This week’s Worship
4th Sunday of Easter – 8th May (2nd Sun.)
9:15 am Family Worship, Croston
11:00 am Holy Communion, Bretherton
11:00 am Holy Communion, Mawdesley
From the reserved sacrament
Wednesday 10:00 am Holy Communion, Croston
Friday 9:00 am Morning Prayer, Mawdesley
Saturday 6:30 pm Confirmations, Croston
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ
Saint Cuthbert of Northumbria was literally a shepherd (with real sheep) on the Jedburgh hills of Scotland when he first received the call from God. One night he had a vision in the sky which he took to be the soul of Saint Aidan (recently departed) ascending to heaven. Cuthbert took this to be a sign of his own call to serve God and he went on to become a great leader of the Church in the North.
Great leaders often prove to be good shepherds, not just of sheep and in the Bible, being a good shepherd is often the first step to becoming a good leader. So it’s no surprise that Jesus took the role of a shepherd as a model in his teaching: it was an image that his people would have understood, not least from Isaiah, who wrote, “All we like sheep have gone astray” (Isaiah 53:6).
Why do sheep need a shepherd?
First, for protection, from other animals or even from themselves! We all know that sheep can be pretty dumb animals. They don’t make plans for the future. They just keep on grazing the same plot of land until it becomes bare scrub, so they need a shepherd to lead them to better pasture. Or if one has a heavy fleece and rolls over it can’t get back onto its feet again, so the shepherd must come to the rescue.
If we are like sheep, maybe we too need help from the Good Shepherd? Jesus says that he knows his sheep, so we know that we have him watching out for us, all we need to do is call for him.
But Jesus also has a warning for us to be alert, if we belong to his flock, we will hear his voice and follow him.
When we think of modern shepherd we picture a shepherd driving his sheep forward from behind, perhaps with the help of a dog to round them up. But at the time of Jesus (and in some parts of the world today) the shepherd simply called and the sheep followed. As Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice. I know them and they follow me.”
The whole ministry of the Church aims to bring us to Jesus, the Good Shepherd and a constant reminder is seen in the shepherd’s crook, the “crozier” carried by our Bishops. There may be some who feel that they don’t need to behave like sheep being led by someone with authority. But let us never forget that the bishop, as well as being an authority figure, is also a deacon, a servant of the Church, a sheep as well as a shepherd. A good bishop (or a good shepherd) will never forget this.
In a crisis, we know the saying, “a trouble shared is a trouble halved”. The best one with whom to share our troubles is the Good Shepherd. We know we can trust him. We know he is on our side. He can get us once again on the right path. There could be times when life is tough and all we want is to be held in the arms of a loving parent who will keep us safe from harm. We can find that in Jesus as the 23rd Psalm reminds us, “The Lord is my shepherd; I’ll not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures.” This is our Good Shepherd may we always be ready to hear his voice and follow wherever he leads.
Tel: 01772 600548, email: email@example.com
Next Sunday – 5th Sunday of Easter – 15th May (3rd Sun.)
9:15 am Holy Communion, Croston
11:00 am Holy Communion, Bretherton
11:00 am Holy Communion, Mawdesley
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Please pray for the family and friends of the recently departed:
Allyne Clarkson & Winnifred Taylor
Rest eternal grant unto them O Lord may light perpetual
shine upon them, may they rest in peace and rise in glory.
Winnifred’s Funeral is on Tuesday 17th may at 1:30 pm in Croston
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Revd Janet Taylor
As you know Revd Janet has been taking leave of absence from her duties as Assistant Priest here in our United Benefice to support her family through a very difficult time with illness.
It is good news that her son in Law has responded well to his treatment and so things are hopefully beginning to settle down for the family.
Janet has been reflecting on her future ministry and after discussion with our Bishops she has now decided to seek a transfer of her licence to another Parish closer to where she now lives.
When Janet was licensed to our United Benefice she lived in Croston and the grandchildren went to local schools, whereas now Janet lives in Whitestake and the grandchildren attend local schools there.
Janet during her time with us has contributed so much to the life of our three parishes and also our schools, I have asked her to think about how we can formally say thank you to her and wish her every blessing for her future ministry.
It is clear that Janet has not taken this decision lightly, she has thought and prayed about this for some time, do continue to keep Janet and the whole family in your prayers during this important time.
I understand why Janet has come to this decision and she has my full support, it is important for her now to find what ministry fits best with her current circumstances and I hope to be able to give you further details in the coming weeks.
Bretherton Church and Grounds Maintenance
Can you help with cleaning inside church and/or the maintenance of our churchyard? Please speak to Churchwarden Naomi or the rector if you would like to help – many hands make light work!
Mawdesley Prayer Group, Tues. 10th May 10:45 for 11am start.
Meet at 46, Tarnbeck Drive, to finish up our series on ‘Who is Jesus’?
Hope you can come and join us. Please bring a Bibles.
Can you help with the cleaning of Mawdeskley Parish Room once per week? If so please call Barbara 01704 822468
Mawdesley Vintage Car Rally Friday June 3rd on the Cricket field.
We hope to run a Tombola and would be very grateful for any prizes you could donate for it. We are also going to sell cakes & reasonable bric-a-brac. Also if you have time to help us with the organising either before or on the day it would be great.
This will help to pay for the heating of the church.
The Jackson Scholarship Fund Invites applications by the 30th June
These are for one off grants from young people (under 25) who have attended Trinity St. Michaels primary school, or if funds are available Bishop Rawstorne Academy. These are to assist them with their studies or trades, full details on the notice boards in Church or contact the rector who can provide more details.
Please do continue your support of the Food Bank
Despite the feeling that we are beginning to live ‘normally’, many families are even more stressed, as living costs continue to rise.
Please bring food items which need little or no cooking – as power prices soar. (See Notice in church for ideas.)
Also, items for personal hygiene and housekeeping are needed.
You can leave donations in our Church’s when open for services or on Wed. & Sun. from 10 to 4pm in croston & Bretherton.
The side door at Mawdesley is open most days.
Also if you hear of anyone who is particularly financially stressed, please contact us. The Layfield Trust, a local Charity, may be able to disperse funds for needy families who live in the villages of Bispham, Bretherton, Croston, Hesketh Bank, Mawdesley, Rufford and Tarleton.
Facebook & YouTube Online Worship
An Act of Worship from Blackburn Cathedral will be available every Sunday from 9am. You can view this on the Cathedral YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4GsctW6SLc or on their facebook page https://www.facebook.com/BlackburnCathedral
This weeks Church of England worship comes from the Church of the Good Shepherd, Leighton Buzzard, Pioneer Minister, Rev Steve Marsh leads our service, and Rev Alison Jackson, Development Officer, Reaching New People Team, The Diocese of St Albans is preaching on discipleship.
You can view this from 9am on Sunday at https://www.facebook.com/thechurchofengland or via
St. Michael & All Angels
Childrens Sunday Club every 1st and 3rd Sunday
Humanitarian Disaster – ways to support for the people of Ukraine
See our Facebook page and posters in Church for ways to support this locally. The disasters and emergency committee appeal can be found at: www.dec.org.uk which is an effective way to offer your support.
Could you make an Easter donation to Church?
All our churches rely upon the generous donations of our parishioners to provide the financial support that both maintain our buildings and provide care and support to all those in the local community. Although some use standing orders or other methods of online giving, many donors use cash, either on the plate or in weekly planned giving envelopes.
Any donations you could make will be greatly received and one off donations or regular giving can be made by using ‘Online banking’ facilities, the bank details you will require to do this for each church are:
Bretherton – St. John the Baptist
St. Johns Bretherton PCC Account,
No: 10031333, Sort code: 16 17 41
Croston – St. Michael & All Angels
St. Michaels PCC Account,
No. 11215462, Sort Code 16-17-41
Also if you have no facility to transfer funds electronically, envelopes can be dropped off with our Treasurer Derek Alty,
12 Lostock Road, Croston.
Mawdesley w Bispham St. Peter
Mawdesley PCC Account,
No 87032805, Sort code 60 24 02.
If you decide to make a donation electronically you may be given the opportunity to set up a standing order, which would greatly help support our regular income.
Risen Christ, faithful shepherd of your Father’s sheep: teach us to hear your voice and to follow your command, that all your people may be gathered into one flock, to the glory of God the Father. Amen
A good Christian woman is raised from the dead, and becomes a means of bringing others to faith.
In Joppa there was a disciple whose name was Tabitha, which in Greek is Dorcas. She was devoted to good works and acts of charity.
At that time she became ill and died.
When they had washed her, they laid her in a room upstairs. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, who heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the request, ‘Please come to us without delay.’ So Peter got up and went with them; and when he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs.
All the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing tunics and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was with them. Peter put all of them outside, and then he knelt down and prayed.
He turned to the body and said, ‘Tabitha, get up.’
Then she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter, she sat up. He gave her his hand and helped her up.
Then calling the saints and widows, he showed her to be alive. This became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.
Meanwhile he stayed in Joppa for some time with a certain Simon, a tanner.
Now beyond all pain, those who have remained steadfast in faith through the traumas of their lives rejoice to worship their Lord in heaven.
After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands.
They cried out in a loud voice, saying ‘Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!’
And all the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshipped God, singing, ‘Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honour and power and might be to our God for ever and ever! Amen.’
Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, ‘Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?’
I said to him, ‘Sir, you are the one that knows.’ Then he said to me, ‘These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason they are before the throne of God, and worship him day and night within his temple, and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them.
They will hunger no more, and thirst no more; the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat; for the Lamb at the centre of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’
Jesus responds to a hostile challenge with a promise of eternal life for those who recognise him as their shepherd.
At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem.
It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon.
So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, ‘How long will you keep us in suspense?
If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.’
Jesus answered, ‘I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me.
I give them eternal life, and they will never perish.
No one will snatch them out of my hand.
What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.’
Prayer after Communion
Merciful Father, you gave your Son Jesus Christ to be the good shepherd, and in his love for us to lay down his life and rise again: keep us always under his protection, and give us grace to follow in his steps; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen