I hope that you have enjoyed the summer. What glorious weather we enjoyed for much of it, even if August wasn’t quite so good. We were blessed with fine weather for the special church events we enjoyed, including the songs of praise in the vicarage garden and the children’s activity day in All Saints’ School. That was a great occasion, with 70-odd children in attendance – from all four Clayton and Altham schools and others too, grandchildren of helpers. Everyone enjoyed thinking about their superheroes, dramatizing the heroics of Joshua and David and thinking about how ‘Super Jesus’ is the greatest superhero of all. If you haven’t yet done so, why not look at the photos on All Saints’ website or Facebook page? And all summer, the team at Altham have been busy opening the church to visitors, not least to show off the Lydia Becker exhibition.
Now we look ahead to all that September and a new school year brings. September includes a special Back to Church family worship at each church on 9th September, at which Lisa Horobin, Diocesan Schools’ Adviser, will be our guest speaker. Two days before that we will – I’m sure – enjoy some excellent popular music played by the Haslingden Concert Band in Altham Church. The end of the month will see 40 adults and 24 children heading off to Scargill House for a weekend of fun, fellowship and faith in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. On that Sunday, 30th, the rest of us will join together for a united service at Altham.
The autumn term always brings opportunities for Christian learning and discipleship. Can I draw your attention to two?
On Tuesdays from 25th September there will be a short 6 week course looking at the basics of the Christian faith. It is open to any adults, including those who may be considering confirmation this time around, those unsure of what they believe, or those wanting to brush up on the core Christian beliefs. We offer a relaxed environment in which no question is too daft and we can share as much or little as we wish.
On Thursdays from 4th October there will be an 8 week ecumenical course at the Baptist Church ‘Transformed Living’. It is based on chapters 4-6 of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians and is an invitation to explore how to live out the Christian life. It follows on from the course ‘Transformed Life’ which took place last year (a good number from the benefice took part and much appreciated it.) However, please be assured that it can stand alone – so whether or not you came last time, why not join us this year? Each session includes some worship, a video, then discussion in a shall group. Participants each get a book with a short devotional reading for each day.
Our Wednesday bible group also resumes in September and anyone is welcome to join – 11:15-12:30. At present the group is looking at Jesus’ parables.
October will then bring a special focus on stewardship and Christian giving at All Saints’. We will launch this at harvest festival (7th October) and carry it through the next few weeks, bringing things together with a celebration on 5th November. More will be in next month’s magazine on this.
At the vicarage we are looking forward to another exciting new start – the birth of our third baby, due early in the month. As a result I will be on paternity leave for two weeks from whenever he or she appears (due date 5th Sept!)
Over the summer we read over successive Sundays John Chapter 6 – Jesus feeding the five thousand and then explaining how he is the bread of life. Some went away, scared off by Jesus’ teaching. But the disciples said, ‘Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.’ Whatever the autumn brings each of us, may we look to Him to sustain us with his life day by day. And may we all make it a priority to come together each and every week (health permitting) to feed on the living bread, our Lord Jesus, in both word and sacrament, that we may abide in him and he in us.
With every blessing