St Martins Church Ashton Upon Mersey

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Dear friends,


“Any new beginning is forged from the shards of the past, not from the abandonment of the past.” 
Craig D. Lounsbrough Professional counsellor and life coach


Having formed a vague idea of what I wanted to write in this first letter of 2019, I headed to the internet to search for any wise or interesting quotations regarding the New Year which might help make me seem more erudite. There were a few which were thought-provoking but didn’t work with what I wanted to write. And there was a lot of fluffy, feel-good stuff about the first day of the New Year being a blank page, with 365 more to write on and similar guff.


But the above did stand out, as it is something which fitted well with my thoughts but is also something which is very Christian. It’s Christian in that God takes us as we are, with all our good and bad, all our mistakes and successes, all our weak faith and bold Christian living, and forms something ever-new from this jumble of our lives: the future is shaped by, and from, the past. And God, through his love and power, can bring a new creation to birth in us: we are not condemned by our mistakes; we only condemn ourselves when we believe they cannot be forgiven; that we cannot move away from them as a new creation. So, I considered Mr Lounsbrough’s words to be a natural fit with Christian theology about salvation.


But they are words which also undergird what my message is at the beginning of this New Year. Since I arrived at St Martin’s in September 2014 there have been a number of things which I have talked about wanting to do, and further things which the members of the Church Council have been considering changing or introducing to the life of our Church and its members. Some of these have happened (for example: setting a budget, introducing some services which are more inclusive of children taking part, praying around the village, becoming more visible in our community through engagement with schools, sheltered housing and so on) and some are actively being pursued (a new heating system for the church, developing materials about the church and its history and training interested people to grow in their confidence to speak with others about this information are well on the way to bearing fruit).


There are other things, though, that have got a bit ‘lost’, delayed or which have fallen by the wayside. I want it to be our New Year’s resolution as a church and as individuals to re-ignite and rescue most of these. These include things like the Bible study groups, the ‘Friends of St Martin’s’, the regular schedule of prayer for all the streets around the parish, occasional themed activity afternoons for children and over-hauling the information of the Church website. All have begun to be organised or developed and then, for various reasons, have become side-lined or halted. These five that I mention should all be in place during the course of this year, as I am determined that we will pick up the process of actively developing each of them.


To this end, there will be two opportunities later this month to engage in some Bible study together, looking at some of the familiar Christmas readings and considering them afresh. Following on from this I anticipate that some regular Bible study groups will be formed meeting in various locations around the parish. In the coming weeks I will be revisiting each of the other four things I mention to ensure that they are all on track. So do keep your ear open in church as there will be occasional updates about them all given in the weekly notices.  


Sometimes the busy-ness of life can distract us away from the things that are important. And one of the things that I’ve always found it’s easy to be distracted away from is regular prayer. Yet this is vital as we undertake our daily Christian living – and vital as we develop new ideas or patterns of worship, service and life as a Christian community. Thank you for all of you who, in multitudinous ways, help support the ministry and mission of Christ’s Church here in Ashton-upon-Mersey, and do keep all the above in your prayers in the coming weeks.


With my prayers for a blessed and happy 2019,





The Methodist Covenant Prayer


I am no longer my own but yours.

Put me to what you will,

rank me with whom you will;

put me to doing, put me to suffering;

let me be employed for you or laid aside for you,

exalted for you or brought low for you.

Let me be full, let me be empty,

let me have all things, let me have nothing.

I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things

 to your pleasure and disposal.

And now, glorious and blessed God,

Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

you are mine and I am yours.

So be it.

And the covenant made on earth,

let it be ratified in heaven.



"BE PREPARED"  Our Lord tells us that he will come again... but he doesn't say when!  For over 2000 years people have been waiting but it could be tomorrow!



St Martin's Church, Church Lane,  Ashton-upon-Mersey,  Sale,  Cheshire ,    M33 5QQ  

0161 976 4086 
0161 973 4204