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25 February 2021

Do you remember that back in March I shared this poem, written by Kitty O'Meara, which was created for this time:

And the people stayed home.
And read books,
and listened,
and rested,
and exercised,
and made art,
and played games,
and learned new ways of being,
and were still.
And listened more deeply.
Some meditated,
some prayed,
some danced.
Some met their shadows.
And the people began to think differently.

And the people healed.
And, in the absence of people living in ignorant,
dangerous,
mindless,
and heartless ways,
the earth began to heal.

And when the danger passed,
and the people joined together again,
they grieved their losses,
and made new choices,
and dreamed new images,
and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully,
as they had been healed.

10 February 2021

The Circuit Meeting of the Shaw & Royton Circuit met in parallel with the Circuit Meeting of the Oldham & Saddleworth Circuit last night (Monday 8 February 2021) in order to discuss and decide upon the possibility of creating a new Methodist Circuit for the whole of Oldham from September 2021.

The meeting was productive and good natured, although as challenging as ever of course. The outcome was that, by overwhelming majorities, both Circuit Meetings voted to come together into a new Oldham Circuit on 1 September 2021.

The voting was as follows:

Oldham & Saddleworth -- Voting Members Present: 35 Votes for: 32 Votes Against: 2
Shaw & Royton -- Voting Members Present: 19 Votes for: 18 Votes Against: 1

What will happen next is that the Circuit Leadership Teams shall be working closely together in order to develop the process which brings about the new Circuit. Now that the decision has been made to come together, the fine details will be worked out and presented to the Circuit Meetings for decision. We shall keep members of the churches in both Circuits abreast of developments as they fall into place over coming weeks and months.

Please continue to pray for the members of the Leadership Teams as they engage in this process on your behalf. Please pray for the churches of our two Circuits as we move towards the creation of the new Circuit. Pray for God's Spirit to be upon us as we do a new thing in God's name.

Blessings abound!

Adrian.

The Revd Dr Adrian Burdon
Superintendent
The Methodist Church in Oldham
Oldham & Saddleworth | Shaw & Royton

New Year's Eve 2020
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As we come to the end of 2020 we are undoubtedly glad to see the back of a year that has, for many people, been a difficult one. Yet we enter the New Year in seemingly no better a situation. I write this as a vast swathe of the country enters Tier 4, virtual lockdown, for the next few weeks. The good news is, though, that the vaccine is being rolled out and I know that many of our more vulnerable and older friends have begun the process of being inoculated against Covid-19. We move forward in hope, knowing that we are closer to the end of this difficult time than we are to its beginning.
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You will know that I had begun to make plans for our churches to begin to reopen in the New Year and we were all looking forward to that. You will not be surprised to read my suggestion that we need to again hold back on that particular plan and keep on doing what we have been doing since March. I am as frustrated to have to write that sentence as you are in reading it. It is especially frustrating as we were, for a couple of weeks, moving in the right direction. The emergence of a more-easily transmitted variant of the virus does make it particularly more dangerous for us to continue with our plans to get back together.
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So, please recognise that the provisional preaching plan published just before Christmas is now suspended and we shall keep on with online worship for the time being.
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As soon as it is safe to do so, we shall begin to open our churches and, provided the equipment has been installed, we shall be able to offer the option of watching livestreamed worship alongside the option of being physically present.
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I would suggest that the trigger for us to next consider making the transition from online-only worship into this mixed economy should be the time when we enter Tier 2. Until then, let is keep on keeping on in the manner that we have been doing.
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The Revd Dr Jonathan Hustler, The Secretary of the Conference, offers us this prayer for the moment:
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Loving God, in our fear, in our grief, in our disappointment, may we know that you are with us,
And as we heed the call to remain in our homes, help us there to serve you faithfully,
That others might know of Immanuel, God with us. Amen.

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And here is a video-prayer for the New Year from the Revd Richard Teal, President of the Methodist Conference.
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Keep the faith, stay safe and know that blessings abound.
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Adrian
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The Revd Dr Adrian Burdon
Superintendent Minister
Shaw & Royton Circuit of the Methodist Church

 

Christmas Eve 2020

Remember that our worship for Christmas Day is now a recording as is available in the usual place on the Worship page of the Circuit Website. Likewise for worship for Sunday 27 December.

Here is a prayer for Christmas Eve from the Methodist Church in Britain.

Wednesday 23 December 2020

We stand within sight of the manger and the light of the star becomes brighter and begins to settle over the place where the Christ-child lies. We look around in wonder. We look around and wonder. We wonder at the sight, for we find that the stable and manger are not in some distant place, we don't even need to go to church to find them, for they are in our midst, with us in the very place in which we find ourselves. No matter in what place we find ourselves, God is with us, Immanuel, in our midst holding us and shielding us. No matter what the journey has been that brings us here, no matter what lied ahead on our continued journey, Immanuel — God is with us.

God is with you, me , us. So thanks be to God this Christmastide.

Here is a video, produced by the Methodist Church in Britain
Sunday 6 December 2020

Here are two video prayers for Advent. The first is written and read by Carolyn Lawrence, Vice President of the Methodist Conference. The second is written and read by the Revd Dr Andrew Lunn, Chair of the Manchester & Stockport District.

ADVENT CONVERSATIONS

We had a good conversation last Monday for our Advent preparation. We are thinking about the Magi who travelled to the manger. The second conversation is at 7pm this Monday and we shall be thinking about Gifts. Please join us. If you did not manage to join in last week then that is OK -- each conversation stands alone so you have not missed the boat. Join us on zoom at 7pm. We are aiming to spend just an hour in conversation. Join us on https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8061526008 Meeting ID: 806 152 6008.

ALL WE CAN CHRISTMAS CONCERT & NATIVITY PLAY

All We Can is the Methodist relief and development charity. They have been producing occasional services of worship and celebration. A very good one was produced recently for Christmas. Take a look at The Big Sing for Christmas at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSeBSH2w1GQ&t=1214s .

CHRISTMAS GREETINGS

Do you remember how on Easter Day we greeted one another with recording ourselves announcing the words of the resurrection ? Shall we do it again for Christmas? Please record yourself saying either "Christ is Born -- Peace be with you" or simply " Merry Christmas" and send it to me at adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk . I shall then put them together and use them in our Christmas morning worship.

CHRISTMAS DAY WORSHIP

We look forward to being able to worship together on Christmas Day. The recent consultation has resulted in enough positive responses for us to be able to meet together in Trinity Church, Royton, at 10am on Christmas Morning. There will be an equivalent online service -- provided the technology is set up in time then it will be a live streaming of the same service. If you have already inducted that you are coming then you need to do nothing else. If you intend to come but have not yet told me then you really do need to tell me as space is limited and seats must be booked in advance. It is imperative that you contact me to reserve your seat. If you know someone who does not receive emails then please pass this message on to them. The deadline for booking your place is Friday 18 December 2020. Seating will be allocated in order to enable social distancing and you will receive notice of your seat. You must wear a mask to worship and observe all the regulations of the tier that we are in at the time. Assuming that we shall remain in Tier 3 then this means that we cannot interact with each other even though we are in the same room. I know this will be hard, but it is important. Wave across the room to your friend, but please do not cross the room to speak with them.

WORSHIP IN THE NEW YEAR

If worship on Christmas Day goes to plan and the situation allows, we shall begin to get back to worship in our church buildings in the New Year. These will be very cautious and tentative services and will not be in every place at once. We shall work together to make things possible but please remain patient. These acts of worship will be a mixture of physical services and recorded and shared worship depending on the availability of preachers.

GOD WITH US

God with Us is the Methodist Church campaign for Christmas 2020 which aims to speak into our difficult situation this year. Go to the website at https://findingourhope.co.uk/ where content will develop over the coming weeks. You can even add your own story of finding hope in the isolation of the past months. Have a look and keep going back over coming weeks.

I hope that you continue in God's grace and peace. Remember that you are all held in love and prayer and if you are any particular need then please let me know.

Blessings Abound!

Adrian
The Revd Dr Adrian Burdon
Superintendent Minister, Shaw & Royton Circuit of the Methodist Church

 

> Monday 2 November 2020

Greetings!

We find ourselves facing another month of lockdown. For some of us this does not change our situation greatly, as we have continued to restrict our movements. For others, however, this comes as very unwelcome news which has a profound impact upon our emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Let us continue to be kind to ourselves and to each other. Remember, also, if you need any help then do get in touch and we shall do our best to assist whether that is with practical things or with a chat or a prayer (adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk).

November is the month of remembrance, yesterday's service for All Saints brought to mind those who have inspired us, today is All Souls when we remember those whom we have loved and lost awhile, next Sunday is Remembrance Sunday and the 11 November is Armistice/Remembrance Day. Unfortunately we cannot attend any public services of remembrance this year. Sunday's online worship will be a formal service for Remembrance Sunday and will include the traditional act of remembrance. You can access the worship through the Worship page of this website in the normal manner, or click on this link. If you commence watching the service at 10.30am then you will reach the act of remembrance and two minutes silence at 11am.

The end of November brings us to the beginning of the Christian Year at Advent Sunday. During Advent we shall make our preparations for Christmas knowing that it may be a very different Christmas than we have had before. We hope that we shall be able to gather to worship together on Christmas Day, but we shall not know until nearer the time. We shall have opportunity to make our preparations in a number of ways. We traditionally have toy or gift services in all our churches and there is opportunity to do this in the same manner as we observed our Circuit Harvest Festival. Rather than toys, this year we are being asked to offer gifts of food which will be distributed through our friends at the Salvation Army. You can deliver your gifts to Trinity Methodist Church, Radcliffe Street, Royton between 9.30am and 1pm on Thursday 19 November 2020. It is also conventional for each of our churches to collect for Action for Children, the children's charity of the Methodist Church, at Christmas Services. At the same time as collecting the gifts of food, we are also giving the opportunity for you to give gifts of money for the benefit of Action for Children. If you wish to make a donation of food or money for Action for Children, but cannot get to Trinity on that day, then please get in touch and we shall work something out. It is important that you stay safe! (Contact me at adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk).

I shall be offering opportunity for us to come together through an Advent Conversation Group on zoom. I am in the process of planning this and shall announce details very soon.

Thank you for all that you are doing. Remember to get in touch if you need any assistance, or a chat, or a prayer. Keep looking after yourself and continue to be kind to yourselves and those around you.

Here is a prayer for All Saints Day, written and read by Carolyn Lawrence the Vice President of the Methodist Conference. Click here to see and hear the prayer.

Blessings abound!

Adrian

The Revd Dr Adrian Burdon
Superintendent Minister
Shaw & Royton Circuit of the Methodist Church.

> Friday 18 September 2020

At the Circuit Meeting which took place last night it was resolved that we would begin to work carefully towards getting back into church buildings for worship. The Church Councils of all our churches meet over the coming couple of weeks and I shall work with them to decide the most appropriate local response.

We shall have a 'mixed economy' of worship into the future. Online worship will continue to be provided for those who do not yet feel comfortable in returning to worship in our church buildings.

Remember that we shall be subject to strict limitations in terms of how many people may attend the worship and each of our buildings will have a different capacity. If you wish to attend you will need to book in ahead and you will need to provide details for track & trace as this is a legal requirement. All of our churches have undergone risk assessment and the Church Stewards and property teams have worked hard to establish the protocols which are required for reopening of the buildings. Be assured that you shall be as safe in attending worship as you are in any other place. I am grateful to those who have spent a lot of time on this process.

Recognise that worship will be different, but shall still be worship. There will be no hymn singing but, where equipment allows, there will be music. Where equipment allows there will still be some of the video material that we have been using in online worship. You will need to wear a mask and if you are in a category which exempts you from so doing then I respectfully suggest that you probably should not yet be attending public worship. I am obliged to emphasise the Methodist Church and government direction that if you are over 70 years of age you should conduct your own assessment of whether you should be yet attending public worship. If you have underlying health issues then, again, I respectfully suggest that you probably should not yet be attending.

I shall let you know as soon as we have a programme of opening our churches for worship organised. Recognise there will be a pause until you see anything happen as I do need to work on creating the provision -- the Church Council will need to agree the provision, the buildings will need to be made ready, the protocols for opening need to be confirmed, a preaching plan will need to be arranged. With luck, we shall have worship in some form in some of our buildings by the end of October.
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Remember that it is my intention to maintain the online provision throughout this period, and onward, so that nobody is deprived of worship opportunities or feels under any pressure to be physically present in the building.

Any comments or questions are welcome. Do get in touch if you wish to do so.

Blessings abound!

Adrian

The Revd Dr Adrian Burdon
Superintendent Minister
The Methodist Church in Oldham
Shaw & Royton Circuit

> Saturday 12 September 2020

We continue to work our way through life in the pandemic and recognise the changes that are needed in the things of everyday life. The situation remains serious and government direction has in recent days brought about some changes which again add limitations to the way things work.

In the Shaw & Royton Circuit, none of our church buildings are yet open for public worship and we continue with our online worship. We have conducted a survey of church members in order assess the feeling across the circuit. The overwhelming majority of people are remaining very cautious about a return to worship in our church buildings. The Circuit Meeting takes place on Thursday 17 September 2020 will discuss this further.

The most recent update from the Methodist Connexional Team, on 10 September, answers some of the questions that we are asking ourselves about the impact the recent restriction have upon church activities.

In summary:

Places of Worship can remain open for services and prayer. As before, the limit on the number of people is determined by the risk assessment with attendees divided into multiple groups of no more than 6 people.

Weddings and funerals are still allowed and maximum numbers remain at 30 with people divided into multiple groups of no more than 6.

Community Halls remain open and activities are allowed as before but within each activity, participants can be in groups that consist of no more than 6 people.

The government has emphasised that venues must be Covid-19 secure and contact details must be left for Test and Trace.

Here is a prayer for September, written and read by the Revd Richard Teal, President of the Methodist Conference.

Blessings abound!

Adrian

The Revd Dr Adrian Burdon
Superintendent Minister
The Methodist Church in Oldham
Shaw & Royton Circuit | Oldham & Saddleworth Circuit

>Saturday 11 July 2020

We have a new President of the Methodist Conference. The Revd Richard Teal commenced his Presidential year at the meeting of the Methodist Conference last week. He offers us a prayer which you can watch, listen to and pray HERE.

With the ending of the Methodist Conference and the adoption of "The Stations" which is that "Methodist Way" of allocating ministers, presbyters and deacons, to their post, my present post was extended. Not only am I Superintendent Minister of the Shaw & Royton Circuit but I am now also, concurrently, Superintendent of the Oldham and Saddleworth Circuit. Additional resources are being put in place to ensure a continuance of the work that needs to be done and I shall tell you more about those when they are in place. You may see a slight change on my letterheads and email footers to read "The Methodist Church in Oldham" followed by one or other, or both, of the Circuit names. I shall, over coming months, be working with the leadership teams of both Circuits to bring us together into a new Circuit with effect from September 2021. The new Circuit will be a large geographical area which will cover the whole of the Oldham Borough Council area from Hollinwood and Chadderton right across to Diggle and Greenfield. This is a good development as it expands our opportunities for mission and opens up additional resources. You shall hear more about this as the work develops over the next few months — but if you have any questions do feel free to ask them.

I hope that all remains well, please let me know if there is anything that you need.

Blessings abound!

Adrian

The Rev Dr Adrian Burdon
Superintendent Minister
The Methodist Church in Oldham
Shaw & Royton Circuit

adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk

 


> Tuesday 7 July 2020 — Update on the reopening of Church Buildings

The Shaw & Royton Methodist Circuit Meeting met by Zoom Video Conferencing last light. Part of the agenda enabled a conversation about the potential reopening of our church buildings.

It was resolved by an overwhelming majority that the time is not yet right for us to consider reopening of any of our church buildings for public worship and that we should continue as we are doing for some time more. We undertook to review this decision at the next Circuit Meeting which is to take pace on 17 September 2020. We were mindful of the great hardship that our not meeting for worship is placing on some people, especially those who are unable to access the alterative provision, but we made the decision primarily for public safety. We also recognised that even if we were to meet, the restrictions upon our activities, such as singing and loud speaking, would render the worship inadequate. Consequently, I have suspended the plans that I had in place for any reopening of our church buildings for public worship in the early autumn and, for now, have stopped creating the Circuit Preaching Plan. Be assured, however, that we shall get back to worship just as soon as we consider it safe to do so and once the worship that we can offer bears some resemblance of what we would want to be doing.

We also discussed the opportunities for reopening our buildings for appropriate weekday use by the community and lettings. Following government and Connexional guidance, there is a complex process of preparation for us to follow before we can open our building for any purpose. The Circuit Meeting unanimously resolved to undertake the process of formal risk assessment, creation of appropriate procedures, provision of the necessary registers in order to enable our buildings to be opened for community use and lettings from early September 2020. We undertook that I would work with each set of church Stewards and Property Team from 10 August in order to put all things in place by the beginning of September. Having undertaken this work means that when we do feel ready to reopen our buildings for public worship then that process will be more swift and straightforward.
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I do know that this news will frustrate and disappoint many people. Be assured that we are following all the guidelines from the Methodist Connexion and national government and we shall get back to public corporate worship just as quickly and efficiently as it is safe to do so.

Until then, we carry on with our recorded worship, we carry on supporting one another in the marvellous manner that we have been doing, we continue to remember that blessings abound.

Thank you for your continued patience, your continued prayers and your continued support through these hard times.

I hope that all remains well, please let me know if there is anything that you need.

Blessings abound!

Adrian

The Rev Dr Adrian Burdon
Superintendent Minister
Shaw & Royton Circuit of the Methodist Church

adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk

> Wednesday 1 July 2020

Guidance on the reopening of Methodist Church Buildings for worship and general use has been published today. I shall review the documents and enable a conversation to take place at our Circuit Meeting which is scheduled to meet via Zoom on Monday 6 July 2020. The situation is far from straightforward and we are certainly not going to be rushing back into our buildings . It may be some time before we feel it appropriate to gather again for public worship as we must only do so once it is safe and sensible. Thank you for your continued patience, I shall keep you up to date with the progress of thinking and action through these webpages.

I hope that all remains well, please let me know if there is anything that you need.

Blessings abound!

Adrian

The Rev Dr Adrian Burdon
Superintendent Minister
Shaw & Royton Circuit of the Methodist Church

adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk

 

> Thursday 18 June 2020

We continue to keep on with our daily living and for many of us we remain frustrated and challenged by the situations in which we find ourselves. A number of us are supporting family and friends who need especial care at this time. Here is a prayer from the Methodist Church, to use in our situation and to help us offer all that we are feeling to the God who cares for each of us.

It is going to be some time yet before our churches get back to worshipping together in our buildings. Our worship continues to be online, produced week by week, and broadcast via YouTube. I am grateful to all those who assist me in presenting worship. If you would like to participate, by recording yourself reading a lesson or prayer, then please do let me know and I shall include you.

The life and work of the church is not standing still. We continue to work towards and plan for the future. We are especially excited that our new pioneer missioners, Paul and Maura, shall be joining us in September. They are part of the Shaw & Royton Circuit's developing strategy and thinking about mission. Notice that I said 'part of'. They will be coming to work amongst us with some specific tasks, but the overall task of mission belongs to us all as Christian disciples. In exploring the demands of mission we are in line with the current strategy of the Methodist Church. You can watch a new video which has been produced by the Connexional Evangelism and Growth Team here. The video reminds us that God is for all people and that part of the demands of being Christian disciples is to enable other people to come to know Christ and so join us in becoming disciples. Remember though that this does not necessarily mean that these new disciples will do things the way we have always done them. If we allow it, the future is going to become exciting as we travel on in our journey of faith as individuals and as a community.

A number of people enjoyed our virtual coffee morning last week and I invite you to another one. Let's get together again, using zoom, on Wednesday 24 June from 10am until 11.30am. You do not have to come at the start or stay for the whole time. Drop in and drop out as and when you wish. I shall send the link by email. If you are reading this and have not received the link then it means that I do not have an email address for you — so send me a message and we can include you.

I hope that all remains well, please let me know if there is anything that you need.

Blessings abound!

Adrian

The Rev Dr Adrian Burdon
Superintendent Minister
Shaw & Royton Circuit of the Methodist Church

adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk

 

> Wednesday 10 June 2020 update Friday 12 June 2020

The statement containing the UK Government Guidance on the reopening of places of worship, issued on 12 June 2020, can be found HERE

I need to make some comments following the recent government announcement that places of worship may open for private prayer from 15th June 2020.

I would propose that the churches of the Shaw & Royton Circuit remain closed.

There are several reasons for me making this proposal.

The Methodist Church in Britain has decided not to make any change to its position until after the Methodist Conference has met at the end of June and so there is no change in the guidance from the Connexional Team.

Methodist Churches are places where we gather in community to worship and pray together and not a place we commonly go as individuals.

A risk assessment has not been conducted on any of the churches of the Shaw & Royton Circuit.
There are issues with cleaning, distancing and movement through buildings and policies will need to be in place before we resume meeting together. These issues have not yet been resolved.

We need to ensure that those opening and managing the buildings are not those in the highest risk categories . The demographic of the membership of the Shaw & Royton Circuit suggests that this condition would be difficult to meet.

The reinfection rate (R) in the north west of England and in Oldham is one of the highest in the country at the moment and we must remain cautious about the spread of the infection in our area.

I hope that this proposal resonates with the ambitions and expectations of all members of the Circuit. It would envision that it will be the autumn before we can realistically begin to consider opening our buildings for any significant use.

In the meantime, we continue to do what we have been doing in the manner that we have been doing it. Thank you for your patience. Thank you to those who have taken the time to make contact with me offering messages of encouragement and support — such kindness is greatly appreciated.

I hope that all remains well, please let me know if there is anything that you need.

Blessings abound!

Adrian

The Rev Dr Adrian Burdon
Superintendent Minister
Shaw & Royton Circuit of the Methodist Church

adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk

Prayer from Ascension Day to Pentecost : Thy Kingdom Come

Thy Kingdom Come is a global prayer movement that invites Christians around the world to pray between Ascension Day (21 May) and Pentecost (31 May) for more people to come to know Christ. The movement is supported by the Methodist Church in Britain.

Daily Videos for reflection:

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10 | Final

 

> Friday 5 June 2020

Yesterday we had a really good online coffee morning and chat with a crowd of people joining in. We shall do it again in a couple of weeks.

Worship on Sunday takes the form of a Songs of Praise in which a number of members of the churches of the Circuit have participated. I also have included rainbows created by some of the children from the churches around the circuit. You can download it in the usual manner, from YouTube, by going to the Worship page of this website. Please remind your friends who do not have smartphones, ipads or computers, that they can listen on the telephone. Details of the telephone number are on the Worship page of the website.

We continue keeping on with what we are doing in the manner that we are doing it. There is no sign of any significant changes to the regime which would make very much difference to the way in which the church is operating at the moment. The Methodist Connexional Team is guiding us as we move forwards. They have indicated that we continue to heed the Government guidelines for churches and to consider carefully the needs and risks involved in reopening places of worship. At this point, we do not anticipate making any changes to our own guidance until after the meeting of the Methodist Conference which takes place between June 25 and July 2.

If either you, or someone known to you, has a need with which you think I may be able to help, then please do get in touch with me. I know that our established pastoral systems are working well and that you are all looking out for each other. I am especially appreciative of the work being done by our Church Stewards, Pastoral Secretaries and Pastoral Visitors to keep in touch with all our church members and friends.

During our online coffee morning it was suggested that some people would like to maintain their financial support of the churches of the Circuit. This is appreciated and to be encouraged. Our income has pretty much dried up although we continue to have expenses. Please consider sending your collection into the treasurer of the church you normally attend. If you don't already pay by standing order or direct payment from your bank, then please consider doing so as it is by far the most efficient way to make a donation at the moment. Contact the Treasurer of your local church for further details, or contact me if you are not sure who that is.

It has been quite a weeks since things were 'normal'. There is a sense in which how things now are have become the new normal. Let's take a breath. Ask yourself what you need to remind yourself of today. Remember the people, the places, the things that you do that are a blessing. Remember the people, the places, the situations for whom and within which you are a blessing.

Do you remember that back in March I shared this poem, written by Kitty O'Meara, which was created for this time:

FB_IMG_1591347812586

And the people stayed home.
And read books,
and listened,
and rested,
and exercised,
and made art,
and played games,
and learned new ways of being,
and were still.
And listened more deeply.
Some meditated,
some prayed,
some danced.
Some met their shadows.
And the people began to think differently.

And the people healed.
And, in the absence of people living in ignorant,
dangerous,
mindless,
and heartless ways,
the earth began to heal.

And when the danger passed,
and the people joined together again,
they grieved their losses,
and made new choices,
and dreamed new images,
and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully,
as they had been healed.

Here is a link which takes you to a worship song on YouTube that you might like to listen to.

Blessings abound!

Adrian

The Rev Dr Adrian Burdon
Superintendent Minister
Shaw & Royton Circuit of the Methodist Church

adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk

 

>Thursday 28 May 2020

Sunday will be our celebration of Pentecost and our worship will highlight this great festival of the Church. You can access the worship in the usual manner, through the Worship page of this website and on the telephone if you do not have a computer, ipad, smartphone or television which can access YouTube.

You will all be aware that from Monday 1 June 2020 some of the restrictions on activities are being lifted. Most notably, it becomes possible for schools and early years childcare facilities to recommence their work. The Circuit has two early years projects — Red Robin Preschool at Gravelhole and St Andrew's Preschool. Following a risk assessment, Red Robin has decided not to open for any children. St Andrew's has decided to open only for the children of key workers as and when required. The principle reason for this decision is that the nature of the space makes it impossible to guarantee the safety of the children and staff were there to be a full cohort of children on the premises.

Some of you may know people who are teachers and who have continued to work in various ways during the pandemic. Most have been conducting their teaching activities from home and some have been present in schools. Teachers and all others whose work is within schools now face going back to their posts on a full time basis. Please pray for them as they lead the way in working towards the new normal which shall be post-pandemic Britain.

Some of you have been in touch asking what the position is about opening the churches in early July as stated in the Government 'roadmap' a couple of weeks ago. It is important that we all recognise that the timing of such an opening was a very tentative suggestion about which firm decisions have not yet been made. It is also important to recognise what that opening will enable and what it will not allow to happen. Whilst our building might be allowed to open for some activities, it is highly unlikely that public worship will commence in July. I am aware that the preaching plan runs out at the end of June, but do not yet intend to spend time in creating one which continues on from July. There shall be time enough to make provision when we are given notice of public acts of worship being permissible. It continues to be the case that baptisms and marriage service are not permitted and that funeral services are extremely limited.

Recent guidance has come to me via the Chair of District which helps us to consider what needs to be done in our buildings in order to make provision for those activities which take place in them which are becoming permissible.

Opening the Church Building for the First Time

During the previous phase of lockdown, churches were encouraged to carry out regular property checks, but we appreciate that this was not always possible or practical for some trustees. It is therefore crucial that churches adopt a formal process when reopening parts of their properties to ensure that they are safe and fit for purpose before allowing them to be used again under this guidance.

Where possible, the initial assessment for reopening a property should be undertaken remotely in association with your church property steward and the managing trustees or other church members and not one individual. This is to ensure an organised and planned approach which brings collective decision making to the process. The Connexional Property Team have produced detailed guidance and a printable checklist & risk assessment, so please refer to this for this additional information. You can get hold of a copy of this information by going to the Connexional Website HERE.

Other Matters to Consider to Allow Use

Once a building has been opened and initial checks completed, other matters must be considered and any adaptions implemented before it can be used. All of these are covered in the Connexional Property Team's Risk Assessment guidance.

In addition, the following specific questions should be considered —

  • Does using the building for this purpose conflict with other users who may now be using the building under the current policy changes — e.g. pre-school or contractors?
  • If so, can an alternative entrance be used to minimise contact with other users?
  • Can a room/space be used which is easily accessible from outside?
  • Can a room/space be used which minimises door opening?
  • Can a room/space be used which has easy access to handwashing facilities?
  • Does using this property at this time, in this way, have any legal or insurance implications?

Procedures for Using the Church Building each time

It is important that you consider the following broad guidance in the context of your specific building and situation. If there are any specific property questions please contact a member of the Connexional Property Team at property@methodistchurch.org.uk

  • Ensure you have a signing-in/signing-out sheet by the door being used for primary access.
  • Co-ordinate any property visits with church members who may be carrying out other activities e.g. the weekly property check. If any activities can be combined to reduce access to the building or essential travel then this is encouraged.
  • If you are alone, ensure you are working in accordance with your church's lone working policy.
  • Ensure you are using the building in accordance with church security & fire risk procedures.
  • Any books, pens etc. to be used should be brought from home and taken back again afterwards.
  • Ensure hand sanitiser is available at the entrance door for use on entry and exit of the building.
  • Ensure that other hand washing facilities are stocked with soap, paper towels etc.
  • Ensure that there are cleaning products easily available so that cleaning of surfaces which may be touched can easily be cleaned after using the room e.g. door handles, light switches etc.
  • If for any reason others may be unavoidably using the building at the same time, please follow government guidance around social distancing and your church's own risk assessment provisions.

If you wish to discuss any of the procedures outlined, or need further advice, then please do contact me in the fist instance. I can then help you to find the answer to your concern, either from my own resources or by putting you in contact with the appropriate member of the Methodist Connexional Team.

I hope that all remains well, please let me know if there is anything that you need.

Blessings abound!

Adrian

The Rev Dr Adrian Burdon
Superintendent Minister
Shaw & Royton Circuit of the Methodist Church

adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk

 

> Thursday 21 May 2020

Today is Ascension Day when, as we can read in Acts chapter 1 verses 1-11, Jesus was taken back into heaven before the sight of the Disciples. The angels challenge the disciples, asking them why they stand staring up into the sky, and sending them back into the world to follow their calling as disciples of Christ. They are to await the coming of the Holy Spirit upon them, which will empower them to become the people they are called to become.

From today until Pentecost Sunday we are invited into a process of prayer and preparation. Thy Kingdom Come is an international and ecumenical initiative of prayer. As we stand staring up into the heavens, wondering what happened, we are challenged to turn our eyes and hearts back to the world in which we live and move and have our being. I would encourage you to participate in the Thy Kingdom Come initiative and come back for the daily material which will be posted here on our website.

Sunday's worship is being led by three of our Local Preachers, Peter Owen, Norman Unsworth and Dawn Allison. I appreciate their contribution to our worship life and especially appreciate that they have given me a little bit of respite from the challenges of creating our worship online week by week. Go to the usual worship page of our website to participate or go to the usual telephone number if you are accessing worship in that form.

I hope that all remains well, please let me know if there is anything that you need.

Blessings abound!

Adrian

The Rev Dr Adrian Burdon
Superintendent Minister
Shaw & Royton Circuit of the Methodist Church

adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk

 

> Thursday 14 May 2020

Another week has passed and we have seen some very minor changes to the situation, but nothing of any consequence. The reopening of places of worship is mentioned as a possibility in the third phase of the Government's 'roadmap'. This means that nothing is going to happen before early July and even then I am not sure what we shall be able to do. So, it may be that we can open our churches but still can not gather in large numbers for worship.

Still, we keep on keeping on and continue to walk in God's love. Be assured, there shall be a time when this shall all be history!

Thank you to the many people who have taken the time to contact me with a word of encouragement this week. It was really kind of you to do so. We all need the hand on the metaphorical shoulder from time to time, don't we?

This week has been a good week. We interviewed, via Zoom, for the post of Pioneer Missioner in the Circuit. I am really pleased to be able to announce that we have made an appointment of a couple who will share the post between them.

Paul is a trained teacher and Maura holds a Master's degree in Community Music. They served the Methodist Church as Mission Partners in El Salvador and Nicaragua from 2012 to 2016. Maura is presently working as a community music practitioner and Paul as a self-employed gardener in Lincolnshire where they have also been engaging in pioneering mission with their local Methodist Church.

Paul and Maura have a good understanding of the principles and challenges of pioneer missioning. They have good experience of working in this style of ministry, both in the UK and in Latin America. The interview panel was impressed by their clarity of expression, realistic expectations and enthusiastic 'can do' attitude. The panel recognised that Paul and Maura would work well in a job sharing context, each bringing distinct and complementary skills to the role.

Subject to the arrangements being possible in the current situation, Paul and Maura are anticipating moving to the Circuit with their three children in time to begin work in September.

Please pray for Paul and Maura as they make their preparations, and for the Circuit as we make ourselves ready for this exciting new phase in our life and mission.

Worship for Sunday 17 May is prepared and ready to go on the Worship Page of this website. It continues to be available in audio-only form on the telephone for those without internet access. Please continue to let people know about the telephone option as not as many people are accessing it as I thought might.

Christian Aid Week continues to run throughout this week. Obviously we shall not be distributing or collecting donation envelopes. Your can, however, still make your annual donation to the important work of Christian Aid online at www.caweek.org/payin . Please consider supporting this important work as generously as ever.

I hope that all remains well, please let me know if there is anything that you need.

Blessings abound!

Adrian

The Rev Dr Adrian Burdon
Superintendent Minister
Shaw & Royton Circuit of the Methodist Church

adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk

 

> Thursday 7 May 2020

This week I have conducted two funerals under restricted circumstances and they have been quite difficult times both for the bereaved families and for me as the leader. Please remember the families and friends of Ida, from Gravelhole, and Connie, from Trinity, in your prayers at this time. I hope that, when the situation allows, we shall be able to remember Ida and Connie in services at Gravelhole and Trinity and the many people who would have attended their funeral services shall be able to come together in remembrance and celebration.

Worship for Sunday 10 May is now available. The service has made extensive use of material offered by Christian Aid as it is the beginning of Christian Aid Week. You can watch online by following the link here or you can listen to an audio-only version of service over the telephone by dialling 01706 580206.

Christian Aid Week runs from this Sunday, 10 May 2020. Obviously we shall not be distributing or collecting donation envelopes. Your can, however, still make your annual donation to the important work of Christian Aid online at www.caweek.org/payin . Please consider supporting this important work as generously as ever.

I hope that all remains well, please let me know if there is anything that you need.

Blessings abound!

Adrian

The Rev Dr Adrian Burdon
Superintendent Minister
Shaw & Royton Circuit of the Methodist Church

adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk

 


> Friday 1 May 2020

The Rev Cathy Bird, Superintendent of the Stockport Circuit, has written and produced this prayer which some people may find helpful. You can see it on the Methodist Church in Britain YouTube channel by following this link.

 

> Thursday 30 April 2020

Worship for Sunday 3 May is now available. You can watch online by following the link here or you can listen to an audio-only version of service over the telephone by dialling 01706 580206.

Here is a video prayer led by the Rev Barbara Glasson, President of the Methodist Conference.

I hope that all remains well, please let me know if there is anything that you need.

Blessings abound!

Adrian

The Rev Dr Adrian Burdon
Superintendent Minister
Shaw & Royton Circuit of the Methodist Church

adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk

 

 

> Thursday 23 April 2020

Telephone Worship. I have now managed to set up a local telephone number and automated service for our telephone worship. This means that you can dial in at any time and the call will be free to most landlines. Simply dial the number — you do not need to enter any codes or hash key. The telephone number is 01706 580206. Please will Pastoral Visitors and Church Stewards pass this number onto anyone whom they think would like to join in with our worship. Be aware though that what people shall be listening to is simply the soundtrack to the video and so there may be moments when it is not clear what is happening.

I do hope that this new facility will enable people to participate in worship more easily.

I hope that all remains well, please let me know if there is anything that you need.

Blessings abound!

Adrian

The Rev Dr Adrian Burdon
Superintendent Minister
Shaw & Royton Circuit of the Methodist Church

adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk

 

>Sunday 19 April 2020

We enter another week of lock down and I hope all is well with you.

A recorded service is online again this week. Go to the Worship page and follow the link. Apologies for the editing error at the beginning of the sermon. I shall not give up the day job and move to Hollywood ... Hollinwood maybe!!
.
Some of us who usually work outside the home may have been on holiday these past weeks and maybe return to work tomorrow. Maybe you are home-schooling children and shall be back to that task in the morning. Maybe you start another week of lonesome self-isolating, social distancing. Whatever you circumstances, may you find peace and blessing.

Blessings abound!

Adrian

The Rev Dr Adrian Burdon
Superintendent Minister
Shaw & Royton Circuit of the Methodist Church

adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk

 

 

> Thursday 16 April 2020

Worship for Sunday 19 April shall be available on the worship pages of this website.

You can also listen to it live at 10.30am on Sunday over the telephone. Please share these details with friends known to you do not have access to a computer:

Here is how to do it:

1. Dial the telephone number 0330 088 5830
2. You will be asked for a meeting number. Using you telephone keypad put in the number 8061526008 followed by the # key.
3. You will be asked for your ID number but you do not have one so simply press the # key on your telephone.
4. You will be asked for the password. Enter 580329# on your telephone keypad.
5. You shall now be able to listen to the service.

Note that this will only be available at 10.30am on Sunday as it is a live broadcast of the service.

Adrian

The Rev Dr Adrian Burdon
Superintendent Minister
Shaw & Royton Circuit of the Methodist Church

adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk

 

> Good Friday (10 April 2020)

Today is Good Friday. We remember the suffering of Christ on the Cross.

Click here to watch a short video meditation containing music and images for Good Friday.

There is a service for Good Friday, produced by Norman Unsworth, and a sermon/meditation by Peter Owen, both Local Preachers in the Shaw & Royton Circuit, on our worship page. You can see them HERE.

 

cross nail

Adrian

The Rev Dr Adrian Burdon
Superintendent Minister
Shaw & Royton Circuit of the Methodist Church

adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk

 

 

> Maundy Thursday (9 April 2020)

The ancient designation of this day is "Maundy," a form of the word "mandate." And what is a mandate? It is a command, a demand, an order, an administrative determination, a legal authority, something required. It is mandatory, rather than optional. No choice.

The mandate on this day is to love one another.

The story of this day, this night, includes dinner with friends, some farewell speeches, the washing of feet, entreaties to wakefulness, sleep, betrayal, violence, absence. It is a night of sweetness and of division, of coming together and ripping apart. The stories we most often associate with this day and which we remember most fondly, are the stories of a last supper, of Jesus instructing his disciples to "remember me," of Jesus washing his followers' feet.

But do you remember, too, the entreaty of Jesus to "watch with me for a little while," when his disciples wanted to sleep? Loneliness. Abandonment. The quiet of a slumbering night. Do you remember the betrayal of Judas, when he identified his lord to the soldiers? Treachery. Anger. The other disciples responded with horror. One disciple cut off a soldier's ear before Jesus stopped him. Finally, Jesus was hauled away by the soldiers, the disciples were left alone in shock and grief, Peter stumbled around, lost, denying he even knew Jesus, and the cock crowed. Once. Twice. Three times. The dawning of a new and terrible day when people would be put to death.

When we mark Maundy Thursday, we mark the beginning of the end, in a sense. It is the time when Jesus bid farewell to his followers on this earth and gave them final instructions for carrying on in his absence. It was a last opportunity for Jesus to tell them his message and show them what he meant: Love one another; do it like this.

But we must give consideration, too, to the brokenness of these events.

In some respects, our observation of Holy Week and our longed for celebration of Easter Joy are broken this year. We are not together in the way that we always thought we would be together. We are physically separated, socially distanced, self-isolated. We cannot yet meet with one another, we cannot yet meet the risen Christ, in the breaking of the bread.

In the record of the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus and the disciples are nourished, body and soul, in the breaking of bread and the sharing of a meal. In John's gospel, there is a different kind of breaking, a different sort of nourishment. For John, when Jesus washes feet, he is offering nourishment of a different sort. When he breaks himself, lowers himself, to take on water bowl and towel and perform this lowly act of comfort, he is giving life to the words: "Do this in remembrance of me."

The love of Jesus, the love of God, the love of neighbour, is more than breaking bread in church. It is emptying oneself in love and modesty to be filled with the spirit of God in service to our neighbours.
John's relation of the story of this day has a message for us beyond the breaking of bread, even beyond the breaking of the Body of Christ, which we do over and over again in our lives and in our Eucharistic worship. John's message is this: Remember me. Love one another. And this is how you do it.

To love one another is our mandate for this day. And we are seeing that lived out on a daily basis. We see ordinary men and women express their love in extraordinary ways. We see extraordinary men and women express their love in ordinary ways. When we can again come together and when we can again break the Body of Jesus once again in the act of breaking bread, may we continue to remember his command to love one another, and better yet, his example of taking care of one another — in remembrance of our Lord. Amen

Watch this video of the hymn "Jesu, Jesu, fill us with your love".

WIB04004_Washing_Feet_fs

Adrian

The Rev Dr Adrian Burdon
Superintendent Minister
Shaw & Royton Circuit of the Methodist Church

adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk

 

 

> Wednesday 8 April 2020

postcard front

The day-to-day figures which show leaps in those affected by Covid-19 is alarming. Each number is a person and each person is a family and a friendship group changed forever. Maybe it has come close to you, either as an infection or as a loss through death. Have we yet reached the point whereby we all know somebody who has been infected, or are aware of family who have lost a loved one to this pandemic? It would be easy, wouldn't it, to become depressed and despondent? Let us hold fast to the God we know as a loving and faithful God. Psalm 103 tells us that the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting. God will not let go of us.

We were at one of those places that has lodges in the forest when we decided to go on an exploration. We stepped off the track and headed into the forest. It became darker and colder. Every so often a shaft of light broke through the leafy canopy to remind us that actually it was a sunny day beyond the woods. Just occasionally we heard the sound of children at play reminding us that, though we were alone, others were close by.

Christian people do find themselves in dark and lonely places. This is when, through the ministry of other people, we can be reminded of the light which continues to shine around our darkness. In the distance , beyond the loneliness, we can hear the sound of the church at worship, singing the songs of faith. And though we are not yet in that light place, and though we cannot yet sing those songs, it is enough to know that the light is there and the songs are being sung.

The steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting (Psalm 103.17)

This is the God who hold us in the darkness and sings into our silence.

Click on this link to watch a video which I find inspiring. You need to read the words written by Steph Macleod, the songwriter, which are beneath the video on this YouTube page. (You have to click on "Show More" to see the whole Text). Watch the video, read the words and know that blessings abound!

Adrian

The Rev Dr Adrian Burdon
Superintendent Minister
Shaw & Royton Circuit of the Methodist Church

adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk

 

>Tuesday 7 April 2020

Today's meditation is written by Clive Marsh, the Vice President of the Methodist Conference.

Follow this link to read the story of Mary anointing the feet of Jesus in John 12.1-11

There will again be a time to celebrate, but it is not now.
There will again be a time for feasting, but not today.
There will again be a time to pour out expensive perfume, but for the moment we leave it stored.
We long for resurrection, but for now see mostly death.
We long for the fresh air of freedom,
but today salvation keeps most at home,
whilst nurses and doctors keep Lazarus company,
and water waits to be turned to wine.
It will all come; but not today.
Today, we hope.
In Christ, with Christ, through Christ.

 

> Monday 6 April 2020

We are in Holy Week, the week which begins with Jesus's triumphal entry into Jerusalem, contains Maundy Thursday and Good Friday and which culminates in the Resurrection. We observe this year's Holy Week in very strange circumstances, physically separated and yet united spiritually as closely as ever — if not actually closer than ever before. There does seem to be a new ethos pervading society, we seem to have rediscovered the things that matter — caring for our neighbour, looking out for one another, saying thank you to those whose presence we had previously never noticed. We are truly finding that blessings do indeed abound!

An interesting phenomenon is emerging and being recognised by all the churches. We seem to be drawing more people into our online worship services than ever we got through the doors of our church buildings. Take our own services for example. Yesterday was Palm Sunday and I can see that we had over 180 separate connections to the worship that was produced for the Circuit. We do not have 180 people in membership in the Circuit and we certainly do not have 180 people who all have a computer connection. When you further recognise that some of those connections will be more than one person watching, then the number of people engaging in worship is even greater.

It seems to me that it has always been a case that in times of personal, national and international crisis, people turn to spirituality in order to find relief, expression and understanding. That seems to be what is happening here. And in this instance people are turning to the Church to find that spiritual dimension. That challenges us to be the best we can be in times which are, for many, the worst that they can be.

So, let us walk through Holy Week knowing that we walk the way of Christ. Let us, in faith, set our faces towards the empty tomb and fill our lungs ready to shout "Alleluia! He is Risen!" . Let us, though, also recognise that the route to that place takes us from the table of fellowship, into the garden of betrayal and up the hill of crucifixion where is becomes dark and lonely and desolate. For some people this week will be all of those things. Let us hold the world in love and peace and prayer knowing that we too are held by the hands which have been stretched out and nailed to the cross.

Let us proclaim that, even in the darkness, the light shines. Let us proclaim that, even in the deepest sadness, joys waits to break forth. Let us proclaim, that even when we least expect it, blessings abound.

Adrian

The Rev Dr Adrian Burdon
Superintendent Minister
Shaw & Royton Circuit of the Methodist Church

adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk

 

#Important Notice — 23 March 2020 (Updated 30 March 2020)

 

The Rev Eddie Gordon and the Rev Bob Davies are giving pastoral support to the circuit until Palm Sunday when I shall resume full time working. They are only able to give telephone or 'remote' support.

Please contact Janet Abbott (Circuit Steward) if you need further guidance.

eddiegordon47@hotmail.co.uk
robertdavies123@btinternet.com
janet.abbott13@ntlworld.com

The sun comes up
It's a new day dawning
It's time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass
And whatever lies before me
Let me be singing
When the evening comes

Blessings abound!

Adrian.

 

> 23 March 2020 1300h

The Methodist Church is announcing a closure of all its churches for the foreseeable future. The only exception will be for churches that are offering essential social outreach such as foodbanks, soup kitchens and night shelters, but these must be carried out closely within Government guidelines. The Methodist Church suspended worship services last week with some churches still opening for quiet prayer and reflection. This must now also be suspended. We would encourage people to use our online resources at home which include downloadable services and links to online worship services.

The Revd Dr Jonathan Hustler, Secretary of the Conference said: "We are asking people to change their way of 'going to church' to help to protect themselves and others. We have put in place measures that will enable Methodists still to be part of the worshipping community, whilst for everyone's sake staying away from church buildings. There is a range of resources available for people to use at home which we hope will help them to continue their cycle of prayer and worship. The Methodist Church is more than its buildings and if in these unprecedented times we can continue our life as Methodists without using our buildings we will help to reduce the chances of transmission of the virus."

This means that we must shut up our buildings and leave them shut until told otherwise. Our employed caretakers must be stood down on full pay. There shall be no weddings, funerals or any form of activity in our buildings.

I am conscious that we have Red Robin and St Andrew's preschool operating in support of key workers. They may continue to do so in line with the conditions under which they are already operating.

Continue to support the restrictions and do the right thing.

If you need assistance please contact the Revd Bob Davies and Eddie Gordon as in the message at the head of this page.

 

>22 March 2020 1400h — 101 Connections

There were 101 connections to our act of worship this morning and, assuming some of those were families, that means that more than that worshipped together this morning. Isn't that wonderful? It certainly makes it worth my while producing the material. If you know someone who doesn't have internet, but would value receiving the material on DVD then let me know at adrian.burdon@methodist.org.uk .

It is Mothering Sunday and we send love to our mothers and remember, with fondness, those who have mothered us. I spoke with my 89 year old mother this morning and was pleased that her local church and neighbourhood is looking out for her. Interestingly her comment was that she has never before had

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