Reverend Toby’s May Letter

Dear friends

‘Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’  Time honoured words from the Lord’s Prayer.  And words which I hope express the deep longing of our hearts as Christians, and which can sum up our prayer.  We want to see God’s kingdom come in greater and greater measure until the day when it comes in all its fulness when Christ comes again in glory.  We want the Church to live up to its calling to be a true signpost of the kingdom.   We want to see many, many people welcome Christ into their hearts and know the joy and peace of God’s kingdom.  And we want to offer ourselves to God as faithful servants of his kingdom.

The Church is called to be an agent of God’s kingdom – as witnesses in word and deed to Jesus’ redeeming death and life-giving resurrection.  All the gospels have the risen Lord Jesus commissioning his followers for this task, which we inherit today.  But first they needed to wait for the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Luke’s gospel tells us of that gap between the Ascension – when Jesus was raised to the glory of heaven – and Pentecost – when the Spirit came upon them and the church began to proclaim the good news.  In between were days of prayerful waiting.

The days between Ascension and Pentecost remain a special time for focussed prayer in the life of the church.  A time to wait on God and seek a fresh outpouring of the Spirit on us his people.  And a time to ask the Spirit to move amongst individuals and throughout our community, nation and world that indeed His Kingdom may come.

This tradition has been given new life by the Thy Kingdom Come initiative which is now in its third year.  Our Archbishops (and their equivalents in other denominations) are calling all Christians to keep the days between Ascension and Pentecost as a time of focussed and fervent prayer.  Our prayer group has decided to offer a whole series of opportunities to engage with this week:

  • We will begin with a benefice Eucharist for Ascension Day – on Thursday 10th Ascension is a glorious feast – and used to be the opportunity for children to have a half-day holiday!  Come and join in worship of Lord Jesus Christ, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  We will invite friends to join us from other parishes and afterwards there will be cheese and wine.
  • Everyone will be offered a beautifully produced booklet which you can use to guide a personal time of prayer each day through the period.
  • We will open All Saints’ Church on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, from 5:30 – 7pm for people to call in and pray for a few minutes or as long as you wish. You will be able to pray using the different areas set up in church focussing on parts of the Lord’s Prayer.  During the last 15 minutes, evening prayer will be said by those in church.
  • On the Thursday evening we will have an ecumenical prayer walk of the community, starting from All Saints’ at 7pm and finishing at the Baptist Church. Last year we had enough people to split into two groups and this year I hope we will have enough for three or four.  We walk prayerfully and attentively, and stop periodically to pray God’s blessing over our community.
  • On Saturday 19th All Saints’ will be open during the afternoon (2-4pm) again for people to drop in and pray – perhaps on the way to or from the Grange open day! And at 4pm we will have a vigil of prayer for the eve of Pentecost.
  • Then we will be spiritually ready to celebrate Pentecost with both joy and devotion on Sunday 20th.

We are looking for people to come and welcome people to church on the evenings and the Saturday afternoon.  Please sign up in Church.  But above all we ask people to pray – both at home and by coming to church – always, of course, but in a focussed way during this special period.  For more information see

Almighty God,
your ascended Son has sent us into the world
to preach the good news of your kingdom:
inspire us with your Spirit
and fill our hearts with the fire of your love,
that all who hear your Word
may be drawn to you,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Now that spring finally seems to have made its rather delayed arrival I pray that good weather may be ahead for us to enjoy what for many people is a favourite month of the year.  Whatever happens I pray that the risen Christ may continue to renew our hearts in joy, hope and peace.  Yours in Him,


The See

You may have noted that The See is no longer incorporated within the printed magazine.  However, plenty of copies are available at the back of each church, so please pick one up if you would like to keep informed about diocesan events, etc.

Looking back at Holy Week and Easter

Thank you to everyone who made Holy Week special, and particularly those who took place in our walking passion service on Good Friday, which made a real impact.  A few photos can be found on the All Saints’ Facebook page.  Both churches looked resplendent with Easter joy on the day of the resurrection.

Stewart Dilworth attended several special services and wrote a few comments on what he found helpful: “On Palm Sunday it was good to walk from school to church and from church around Clayton le Moors.  There was a lot of people.  The Stations of the Cross was good to see.  Thank you, Jane Lee.  Thursday 29th March it was the day to go to the Cathedral [for the Bishop’s Chrism Eucharist].  There was a lot of people.  The lunch afterwards was good.  I got ready to go on the walk on Easter Monday (cancelled due to the bad weather).  Thank you to Hyndburn Bridge for the lunch and thank you to Mr and Mrs D B Anderson for looking after me all the time.  It was good to come to prayer time with Peter Dillon.

Whalley Abbey Open Day

On Bank Holiday Monday, 7th May, why not visit Whalley Abbey – the impressive ruins of a Cistercian monastery set in beautiful riverside grounds, just a few miles down the road?  Between 10am and 4pm there will be free entry to both the grounds and the house and at 3pm there will be a celebration service.  There will be country market stalls, refreshments available and guided tours.

Benefice Service

Please note that the first Sunday-morning service for the whole benefice of 2018 will be held on 27th May.  If you’re not away for half-term or Bank Holiday Weekend, please do come and join in worshipping together – All Saints’ at 11am.

Thank you

To those elected and re-elected to office as churchwardens, PCC members and sidespeople at our annual meetings.  Les and Robert were again elected as wardens of St James’, Altham.  Sarah McMinn was elected again at All Saints’ – alongside Linda Vine.  Please support them with your prayers and practical assistance.  One way to support and encourage our wardens is to attend the Archdeacons’ Visitation at which they are admitted to office.  This year we are going to the visitation at St Peter’s Burnley on Monday 4th June at 7pm.

Sidesmen and women will be admitted to office on the following Sunday morning, 10th June, at the morning services.

Thank you, also, to those whose term of service has finished.  A much-deserved special thanks was expressed at the All Saints’ APCM to Mrs Barbara Anderson on standing down from serving as secretary to the PCC for many years.