Easter 2018    post created 07/04/2018 21:44:49
Duggie Dug Dug Circus Party

Well, March has been a busy month at St Peter’s so this month’s blog is a review of some of the things that have happened. 

We have been privileged to have a visit from Doug Horley, otherwise known as Duggie Dug Dug, who brought his circus-themed praise party for primary school aged children to Bolton.  Doug has a national and international ministry working with children and song writing. Some years ago, his song, "We want to see Jesus lifted high", was chosen as the theme song for the Global March for Jesus event and sung by some 25 million people in 176 countries. Doug is a recording artist signed to EMI/Kingsway and Elevation and he has written many other songs that have become children's favourites in churches across the planet.

With his team he travels widely putting on family praise parties, seminars and "adult" celebrations.  His work has included events for the Luis Palau, Billy Graham and Reinhardt Bonnke organisations, Spring Harvest, Urban Saints, The Salvation Army and countless concerts and family services for churches across the UK, Canada, South Africa and other countries

Our Youth Minister, Sarah Saxon writes: “It was a great night with over 100 children - a lovely mix of families from the church and families who don't attend church regularly. Doug 'Duggie Dug Dug' Horley started the party with slapstick drama, juggling and stories, and a mix of his own brilliant catchy songs that the children could join in the actions with, and even dance on stage with inflatable guitars and saxophones! The night was taken to another level with two aerial performers who danced on the hoop and retold the story of creation and Jesus using silks dangling from a huge rig in the centre of the church. A fantastic entertaining evening, a fun way to praise God as a family - and made possible by the brilliant volunteers from St. Peter's Church who helped on the night and that afternoon setting up.”

Safeguarding Training

As a church, we have both a legal and moral responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of children and adults with care and support needs.  This commitment is fully shared by the Church of England nationally and by the Diocese, and we take it very seriously.  We follow the Handbook of Policy and Procedures entitled “Safeguarding Children and Adults at Risk”, which is produced by the Diocese.  This document was formally adopted by our PCC as our Safeguarding Policy and copies are displayed at each of our worship centres.  Group leaders in particular are required to have read and understood the document and to fully comply with the policies and procedures therein.

As well as being DBS checked, our volunteers are required to attend refresher training at least every three years. We also require new volunteers to provide two references who will testify to their good character.

Our annual safeguarding training took place in March, provided by Susie Mapledoram and two colleagues, all from the Diocese.  We had to change the venue at the last moment as around 100 leaders (about 55 from our Parish and 45 from other local churches) wanted to attend, demonstrating a real commitment to keeping children safe.

Experience Easter

St Peter’s also hosted Experience Easter; where about 290 children from local primary schools came to St Peters and explored the events of Easter through interactive stations. The Church was set up with 6 “stations”, each telling part of the Easter story.  The first station is entitled “Hopes and Dreams” and recalls how the crowd were celebrating when Jesus arrived in Jerusalem.  The second is “Servant King” based on the account of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet.  Then we move to “Remember Me” in which the groups recall the events of the Last Supper.  In “Alone”, the groups remember Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, when He was feeling worried, troubled and very sad.  The next station, “Sharing our Sorrows”, covers the events of the crucifixion.  And then, finally, our picture shows the last of the “stations”; the empty tomb signifying that Jesus has risen from the dead!

Easter Flash-Mob

On Easter Saturday, the Bolton Deanery organised a “Flash mob” in the town centre in order to share the real meaning of Easter with the people around.  The event started with a couple of our worship leaders, the amazing Paul Saxon and Kristen Rigby, singing the first verse of “Amazing Grace”.  They were gradually joined by additional groups of people until over 100 were singing together by the time the final chorus was reached.  

Our Associate Minister (and Area Dean) Vinny Whitworth said the performances were well received.

He said: “It was a way of wishing people a happy Easter and we also distributed cards and chocolate eggs to the people watching.”  He continued: “I think we stunned a few people, but I think it was really good and people really enjoyed it. People stopped to watch and I think they really appreciated being reminded of Easter over this weekend.”

March 2018    post created 09/03/2018 09:53:12
CAP and Growing Leaders

One of the things that happened in the previous month was our Re-affirmation of Baptism service.  Baptism marks the beginning of a journey with God which continues for the rest of our lives. Prior to the service, the candidates have looked together at the call to discipleship in the world and in the Church and sought to understand the responsibilities of discipleship in today’s world.

 Several of the candidates at our most recent service came to know Christ as a result of becoming clients of Christians Against Poverty (CAP). CAP is an international Christian charity that exists to help people crippled by debt; parents who can't feed their children, families facing eviction and desperate people living in fear and without hope.  St Peter’s has its own CAP centre, led by Sam Wolstencoft.  Recently, I had the opportunity to meet with Sam and find out a little more about her.  Here’s her response to some of my questions.

Q: Recently we saw a number of your CAP clients re-affirm their Baptismal vows having re-kindled their faith.  Without breaking any confidences, how did this come about?

A:  Well, it was different in each case.  One person had no church involvement whatsoever but knew me as a teenager.  She was interested from the first visit to find out about my faith and asked me lots of questions.  Having come to faith, God has been turning her life around; one example being the restoration of her marriage.

Another lady had a serious gambling problem and has needed a lot of support to overcome it.

A third lady was involved in a church for a few years but was suffering with a very tight money situation.  She found God after experiencing love and lots of practical and emotional support from a number of church members, who helped her in a variety of ways.

Q: It’s well known that you gave up a senior teaching position to get involved with CAP.  Could you outline the thought processes that led to that decision?

A:  I was a secondary school teacher for 22 years but became a CAP volunteer in 2010, and then a trained Debt coach for the previous Debt Centre Manager, Diane, in 2014.  When the manager’s job became vacant I applied and left teaching in July 2016.  I love it – it is the perfect job for me as it involves people, chatting and bringing hope. I think CAP fulfils the biblical mandate to serve the poor brilliantly…and if people find a relationship with God too then even better! It is a life transforming ministry and such a privilege and joy to see those transformed lives!

I’ve always had a passion for people and for sharing my faith.  Initially, I dismissed working for CAP as I thought it was only to do with finance.  Once I realised that what was needed was someone who could form relationships with people and started to see despair and misery replaced by joy, I was hooked!

Q: You obviously have a strong faith.  How did you come to Christ originally?

A: I was brought up in a loving home but no-one there believed in God.  When I was 10 a neighbour took me to church and I first heard the good news of God’s love for me; I was struck by the happiness of the people there.  I remember telling God that I wanted to become a Christian but it never happened – no support from home, teenage years hit; there was no time for exploring spirituality!

By 21, I was at University.  I was ambitious, materialistic and self-absorbed.  I was fairly hard-hearted too – I had cut someone close out of my life for hurting me and there was no looking back at all the good times we’d shared.  In my last year there, I shared a house with a Christian girl who reminded me of the good news about Jesus that I had heard as a 10-year-old.  It made such sense.  Could it be true?  I spent 6 months looking into it; I could feel myself being pulled into a relationship with this Jesus who seemed so amazing.

One night all my house mates were chatting and drinking.  The conversation turned to faith and I found myself defending my Christian friend and her beliefs. That night I made the decision to invite Jesus into my life, to be my friend and Saviour.  My main memory of that time was being on a complete high, full of love towards everyone and very happy!  I forgave the person who hurt me and we were reconciled very quickly.

Since then, my life has had many ups and downs – Jesus never promised us an easy life!  My youngest son is severely disabled and will always be dependent on his parents.  Through times of great stress, I have experienced the peace that only Jesus can give; replacing worry with trust in Him. I know what no matter what comes my way, God is for me and He surrounds me with His love.

Q: Which part of your job do you enjoy the most?

A:  My favourite part is meeting clients for the first time and seeing despair beginning to lift.

Q:  Finally, I’d like to ask you some either/or questions to give our readers some idea of what you are really like!

Chocolate or crisps?  Both!

Evening dress or jeans and T-shirt? Jeans and T-shirt!

Long hike or evening in front of the TV?  Neither, an evening in eating and chatting with friends!

Saver or spender?  Saver - in keeping with my CAP role!

Early bird or night owl?  Night owl!

Adventurous or cautious?  That’s a hard one! I think it depends; I’m adventurous with people and a risk taker for God, but cautious with financial decisions and extreme sports!


Growing Leaders Course

One of the things we do at St Peter’s is to provide practical training of various sorts.  For example, CAP Life Skills empowers people to live well on a budget, teaching them practical money saving techniques, such as cooking, living healthily on less, and making your money go further.  Another example is training courses that enable people develop leadership skills, such as our Growing Leaders course.  Katie Leaver, who is attending the current course, says the following:

“For the last few years, St Peter’s has run the Growing Leaders Course. We’re blessed to have three incredible leaders from within the church running the course and I’m doubly blessed to be doing the course myself this year! We’re only two sessions in so it’s early days but I’ve already learnt a lot. Everything we’ve done is rooted in Christ and has strong biblical roots but the course is highly practical at the same time. The course gives me valuable time away from day-to-day life to focus on God, my relationship with Him and how best I can use my God-given and course-learned leadership skills within church and life in general.

The sessions are monthly and, in between each one, we meet with a mentor - generally someone from our church congregation who acts as a wise supporter and sounding board for things we’re exploring following the course. If you get the opportunity to get involved next year, I’d thoroughly recommend it.”

GNFR    post created 10/03/2018 12:07:16

St. Peter’s has links with a number of charities, often through the vision and commitment of individual church members who have seen a need and decided to do something about it.  One such example is Good News for Romania, led by Dave and Kath Richardson.
David & Kath Richardson have been attending St Peters Church since 1984. Their time at St Peters has been a time of spiritual uplifting, support and encouragement.  They have been married since 1970 and have 5 children and 10 grandchildren. David and Kath were born and brought up in West Cumbria and moved to Bolton in 1976.  David is a retired college lecturer and Kath a retired teaching assistant.

In 1990, Tommy & Connie Wood, also members of St Peters, felt led by the Lord to go to help children in orphanages in the far north east of Romania. David and Kath were part of the team and now, in their 28th year of going to Romania, continue to run the charity Good News for Romania.

The aim of the charity is primarily to bring the love of Jesus into the lives of children and their families who live in extreme poverty. Help with education & medical costs, food, new clothing and a camping holiday each year bring some resemblance of normality in these children's very difficult lives and GNfR DOES make a difference.

If you would like to comment on this month’s blog or receive more information about any of the items discussed, please get in touch via the blog email (blog@stpetersparish.info)

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