Welcome, and thank you for visiting the Parish of the Good Shepherd, Ashton-under-Lyne.
We are a Parish of 5 churches in the centre of Ashton-under-Lyne. Please use the menu to find out more about each of our churches and please feel free to contact our parish clergy if you want to find out more.
Along with all Church of England Churches we subscribe to the 5 marks of mission which have been set out by the worldwide Anglican Communion.
Revd Roger Farnworth 330 2771
Revd Sheila Cant 336 1566
In accordance with the Church of England
Safeguarding Policy our church is committed to:
Promoting a safer environment and culture.
Safely recruiting and supporting all those with any responsibility related to children, young people and vulnerable adults within the church.
Responding promptly to every safeguarding concern or allegation.
Caring pastorally for victims/survivors of abuse and other affected persons.
Caring pastorally for those who are the subject of concerns or allegations of abuse and other affected persons.
Responding to those that may pose a present risk to others.
IF YOU ARE CONCERNED
that someone you know is at risk of, or is being, abused, or presents a risk to others, please seek advice from a Diocesan Safeguarding Advisor or if necessary report the matter to the Local Authority Social Care Services or the Police without delay.
Local contacts available to speak to if you have any concerns:
Revd Roger Farnworth
0161 330 2771
Diocesan Safeguarding Officer
Abbey Clephane-Wilson email@example.com 0161 828 1451 / 07436 589606
Safeguarding Helpline 0303 003 111 The helpline will be staffed by the 31:8 - an independent safeguarding charity - and is available 7 days a week. Calls will be handled sensitively and confidentially.
NSPCC Hotline 0808 800 5000 or firstname.lastname@example.org
NSPCC Childline 0800 1111 or www.childline.org.uk
Tameside Children’s Safeguarding Board:
Mon – Fri Office hours 0161 342 4101
Out of hours 0161 342 2222
Tameside Adults’ Safeguarding Board:
Mon – Fri Office hours 0161 342 2400
Out of hours 0161 342 2222
If the situation is dangerous for a child, young person or adult at risk, dial 999 ask for POLICE
Weddings, Baptisms & Funerals
Our churches offer beautiful, traditional settings for your most important family occasions.
During the current Pandemic there are limited services. Please see Coronavirus Information (below)
Parish Update from the Team Rector 24.07.21
The Delta variant has seen Covid rates in Tameside rise higher than the peak numbers of the last lockdown and we know that hospital admissions are rising again. Many are afraid still to venture out, others while willing to go shopping are worried about spending too much time together in an indoor setting. Those, who until recently, were shielding still face significant risks in public places, the likelihood for them of catching the virus has reduced but many of them will still be very badly affected if they do become infected. Others, however, point to the major positive effect of the vaccination programme and long for times to revert to what life was like pre-pandemic.
When our PCC met on Thursday evening, we had a wide-ranging discussion about public worship and about the use of our church buildings. The various perspectives, which I have mentioned, were aired and discussed. It was noted that in Church Wardens meetings across the Diocese of Manchester there have been no reports of churches being the source of anyone picking up the Covid infection. It was stressed that this has been because of the cautious approach taken by so many churches. The guidance that we have received from the national government and the national church, from The Diocese and local politicians is clear that while the legal position has changed the need for caution has not.
After very careful consideration, PCC decided that we should continue the cautious approach which we believe has kept people as safe as possible when they attend worship. We were particularly concerned to continue to be that place of safety for those who feel most vulnerable. The words written by St. Paul to the Philippian church seem most apposite:
“Look out for one another’s interests, not just for your own. The attitude you should have is the one that Christ Jesus had.” (Philippians 2: 4-5)
We are aware that for some members of our congregations this will feel as though we are moving too slowly. We ask those of you for whom this is true, to bear with us over coming months and continue to join with us in worship. Our plan is that we:
• Remain in our usual congregations over the Summer, rather than meet together for Sunday morning worship, and that we review measures in September.
• Continue to ask people to wear face-coverings during public worship, at occasional offices and at events held in our buildings.
• Continue to receive communion in one kind with only the priest drinking the wine.
• Continue ensuring social distancing inside our buildings.
• Permit congregational singing with masks in place. We will take gradual steps in re-introducing signing over the next few weeks. The approach may vary slightly in each of our congregations.
• Permit choirs to sing hymns and lead worship without needing to wear a face-covering provided social distancing can be maintained.
• Ask that our risk assessments, and those of building users, are reviewed in the light of the changed legal position.
• Ask groups using our buildings to continue to follow a cautious approach over the next few months with face-coverings being worn my most people in most contexts, but aware that for some groups this will not be practical. A particular example is the various choirs that are using and may wish to use our buildings for rehearsals. We will have some new yellow posters put up in our churches which explain these things in general terms.
We continue to be grateful to you for your faithful commitment to the Gospel and the life of our churches and long for a day when we can gather together without fear. We hope that the measures we have outlined might help each of you who has struggled to attend worship to feel that you will be safe if you choose to come to church each week.
Love and prayers Roger Revd Roger Farnworth
The Parish of the Good Shepherd Ashton-under-Lyne
Our churches are open for public worship.
Services will be different from those we are used to, as we have to ensure that our buildings are Covid-19 Secure and do our best to protect everyone who comes inside.
4 of our churches will be opening for either Holy Communion or Morning Prayer on Sunday mornings and one for Evening Prayer each Thursday.
Adhering to Government Guidance, strict social distancing measure will be in place, which mean that every person or household group must be 2 metres from the next person or household group.
Following risk assessments carried out in all our churches, there will be restrictions on numbers attending.
Hand sanitisers and one-ways systems will be in place to ensure that all movements into and out of churches and during worship are safe.
We will not be able to sing during services and any responses must be given quietly - Update, please see above
Liturgy will be on disposable sheets, which can be taken home or disposed of after the service.
There will not be any refreshments after services.
Please note that those who are clinically vulnerable/shielding, or who have symptoms of a continuous cough or a high temperature or loss of or change to sense of smell or taste, should not attend church.
A welcomer will greet you coming into church and help you to comply with these guidelines.
If you need any further information,
please contact a warden or member of clergy.
We are producing a weekly sheet containing prayers and readings for those who are not yet ready to return to church - if you would like to receive these, please contact Revd Roger Farnworth - 0161 330 2771.
Sundays 9.30am St James and St Gabriel
Sundays 11.00am St Michael and St Peter
These services will be either Holy Communion or Morning Prayer
Thursdays 3.30pm Holy Trinity
This service will be Evening Prayer (Holy Communion on the 1st Thursday in the month)
A prayer for our times
God of Compassion,
Be close to those who are ill, afraid or in isolation.
In their loneliness, be their consolation;
in their anxiety, be their hope;
in their darkness, be their light;
through him who suffered alone on the cross
but reigns with you in Glory
Jesus Christ our Lord Amen
Pray Together Each Day – booklets available from your wardens
Church of England services can be accessed online
Monitor tv and radio schedules for service broadcasts
Events in our Churches this week
For events in coming weeks please follow the menu links to the church concerned
We invite to join our mailing list and receive emails we send out with news and other items.
This Month's Magazine Article
The times they are a-changing!
I wonder how many of you remember the Bob Dylan song, “The Times they are A-Changing”?
It was written and released in 1964 and was an attempt to create an anthem for the time in which it was written, but later, when questioned as to the message behind this particular song Dylan was to say, “I didn’t mean “The Times they are A-Changing” as a statement. It’s a feeling.” So often over these last months this song title has come into my mind and has run alongside the way I feel our lives have been, and still are, changing as a result of the times that we are currently living through.
Well now we know that the Covid restrictions have been lifted, despite the rising infection rates, and we are told that, with care and common sense, we can begin to get back to some sort of normality. It feels as if we’ve talking about getting back to normal – or a new norm – for months and I have often thought about quite what we mean by that. I cannot see that the end of restrictions will feel like we are stepping back into a normality that we remember, or were used to.
So many people have lost loved ones, either to the virus itself or to other illnesses over the last 18 months or so, and, for them, that will mean forging a new, possibly lonelier, but certainly very different path from the one they travelled before. Whilst the virus has been restricting access to doctors and hospital care, something that we in this country have always taken for granted, we have had to become more used to telephone consultations or email discussions about our health and, from reports in the newspapers, that way of working may well continue – a new norm, perhaps.
So many words and terms have become second nature to us over the period of the pandemic – lockdown, asymptomatic, contact tracing, herd immunity, PPE, physical distancing, self- isolation, social distancing, super spreader and so many more – even pandemic was not a word that was regularly in our vocabulary. But look how easily we use these words now – and just see how much of the terminology connected with the pandemic relates to our relationships with each other. Human beings are social animals. Isolating and distancing ourselves from each other is not normal for us and yet we’ve had to make it so in order to safeguard our own and each other’s health. Greeting each other with an elbow bump doesn’t mean the same as a rib-squashing hug somehow but we’ve had to think about the possible dangers of touching each other in a way that we’ve never needed to do before. We are used to looking at each other’s faces when we speak – seeing a smile helps us to gauge the tone of the conversation. That doesn’t work when people are having to wear masks.
All these strange words have become actions and ways of being that are now normal to us. How easy will it be to go back to what used to be normal – will people step back from us when we go to give them a hug or will be people now be constantly aware of 2 metre distances? We’ve lived for so long by three word phrases – “Hands, Face, Space”, or “Stay Alert, Control the Virus, Save Lives”. It was an understandable way to get a clear message across in a way that couldn’t be misinterpreted. When the restrictions are lifted will we need a new three-word phrase to move our lives into the new normal and what would those words be, I wonder?
In August five year olds will be getting ready to start school, eleven years olds will be getting ready for moving on to high schools, and older students to colleges and universities. Usually, we celebrate these new stages in their lives and so we should – but perhaps this year we should also pray for them to feel strong enough, and hopeful enough, to be able to face these massive changes after the difficult year that they have experienced, with so much time spent out of their normal educational routine. Normality for them will probably feel very different indeed from what has gone before just recently.
So how does our faith help us to greet the promise of this new norm?
I think we have to accept the reality that the pandemic isn’t over just because the restrictions have been lifted. We have to recognise that this is something that the world must live with as we each forge our own normality for the future and, as Christians, we know that we’re not having to face this on our own. As it says in Joshua 1:9. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
When it all feels too much, and things don’t seem to be getting any better, remember Psalm 46:1-3. “God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”
Some of my favourite and most comforting words are to be found in Jeremiah 29 – ““For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” These words remind me that I am constantly in God’s hands, that he knows his plan for me and that I just need to trust that he will guide me in the way that he wants me to go – and over the past 18 months these have been very much in my mind and will continue to be as we go forward.
We must remember, too, that in all that has happened we have much to thank God for – the doctors and nurses and their dedication to healing, the scientists who have worked so hard to find vaccines in an incredible time, the emergency services who’ve kept things going, our teachers who’ve learned new skills to teach in the classroom and on Zoom to keep our children’s learning as much on track as they can, delivery men who’ve filled our shops and brought things to our doors, our clergy for filling the spiritual gap that closed churches has opened up, neighbours, friends and community volunteers who have done their best in difficult circumstances to look after those who needed support – so many people!
So, yes, as Bob Dylan said, ‘The Times They Are A-Changing”. We may not be going back to what we always used to consider as our normality but we can step forward, in faith, to embrace the new norm, whatever that might be in the sure and certain knowledge that God is with us.
“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 29:20
Revd Pat Lodge