This week’s Worship

Sunday 16th May 2021 7th Sunday of Easter (3rd Sunday)
            9:15 am      Holy Communion, Croston

11:00 am      Holy Communion, Bretherton
11:00 am      Holy Communion, Mawdesley

Wednesday   10am Holy Communion, Croston

** Friday 9am Morning Prayer at Mawdesley **
** cancelled until further notice **

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ
This weeks Gospel reading is part of the “High Priestly Prayer of Jesus”, a prayer of a man who is about to lay down his life willingly in order to complete God’s work.  The prayer shows Jesus’ confidence that God hears and answers prayer, and reveals the intimacy of the union between God and Jesus.  Jesus prays for his disciples, both the first disciples and all who will follow them – including us.  Jesus affirms that his followers are gifts of God’s grace, his prayer is for us as we strive to live out our faith in a world in which Jesus is no longer physically present.  Jesus has given his followers his Father’s word and has protected them from the “evil one”; as he prepares to return to his Father he commends his followers to his Father’s care and protection.  On this Sunday between Ascension Day and Pentecost, with the disciples and the whole Church, we are waiting for the “power from on high”, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, a gift that sustains Christians throughout the world. And what a world it is, a world of contrasts – rich and poor, over-fed and starving, war torn and peace living, vaccinated and unvaccinated – the list seems endless.
It is in the midst of this world that we, as Christians, inspired by the Holy Spirit, are called to live out our faith and to glorify Jesus.
It is through his followers that he is glorified.
At the heart of Jesus’ teaching is the new commandment – the commandment to love one another, he calls us to live in love. He gives us the kind of love are we called to show when he says; “Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.”   That is the heart of our challenge – we are called to love with the love that Jesus has for us; the self-giving love that leads to the cross.
The one word, given to us by Jesus, that glorifies him in the world, is love, shown to us in the love that Jesus has for us.  In this world of such great contrasts  – of dog eat dog, might is right, “greed is good”, and me, me, me – self-giving love is counter-cultural.  Christians are called to serve others before self and to build a loving society where we can dare to love selflessly because we have the security of being selflessly loved ourselves.
Whilst our individual situations will vary widely and the living out of our faith will differ accordingly, the commandment to love and the standard by which we must love remain absolute.

With love & prayers.  Michael (Rector)
Tel: 01772 600548 mobile:07960309005, email:

Sunday 23rd May 2021 Pentecost (4th Sunday)
            9:15 am      Holy Communion, Croston

9:30 am      Family Worship, Mawdesley
11:00 am      Holy Communion, Bretherton

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Facebook & YouTube Online Worship
This week’s Diocesan worship comes from St James’, Haslingden, St Stephen’s, Grane and St John’s, Stonefold. The service can be accessed on the Diocesan YouTube channel.

Blackburn Cathedral continues to broadcast an act of worship every Sunday. This can be seen on the Cathedral website.


This week’s Church of England worship is celebrating sports chaplaincy, the online service is led by James Lusted, who will be joined by Bishop of Derby Libby Lane!
Follow along with the order of service at

Cristian Aid Week 10 – 16 May
Once again this year we cannot do the normal envelope drop and collection service which is the traditional hallmark of Christian Aid week.  There will be a bucket in church for the next 2 Sundays so please do try, if you can, to give generously.
Donation can also be made online just search for Christian Aid Week 2021 or follow this link:


Annual Church Meetings
The Annual meetings for all our Churches must take place before the end of May, we have scheduled these to take place after the 17th May so that we can meet in person in our church buildings rather than meeting online.  We will of course still follow the guidance for social distancing that is in place for Sunday worship.
These are important meetings where we elect our churchwardens, receive our annual reports and elect representatives to serve on our Parochial Church Councils who manage the business of our churches.
Please do consider supporting these meetings, we are now facing a very challenging time ahead where we consider how we are going to steer ourselves out of the Lockdown and face the future.
There will be nomination lists in all the churches during worship for the next few weeks.

Croston      Monday 17th May 7 pm

Bretherton  Sunday 23rd May 11:45 am after worship

Mawdesley w Bispham  Wednesday 26th May 7 pm

Confirmations 2021
We are planning for a confirmation service in July this year so if anyone young or older is considering confirmation or would just like to find out more please contact the Rector.

Baptisms to Recommence
We are now restarting baptisms in our 3 churches and we will be complying with Covid-19 restrictions and numbers will be limited, following the governments roadmap.
We will mirror the restrictions placed on Weddings which are:
Currently: limit 15 people excluding workers
No earlier than 17th May: limit 30 people excluding workers
No earlier than 21st June: hopefully all restrictions lifted

Note: dependent upon the government guidelines being confirmed
Please email: for further details.

Faith reference cards for school applications
Whilst Covid 19 restrictions remain in place across our churches, as they have done since the start of this pandemic we will treat all requests for a faith reference as full attendance.  The Government Roadmap indicates that the earliest that all restrictions will be lifted is 21st June, if this is the case the period from that date through to the end of August will need to be monitored.  Therefore we are not yet issuing replacement attendance records.

Vacancies within Blackburn Diocese

Due to a recent retirement and a successful bid for Strategic Capacity Funding from the National Church we have the following vacancies both of which are based at Clayton House, Blackburn.

Successful candidates will be key in the continued delivery of Blackburn Diocese’s Vision 2026 – “Healthy Churches transforming Communities”

Further details and how to apply can be found via the links below.

Project Manager – full or part time considered with a minimum of 28 hours per week

Project Manager – Vision Delivery (full time or part time min 28 hours) – Pathways | Pathways (

Church Buildings Advisor/DAC Secretary – full time

Church Buildings Adviser / DAC Secretary – Pathways | Pathways (

 Further vacancies within the team

Making Disciples Team Administrator
An exciting opportunity has arisen within the Making Disciples team at Blackburn Board of Finance for a part time Team Administrator
(20 hours per week). Reporting to the Archdeacon of Blackburn this post will be located within the attractive surroundings of our diocesan retreat house, Whalley Abbey, which has just reopened as a Centre for Christian Discipleship and Prayer.
For further information and to how to apply please visit the Church of England Recruitment site Pathways at

Legal Clerk to the Diocesan Registry (4 to 5 days per week, total 28 or 35 hours)
This is a wonderful opportunity for a highly skilled administrator/clerk to help set up the new registry within the DBF. Reporting to the new Diocesan Registrar this post will be located at the diocesan offices in Blackburn.  For further information and how to apply please visit the Church of England Recruitment site Pathways at

The Collect
Risen, ascended Lord, as we rejoice at your triumph, fill your Church on earth with power and compassion, that all who are estranged by sin may find forgiveness and know your peace, to the glory of God the Father.     Amen

First Reading
Matthias is chosen to fill the gap among the apostles left by Judas. Thus their full number is restored for the task of witnessing to the resurrection of Jesus.
Acts 1.15-17,21-26
In those days Peter stood up among the believers
(together the crowd numbered about one hundred and twenty people).  He said, ‘Friends, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit through David foretold concerning Judas, who became a guide for those who arrested Jesus – for he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.
So one of the men who have accompanied us throughout the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us – one of these must become a witness with us to his resurrection.’  So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias.  Then they prayed and said, ‘Lord, you know everyone’s heart.  Show us which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.’  And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.

Second Reading
God gives eternal life to those who believe in his Son.
1 John 5.9-13
If we receive human testimony, the testimony of God is greater; for this is the testimony of God that he has testified to his Son.  Those who believe in the Son of God have the testimony in their hearts.  Those who do not believe in God have made him a liar by not believing in the testimony that God has given concerning his Son.  And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.  I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.

The Gospel
Jesus prays that the disciples will be kept in unity, filled with joy and sanctified in the truth.
John 17.6-19
Jesus looked up to heaven and prayed:
‘Father, I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world.  They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.  Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.  I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours.  All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them.  And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you.  Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.  While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me.  I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled.  But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves.  I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.  I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one.  They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.
Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.  As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.  And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.’

Prayer after Communion
Eternal God, giver of love and power, your Son Jesus Christ has sent us into all the world to preach the gospel of his kingdom: confirm us in this mission, and help us to live the good news we proclaim; through Jesus Christ our Lord.                                                                      Amen.

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