MCT Payers wb 19.4.21

Hello Everyone,


You were invited to share with Christine and I and follow “Lenten Reflections on thirteen Lesser reported followers of Jesus” We chose Seven out of the Thirteen to follow leaving six. So today we would like finish with the stories of just two of the six of Rosemary Powers insights of those who were in the background of the Passion of Jesus.                     www.

Mary of Magdala & Joseph of Arimathea appear as witnesses in all four Gospels  In Joseph’s case it was  because he  gained Jesus’ body from Pilate and buried it. He comes in at the end with this public gesture, in John’s Gospel accompanied by Nicodemus with their spices. Legends grew around Joseph of Arimathea, including the story of the Glastonbury Thorn, planted by him in England.

Joseph of Arimathea like Caiaphas had followed the impact of Jesus’ teaching, His healing, and His insistence that some things were the fulfilment of the law, not the opposite. He belonged to the Council, the Sanhedrin, that Caiaphas headed. He was a Pharisee who believed in the Resurrection, which Caiaphas and the majority as Sadducees did not. What was it in Jesus’ preaching on love in this life, and a heart for the core of the Law, delight in life, fullness for all, that made one eager to have Jesus removed, yet this Joseph was a follower, though a fearful, secret one until the end? Was it Jesus’ gift of telling stories with laughter and depth and warnings to the wealthy, his being an outsider who had learnt his skills by another path, his spiritual depth?   Joseph of Arimathea was a wise man who was a quiet convert who demonstrated his love of Jesus, respect towards the disciples and all followers of Jesus.

So we now we hear the story from the lips of Mary of Magdala.  ‘He came to my lakeside town and looked at me. Me, the turbulent, unmanageable, frustrated one, felt all the acceptance I’d never met till then. At last my gifts had a place, and my faith was not in vain. I followed him on the road. Me, the clever, emotional one, with Joanna to make us prudent, Susanna to remind us of stories, and Salome to keep us respectable. Seven demons released from me as I was given my right to my gifts! He knew the years of suppression, the infantile roles with no place for my soul. And he released me. There were others with other gifts, better gifts. I heard of the Gentile woman who mouthed him, laughed with him, got what she wanted from him; the woman who had to draw water at midday, who argued with him; and little Mary from Bethany who saw further than any of us, all the way to the cross.

‘Be a good Jew,’ he told me, ‘use your gifts to the utmost. God gave women gifts as good as men’s. Take yours and use them, fill the world with love and witness. You’ll be crucified too. They’ll take your name from you, mock you and make you small in the eyes of the world. You’ll be rolled into one with prostitutes and madwomen. But not in my eyes.’   He said: ‘Come follow me.’ ‘I was there with him, as close as we could get, as he rolled in torment, hearing him when he could speak, seeing how he gave, even at the end. I saw him die. I heard the officer take heed of his goodness. I saw other hanged men dispatched from their misery at last, to keep the Sabbath pure. Then we buried him. Hastily but decently, honouring the body of the best of Jews, who hung accursed on a tree and to us was the heart of love, and our hope and light. All extinguished.

We asked why God had let this be done. And how do we live out his teaching when this was done to him by his world? Have we courage enough for the cold years ahead? Among such a mix of

people with conflicting claims and threnodies? (threnody is a wailing ode, song, hymn or poem ) We were the witnesses. When two or three are gathered in my name. But what had we witnessed? How the bravest can die well? We kept and wept the Sabbath, the coldest Sabbath, recalling all he had taught of acceptance, freedom, welcome into the heart of the Creator. We were left clinging to bare, chilly faith of the mind alone where the spirit lay buried in the tomb. Love casts out fear, we knew. Those days had not prepared us for hope. We went in the dark to evade danger where we could.  Like him, we stepped aside where needful. The tomb lay open, robbed.

We were dismayed, afraid of the new message. Then coming to meet us, where we were, stretching our hearts, came the story. ‘Do not be afraid. Peace I give you, my peace I bequeath you. Go, tell the others. Share the good news. I will be with you wherever you go, till the end of time.’

‘I was there, the leader, my demons dissolved in the sunrise. His choice of witness and apostle to the Twelve. The story we told was no cold faith. It went to soldiers, slaves, and struggling folk, in the courts of the rich and them at  home  comfortable. We talked of hope, of people power that can change the world, and how Spirit-filled in common life we could confront all trials.  As silently, as certainly as Jesus.’

We give thanks …

For the risen Christ, casting out all fear, bringing new life on the first day of the week. For the gifts that God has given, to people of every creed and colour and people and nation, to male and female, rich and poor. For those who have the courage of leadership throughout the world, who seek to make it a place where all can exercise the fullness of their humanity.

We pray …

For those whose lives are limited by the actions of others, who are held in the grip of poverty, debt, illness, and the contempt of others. For those who grieve, for their loved ones who have died, for the loss of fullness in their own lives. For those who have given up, through addiction, overwork, bitterness, that they may hear rumours of hope and find it blossom in their lives. For the sadness of our world, with wars and rumours of war, for the tomb of the hidden wars and its scars globally physically, mentally and spiritually. Be among all who seek to move to find freedom and fullness. That Easter may come in our lives and the life of our common world.

Time for own prayers ———Lord’s Prayer


Services – Sunday 18th April

#Meltham Parish Churches are now open for worship. Join us in church or online.

9:30am – St Bartholomew’s – Meltham (can be joined via YouTube)
9:30am – St James’ – Meltham Mills
11:15am – St Mary’s – Wilshaw (can be joined via Zoom)
11:15am – Christ Church – Helme

YouTube link:
Zoom link: (currently not available)

Wednesday mornings 10.30-11am – St Bartholomew’s, spoken BCP H service of Holy Communion

MCT prayers w/b 12.4.21

Hello Everyone

A prayer for the time after Easter.

Written by Roddy Cowie Member of Iona Community.

A prayer worthy of our attention throughout Eastertide in

preparation for Pentecost when Hope bursts forth in Freedom.

Lord of the Upper Room

Lord Jesus, today we remember that you came to the disciples when they were hiding in the upper room, afraid to face the world.

We pray for those who lock themselves away, afraid to face the world:

We pray for those who lock themselves away because they have been hurt.

We pray for those who lock themselves away because they feel weak or useless.

We pray for those who lock themselves away because they are different.

We pray for those who lock themselves away because they have dangerous enemies.

We pray for those who lock themselves away because they have done wrong and cannot bear to face the consequences.

We pray for those who lock themselves away because they have lost someone they love and see no way to face the world without them.

We pray for those who lock themselves away because they have lost hope.

We pray for those we know who are afraid to face the world, and for the millions we do not know who feel the same way, and if we know that we are locked away ourselves then we pray for ourselves too …

And we pray for those who have no choice but to face pain and hardship – the sick, the poor and those in trouble …

Lord of the upper room, be present in the minds of those who need your presence – be their light, their friend, their defender and their hope.

We ask it in your name.   Amen


The Duke of Edinburgh

You may want to look at some of the links detailed below.

Dear All,

Following the sad news of the death of His Royal Highness, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh,  I felt it would be helpful to share a range of relevant resources for churches and parishes which are listed below:

A reflection on his life by Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, which includes a link to a short video, may be read here

A reflection by the Archbishop of Canterbury, may be read here

A reflection by the Archbishop of York, may be read here

A Church of England online book of condolence, prayers and liturgical resources may be found here

Best wishes,


MCT prayers wb 5.4.21

Hello Everyone

Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Halleluiah!

A Message to you all This Easter Monday

The mark of the cross

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple

and that God’s spirit lives in you?

1 Corinthians 3:16 (New International Version)

Extract from Facing the Storm, by Eddie Askew first published 1989.

Behind the carved oak pulpit in the old church, I noticed a mark on the worn wall. At first glance, I thought it was just a random roughness, a shadow on the stone. Then I realised it was the outline of a cross. It must have hung there for years and, when taken down, it left the mark on the wall.

As individual Christians we leave a mark. Most of us lead unremarkable lives.

Actually, I’m not so sure of that. When you get to know people, you find few who are ‘ordinary’. No one is exactly like another. Each is remarkable in individual experience. Each of us has something of value to give. But we lead unspectacular lives, rarely producing headlines in the newspapers. Yet our presence in the world, our faithful performance of the little acts of daily living, makes its mark.

There are times when we feel useless. We can’t stop the steamroller of world events without getting flattened. No-one listens to the thin sound of our protest. But ‘your living shall not be in vain’, as the song puts it. We make our mark and, however small it is, it’s our mark, and the world will never be quite the same again.

God grant the mark we leave is the mark of the cross. I may not see its cosmic breadth, or deep significance – sounds pompous anyway – but in the faithful living out and quiet affirmation of this day’s duty, lies worth, and joy.

And on some wall a mark is made. A mark of love, shaped like a cross.

Hope you are having a Very Happy and Peaceful Easter.


Easter Day Services

Hallelujah! It’s Easter Day!
Join us in church or online to celebrate the Jesus, Risen from the Dead!

9:30am – St Bartholomew’s Meltham
9:30am – St James’ Meltham Mills
11:15 – Christ Church Helme
11:15 – St Mary’s Wilshaw

The service from St Bartholomew’s will be streamed live on YouTube, and can be found using the following link:

The Real Love Story continues……..with pebbles

Please take a pebble. A small initiative of #RealLove on Good Friday in Meltham on our Greenway. 400 stones have been painted by Christians in Meltham. They all have a heart- personally designed by the artist – and are a reminder that the Easter message is – Jesus loves us without limits. You’ll find them in #Meltham down on the greenway. Please take one home or to give to others. You may even want to hide them elsewhere for others to find!

The four Church of England churches within the Meltham Parish have all decorated a tree and a cross outside. Please stop by and take a look.

Holy Week Meditations – Good Friday

Good Friday reflection – Crucified God, you suffer with and for your people: in these lonely times of deep distress sharpen our sense of your accompanying presence. Amen.

A reminder that their is a service at St Bartholomew’s this afternoon at 3pm featuring readings and musical excerpts from Stainer’s Crucifixion and Maunder’s Olivet to Calvary sung by 3 soloists. It can also be viewed live on YouTube hopefully using this link:

All online services past and present can be viewed from the Parish YouTube channel: