On Sunday 10th July 2005, a Service of Celebration and Final Act of Worship was held at Union Church, Frodsham, the church having been a living witness in Frodsham since 1886.
Joan Pollen, who we remember with great fondness at Frodsham Methodist Church, was the Church Secretary and along with other members of her family was a life-long member of Union Church. As part of the last act of celebration Joan wrote these words:
“In 1878, in an Old Mill Room by the River Weaver, two men, Mr John Jackson a Baptist and Mr Thomas Rigby a Congregationalist, started a Sunday School. The following year a United Church of Baptists and Congregationalists was formally established and over the next seven years it flourished, so much so that most of the present building, which includes the Baptistry, had been erected and opened for worship. The site had previously held a rather unsavoury tavern, which had been notorious for its association with the men constructing the railway, and a few cottages.
The church was completed in March 1887 and on Sunday 27th of that month the members and Sunday School scholars assembled for the last time in the Mill Room and processed to the new church singing the hymn, “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee”.
The church was called “Union” indicating the origins and constitution from both Baptist and Independents.
Union was and is a very friendly and caring church and has always tried to give visitors a warm welcome. Many neighbouring residents look upon it as their church. Former Junior Church members get married here and bring their children for baptism, and funeral services are conducted for older, long-standing members.
Thank you all.
Throughout her ministry Joan inspired and cared for many who were part of both Union Church and the close community that surrounded it. At the final service crosses were distributed to those present with these words, which give us hope and assurance still today:
As you hold this cross,
may you rejoice in the knowledge that God’s love is indestructible.
May you know that nothing can separate you from the
love of God,
neither life nor death, things present or things to come.
The cross is the sign that nothing in all creation,
nothing at all,
can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus.
Holy, Holy, Holy, performed by the Virtual Choir of St John’s Woking:
This Thursday, 21st May, is Ascention, the rising of Jesus’ body into heaven forty days after his Resurrection. After the very first Ascension Day, the disciples gathered with Mary, constantly devoting themselves to prayer while they waited for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Like them, our reliance on the gift of the Holy Spirit is total – on our own we can do nothing.
Thy Kingdom Come is a global prayer movement that invites Christians around the world to pray from Ascension to Pentecost for more people to come to know Jesus. This year it will start this Thursday, 21st, and run to Sunday 31st May.
During these 11 days of Thy Kingdom Come, it is hoped that everyone who takes part will:
1) Deepen their own relationship with Jesus Christ
2) Pray for 5 friends or family to come to faith in Jesus
3) Pray for the empowerment of the Spirit that we would be effective in our witness
Whether you have joined in Thy Kingdom Come before or not (like me), we are all invited to take part this year – along with churches from over 65 different denominations in 178 countries around the world.
The best ways to take part are to (by Thursday!) download a prayer journal & encourage others by joining the global prayer wave – it would be really cool to know others are taking part! An app is also available for download in the App Store & Google Play
Christian Aid faces a huge dilemma this year. For decades, it has relied on the generous donations of the general public to fund its overseas aid and development programmes aimed at alleviating poverty and addressing crisis situations.
Last year the total raised was in excess of £8m and engaged around 57,000 volunteers. This year, due to Covid-19, there are no door-to-door collections but we are still being encouraged to donate.
This year’s focus is on Kenya, which is experiencing its worst drought in living memory, and now has Coronavirus to contend with too. The prospect is extremely worrying. What were we all told to do to combat Coronavirus? “Wash your hands”. Well, that’s not difficult if you have soap and water.
Christian Aid is helping Kenyan’s to build water traps and dams, without which many will die from a basic lack of water and hygiene. We remember from Holy Week how when Pontius Pilate could not find any fault in Jesus he ‘washed his hands’ claiming to be “innocent of this man’s blood” (Matt 27:24).
Please let’s not “wash our hands” of the plight of our Kenyan brothers and sisters. If you can, please donate a little something to Christian Aid this year. You can do it via Christian Aid’s Just Giving page. .
Alternatively, all profits from the sale of the music CD ‘Michael Gough … in the Gallery’ are being donated to this cause. Please donate on-line, or buy the CD which is available via PayPal.
In 1971, John and I went out to Kenya to work, John for a firm of consulting engineers designing water and sewerage treatment plants, myself to teach in a state primary school. We fell in love with Kenya from the very beginning: the wide open rolling plains teeming with wildlife; the forests and hills of the Aberdares and Mount Kenya; the salt lakes with their vast flocks of flamingos; the fine white sandy beaches and coral reefs of the coast – and the people, especially the children!
This was just eight years after independence, and there was a sense of freedom and optimism for the future. Sadly not all those hopes and dreams have been fulfilled. Development has been patchy and there are still huge problems, not all of their own making. Indebtedness to Western governments and organisations has hampered growth. The rush to the cities in search of the ‘streets paved with gold’ has spawned the slums of the shanty towns. The effects of climate change have resulted in degradation of the coral reef and prolonged and serious periods of drought inland over several years (they are currently in the midst of the longest and most severe drought in living memory). The north of the country has been overrun with refugees from neighbouring Somalia, and there have been terrorist attacks both there and even in the capital, Nairobi, itself, which has hit the main foreign currency earner, the travel industry.
And now, Coronavirus.
Imagine trying to self-isolate if you live cheek by jowl with hundreds of others in a slum, or on a village compound with several generations of your extended family. Imagine trying to wash your hands several times a day when your only source of water is the village stand-pipe, or a river bed a couple of miles away.
I was pleased, therefore, to see that Christian Aid is focussing on Kenya this year for Christian Aid Week, which runs from May 10th – 16th. They want to support the country as best they can, through their local partners on the ground, to mitigate some of the effects of the pandemic, to provide clean water to help halt the spread of infection.
It will, of course, be a very different fund-raising appeal this year. In normal times, many of us would now be steeling ourselves to set off door-to-door with our envelopes, a task which we often dread but which is much more pleasant when it happens. And there would be fund-raising events, like the Big Breakfast, or sponsored walks, to boost the funds. In a normal year Christian Aid raises about £8 million in this week alone.
As a church, we are unable to make a collective response because of the lockdown. However, if you would like to give something, however small, as an individual, you can do so via Christian Aid’s ‘Just Giving’ page.
Also, all profits from the sale of the music CD ‘Michael Gough … in the Gallery’ are being donated to this cause. Michael is a member of Norley Methodist Church and is training to be a local preacher. He is also an excellent guitarist and composes much of his own material. Please donate on-line, or buy the CD (via PayPal).
While I have had time to sort through some papers, I found a copy of this Christmas card that was sent to ‘Frodsham Fighting Forces’ in 1943. Although most of the businesses mentioned no longer exist (yes, we did used to have a jam factory, a cinema, a blacksmith and a shoemaker in Frodsham), the sentiments in the poem may be relevant today.
Do you remember?
The winding street, with regimented lime
The sentry church aloft, the hills to climb,
The scene of carnival, with pompous band,
The cinema to which you went, how grand.
The blacksmith’s forge, by the shoemaker’s shop,
The scent of jam at the Sandfield top,
The Cholmondeley Arms and the Golden Lion,
The roll of the train o'er the bridge of iron,
This was your village; you’ll see it again,
From out the window of memory’s train.
This annual service will take place on Saturday 30th November at 3.00pm, followed by tea/coffee in the Hall. This is a popular and moving service which enables us to stop in the hustle and bustle of Christmas preparations, and remember those near and dear to us who have died, recently or in the past, and whose loss is especially felt at this time of year. There will be an opportunity, as usual, to light a candle in their memory, and to write their names on a heart and hang it on our Christmas tree, where it will remain throughout the season.
Churches Together in Frodsham will once again be Carol Singing outside Morrisons on Friday 13th December from 10am to 4pm. We will be raising funds to support the Salvation Army's Fund for the victims of human-trafficking and modern slavery. If you are able to join, do speak to one of the Church Stewards!
Check out our Calendar for a listing of all events.
Frodsham Methodist Church on YouTube here.
North Cheshire Circuit on YouTube here.
The reflections are written by members of our congregation.