Weekly News on Saturday 1 January 2022

Dear Church Community,

Happy New Year!

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THIS SUNDAY

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There is one service tomorrow morning at 10:00 AM celebrating ‘Epiphany.’ It is a service of holy communion. On this occasion, refreshments will not be served after the service (they will resume on Sunday 9th). You might find it helpful to know you can download and print the order of service and bring it along with you if you wish to. Click HERE if so. The Bible passage is Matthew 2.1-18 (Church Bible page 807) which can be accessed online HERE. On your way into Church, pick up a Bible from the bookcase, so that you can follow along during the service.

Our worship will be live streamed and can be viewed on our YouTube channel HERE and our Facebook channel HERE.

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NEXT SUNDAY

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From Sunday 9th January, the services will resume at their usual times:

  • 9:00 AM Traditional (Book of Common Prayer) Service of Holy Communion (with refreshments afterwards)
  • 11:00 AM Contemporary Service of Holy Communion LIVE streamed (with refreshments afterwards)
  • 5:00 PM ‘Treehouse’ Informal Family Worship (with refreshments on arrival)

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With prayers for God’s blessing upon the church community during 2022.

Damian

Weekly News on Saturday 18 December 2021

Dear Church Community,

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CAROLS AND CHRISTINGLE ON THE CAR PARK

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This service is now fully booked!

Those who haven’t booked are still welcome to come but please give priority to receiving a Christingle to those who have booked. It starts at 5:00 PM. 120 seats will be available with at least 200 people attending. Therefore if you need a seat, please arrive early. Remember to wrap up warm. The service will take place outside as planned.

All the lyrics for the carols are on THIS PAGE HERE on our website. If you’re able to, bring your mobile phone to the service and sing along using the words from the website. We will also display the words are on the large TV screen but not everyone will be able to see these words. 

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THIS SUNDAY

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The services tomorrow, on Sunday 19th December are:

  • 9:00 AM Traditional (Book of Common Prayer) Service of Holy Communion (with refreshments afterwards)
  • 11:00 AM Contemporary Service of Holy Communion LIVE streamed (with refreshments afterwards)
  • 5:00 PM Carols and Christingle on the Car Park (with hot chocolate, mince pies and donuts)

The Bible passage is Luke 1.39-56 (Church Bible page 855) which can be accessed online HERE. On your way into Church, pick up a Bible from the bookcase, so that you can follow along during the service.

Our worship will be live streamed at the 11:00 AM Sunday Service and can be viewed on our YouTube channel HERE and our Facebook channel HERE.

If you are attending the 11:00 AM service, you might find it helpful to know you can download and print the order of service and bring it along with you if you wish to. Click HERE if so. 

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NEW KITCHEN UPDATE

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It’s 99.9% finished!

Good news, we will be using the Hall for refreshments tomorrow after the morning services. They will be served from…the new kitchen! Do have a look and marvel at the extra space and equipment – and praise God for His provision!

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FESTIVE MUSICAL LUNCHES WITH TURKEY AND CRANBERRY BAGUETTES!

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There is still time to book! From Monday 20th December to Thursday 23rd December, 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM, lunch is served in the Hall. With lovely fresh and thick soup, turkey and cranberry baguettes, crisps, cheese and biscuits, crackers, and mulled wine. You are welcome to come in your Christmas jumper and/or hats!

All for the great value of just £5 per person to cover the cost. BOOKING IS REQUIRED USING THIS LINK for catering purposes. At the moment Monday is looking quite busy but there are a couple of places on Tuesday and plenty of spaces on Wednesday and Thursday.

Seating will be spread out through the Hall with windows and doors open to ensure good ventilation. 

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CHRISTMAS SERVICES

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For information of all our Christmas events and services, please visit the ‘Christmas page’ on our website HERE

With love and blessings,

Damian

Weekly News on Wednesday 15 December 2021

Dear Church Community,

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CAROLS AND CHRISTINGLE ON THE CAR PARK

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There’s still time to book for this coming Sunday at 5:00 PM!

It should be a lovely time together outdoors. There will be 200 Christingles available, each with cocktail sticks of sweets and a glow-stick candle – one for every person, young and old!

Our musicians will be leading the music for our carol singing. There will be hot chocolate and donuts! What more could you want on a cold winter evening on the Sunday before Christmas?!

Our plans are for the service to take place outdoors. At the moment the forecast is 5 degrees celcius and only a 10% chance of rain. Only if the forecast changes to showing severe weather will we make the decision to come indoors. And if we do make that decision, I will inform you on Saturday evening or at the latest Sunday morning so that you can change your plans accordingly – we recognise people may not want to come in large numbers indoors which is why we intend to hold it outside.

We have around 130 people booked in so far, plus helpers and leaders, plus those who have said they are going to book but haven’t yet. So we’re probably up to at least 150-160. If you’re intending to come but haven’t yet booked, please book soon to help us in our planning. BOOK NOW! Please book HERE.

For information of all our Christmas events and services, please visit the ‘Christmas page’ on our website HERE

Looking forward to seeing lots of you on Sunday!

Damian

Weekly News on Thursday 9 December 2021

Dear Church Community,

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WITH THANKFULNESS

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On Thursday last week many people came to the funeral service of Mary Clemence. It was so beautifully planned by Paul and his family. Thank you to those who came and those who watched on the live stream.

Paul has asked me to pass on this personal message of thanks…

We have been embraced by your love in recent weeks as we have gone through a time of great anxiety and, latterly, grief when Mary died on the 20th November. Thank you for your practical support – I never was very good at ironing, but some of you are! You have fed us and asked after us and prayed for us and, at the funeral, made everything work so easily with the music, the refreshments and Damian’s leading the service. James, Jenny and myself and the wider family all want to say a very grateful thanks to you. It is a hallmark of the church that we love one another; you have demonstrated that hallmark towards us and we praise God for you.

Thank you Paul for those words.

Let us continue to hold Paul, James and Jenny in our prayers. And let us continue to hold on to our living hope in the Lord Jesus.

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CURATE

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Mr Andrew Downes will be joining us at Christ Church Thornton from next summer (end of June/beginning of July) as a ‘Curate.’ At a guess it will have been  around 14 or 15 years since Christ Church has had a curate, and so this really is good news for Christ Church and especially for Andrew and his family.

Andrew is married to Kim who is in her final year of training and qualifications in midwifery. Their two children are Ena and Toby. They live some distance away, around 300 miles, in the seaside town of Worthing on the South Coast. Andrew has undergone his theological training at St Mellitus College in London, much of which has been done remotely because of the pandemic. Around half his training was spent at his placement parish of Broadwater, a busy evangelical parish, with the other half of his training devoted to lectures, studying and essays. At the moment he is placed part time in the parishes of St John the Divine and St Andrew the Apostle, also in Worthing. Andrew and Kim have lived in Worthing for about 8 years, and before that they were living on the North East coast near Newcastle.

Some of you may have met Andrew when he and Kim came to visit Christ Church recently. I’ve asked Andrew to send you all a message, which is below…

It was lovely to meet many of you when I visited the parish earlier in the term. Thank you for making Kim and I feel so welcomed, and taking the time to show us around, answer our questions and tell us your stories. I know some of you have been waiting eagerly for this news (because you kept asking ‘So what do you think?’, ‘Have you decided yet?’ whenever Damian was out of earshot!). So, thank you for your patience and bearing with us as we came to this decision and discerned God’s direction as a family. I’m really looking forward to joining you in the summer and working with you to share the love of Jesus with the parish and those around us. I’ll be praying for you these next few months, and I appreciate your prayers for our family as we prepare to move.

So please do pray for Andrew, Kim, Ena and Toby as they prepare to make the move to the Fylde Coast. Thank God for them, for their faith, their willingness to go where God calls, and pray for the practical aspects of finding a school for Ena and Toby, for a job opportunity for Kim, and for the Diocese to find suitable housing for them all.

You can see a recent photograph of Andrew and Kim HERE – on a Blackpool tram!

For anyone new to such ecclesiastic terms as ‘curate,’ let me explain a little more. Andrew will be ordained into ministry into the Church of England at the end of June 2022. At that point he is ordained a ‘Deacon’ for one year, then a year later he will be ordained ‘Priest.’ A curacy is a training post, which usually lasts three years before the curate moves on to be a ‘vicar’ of a church elsewhere. Andrew’s time with us will be in order to continue training for a lifetime of ordained ministry, rooting him in the day-to-day practicalities of parish life, shepherding the flock, receiving from and giving nourishment from the scriptures, and in due course administering the sacraments. I’m really looking forward to welcoming Andrew, Kim, Ena and Toby into the church family here.

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CONCERT THIS FRIDAY

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Tomorrow evening, Friday 10th December, we’re pleased to welcome ‘Blackpool Brass’ to Christ Church. It will be their second visit to us in recent years and we know it’s going to sound amazing. It starts at 7:30 PM, costing £7 per person payable on the door. There’s no need to book, just turn up! There will be an interval with refreshments. There is a poster HERE if you’d like to share it on Facebook or other forms of social media.

Please note due to the restrictions coming into force tomorrow, a face covering will be required during the concert (unless you have an exemption – or are playing an instrument! No, please don’t bring an instrument unless you’re in the band!)

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CHRISTMAS DAY COMMUNITY DINNER

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The new kitchen and alterations to the Hall continue to be on schedule. This week the floor has been laid, the decorators are painting the walls, with further electrical and plumbing work taking place. 

We have made the decision to go ahead with the Christmas Day Community Dinner, on Saturday 25th December at 12:30 PM.

We proceed with great caution, aware of new restrictions, safety procedures and willing to respond as needed. Our priority is to provide for those who might otherwise be spending Christmas Day alone. We will, God-willing, provide a lovely Christmas meal, complete with all the trimmings, along with entertainment and the Queen’s speech. The main thing is to provide company in the midst of a prolonged period of isolation for some. 

We will be putting in place several covid-19 measures in place to protect both our guests and helpers. And sadly, we have to keep open the possibility that the occasion may be called off if it is deemed to be unsafe. If that does happen, we’ll do all we can to take food out to people rather than them come to us. However it is our hope and intention it will go ahead as planned.

Some people reading this might be willing to volunteer on the day. It’s a big commitment, especially in light of the pandemic. If you would like to help or just want to know more about what helping means, please do get in touch to explore further. There will be a planning meeting using ‘zoom’ on the evening of Monday 13th December at 7:30 PM for those who think they might be able to help. Please contact me for the zoom details.

Most importantly, if you are reading this and will be on your own on Christmas Day, or know someone who will, please do get in touch with me. It will be lovely to be together when celebrating the day of our Saviour’s birth. You are most welcome to come and enjoy this special occasion. Please don’t think it’s for ‘other people’ – it’s for anyone who might otherwise be on their own, for you, and you, yes – you as well!

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CHRISTINGLE

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Can you help prepare our Christingle’s? Volunteers are needing for Saturday 18th December at 10:00 AM in Church. Please get in touch if you can help.

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CAROLS AND CHRISTINGLE ON THE CAR PARK

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On Sunday 19th December at 5:00 PM, we will be holding this special event outdoors, with live music, carol singing and celebrating the light of the world, Jesus, through our Christingle. Unless the weather is particularly severe, we intend to continue with the service outdoors – so please come well prepared with warm clothing. We will be using ‘glow stick’ candles which are safe (flame-free), are unaffected by the wind, and will glow in the dark and last for several hours upon returning home. BOOKING IS REQUESTED for this service simply to ensure we prepare enough Christingles. Please book HERE.

For information of all our Christmas events and services, please visit the ‘Christmas page’ on our website HERE

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THIS SUNDAY

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The services on Sunday 12th December are:

  • 9:00 AM Traditional (Book of Common Prayer) Service of Holy Communion (with refreshments afterwards)
  • 11:00 AM Contemporary Service of Holy Communion LIVE streamed (with refreshments afterwards)
  • 5:00 PM ‘Treehouse’ Informal Family Worship (with refreshments on arrival)

The theme is on the angel Gabriel appearing to Mary. The Bible passage is Luke 1.26-38 (Church Bible page 855) which can be accessed online HERE. On your way into Church, pick up a Bible from the bookcase, so that you can follow along during the service.

Our worship will be live streamed at the 11:00 AM Sunday Service and can be viewed on our YouTube channel HERE and our Facebook channel HERE.

If you are attending the 11:00 AM service, you might find it helpful to know you can download and print the order of service and bring it along with you if you wish to. Click HERE if so. 

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ARE YOU STILL READING?

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Well done, we’re nearly there…!

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FACE COVERINGS

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The new regulations (‘Plan B’) make face coverings in churches compulsory from tomorrow, December 10th. There are of course exemptions for particular groups of people, as there has been throughout the pandemic. Face coverings are not obligatory for outdoor worship. 

We have purchased this week a further 12 large containers of hand sanitiser for your convenience and hygiene. Please use them often, especially when entering and exiting, before receiving communion, and after you have touched a shared surface such as a door handle. 

To comply with the best advice and guidance, we will be leaving the side and front doors of Church ajar this Sunday at services, to ensure fresh air can circulate. It most likely will be very ‘fresh’ due to the time of year and outside temperature. Please bear this in mind when considering what you will wear to Church and where you might sit. Due to having no windows that can open in the Nave, Chancel, Sanctuary or Chapel, this is our only option at the moment of ensuring there is good ventilation for your protection.

Let us continue praying for all those across the world suffering from the virus, especially those without access to healthcare, vaccines, those who are clinically vulnerable and those who are very poorly. 

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AND FINALLY…

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Thank you to so many who have offered support and prayers during my 10-day self-isolation. After managing to avoid the virus for 18 months it finally found me! Gotcha! And this is despite having had both vaccinations and a booster. Please don’t feel too sorry for me, as thankfully my symptoms have so far been very mild (headache, runny nose, tiredness) and are very similar to having a cold but without going through the ‘bunged-up’ stage. I mention this is in case you think you might have a cold. It’s thought that around 1 in 3 people with a cold might actually have COVID-19 at the moment. So if you do have any symptoms of a cold it’s recommended to take a lateral flow test to check.

I’m so grateful to Peter Nunn for stepping in at literally ‘the last minute’ last Sunday. Thanks Peter! Because of my period of self-isolation I’m not allowed to be Church again this Sunday, meaning Peter will be taking all the services once again. All being well I’ll be allowed to leave the house on Thursday 16th December. Yes, I can see the irony – just as I’ll be allowed to finally leave my home the advice from the Government will have changed to “work from home if you possibly can.” Drat!

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With love and blessings,

Damian

Weekly News on Saturday 4 December 2021

Dear Church Community,

Hello! Here is your weekly bumper feed of news from Christ Church Thornton…

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CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING

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Tomorrow (Sunday 5th December), from 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM we’ll be singing carols around the Christmas tree and switching on the lights. This will be a fun occasion for all ages, both adults and children. The tree lighting will be a moment of excitement for children! There will be music from Bispham Silver Band as well as refreshments – hot chocolate and squirty cream and donuts! What more could you possibly want? I know – warm and dry weather! I’m sorry I can’t provide that. So do make sure you wrap up warm. If the weather is particularly bad we’ll hold most of the event inside Church instead, which brings me onto…

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FACE COVERINGS

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In light of the change in government guidance the Diocese of Blackburn’s coronavirus task team is recommending that churches review their risk assessments and seriously consider reintroducing the wearing of masks during indoor, in-person public worship. This is not a legal requirement and so cannot be enforced by parishes, but they are strongly encouraging this course of action until further notice. 

With this in mind, here at Christ Church it is our recommendation to wear a face covering during services, especially during singing. Of course during refreshments this isn’t practical, as well as that the moment of receiving holy communion. There are some for whom wearing a face covering is not possible and you have had exemptions throughout the pandemic – we completely understand. We do have face coverings available for any who need one – please ask a churchwarden or sidesperson on the way in.

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CHRISTMAS CONCERT WITH BLACKPOOL BRASS

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On Friday 10th December, we’ll be hosting ‘Blackpool Brass’ for a musical evening. The cost is £7 per person payable on the door. There will be an interval with hot drinks and biscuits (complimentary) and snacks available to buy. It starts at 7:30 PM. No need to book – just turn up! It will be a brilliant evening. 

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EXCITING NEWS!

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We have ‘breaking news’ to share tomorrow about next year which I’m looking forward to sharing at our services. Now you’re intrigued!

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COMMUNITY CENTRE KITCHEN UPDATE

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We’re three weeks into the building work. Walls have disappeared and new ones have appeared! Steel girders have been installed as well as new electrics, new plumbing and a large extractor hood. Yesterday the walls were plastered and next week we’ll see the kitchen decorated and with a new floor. It’s becoming easier now to envisage the size and shape of what will be the new kitchen just a few weeks from now. We are hoping to have the new kitchen ready in time for the Christmas Day Community Dinner, which will provide a lovely family-feel afternoon of food, fellowship and entertainment for any who might otherwise be spending Christmas day alone. If you are in that position, or know of someone, do get in touch. If you would like to volunteer to help, again do get in touch. Please note we’ll not be able to make a firm decision about the viability of it until another 1-2 weeks from now. We’re very grateful to the Skipton Building Society in Cleveleys who of their own accord have made a donation of £250 towards the cost of funding this initiative and/or the ongoing work of the Food Pantry.

Whilst the work on the new kitchen continues, The Pilgrim’s Rest continues to remain open in Church/Chapel, along with the Playhouse parent baby and toddler group, Meadows Luncheon Club, Lyrics and Lunch – all taking place in Church at their usual times. 

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THIS SUNDAY

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The services on Sunday 5th December are:

  • 9:00 AM Traditional (Book of Common Prayer) Service of Holy Communion (with refreshments afterwards)
  • 11:00 AM All-age Parade Service (with Rainbows and Brownies) LIVE streamed (with refreshments afterwards)
  • 5:00 PM Christmas Tree Lighting featuring Bispham Silver Band (with hot chocolate and donuts)

This Sunday we’ll be asking the question ‘what is advent?’. The Bible passage is Luke 3.1-6 (Church Bible page 858) (which can be accessed online HERE. On your way into Church, pick up a Bible from the bookcase, so that you can follow along during the service.

Our worship will be live streamed at the 11:00 AM Sunday Service and can be viewed on our YouTube channel HERE and our Facebook channel HERE.

If you are attending the 11:00 AM service, you might find it helpful to know you can download and print the order of service and bring it along with you if you wish to. Click HERE if so. 

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CAROLS AND CHRISTINGLE ON THE CAR PARK

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On Sunday 19th December from 5:00 PM to 6:15 PM. Following on from the success of last year’s outdoor carols on the car park, it is returning by popular demand! But this year there is a twist – we will also be having Christingle. This will make it a service for all the family. We will be using ‘glow stick’ candles which are safe (flame-free) and will glow in the dark and last for several hours upon returning home. Should the weather be unsuitable, the service will take place inside Church instead. Our music group will be leading the carols and Christmas songs. BOOKING IS REQUIRED via the website HERE. We have 74 people booked in so far! 

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FOOD PANTRY

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Over the next few weeks we’ll be distributing 35 bags of food to local schools to help families in need. If you can help, please see below the types of things to bring. You can drop them off on a Sunday or during the week:

  • Cereals
  • Long-life milk
  • Pasta sauces
  • Items to go with rice (we have plenty of rice in stock)
  • Fruit (tinned)
  • Vegetables (tinned)
  • Soup
  • Tinned meat: stew, meatballs, luncheon meat, corned beef
  • Tinned fish: tuna, salmon
  • Instant foods are very useful, such as pot noodle, pasta and sauce packets
  • Biscuits, crackers, crisps
  • Beans, spaghetti hoops
  • For the fridge/freezer: cheese, butter, ham, milk, frozen ready meals, chips, waffles, chicken nuggets  – but please make contact in advance to drop off at a time when the fridge and freezer are accessible
  • Christmas selections boxes and other chocolate gifts

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Yours in His service,

Damian

Weekly News on Wednesday 1 December 2021

Dear Church Community,

On Sunday it was lovely to welcome Bishop Jill to our Confirmation service. If you missed coming to the service or want to watch again, you can watch it on YouTube HERE and Facebook HERE

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FUNERAL OF MRS MARY CLEMENCE

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Mary’s funeral is tomorrow, Thursday 2nd December, at 2:00 PM in Church, followed by burial in the Churchyard and refreshments in Church. We’ll be gathering to pay tribute to Mary, to give thanks to God for her life, to seek God’s comfort through prayer, worship and scriptures, and in the midst of grief to remember the resurrection hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul extends his welcome to all who would like to come. For those who can’t, the service will be streamed live to our YouTube page HERE

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Peace be with you,

Damian

Weekly News on Thursday 4 November 2021

Dear Church Community,

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SONGS OF PRAISE FROM BLACKPOOL

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On Sunday afternoon BBC Songs of Praise came from Blackpool! Katherine Jenkins visited All Hallows Church in Bispham to talk to Rev Jonny Lee about All Hallows’ Eve and went to the promenade to speak to Rev Canon Dr Simon Cox about the resurrection illumination shining brightly. A ‘light party’ was filmed at St. John’s Church in Blackpool. If you look carefully, you’ll spot Lauren, who organised the event along with Scripture Union. The episode also features local musicians Keith and Jenny Raby who share their faith through their music. If you missed it, you can watch it on the BBC iplayer HERE

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LADIES

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How would you like to start The Ladies Evening Group in the New Year with a Dinner at the Briardene Hotel? If you are interested please let Judith Murphy know very soon. All ladies are welcome

(note to self – gentleman, we need to do something too!). 

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HOPEPOD

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Episode 6 of 6 of the Diocesan HopePod was released this week. Filmed at Christ Church Thornton and hosted by me and colleges around the Diocese, it’s entitled ‘Turkey and Tinsel.’ Complete with Christmas jumpers, the episode explores Christmas services and activities in churches. The guest on this episode is Jono Peatman who works as the Sung Worship Coordinator at St Thomas’ Lancaster and the Debt Centre Manager at Lancaster and Morecambe CAP Debt Centre.

You can watch the YouTube version of the podcast or listen on Spotify using the links below:

Episode 6 ‘Turkey and Tinsel’ – watch on YouTube HERE and listen on Spotify HERE

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God bless,

Damian