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.
We await the appointment of a new Vicar
Revd Sheila Cant
Tina Howarth 07411 773336
Les Smith 07780 376169
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:
Diocesan Safeguarding Officer
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 January 2022
The Omicron variant of Covid-19 is resulting in a very high level of infections throughout the country. We wish to keep our churches as safe as possible for worship and other activities.
To do this we will:
• Continue to invite 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. 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
Tina and Les (Parish Wardens)
The Parish of the Good Shepherd Ashton-under-Lyne
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:
Tina Howarth - Parish Warden
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 of 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
Farewell from Revd Roger Farnworth
We are right at the start of the Church’s year. Advent is both about waiting in anticipation and about change. It is a time for reflection and hope.
If you are not already aware of my retirement, then this will be news to you. My wife Jo has accepted the post of Rector of Central Telford and Associate Archdeacon of Salop. We are moving to Telford in just a very short while now and, as we do so, I will be taking early retirement. I have relatively recently signed away the rights and responsibilities of Team Rector of the Parish of the Good Shepherd ready for my retirement.
Our final services in our Parishes will be on Sunday 5th December. The Parish of the Good Shepherd has decided to hold one service on that Sunday which will be at St. Peter’s Church at 10.30am. If you are able to be there, please do join us for the service.
On Friday 3rd December (3pm to 7pm) we will be hosting a drop-in at St. Martin’s Church, Droylsden and on Friday 10th December (3pm to 7pm) we will be hosting a drop-in at St. Peter’s Church, Ashton-under-Lyne. Again, it would be wonderful to see you as we say “Goodbye.”
Jo and I have been living in Ashton-under-Lyne since we moved here in May 2003. We have loved living and ministering in Ashton-under-Lyne and Tameside. We love our home, and we are delighted to have been living so close to the centre of Ashton. I have been blessed to be able to be part of the life of our 5 church schools over that time. I have had significant roles within the life of our town and borough over that time, both as Area Dean and Borough Dean and have been able to contribute to the life of the town with important roles in a number of charities and Inter-faith dialogue and action.
I will greatly miss all of this!
We are leaving just as the New Church Year gets underway, and perhaps that is, in itself, significant. Just as Jo and I believe that God has called us to new things, I am also convinced that God is also calling our Parish on to new and different things.
This is a time of significant change in Manchester Diocese and particularly for what was the old Deanery of Ashton. Re-organisation is taking place. There is now a full-time Area Dean with a responsibility for Oldham and Ashton-under-Lyne. I know that some of you have already met Revd. Daniel Ramble.
Many of the clergy positions in and around Ashton will be vacant in the New Year. This gives the best opportunity for change, and I know that the Church Wardens of our five churches are working together to secure a future for our churches. They will be liaising with Daniel Ramble, with Archdeacon David and Bishop Mark to discern together what God wants for the churches in the area and particularly in our Parish.
Nothing, at present, is however set in stone and change can be very unsettling.
As we all go forward into 2022 and as we look forward with anticipation, almost certainly tinged with a little anxiety, to what the future holds, I am reminded of one of the early Christmas/New Year broadcasts by King George VI.
There was no TV in those days and the broadcast went out by radio. At Christmas 1939, he reassured his people by quoting a poem:
"I said to the man who stood at the Gate of the Year, 'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.' And he replied, 'Go out into the darkness, and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be better than light, and safer than a known way.'"
The poem was written in 1908 by Minnie Louise Haskins who studied and then taught at the London School of Economics in the first half of the twentieth century.
Ultimately this is what we as Christians believe, that we do not need to fear the darkness, or an uncertain future, because in the midst of all we face we hold the Hand of God. Never has God promised that life will be easy. We know that it isn’t. God has not promised us that having faith will allow us to rise above the concerns and worries of all of our friends and neighbours. What we do have is a promise never to leave us alone, always to be present alongside us in everything we face.
That is also essentially the theme of the poem, “Footprints in the Sand,” by Mary Fishback-Powers. She looks back over her life and sees God’s footprints alongside her own. She is troubled by the fact that at the darkest of times, when her life had been so very difficult, she can see only one set of footprints. She assumes that despite God’s promises, God must have left her alone to face the storms. Then she hears God speak to her. It is those imagined words from God which complete her poem.
I think it appropriate to leave you with those words of God as I finish this Advent message:
"My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you."
May God bless you all in coming weeks and months as you seek to serve God with integrity and look to make God’s Kingdom a reality here on earth and particularly in Ashton-under-Lyne.
Farewell, good luck and God Bless you, Roger & Jo