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Dear friends,

Another Holy Week approaches.

This year the schools begin their new term on the Monday of Holy Week, having already had the ‘Easter’ holidays! In order to cope with the variable date of Easter, a fixed holiday for schools allows for better planning and better rest for pupils and teachers, rather than too long a term.  So the celebration of Holy Week and Easter will now fit around a secular timetable.

Is it as if God is being pushed out? Having less significance within society? Some may well think so.

However, does this not miss the point of the Easter story?  God does not fit with our plans, our preconceptions, and our convenience. The whole point of Easter is to blow open our hearts and minds.

Did Jesus ever do anything conventionally? The last days of his life were no exception. From donkey riding on Palm Sunday, to disrupting the sacrificial system by overturning the tables of the money changers. From discussing what God’s radical kingdom is like, in the temple precincts, to washing the feet of his disciples. From allowing himself to be arrested on trumped up charges, and not offering any defence, to going to the place of horrific execution. From feeling abandoned by God as his life slipped from him to entering the darkness of death.

Each step through Holy Week is a step closer to God showing us, as clearly as he can, how he offers himself in love to the world. Whatever we throw at him, he absorbs; injustice, pain, betrayal, hate, separation, and finally death. God, dead on a cross.

And at the end of the story, the tomb, the burial, the tears and numbness of grief.

 And just when we think that it is all over, there is this ridiculous rumour of an empty tomb, a missing body, and encounters with a Risen Jesus.

I hope and pray that you will walk through Holy Week alert to how God is speaking to you, awake to the possibility of life changing encounters, willing to receive new insights and hopes, and to see God breaking into our everyday experience of life.



Services during April


Sunday 7th






Mr Lawrie Ginn

Cafe Worship



6 30pm



Rev. Gail Hunt


Sunday 14th





No Service

Sheffield Half-Marathon



6 30pm


Rev. Tim Crome

Holy Communion


Sunday 21st

Easter Day




Rev. Tim Crome

Early Easter Communion





Dr Jenny Bywaters






Mr David Humphreys



Sunday 28th




Mr David Green






Local Arrangement

Led by Mrs Jackie Dunn


Maria came home from Sunday School on Palm Sunday and told her mother that she had learned a new song about a cross-eyed bear named Gladly. It took her mother a while before she realised that the hymn Maria had been singing was really: "Gladly The Cross I'd Bear."

Easter Services

Palm Sunday, April 14th.  No morning service.  We shall be offering refreshments and our facilities to participants in the Sheffield Half Marathon. 

At 6.30pm there will be a café-style Holy Communion Service led by Rev Tim Crome.

Good Friday, April 19th, 8pm, Tenebrae, a meditative service led by Rev Tim Crome.

Easter Sunday, April 21st, 9.00am, Holy Communion Service, led by Tim; followed by a Continental Breakfast. 10.45am Easter Sunday Morning Service led by Dr Jenny Bywaters.


Church Family News


Please continue to pray for Duncan and Jane Storey.

Please pray for all who don’t get to church very often or at all.

Leonora Hopkinson, who is now living permanently at Darnall Grange Nursing Home. We thank Jackie for bringing her to church on 10th March, it was so good to see her, others are happy to bring her occasionally too if all works out.

We ask for prayers for Bryan and Shirley Coates, who are struggling with health problems just now.

Helen, Lawrie’s daughter in London, who has been having chemo. Hopefully at the time of reading, Helen will be up in Sheffield visiting family and we’ll all be able to see her. Pray for Lawrie and Helen and the family at this time.ÓłĄ

Please continue to pray for Steve and Alison Russell.  Steve's health is declining.


Thank you

Thank you to everyone for all their warm thoughts, kind words, prayers and all the lovely cards and flowers my family received on the recent passing away of my mum. It was greatly helpfully at this sad time’. Edith Aisthorpe.

An Easter Memory


We were walking in the hill paths above Taormina in Sicily and having misjudged our distance were returning in the hottest part of the day.

Suddenly, as if out of the blue, we were confronted by a wrought-iron crucifix, fixed in as large flat stone, right beside the path. It was, from memory, about half life-size. We stood silent, bowed our heads. We could feel the heat radiating from the iron and would not have dared to touch it.

Later, during siesta, we shared thoughts on it, recalling that he Gospels record the crucifixion as taking place between midday and three o’clock, the hottest part of the day.

I recalled too, that when Mary Magdalene met the risen Christ in the garden, he told her not to touch him.

“Do not touch me for I am not yet risen from the dead.”

Later these lines emerged;

By the hill-path

Agonising in the crucible

Of the sun’s great heat,

A gaunt iron crucifix —

“Noli me tangere !”

On the rock at the foot

A lizard, motionless —

Only the tongue flicks —

“I thirst ! I thirst !”



Christmas Fair 2019

If we are to have a Christmas fair again this year, we need someone to offer to chair and set up a committee. Please let anyone on the Leadership Team know if you would be willing to take on this role.

Thank you in anticipation.

TWELVE BASKETS                                                                                                           (after morning service on 17 March)

I’ve always been intrigued by the twelve baskets of food collected after the feeding of the five thousand. Apart from minor details (where did the baskets come from when they were in a lonely place? Why twelve? The twelve tribes of Israel?  The twelve disciples?)  I wondered why there was food left over, why the baskets were collected and what would happen to them.

Maybe this was a way of showing God’s extravagant generosity.  Not only did Jesus feed five thousand with a small quantity of bread and fish but there was a splendid surplus. Think of a sunflower head and all the many, many seeds it carries. Extravagant indeed!

Perhaps, as someone at our table suggested, the twelve baskets were intended for the twelve disciples, each one tasked with feeding, both physically and spiritually, other folk who were in need.

 I think my preferred explanation is that these twelve baskets of life-giving food were to feed those who weren’t among the five thousand.  Why weren’t they there? Too elderly, diseased or infirm, too poor to take a day off work – or just plain uninterested in what Jesus had to say? This reminds me of another verse in John 10:16 “There are other sheep which belong to me that are not in this sheepfold.  I must bring them too; they will listen to my voice, and they will become one flock with one shepherd.” I think the Jesus who came a second time to convince Thomas, missing at the first visit, is always searching for those who aren’t among the five thousand


Desperate Plea !

Owing to the well-deserved retirement of several members, we are now desperately short of helpers in the weekday Coffee Lounge, especially on Thursdays and Fridays, so much so that some people are scheduled to be on duty on alternate weeks – far too much to ask ! Please consider whether you could join the team, hopefully on a 4-week rotation. If you see me bearing down on you, don’t run away but be prepared with a very good excuse.


Welcome to My World

Joan Rowe


Can you briefly tell us a little about yourself?

I am between 73 and 75 years old and was married to Alan (Shirley's brother) for 55 years last September. He passed away on the 13th November 2018. We moved into independent living accommodation at Crookes in October 2017 but unfortunately Alan couldn't settle (he had Alzheimers) and went into care shortly afterwards so I now live alone with support from family.

Alan, Jonathan and I were some of the £10 poms who went to Australia in 1965 where we stayed for 4 years. We lived in Ulverstone, Tasmania but came home due to the ill health of my mother.

On our return to the UK we had two girls, Joanne and Lindsay.

What role(s) do you have in our Church?

I have started to build a new life for myself over the past few months, including helping at lunch club and coffee mornings which I enjoy

When did you first come to Banner Cross Methodist Church; and what were your impressions at that time?

I have been to Banner Cross over the years for "special occasions" but not on a regular basis as it was too far to travel from Stocksbridge. But when Alan went into care I felt I think "a compulsion" to attend regularly though I was a bit doubtful at walking into a church full of people I didn't know.

Have your first impressions changed at all?

The warmth and welcome of everyone put me at my ease and I think without the support and love of special people I wouldn't have got through losing Alan so easily, so thank you.

What hobbies or interests fill any “spare” time?

My family are not convinced of one of my hobbies which is attending every Alfie Boe concert I can afford to attend! I went with a friend to the Open Air theatre in Scarborough the year when there was a deluge of biblical proportions! He is coming to the City Hall at the end of March so you can just guess where I will be, I will be running out of spaces to put his autographs soon. But it won't stop me getting a few more.

I enjoy knitting but don't do so much now. I enjoy taking my youngest grandchildren to the cinema and for a meal afterwards. I am very lucky they still want to go out with "the old grey haired granny" as I am called. I’ve always loved history including Egyptology.

What books do you enjoy reading?

I have over 3000 books on my Kindle so that keeps me entertained. I love to read Regency novels. I was given an Echo Dot at Christmas and an Amazon Firestick for my birthday  both of which needed the help of an 11 year old to set them up!

What music do you enjoy listening to?

I often have Classic FM on at home, but also like 50s and 60s music, films and musicals. And my Alfie of course!

Please give us one fact about yourself that we may find surprising.

I was admin coordinator for the North West Mental Health Team for many years. Along with my Consultant Psychiatrist, I was asked to take on the role of administrator for the MRCPsy.ch exams. I would receive a parcel from the Royal College containing thousands of pounds in cash to pay for patients who agreed to be interviewed by the doctors taking the exams, meals for the consultant examiners etc. 300 doctors came through the doors at Nether Edge Hospital every April, most of them shaking with fear and needed strong coffee and TLC. I was recruited the year after I retired to do the last exams in Sheffield, I believe they are now held in London. I also did the Consultant duty rota for Glastonbury  I turned down tickets every year,not my scene.  Give me Alfie Boe any day!

If you had one prayer request for moving forward the life of Banner Cross Methodist Church in any way, what would it be?

My wish for Banner Cross is that we can continue as the special place it is but with a few extra younger participants.


Easter is a time of love,
A time of death and pain undone,
So we may know the power of
The love that lives in each one.
Each love we feel, unstained and free,
Redeems us-as with you and me.

Services, Events and Meetings at Banner Cross in April and May


The Holy Habit for April is “Breaking Bread”

Monday 1st April

Worship Group Meeting, 7.30pm in Room 5,  all welcome.

Saturday 6th April

Walking Group, have a word with Phil Brown for more details

Lent Study session 4 of “Dangerous Stories”,10.30am in Room 6, leaflet available from Rachel Tomlinson

Sunday 7th April

Café Worship at 10.45am.

The Holy Habits Book Club will meet from approximately, 12.15pm to 1pm, in the Quiet Room, to discuss Graham Greene’s “The Power and The Glory” and Rev Dr Inderjit Bhogal’s “A Table for All”. Let Alison Russell if you will be coming to the informal discussions.

Saturday 13th April

Gardening Morning at 10am, have a word with Sean Ashton or Yvonne or Stewart McIntosh for more details.

Lent Study session 5 of “Dangerous Stories”. 10.30am in Room 6.  See Rachel for further details. 

Circuit Celebration and Workshop, 1.30pm at Wesley Hall, Crookes. Take part in a workshop on Local Arrangements, share Holy Habits experiences,  come together in fellowship, enjoy a bring-and-share lunch. 

Palm Sunday, 14th April

No morning service.  We shall be offering refreshments and our facilities to participants in the Sheffield Half Marathon.

Café-style Holy Communion Service at 6.30pm led by Rev Tim Crome.

Maundy Thursday, 18th April

Springs Dance Company present “Bread of Life”, 7pm at Wesley Hall, Crookes.  See poster and sign-up sheet in the porch.

Good Friday, 19th April

Tenebrae at 8pm, a meditative service led by Rev Tim Crome.

Easter Sunday, 21st April

Early Holy Communion Service at 9am, led by Tim; followed by a Continental Breakfast.

Easter Sunday Morning Service at10.45am led by Dr Jenny Bywaters.

Thursday 25th April

Safeguarding Refresher Course.  See Paula Jones for further details. 

Sunday 28th April

The Leadership Team are proposing that we bake bread in the afternoon, and eat it with jam or cheese in the evening Local Arrangement service, at 6.30pm, led by Mrs Jackie Dunn.

The Holy Habit for May is “Fellowship”

Wednesday 1st May

Holy Habits Planning Group Meeting  at 7.30pm in Room 5. All welcome.

Saturday 4th May

Walking Group, details to be confirmed

Sunday 5th May

Launch of the Holy Habit Fellowship, 10.45am, at the morning service, led by Rev Tim Crome

Wednesday 8th May

Property Committee meeting at 7.30pm.

Saturday 11th May

Gardening Morning at 10am, have a word with Sean Ashton or Yvonne or Stewart McIntosh for more details.

“An Italian Evening” at 6.30pm in Room 2, Good Food – Good Music – Good Friends. Tickets are £10per person from Lorna Marshall.  Proceeds to go to our new Christian Aid charity project supporting those in Lebanon and Iraq affected by displacement. 

Saturday 18th May

Eco Open Day, 10.30am–2.30pm. Plant sales; crafts for the kids; cakes; information stalls; bees; and possibly - guinea pigs, and a bouncy castle.


As you grow older three things happen: 1) Your memory deteriorates.

2) You need to write everything down and 3) I can’t remember the other one !!

Church Council Members

as at 8 March 2019


Image result for black and white drawings of people sitting around havng a committee meeting

Reverend Tim Crome, Rachel Tomlinson, Gen Ashton, Sean Ashton,

Janet Southgate, Paula Jones, Pat Dickinson, Linda Watchorn,

Hazel Harrison, Margaret Spooner, Phil Brown, Bob Mellers,

Ann Barker, Lorna Marshall, Jackie Dunn, Roger Dunn,

Yvonne McIntosh, Leslie Graves, Alison Russell.


Communications Group

A Summary of Activities and Plans



The painting of brightly coloured footprints leading to the entrances of the church, which is one of our commitments to make our church more welcoming, is still pending. The plan is to do this on a Gardening Morning (which take place on the 2ndSaturday in the month at 10am) when the weather is better.

Weekly Diary

This is produced by Daniel Tomlinson. Items for inclusion should be e-mailed to bxnotices@yahoo.com  Daniel needs to know the number of weeks each notice should be printed in the Weekly Diary.

Church Foyer and Coffee Lounge Area  

A larger notice board is to be placed on the Coffee Lounge wall from the entrance to the toilets up to the end of the wall, making more space.

The notice board facing us as we enter the church is also to be replaced. It will be used to advertise the activities of those groups who meet in our building.  Therefore, there will be a colourful and striking display of what’s going on in Banner Cross Church rather than pages of text.

Minutes of meetings and other notices will go onto the new notice board in the coffee lounge area. Leadership Team photos have been printed and framed and will be displayed soon.

A tidy method of displaying sets of leaflets and flyers is being sought. The bookshelves will be tidied. Copies of the books read by the Holy Habits Book Club will be made available for people to borrow. 

Church Website

A work in progress, but hopefully by the beginning of June this year, more progress will have been made. In the meantime, there will be a note on the website to explain that a new one is under development. New photos are requested for the new website. 

Banner Headlines

Terry Kirkwood is willing to print a few more copies if supplies in church run out before the end of the month. The editorial team is seeking a new member to join us to commission articles.


After long and hard discussions, it has been decided that we do not need to make any changes.


Holy Habits Book Club

Update of April 2019 Meeting


The Holy Habits Book Club here at Banner Cross Methodist Church will be meeting again after the morning service on Sunday 7 April.

We will meet in the Quiet Room from 12.15 pm to1 pm approximately. The Holy Habit for April is “Breaking Bread”. All are welcome to join in our informal discussions.

We will be discussing “The Power and the Glory” by Graham Greene.  Arguably one of the 100 best novels of the twentieth century, this moralistic thriller is set in Mexico in the late 1930s.  A paramilitary group has outlawed the Catholic Church and executed its clergy.  Now the last priest is on the run, fleeing, not just an unshakable police lieutenant, but also his own wavering morals.  As he scraps his way toward salvation, haunted by an affair from his past, the nameless “whiskey priest” is pulled between the bottle and the Bible, tempted to renounce his religion yet unable to ignore the higher calling he has chosen.  The “Breaking Bread” resource booklet tells us that, although deeply anxious that he has been a failure, the priest continues to administer the Mass at a time and in a place where the practice has been banned. The story of the whiskey priest in this novel can also be seen as one of a man who suffers like Jesus Christ on the Way of the Cross, from human beings and from Nature.

We are hoping that a few people might also be able to get hold of another booklet: Rev Dr Inderjit Bhogal OBE’s “A Table for All: A Challenge to Church and Nation” (Penistone Publications, 2000).  Inderjit Bhogal is a leading theologian and a former President of the Methodist Conference. He worked in Sheffield in many multi-faith inner city contexts. Inderjit is the founder and President of City of Sanctuary. The Holy Habits resource booklet summarises his book, “A Table for All … “as follows:” A prophetic challenge to the practices of breaking bread and Holy Communion, and how they can be experiences of radical hospitality, justice and change.” Inderjit took our Evening Service of Holy Communion on 17th March.  His book is very interesting and there are references to our city.  There was a good turnout for the service and afterwards, Inderjit explained to a few of good turnout for the service and afterwards, Inderjit explained to a few of us that he has written another book about Sanctuary for All which we could consider in the future.  His website is: www.inderjitbhogal.com

Alison Russell


The fasts are done; the Aves said;

The moon has filled her horn

And in the solemn night I watch

Before the Easter morn.

So pure, so still the starry heaven,

So hushed the brooding air,

I could hear the sweep of an angel's wings

If one should earthward fare.

Edna Dean Proctor, "Easter Morning"


Join us for an


Banner Cross Methodist Church

on Saturday 11th May at 6.30.pm

Italy architectural symbols. Trave Italy label. Italy skyline. Stock Vector - 41917553





Three courses will cost you £10

Tickets from Lorna

All profits for our charity. Christian Aid For Displaced refugees in Lebanon and Iraq.

Ciao - greeting in Italian calligraphy inscription, handwritten note. Stock Vector - 93875703


Let the resurrection joy lift us from loneliness and weakness and despair to strength and beauty and happiness.  ~Floyd W. Tomkins

Proposed visit to the Holy Land

October 2021

Christine and I are exploring the possibility of going on an organised trip to the Holy Land in October 2021. We can't go before then due to other commitments. We've got a rough quote and itinerary together through All Saints Travel who specialise in this sort of thing. Their itinerary is on the church notice board but can be adjusted. They suggest staying in Nazareth and Bethlehem. We wondered if any Banner Cross friends would be interested in going with us ? It would be nice to go in a group. If not we'll just do our own thing. Please let us know ASAP (see below for price details).  Thanks

Jonathan and Christine


The Holy Land 2021

A Biblical and Historical Tour ‘Following in the Footsteps of Jesus’

See the Gospel come to life by following the footsteps of Jesus in the Holy Land. From Galilee to Jerusalem, you will find yourself immersed in spirituality and culture. This beautiful, tried and tested itinerary promises to bring the faithful pilgrim an unforgettable experience, including a non-stop return flight from the UK to Tel Aviv airport, a touring coach and professional local guide, as well as en-suite accommodation at a 4* hotel in Nazareth and a 3* hotel in Bethlehem.

Date: 12 – 19th October 2021

from £1,189 - 8 day/7 nights, HB

Spiritual Leader: TBC

Organised by Mr Jonathan Rowe

Tel. 07946 176 735 / 01793 608844 (AST)


Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won't stay there.

Clarence W. Hall

Bits ‘n Bobs


Sponsored Bike Ride

Sean and his daughter Amelia, will be riding the length of Wales from Cardiff to Holyhead to raise money for our community partnership. This is a gruelling 250 mile ride through the Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia. Please see Sean if you would like to sponsor us.

Church holiday

A holiday has been arranged for 21st to 25th July (Sunday to Thursday) to Dumfries. If you are interested please speak to Janette as soon as possible for more information. We are a happy crowd, out to enjoy each other’s company and have a nice time together. You are very welcome to join us.

The Walking Group plans to have a Weekend Away in June: Friday 7th to Sunday 9th. More details regarding accommodation for campers and non-campers to follow. We plan to visit the Filey/Brampton area of North Yorkshire.  We will plan to eat together in the evenings. Walkers and non-walkers.  All are welcome.  Paula

Film Club

The Film Club is STILL taking place . The first Saturday in each month starting at 1.30 and refreshments are served during the afternoon. For reasons beyond my control I have had to change    some of the films.

So here is the revised programme

March 2nd Flower Drum Song: April 6th Calendar Girls:

May 4th South Pacific: June 1st My Fair Lady.

It is open to all so please do come along.You will be most welcome.

No booing at the projectionist though!!  Alan

Fair Trade - Chocolate

The subject of the Lent Course this year is Dangerous Stories. In our first course one of the questions discussed was "The people are clearly most at risk when they are scattered like sheep; are there ways of acting in solidarity with others who are vulnerable and helping folk stick together and help each other?

Fair Trade are running a campaign calling on the Prime Minister to back a living income for cocoa farmers. They had over 22,000 signatures at the time of writing and support was still flooding in.

By signing this petition you are acting in solidarity with others who are vulnerable.You can find the petition on their website at: https://www.fairtrade.org.uk/

The Fair Trade Foundation believe that the PM also needs to hear from other politicians. You can ask your MP to join the fight to win a living income for cocoa farmers. No matter who your MP is, there’s a good chance they enjoy the odd chocolate treat. So let’s tell them to help us all enjoy chocolate without the bitter taste of exploitation.



British Rivers Polluted With Plastic

Greenpeace are running a campaign about plastic in UK rivers. A member of the team informed me that they had hopped on a tiny boat on the River Wye. They said "It was beautiful, but I couldn't help but think about how much plastic might be flowing through it, and into the ocean."

Greenpeace are doing the largest ever survey of plastic in our inland waters, and our rivers are showing warning signs of being polluted. Early results in March from another study show plastic is finding its way into our most iconic rivers and lakes.

The world has seen the impacts of plastic pollution on our oceans - turtles eating plastic, seabirds feeding plastic to chicks - but now it's time to look closer to home; to the rivers that connect us. Greenpeace say that "Whether we find plastic in all 13 rivers or not, one thing's clear - we need to slash throwaway plastic at the source and stop our rivers from becoming plastic waterways."

We can turn back the plastic tide by ensuring that ambitious new targets are set to massively reduce throwaway plastic and restore our natural world in the new Environment Bill. We also need a strong Environment Watchdog to enforce them.

If you are worried about plastic in our rivers and countryside, please sign the petition:

Petition: https://secure.greenpeace.org.uk/riversshare2,

and get the government to back a strong Environment Bill that restores our natural world and protects air, soil and the rivers that connect us?



Eco Church - What Next?

You’ll know from last month’s Banner Headlines that Banner Cross Methodist Church is close to achieving a Silver award under the Eco Church scheme. Apart from Toilet Twinning (intriguing

isn’t it ?) our next big step in that direction is to replace all the church lighting with LED bulbs.

As you can imagine we have a lot of light bulbs, so we did consider a phased introduction, but the advantages of LED’s over conventional lighting and the need for us all to move rapidly towards our

greener future pointed us towards changing them all at once. Since the church is a biggish ‘public’ building we’ll be taking professional advice, but some of the information that informed our decision might be useful to you, so here it is. LEDs ‘consume up to 85% less energy and last 10 - 20 times longer than incandescent bulbs’* so they are cheaper to run and last a lot longer, and they are not as expensive as they once were. For example, you can get a pack of two 100 watt equivalents from a well known Swedish flatpack furniture shop for £7. So good for the pocket and good for the planet.

In terms of reducing our contribution to global warming through pumping greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere ‘replacing a single 60 watt light bulb with an LED equivalent results in a reduction of approximately 160kg of CO2 emissions per year’ ** (You have to think about coal power stations producing electricity and releasing greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere for this to make sense:). To help visualise this, 160kg is about the same weight as a giant panda!

Other Eco news is that ‘two new schemes have been launched to continue the ongoing commitment of the Methodist Church in reducing its impact on God’s creation. The new Eco Circuit and Eco District awards have been developed to support the successful Eco Church scheme’. You can read more via https://www.methodist.org.uk/about-us/news/latest-news dated 14th March 2019 and I’ll do an information sheet for the Eco table.

Back to light bulbs. I’ll try to get some more information and if possible some examples of LED bulbs in time for our Eco Open Day /Fair which will start at 10.30am on Saturday18 May 2019, at Banner Cross Methodist Church and run until 2.30pm. Please join us for plant sales; crafts for the kids; information stalls; cakes; plants sales; bees; and hopefully, guinea pigs and a bouncy castle.

All the very best - Yvonne McIntosh


** https://www.saving-light-bulbs.co.uk/blog/how-much-co2-does-a-light-bulb-create/


Some British Easter Traditions


The British Isles are riddled with traditions like these, especially around Easter, when superstitions around crops and growth get muddled up with Christian imagery and a sudden glut of rabbits and eggs. Some of them are eccentric, some are downright dangerous, but to the people involved in them on a year-by-year basis, they’re as natural and normal a way to commemorate the season as chocolate eggs and a magical rabbit.

The Nutter’s Dance
Should you find yourself in the little down of Bacup in Lancashire on Easter Saturday, and suddenly surrounded by people dressed oddly, with dark makeup on, bells on their legs and dancing in formation, do not be scared, you’ve just witnessed the Nutter’s Dance.

Since 1857, a strange parade has taken place in the town. It’s a kind of social exorcism, led by a man cracking a whip—he’s called the Whiffler, or Whipper-In—to fend off evil spirits, and followed by men in black, wearing red and white skirts and darkened faces, which are intended to disguise them and keep them free from devilish repercussions.

Egg Jarping 
You may have heard of conkers, the schoolyard game whereby two horse chestnuts on strings battle for supremacy, but you may not know that the same basic idea can be, and is, applied to eggs at Easter. To people living in the North East of England, egg jarping is the simple matter of bashing one hard-boiled egg on another egg to see which one wins.

There’s even a World Jarping Championship in Peterlee, Durham in which contestants do battle in twos, holding their eggs pointy-end-up and ready to be biffed by an opponent. The winner of each bout is the one with the uncracked egg.

Maundy Money
Inspired by the tale of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples on the day before Good Friday, it used to be fairly common in Christian countries for leaders to embark on an act of public humility on Maundy Thursday. The British royal family being no exception, gifts of money and clothing (and a free foot wash) were handed out to the poor by reigning monarchs, as part of a wider tradition that dates back to the fourth century.

The washing of feet lasted a remarkably long time, well up into the 1700s, but eventually was replaced by a simple gift of money, albeit using coins that were specially struck for the purpose. The first monarch to do this was Charles II, who ordered special four, three, two and one penny pieces to be struck for the Maundy service in 1662. Since 1670, fresh dated coins have been used for each Royal Maundy service.

Henry IV introduced a refinement in the 1400s that the amount of people lucky enough to receive donations would increase in direct proportion to his age, and this continues in two forms. On Maundy Thursday, elderly men and women who are considered to have given Christian service to their community—one for every year of the Queen’s life—receive two leather string purses, one white, one red. The white one contains normal British currency for food and clothing, and the red one contains Maundy coins, the amount given corresponding to the current Queen’s age in pence.

Easter, the only time it is alright to put all your eggs in one basket !!


Church notices:

Baptisms: After Easter, the North and South ends of the church will be utilised. Children will be baptised at both ends.

This being Easter Sunday, we will ask Mrs Cusworth to come forward and lay an egg on the altar.


Items for the May edition of the


can be sent via e-mail to

 terrykirkwood@virginmedia.com or by using the good old-fashioned methods of either popping it into the pigeonhole at church, through my front door or even by phoning me on 255 3771 but whatever method you use, can I have it no later than 15th April, please. Thank you,



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