This week’s Worship

Sunday 24th October 2021 Bible Sunday (4th Sun.)
            9:15 am      Holy Communion, Croston

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

Wednesday 10 am   Holy Communion Croston
Friday 9am Morning Prayer at Mawdesley

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ
In his book Miracle on the River Kwai, which was published in 1963, army captain Ernest Gordon described how he was taken captive by the Japanese and forced to work on building the infamous Burma railway.  The prisoners of war were treated appallingly. Gordon was not particularly religious, but he was asked to lead a Bible study.  The words of the Bible started to change the men’s attitudes, they began to look after one another, sometimes sacrificially.  Many became changed men.  When they were finally liberated, their relief train happened to stop next to another train on which there were injured Japanese soldiers.  Some men got out and took water to the suffering Japanese while their own troops shouted at them to stop helping the enemy.  They faced the wrath of their peers to take the love of God to their suffering fellow humans.
This week’s Gospel reading sees Jesus’ actions provoking a discussion with those who had a strict view of what should be allowed on the Sabbath.  The Jewish leaders show their allegiance to their social group and to that group’s norms, but at the awful cost of missing the entire point of what God wants to do on earth, which is to show love and goodness to people.  They studied the scriptures avidly and knew them well, yet they did not have the Father’s heart of compassion. Facing his challengers, Jesus is very bold as he says, “I know that you do not have the love of God in you.”
Jesus’ challengers claim to believe the scriptures, but they have not allowed the word of God to soften their hearts to allow compassion to flow to their fellow human beings.  On Bible Sunday it is good to reflect on the effect that the word of God has on Jesus.  Jesus dwells in his Father’s presence, the word of the Father is a word of warmth, compassion, love and service. The fruit of this is the way in which Jesus touches all around him.
Jesus’ challengers represent a type of religion that can so easily be found in Christian circles: cold, formal, arrogant and selfish – the very opposite of Jesus’ character.  In such a religion, the things that I do can show me how much better I am than others, giving me the excuse to look down on them, even to despise them.  If we truly allow God’s word to dwell in us, it should lighten up our hearts and our faces, as we realise the depth of God’s love for us and the freedom that love gives. That love and compassion should spill out to our family and our friends and beyond.  The reading tells us of the need to beware of peer pressure, we can be so fearful of others that it paralyses our effectiveness in taking the love of God to those around us.  Stepping out in the love and faith of Jesus can cause us to be unpopular with family, friends and our peers, but the love of God is not to be limited by the narrow expectations of others.  God’s word will always be linked to compassion and service to others, and when studied it should make us kinder, warmer, friendlier people.

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

Next All Saints Sunday (5th Sun.)
            9:15 am      Holy Communion, Croston

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

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Please pray for the family and friends of the recently departed:
James Benjamin (BEN) Westby

Rest eternal grant unto them O Lord may light perpetual
shine upon them, may they rest in peace and rise in glory.

Ben’s funeral will be at St. Michael & All Angels Church,
Croston at 11 am on Friday 29th October

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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: or on their facebook page
This week’s Church of England online worship from the Diocese of Bath and Wells.  The Service of the Word for Bible Sunday is led by chaplains Becky Cox and Rev Mike Haslam.
You can watch the service from 9am Sunday.

Covid Guidance in church – please do remember:

  • Do not come to church if you are feeling unwell or have experienced any COVID-19 symptoms in the past seven days
  • Be mindful of those who may be less confident, especially those choosing to wear a mask
  • Don’t forget Hands, Face Space guidance

Help for Asylum Seekers/Refugees – paused for now

Thank you for your support of the Food Bank
As more families are beginning to struggle these donations are so important.  If you are able, please continue to support this worthy enterprise. Donations can be left at all our churches.

The One Voice Community Choir with Bretherton School Choir
Concert in St. Michaels Church on Saturday 20th November 6pm
Tickets are just £5 for adults – children free.
There will be a raffle and refreshments available.
Tickets available from Kathryn 01772600768 or
email  Also available on the door.
This promises to be a joyful music event to celebrate interfaith week.

Faith reference cards for school applications
If you would like a Faith reference card please email the Rector.

Baptisms – we currently have a waiting list for baptisms and are looking now at dates in December and January, thank you for your patience.

Confirmations 2021 Final Call for Candidates
Wednesday 1st Dec. 7:30 pm. 

Confirmation is an important part of a lifetime journey of faith as a follower of Jesus Christ, where a person confirms the promises that were made when they were baptized, often as a young child.  Final call for candidates list at the back of church or email the Rector.

The Collect
Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: help us so to hear them, to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them that, through patience, and the comfort of your holy word, we may embrace and for ever hold fast the hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.       Amen

First Reading
God warmly invites us to feast freely. We need to incline our ear and come to God, and the living word of God will bear fruit in our lives.

Isaiah 55:1-11
Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat!  Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live.
I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David.
See, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples.
See, you shall call nations that you do not know, and nations that do not know you shall run to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you.

Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous their thoughts; let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

Second Reading
The scriptures tell us about our salvation. Inspired by God, they can equip us and correct us where necessary. God’s servant is to instruct others with patience and endurance.

2 Timothy 3:14 – 4:5
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.  All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I solemnly urge you: proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favourable or unfavourable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching.  For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths.  As for you, always be sober, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, carry out your ministry fully.

The Gospel
Jesus says that studying the scriptures serves no purpose if the Father’s word is not abiding in us; unless it finds a place in our hearts and lives. Having a regard for our peers greater than our desire to follow God’s way is a block to belief.

John 5:36b-end

But I have a testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father has given me to complete, the very works that I am doing, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me.  And the Father who sent me has himself testified on my behalf. You have never heard his voice or seen his form, and you do not have his word abiding in you, because you do not believe him whom he has sent.

‘You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that testify on my behalf.  Yet you refuse to come to me to have life.  I do not accept glory from human beings.  But I know that you do not have the love of God in you.  I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; if another comes in his own name, you will accept him.  How can you believe when you accept glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the one who alone is God?  Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; your accuser is Moses, on whom you have set your hope.  If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me.  But if you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?’

Prayer after Communion

God of all grace, your Son Jesus Christ fed the hungry with the bread of his life and the word of his kingdom: renew your people with your heavenly grace, and in all our weakness sustain us by your true and living bread; who is alive and reigns, now and for ever.                Amen

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