react in different ways to the cross over the altar. Some find it very much in keeping with the Art Deco design of the church whilst others would prefer a more traditional cross.

The new Cross which was made for the restoration of the church, completed in 2002. Anthony Grimshaw, the architect of the new cross incorporated a great deal of Christian symbolism in his design.

  •  The large circle symbolizes eternity and its origins can be traced to the Celtic culture of the British Isles.
  •  The elongated vertical lower part of the cross is the oldest form of Christian Cross and was called God’s mark.
  •  The small brass disc represents the Host.
  •  The three-part brass ends to the arms of the cross represent the trinity, twelve in number representing the Apostles.

The sizes and colour  of the metal sections matches the Lady Chapel screen which can be seen beyond the sanctuary wall.

The cross was made by Alan Dawson.

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